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Stanford reps face questions on Rice, El Camino

Original post made on Jun 23, 2009

Should the U.S. government investigate whether Condoleezza Rice and other Bush administration officials violated the Constitution? It wasn't the only tough question Stanford executives faced at a June 17 meeting of Sustainable Menlo Park at Burgess Recreation Center in Menlo Park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 23, 2009, 11:23 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 23, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Stanford University is very generous in sharing its campus & surrounding lands with local residents. The communities have been much less considerate of Stanford. Adding trails in other areas, as Mr. Schmidt asks, is a bad idea. Limited hours, security guards, & paved trails at the dish were the results of poor behavior by Stanford's at-will guests, some of whom wouldn't even leash & supervise their own dogs. The university must protect its lands from people who think that they somehow have a right to use the private property of others.

There are plenty of public trails around. Why not campaign for Palo Alto to share access to Foothills Park if you need a cause? Presumably, the City already has liability provisions in place.

No, I didn't go to Stanford-they wouldn't take me.)

Posted by local hiker, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 23, 2009 at 2:05 pm

The issue is that Stanford is demonstrating bad faith by not putting in the trails they have agreed to and are bound to make available to the public. Many years ago, this was made a condition of their permit to build millions and millions of new buildings on their land. The buildings are going in, but Stanford likes to pretend the trail agreement never existed. There is a continuing lawsuit against them to force compliance with their obligations to the county and local residents.

Stanford has a huge amount of power and money, and is very very effective at spreading their PR/propaganda through their alumni. But it you look at their behavior over the years, you will notice that they are like dealing with the devil: very tricky at getting lots of privileges from the community without fulfilling their part of the package.

A deal's a deal, Stanford! Fulfill your obligations!

Posted by reliable sources, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 23, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Sean, I think you have it mixed up on the car dealer leases. The Fire District and Tesla lease directly from Stanford, it's the other two former dealerships that are on "prepaid rent" leases until 2012-13.
Which brings up another point, standard landlord tenant law permits landlords to take possession of abandoned leased property, even if Stanford claims their hands are tied because of advance lease payments. Stanford could easily get SM Superior Court to confirm their right of immediate possession under the Abandonment/Waste statute, even it's not stated in the original 1960's leases by virtue of legal precedence. Menlo Park could file a "friend of the court" brief in support of the repossesion.
Time for Menlo Park to demand Stanford act as a responsible landlord and have some serious discussion about redevelopment of that strip of land. How about a business hotel and a retirement center like the Hyatt? Forget offices, medical and more traffic generating retail. Forget about a Redwood City 4-5 canyon like mixed use development. Both a hotel and senior center could be higher than the 30 foot limit if they were nestled with the backdrop of the trees on the elevated railroad tracks, and had additional setback and open space around them.
The big immediate+ problem for Menlo is that ECR is gridlocked at afternoon peak commute when all that Stanford generated traffic heads for Ravenswood Ave. and Redwood City. Until Palo Alto agrees to open Alma as a condition for approving the Stanford Med Center expansion, Menlo will only see ECR traffic worsen with MP residential side streets used for cut through traffic. MP Council needs to take a stand against Palo Alto's intransigence about opening Alma, now that the downtown north PA neighborhoods have am/pm turn prohibitions and traffic calming.

Posted by Sean Howell, Almanac staff writer
on Jun 23, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Sean Howell is a registered user.

reliable sources:

Thanks for the correction. You're absolutely right, I misread my notes from the meeting. We've corrected the story.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 23, 2009 at 6:44 pm

It's sad that Etchemendy, as a professor of Logic, can't seem to take a logical position about his attitude towards Condi's presence on campus. Nobody is asking the university to take a stance on the issue, the student was asking him personally to take a stance on the issue. The university is not the same as the provost -- simple. Is he claiming that he can't have any opinions as an individual at all because then the university would also be taking a stance on the issue? That's ludicrous!

Consider the professors, both at Stanford and elsewhere, that haven't fallen into this trap. When Larry Summers was president of Harvard and made various controversial statements about women, Israel, etc., I don't recall anyone confusing this with official Harvard positions. Helen Longino signed the petition and she is the current chair of the Philosophy Department. I don't think anyone would see this as a statement of the official view of the Philosophy Department at Stanford. Perhaps Etchemendy would reconsider his position after being confronted with these examples.

Posted by Tom Miller, Stanford Law '65, a resident of another community
on Jun 24, 2009 at 3:48 am

It is a sad day when a Stanford Professor of Logic refuses to take a personal position on an issue so vital to our society as the subject of torture and as to whether the University - whose torture studies revelations are often cited - should welcome back into its faculty an individual guilty of war crimes under the principles established at Nuremberg. Apparently, it can happen here.

Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Jun 24, 2009 at 8:30 am

Mr. Miller, Stanford Law '65--"an individual GUILTY of war crimes..." Apparently Stanford Law School doesn't teach the principles of due process or presumption of innocence. In my view its a sad day when any individual (Stanford professor, lawyer, or a common working stiff like me) can't opt not to take a personal position on an issue--but I guess that can happen here.

Posted by PeterM, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 24, 2009 at 8:54 am

Rice's presence on campus is problematic in more ways than one. For example, she goes about campus in dark SUVs with a security detail who are presumably armed. The University should address this issue so students, faculty and other members of the community know the hazards.

Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Jun 24, 2009 at 11:48 am

When former President Clinton's daughter was a student at SU, she was under the protection of armed SS agents wearing kaki vests to hide their weapons. That was no big deal, why should the fact that former Secretary of State Rice is under the same protection. Geeess, give the lady a break. She served our country for 8 years!!!

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 24, 2009 at 4:33 pm

I know WhoRUpeople will be shocked, but I agree with his/her comments.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 24, 2009 at 8:33 pm

WhoRUpeople -

Hey, I think due process is great! Let's exercise some due process and bring Condi to trial for war crimes! Great idea, I'll make sure the DA cites you for the inspiration.

Do you have any evidence that Condi (or Chelsea Clinton's) protection was carrying weapons onto campus? If either of them were, that would be a gross violation of campus security policy. It certainly would NOT be 'no big deal.'

'Serving the country'? Well, I suppose if you call committing war crimes, ruining our international reputation and setting our PR back decades in the Muslim world 'serving the country,' then sure.

Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2009 at 8:31 am

Truth-I'm not shocked at all. I would have expected you to agree. You might be shocked to know that, while we obviously have differing viewpoints on some issues, I agree with you on many others and always value reading your points of view.

Anonymos-No, I don't know for sure if, in either instance, the security people are/were armed. I, and most people I know, assumed in Chelsea's
case that they were and thats why the kaki vests (not just a fashion statement of the time). It does make sense, at least to me, that under such circumstances, even Stanford has a process by which exceptions to policies can/are made. As for your other comments--lets just agree to disagree, any dialog would be pointless.

Posted by Joan, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 26, 2009 at 10:48 am

Although I often agree with Truth (and even find his occasional crankiness a little charming), I have to take issue with him/her on this one. Rice's "service" to the country was disgraceful and destructive. Because of her and her White House colleagues, we're in more danger from terrorists and other agressors, and held in much lower esteem internationally, than we've ever been.

OK, the principle of due process is a good one. But the process is being prevented from even starting. I'm perfectly happy letting the courts decide if she and her guys are war criminals (as I believe them to be). So let the process begin.

Posted by getreal, a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2009 at 11:15 am

Oh yeah - C. Clinton's security had weapons. Not only on them, but also had some "gear" in their backpacks (book pack look alikes). Don't be naive on such stuff. Violation of campus policy? Think about it --- the Stanford Sheriffs carry weapons all the time. No doubt "arrangements" were made long before CC stepped on campus. And don't forget that she had visits from Dad & Mom too...

Posted by Are You Kidding Me?, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 26, 2009 at 12:33 pm

"Joan" - you seriously think we're in more danger??? Perhaps MSNBC, CBS, ABC and CNN think that, and that's who you are quoting, but the facts just don't play out. 9/11 happened BEFORE any of your Bush hated policies were in place. And now that your much hated Mr. Bush has LEFT office, Korea is getting ready to launch, Iran is now more aggressively seeking nuclear power, who knows what Chavez is doing after holding hands with President Obama, Muslim extremism has to be confronted. I am only disappointed that 50% of Americans feel this way, we are a very small majority, but history is trying darn hard to repeat itself, and I for one support the brass knuckle approach. We'll see how Obama does with his "be kind to all" approach, but so far, I'm not feeling very good. As for Condi, if she was a Democrat, you'd be in love with her.

Posted by Joan, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 26, 2009 at 1:40 pm

"Are you kidding...", well, yes, I do seriously think we're in more danger, as do many national and world leaders, who realize with queasy stomach that our unprovoked war in Iraq and our "brass knuckle" belligerence have created still more terrorists who want to harm us.

And re your statement, "9/11 happened BEFORE any of your Bush hated policies were in place," I must point to the informal policy of ignoring intelligence memos warning of imminent danger, such as the August 2001 Bin-Laden-Determined-To-Attack-In-US memo.

By the way, I don't listen to any of the news sources you cited above. Sorry to burst your balloon.

Posted by Are You Kidding Me?, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 26, 2009 at 3:47 pm

I've always loved conspiracy theorists. Still, after all of the media propaganda we continually forget your beloved Mr. Clinton's role in all of this. He had Bin Laden in his sights.......And of course we forget that if Bush really did do something illegal, he should have, would have, been impeached. It's a very easy thing to do, or threaten, but alas it was never done. I wonder why??? Perhaps because "it is, what it is", there's just nothing there. He chose to go to war, a war that you and your likes did not like, and you tried everything you could to shut it down. Just a very odd fact that goes unpublished or discussed, a fact that every American should be a shamed of: there have been thousands of Iraqi's killed in Iraq,(100K plus murdered by the very man we defeated) but there was over 1 million killed in Ruwanda. Disgraceful.

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