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Menlo Park tried to land Tesla headquarters

Original post made on Aug 25, 2009

When Tesla Motors announced Aug. 18 that it plans to relocate its headquarters from San Carlos to Palo Alto later this year, several Menlo Park residents asked whether their city made a push for the electric car maker, which has a showroom in Menlo Park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009, 9:55 AM

Comments (11)

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Posted by Gary H.
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 25, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Perhaps the Tesla salesroom will move to Palo Alto closer to the new HQ; it could take some of the existing dealership space on Alma across from Fry's.

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Posted by oh well
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 25, 2009 at 2:43 pm

David Johnson, by all accounts a nice guy, is woefully inadequate for the BD job and his lack of success is an embarrassment. The city manager and council have long been aware of his failings, but instead of letting him go, they simply brought in a second BD person who seems to be no more successful than Johnson has been.

Oh well, soon he'll retire, and then we'll be on the hook for $100k++ retirement pay for the rest of his life, plus health benefits.

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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2009 at 5:58 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

Pardon my naivetee, but what makes the acquisition of Tesla such a great move? The Chinese, who two years ago did not have a single auto being manufactured nor did they make it known they had plans to begin. Today is the biggest manufacturer of cars in the world and yesterday announced its solar car production plans.
Tesla announce the other day that its already selling model selling well at $107,000 and expect to have the price down in two years to $57,000---a desirable price for.....whom?
That the govt. gave them a $500,000.00 grant seemed underplayed a day before hearing our debt increasing to 3 trillion.
Would someone explain why Menlo Park residents seem put out for not having pushed harder for Tesla headquarters?

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 25, 2009 at 9:24 pm

R.Gordon, everything you wrote about Tesla is incorrect. Please do some research before posting.

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Posted by Gern Blanston
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 26, 2009 at 9:17 am

To "oh well":

Your baseless ad hominem attack against David Johnson serves absolutely no purpose that I can discern. What particular failings do you allude to? Where is the city council comment acknowledging these failings? And our City Manager, Glen Rojas. has been on the job how many months now? It don't think it's even six, is it? How is it that he and the relatively new council can understand this "long history" of failings, especially when David Johnson has only been the job a short time (and, hence, won't be retiring anytime soon at anywhere near the figure you mention). Your entire post is just the sort of cowardly, anonymous, ill-informed, acrimonious outgassing that so often renders these forums a disappointing waste of time.


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Posted by oh well
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 26, 2009 at 10:37 am

I'm not attacking the person, just pointing at the bottom line. Glen has been the city manager for over two years, and Johnson will celebrate his 6th anniversary with the city next month. Enough time for some results, don't you think? Yes, economic times are tough, but deals are still happening, businesses expanding and moving, just not to Menlo Park.

The city is now paying over $200,000 in salaries for BD staff (plus benefits, of course). At some point, we have to ask what value we are getting from our investment.

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Posted by oh well
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 26, 2009 at 10:39 am

P.S. The newest council members have served since December 2006, and have a pretty good understanding of the situation.

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Posted by I Agree
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Aug 26, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I agree with Oh Well. I also concur with him that this is not a personal attack. Business is business, and this guy is not delivering. No more shop Menlo signs and silly gimmicks. Make the city a business friendly place and work to get businesses in MP. This is his job.

This quote "Mr. Johnson said, adding that the headquarters' location within a few miles from Menlo Park might have indirect benefits for the city down the road." from the story says it all.

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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Aug 26, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Menlo Park's reputation as being unfriendly to business and/or growth, deserved or not, accurate or not, is at the heart of the city's inability to attract new business. I'm not defending Dave or Glen though I like and respect them both, but in my opinion, unless or until the City's leadership on council start actively participating in an effort to attract and retain new businesses by reversing the current perception and, yes, some development (not just studies), the best BD people in world won't be able to sell "iceboxes to the eskimos". If you want new business in MP, there is a price to pay--if you don't, then don't spend money on BD or on studies aimed at attracting new business-ain't gonna happen.

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Posted by renter
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 28, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Frankly its high rents that keep business out of Menlo Park.

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Posted by oh well
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm

The "anti-business reputation" is fiction that's freely distributed by a minority faction that briefly enjoyed power in the city and wants to get back in the driver's seat.

"Menlo Park" is synonymous with venture capital; it's a prestige address for many firms in the legal, finance, and business service industries. The problem is not that we fail to attract business but that we have yet to figure out a way to capitalize on it. In good years, these businesses pull in tens of millions of dollars, yet pay only a tiny tax to the city. We need to derive more value from the fact that our city includes Sand Hill Road. Other cities charge these taxes.

As for development, what do we need to build? We have ample office space and heavy manufacturing is never going to be profitable for anyone in the mid-peninsula. I agree with renter: manufacturers are going to locate in the East Bay and beyond so as to keep their costs competitive.

We have plenty of zoning for light industrial in this city, and that's been good for Menlo Park. Right now, our economic engine lies smack in the center of the area that David Bohannon wants to rezone and fill with business/professional offices -- yep, transform a revenue-generating area into one that produces nothing but office space and traffic. If our city staff (including and especially Johnson) had any gumption, they'd be telling Bohannon that we can't knock out our revenue-generating enterprises. Instead, they're kowtowing and acquiescing to all his demands.

Not getting Tesla to move to MP was a mild swat on the butt compared to the wallop we'll feel if we lose our light industrial district. Bohannon's hotel=terrific. Rezoning and office towers=someone's gotta say no to the guy.

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