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Bad Judgment by Outgoing Mayor

Original post made by Council Watcher on Dec 1, 2009

I was invited to attend a reception in the city council chambers this evening to welcome in the new Mayor Rich Cline. I was surprised that what I thought was to be a purely social gathering with friends and family honoring the outgoing and incoming mayors was turned into yet another evening of partisan drama in Menlo Park.

Outgoing Mayor Heyward Robinson was determined to have the council take action before he left office to not only endorse him for a seat on the regional samTrans board of directors, but to have the council pass a motion requesting that Councilmember Boyle drop out of the race so as not to undermine Robinson's chances of winning. It was clear that Rich (and of course Boyle) were uncomfortable taking any action at what most of us expected was a purely ceremonial council meeting, but Robinson pushed ahead to bring the matter to a vote while he was still in charge. The discussion was probably made even more uncomfortable by the fact that Robinson did not recuse himself from the debate or the vote.

After the party line vote in favor of the motion, former mayor Steve Schmidt had the courage to come forward and point out how "weird" it was that we would not want to both of our council members to compete for this regional role and urged Boyle to stay in the race.

As much as Robinson may have wanted a quick endorsement to simplify his campaign, it would have been much more appropriate for him to have made his endorsement request to incoming Mayor Cline and let Rich decide how to best handle it at the next regular city council meeting.

Comments (60)

Posted by observer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 2, 2009 at 4:17 am

The council meeting last evening was about as bad a public display as can be imagined.

John Boyle insisted upon challenging what was obviously going to be a decision by council to give its endorsement to Robinson for the SamTrans seat. He proceeded to make the audience endure a statement of why he should be endorsed in a speech that lasted longer than outgoing Mayor Robinson used to talk about his year in office and longer than income mayor Cline used to tell of his plans for the new year.

This was again an inept council majority not willing to make the motion and vote, rather than spend over 30 minutes on a predetermined outcome. New Mayor Cline had better stop this kind of nonsense or he and the rest of those up for election next fall should be booted out of office.

Absolutely disgusting, while the audience awaited meeting and congratulating the new Mayor.

Boyle with his views on transportation and High Speed rail is a minority of one on council. He was elected to council by a majority of about 100 votes 3 years ago. He does not represent the views of the residents of Menlo Park, and we certainly don't need him on the SamTrans board.

Steve Schmidt seems to want to pad his ego and speak where ever he can get an audience. His remarks were off point and he should have just shut up and let the meeting go ahead. Yes, we know Steve you used to be on the SamTrans board --- thank you.

The meeting was poorly attended to say the least with less than 50 in attendance from the residents. Food was good.

Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Dec 2, 2009 at 11:21 am

I watched the council meeting on TV. I totally agree with Council Watcher's comments. It has nothing to do with whether or not John or Heyward, or either one for that matter, would be a good fit on the Samtrans board, bad form is bad form, and Heyward exhibited exactly that. Both "candidates" were asked, via a motion made by Kelly, to state their qualifications, and both complied. John took a bit longer, but in my view its because he had more qualifications to state than did Heyward. Since this is a regional position, I hope John keeps his hat in the ring.

Posted by LetsHaveMoreCivilDebate, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 2, 2009 at 12:35 pm

I also watched the meeting and agree with Council Watcher's comments.

If I understood correctly, the two open regional Samtrans seats are going to be elected early next year by a council of twenty something San Mateo county mayors.

There was no requirement for the city council to nominate or endorse any given candidate and no good reason for Heyward to put the item on last night's agenda.

It looked to me like Heyward was just trying use his last minutes in office to make sure that Rich would be bound to support him and to eliminate another competitor from the race.

From what I have seen, Rich usually keeps an open mind on issues and might have otherwise waited to hear the two candidates make their pitches at the council of mayors meeting.

To Observer's comments:

I don't see what this has to do with High Speed Rail.

I think that it would be healthy to have a debate between the two candidates on how they would expand Samtrans to better serve more of our community. If Heyward's main proposal is, as he stated last night, "some kind of carbon tax on cars," I would have to support John.

Posted by An Owl, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 2, 2009 at 1:25 pm

As always, Robinson is an embarrassment.

Posted by old timer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 2, 2009 at 6:51 pm

What is obnoxious is Boyle's persistence in trying to keep council from taking any action; he does this constantly. Who in the world wants him to be on the SamTrans board with the possibility of promoting his pro-HSR views. The outcome was obviously. He should not be re-elected next fall if he runs and for sure, he must be passed over as a future mayor.

Posted by Judgm(e)nt Day next Nov, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm

We should show the door to both these Stanford boys next Nov.
Both have extremist views of Menlo Park's future development and are so out of touch with commercial real estate dynamics that they make professionals cringe. WE could do a lot better.

Posted by observer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 2, 2009 at 11:11 pm

You who doesn't understand what this has to do with HSR doesn't understand that the PCJPB (CalTrain) board member from our area is chosen from those that sit on the SamTrans board. Thus just as Steve Schmidt lusted for a seat on that board, you can't get there unless you are first on the SamTrans board, and if you don't understand what a seat on the CalTrain board is all about with regards High Speed Rail, you better start learning and learning fast.

Why do you think Schmidt got up and made a fool of himself last evening questioning the councils decision.

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 3, 2009 at 7:54 am

Heyward Robinson is an embarassment to Menlo Park. His unabashed Chutzpah is one for the record books and his egregious behavior reveals that he thinks he is entitled to the Board seat by virtue of being a past mayor.

John Boyle showed resilience and determination by standing up to Heyward's bullying tactics for the SamTrans seat. While I disagree with Boyle's position on HSR (way too expensive) he is far better qualified than Heyward to be on the SAMTrans Board. John Boyle was a good Transportation Commissioner and knows how to work with people with divergent viewpoints to effect compromise to reach a viable concensus that serves the community's needs.

Richard Cline started his term as mayor admitting that he is reticent to take positions. Steve Schmidt, while I often disagree with him, has the courage of his convictions. Gail wouldn't back his candidacy for City Council in 2006 because she had such wonderful "Stepford Wives" in Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline. They showed unrestrained allegiance to Gail. Steve made the mistake of actually thinking for himself and wanting to serve the people of Menlo Park rather than being a Slocum disciple. Independence of thought cannot be tolerated in the Slocum Axis of left-wing political dominance.

We need to rid ourselves of the "shadow government" ruled by Gail in camera, vote out Heyward and Rich, and replace them with two council members that can act independently of Gail's direction.

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Dec 3, 2009 at 10:45 am

Hank talks big on forums, but has no guts to say such things face to face it seems. I have seen him talking to Heyward or Rich and he just fidgets and weasels around. Talk about convictions, how about being strong enough to say these things in person? Steve would, and I know Heyward and Rich do. How about you Hank? [Portion removed]

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 3, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Truth [portion removed]. I talked to Rich Cline on Tuesday night and the only fidgeting going on was by Rich Cline as he tried to explain how he was going to contain the spiraling out of control employee entitlement costs.

Also, on November 20th I addressed the City Council in person regarding fiscal responsibility with regard to employee salaries and I did not pull any punches. Where were you?

[Portion removed]

Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Hey Almanac, can you explain why Truth's posting regarding Hank didn't violate the rules about personal attacks? Never mind that its totally off topic, it sure seemed over the line to this reader.

Posted by Gail Slocum, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 3, 2009 at 2:01 pm


So many mistaken impressions unlderly your last post...

First -- No single person made the decision on who to "back" in 2006. There was a large gathering with speeches from at least 6 possible contenders, made before a crowd of over 70 people who had been involved in campaigns in the past. Everyone listened and voted for their top three choices. The results of those votes and the reasons given guided a group decision.

You were not a part of this process because you have supported candidates with a different philosophy and would have been on board with Mickie, Lee and John - although, I believe, at that time you had already moved out of town.

Second, I do not agree with everything Heyward or Rich have done and they owe me no particular allegiance. They have voted differently on various matters before the Council -- how could that be if there were some "shadow government" behind it all. It just doesn't work that way - simply ridiculous. They are their own people and accountable for their own (and sometimes differing) decisions and actions.

Please stop making assertions on matters about which you have no direct knowledge.

Gail Slocum

Posted by business as usual, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 3, 2009 at 2:05 pm

I have found quite a bit of value in Truth's posts. Unlike other posters, he cuts to the chase and does not engage in excessive personal attacks and rumor mongering. And many posts on this forum are off topic (whatever the topic may be).

Some people don't seem to realize that they just look silly when they continue to beat a dead horse. Reiterating the same half-truths does not give you creditibility or make your gossip legitimate.

And finally, I agree with Truth: the aforementioned poster is much more of a nebbish in person than on this board.

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 3, 2009 at 3:27 pm

More specious allegations from the left. Yet they offer not one scintilla of proof. Because there isn't any. [Portion removed] This next election will be a referendum on common sense and fiscal responsibilty of which the other side has none.

Posted by business as usual, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 3, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Hank, your nickname could be "specious allegations." Given how the voting has gone the last few elections, I would like to know what "scintilla of proof" you offer to corroborate your statement that the council incumbents that you dislike (all four of them!) are facing "rapidly declining support." By your definition, 95% of MP residents are leftists. Maybe this town just isn't a good cultural fit for you?

Posted by Callie, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 3, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Your comments prompted me to watch the obviously "fixed fight" to have Boyle withdraw his application to be on the Sam Trans board. Here are just a few of my favorite parts in this bout.

Kelly Fergusson keeping a straight face, asks Boyle and Robinson to present resumes to make the fight look legitimate. (Fergusson, remember, has been campaigning for Robinson.). Boyle is the heavy-weight resume champ, but that was irrelevant.

Councilmember Cline saying he might have supported Boyle, but Robinson asked him first. (So there!)

Councilmember Cohen, also keeping a straight face, praises the fixed process by saying "this is how democracy works." (Alas!)

Robinson, attempting to explain how he jerry rigged the system, so he could get this issue in front of Council while he was still mayor.

What a farce. And the arena was packed with staff (collecting compensatory time) to watch it go on and on and on, while, no doubt developing deep respect for city council. Thanks Fergusson, Cohen and Robinson for bringing us this event.

Posted by We Love Specious Allegations, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 3, 2009 at 6:39 pm


Where the heck have you been there, Big Boy? This forum has been pretty darn dull without you recently.

Peter Carpenter tries, but, quite frankly, he can't hold your jock-strap when it comes to entertaining posts! (Sorry, Peter)

Posted by business as usual, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 3, 2009 at 9:15 pm

WESA, you are right. And I realize it's time for me to speciously allege that I myself am a closet Hank fan. Don't tell anyone, but this place would be duller than dingy dishwater without him. Hank for court jester!

Posted by Lester, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 3, 2009 at 9:39 pm

I for one want to thank Hank for bringing some much needed sense to these discussions. I can't believe some of the garbage that spews from some of you people.

Posted by morris brown, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 3, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Let me just confirm what Gail Slocum stated above, regarding the 2006 election. I too was there, Hank certainly was not.

There were and are plenty of divergences of opinions among many of us who were in attendance. At that time, one common theme was our distaste for the Jellins, Winkler, DuBoc majority led council. Apparently our group had plenty of support from the voters at large in Menlo Park, since that majority took a real drubbing in the election and they are still lashing out in an attempt to get back into power. Hank is one of their front men obviously.

I am bewildered, as are many others, by the position that Gail Slocum has taken on the Bohannon Towers project, which just illustrates divergent views among many of us.

Posted by I Agree Lester, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 3, 2009 at 10:54 pm

I agree with Lester. Hank is an individual that brings up "much needed sense". What I have seen on these posts, regarding Hank, is his steadfast focus on fiscal responsibility. All his ranting and raving and Leftist hate talk is quite theatrical, however when he speaks about fiscal responsibility, I find him dead on. No one else dives into specifics, and what needs to be done to reign in spending and costs. The other posts talk about how Winkler, Duboc and Boyle are bad, and they did this, and have done that etc., of course these comments have no specifics, just a bunch of talk, and rhetoric and chest beating. I leave you with one question: What did Heyward, Kelly or Andy do for this town, while Mayor, that was significant? I asked myself that question the other day, and I honestly, objectively ,could not come up with an answer. Perhaps it's time to listen to the Hank's of the world, they may have a differing and correct point of view! I DO know this, Hank and his friends want to rid the spending waste, and not waste my tax dollars. I can't say the same for the others.

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 4, 2009 at 5:24 am

Morris Brown does not know what he is talking about. I was in Menlo Park for the entire 2006 election cycle. And it was not the Public's disaffection for Jellins, Duboc and Winkler that led to their defeat. It was a well orchestrated propaganda campaign led by the San Mateo Labor Council with active support from the Slocum Acolytes. They generated campaign literature that completely distorted the accomplishments of Jellins, Winkler and Duboc that painted them as iniquitous villians rather than the dedicated public servants that they actually were.

The far left has made a faustian pact with organized labor to support egregious pay raises and retirement benefits in return for support during the election cycles. Organized labor wins, the far left politicians win, and the resident lose by having to shoulder the financial burden for Organized Labor's back room deals.

And yes I was outside the door when the SEIU met with Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline on City property during work hours to conduct candidate interviews. The SEIU barred my entrance to the proceedings. Later Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline got the SEIU's endorsement and coincidently later on the SEIU received handsome pay raises. See how it works!

Unfortunately most Menlo Park residents are not actively engaged in what is going on in Menlo Park and believed the blatently false propaganda sheets dropped on their doorsteps by the San Mateo Labor Council and the far left in Menlo Park.

The only way to break this insidious cycle of Government-Union collusion is to show Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline the door in the general election next November.

Posted by business as usual, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 4, 2009 at 10:20 am

Wow, we residents are pretty stupid, aren't we? We just let the unions lead us around as if we were pet monkeys. We know nothing about the issues.

I've lived here a while, and I don't miss the bad old days of Mickie, Nicky, and Lee. I remember going to council meetings and watching them smirk at the speakers, then totally ignore whatever anyone had said -- not even acknowledge the input -- and go on to vote in accordance with a playbook to which the public was not privy.

Their modus operandi reeked of backroom dealing and inability to listen to the public. Their stance was that the people who spoke up represented only a tiny percentage of the residents, and that the "silent majority" (a favorite Duboc term) supported the council. Well, they were wrong. The residents were tired of a council that not only ignored them but had a laissez faire attitude toward development.

That council majority was its own worst enemy. I wouldn't call them "villians" <sic> but I also wouldn't call them dedicated public servants. They managed to get a majority primarily because we clueless residents were fed up with the antics of Steve Schmidt, but they did not have the bandwidth to handle their jobs adequately.

Blaming the unions is easy, just not accurate. We haven't forgotten what it was like.

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 4, 2009 at 10:38 am

Business as Usual,

The San Mateo County Labor council in concert with the far left of Menlo Park engaged in a propaganda campaign full of distortions and half truths. We can go over the individual campaign mailers piece by piece if you want.

I don't blame the unions for the egregious pay raises. I blame Heyward Robinson, Richard Cline, Andy Cohen, and Kelly Fergusson for taking Union contributions and then delivering the goods at the residents' expense.

What was the height of arrogance is when former mayor Heyward Robinson said on a live telecast from the City Council Chambers


So our feckless four gave the police unions pay raises up to 30 percent. This is why we need to get rid of Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline for going along with Heyward.

The residents of Menlo Park are sick and tired of hearing Mickie and Lee are bad people as an excuse for the council majority to continue to pick the Menlo Park residents pockets to pay off the unions who have come through big time for them during the past two elections.

The current council majority's days are numbered and the residents are on to them. The residents are not going to standby and reward this serious abrogation of the Council's fiduciary responsibility to the public.

Posted by Go Hank, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Dec 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Bravo Hank! You can't make the point any more clearly than that.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 4, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Well put Hank!

They are Union pushovers with a "YES" rubber stamp.

Posted by pinch me, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 4, 2009 at 1:07 pm

All this union bashing and Hank mashing makes me feel as if I'm swirling dizzily through the Twilight Zone. I guess we'll have to wait until next November to see whose "reality" is grounded in sanity and whose in fantasy.

Tell us, Hank and fans, who will you stand for election to overthrow these horrible people who, judging from your vitriol, like to lunch on babies?

Posted by I Agree Lester, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 4, 2009 at 1:29 pm

And there you have it, since my posting of yesterday, no other posts were written detailing what is so bad about Hank's fiscal responsibility rants, nor were there any posts written about what the alternative to Duboc and Winkler, have done for the city? It seems Ferguson, Cline and Robinson got to where they are based on a bunch of senseless well spun marketing hype about "back room dealings" and "smirking" and "ignoring"???? What is this, kindergarten? Seriously, let's discuss some hardcore dollar issues, we don't care how you feel, or how the Duboc's and Winkler's acted, we care about our tax dollars, our investment (my home) and the downtown remake. Stop all the garbage that happened several years ago, and please discuss the real meat. This is becoming very similar to national politics. Obama is starting to reel a little in the poles because now people are concerned about FISCAL things, like jobs, and income. When is the last time anyone spoke about gay marriage, cell stem research, gays in the military or illegal immigration? It's been put on the back burner, because when push comes to shove, it's all about fiscal responsibility.(And I DID vote for Obama) Thank you again Hank for keeping us focused on our fiscal responsibility for this town, and our council.(all the other leftist bashing you can keep!)

Posted by curing selective memory, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 4, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Hank - No one is saying Mickie and Lee are "bad people" - I like them both well enough, personally. But they both had serious flaws, however, in their approach to governing.

For example -- they allowed a proposal for a golf course to move forward on Bayfront Park Open Space (which would be a water hog sitting atop an old landfill) which was ludicrous and doomed in a community like ours (remember Measure J was on ballot and was overwhelmingly defeated at the same time as Mickie and Lee were similarly soundly defeated. They also failed to really drive a hard bargain on Derry that included significant public benefits (like additional parking to help relieve current train station area shortages that hurt local businesses) in exchange the proposed density increase was very naive (though the project had many positives). Not to mention their tone-deafness on the residential zoning changes they proposed; had they been willing to make adjustments to it before the public outcry came to a real head, it's possible that Kelly Fergusson would never have developed such a large platform of upset people to support her getting the most votes in her first run for Council thereafter.

Governing well means listening to the community and sometimes compromising or even backing totally off. This is something that electeds (from ANY "camp") can be blinded to if they are too attached to particular outcomes so that they "can't hear" and make necessary adjustments. The perfect then becomes the enemy of the good, and everyone in the community loses. This happened to Steve Schmidt too with his firm insistence on the specific Willow Road-oriented alignment of a much needed bike underpass below the CalTrain Tracks. Had Steve not dug in on his desired location and been willing to consider ones closer to Burgess, Eric Kinney from the affected (and upset) Linfield Oaks neighborhood might not have run. This
"4th candidate" caused a vote dilution that as I recall, allowed
Mickie was able to barely squeak in to get elected in the first place, beating Toni Stein.

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Dear Curing Selective memory.

You must be afflicted with CRS syndrome. The golf course would have used less than 10% of the available land. Leftist out of State environmental groups rallied to the local left's cause in Menlo Park to defeat that measure. In doing so they denied the City of a sizable repetitive revenue stream and denied the city's children sports fields. As far as water is concerned, it would have been 100% recycled water.

The Derry project had numerous public notices and only after Morris Brown, acting as a shadow Government, undid a legitimate action. Shame on you Morris!

Steve Schmidt was not voted out of office. He decided not to run for another term. So nothing happened to Steve Schmidt as you allege.

And as far as Mickie Winkler squeaking by she received 4,447 votes and Toni Stein received 3,738 votes. Mickie received 19% more votes than Toni. That is hardly squeaking by.

Most of the selective memory is on the part of the left.

Posted by long time resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 4, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Back to the issue at hand which is the council's endorsement of the outgoing mayor as a candidate at the new mayor's swearing in.

It is bad form to essentially coerce the council into an endorsement under any circumstances and extremely bad to ruin a swearing in.

These divisive practices and vulgar self promotion are standard operating procedures for both Fergussen and Robinson. Less so Cline and very rare for Cohen and Boyle.

This latest display is the tip of the ice berg and it shouldn't be supported in the 2010 election.

Posted by Maria, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 4, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Watched the fiasco on tv, i.e. the last Council Meeting.

As for me, I would vote again for Andy Cohen. He has my respect i8n regards to what is important. Maybe, I'd vote for Kelly Ferguson - no way would I vote for 1.Robinson (appears to be interested in himself), Cline almost is as bad a listener as Robinson, who never has time to listen.

Also, when will people stop letting Gail Slocum lead them around by the nose? She's too pushy for my taste! She doesn't give others credit for their in telligence. She craves the spotlight.

My respect is mainly for Andy Ciohen. He has tried to get the public involved. Thank you, Andy Cohen ( and in one particular) your feeling about smoking laws.

As for smoking laws in condos, some building could have smoking, where most wouldn't.

Posted by relative newcomer to Menlo Park, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 4, 2009 at 5:04 pm

People get over it, 2006 was three years ago! No wonder this city is frozen in place.

It's time for discussion of substance, future thinking,focused problem-solving and
new leadership

Posted by Solution, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Dec 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm

If you guys would simply contract with Atherton, and get K-9 officer DEAN DEVLUGT to come to the next council meeting with his attack dog to stave off any one who wishes to make inappropriate comments, this could all get avoided.

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Dec 4, 2009 at 7:07 pm

I am embarrassed by these threads. So Menlo Park to continue to rail on their own with no regard for common decency or respect. Why anyone would ever want to hold a city council seat is beside.

Embarrassing and shameful school yard garbage.

Posted by truth or consequences for council, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 4, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Incumbents are fair game when their baggage is bursting at the seams.

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Dec 4, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Disgusting and obvious response from the spoiled Menlo Park westies.

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 5, 2009 at 7:10 am


Don't you think it is ironic when you complain about the critical discourse when you have contributed more bile and vitriole than most contributors. You also seem to have a seething resentment towards those who are successful.

Truth I am truly sorry for your relatively impoverished state. But don't you think it would be better to do some self improvement rather than criticize those who have made something of their lives?

Posted by Stay Focussed, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 5, 2009 at 11:29 am

[Post removed; unoriginal content]

Posted by old timers, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 5, 2009 at 12:42 pm

What I see here is an obvious organized attempt to cast stones at Robinson, who is up for re-election next year, if he chooses to run.

The DuBoc/Winkler (with Jellins in the background) still trying to recover from their disaster of 3 years ago, unable to find 2 candidates to run in the last election. Complete disarray; even David Bohannon has distanced himself from them.

I don't particularly want him to get another 4 years, but the real guy I want removed is Boyle, who has done nothing but obstruct so many issues and continues parade himself as a financial genius, when we know the venture capital company he headed, went bankrupt.

There was nothing wrong with Robinson seeking the endorsement of the council --- it has been done all the time. What was out of line, was Boyle spending ten minutes telling everyone how wonderful he was, knowing full well he had no chance of get the council's endorsement. this might have been ok, if the meeting was not to be one of enjoyment, celebrating the change of office. Council member's children being subjected to such nonsense. Boyle should have made his statement in less than 1 monute and bowed out. Anyway from what I learn, he had no chance of getting elected by the other cities; he is not well liked. I doubt that Robinson will get elected either.

So, Hank get out there and start your campaign -- most likely there will be many others this time to compete for the 3 seats. The City manager is certainly not popular and his tenure will be coming up soon as well.

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 5, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Old timer,

You don't seem to have your facts straight. It was your hero Heyward Robinson who brought the subject up. And yes there is everything wrong was a council member trying to seek favoritism over another council member. What is wrong with you? This was so inappropriate of Heyward. And yet you try to blame Boyle for Heyward's contretemps. Your reasoning is seriously flawed.

And why are you keep dredging up the past. You don't hear anyone talking about what a disaster Jimmy Carter was as president(and by the way your hero Bill Clinton had the highest contempt for Jimmy Carter for dumping the Marielistas in Fort Chaffee Arkansas without even so much as consulting him). This upcoming election does not have any of the people whom you so passionately revile running. So why are you stuck in the past?

Boyle is the only person on the council with any fiscal common sense. Robinson, Cline, Fergusson, and Cohen have sold out the residents in favor of the unions. The Majority Council has lost both its fiscal and moral direction. And you want to dump the only person who is looking out for the residents. [Portion removed; see terms of use]

Posted by A Three Hour Tour, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 5, 2009 at 9:24 pm

"And you want to dump the only person who is looking out for the residents"

If by residents you mean the Thurston Howell III types, then yes, Hank. Everybody else - including you, Hank - Boyle couldn't give you know what about.

Posted by Not Good Oldtimer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 5, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Oldtimer, it's people like you that make this town a miserable place to discuss creative ideas to improve the town. Your information is seriously flawed, your exaggerations of history are utterly ridiculous and childish, and I'd place my home on a bet that you've never participated in the process in a grown-up manner, or tried to get involved in a more formal manner, other than to throw stones. You, and others like you, are an embarrassment to the process.

Posted by business as usual, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 6, 2009 at 8:09 am

Um, what has Oldtimer said that's wrong?

* Fact: Duboc and Winkler owned the last place positions in the 2006 election.

* Fact: His faction (rather smaller than Hank might want you to believe) could not find even one viable candidate to run against Fergusson and Cohen in 2008, much less two. The residents of Menlo Park were pretty clear about their preferences, wouldn't you say?

* Fact: the companies in which Boyle invested went down the tubes, taking him with them. I appreciate his constant references to fiscal responsibility -- for sure our town needs more of that -- but don't see any evidence that he has done anything concrete to remedy existing problems. Oh, yeah, he has a Stanford MBA. So do Chuck Bernstein, Patti Fry, and a lot of other people that Hank and crew probably don't like very much.

I was not at the meeting on Tuesday and haven't watched it, but that changeover meeting is usually a brief ceremonial event. Sounds as though a few council members contributed to making it less pleasant than it should have been. Too bad, but in the scheme of things, no biggie.

Also, I agree with ATHT -- Boyle is looking out for the residents just as fervently as Marie Antoinette did for her subjects. I have seen no evidence that he cares for the vast majority of residents. In fact, the only member who consistently has shown concern for ALL residents of this city is Andy Cohen.

Creative ideas? Bring 'em on. Unfortunately, the extremists in town are so stuck in their positions that they don't seem able to budge even a micrometer, and innovative ideas rarely manage to gain traction. A lot of people, including some who post here, seem to prefer infighting to acting, and as long as that continues, nothing will change.

Posted by judg(e)ment day, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 6, 2009 at 8:38 am

Boyle's legacy of dot bomb Pluris, and the subsequent lawsuits by the company's landlord and HVAC contractor seeking delinquent monies, are a testimony to his modus operandi. Talks the talk to the average Joe citizen, but doesn't walk the walk when the votes count.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 6, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Wow. It is amazing that no matter where a discussion topic starts, it quickly seems to end up in the "us" versus "Winkler, Jellins, and Duboc" spear throwing. As a relative newcomer to Menlo Park politics, I did not witness their entire "reign of terror" but judging from the scars some of you seem to have it must have been pretty painful for you.

I wish we could have a discussion about any topic without reliving that old rivalry.

With respect to the original thread, if the council is going to make endorsing one of two candidates for samTrans a part of their formal business meeting, then I think that they have an obligation to allow the two candidates to present their views on the issues, seek public comments, have an open discussion about what issues they think are important for Menlo Park and then vote. Given that the mayor was one of the two candidates, he should have let the vice mayor preside over the meeting and abstain from voting on his own endorsement. Better yet, he should have tabled the item until next week and let the new mayor handle it.

Perhaps the outcome of the vote would have been the same, but at least those of us who watched the debacle would have come away feeling better about our city council process.

Posted by Not Good Oldtimer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 6, 2009 at 5:05 pm

And there you have it, more garbage thrown, more exaggerations, more distortion, and more division. I guess we could look toward a decade plus of continued stagnation, do nothing, delay, pay for more surveys, talk about Duboc and Winkler, complain about Boyle trying to save money, attend Green Committee Meetings and feel good about doing nothing, start more petitions to create more vacant lots, and abandon buildings (aka Derry Project), slap each other on the back and say "gee we've done so much!" As another poster asked, I'll ask the same question: What exactly have you folks done for the benefit of our city? Just give us one thing, one............ok, besides the union support that will win every Menlo Park council election, you do have that, congratulations, looking forward to more overinflated budgets!
What a joke.

Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Dec 7, 2009 at 1:18 am

A quick question. Can anyone tell me if this endorsement was on the Agenda?

Posted by internet user, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 7, 2009 at 10:04 am

Yes, this was on the agenda. See Web Link

By looking on the Sam Mateo Council of Cities website, I see that the next Council of Cities meeting is 12/18. Nominations are due 10 days prior to an election, so this item had to be on Menlo Park's 12/1 agenda in order for a discussion to be held in time for submission during business hours on 12/8.

I think a nomination would be stronger when a city nominates one person rather that have two individuals nominate themselves. It is unfortunate that this could not have been resolved by the two individuals without requiring a public scene. Since it wasn't, it seems appropriate to me that this was on last week's council agenda.

Posted by Sean Howell, Almanac staff writer
on Dec 7, 2009 at 10:06 am

Sean Howell is a registered user.

Interested: Yep, it was on the agenda. Added by Mayor Robinson at the request of council members Andy Cohen and Kelly Fergusson, and properly noticed. According to Mr. Robinson, the council's vote on who to support for the position was originally scheduled to be on the Dec. 15 agenda. He thought it was appropriate to move it up two weeks, given that two Menlo Park council members were running for the seat. Generally, the council gives input on whom the mayor should support in these regional elections, whether or not Menlo Park council members are in contention.

Posted by Confused, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 7, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Still don't understand why Robinson would not let Cline handle the discussion except perhaps that Cline stated publicly that he was uncomfortable being asked to vote on the matter at that that meeting.

Also don't understand the other poster's remarks that the vote was a forgone conclusion or Cline's remarks that the basis for his vote was that fact that Robinson "got to him first." I didn't think that council members were supposed to be making deals behind closed doors.

Doesn't the public deserve to hear the two candidate's positions on improving our public transportation system?

Posted by Steve, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 7, 2009 at 7:38 pm


You are right. Council members should not be operating behind closed doors. Fergusson and Robinson are the queen and king of backroom deals.

Posted by Morris Brown, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Dec 7, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Councilman Boyle has announced in the City's e-mail log that he is withdrawing his application for the SamTrans board.

"Per the formal resolution passed at our City Council meeting last week, I have reluctantly decided to withdraw my name from consideration at the upcoming Council of Cities election for the Southern Judicial Cities SamTrans board seat.

/John "

Posted by Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 8, 2009 at 2:33 am

Sean: You make the comment that "Generally, the council gives input on whom the mayor should support in these regional elections, whether or not Menlo Park council members are in contention." Are there other recent examples of the council passing a formal resolution binding the mayor to vote for a certain regional candidate OR more normally would the mayor take inputs but retain the flexibility to make a final decision on election night? Is there any precedent for asking a council member to NOT run for a regional office?

It would seem to me that passing a binding resolution that the mayor should cast his vote for Robinson before he even knows who else is running from other jurisdictions is not in the best interest of Menlo Park. What if Cline gets to the Council of Cities meeting and it is clear that Robinson does not have the votes to win. By wasting a vote on Robinson he might for example, miss the opportunity to cast the deciding vote for another candidate who's positions are aligned with the interests of Menlo Park.

Posted by internet user, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 8, 2009 at 8:02 am

Accusations of backroom deals are very serious, and broad use of labeling is obnoxious.
The sunshine laws in California allow two of Menlo Park's five councilmembers to talk privately, but a majority cannot. It appears to me that Robinson and Cline spoke privately about this issue, as did Fergusson and Cohen, prior to the meeting but that was it. If there were to be a council-based nomination, that was the meeting in which it had to be created. Sorry to all the conspiracy theorists.

Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Dec 8, 2009 at 8:10 am

Confused--you should take a few minutes to watch the replay of the meeting. Cline actually said that while he was uncomfortable choosing between two of his collegues, that he was supporting Heyward because, "he asked me first". I don't believe that seeking support of other council members for a position such as this is a violation of the Brown Act or any other law governing public officials behavior. I can't believe that anyone who was at the meeting or saw the broadcast would come away with the impression that the outcome was not a foregone conclusion-only whether the vote was going to be 4-1 or 3-2, or that Kelly was "straight-lining" for Heyward the whole time. In any event I am really sorry to hear that John has withdrawn. I understand his decision, and I hope people will at least give him credit for giving up something that was obviously important to him for the good of council unity. However, personally, had he stayed in the race, I for one had already contacted my City's mayor to urge that he cast his vote for John at the Council of City's meeting. He really is well qualified to represent the region on the Samtrans Board. If Heyward doesn't get elected, Menlo Park, I believe, will need to rely on John's excellent set of contacts with the members of the Board in order to have any influence on that body.

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 8, 2009 at 10:21 am

I will bet anyone $100 to go to their favorite charity that Heyward Robinson does not get appointed to the SamTrans Board. I will donate my winnings to the Peninsula Humane Society.

Posted by internet user, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 8, 2009 at 10:44 am

I would bet John Boyle would not have been either. The transportation agencies are dominated by north county.

Posted by Sean Howell, Almanac staff writer
on Dec 8, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Sean Howell is a registered user.

Resident: The resolutions have not been binding in the past, but then again neither was this one. Rich Cline, as the city's representative on the Council of Cities, can choose who to vote for, despite the council's resolution asking him to vote for Heyward Robinson. Sometimes the council takes a formal vote, and sometimes it doesn't, but it's never binding.

You're right that the council didn't know who else was running, though generally it supports its own members if they're up for a regional seat.

At the Dec. 1 meeting, Bill McClure, the city attorney, said that in his decade-plus with the city he couldn't remember another case where two council members were interested in running for the same regional seat.

As to your point about the possibility of Cline wasting his vote on Robinson, the voting is done in rounds, according to John Boyle. Elections always come down to two candidates in the last vote. So if more than two people run and Robinson is out by the final round, Cline could vote for another candidate.

Posted by not betting, but..., a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 8, 2009 at 11:06 pm

I am not a betting person, but I don't need to be. It's certain that Boyle would not have been elected to this Board. In fact, word out there is he was running at the last minute to split up the South County vote. (And is it a coincidence that he's good friends with some key folks on the San Carlos Council, which is where the main other opponent, Omar Ahmad, is from?) If Boyle didn't get enough vote to make it into a run off, he'd presumably ask whatever supporters he had to go for Ahmad on the second ballot (assuming no one got 50% the first time)

Not sure if Robinson can get onto that Board even with Boyle's withdrawal. But at least he has a shot now. And It really is true that we South County cities have generally been screwed over such that I we haven't had any representation on this important Board for a long time . Schmidt tried, and so did Fergusson. Their efforts were somewhat flawed n execution but mostly failed because there are powerful forces in the County (with their locus of power further north of here) that don't want to give up their good ole boy vice-grip control anytime soon.

We shall see, but I suspect Hank will have to give $100 to the Humane Society after 12/18. Hank, are you donating if someone bets you, or if Robinson loses the SamTrans Board race, regardless of a bet?

I will bet, however, that Robinson will win re-election to the Council. So will Cline. Actually, I think Boyle, Cline and Robinson should all get a second term, and perhaps should run together, as different as they may outwardly seem They could make a pretty good governing combination. Though each has things to work on, they can balance each other and govern pretty well, and we will need continuity going into the El Camino/Downtown rezoning process which will define the CIty's 21st century feel more than anything else will.

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