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Downtown plan: City corrects errors in financial analysis

Original post made on Sep 3, 2011

A scant week before the Menlo Park Planning Commission finished reviewing the proposed downtown/El Camino Real specific plan, the commissioners finally received the project's fiscal impact analysis (FIA).

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 12:00 AM

Comments (5)

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 3, 2011 at 9:41 am

So the city staff determined that some of Mr. Bernstein's calculations were in error because he did not use the same underlying assumptions as the consultants.

Wait a minute. Shouldn't we first determine whose underlying assumptions were more realistic rather than trying to discredit Mr. Bernstein.

To me this is an indication of either bias or lack of competency on the part of the city staff. To automatically assume that the consultants assumptions are more realistic than Mr. Berstein's without further analysis is simply unacceptable.

They should have first analyzed the underlying assumptions of both parties and then made a determination as to whose assumptions were more realistic and proceed from there. Not Mr. Berstein's assumptions were different from the consultants' therefore he is wrong.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 4, 2011 at 11:20 am

"Shouldn't we first determine whose underlying assumptions were more realistic rather than trying to discredit Mr. Bernstein"

The article states that city staff found some of Mr. Bernstein's observations were right on. Sandy wrote a very thoughtful article, you should read it more carefully.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 4, 2011 at 11:53 am

please stop using my handle. I had it first. Thanks!


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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Ms. Brundage stated

"City staff scrambled to double-check the analysis before the initial council review on Tuesday, Aug. 30, that some of Mr. Bernstein's own calculations were in error, since he didn't use the same underlying assumptions to crunch the numbers as the consultants did."

City staff claimed Mr. Bernsteins calculations were wrong since he did not use the same assumptions as the consultants.

I stand on whay I said. Perhaps Menlo Voter the 2nd should read the article more carefully.


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Posted by incredulous
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 6, 2011 at 8:11 am

The article fails to mention the most intriguing of Bernstein's assertions:

Strategic Economics and its president, Dena Belzer, were the consultants who led the Smart Growth approach 10 years or so ago in Menlo Park. The firm is not an objective source of analytical skills: it is a city planning firm that specializes in densification. The process blew up when they presented what appeared to be fraudulent findings to the council. The firm was fired. The city tried to get its advance payments back, but the firm refused and the city did not pursue the matter. That we hired the same firm again is unbelievable."

Sounds as though someone on staff has a friend in this firm. Didn't anyone do a bsckground check at all before giving them this important job?


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