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Menlo Council appropriates funds to defeat the initiative.

Original post made by the way it is, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks, on Mar 22, 2014

Menlo Council appropriates funds to defeat the initiative.

One of the most disgusting actions a Menlo Park Council has ever taken,
is the appropriation of $150,000 to hire a consultant to "evaluate" the Initiative currently being circulated by the SaveMenlo group.

Just how naÔve is this Council in thinking the Voters of Menlo Park are going to swallow that this expenditure is really to deliver an "unbiased" opinion on the Initiative.

Mayor Meuller, with his quote
----
"I want it to be unmerciful. I want the comparison to be unmerciful to the (specific) plan. And I want the comparison to be unmerciful to the initiative," Menlo Park Mayor Ray Mueller said while voicing his support on March 18 for the hiring of an independent consultant to evaluate a proposed ballot measure that would change the city's downtown/El Camino Real specific plan.
-----

is really "grandstanding" here. If Mayor Meuller really wanted what he claims, he surely would not allow City Staff to choose who will be the independent consultant(s) to do this evaluation. Talk about the "preverbal", "Fox in the Hen House". City Staff will do what ever it can to protect itself from having the Voters of Menlo Park have a say here, and Staff will hire a consultant who will essentially endorse the Plan as now written.

Those with short memories should recall, the City sending Staff out to "coax" the business community to support the Specific Plan, with "one on one" conferences. From the time the Visioning for the Plan ended, until its approval, this plan has been the product of City Staff, which essentially ignored what the Visioning sessions revealed. The City Staff went full out to convince everyone, this was a great plan.

(the behind the scenes conferences with Stanford and Staff, certainly made it a great plan for Stanford)

This Council seems very much out of touch with the community. Allowing expenditure of $80K for a virtually unchanged Logo. Allowing an outrageous expenditure of $1.2 million for re-furbishing the City Hall. Allowing the Current City Manager to extort $300K in an addition loan, on the pretext, that "we would lose him" if we didn't allow this new loan.

If anything, this $150,000 funding of what the City says is an "evaluation" is nothing more than a disguised plan, by the City, to "sink the initiative".

Hopefully this outrageous expenditure will lead to a "stampede" by the Voters to sign the Initiative and get it on the Ballot.

Comments (22)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 22, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is telling that the proponents of the initiative are doing everything they can to obscure the facts and to prevent informed discussion of their proposal.

And who in the world is the poster "the way it is"? Why hide your identity if you are so interested in the truth? Why hide your identity when you attack the Mayor when he is attempting to be an impartial advocate of for an informed citizenry?
Simply because to do otherwise would expose you to the ridicule that you deserve.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 22, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Save Menlo repeatedly makes the accusation that city staff were ignoring the will of the citizens and somehow were involved in some nefarious scheme to give Stanford and developers whatever they want. But they never give a reason as to why staff would do this. What's in it for them? They collect a paycheck from the city, their jobs are quite secure and they have a retirement plan that most anyone in the private sector would love to have. Just what is in it for city staff to jeopardize that? Nothing. It's just more dirt Save Menlo can throw. They hope they can blind the voters of this city into believing they want "reasonable" growth when it is very clear what they want is zero growth.

Here's a novel thought for Save Menlo. If you can prove that city staff was somehow involved in some kind of conspiracy, prove it. If you can't, shut up and quit smearing city staff that were just doing their jobs. I think we all know you can't or you would have by now. So, please, shut up about it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Peter,

I can see this is a very heated debate with strong opinions being expressed on both sides of the issue.

And I like Mayor Mueller. He certainly has his work cut out for him.

However, I do not believe that "the way it is" deserves anyone's ridicule at all. He should be able to voice his opinion. Further, if he chooses to make his statements under a "screen name" that is his option. I know of no public Internet forum where that is not an option to posters.

I admire people who post under their own names. But, in all cases, perhaps some people, for whatever reasons, have chosen not to do so. That is their right.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Someone should tell "the way it is" that disparaging Mayor Mueller is about the dumbest way to try to pick up signatures. Give me a break!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 22, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Julie, By my standards you do not attack someone personally in this Forum unless you are willing to use your own name. As for industry wide standards try posting anonymously on the New York Times, Wash Post or Wall Street Journal web sites - you cannot. Maybe that is why some people desperately want Menlo Park to be a village where those kind of mature standards do not apply. But remember in a village everyone knows everyone else and there is no anonymity.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Mar 23, 2014 at 1:46 am

Peter,

I don't follow: Why would someone who wants anonymity want a village---where everyone knows everyone else, and there is no anonymity to be had?

I have never attempted to post on the publications to which you referred. I probably would post in my name if that is their requirement.

Saying that someone deserves ridicule when they speak , I think, acts to potentially inhibit them from making future statements because, after all, who wants to be ridiculed?

If it only inhibited that one speaker it would be bad enough. Unfortunately, I think it runs the risk of inhibiting more people who may fear ridicule and who may have something valuable, useful or insightful to say but are afraid to say it.

It reminds me of the old story of two dogs "talking" to each other through a cyclone fence that divided East and West Berlin. The East Berlin dog asked the West Berlin dog why he didn't come over to East Berlin where the food was more plentiful and the accommodations more comfortable. The West Berlin dog answered: "Because I can BARK on THIS side".

A Political Science professor told that story in class one day so many years ago. I have never forgotton it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Mar 23, 2014 at 2:15 am

Peter,

You're right about this though.

You said:
"Julie, By my standards you do not attack someone personally in this Forum unless you are willing to use your own name"

I'd like to agree and add, slightly paraphrasing your statement:

"You do not attack someone personally in this Forum".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 23, 2014 at 3:56 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Julie - I totally agree.


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Posted by my opinion
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Mar 23, 2014 at 9:10 am

If you really read the topic as posted here by "way it is", you would be commenting on the real meat of the subject.

Mayor Meuller is new to the political scene -- he has not been through many of the wars that older residents have seen.

I agree with what he (or she) has posted and I surely agree that the correct path is to make sure the Initiative gets on the ballot where it can be voted up or down, by Menlo Park Voters, and not be pushed aside by a $150,000 campaign which I also see as nothing more than an attempt to keep the truth from being revealed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 23, 2014 at 9:27 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The council is spending $150k to ensure that the voters are informed - how can that possibly be described as "an attempt to keep the truth from being revealed."?

The proponents clearly have chosen ignorance as their ally.

Kudos to the Mayor and the council.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 23, 2014 at 9:35 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

my opinion:

describing an independent analysis of the initiative as an attempt to keep the truth from being revealed is just so much spin by the Save Menlo folks.

If they want the truth out why would they be afraid of an independent analysis that looks at everything the initiative will do? If it really isn't going to cause the havoc that it is likely to cause why should anyone fear that open and independent analysis. The DSP was created over a many years long process. A public process with plenty of public input. The initiative was created behind closed doors by who knows who and without any public input.

I think that makes it obvious why Save Menlo wants to spin this independent analysis as "an attempt to hide the truth." It's called "projection." Hiding the truth is exactly what Save Menlo wants to do.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 23, 2014 at 11:36 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Save/Stop Menlo strategy is to discredit every public process which allows anything positive to happen. They have attempted to discredit the Specific Plan process, they have attempted to discredit the first annual review of the Specific Plan, they have attempted to discredit the traffic study and now they are attempting to prospectively discredit an independent analysis of their very own initiative. No matter what happens they want to be able to claim a conspiracy.

These people do not want a compromise ( Stanford already eliminated medical offices , increased the housing, etc. - as they demanded) but rather they want to delay, defer, and stall forever.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by straw man
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Nice fantasy, but no one is discrediting anything, and compromise is the name of the game.

The goal of the initiative is to bring this issue to the forefront so that it can be discussed, voters (not including Atherton pundits) can ask questions, informed residents can vote. The back room dealings that occurred during the final phase of the specific plan development were anything but transparent. That's not good government. I applaud Save Menlo's efforts to shed light on this situation and let the people who actually live in this city decide whether we want a walkable, resident-friendly community or a cavern created by oversized office buildings and gridlocked traffic.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 23, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" but no one is discrediting anything"

and in the next para states:
"The back room dealings that occurred during the final phase of the specific plan development were anything but transparent. "

These people cannot even keep their own story straight.


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Posted by straw man
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Reading comprehension not your forte? No one "discredited the public process." The problem was the part of the process that was not public. And that's not being "discredited." On the contrary, it's being brought to the attention of all residents so that everyone can understand how a process that consumed thousands of hours resulted in a document that is so thoroughly neglectful of the public interest.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 23, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The problem was the part of the process that was not public."

Please document this assertion - so far no one has been able to do so.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 23, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"The back room dealings that occurred during the final phase of the specific plan development were anything but transparent. "

Back room dealings? PROVE IT! You can't and neither can SaveMenlo. If they could they would have done so by now. Just another statement with no basis in fact. Nothing but fantasy spun by no-growthers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fed up
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 23, 2014 at 5:38 pm

I understand where Save Menlo is coming from; I'm angry that Keith and Carlton appear to have negotiated a secret deal with Stanford. However, it's unfair to criticize the Mayor when he is just trying to facilitate an objective discussion. Let's face it; without Ray Meuller there would be no discussion about it at all. He is our best chance for a compromise.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 23, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Fed Up:

what actual evidence do you have that Keith or Carlton negotiated a "secret deal" with Stanford? Please bring it forward. If it is true, I and many others would reconsider our support for the DSP. The problem is that neither you nor anyone else has such evidence because it didn't happen. It's just more SaveMenlo spin. If there was any truth to this SaveMenlo wouldn't need an initiative, they'd only need to produce that evidence.


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Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2014 at 5:12 am

Re: Menlo Voter's Inquiry To Fed Up

Re:"what actual evidence do you have that Keith or Carlton negotiated a "secret deal" with Stanford? Please bring it forward. "

Menlo Voter's question is a fair question. And people/readers should be asking it.

If it is true... then it should be brought to the attention of the public....and there should be some guarantees that future dealings be open and a matter of public record.

If, on the other hand, it is NOT true...then the assertion that this happened, when in fact it did not, is verging on slander.

"Stanford" is often referred to as an entity, as was the reference in Fed Up's post. Which Boards or people at Stanford are we talking about in these accused secret dealings? Who's accountable?

Regarding the statement in Fed Up's post, is it the same thing to say: "...APPEAR to have negotiated a secret deal" or..."HAVE negotiated a secret deal"? I would say that the implications are very close.

I agree with Fed Up's statements about Mayor Meuller.

Menlo Voter has asked some very important questions about a serious issue: what is true?

When it regards events that will affect many people...and the public's assumptions are that the decisions made have been arrived at by people (Councils) who have the individual and collective authority to do so...and are acting in a representative capacity...then that's what we should be able to trust as true.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by The Deal
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 24, 2014 at 8:30 am

The deal that appeared to be secret that "Fed Up" is referring to is when Keith and Carlton met privately with Stanford numerous times without the residents, while serving on the sub-committee. Stanford agreed to reduce medical use and to contribute money towards the bike tunnel. Then, Keith and Carlton brought that compromise to the city council and ended their sub-committee. I appreciate that "Fed Up" used the word "appears" in their sentence because it appears to me that even though the deal was negotiated in private without the residents, the sub-committee was doing its job.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fed up II
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 24, 2014 at 8:59 am

It's me, "Fed up". To clarify, the deal I was referring to is what "The Deal" wrote about above. I just think that Keith and Carlton should have had residents at those subcommittee meetings with Stanford.


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