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Menlo Park will pay a consultant $126,886 to study proposed citizen initiative to limit downtown offices

Original post made by Disgusted, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights, on May 11, 2014

The SJ Mercury reports:

Web Link

Our spendthrift council approves spending over $126,000 to "examine the Save Menlo Initiative". My word. What are we paying City Staff for? I don't buy Mayor Meuller's explaination --

"Mueller said he expects the resulting review to provide both "pros and cons" for the initiative. It's important to have such information because if the initiative qualifies, the council will be required to either adopt it outright or put it on the ballot for a vote of the people, he said.

"We need to be educated. The public needs to be educated," Mueller said. "Then we'll be able to proceed with a thoughtful discussion."

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My view is chances of MP council approving and thus avoiding it going to ballot ---ZERO. Council had ample opportunities to revise the plan and refused.

Interesting to note the Initiative has all of 3500 words. Paying $126,800 to study this document works out to be $36 per word.

Can I apply and do the job for only $30 per word?

Comments (4)

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 11, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Those are 3500 very Important words with some very important and long reaching impacts for our city. I'm happy to have the city pay for an independent analysis. At least the voters will go to the polls with actual FACTUAL information as opposed to the lies the Lanza and Fry folks have been spreading. I have to wonder why you and they are afraid of an independent analysis of the initiative.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 11, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I have to wonder why you and they are afraid of an independent analysis of the initiative."

This analysis is crucial since the Lanza/Fry Initiative folks refuse to answer these basic questions:

1 – They say it is wrong to use up most of the office capacity allowed by the Specifc Plan in the first two years and that instead it should be spread out over a 30-year period. If you owned a parcel and wanted to build a totally conforming ten-room home should you be forced to build it one room each year for the next ten years ?

2 – Save Menlo got everything they asked for in its original petition and Stanford agreed to almost all of their demands. So why are you now asking for even more and how much will be enough to satisfy you?

3 – Would Save Menlo Park members be willing to say who they really are? How many members they actually have?

4 – Do you really believe that definitions written today:

""Financial institutions providing retail banking services.This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on site circulation of money,including credit unions."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters"

""Offices of firms or organizations providing professional,executive,management,or administrative services,such as accounting,advertising,architectural,computer software design,engineering,graphic design, insurance, interior design,investment,and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks,and savings and loan associations."The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.

will still be appropriate even five years from now and if they are not that there should be an election to change even one word of such definitions? What about digital age banks that do not engage in the on site circulation of money? What about a firm that wants to design robots?

5 – Who is the lawyer who helped draft this initiative and what other interests does he represent?

6 – Who is funding this effort?

7 – Do Menlo Park citizens realize that under the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative small property owners on ECR will be restricted to 70% of their current footprint for any new/replacement construction and that the currently permitted construction to their the side lot lines would not be permitted?

8 – Do MP citizens realize that the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative will prevent the construction of a new fire station serving the downtown area?

9 – Do MP citizens know that signatures are being obtained using paid solicitors?

10 – Do MP citizens know that claims of 6 story buildings being either permitted or proposed under the Specific Plan are simply untrue and that the tallest building proposed by Stanford is only FOUR feet taller than the existing building at the corner of ECR and Live Oak Drive?

11 – Do MP citizens know that a major new hotel project decided not to locate in Menlo Park because of the uncertainties created by the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

12 – What are the other unknown and unintended (or perhaps deliberately intended) consequences of the totally unvetted Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative?

13 – Do MP citizens believe that Mike Lanza, Patti Fry and their anonymous lawyer, without any public comment, without multiple drafts, without a Draft and a Final EIR and without numerous public hearings, are really better able to define the future of your city than are your five elected city council members and your seven appointed planning commissioners and the superb city planning and transportation staff that have all worked diligently and totally in the open to produce the existing Specific Plan?

14 – Do MP citizens know that the traffic levels on ECR were significantly reduced from those permitted by the prior zoning when the Specific Plan was adopted?

15 – Do the MP citizens know that the original Stanford proposal would have produced less traffic than was was permitted by the Specific Plan?

16 – Do the MP citizens know that, as a consequence of the work of the Keith/Carlton subcommittee, that the traffic that would have been produced by the revised Stanford plan was even less than that of the original Stanford plan?

17 – What was the date and the time of the ECR traffic photo being used by Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative campaign?

18- What authority does the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative campaign have to use the City of Menlo Park's copyrighted logo?

19 – The Planning Commission and the City Council did a review of the Specific Plan last Fall so this raises the question: Which of the 20+ changes to the Specific Plan that are included in the Mike Lanza/Patti Fry Initiative were presented to the Planning Commission and the City Council for their public consideration during the 2013 review of the Specific Plan?

I welcome answers to these questions from Lanza and Fry – or others.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 11, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Mayor states:
"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 hiring an independent consultant to evaluate a proposed ballot measure that would change the city's downtown/El Camino Real specific plan."

"Mueller said he expects the resulting review to provide both "pros and cons" for the initiative. It's important to have such information because if the initiative qualifies, the council will be required to either adopt it outright or put it on the ballot for a vote of the people, he said.

"We need to be educated. The public needs to be educated," Mueller said. "Then we'll be able to proceed with a thoughtful discussion."

Lanza's response is to call the Mayor a liar:

"Mike Lanza, one of the authors of the ballot initiative, said he expects the consultant's study to be biased against it."

Sad, the Lanza/Fry Initiative supporters won't answer any questions about the initiative and they don't want anybody else asking questions. And then they attack the Mayor who is trying very hard to ensure an informed and thoughtful discussion.


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Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 12, 2014 at 11:37 am

The best possible outcome for Menlo Park is to let Mike Lanza and the Save Menlo folks continue to talk. They show their true colors with each verbal attack. They make no effort to engage in meaningful dialogue, and instead, immediately default to name calling and spreading lie after lie.

Keep it up Mike. We all see you and the other Save Menlo folks as the self-absorbed, anti-everything folks that you really are.


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