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Letter: Accepting consultant's report a 'great disservice' to voters

Original post made on Aug 2, 2014

By law, the city is not allowed to take sides in elections. All materials provided by the city must consider all important points and be fair to both sides of the issue. The $150,000 Wise report, which the Menlo Park City Council accepted July 15, does not meet this standard.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 12:00 AM

Comments (27)

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Posted by Council Watcher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 2, 2014 at 8:02 am

Heyward Robinson's 4 years on the Menlo Park City Council were even a greater disservice to the voters. From his uncontrolled rages vented at John Boyle at City Council meetings to his obsequious fawning over Gail Slocum- all on tape-- made him an embarrassment for all of Menlo Park.

The initiative, while having the Face of Patti Fry and Mike Lanza is really a vain attempt by has-been mayors, missing their glory days, wanting to desperately get back in the action. If you want to do that then pull papers and run for Council. Of the 9 former mayors only Steve Schmidt did anything to benefit the City. The other 8 are useless and only reflect the poor choices we made in the past. Shame on us for voting for those hacks!


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Posted by joe public
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 3, 2014 at 1:45 pm

CW can't you do better than an ad hominem attack?

For $150,ooo we ought to be getting a thorough analysis of those big office projects and a professional, neutral study. If it isn't, it ought to be fixed.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 3, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Council did EXACTLY what the law specifies:
9111. (a) During the circulation of the petition or before taking
either action described in subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 9116,
or Section 9118, the board of supervisors may refer the proposed
initiative measure to any county agency or agencies for a report on
any or all of the following:
(1) Its fiscal impact.
(2) Its effect on the internal consistency of the county's general
and specific plans, including the housing element, the consistency
between planning and zoning, and the limitations on county actions
under Section 65008 of the Government Code and Chapters 4.2
(commencing with Section 65913) and 4.3 (commencing with Section
65915) of Division 1 of Title 7 of the Government Code.
(3) Its effect on the use of land, the impact on the availability
and location of housing, and the ability of the county to meet its
regional housing needs.
(4) Its impact on funding for infrastructure of all types,
including, but not limited to, transportation, schools, parks, and
open space. The report may also discuss whether the measure would be
likely to result in increased infrastructure costs or savings,
including the costs of infrastructure maintenance, to current
residents and businesses.
(5) Its impact on the community's ability to attract and retain
business and employment.
(6) Its impact on the uses of vacant parcels of land.
(7) Its impact on agricultural lands, open space, traffic
congestion, existing business districts, and developed areas
designated for revitalization.
(8) Any other matters the board of supervisors request to be in
the report.
(b) The report shall be presented to the board of supervisors
within the time prescribed by the board of supervisors, but no later
than 30 days after the county elections official certifies to the
board of supervisors the sufficiency of the petition.

*******

Save Our Special Interests doesn't like the results of an independent analysis so they ignore the law and attack the legally correct process.


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Posted by Truth
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm

The report compared to the Initiative to the Specifc Plan, which allows for the projects. The argument this editorial makes is misleading at best, and downright manipulative at worst.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SaneGrowth
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 3, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Palo Alto is debating the same issues as we are. Save Menlo is tuned into this same thread of controlled growth vs free reign for developers. Web Link

"As Palo Alto prepares to debate this week four different visions for the city's long-term growth, one common theme stands out among the different scenarios: a growing opposition to impacts of new development."


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 3, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Save Menlo has not "tuned into this same thread of controlled growth vs free reign for developers. " They are attempting to shove through an initiative that will hog tie any growth without a vote for 30 years. We're already seeing some of the hidden land mines in the initiative. There's nothing "sane" about what they propose.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 3, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Wise Report properly addressed the issues raised by the Lanza/Fry initiative and there is no legal basis for the Wise Report to have addressed the Stanford and Greenheart projects.

IF Lanza/Fry and Save Our Special Interests had wanted to have a vote on the Stanford and Greenheart projects they could have worded a simple one paragraph initiative on each of those projects. Instead they proposed an initiative which would impact every single projects in the Downtown ECR area.


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Posted by Truth
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 3, 2014 at 6:04 pm

There is an enormous difference between Palo Alto and Menlo Park. We have empty lots and enormous blight. It's ridiculous to compare the two situations.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Henry Riggs
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 3, 2014 at 6:04 pm

There is a world of difference between development-happy Palo Alto and the cautious, even skittish Menlo Park. Menlo Park has wrung its hands over 10,000 s.f. buildings (w full parking and to code) while Palo Alto builds towers of office and lets employees park in front of houses. North of the creek, we take El Camino so seriously we had to spend six years in therapy to come up w development rules - and did a good job of it. Our problem is not building consensus - its sustaining that consensus.
*
North of the creek we see half a mile of chain link fence on one side, post-world war auto shops on the other. North of the creek we see paralysis. North of the creek w have politics ever waiting in the wings.


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Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 4, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Mr. Robinson is incorrect in his comments about open space in the Specific Plan. Mr. Robinson states "...the Wise report ignores the obvious public benefit of requiring developers to include more open space in their projects." The initiative DOES NOT increase the open space requirements within the Specific Plan, it only changes how it is calculated. Projects in the specific plan are required to set aside a percentage of their developments to "provide accessible and usable open common open space for building occupants and/or the general public." The provision of open space in a private development is primarily for its residents, especially since the projects themselves fund and maintain these facilities.

The initiative actually does a disservice to future residents because it discourages the provision of private balconies, since they would no longer count as "private open space". Why else does almost every other community in the Bay Area allow (and in some cases require) balconies to be counted as open space? While common open space is important, having my own "private" open space is equally, if not more, important to me. We all can't live on the first floor. And while I am not an architect or builder, it would seem to me that the open space restriction imposed by the initiative would only force buildings to be higher since all the open space has to be at ground level. I thought Save Menlo wanted shorter buildings not taller ones.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Sam Tyler:

you have found yet another land mine in this poorly written initiative.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by joe public
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm

The specific plan requires housing developments to have private or common open space. The initiative doesn't modify that requirement.

During our community visioning process, open space at ground level was shown as an explicit tradeoff for height. The graphics then showed open space at ground level. The initiative appears to support that. Seems like goodness to me. Workshop participants were clear they did not want Menlo Park to look like other cities,


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 4, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The initiative doesn't modify that requirement. "

Read the initiative:
"3.2.5. As adopted on July 12, 2012, ECR Specific Plan Standard E.3.6.02
states: "Residential open space (whether in common or private
areas) and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 16
feet high shall count towards the minimum open space requirement
for the development." The foregoing Standard is HEREBY AMENDED,
restated and adopted by the voters to instead read: "Ground floor
open space up to 4 feet high (whether in common or private areas)
and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 4 feet high
shall count towards the minimum open space requirement for the
development. Open space exceeding 4 feet in height (regardless of
whether in common or private areas or associated with podiums)
shall not count towards the minimum open space requirement for
the development."

It is a shame that so many people are so misinformed about that ill advised initiative.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

The final plan didn't incorporate all of the public open space. It's called compromise and it's what came out of a six years public process to come up with a plan. That means it not everyone got what they wanted. Unfortunately, some who didn't get everything they wanted in the plan are throwing a temper tantrum and the initiative is the result.


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Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 5, 2014 at 11:24 am

I am pretty sure the backers of the initiative all have a controlling interest in fencing companies. Best I can tell, that is the only positive economic benefit of the the initiative process.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Progress
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 5, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Let's finally improve our El Camino corridor and get rid of the blight.

VOTE NO ON THE INITIATIVE.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 5, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Isn't it noce to have a forum where you can vent your opinions and attack others. I think it is also nice that people get an opportunity to vote on the initiative and have their say. I do find it sad that some people need to attack the freedom of speech by targeting the speaker.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by joe public
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 5, 2014 at 1:27 pm

private and common space above 4 ft wouldn't count against the project open space when the initiative passes. that does not remove the specific plan's requirements for those spaces to be provided.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 5, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Brian - well informed voters are essential and this forum is doing a lot to inform the voters.

I don't see any personal attacks - please be more specific.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 5, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Peter, and here I thought you read the comments in these forums. Please explain how the comments of "council watcher" in the first post have anything to do with "informing the voters"? Do you really think this is not a personal attack? I would love to hear your position on this.

As for informing the voters, let's be honest if by informing the voters you mean a small group of individuals attacking the initiative, slamming the people behind it and running around like chicken little saying what woe will befall Menlo park it if passes, then I guess you are all doing a great job of "informing the voters". It is a good thing that not that many people read this forum and most probably already have their mind made up...

Now you will just have to be like the rest of us and put your vote where your mouth is... or not since you don't live in Menlo Park.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 5, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Brian - I guess one's definition of personal attack depends on how much you have been personally attacked in this Forum. Council Watcher's opinions on the named individuals are mild in comparison to the attacks that have frequently been made on me including attacks on my family, so I did not judge those comments to be significant attacks.

I appreciate you sharing your perspective and I will try to remember it when I comment on other people in my postings - thanks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 5, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Peter,

While you and I certainly do not agree on the Initiative and probably a lot more, I do not condone any personal attacks on people for sharing their opinion. I certainly don't think attacking a persons family in this forum is acceptable, with certain exceptions which I don't believe apply here. A snarky comment now and then is par for the course, but to me a personal attack is going after the person for things unrelated to the issue. The comments made by "council watcher" have absolutely nothing to do with the initiative and everything to do with personal attacks on those who support it. Those kind of posts just make him or her and their posts look idiotic.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 5, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The comments made by "council watcher" have absolutely nothing to do with the initiative"

Those individuals used/misused their prior elected office to support this very initiative. They did not support the initiative as citizens but as Former Mayors. That certainly makes them and their opinions and their track record as elected officials fair game for this discussion.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 5, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Peter,

How would you defend this comment, which can only be considered an opinion and speaking for "all of Menlo Park", really? He certainly doesn't speak for me and I have probably been part of Menlo Park longer than most people reading or commenting on this forum. As for speaking as former Menlo Park mayors that is just a fact. You have spoken out against the initiative as a member of the Menlo Park Fire Board, does that mean people should launch personal attacks on you?

"to his obsequious fawning over Gail Slocum- all on tape-- made him an embarrassment for all of Menlo Park."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 5, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"You have spoken out against the initiative as a member of the Menlo Park Fire Board, does that mean people should launch personal attacks on you?"

They do almost every day - that, in my opinion, comes with the territory of being an elected official.

*********
"How would you defend this comment,"

""to his obsequious fawning over Gail Slocum- all on tape-- made him an embarrassment for all of Menlo Park."

That is the poster's opinion and the person about whom is commenting was a public official. Here is the standard regarding comments about public officials:
"The public has a right to criticize the people who govern them, so the least protection from defamation is given to public officials. When officials are accused of something that involves their behavior in office, they have to prove all of the above elements of defamation and they must also prove that the defendant acted with "actual malice."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Park Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm

[Post removed. Off topic.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 6, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Brian is a registered user.

MPV,

You might want to read my post again, I don't recall saying anything about a temper. What I pointed out was a personal attack on something that was an "opinion" of the poster and a number of things that had absolutely nothing to do with the content of his open letter. You are as bad as many others on this board attributing things to people that were never said.


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