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Editorial endorsements: Menlo Park, Atherton city councils

Original post made on Oct 8, 2008

Menlo Park City Council

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 8, 2008, 12:00 AM

Comments (28)

Posted by Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 8, 2008 at 10:56 pm

I don't see how the editor can say that "Menlo Park is in the midst of a renaissance." There has been a lot talk about the problems on El Camino and Santa Cruz but we are no closer today to a viable redevelopment plan than we were two years ago. I have attended several of the "visioning" sessions and while there may have been some interested speakers, the real issues of reaching a compromise on development density and allowable uses for the major lots on El Camino have not been discussed. Anyone who thinks that those lots ore sitting vacant because of the width of the sidewalks (a major topic of discussion) is kidding themselves.


Posted by Get Something Done!, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 9, 2008 at 9:18 am

I am a resident of Atherton, but a frequent shopper in Menlo Park. To feed off of what "Resident" says above, "anyone that thinks this current council will fix any of El Camino or Santa Cruz's problems are kidding themselves!" What you guys need is a good house cleaning. We have a very good election going on here for council seats, you unfortunately look like you're going to elect the same two council people that have led the fight to squash improvement! Someone please save Menlo Park from itself!!!!


Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 9, 2008 at 10:03 am

Our current council has moved light years ahead of the past slate council. I commend The Almanac for seeing the reality of the change.

Let me prove it to you, lest I sound like the people above me with no facts, only conjecture.

The way this council governs is open and fair when compared to the prior council. This council has made extraordinary efforts to bring the community into the decision process. The downtown visioning efforts according to staff have resulted in more public input than any past effort.

There have been four recent efforts to define a plan or vision for our downtown. All of them failed miserably for a variety of reasons. The most common, not enough public notice and input.

The other common theme in those past four failed efforts?

Rick Ciardella was around for all of them. He fixed none of them. He was a part of the broken system. Now he says he has the answers.

This council created the first citizen-based finance committee to provide direct transparency and accountability. We were one of the only cities left to not have such a group.

This council has created the first green program to help the city identify methods to reduce carbon and costs. Again, nothing like this with our past council.

This council has committed to finally getting a housing element completed. This is something that has never been done in our city's history.

But mostly, this council has gotten rid of the ugliness and smugness that greeted the public every Tuesday night under the previous slate.

That alone should be enough.


Posted by Get Something Done!, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 9, 2008 at 12:45 pm

I don't know "Truth" sounds like a whole lot more of the same. I don't know why you guys continually have this squabble going on amongst "no growth" versus "moderate growth". It would make sense to me to make some decisions now, and stop with all the committee creating, program developing and involving so many people. Aren't councils elected to lead?
Menlo Park sounds worse than the federal government!


Posted by go back to your mansion, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 9, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Hey Atherton, why don't go back to your noise ordinances and your mansions and stay out of our business?

Maybe you can call the police and have them pick up your newspaper.


Posted by Got my vote, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 9, 2008 at 2:05 pm

Remember that although Kelly and Andy have been in office for four years, the first two years they were hamstrung as part of the minority. Now that they are in the majority, we are seeing things happen.

It is a democratic, community-centric process, and it takes time, but the upside is that the result will be something that is acceptable to the majority of the residents. Getting community buy-in is key to ensuring that people are satisfied. The prior council tried to foist their own agenda on the city, and look what happened.

Rick Ciardella seems like a nice guy, but doesn't bring much to the table except his pedigree. No reason to oust the incumbents. The Almanac got it right.


Posted by Reality Check, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 9, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Lest we forget, here is what Rick Ciardella had to say about our former Mayor/Emperor Nicholas Jellins, taken from the infamous SJ Merc article on King Jellins on 11/26/06:
Web Link

``He is just a masterful legislator,'' said Rick Ciardella, chairman emeritus of the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce.

``I really admire the guy,'' Ciardella said. ``He has this commitment. He has integrity.

That viewpoint alone disqualifies Mr. Ciardella in my mind.
To steal from Hilliary: No way, no how, no Jellins-clone!


Posted by Reality Left Unchecked, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 9, 2008 at 4:05 pm

"Reality Check" these comments are taken out of context, and you know it. You're good at that, but as hard as you try Rick Ciardella is not a clone of those that you speak ill toward. He's his own man, and has been. Keep trying though, I have to compliment you on your efort.

Mr. Jellins and the others, you know, the ones that had the Derry Project almost breaking ground, and now we have...........nothing. You know, the ones that wanted the pool to be turned over to a private management team and not YOUR union, and did, and saved the city thousands. You know, the ones that actually confronted the Unions, and tried very hard to push down these crazy union pensions, but got ousted by the "knee breaking Unions". Can't wait to see what our "rainy day fund" amounts to in a few years, and I can't wait to see who will introduce the next tax increase to pay for the pensions, and perhaps the pool's new management that the incumbents will try to push in again. To quote Andy Cohen, "I refuse to swim in that pool now."(ever since it was turned over to the Sheeper crew)




Posted by get a grip, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 9, 2008 at 4:18 pm

Reality Left Unchecked seems to lump anyone with a differing opinion on anything into one group of enemies. That's really frightening. No wonder things get so polarized in this town. You assume anyone who disagrees with you on any little item will disagree with you on everything. Get a grip!

BTW - I have seen Andy Cohen swimming at the Burgess pool, so stop spreading misinformation


Posted by Sinker, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 10, 2008 at 12:09 pm

I guess the burning question now on everyone's minds about Andy is: Speedos or trunks?


Posted by Reality Left Unchecked, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 10, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Great response "Get a Grip". I like those that begin, and continue the polarization, and then honestly believe it's everyone else's fault that we continue to be polarized. It's a great back door method, excellent! That comment was made by him in front of several people, and also made at his kick off party, which I attended, and wish I had not. It is what it is. Behavior, and very specific examples speak volumes, not just words. I like Kelly, but Andy is not what we thought he would be. I hear the two of "them" don't even like each other! Talk about polarization!


Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 10, 2008 at 1:16 pm

Our current council has moved light years ahead of the past slate council. I commend The Almanac for seeing the reality of the change.

Let me prove it to you, lest I sound like the people above me with no facts, only conjecture.

The way this council governs is open and fair when compared to the prior council. This council has made extraordinary efforts to bring the community into the decision process. The downtown visioning efforts according to staff have resulted in more public input than any past effort.

There have been four recent efforts to define a plan or vision for our downtown. All of them failed miserably for a variety of reasons. The most common, not enough public notice and input.

The other common theme in those past four failed efforts?

Rick Ciardella was around for all of them. He fixed none of them. He was a part of the broken system. Now he says he has the answers.

This council created the first citizen-based finance committee to provide direct transparency and accountability. We were one of the only cities left to not have such a group.

This council has created the first green program to help the city identify methods to reduce carbon and costs. Again, nothing like this with our past council.

This council has committed to finally getting a housing element completed. This is something that has never been done in our city's history.

But mostly, this council has gotten rid of the ugliness and smugness that greeted the public every Tuesday night under the previous slate.

That alone should be enough.


Posted by Progress!What Progress?, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 10, 2008 at 2:50 pm

Truth, We heard you the first time. No need to repeat yourself. However, how can you claim this visioning process is any more successful than the last four? Those are over-failures as they were-but, this one is still going on. History really does repeat itself if you don't learn well from its lessons. Who knows, this one may die due to too much input--been known to happen.


Posted by Get Real, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 10, 2008 at 3:02 pm

The Almanac article praises the two incumbents for their support of bringing in green businesses such as Tesla and for committing to make things as difficult as possible for projects like the Bohannan proposal.
Two comments, neither intended to be a statement for or against either green business or large development projects. First, take a look at the droves of buyers flooding the Tesla showroom-I don't see much sales tax revenue potential there. Second, imagine a hotel and the associated retail out on Bohannan's property-hotel taxes, sales taxes, increased visitors at downtown cafes, etc-just which businesses should we be making it easy for?


Posted by Dizzy, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 10, 2008 at 3:16 pm

I didn't translate the statement that Cohen and Fergussen would allow extensive public comment on the Bohannon project as "committing to make things as difficult as possible for projects like the Bohannon proposal." Get Real's spin made me downright dizzy.


Posted by realist, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 10, 2008 at 6:05 pm

Get Real - have you noticed that the economy is tanking? Wouldn't that have a chilling effect on just about every business, and especially business lunches?
Dizzy makes the right point that extensive public comment is not the same as making things as difficult as possible. The Bohannon project is enormous and against all current city rules and general plan. It is not just a hotel but also a huge office building that probably will bring in zero sales tax dollars but WILL bring lots of traffic and more pressures to add housing that will further crowd schools and playing fields. I am really glad that there will be lots of public comment, and I thank the current council for insisting upon it.


Posted by oak knoll mom, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 10, 2008 at 9:26 pm

I can't vote for Ciardella - even as a pro-construction Oak Knoll parent. I got his "Why Don't the Incumbents Support Our Schools" email this week, and it was such a hatchet job that I can't see supporting that kind of political nonsense with my vote. He must've been at a different city council meeting than the one I saw. Fergusson was level-headed, although a little rambling. Robinson had a few criticisms of the process and asked for "healing." And yes, Cohen snapped at District reps. But, yesterday's parent update from Ken Ranella said that Council directed Public Works to move forward without any additional conditions, so ultimately the Council supported the schools.

Please, no nasty spin for votes!


Posted by plurisite, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 10, 2008 at 10:33 pm

boyles brigade tried to post a "newsy" spin on the council meeting that the almanac had to take down. this guy has no compunction to manipulate the RC for council website, any more than he did with that infamous dot bomb. google pluris and court records for illumination about JB. more of the same


Posted by smoky mirrors, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 10, 2008 at 11:10 pm

Boyle's C.V. that doesn't surface

Pluris
Worldview Partners
MPAEF
Ciardella for Council

Menlo's future in his hands
Perish the thought


Posted by Out With Cohen, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 11, 2008 at 9:34 am

Regardless of the above conjecture, Cohen has NO business being a councilman. He has done nothing, will do nothing and we will continue to sit here with an ugly business district, hold ups in our developing of the schools, and watch more money being spent to sit up there and try to make everyone "have their say, and feel good about themselves". It's been a sham, particularly for the last two years. NOTHING has been done, and he does not like the schools. There is NO factual, evidence that he supports this school board, or any other board for that matter. If you can't record any evidence or facts, don't even bother posting. Just the facts Jack!


Posted by disagree, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 11, 2008 at 10:49 am

Where have you been, out, Out?
Cohen was THE councilmember who pushed for the citizen budget advisory committee that helped with the budgeting process. He also pushed for the citizen Finance Committee that now exists to allow resident experts to help the city. He pushed to speed up the El Camino/Downtown visioning process that is occurring according to the pace and process recommended by John Boyle and Rich Cline. He approved long-overdue projects to repave deteriorating streets as well as the necessary steps to finally get sidewalks on Santa Cruz.

There have not been holdups for renovating schools caused by the city, so Cohen could not have caused any. He has actively invited participation of Ranella in multi-city discussions on tough issues such as youth-at-risk. Further, he has approved Safe Routes to School projects for Laurel, Encinal, Hillview.


Posted by Out With Cohen, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 11, 2008 at 11:11 am

All I see above is "committee" and Committee" and "visioning process"........nothing to "stick a fork in" just a bunch of people sitting around and talking. He has NOT "actively participated with Ranella". I think Ken could give you the TRUE scoop on that. Pictures of El Camino Real, and all the other "stuff" that has been talked about that Cohen is going to do, should be taken. I guarantee you, after another 4 years, you could reprint the pictures, with no changes. I have NO faith in this man's ability to do the job, and get things done.


Posted by Andy fan, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 11, 2008 at 3:04 pm

I don't think Ken wants the truth about his behavior to see the light of day! El Camino has ALREADY changed since the old council was ousted. Nice new Safeway, Tesla Motors, other electric car companies in the works, Intero, and new projects emerging at key spots along the road. I expect that by 2012, if the economy doesn't collapse, we will see a much improved thoroughfare.

Menlo Park is not a dictatorship, and it has been wonderful to have a council that listens to the residents. Anyone who was around prior to December 2006 remembers when the council would ignore the input of the residents and come to a predestined decision.


Posted by Sophie, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 11, 2008 at 3:27 pm

"Andy fan", I believe you are mistaken, and this "transparent government" thing has been GROSSLY exaggerated. The pendulum has swung so far, I'm thinking about holding a council meeting to complain about my neighbor not cutting his grass enough! The council before did an adequate job, in fact the Safeway is one of THEIR accomplishments, please don't confuse that with Andy's doing. And the Rosewood Hotel is one of THEIR accomplishments, again, please don't confuse that with Andy's doing. And, the schools, have been supported by everyone BUT Andy, so please don't confuse that success with what Andy has been doing.
There are only so many straws you Andy supporters can continue to grasp, at some point you will run out of them.


Posted by another andy fan, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 11, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Andy was on the same council that approved Safeway and the hotel. you have selective memory


Posted by Sophie, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 11, 2008 at 6:10 pm

Yes "Another Andy Fan" and he was against BOTH projects, in fact his first public announcement about running again for council he was cited to be AGAINST the Rosewood Hotel project and he was proud of it. Check it out. It' s obvious what he is all about.


Posted by incumbents OUT!, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 11, 2008 at 11:00 pm


WHAT in the WORLD is the Almanac thinking?

Kelly
- appropiated $40,000 for another bike tunnel study. are you kidding?
- Green ribbon committee, the ONLY outcome - appropiated funds to
"train" staff. what a huge waste of volunteer's efforts.
- derry project, first she was "for" the project, then she was against
the project. pandering.
- claimed credit for Tesla dealership. actually credit due to dave johnson,
the biz devel guy hired by the PREVIOUS council. "Green alley?" just
empty election year sloganeering by KF
- 27 pct pay increase to police. are you kidding?
- 30 pct increase in pension benefits to city staff. are you kidding?
- last but by no means least, park theater, 'nuf said

Andy
- has stated his opposition to transit oriented development
- opined that the since the bay area housing plan has no penalty for
non-compliance, we should not do our share to accommodate growth.
- supported all the pay increases for staff as KF did above.
- opposed the GM automall. this was no revenue panacea for the city,
but he just does not like business
- a deeply anti-business person, he has fed at the public trough for
his ENTIRE professional career, somehow forgeting who generates the
income that feeds him.
- a more petulant individual i have never seen. watch the council tapes.


i don't know Rick C. but he's GOT to be better than these two. it's kind
of like getting rid of Dubya. anyone would an improvement.


Posted by another andy fan, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 12, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Andy was FOR the Rosewood hotel but against the huge professional office project associated with it. I like that he cares about getting revenue and avoiding lots of extra traffic associated with projects.
It's not wise to jump to conclusions about motives, or that someone else is better just because they are different. Isn't that how we ended up with "W"?


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