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City may see 24 percent garbage rate hike

Original post made on Jan 30, 2009

Menlo Park residents and businesses might be in line for a hike in garbage collection rates of as much as 24 percent.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 30, 2009, 10:59 AM

Comments (17)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 30, 2009 at 11:34 am

Menlo Park - The City that thinks big - in terms of double digits when it comes to fee increases and pay increases.

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Posted by Oscar the Grouch
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 30, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Uh, Peter - it's a collective contract we're dealing with here - MP plus 11 other jurisdictions. And the article states we'll still have the 4th lowest cost amongst the 12 after the increase. And, by the way, you're in Atherton, so why do you care about MP's trash anyway?

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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 30, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Atherton has so much to be proud of Peter. You have made such a difference there. Gosh, how lucky we are all to have your self righteousness.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 30, 2009 at 7:41 pm

As a devoted student of democracy and a strong advocate of transparency, I am fascinated to watch the citizen of Menlo Park sit by and do nothing while City salaries and fees are raised by more than 20%. And as a resident of an adjacent community, I worry about the impact that such profligate spending will have on my community. And as an elected official, I am terrified by the apathy that permits these things to happen - we elected officials must be held accountable.

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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 30, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Gosh Peter, such courage. At some point, a veteran and a former corporate leader, should know that talk is cheap. And you are all talk, Peter. You have been around longer than most of us and you haven't solved a thing. Talk about busting the unions, you have not. Talk about changing the scenery, you never did. You can fool your flock, but the fact is you got your money and went into charity and now that you have the luxury of time, you start talking about fixing it.

From my part of the world, you are what you do.

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Posted by Nice Job Peter
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 30, 2009 at 10:37 pm

I'm not sure, but it certainly looks like Peter Carpenter was willing to throw his hat into the ring, get constantly criticized and jeered for trying to be aggressive against unions, then has no problem putting his name out there and his reputation.................while the rest of these do nothings, on this blog, call him names, criticize and never use their own names. What a bunch of cowards, cowards of the worse sort. It's people like you that blogs were built for, so that you can sit in your homes, with your sedantary lifesyles, and mouth off all day long, while the rest of us are working toward building a better community!

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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 30, 2009 at 11:26 pm


Peter is all talk. He has had more than four decades as an adult to take on the unions and bring about that change. He has done nothing about it. Peter is wealthy and spent most of that time getting wealthy. Only now does he make one public comment about meetings and unions and suddenly he feels he has the right to lecture us?

Some of us who have put in years working to make the system work better for everyone? Menlo Park is a great city with a wonderful history of leaders. Our town acts as a place for Atherton trophy wives to open up hobby shops, is the only town Atherton has to shop in, lends our parks and our resources to those snobbies, and Peter sits and denounces us?

Our budget is stronger than Atherton's budget. Our reserves are better. Our tax base is more diverse. Peter trying to act like we don't have $25 million in reserves as a result of good city management is a joke. Peter has no idea what it means to have a real police force or manage a real city staff. Peter is simply a wealthy board member.

It is a joke. Defend him Repubs, send your scathing letters denouncing me. The facts are what they are. Peter is not a change agent and neither are his little followers. The same five or six Repubs are sharing messages and using them as often as they can.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 31, 2009 at 9:28 am

In my 9 years of full time government service and my 12 years of elected/appointed government service I have learned that those who make personal attacks do so simply because they have neither any ideas or energy to offer to the solution of the problems at hand. In all those years of public stewardship I have always left each organization in better shape than when I joined it. And I have no need to hide behind anonymous names and fictitious addresses.

Hopefully sometime, somewhere people will now begin to debate the issues and, as has been recently stated, 'put the childishness behind us'.

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Posted by confused
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 31, 2009 at 10:00 am

Why does Peter Carpenter, an Atherton resident, get involved with Menlo Park City affairs? I understand his being on the Fire Board, and that is fine, but I don't think he should have any influence on how much MP pays its police or any other issue involving MP finances. He is not paying taxes to the City of MP.

I support his effort to close down one fire station. The Fire Department should not be a separate entity. How many fire chiefs do we need. How much time is the fire department spending outside it primary local area. How about some disclosure on how much the firemen are making and their pension/health benefits?

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 31, 2009 at 10:57 am

The Fire District, which serves East Palo Alto, Atherton and Menlo Park plus parts of the County,was established BEFORE the City of Menlo Park was even a gleam in someone's eye. A Fire Department serving only a small city like Menlo Park is not cost effective - why have a Fire Chief for each of the three cities? In fact the best solution would be a County wide Fire Service - which the current MPFPD Board has strongly endorsed.

And the MPFPD is the most transparent unit of government in the County - all of our budgets and our labor agreements are on our web site - Web Link

Once again anonymous people are trying to change the subject - why? How many different anonymous names are being used by the same person?

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Posted by Very Interesting!
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 1, 2009 at 6:37 am

To the posters here: Thanks for the background info on "Richie Rich" here - very informative and enlightening!

And to you, Peter: Don't you have enough to worry about over in Atherton? There is that ongoing nasty public scandal involving the guy to two first names (how Athertonian!) and I'm sure many more are being hidden below public view by the "nice" folks of Atherton. And if that's not enough, why not try taking on the County - lots of opportunities to lead big "crusades" over there.

No need to worry about poor, old Menlo Park. Besides, we have our own retired-rich-early-now-with-nothing-better-to-do crusader in Councilman Boyle already in place.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 1, 2009 at 7:55 am

Peter Carpenter is a Saint. He understands that if we have runaway employee costs and create a union plutocracy that we will be paying more and have less money available for operations and maintenance. This is about fairness, fiscal responsibility, and accountability to the residents of Menlo Park.

The Government Unions are not competitive with outside private contractors in terms of cost, performance and quality of service and the city is paying the price with deteriorating services and runaway costs.

Currently we have a city council that cares only about the Union employees. It is time for all Menlo Park residents to become more involved in civic affairs and hold the Feckless Four accountable for their dereliction of duty. We can't have sycophants running the city. They don't know what they are doing! Our complacency is giving the Feck Four Carte Blanche authority to tap down our reserves at an alarming rate while using the UUT as a piggy bank for excessive raises for union employees.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Let's get back to the subject of the article - a 24% increase in garbage rates.
1 - What kind of a 'contract' does the city have that simply allows Allied Waste to pass through any increases in its labor and operating costs?
2 - What happens if the city says NO to the increases?
3 - What happens if the citizens say NO to the increases?
4 - Will the 3 Fire District stations be exempt from these increases?
5 - Will city facilities be exempt from these increases?
6 - Will the new rate be the base upon which Norcal will automatically add its 10% thereby increasing rates by over 30% in less than 24 months?
7 - When will this craziness stop and who will stop it?

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 2, 2009 at 11:36 am

Two additional questions:
8 - Is this fee increase revenue neutral to the city or does the city share in the increase as part of a franchise fee?
9 - IF the city shares in any increase what incentive does the city have to resist garbage fee increases?

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Posted by Just A Suggestion
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 3, 2009 at 2:26 pm


Want to something REALLY worthwhile? Go after the cable companies - no, seriously. Good luck!

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 4, 2009 at 8:48 am

Why my concern is garbage and not cable:
1 - garbage collection is mandatory, cable use is optional
2 - big public health issue if garbage is not collected, no public health impact if cable is unavailable
3 - garbage collection is a monopoly, there are alternatives to cable

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Posted by Ltown
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 16, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Peter, your comments are requested:

In my town, the city owns the garbage monopoly and are requesting a 25% increase to business owners. Prior to this recent election, the former council approved a salary and retirement increase. This is not the only factor related to the garbage shortcomings, but is quite significant.
City Council is the only protection from City Departments raising rates and allowing the never ending cycle of raises and benefits to employees. I need some real strong arguments to not raise rates since they have not been raised since 1992. What would you do to decrease the a loss related to the cost of services and the fees received?

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