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Supes reject Stanford's $10.4 million trail offer

Original post made on Dec 13, 2011

Update: For a third time, San Mateo County supervisors have rejected an offer by Stanford to spend millions of dollars to upgrade a deteriorating asphalt path that runs along the south side of Alpine Road between Portola Valley and Menlo Park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 5:23 PM

Comments (42)

Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Dec 13, 2011 at 6:58 pm

"I don't know how an elected official can turn down a study and $10 million in private money. I'm very disappointed," said Portola Valley Councilwoman Maryann Moise Derwin, who spoke to the board in favor of Stanford's offer.

Rose Jacobs Gibson, and Carole Groom were appointed to Supervisors before be elected.


Posted by Penny L., a resident of Woodside High School
on Dec 13, 2011 at 8:10 pm

What a shame. Sure can't say I'm proud of those women on the Board and I think Lennie Roberts' quote is assinine. We need to elect thinking, intelligent people in all areas of government. Please remember that in the next election - no matter what position you are voting for, they are all important. I can't imagine what those three board members, who happen to be female, were thinking! It's an absolute SHAME!


Posted by Redfield Flash, a resident of another community
on Dec 13, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Amazingly shortsighted and paranoid. Stanford, come to my neighborhood, do a study and we'll settle for 5 million.....


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Dec 13, 2011 at 8:30 pm

I guess it proves that there are some public officials who are interested in more than money.


Posted by Let's Stay Calm, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Dec 13, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Yes, there was an issue that trumped the money and that was safety. A trail does not belong next to a road that has over 20,000 speeding cars a day, not to mention the trucks. No trail can accommodate pedestrians, joggers, small children on bicycles, people pushing strollers, seniors walking and cyclists who travel 10 to 20 mph. Had Stanford offered even a month ago to just repair the path, the Board would have voted to take the money and Stanford would have fulfilled their obligation of mitigating the 5 million sq. ft. of development that they got the permit for in the year 2000.

The vote was the right vote. It was a complicated proposal and one that could have been more simple had Stanford not initially pushed for a multi-use trail. And even better, Stanford could/should have built the trail on their land as they promised in 2000. Stanford has hundreds of acres just on the other side of the creek.

Please don't demonize our elected officials. It was a long and arduous process with many people researching, writing, attending meetings, calling people and working day and night to sort out the elements of all the proposals.


Posted by Kevin, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Is there anything more annoying then the NIMBYs of Stanford Weekend Acres...?


Posted by bikes2work, a resident of another community
on Dec 13, 2011 at 11:11 pm

"No trail can accommodate pedestrians, joggers, small children on bicycles, people pushing strollers, seniors walking and cyclists who travel 10 to 20 mph."

You don't get out much, do you? Sometimes these trails that you say can't exist even support horseback riders.

The action today won't stop me from using this "unsafe" right-of-way. You didn't build it, but I'm coming anyway.


Posted by member, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Dec 14, 2011 at 6:44 am

I am so disheartened and disillusioned by the triumph of little minds. The "women" couldn't even realize one option on the table as carefully iterated by Dave Pine was to build a 4' trail which essentially repairs what is in place to promote safety and addressed their objections to a "more complicated improvement". Instead, they claim now they will look to grant money from the state to patch repairs, and amount that will total around 2 million dollars as reported by their staff. The evidence that this will transpire is nil, and we are left with a hazard in our backyards. Ms. Tissier was fixated in pouting over having only 4 options to study, not the 6 she personally wanted, ludicrous. Ms. Gibson could barely utter her no vote. What was that all about? These women ignored the recommendations of their own hired staff, LCA and Portola Valley's documentation of how well the process went in their neighborhood proceeding with Stanford's funds. They denied us a process that could lead to positive chance for all of us involved. Irony prevails as women in politics were honored earlier in the meeting.
Very very sad.


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Dec 14, 2011 at 9:05 am

This is an example of the Direction Carole Groom, Adrienne Tissier and Rose Jacob Gibson, are taking our County. You might recall they fired our county manager last month because he wanted to balance the budget, and he asked the question How are we going to pay for this new jail? They didn't like that.

3 people (votes) control this county, 2 of them were appointed.


Posted by Janet, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 14, 2011 at 9:23 am

A lot of the people above do not know what they are talking about. This was not "free money." The SWA residents are most definitely not NIMBYs. They were concerned for the safety of the people on the proposed "trail." Anyone who actually lives in the area, and truly understands what Stanford's proposal would have entailed, would understand the issues. The women supervisors showed remarkable sagacity and courage.


Posted by Give Me A Break, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 14, 2011 at 11:10 am

Like all extreme nimby bias, and delay tactics to keep people out of "our neighborhood", we have to use phrases like "No trail can accommodate pedestrians, joggers, small children on bicycles, people pushing strollers, seniors walking and cyclists who travel 10 to 20 mph". I jog on that path, and bike on Alpine Road, and have done so for 5 + years. I have yet to see a biker doing 10 to 20 mph on the old path, and the new portion.(in fact I have yet to see a cyclist) I have yet to see a stroller, I have yet to see more than 2-5 kids on bicycles, and rarely are there Seniors. Let's just call it the way it is, you want to keep it for yourselves, you don't want anyone to "come because you built it", period. This other smoke screen is nonsense, and taxpayers who want to enjoy a nice little frill every now and then, are now left without a safe trail. Ridiculous.


Posted by Menlo Parker, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Dec 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm

If I were not a lady, I would be sorely tempted to use strong language to describe the absurd female supervisors. They make me ashamed of my gender, having given ammunition to those who ridicule the tiny minds supposedly possessed by women.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 14, 2011 at 2:13 pm

This has nothing to do with the gender of those voting against this gift from Stanford - it is an IQ issue not a gender issue.

As elected officials ( true some were not elected) they should ask themselves:

"Are the citizens whom I serve better off as a result of my vote?".


Posted by Realist, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Dec 14, 2011 at 2:30 pm

don't understand the logic

we appear to be living in fear of a study that will recommend ways to make improvements

what happens now? the trail is unsafe and our "elected" (and appointed) leaders are doing nothing

know-it-all pseudo-environmentalists [portion deleted -- discuss topics, don't "call names"] who are convinced their view is the only view do more harm than good

how to solve? vote no on Tissier, Jacobs-Gibson and Groom!!


Posted by Ginger, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Dec 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm

It is so heartening to see public process work. This issue received 3 thorough reviews and 3 consistent votes. Now, (1) Stanford's Santa Clara County mitigation monies can be used for true recreational benefit in this area (2) the need for straightforward repairs of today's footpath and bicycle lanes is now well understood, and options for appropriate repairs are being identified, and (3) traffic problems on Alpine Road are also front and center and can be dealt with. Of course, we all understand that public funding is an issue. Grants and other funding sources are being actively explored. Our courageous supervisors have cast a timely vote for placing daylight between the true public agenda and private institutional interests.


Posted by Perplexed, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Dec 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I am perplexed and disappointed in the outcome. I don't understand how the BOS can turn down money for a study of options. Am I missing something? Was the study hindered by hidden restrictions? What exactly was being "imposed" on the community? We the affected deserve to know more.

Our next step needs to be to hold these officials to address as a priority the ways they say we can handle the future of this path. Quoting from the article: "Ms. Groom basically asserted San Mateo County's ownership of the path and its problems, and suggested more traditional ways of addressing them. 1) The county can repair the cracks and bumps of the existing path to make it useful to pedestrians. 2) The county can seek grants to address the eroding creek bank, and enlist the help of the Joint Powers Board for San Francisquito Creek. 3) The county can revisit the idea of a regional grant for recreational trails, funded in part with Stanford's $10.4 million, which goes to Santa Clara County if the San Mateo County do not change their minds before Dec. 31."

Fact 1: The path exists. It is in a state of disrepair. Leaving it alone will create safety and environmental problems and possibly a lawsuit or two.

Fact 2: A lot of people live here and work here. We can't prevent people from traveling to/from 280 to Junipero Serra in the way they choose. Not fixing the path does not solve for increased traffic.


Posted by Perplexed, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Dec 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm

After posting I read Ginger's post above mine. I like what you say. Do you have more information about this being put into action? Based on your post, I am led to believe there is something happening already. I was not aware of any of this activity during the recent vote process. It supports my belief that there is more information that is hidden than not.


Posted by Let's Stay Calm, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Dec 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm

To Give Me A Break: The definition of a multi use trail is that it accommodates both pedestrians and bicyclists. The width of such a trail is 8 ft with 2 ft on either side for bicyclists to travel up to 25 mph. If the trail is next to a road, an extra 5 ft, is included in the design that with a berm or fence. Of course, you have not seen many cyclists on the existing path as it is in poor repair. Stanford was bound to build a multi use trail because Santa Clara County mandated it. Check out the Santa Clara County 1996 Master Trail Map which was referenced in the 2005 Agreement between Santa Clara County and Stanford. These were the agreed upon terms of the 2000 General Use Permit Stanford got so it could build 5 million sq. feet of development on campus. The San Mateo County Supervisors tried their best to accommodate Stanford but the bottom line was that the trail mandated by Santa Clara didn't fit in the space San Mateo County had. There are no enemies, no bad supervisors, no bad neighbors, no viable solutions except Stanford accepting a simple repaired 4 ft. path which they did but not until the morning of the meeting. Day late, Dollar short.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Dec 14, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Lets Stay Calm

You keep the dollar short. I will take the rest......


Posted by parent, a resident of another community
on Dec 14, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Supervisors were just afraid to use their power of eminent domain for the good of the majority. They could make room for a multi-use trail, but a few residents in SWA would be relocated. Apparently, they have good political connections. Good luck merging onto Alpine Road when the new hospital is complete. ;-)


Posted by I love our Alpine Trail, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Dec 15, 2011 at 8:39 am

"Is there anything more annoying then the NIMBYs of Stanford Weekend Acres...?"

YES. How about the never ending, constant churn of real estate signs outside that mismash they call Stanford Weekend Acres.

The actions of those in that area go a long way in answering why many are so anxious to pull up stakes and high tail it out of there.


Posted by thanks, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 15, 2011 at 10:43 am

Thanks to you and the supes for saving us from those private interests, now save these people from:
Google donated over $11 million to fight modern-day slavery.
Facebook Inc., plans to announce a donation of up to $100 million to the Newark schools this week, in a bold bid to improve one of the country's worst performing public school systems.
Red Cross thanks Kia for $1.5 million donation.
Apple has donated some iPads to Oregon for use in a pilot program to deliver votes with Apple's magical tablet. A new movement to reach disabled and home-bound voters will head out to nursing homes and other places, armed with iPads, and then use those devices to record and register votes in advance of a special election. Not only does a touchscreen allow voters to record their preferences with simply a finger, but it also allows for zooming in to bigger text and otherwise reading ballots and other documents.
Ninemillion.org has raised more than $2 million in its first year and increased global awareness about the issues facing the world's estimated nine million refugee youth. Nike is one of the founding corporate partners of ninemillion.org, which is led by UNHCR.
Apple has partnered with the Teach for America program and donated 9,000 first gen iPads to teachers that work in impoverished and dangerous schools.
HP today announced that the Hewlett-Packard Company Foundation has made a donation of $500,000 for relief and recovery efforts following the earthquake that struck Chile last Saturday.
An arm of Bay Area biomedical giant Genentech is making an investment in the Bay Area's future by collectively giving out $869,411 in grants to Bay Area schools.
Microsoft Corp.'s Silicon Valley campus has donated $16.7 million in cash and software to more than 60 nonprofits, including the Daly City Peninsula Partnership Collaborative, San Mateo-based Community Gatepath and Silicon Valley Education Foundation in San Jose.


Posted by ThereIn2000, a resident of another community
on Dec 15, 2011 at 12:21 pm

As an official participant during the Stanford GUP update process in 2000, its fascinating to see how a decade later, a project can take on a life of its own, shaped by Supervisors and citizens who were never part of the original project and have no knowledge of the initial context.

The Stanford GUP contained a development mitigation to build trails along so-called S-1 and C-1 alignments that would connect with the existing trail system. They are essentially a mitigation to Stanford residents for the increase in urban density gained by Stanford in the revised GUP.

A complete overview can be found here: Web Link

The C-1 alignment here, Web Link as contemplated at the time, was wholly on Stanford private land, wholly in Santa Clara generally along and south of the San Francisquito Creek.

Stanford basically reneged on the trail alignment and tried to propose re-using existing Alpine Road roadside trail. At that time, after the community expressed opposition to the bait and switch, acting in my official capacity, I had a phone conversation with Provost John Etchemendy who agreed that a "road experienced" was not what was required by the condition of approval and would not be satisfactory. I never heard from John again.

The community and environmentalists were outplayed and made an innocent mistake when Stanford submitted its initial compliance, on time, that contained an alignment within 100 feet of the Creek, south of the creek, on Stanford land in Santa Clara County. Golfers and environmentalists both opposed that alignment, and the Santa Clara County Sups rejected it, but, since the proposed trail fully complied with the both spirit of the C-1 alignment and the letter of the GUP law, Stanford and the devil both danced when the Sups rejected it. They had met their legal obligation and were no longer in danger of having building permits denied or blocked due to non-compliance with that particular condition of approval. The complied and the County rejected it. Thereafter they then engaged in a delay, divide, conquer, refuse and outlast strategy to get whatever convenient, non-conforming alignments they wanted with impunity.

The biggest mistake we all made was not accepting the initial C-1 alignment within 100 feet of the creek and, being then in possession of a wonderful trail alignment easement, that Stanford never wanted to give, we could have negotiates with Stanford for a different alignment from a position of strength.

Subsequent generations of citizens and decision makers who somehow think getting a road trail along Alpine road, is a good thing, and an acceptable compliance in lieu of a true C-1 trail, are a good reason of why special interests routinely get their way with public agencies and governments.

The sups were right to turn down the money. And I, as a former public official, I would *never* do business with Stanford. Narcissistic and hegemonist, they are institutionally corrupt having nearly unlimited power over local agencies that regulate them.

And, citizens always get what they deserve.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm

It is nice to hear from an obvious but anonymous Stanford critic confirmation that Stanford did indeed meet its full obligation by its original C-1 trail proposal. One wonders why Stanford even bothered with any subsequent proposals since it is obvious that it is impossible to satisfy all the different interests groups with any one proposal.


RIP


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm

A question for you, Peter.

Should corporations be accorded the same rights as individuals?

Thanks.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm

"Should corporations be accorded the same rights as individuals?"

We, as a society, have made the decision to grant corporations the same rights as individuals.
I agree that this was an appropriate decision but I feel that corporations often assume those rights without also assuming the same responsibilities as individuals.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Sorry Peter, have to disagree. First, we as a society did not grant individual rights to corporations, the Supreme Court did. It is an awful decision and will only make corporate control of our government worse. Corporations are not individuals. When's the last time a corporation was sentenced to prison?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Corporations in the United States are granted the rights of personhood by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution as later defined by the Supreme Court.

"The laws of the United States hold that a legal entity (like a corporation or non-profit organization) shall be treated under the law as a person except when otherwise noted. This rule of construction is specified in 1 U.S.C. §1 (United States Code),[15] which states:

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise-- the words "person" and "whoever" include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals;"

The constitution, the Supreme Court and Federal laws are the instruments that we as a democratic society has chosen to speak for us. The status of corporations as persons could be altered by constitutional amendment but that has never been proposed so one must assume that the status quo reflects the will of the body politic.


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Dec 15, 2011 at 2:51 pm

MV, so a corporation can't be locked in a cell, so what? Just think, though, if they weren't granted the rights of personhood, people looking for deep pockets couldn't sue them. Can't have it both ways.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm

The irony is that corporations sought personhood status so that the owners would not be individually liable for the actions of the corporation.

I believe that the fundamental problem is not that corporations have personhood status but that we no longer hold either individuals or corporations accountable for their actions. There is nothing to preclude law breakers, wether individuals or corporate officers, from doing jail time for non-violent crimes against society but we seldom do that. The result is a lot of anti-social non-violent unpunished crime.

But we are WAY off topic.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm

If there is any entity that has it both ways, it is the corporation -- epitomized by their ability to privatize their gains and socialize their losses.

I'm sure that thoughtful rational people, free of the influence of lobbyists and given a legal system that makes progress through trial and error (a hopeless notion, I know), we could come up with a way to grant corporations the freedom and responsibilities appropriate to their status.

It's time for a constitutional convention.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 15, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Who:

I can have it both ways (actually not, but read on). One can sue a private citizen and a private citizen can be locked up. One can sue a corporation, but a corporation can't be locked up for commiting a crime. Sorry, but until a corporation can be locked up AND be sued a corporation can't be a private entity. The Supreme Court made a terrible decision.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm

More nonfeasance by the elected. Since they can't control gangs, over crowding, blight, "massage" parlors, corruption/incompetence in school construction on the coast to name a few, they couldn't possibly handle this correctly.


Posted by Confused, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Dec 16, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Why can't the county find the money to use some paint to solve the bike trail and the access to Alpine Road for SWA?

Paint a bike trail on the Alpine Road side of the COUNTY'S frontage roads.

PAINT "KEEP CLEAR" in front of at least one of the exits, just like was done on the Alameda.

Do that and see if folks can actually get along with one another, and deal with a compromise. You certainly can't do one without doing the other.

Could we also get the Menlo Park portion of Alpine bike lanes repainted now that we know there are no new plans to be made? A shame that the crooked turn the path takes to avoid entering San Mateo County will never be redone.

Finding the money for trail asphalt, fixing the creek etc, will apparently take some time, hopefully that will happen before the Alpine Trail become a matter for archeologists to rediscover in a few hundred years.


Posted by LAH Concerned Homeowners, a resident of another community
on Dec 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I see things with simple common sense.

Most of these concerned homeowners never attended a town meeting before in their life. These are not career activists, Nimbyists or fanatics.

Bravo to the dedicated elected officials for recognizing and respecting homeowner concerns more then $$$ or private interest. Bravo.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Congratulations - you can now do whatever you want to do with this trail but you now have $10 million less to do it with.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 20, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Peter - Your message has a hint of sarcasm in it, a trait you once told me is inappropriate in these discussions.

Not that I disapprove of your use of it. Just saying ...

My comment: this was never about $10 million, and people who don't live in Stanford Weekend Acres are never really going to understand that.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 20, 2011 at 3:57 pm

No sarcasm meant or intended, just a factual statement.

Perhaps irony would be the correct descriptor.


Posted by Continued Supporter of Alpine Trail, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 20, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Joe, you say it is not about the money.

Why don't you tell us what it was really about?

It's obvious that SWA is a troubled community, what with their zoning issues, their traffic issues, and their paranoia about anything having to do with Stanford.

For me, the fact remains that Alpine Trail has been there for many many years and it needs some repair.




Posted by B.A., a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Dec 21, 2011 at 10:45 am

Thank you Mr. Boyce for staying with the story; stay tuned for the next chapters when decisions are made on repairing the Alpine Rd. path and when Stanford makes its next moves.

It's not always pretty, but seeing the 1st amendment of our Constitution in action is a stirring event. It can take a lot of work to stay civil when emotion is aroused and disagreement with authority is in the air. MUST DECORUM BE BANISHED WHEN OPINIONS DIFFER AND FOLKS ARE STRUGGLING TO SPEAK THEIR PIECE?

The democratic political process seems inherently messy. But two aroused neighboring communities practiced democracy and moved from one point to another. Many harsh words were spoken and printed, and we all live with the effects of that dialogue.

What is more important: How we treat each other? The fate of a path? One political decision? Being right?

To quote Scoop Nisker, 1960's S.F. radio personality: "If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own."
Or as I would put it, if you aren't happy with a political outcome, jump into the political arena and get involved. The more we practice democracy, the stronger our democracy becomes.


Posted by Menlo Parker, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Dec 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

After 25 years in Menlo Park, I guess I should have known that the NIMBYs would win again. Just think of the seminary fiasco (we got McMansions instead of senior housing and a park) and the Sand Hill/El Camino bottleneck, to name two missed opportunities.

The Almanac has conveniently forgotten that the original, decades-old master trail plan envisioned a trail along Alpine Road to connect the Sand Hill trail with Portola Valley. Now we have lost $10 million to Santa Clara County and have no usable trail. Thanks a lot, Supes. [Yes, this is sarcasm.]

Next election, I will be working hard to defeat the three female supervisors.


Posted by An old engineer, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Dec 22, 2011 at 10:52 am

The supes must have heard an engineer whispering in their collective ears the old engineering adage "Don't do a study unless you are willing to deal with the results"


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