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Neighbors appeal Oak Knoll School permit
Original post made
on Dec 8, 2008
Plans for construction on the campus of Oak Knoll elementary school have hit a snag. A group of neighbors is asking the Menlo Park City Council to overturn a city staff decision to issue conditional permits for the project.
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Monday, December 8, 2008, 6:21 PM
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Posted by Geezer Smasher
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 17, 2008 at 11:14 pm
Ahhh, victory, victory.
As a previous poster has written:
The city has moved on and the school development will now move on. You can write a thesis on this here and it won't matter. Oak Knoll is a done topic.
Absolutely correct. The bulldozers will roar at OK. The obstructionists have been routed. Put a fork in them. The losers are right to slink away, licking their wounds, and the salt will rub raw over the coming 18 months as the dump trucks and bulldozers and contractors turn the school into a chaotic construction site. Mud on the roads, drive ways blocked, views and sight lines blocked permanently once those tall new buildings get erected. It is already maddening in the morning and afternoon, with the noise and pollution and traffic of school students. Imagine what life will be like now on that block with massive construction. Absolutely enraging and maddening. We all know this to be true.
Maddening enough to provoke rage and violence, both physically and verbally by the poor miserable residents of that block.
Comments like "Spill your drivel to my face at a public hearing. We can then see how things proceed from there."
Followed by the typical passive aggressive "who me" whine "Why wouldn't you assume that a healthy but spirited debate would ensue if you confronted me directly? " Yeahhhh right Dr. Jekyll. Or was that Mr. Hyde?
There has been absolutely no healthy debate at all on the subject of OK expansion. There has just been a one sided whupping and drubbing. The school plans will roll on, about 95% intact, with obstructionists reduced to whining about water drain off and curb cut outs to the Menlo Park council, which provides a venue for the seniors in the neighborhood to vent and nothing more. The sole accomplishments of these rightfully thrashed NIMBYcomplainers is to have slightly delayed construction, and to have increased the costs of the project through their narrow minded road blocks.
"Let's suppose it is solely a NIMBY issue. Exactly why is it wrong to expect a governmental planning body to respect one's property rights when engaging in their planning process?"
Ahhh. Where to begin. The term NIMBY is used as a perjorative. It is used to describe opponents of a development that have narrow, selfish, or myopic views. It is used to describe hypocrites. "I'm all for Indians being able to live anywhere they want, except Not In My Back Yard. LOL, in your own words you describe this as a NIMBY issue and ask what is wrong with that? Here's your answer. It is hypocritical and selfish.That is why it is wrong.
Don't buy a house next to the airport and then turn around and picket the place because of airplane noise. Yes, you have the right to protest. You also deservedly will get ignored and shut down.
Speaking of hypocritical statements. How about this one. "Anyway, I've wasted too much time trying to reason with cowardly bloviators hiding behind anonymous handles. It's time to go back to my life." and "I still think people should not post anonymously here".
Followed by this comment "The community members asked me to be the public face of those opposing the OK project at the Neg Dec hearing because most were concerned about speaking publicly before so many who did not support them. I wasn't playing the martyr, nor did my wife and I share all the same concerns as everyone in the group, but I was willing to put myself out there. I have nothing to hide."
No, but apparently all those senior citizens on that block had something to hide. They wanted to hide their faces and names. Does that make them cowardly bloviators or anonymous? Yes, I think it does if you followed the intellectually bankrupt logic of some posters on this thread. Those retirees and senior citizens that lived on the block, and had nothing at all to do with school they lived next to were looking for a sap to be their blast shield in front of several hundred OK school parents who were furious at the obstructionists. There is one born, every minute, as any old timer will tell you.
And don't you just love, self styled experts on traffic flow. When people start paying you money for your expertise on traffic flow, then you just might be taken seriously. Comments like "In the opinion of my wife and I who watch the traffic flow twice a day for roughly 200 days per year, it is a bad plan." are real howlers. I have an observation for everyone that lives next to OK. It's really rough driving in or out of your driveway when school is starting or ending. No kidding. You think? Spare us your concern for the safety of the children. When you come barreling out of your house to yell and rant at school parents who have the temerity to park in front of your house to drop off their kids, is the motive really safety? We know it isn't anything but another excuse to complain about the school.
We've already seen the same pathetic attempts of obstructionism for Hillview. A small group of senior citizens, who stay home all day long, have nothing to do with the school across the street, and hate the kids and noise and traffic and litter associated with living next to a school, will get the same treatment that the OK neighbors got. They will get drubbed. Stay tuned here.
Here's food for thought. If the neighborhood around OK consisted largely of school volunteers, parents of students, mentors and coaches of OK programs, do you really believe the school would have run rough shod over them in the manner they did? If school-neighborhood relations were healthy, the "matter of style" would have been different. As it was, the neighborhood was a burr under the saddle of the school and they got trampled. Here is what I suggest to the neighbors of OK. Join a school club, volunteer, be a mentor or coach and join the school community. Otherwise all that hating will give you an ulcer.
Dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.
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Posted by Geezer Smasher
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 18, 2008 at 4:55 pm
Mark and Government Official. Nothing ruins a party as much as when the adults show up. Your moderate tone and succinct and accurate analysis of the situation, is a bit shaming, but you must admit, it ruins the joy of the thread.
I imagine both of you focus much more on the merits of a case, first hand documentation and your personal experiences when you involve yourself in a dispute, online or otherwise. I also prefer to attend the actual meeting, read the actual document or view the actual presentation than have someone I do not trust provide a slanted summary of events.
With that in mind I present you with a couple of links and would be interested in your opinions of what they represent.
Government Official, I agree with you about 95%. The neighborhood around OK (and it consists of more than 12 houses as you well know) deserves the respect and consideration of the School District. They deserved to be contacted and informed about plans and invited to meetings where those plans were being publicly discussed. When it came down to cosmetic areas that the neighborhood felt strongly about (like construction times, noise and dust levels, locations of bus stops) the school district should have bent over backwards to accommodate these poor folks. And I say that without malice, as anyone living next door to a construction site can attest to, it is hell.
Having said that, one should recognize that the neighborhood consists of some outright obstructionists (open up O'Connor and other schemes) that do not agree with the expansion plans of OK. These people can not be accommodated. That decision was already fought and lost. These people are just making noise, want to delay the construction as long as possible and throw a monkey wrench in the procedures. They do not get a seat at the table. They are disruptive and nonconstructive.
There is another group that needs to be addressed. It is folks in the neighborhood that have taken it upon themselves to totally redesign the school. While I admire their enthusiasm, albeit their total lack of qualifications, the neighborhood does not get to vote on how many stories the building is, where the playground will be located and basically play wanna-be architect. If you want to design the school, get an architecture degree, build a firm and then put in a bid. In medicine one often speaks of the "God complex" that many doctors develop which makes them insufferable. That's bad enough in the medical field but when the good doctor soon fancies himself a architect, traffic flow consultant, arborist and expert educator, well enough is enough.
Mark, you said you hadn't seen Ram Duriseti's pitch. Here is one of them. You check it out and tell me what you would think if one of your neighbors showed up to a council meeting after to you applied to remodel your house and with no subject matter qualifications proceeded to tell you how your house should really be designed. I know what my reply would have been, and it was the same at the school district. Thank you for your interest and goodbye.
Government official, I have not seen all of the communications from the supervisor and the board to parents, but I imagine many of them were like the one I have linked to below. I do not find it at all intimidating, offensive or threatening. The example I link to is a message from Catherine Jaeger(PTO president of OK) to parents encouraging them to come out to a board of education meeting to express their suppport for the school district's plan. I know for a fact that Ram Duriseti found it upsetting and threatening, because as you can see from the link, he included it in an e-mail he sent the Menlo Park City Council protesting it. Paranoid indeed. The school was simply doing what the opponents of the plan wished to do, which is drum up support. I do agree I would find it daunting to attempt to challenge 99% of the parent base at OK that supported the modernization plan, but when you develop a "God complex", those odds do not deter you.
I don't think the answer is to have dilapidated houses and/or commercial property right near the schools. I think neighborhoods should choose their spokesperson wisely, and that the neighborhood should be reasonable. Once the neighborhood becomes unreasonable, they are subject to getting steamrollered. That's what happened at OK. I have lived next to a large elementary school for over 8 years and understand the inherent conflicts of having such a place in the neighborhood. It works when there is dialogue and respect. Redesigning the school district or the school remodeling plans is a bit above our pay grades. That is what some neighbors attempted to do in OK, and they got rolled. They have delayed the project considerably, if they can take comfort in that.
Lastly, I would leave you with the most current post by Ram Duriseti.(who I can assure you is checking this thread every 5 minutes, you know the type), unwilling to summarize the 1.5 years or discussion and evolution", because it is not simple, and you probably can not follow anything complex. Heh. He is done talking about this subject. He has lost, hence there is no point in allowing anyone else to discuss it (or to gloat).
"I also think the Almanac should close this thread. It's not going anywhere positive".
The arrogance of that statement. Moderators, close this thread immediately, It does not please the pasha.
And you wonder why the school board didn't give him a seat at the table or allow him to present at their meetings on how he would redesign OK. I think its pretty clear.