Posted by Tell the entire story, a resident of the Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park neighborhood, on Jan 27, 2009 at 3:08 pm
Just for once I wish our politicians would tell the whole story. O.K., so they didn't take any campaign money. But, how about campaign/in kind help? Did union members walk precincts? Did union members make calls during phone banks? Did unions pay for campaign fliers that were favorable to the politican and/or unfavorable to his/her opponents? Did unions pay for push polls?
Until we know the whole truth; these politicans are just splitting hairs and not being entirely truthful. But, of course, I guess that is what we expect isn't it?
Posted by set it right, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2009 at 10:29 am
Both "Tell the entire story" and Hank Lawrence whose postings are above are spewing lies.
None of the accusations by "Tell the entire story" are true. No union participation with help or phone banks or anything else. What in the world is a "push poll"?
Mr. Lawrence, there was no money from the first campaign and Cohen received very little in that campaign either. Cohen hardly led an active campaign. Very little effort or money was expended. His popularity alone carried the day. Why don't you at least get your facts straight rather than try to spread lies.
Mr Lawrence, your credibility has no value these days. As I recall you joined with the O'Brien group in promoting the Derry project -- you passed out flyers during the referendum -- were you on their payroll?
I don't mind fair criticism --- but outright lies should not be allowed to go un-answered.
Posted by Eli, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2009 at 12:48 pm
Andy took money from the unions in his first race. That is a matter of public record. The unions were heavily involved with promoting Fergusson's and Cohen's candidacies both times. They met behind closed doors to talk with Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline and after the closed door meeting enthusiatically supported them. Since the "fab four" have been on the city council they have turned the keys to the city over to the unions. The unions get everything they want and then some. There is no negotiation. [Portion removed] The unions run the Menlo Park City Council. The majority four have no interest in promoting the resident's interests.
Posted by Diana, a resident of the Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2009 at 2:23 pm
I haven't checked the public record yet, but somehow I find Eli's take on reality a bit dubious. What I remember about Cohen's first run in 2004 is that he hardly raised and spent any money at all.
What I'd like to know, Eli, is what makes this council any different from the last council in terms of employee salaries and benefits? Did Lee, Mickie and Nicholas fight raises and benefits when they were on the council? No, they did not. And up until this month, John Boyle voted right along with the other four council members for large salary/benefit packages for employees. You're trying to make a distinction between the four current council majority members and the council members you support, past and present, and that distinction evaporates upon examination.
Posted by set it right, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2009 at 2:31 pm
Your following your buddy, Hank and writing lies.
I'll tell you who was running the city before Jellins, DuBoc and Winkler got the hook and that was the developers and their cronies.
No bid contract giving away the pool to "Menlo Masters" is corruption at its highest level. Then what about the mysterious disappearance of "public benefit" from the proposed Derry project, that Jellins with a few words wiped away.
We just had an election and Fergusson got the highest vote percentage ever and Cohen was second, after he hardly mounted any effort at all.
Boyle just tries to stop everything. Nothing positive from him. He votes for the original police contract and then makes a grandstanding play by voting against the raise for the sergeants I don't agree with either of these raises, nor the hiring of more staff and administrators, but taking anything DuBoc says as being worthwhile would be crazy.
Posted by YOU "set it right", a resident of the Menlo Park: Belle Haven neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2009 at 3:36 pm
It's not even worth debating, however:
* "developers and their cronies" - name one, or at least name one project, during that time that did not help our community? You need to stop using "developer" as a 4-letter word, you are causing the infrastructure of this town to erode, just ask anyone that has dined at Barrone's or browsed at Keplers, I guess that was NOT a "development"??
* "Menlo Masters is corruption..." - what in God's name are you talking about, and enough with the pool!? It works, it's something great about Menlo Park, we're sorry your SEIU friends can't lifeguard there anymore, enough!
* "highest vote percentage ever" - outright lie, and you know it, you have no facts to back it up, and it was Ciardella that did not mount "any effort at all". However, we love that you think you have a mandate.
* "Boyle just tries to stop everything..." - CORRECT, he tries to stop your wasteful spending, deficit spending, money you don't have etc. Long live John!
Your word smithing holds no water, has no facts, and is dribble "at its highest level"!
Posted by Johnny Weissmuller, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm
For the Community. The High Priestess of Socialism is a former mayor. She is so far to the left that she makes the congresswoman from San Francisco look like a member of the John Birch Societyby comparison. As for the pool a former Menlo Park manager who was also a member of the AFSCME union came up with the $500,000/per year operating cost. This is a matter of public record. Not something that was just thrown out there.
The pool had to be shut down for two years for renovation. Before it was shut down there was one aquatics director and several part time employees servicing the pool operation. When the pool was shut down for renovation the aquatics director left and the part time employees were either reassigned or let go. When the new pool was opened there were no employees available for pool duty. None!
When it came time to search for a pool operator the Parks and Receration Commission of which Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline were membere recommended that we pick Tim Sheeper to run the pool since during their exhaustive research they could not find any other competent pool operators who were interested in operating our pool. We also had a one year warranty on the pool. That clock was ticking and we had to get the pool under operation because any defects discovered outside of one year had no warranty.
Rather then pay money for a study Lee, Mickie & Nicholas considered the recommendation of the Parks and Recreation Commission and after a short study in chambers, during which they did not enlist the aid of costly outside consultants in the tune of 6 figures, they decided to award the contract to Tim Sheeper.
Set it right is right out of his mind. The Council acted as it should. The only corruption at the highest level is when City Council members collude with unions behind closed doors to feather the unions' nests at the expense of the city residents.
Posted by Maureen O, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm
Johnny boy, that last fall from the tree must have fuzzied up your thinking a bit. Menlo Park has yet to have a socialist mayor, so you'll have to be more specific if you want anyone to take you seriously.
And, the "former Menlo Park manager" who came up with a $500K figure had nothing solid backing him up if memory serves. In fact, many of us were frustrated at the time because the city was unable to provide supporting data to justify the $500K estimate, and -- and this is REALLY important -- the council majority DIDN'T DEMAND IT.
And Johnny, really. The idea originated from the PB&R Commission??? Can you possibly be serious??? I think it's time to come down out of the trees, Johnny. All that swinging from branch to branch, chest-beating and ululating has untethered you from reality.
Posted by desdemona, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm
"A short study in chambers" -- ie, everything was done without public scrutiny or input, typical of that triumvirate's m.o.
Ciardella raised over $10k (we don't have the final numbers yet). That's hardly "not mounting any effort at all." His lawn signs were everywhere, and we know those aren't cheap. Andy's campaign was staffed by loyal volunteers, no union members among them. Nor did the unions create any of his literature, help with calls, precinct walks, or anything else.
When Lee, Nick, and Mickie ran for election and re-election, they paid thousands of dollars for a campaign manager.
"When it came time to search for a pool operator..." Without rehashing history, everyone knew the pool was about to open. It had been in the works for at least 5 years! Who dropped the ball here, the city manager, the council, or both? Parks and Rec was totally overlooked, as were other citizen groups. The pool fiasco was a typical closed-door effort by the then-majority.
Who contributed the most to the 2004 election of Kelly and Andy? Why, I'd say that Lee, Mickie, and Nick did! The voters were responding to their lies and excesses by opting for council members who cared about listening to residents and restoring integrity to government processes.
Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of the Menlo Park: Sharon Heights neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2009 at 5:53 pm
It was certainly the modus operandi of the Feckless Four (The Feck Four) not to have any public input when they gave the police sergeants a 30% raise. Heyward Robinson said on the Dais on January 13, 2009 and it is in the film archives "Chief Goitia are they worth it?" and the Heyward said that Chief's Goitia's response was a resounding "Absolutely!" And that was good enough for Heyward. Please note that this pay raise was approved without public scrutiny or input. For Desdemona to accuse Jellin, Suboc, and Winkler for having a lack of tranparency is hypocritical. The Feck Four Council is the least transparent and will act against the best interests of the people they are supposed to represent every time when it conflicts with the interests of the unions.
Also, No one dropped the ball when it came to the pool operation. We were fortunate enought to have Tim Sheeper volunteer and this was done at the recommendation of the Parks & Recreation commission whose members at the time included Mayor Robinson and Vice Mayor Cline. Put that in your glass of Kool Aid and drink it.
Posted by Different Note, a resident of the Menlo Park: Park Forest neighborhood, on Jan 29, 2009 at 12:55 pm
Will Andy Cohen and Kelly Ferguson be showing up for the Grand Opening of the Rose Park Hotel? A little awkward, wouldn't you say, since these two were against this new gem for Menlo Park? Great call on their parts! Think about this.......in one day's worth of sales, the Rose Park Hotel will exceed all of the tax dollars generated for Menlo Park versus what Kelly's sacred Tesla Motors has generated over a year! Now THAT is a little embarrassing!
Posted by Developers Are Good, a resident of the Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park neighborhood, on Jan 29, 2009 at 3:38 pm
Hey "last laugh" do you realize that you LIVE in a development??? I wish the heck someone would have "stood up to developers" and not built your house, or condo, or apartment! Then we wouldn't have "I have mine, you can't have yours" type people in our town!
Posted by last laugh, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Jan 29, 2009 at 8:05 pm
I built my own house, sweetheart. And I have no problem with developers -- as long as they play by the rules. When they give donations to council members who then bend the rules for them, well, then I have problems, and so should anyone else with a modicum of integrity.
Posted by Developers Are Good, a resident of the Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park neighborhood, on Jan 29, 2009 at 8:53 pm
Posted by scuze me!, a resident of the Menlo Park: Felton Gables neighborhood, on Jan 30, 2009 at 3:19 pm
The GM partnership was pushed by the "old" council. Fergusson was only one of the group. I rarely look at these postings and now I know why - full of venom and disgraceful personal attacks. We're never going to tackle problems as a community with these attitudes and attacks.
Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of the Menlo Park: Sharon Heights neighborhood, on Feb 1, 2009 at 7:28 am
Andy took plenty of money from unions and all these unions are playing the "shell game". You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Sort of a twist of "Strangers on a Train". So it goes like this. The SEIU tells one of the big trade unions "We would like for you to donate $1500 to Andy's campaign and when you have a campaign that you would like to contribute to but cannot due to appearance of impropiety we will make that donation for you. That way we become proxies for each other and the public is none the wiser".
If these same tactics were used to gain insider trading advantage the SEC would send these people to jail. But the liberals make it easy for the Unions to avoid the appearance of impropriety because the unions contribute so heavily to their election campaigns. This axis of corruption must be stopped. We can't have union proxies contributing to City Council campaigns and once these people are elected they return the favor by giving the local unions egregious pay raises that residents who are not getting pay raises or even losing their jobs have to support.
Posted by give me the numbers, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Feb 1, 2009 at 7:46 am
@ Hank Lawrence:
You keep writing lies. Now give me the evidence that "Andy took plenty of money from unions". Nobody believes anything your are writing. It s all fabricated in your mind. All campaign contributions are publicly available. Now you show (us) me where all this union money came to Andy.
What is well known is your support of the developers. Your parading around during the referendum being Jim Pollart's puppy dog, passing out literature promoting the Derry project. How much compensation did you receive for those hours of work at the Farmer's market?
Take your message to the voters next election and run for council. Let's see haw many votes you can gather.
Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of the Menlo Park: Sharon Heights neighborhood, on Feb 1, 2009 at 8:08 am
Andy's contributions are a matter of public record. He had a lot of money coming from the trade unions which acted as proxies for the SEIU. As for the Derry project I spent less than an hour one Sunday passing out literature promoting this resplendent architectural masterpiece the Derry Project for the fee of ZERO DOLLARS AND ZERO CENTS. I took no contribution in kind. I did this out of civic duty to my community.
@Hank Lawrence has been drinking too much of the High Priestess' Electric Kool Aid. Your mind has turned into mush.
Posted by Big Daddy, a resident of the Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park neighborhood, on Feb 1, 2009 at 8:55 am
Which trade unions did Andy receive money from?
How much money from each of those trade unions?
Which election are you talking about -- 2004? 2008? Both?
You are implying that you have reviewed the public record on campaign contributions. Time to put your facts and figures on the table or fold. The smell is getting more and more powerful and obnoxious in this thread.
Posted by truth, a resident of the Menlo Park: Belle Haven neighborhood, on Feb 1, 2009 at 2:21 pm
I wonder if getting $50K in developer money bothers Hank. Obviously it does not today, since he frothingly backs Boyle and his mates. Listen up people because this is the real issue at hand. You either want the McMansion West Menlos, the Gilles and Boyles and Dubocs, all of whom have made their millions and now want to use that influence to change the character of our community to their liking (think big developer projects and malls), or you want folks who work hard every day trying to strike the balance of Menlo Park today and its future. Unions have little to do with Menlo Park politics.
Hank knows it. He tries to fabricate with Lee Duboc stories of massive union campaigns, but let's keep it honest. There is no record at all of union precinct walking for any of the candidates. There is no record of these thousands of dollars they all claim somehow influenced outcomes. But there is on record proof of $50 thousand dollars of developer money alone in John Boyle's pockets. $50K to get Boyle elected by 200 votes.
To keep that in perspective, Cohen this year totaled less than $20K for his entire campaign.
Think of all of the major projects in town and think of that influence.
Park Theatre? Backed Boyle with $4000.
OBrien (Derry project guys) backed Boyle with $2000.
Duncan Matteson (new project on 389 el Camino) backed Boyle with $2000.
Sand HIll Properties (jeff warmoth and the 1300 el camino) back Boyle with $2000.
Developers of 1906 el Camino (medical offices) backed Boyle with at least $1000.
Do you see the pattern?
Now go back an try to find where Boyle ever voted against any of these projects.
He has not. Neither did Lee or Mickie.
Influence...think about it for a second. And then look at what Hank writes and it will make you want to take a shower.
Posted by give me the numbers, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2009 at 10:29 am
@ Hank Lawrence
Judge Cohen made it quite clear, he was not taking any Union funds, from any Union that would have contract talks with the City Council. None of the Unions you cite, have contracts with the City. In general they give to all the candidates. Get off your high horse.
I really like your doing your City Duty joining with the "goons" while trying to defeat the signature gathering effort during the Derry referendum.
Posted by Phil Giurlani, a resident of the Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2009 at 10:33 am
Your information is simply not true. What vote was Boyle a part of involving Derry, 389 ECR, or 1300 ECR? These projects, including the new Derry, are still in the planning phases and have not been presented to even the Planning Commission for a vote. Regarding 1906 ECR, your source is incorrect, or you are just making it up. I am part of the ownership group/developer and know for a fact that we did not make campaign donations to any canditate in any election. For that matter, you should check the records because Boyle actually voted against our 1906 project.
Posted by desdemona, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2009 at 10:59 am
John Boyle certainly has supported 1906 El Camino, and has said so, on the record. Last year's "no" vote was in opposition not to the project but to his fellow council members imposing restrictions on the developer. He thought the developers should have free rein to do whatever they want!
>>Boyle said he supports the project, but couldn't vote for what he described as "micromanaging." "Why are we forcing them to go through all these hoops?" Boyle said. "I felt we were over-managing the details."<<
Shading the truth may seem to weaken the Boyle-developer connection, but we have only to look at the contribution flow in conjunction with his laissez faire attitude toward development to see what's going on.
Meanwhile, during both of his campaigns, Andy was primarily supported by dozens and dozens of local residents. We gave our time and our money. We put his signs in front of our homes and asked our friends to vote for him. Why? Well, not because we stand to benefit financially, but for the satisfaction of knowing that we have a man of integrity serving the residents of our city as a member of the council. You can't "buy" integrity!
Duncan Mattison - Nothing but a vacant, fenced in, empty lot!
I see a pattern! It's called, make Menlo Park into a bunch of trash strewn lots, before we even consider a well-thought out development! What a joke! "Truth" has ALWAYS been against any creative design for our city. He/She believes realtors are developers? He believes development is bad, but frequents Barrone's and Kepler's on a weekly basis. If he/she would make some common sense, and at least give developers a chance to create, or to at least present ideas, in order to make this city something to be proud of, he/she would gain more respect. Just saying "no" to everything from Derry to school projects to ANYTHING that would enhance our city, turns his/her opinions laughable! This guy/gal, is so transparent!
Posted by truth, a resident of the Menlo Park: Belle Haven neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2009 at 11:20 am
Aside from my purchasing habits and your outright false intimation that I am against development, you fail to pick up on the discussion. This string is about influence and my point continues to hold. If the unions gave councilmembers you don't like $50,000 that would be a comparable complaint.
The fact is, development money seeps into policy far too often. You see, it is not just development projects, although I still cannot see a project Boyle has rejected. It goes to the heart of political gaming. This money is behind a small group of people who are pushing a specific ideology. Whether or not you agree with that ideology is not the point.
The point is, we should not allow candidates to take such an aggressive amount of special interest money. Raise the money through residents. Do it the right way. Both sides, wake up and do it right.
But if you are going to throw out a sloppy pitch to try to fool people into thinking $1300 is the same influence as $50,000, who are you kidding. Boyle has been funded by special interests more than any candidate I can remember.
It doesn't mean he is a bad person. But it does mean your union argument is weak and obtuse.
Posted by Truth?????, a resident of the Menlo Park: Belle Haven neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2009 at 11:46 am
Developer donations, are not the same as Union donations. There is nothing in the by-laws stating that once ever 2 years or so, the council has to negotiate "developer contracts"! The unions have a MUCH bigger influence, there's a direct, not dotted, line toward the expense of a city, when it comes to unions. With developers, it's a choice to negotiate or not to negotiate.
Posted by truth, a resident of the Menlo Park: Belle Haven neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2009 at 12:08 pm
Don't cheapen the debate.
It is all a matter of 3 votes either way.
Give us all a break.
You get three votes backed by developers you get what you had with Duboc-Jellins-Winkler, a triumverate of ideologues pushing projects through without public debate, pushing an outsourcing ideology against the wishes of the public and a revolving door for developer goodies.
Dotted lines and hysteria aside, it is all about three votes to the developers.
Posted by desdemona, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2009 at 1:07 pm
>>Developer donations, are not the same as Union donations.<< (sic)
Agreed. The unions tend to support candidates with small donations, but their efforts are mostly irrelevant, certainly as far as Menlo Park is concerned. No matter who is sitting on the council, the council tends to approve increases in salaries and benefits that keep employees in line with employees of other communities. The Winkler/Duboc/Jellins record with regard to unions is no different from the record of the current council: the councils may ask a lot of questions, but in the end, they give the raises!
Now, developer influence is much much different. When developer convince the council to set aside the rules, ignore the general plan, and rezone a parcel, the developers are essentially asking the council to transfer $millions in shared community wealth to their pockets.
If interactions with developers occurred in accordance with city code or council bylaws, we would probably see less corruption. But -- unlike union negotiations -- there is no regulation, so abuse is rampant.
Posted by I Give UP, a resident of the Menlo Park: Felton Gables neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2009 at 2:38 pm
"Desdemona" and "Truth", I do not know what your background is, and I certainly do not know who you are, but good luck with your theories and philosophies. None of them hold any water. We're all still looking at vacant lots, gang grafetti, a broken down business district and inflated city employee costs. Meanwhile during the next election this same council group will receive the benefit of endorsements from unions, money from unions, neighborhood walking by the unions and fliers/brochures tearing apart those that don't support unions.
I am very happy that recently there has been a groundswell of citizens that have seen the light of day, and just maybe, maybe, there will be a backlash against your sort of thinking. I am looking forward to the day when we have some viable buildings or open space in those vacant lots, space that is collecting revenue for the city and not collecting trash! Lastly, most developers OWN their land, unions do not OWN these employees.
Posted by morris brown, a resident of the Menlo Park: Park Forest neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2009 at 3:11 pm
To: Phil Giurlani:
Your statement above in reference to the Derry project is simply false. You state:
"Your information is simply not true. What vote was Boyle a part of involving Derry, 389 ECR, or 1300 ECR? These projects, including the new Derry, are still in the planning phases and have not been presented to even the Planning Commission for a vote"
The new Derry project has been heard in several planning commission meetings and has been approved. The only approval still needed would be at the City council level. Thus far the developer, The O'Brien Group has failed to bring before the City Council for their approval or rejection.
389 El Caminio was never even presented as a project by the developer. 1300 El Camino is still in planning -- I believe in the EIR stage.
Councilman Boyle has made it quite clear he will not support the revised project, if and when it comes to a Council Vote.
Posted by look around, a resident of the Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2009 at 5:56 pm
Excuse me, but development is not occurring here or anywhere else No developer can get credit right now. There is a real slowdown on any sort of commercial development. Vacancies are cropping up everywhere. To blame this on anyone locally is the height of ignorance and incivility.
Posted by one more, a resident of the Menlo Park: Fair Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2009 at 7:35 pm
did someone mention 75 willow? that project was under matteson i think and boyle definitely saw that through. i never saw boyle associated with 1906 either.
between the two major funding sources, unions and developers, we can pine all day about a better world. i fear this is what we have, so let's at least try to keep it civil. hank and truth need to chill out.