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Should Kelly Fergusson have gone to DC

Original post made by henry on Mar 10, 2011

Anyone reading the California Fair Political Practice Act would have to conclud that Council Woman Kelly Fergusson violated it. Fergusson is the Clean Energy Business Development Manager for Local Government for Siemens. Siemens has advertised on behalf of High Speed Rail. And Kelly is going to DC to lobby, ostensibly for the City, on HSR issues. It is inappropriate as the FPPC rules demonstrate. Web Link.

Why has the Almanac,which has always advocated for open government, pulled this topic from the Town Square Forum, when so many issues of much less importance remain?

Comments (52)

Posted by Morris Brown, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm

City council and Menlo Park residents:

At the end of the March 1 council meeting, Kelly Fergusson announced she was headed to Washington DC to express views on High Speed Rail and apparently on CalTrain electrification.

You can view this discussion on YouTube at:

Web Link

This trip was not previously disclosed and had not been approved by council.

Kelly Fergusson works for Siemens, which has been trying to become a vendor for the project. There is certainly now a question of whether she should recuse herself from any HSR discussions.

She talks about a two track option. Two tracks is not an option for HSR. How many times does vanArk have to say HSR demands two tracks for itself. Since UPRR and CalTrain currently use 2 tracks, four tracks in some configuration is gong to be needed.

The discussion indicates the City's lobbyist, Ravi Mehta, didn't even have a good plan for the visit.

Finally she mentions CalTrain electrification. Is there a City policy on CalTrain electrification? Kelly seems to think so, since she says she will be working to get the money for electrification.

The City's lobbyist Ravi Mehta is quoted

"The cities - not just the councils, but the community itself - supported high-speed rail, and they're still supportive, but only if it's done right." Mehta told National Review Online. "What the initiative said, and how it was implemented, are two different things."

Indeed, is this the City' position? It certainly should not be.

This project has ballooned from $32 billion to $65 billion in 2 years. The State is in dire financial shape and still we are supposed to be supportive?

Again form your own opinions: Look at:

Web Link

Morris Brown
Stone Pine Lane

Posted by Poster, a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm

This thread is still up: Web Link

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm

The penalty for not disclosing conflicts is not nearly as severe as the penalty for actual acting in conflict with one's elected duties.

Sometimes it is a good idea to give someone enough rope and then let them hang themselves. Particularly people who have a tendency to act as if there is no limit to the length of the rope - it is the sudden stop when they reach the end of the rope that finally gets their attention

Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 10, 2011 at 3:13 pm

My comments are not about Kelly and her actions, but about those issues upon which she is taking action. Her ostensible intent is to represent the city of which she is a Council member.

As Morris asks, is there a Menlo Park position on Caltrain electrification? Does the city support this? I ask because that support is fraught with problems.

Caltrain does not need electrification. It could choose a far less expensive and less intrusive upgrade with DEMUs that do just about the same job, but are far more cost/effective. (see: Wikipedia)

However, high-speed rail does require electrification. Is that significant in this situation? Not to be coy about it, does Caltrain still long for HSR joining them on the Caltrain corridor in order for the Rail Authority to dispense their largesse for various corridor upgrades? I contend that Caltrain's pursuit of electrification is code for the pursuit of high-speed rail on the corridor.

Nor will electrification bail out Caltrain from its structural deficit that has brought it, according to Caltrain, to the brink of bankruptcy. Electrification, in short, is a red herring.

The MTC has arranged a bailout for Caltrain's subsidy shortfall. Will that solve the Caltrain problem? What is Menlo Park's position on that?

Kelly is also going to support high-speed rail in her meetings with Speier and Eshoo. Both are Democrats and their bottom line is the pursuit of federal stimulus funding for California, regardless of the costs to Menlo Park or California. Is this also Menlo Park policy?

Let's put the question another way. Just what, exactly is Menlo Park's policy on High-Speed rail and Caltrain? If there isn't one, why not? And if there is one, why is that not publicly known?

[Written as a private citizen]

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm

The question isn't whether Kelly Fergusson should go to Washington. The question is whether Ms. Fergusson should come back to Menlo Park.

Posted by Henry Riggs, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Mar 10, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Henry Riggs is a registered user.

I don't understand why a Siemens business development (sales) person, Ms. Fergusson, should go DC to lobby for HSR as my city's representative - reimbursed or not - when we don't have city-wide support for HSR. I don't support funding any business lobbyist on city funds, but especially for a massively expensive system we haven't agreed we want to buy into. Whom does this trip really serve?

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 10, 2011 at 6:58 pm

"Whom does this trip really serve?"

Kelly Fergusson

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 11, 2011 at 7:07 am

It seems very strange to me that the City of Menlo Park would endorse an OFFICIAL trip to Washington, DC for one of its Council Members so she can discuss the high speed rail project... when the city doesn't even have a position on this issue!


Who is Ms. Fergusson representing? Menlo Park? Siemens? Herself? And if not Menlo Park, then why is Menlo Park's lobbyist coordinating her meetings? Why is Ms. Fergusson meeting with members of Congress using the cache and (at minimum) the imprint of her elected office?

Given the fact that Menlo Park does not have an official position on HSR, this all seems very inappropriate to me.

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 11, 2011 at 10:04 am

For all of you out there who keep begging for the city's policy on HSR, why can't you do your own homework and look back at all the meetings, and content developed when our council stood up against this project? But before you do that, the public voted for this in MP by a large majority. If you are asking why council does not have a policy, you better know that the public wants HSR. And if you are making a sweeping assumption that new facts change all of that, then it sounds like you are jus guessing.

So you want three people to vote on a policy regardless of that vote?

Or do you want another vote?

I, for one, trust that the mayor has it right and he has been right all along. He asks for ridership data and he asks for a business plan to prove what the numbers are before we decide on what we want. How can we beg for a policy when we don't have the proper data?

Where did you guys all get so confused?

Do SOME homework on the issue. cline is quoted about a dozen times asking for new analysis and that four tracks proposed is unfounded and that two tracks is unfounded.

The Almanac alone has tons of coverage of the old council debating this very topic.

Here is one you all not get the paper?

"We need to start zeroing in on the ridership studies that have justified the amount of trains, the width of the tracks, the routes of the trains, and the cost to the state and to each individual rider in the future," Mr. Cline said. "When [Palo Alto] Mayor [Pat] Burt and I sat in front of senators Simitian and Lowenthal last January, we asked how Merced and Gilroy could have more trains projected in 2035 than Boston and Baltimore."

The time gained by the project's starting construction in the Central Valley rather than closer to home is time that the mayor thinks could be used to demand a new, peer-reviewed ridership study conducted by a third party.

"The worst thing we can do is to allow the HSRA to keep moving ahead as they are until they end up building a train system to nowhere ... which will make that bridge to nowhere look like a cute mistake," Mr. Cline said.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I support HSR and I DON'T think that Fergusson/Falsie should represent Menlo Park.

1) Even though I support HSR, doing it in an unethical way like this is unacceptable. There is a clear conflict of interest.

2) $400??? Really?

3) She can't explain her way out of a box.

Most people (though not as vocal on this website) support HSR and voted for it. Let's get a legitimate spokesperson to represent us.

Posted by Scholar, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Hank Lawrence hit the nail on the head here.

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm

In the video available on the Menlo Park website at the March 1 meeting, the Mayor deflected all questions about the council's official position on HSR.

Perhaps truth knows better than your Mayor.

Citizen referendums do not necessarily reflect their elected official's position.

Posted by antics, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 11, 2011 at 6:14 pm

The Daily Post has a comprehensive story about other travel Ferguson has done on behalf of Menlo Park. So where in the world is the Almanac's coverage on any of this? They get scooped time and time again...

Let's not begrudge our hardworking and underpaid council members a little travel and expense on city business. But we should really think about whether or not these trips really serve an identifiable public service or whether they are really personal boondoggles for networking...

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 11, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I just slapped a quote down from a past article. Are you allergic to facts POGO? Or just trying to be cute? I can throw down dozens of examples of my mayor standing up for MP and taking a strong position. Carlson in Atherton too.

What about your mayor in Woodside if you really live there, which is doubtful now given your past year of Menlo Park commentary? Anyone? Beuler?

The Post is an ideological rag, not a newspaper. Get over yourself.

Posted by peter carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm

peter carpenter is a registered user.

"The Post is an ideological rag"

Perhaps, but the Post does a MUCH better job of timely reporting than any of the other local press. I can make my own judgment of the what is reported but I cannot make a judgment on what is NOT reported.

Posted by peter carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm

peter carpenter is a registered user.

Truth states, again and again and again:"Get over yourself."

Why must you always use your postings to attack others? Deal with the issues.

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Peter, I just put down facts earlier and they were summarily dismissed by people who happen to think like you. If this was someone you opposed regularly like me, you would be asking POGO to deal with the issues.

He watches a single video and tries to color city leadership when there is no doubt that our Mayor has been a regional leader on this issue. No doubt. To deny it or obfuscate is just plain petty. I agree Fergusson could use some help in her decision process and she serves no purpose in DC, but we have had multiple meetings on HSR principles in our town, multiple letters written to legislators and public hearings and the like.

But the grumps like Martin and Steve want more. Always more. If I were the Mayor, I would throw up my hands and tell them to pound sand.

Posted by peter carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 11, 2011 at 7:17 pm

peter carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter, I just put down facts earlier and they were summarily dismissed by people who happen to think like you."

Welcome to the club of posters who have been summarily dismissed - I gather that you do not enjoy the experience.

A mindless sandbox.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 11, 2011 at 9:55 pm

" If I were the Mayor, I would throw up my hands and tell them to pound sand."

when will you be running truth? Until then, spare us your "if I were mayor...."

Posted by EMU/DEMU?, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 12, 2011 at 8:31 am

Martin Engel- you mention DEMUs as being equivalent to EMUs, but Clem Tillier has said on his blog:

"DMUs (Diesel Multiple Units) were often mentioned at the summit as an alternative to electrification. This solution will not achieve the required time savings! Electric trains have a much higher power-to-weight ratio that gives them the required acceleration. It cannot be emphasized enough that the quality desired of Caltrain's new fleet is acceleration. Top speed matters much less. When picking a new train fleet, the key performance spec is power-to-weight ratio... today's diesels are at about 6 kW/metric ton, and we need to be at least in the 12-15 kW/ton range. A few people mentioned Japanese hybrid DMUs (diesel with battery storage), but those extremely lightweight DMUs would never meet the crash standards that are being required of Caltrain. If these hybrid trains were imported here, their structural mass would have to be increased and their acceleration would be insufficient to provide much of a benefit. If it can't do 12 kW/ton, forget about it."
(excerpt- full here: Web Link)

I understand Clem's pretty respected on this topic, so could you respond? I poked around on Wikipedia but didn't see anything that clearly said they were equivalent (and am somewhat dubious of Wikipedia anyway). Thanks.

Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm

It seems to me that if anyone should have attended the meeting in Washington, D.C., it should have been the City Lobbyist who is under contract and being payed to represent the City of Menlo Park. If Ms. Fergusson wants to travel around the county, often staying at expense hotels amd dining at expensive resturants, she should fund her trips on her own dime. Council members are paid a salary to attend local meetings,seminars, etc.. Any type of meeting being held out of the immediate area or outside of the state of California should come out of their own pockets. This is especially true, when the City has apparently not taken an official stand on the subject matter that was being dicussed at the D.C. meeting. In these difficult financial times, every cent of taxpayer dollars needs to be spent with much caution and thought. If Ms. Fergusson wants to go to D.C. as a private citizen, representing herself, to be better informed on issues that the City is discussing, let her pay for the trip. I would approve under those circumstances.

Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm


I remember this comparison from Clem. The burden is on Clem to make his case for EMUs. He may well be correct in this distinction, but acceleration/deceleration is not all that matters. Top speeds are going to be the same, regardless; i.e., 110mph max. On a total trip of either 55 or 70 miles (whether Gilroy is or isn't the terminal) how much time differential can there be? We're not talking drag-races here, are we? Vomit bags behind every seat?

Just exactly what is that time difference? How many minutes will be saved on a SJ to SF express trip by full electrification EMUs vs. the DEMUs?

What is the total capital cost of electrification and the total cost of using DEMUs? If the costs for electrification are two billion dollars and therefore the cost differential between EMU (with electrification) and DEMUs (on the current corridor arrangement) is huge (as I believe it is), how many minutes of time gained will justify that capital investment?

Then, which are cheaper to maintain, and again you have to include the entire electrification system, not just the rolling stock, as is the case with the DEMUs.

The overall question, that Clem needs to answer (and I have great respect for his knowledge) is the cost/benefit issue. Which system is, over the long haul, more cost-effective?

Most people seem highly dismissive of capital development investments, especially in the public sector. It would appear that it's OPM, other peoples' money. Well, it isn't. It's your money.

What's my point? So even if DEMUs are slower by a number of minutes, so what? They are far less expensive to "install" than electrification and that difference may never amortize.

Since we're on this topic, I'll have more to say about Caltrain on this thread.

Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Forgive me if I change the subject from the never-ending adventures of Kelly goes to Washington, to Caltrain and electrification.

If you look at Wikipedia's article on DEMUs (see below), you will discover a rail technology far more suited to commuter passenger service than the heavy rail currently used by Caltrain. One immediate effect in the transition would be a major decline in energy consumption, and therefore operating costs. (And it's operating costs that have been the real problem.)

Furthermore, unlike the current train-sets, there would be far more flexibility in scheduling appropriate to passenger loads. Being self-powered, it is possible to run very frequent single or double cars during lighter hours, and longer train-sets during key commute hours. That's the secret of rail cost-effectiveness since it optimizes available load capacity with demand.

Then, there can be a gradual transition from current rolling stock to the newer, lighter cars. They are compatible on current tracks and require no additional development of the rail corridor. (However, even I am an advocate for additional passing tracks to permit faster express trains to pass, local, slower trains.)

Nor will they interfere with Union Pacific's rights and operations.

What is required is greater emphasis on minimizing the subsidy requirements of this commuter service, but providing stable subsidies to obtain a balanced budget in a parsimonious way. And, less emphasis on grandiose capital development aspirations. Upgrades of rolling stock makes a lot of sense but those costs need to be amortized and not become perpetual burdens on taxpayers.

The overall goal should be to terminate Caltrain/JPB as a management organization and fold the Peninsula Commuter rail system into the larger fold of the Capital Corridor organization which includes BART. One transit umbrella for the closed circle around the entire Bay Area. Far greater coordination and integration to the benefit of commuters. Far more system cost-effectiveness. Emphasis on passenger transit services, not on running a railroad. And, the technologies don't have to be compatible. Capital Corridor uses one type of train-set, BART another and Caltrain still a third. No problem. Just so they're coordinated.

As presently constituted, Caltrain cannot and should not be a state operation. But folded into the Capital Corridor rail system would make it a state operation with far greater reliability (though admittedly far from perfect) than it is now.

These changes would by-pass the "Friends of Caltrain" and other political nonsense being promoted by some of our more vocal politicians.

And, as I said previously, bringing DEMUs on board over time will upgrade the Peninsula corridor trains greatly.

Posted by Roxie, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Mar 12, 2011 at 9:33 pm


You know who I want to choose our trains and work out our train system? At the minimum people who want train systems, then people who have professional experience running train systems -- you are neither.

DEMU -- just another red herring, give us a break and quit hijacking every rail discussion that comes along

Posted by add in corruption, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 12, 2011 at 9:46 pm

What in the world was MP thinking by having Fergussion go to DC.

Most certianly her job at Siemens should have disqualified her.

Seimens is not only spending millions trying to win High Speed Rail contracts, they are probably the most un-ethical and corrupt company in europe. (or the world perhaps). Doesn't anyone read anymore?

Goggle Seimens corruption and come up with articles like:

Web Link

Just who was she working for on this trip? Maybe she should be asked that question on next Tuesday when she is expected to report on the findings for the trip which cost MP about $2000.

An added note is that the Authority's leader, vanArk, used to work for Seimens.

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 13, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Katherine Strehl of the Transportation Commission is apparently on a short list of folks talking about how to kill off local opposition. Van Aark is the leader of that discussion and she "represents" MP's best interests?

So I ask you Ed and all the anti-Kelly Repubs like Lee Duboc and Mickie Spinkler, why do you bite your tongue when the conflict of a friend is just as obvious?

It is called having principles and a backbone. Attacking an opponent is easy.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 13, 2011 at 7:16 pm


just to clarify - I am not a republican. I do not like Kelly because she has a serious lack of ethics, in my estimation. For her not to recuse herself from anything to do with HSR is simply inexcusable. Do you honestly not see a conflict of interest? I do not know enough about the Katherine Strehl situation to make an informed decision as to whether or not she has a conflict. I am certainly open to being convinced. You seem to be unable to recognize a gross conflict of interest when you see it, at least when it comes to Kelly.

Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2011 at 8:28 am

If I were the head of Siemens, and I saw that video, I would be wondering why we pay her to represent our interests. The woman cannot verbalize in a way that is at all understandable. Menlo Parkers, whether they are for or against HSR shouldn't worry about the meetings Kelly has in WDC. I'm sure no one she met with will have understood a word she said anyway.

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 14, 2011 at 8:37 am

Thanks for the value add WhoRU. Your insult has added so much to the discussion.

At least you are consistently below the belt. That is something.

Posted by henry, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm

How can you equate Katherine Strehl's situation with Kelly Fergusson's?
Katherine is recuesed on HSR issues.
Kelly should be, but is not.
Katherine is an unelected commissioner.
Kelly is elected.
Katherine is not asking the city to pay for anything.
Kelly is asking that her DC trip be reimbursed.
It goes on.

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm

There is nothing of record that states Siemens is doing the HSR work. Not a single record from what I can tell except hyperbole from Kelly's opponents. There is an obvious conflict when a commissioner is hired to stamp out opposition(meaning menlo park) to HSR and its current leadership/plan or lack thereof.

Help me understand how you know Siemens will be chosen to build HSR?

Where do you get this information?

And, if we are going on assumptions, can we assume that anyone swimming in SOLO or Masters or anyone with kids who may, should be excluded from pool decisions?

Can we also assume anyone who may get a job at Facebook, should be cut out of that discussion?

Shall I keep going?

Posted by whoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Truth-nice try. Here ya go

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm

truth -

"Even the appearance" of a conflict of interest is reason enough for recusal.

Kelly's employer stands to benefit significantly from her actions as an elected official. As an employee, some of that benefit will almost certainly inure to her - in the value of her stock options, stock ownership, profit sharing, bonus, or even job security.

Posted by morris brown, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm

The link provided by whoRUpeople above has an error:

The correct link is:

Web Link

Truth is being Truth(less) again.

There are many more references to Siemens and their interest in HSR and HSR in California in particular.

Kelly recuses herself from dealings with Stanford University, since her husband works for Stanford. He is in data processing and has nothing to do with decisions that would affect the relationship between Stanford and Menlo Park. Nevertheless, Kelly recuses herself from Stanford discussions; I think this is proper.

In the case of her job at Siemens, I think she should recuse herself for all dealings with HSR and CalTrain. Siemens makes a whole lot of hardware, that HSR and CalTrain might want to purchase. There is absolutely no doubt about Siemens interest in providing hardware and possibly services for HSR in California.

Quite possibly, this should be brought before the CFPC and asking for a ruling to be given. City Attorney McClure, when I asked him about this, said it is the responsibility of the office holder to make a decision on whether to participate on issues or recuse oneself because of possible conflicts of interest.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 14, 2011 at 8:28 pm


oncew again you ignore teh obvious. Kelly has a clear conflict of interst. Why can't you see this?

Posted by Spotted at the Safeway, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm

[Post removed; stick to the topic and don't disparage other posters.]

Posted by halle, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Iam so disgusted with Fergussdon, to say the least!!

I am also disgusted with anyone on the coun cil who voted for her to go and agreed to reimburse her at an extravagant rate!

Does anybiody know which council members agreed to have her go and reimburse her??

Why isn 't the council, again , not acting upon what the voters want? I thought the council was suppose to represent its constituents!!!!

Posted by Or Consequences, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 15, 2011 at 1:53 pm

[Post removed. Please don't link an anonymous poster's name with an actual person.]

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm

I respect Paul as I have said I respect all folks who put themselves out there to take the kind of crap that folks like you all sling. Sure there are some really good points made time to time, but for the most part this forum is full of one ideology and Lee Dubock parrots.

Look at your behavior and you see why I exist. You insult and impugn anyone who disagrees with you. You accuse them of malfeasance and fraud many times without any evidence. You decry them all as politicians, unless you agree with them (John and Peter, of late) and you deride even how they talk in meetings.

But none of have ever ran or ever will for a council seat. Carpenter will try to tell you he sat on a fire board, but that is kids play. A single source budget carried by Menlo Park.

For most of you, you claim to not live here, which is a complete lie.

So you attack Kelly after your leader tells you to, and you get mad when someone finally calls you on your crazy?

I can list dozens of potential conflicts of interest where Mickie and Lee and many others say right up there and pulled the chain without any criticism.

Katherine is conflicted out and should not be on the commission, period. She is not just working with HSR, she is assigned to stamp out opposition. That should get you kicked right off.

That is too easy. Morris, I think you mean the FPPC, and I agree you should take it there. I will gloat when they come back and confirm there is no conflict.

Kelly is not my favorite, but I cannot stand the blatant disrespect from a bunch of people who have no will to run for the very seat they shout down.

I have defended Boyle and Heyward and Cohen in the past when I felt the tone was unfair.

Posted by peter carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 15, 2011 at 3:44 pm

peter carpenter is a registered user.

Truth states:"I respect all folks who put themselves out there to take the kind of crap that folks like you all sling. "

Truth then immediately states:". Carpenter will try to tell you he sat on a fire board, but that is kids play." Just a $30 million budget and dealing with life and death issues.

Truth is posting the very kind of crap he accuses others of slinging - no shame, no honor, no integrity. In fact, no truth.

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Did you put out a fire? Don't try to steal the courage from the actual men and women who do. You managed a single source budget that is propped up by MP. That is the truth.

Posted by peter carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm

peter carpenter is a registered user.

I served 3 years as a firefighter in Florida and 3 as a Smokejumper (not exactly a safe job) for the US Forest Service and 3 years in and out of Vietnam during the war (with other people who actually had the courage to serve).

And what exactly has "Truth" done to give him the right to even question anyone's public service? Absolutely nothing.

Truth - give up now and apologize - you will lose. But then you have nothing to lose as no one knows who you are and what you have or haven't done.

Posted by Truth Serum, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm

[Post removed. Please don't link an anonymous poster's name with an actual person.]

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Don't play games with the wording of my statement. Have you put out a fire as a district board member? I don't care about you or your resume of self importance.

The point is that you serve on a board with a single point of revenue and you consistently try to equate it to that of a city council when it is nothing close. And you deride council members from a place of zero experience in that matter.

Planning Commission back when Nixon was president is not the same either.

I will not apologize for telling it like it is. I think you guys have clearly become so sensitive to someone arguing with you that you can only attack.

I am literally your only voice of opposition on this forum. Poor you.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Truth - you are simply a blow hard without a single day of public service and without any credibility to criticize the public service of others.

Let's get back on topic.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Let's stick to the topic at hand.

Let's not let falsie de-rail the conversation.

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 15, 2011 at 7:08 pm

truth asked Mr. Carpenter, "Did you put out a fire?"

Well, it turns out that Mr. Carpenter HAS put out fires... as a firefighter and smokejumper.

He wasn't playing games with the wording of your statement, he answered you.

Truth, you got pwned... no two ways about it. Ouch.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 15, 2011 at 7:30 pm

truth always gets pwned. Be willing to bet he's never placed himslef in harms way. He still hasn't answered what I've asked him. Why can't he see that Kelly has a huge conflict of interest and has no business having anything to do with HSR? Please don't deflect with "this person and that person has a conflict." Answer the question truth, does Kelly have a conflict of interest when it comes to HSR? Should she recuse herself from anything associated with HSR? Does it bother you that she has a conflict of interest?

Posted by Morris Brown, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 16, 2011 at 2:19 am

For those following this story, Kelly Fergusson gave her report to council last evening on the trip to DC. (3/15/2011)

You can view this segment of the meeting on YouTube at:

Web Link

(the whole segment is about 20 minutes.:

Posted by anne, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 18, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Do not have Menlo Park taxpayers pay the freight on Kelly's trip. I hope Kelly watches this video since she really needs to work on both content and delivery of speeches.

Posted by listener, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 19, 2011 at 10:36 am

When I listened to the taped meeting, it sounded as if the bearded staff member fumbled. It seems he forgot to agendize the agenda item. If I were Kelly, I would simply put this to rest and pay for the DC trip. At this point, she could suffer a recall but that is a difficult process.

Posted by Kelly Fergusson, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 21, 2014 at 10:19 am

This thread recently came to my attention. Reading through this, I am reminded why I don't follow the Almanac Town Square – the breadth and degree of misinformation and vitriol is truly astonishing! In order to set the record straight, I offer the following:

My trip to Washington DC in March, 2011 was in my role as a member of the City Council Subcommittee on HSR, in order to reinforce the City's lobbying efforts against the proposed 4-track elevated design through Menlo Park. I sought and received an opinion from the FPPC, which found there was no conflict between my lobbying efforts and my employment with Siemens.

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