Town Square

Post a New Topic

Talk About A Free Ride

Original post made by Them Apples, Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks, on May 7, 2013

When we take a good look at Stanford's proposal on El Camino Real, Menlo Park, residents have to remember that the university's land has been owned since Leland and Jane summered in their cottage near the Menlo train station. Secondly, the project will be funded thanks to the generosity of John Arrillaga.

Add the incompetence of the 2008 council which put a Stanford fox in the henhouse by selecting a consultant with ties to Stanford to oversee the creation of the specific plan That consultant was also working on a 5 million sf Stanford campus in Redwood City at the same time. Does anyone think the consultant didn't think about Stanford's development design every day during the entire specific plan process?

Throw in a million dollar environmental review and traffic study paid for by the city that now appear to favor Stanford's dump of 6,400 new cars on El Camino real and the bottom line seems to be Menlo Park sold the ranch for a dime.

What did Menlo Park get? No hotel and no hotel tax. No senior housing which the community needs and which produces less traffic than office. No bike tunnel. No real plaza for people to gather. No real public benefit.

Free land, free development costs, free top notch consultant working behind the scenes for Stanford's interests, free EIR and traffic study for approximately $1.7M and not one public benefit for Menlo Park.

The university brags that its endowment is not at $17Billion. The city council and staff were played for fools. Stanford Management Company is made up of very clever employees. They must be in stitches. Dumb little town gets tricked by a big university. Why don't we just call it the Stanford Plan, our gift to Stanford.

Comments (61)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2013 at 10:15 am

This is a repackaged non-story designed to rekindle a "controversy." Now the editors will delete this comment.

Peter Carpenter -- your rationality services are needed again.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 8, 2013 at 11:04 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Once again cute words are being used in place of facts.

"Free land" - does that mean if you are a long time Menlo Park property owner that your land was free or somehow now belongs to your neighbors free of charge or what?

"Free development cost" - does the writer really believe that John Arrillaga will build this project for 'free' and that he does not expect, in fact require, a return on his investment?

" not one public benefit for Menlo Park" - just more new housing than Menlo Park itself has been able to create over the last ten years and about 25% of what the court has ordered. And jobs, and revenues to the city and the elimination of the current unsightly, non-revenue producing uses.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 8, 2013 at 11:13 am

Irreparable damage is being done to Menlo Park and the surrounding area. Our very own City Council and city employees are ushering in the damage by allowing zoning changes, and hoodwinking the citizens. ABAG has huge culpability here too. Stanford is fouling it's own nest.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 8, 2013 at 11:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"ushering in the damage by allowing zoning changes, and hoodwinking the citizens."

Hardly - here is the very clear and open history of these zoning changes:

For anyone interested in the actual source documents here are the links:
1 - Menlo Park engaged in a multi-year effort to produce a Specific Plan for the Downtown area. This effort included substantial input by citizens as noted in the Specific Plan:
"…And the thousands of community members who did
the real work of the Specific Plan by providing direction
for their community for the next 20 to 30 years. Their
dedication to working in a constructive, collaborative way
to create a plan that will make our community the best it
can be is an admirable testament to our ability to achieve
the vision set forth in the Specific Plan."
Here is the Vision Plan:
Web Link

2– A Draft EIR was produced regarding that proposed Specific Plan and public comments were solicited,

3 – A Final EIR was prepared which incorporated responses to the comments received on the Draft EIR,
Web Link

4 – The Final EIR and the Specific Plan were unanimously approved by the City Council after having been publicly available for 45 days:
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2013 at 11:30 am

I do see two statements in this post that represent true fact, and, given the posters obvious affiliation, the first one discredits a claim being made constantly by SaveMenlo.

"....EIR and traffic study for approximnately $1.7 million..." True, CQUA law was met, the DSP underwent an EIR and traffic study, and thus the zoning put on this parcel by the City Council is now law. To say now that the project, since it complies with the zoning, still needs to go through another EIR, is wrong.

"SMC is made up of very clever employees" I agree, among the best and brightest at what they do as I have ever seen. So what is wrong with Stanford having a great team serving its interests?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve Schmidt
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 8, 2013 at 5:53 pm

The Apples poster is making the point that Stanford has a deal: They have owned the land forever, so there are no land costs; Menlo Park hired the Specific Plan consultant, who happened to be working for Stanford on another project, costing Stanford nothing; the EIR was Menlo Park's responsibility, no cost to Stanford there; Stanford has said that Mr. Arrillaga will build the buildings on his dime and give them to Stanford. The only cost incurred by Stanford up to now has been for design services on the three proposals made public so far.
The current turmoil is at least partially a result of the talent imbalance between the Stanford Management Company and Menlo Park. There is nothing wrong with Stanford looking out its best interests, and so far Menlo Park Staff and Council are getting crushed.
The residents have every reason to be frightened by this situation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 8, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"They have owned the land forever, so there are no land costs; "

Welcome to the socialist view of Menlo Park!!

Would you sell your house or a lot for nothing simply because you have owned it for a long time?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by apple core
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 10, 2013 at 9:59 am

Stanford isn't selling so what's the point?
They have every right to pursue their interests, and the residents of Menlo Park have every right to protect and pursue their own. The Specific Plan tipped the balance in developers' and Stanford's favor. It's about time to reset the balance.
Fortunately the Specific Plan allows for project-specific environmental review (even a new EIR -- yes it says that), and the Council agreed to review the Specific Plan in a year. We've learned a lot from the Stanford and Glenwood hotel projects, and some changes are warranted in the Plan. The Council needs to schedule the review.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by joe
a resident of another community
on May 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Peter's constantly insisting that MP has no recourse or that MP has its chance and residents have to move on.
e.g.
"1 - Menlo Park engaged in a multi-year effort to produce a Specific Plan for the Downtown area. This effort included substantial input by citizens as noted in the Specific Plan:"

But this plan is flawed like a Microsoft ZUNE Player. It's just not right despite all the planning and detailed work. It happens and we have a way to fix these problems.

We engineers call this Validating a product. We verify we met the individual requirements and we validate they specified the right product.

This project fails to achieve what MP residents wanted for el Camino and it's right to ask MP city gov't fix it. It's reasonable and fair to look at the end result and see if the Plan and this project achieve what was intended.

No Hotel tax revenue and hotel patrons.
No Bike tunnel or income to build one
No senior housing.

Compare MP's sales tax income to other cities. How is MP going to close the gap with this project further congesting El Camino with medical office visits?

Give me a reason to visit MP besides needed to see a dermatologist.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 12, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"This project fails to achieve what MP residents wanted for el Camino "

a good engineer would have data to support such a claim.

"Compare MP's sales tax income to other cities."

Joe - Please provide the comparative data to which you refer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by joe
a resident of another community
on May 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Peter, a good engineer understands what VALIDATION means. MP has to validate the plan is doing what was intended.

You continually refer to the requirements and planning and the time spent on the specific plan to verify the project is complaint BUT the complaints are with the outcome -- that's validation.

It is a classic mistake to assume if one can show something meets requirements and if one does the detail work, it results in a correct out come. That's not the case which is why we do validation.

MP has to look at the results like this project and... wow.

I see immediate problems with a lot of medical office automobile traffic and low tax income per visit/transaction.

If you ask for comparative sales tax revenue his kind of indicates I'm right, you haven't validated the project's outcome. Not being a MP resident or X-Stanford employee, I looked and understood many objections. Hotel's are quite profitable and senior citizens don't drive that much.

I've looked at MP's sales tax (2011) and Atherton, PA and other city sales tax revenue like my city in Santa Clara.

Like most CA cities, MP needs more revenue, real estate tax is not the answer and there's a limit to the number of cars MP can accommodate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 12, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I've looked at MP's sales tax (2011) and Atherton, PA and other city sales tax revenue like my city in Santa Clara."

"Compare MP's sales tax income to other cities."

Joe - Please provide the comparative data to which you refer.

"complaints are with the outcome -- that's validation."

Sounds like Joe would destroy a good bridge simply if a couple of people complained hat they did not like the bridge - scary


 +   Like this comment
Posted by joe
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2013 at 9:30 am

"Sounds like Joe would destroy a good bridge simply if a couple of people complained hat they did not like the bridge - scary"

Peter would destroy *this* community with a bad project and I recall him commenting "TOUGH".

There are already changes in response to these criticisms. I expect more changes before MP validates the development.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 13, 2013 at 9:48 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There are already changes in response to these criticisms. I expect more changes before MP validates the development."

Absolutely correct - Stanford the first version of its proposed development last year

"Stanford University is proposing to redevelop the properties currently addressed 300-550 El Camino Real, which is an 8.43-acre site that is part of the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan area. The project parcels are part of the Specific Plan's "ECR SE" zoning district and "El Camino Real Mixed Use" land use designation. The existing buildings (current and former auto dealerships) and site features would be replaced with a new mixed-use development consisting of offices, housing, and retail.

The proposal would adhere to the Specific Plan's "Base" level standards, which were established to achieve inherent public benefits, such as the redevelopment of underutilized properties, the creation of more vitality and activity, and the promotion of healthy living and sustainability. The proposal is required to comply with the Specific Plan's detailed standards and guidelines, which include requirements to limit building mass (in particular on upper floors), encourage articulation and architectural interest, require wider sidewalks, and mandate LEED Silver compliance. This project would also be required to provide a 120-foot-wide, publicly accessible frontage break at Middle Avenue. This "Burgess Park Linkage/Open Space Plaza" would lead to a future grade-separated pedestrian/bicycle crossing of the Caltrain tracks."

And since then the following has occurred:

The proposal was the subject of a Planning Commission study session on Monday, January 28, 2013. No action took place at this meeting, but the study session provided an opportunity for the Planning Commission and the public to become more familiar with the proposal and to identify potential questions and concerns. Since this meeting, the applicant has been reviewing this feedback and considering revisions to the proposal."

Stanford then submitted a revised proposal reflecting Planning Commission and community input.

"On Tuesday, April 16, 2013, the City Council held a regular business item to review the proposal and consider options for the project review process. The Council formed a project subcommittee, comprised of Council Members Carlton and Keith, with the primary objectives of facilitating the process and providing input on the traffic analysis."

Wisdom will prevail and the development will be approved.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 13, 2013 at 9:53 am

"Sounds like Joe would destroy a good bridge simply if a couple of people complained hat they did not like the bridge - scary"

Sounds like Peter is still doing his best Ted Stevens in promoting his pet "bridge to nowhere but gridlock" for Menlo Park, and sounds like Peter never took a basic course in logic (fallacy of analogy), and sounds like Peter is still trying to convince himself and others that just two Menlo Park residents remain opposed to the Stanford project, and seems like Peter did everything *but* address Joe's point about validation of the Specific Plan. All of which behavior is odd for a man who claims to be so wedded to facts, though, as we've seen thousandfold in this forum, Peter frequently weighs factual basis by the sheer number of characters one copies and pastes into a thread, never mind the relevance of those characters.

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 13, 2013 at 10:02 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"seems like Peter did everything *but* address Joe's point about validation of the Specific Plan"

No, I asked Joe what were his standards for validation and he replied ""complaints are with the outcome -- that's validation." That is a very poorly defined and minimal standard at best. If a complaint invalidated a public action then there would neither be any public actions or a democracy.

In my opinion validation was provided when the Draft Specific plan was presented and then revised and also tested by a draft and final EIR and then everything was presented for public review for 45 days before the council met, heard comments and approved the EIR and the Specific Plan.

If you don't like the outcome then work to change it but don't take the dishonest way of trying to trash the process. And Gern you continue to have a problem with the truth.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 13, 2013 at 10:16 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Stanford then submitted a revised proposal reflecting Planning Commission and community input."

1 - reducing office square footage from 229,500 to 199,500 as restricted medical office space to 25,000.

2 - Increased residential units to 190.

3 - Redesigned the publicly accessible plaza.

4 - Changed the actual building design in response to planning commission and citizen feedback.

And what was the opponents response now that Stanford had done almost everything that they had requested in their Save Menlo petition? A new demand, which is their idea of compromise, to totally remove the ECR-SE properties from the Downtown Specific Plan thereby placing these properties in limbo for years to come.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 13, 2013 at 10:31 am

"If you don't like the outcome then work to change it but don't take the dishonest way of trying to trash the process."

Exactly how have I, SaveMenlo, or any other party opposed to the Stanford project "trashed the process" to this point, Peter? Where, specifically, has this occurred? And how is removing 500 ECR East from the Specific Plan "trashing the process" when, in fact, it must procedurally occur within the planning process?

We are only "trashing the process" because we do not act or speak in accordance with your agenda, whatever that may be, Peter.

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 13, 2013 at 10:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Exactly how have I, SaveMenlo, or any other party opposed to the Stanford project "trashed the process" to this point, "

Numerous examples including"

"Our very own City Council and city employees are ushering in the damage by allowing zoning changes, and hoodwinking the citizens."

" Really, the Visioning was nothing but a FRAUD. It was nothing more than inviting Menlo Park Citizens to express their view, and then ignore them and do what Staff and their hired consultant wanted."

"But we've also learned that we apparently cannot rely on the Menlo Park Planning Department to carry out what we would have thought was their responsibility. "

""Do YOU think they deserve to be hoodwinked by paid city staff""

as well as many more such statements.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 13, 2013 at 11:07 am

Peter, yes, many people -- more than two, it would seem -- have spoken passionately, angrily, about the Visioning Process and the Specific Plan, which is their right, but no one has yet subverted the process, far as I know. When you say:

"If you don't like the outcome then work to change it but don't take the dishonest way of trying to trash the process."

You appear to imply dishonest *action* to subvert the process, rather than merely expressing outrage about a Plan which has clearly fallen short for a number of residents. What you mean by "trash the process" is known only to you, but to this point those I've seen who are working in opposition to the Stanford project are doing so legally, honestly, and, for the most part, within "the process."

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 13, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I am very pleased to know that Save menlo is committed to working within the established process - which means, among other things, accepting the existing Downtown Specific Plan as the law of the land and the will of the people until such time as it is modified.


Also, as evidence of their commitment to working within the established process, perhaps Save Menlo will post:

1 - Their Thank You letter to the City Council for meeting all of the requests made in the Save Menlo petition,

2 - Their Thank You letter to Stanford for responding in their revised proposal to almost all of requests made in the Save Menlo petition,

3 - Their letter to the Planning Commission detailing the exact specifications which they are requesting for ECR-SE should their request be accepted that ECR-SE be removed from the Specific Plan ( a new request not included in their petition but one necessitated by Stanford responding so favorably to their petition that they must now increase their demands).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 13, 2013 at 12:50 pm

"... accepting the existing Downtown Specific Plan as the law of the land and the will of the people until such time as it is modified."

You'll need to take up your letter-writing campaign with SaveMenlo but for my part I'm glad we're in agreement that removing a parcel is a perfectly legal modification to the Specific Plan.

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 13, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"removing a parcel is a perfectly legal modification to the Specific Plan."

Legal but not necessarily wise.

And it would require broad public support - which does not exist.

And it would require well thought out alternative zoning - which does not exist.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm

"Legal but not necessarily wise."

And not necessarily unwise. Since the wisdom of removing a parcel is a matter of opinion let's just agree that it is a legal course of action should the council choose to pursue it.

"And it would require broad public support - which does not exist."

A completely baseless assertion and clearly what you wish to believe, Peter.

"And it would require well thought out alternative zoning - which does not exist."

Because reverting to the pre-existing zoning would be, what, illegal? Or not well-thought-out-enough by your alternative standards of municipal planning, Peter?

More than enough time wasted today on the usual swirl round this issue with you, Peter. We disagree over matters of opinion, chiefly, and should happily leave it at that.

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is actually a blessing that the save the village folks are now pursuing the impossible dream of removing ECR-SE from the Specific Plan as that means that they will have little influence over the Stanford project that does get approved in conformance with the current zoning.

"Because reverting to the pre-existing zoning would be, what, illegal?"
No, but it would not be automatic and would require an entirely new approval process to accomplish.

" Or not well-thought-out-enough by your alternative standards of municipal planning, Peter?"

Correct - note exactly what happened, or more precisely, did not happen to that property under its prior zoning.

Perhaps Save Menlo will post:

1 - Their Thank You letter to the City Council for meeting all of the requests made in the Save Menlo petition,

2 - Their Thank You letter to Stanford for responding in their revised proposal to almost all of requests made in the Save Menlo petition,

3 - Their letter to the Planning Commission detailing the exact specifications which they are requesting for ECR-SE should their request be accepted that ECR-SE be removed from the Specific Plan ( a new request not included in their petition but one necessitated by Stanford responding so favorably to their petition that they must now increase their demands).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Them Apples wrote "...the 2008 council which put a Stanford fox in the henhouse by selecting a consultant with ties to Stanford to oversee the creation of the specific plan. That consultant was also working on a 5 million sf Stanford campus in Redwood City at the same time."

I searched the City web site and saw that Vince Bressler and Rich Cline served on the Specific Plan consultant selection committee. I assume that since it was clear in the consultant's cover letter on their application that they already working for Stanford (also available on line), are you saying that Vince Bressler and Rich Cline, two of Stanford's greatest critics, are part of the "grand conspiracy"?

Also, the Stanford project in Redwood City no where near 5 million square feet in size. (Don't believe me, you can check the Redwood City web site.)

Note to the Stanford haters: An incorrect statement (or lie) is still an incorrect statement no matter how many times you say it or how loudly you yell it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 13, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Facts are such pesky things - here is an excerpt from the council approved DC&E proposal:

"DC&E offers deep experience working with large institutional landowners like Stanford University, particularly in contexts in which institutional plans will have a significant
effect on nearby communities."

Why do the opponents refuse to present facts or to do any research?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 13, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

And here is an excerpt from the SMWM proposal:

" We are also currently engaged with Stanford University for the development of their
campus in Redwood City. We have been closely working with the University, the city, community groups and the large consultant team through Specific Plan and Design Guidelines process for entitlement. "

No secrets here.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on May 13, 2013 at 10:09 pm

The City Council should increase the salaries and benefits for all city employees - especially the City Manager and the City Attorney - so that they will feel more equal to the task of protecting the City from the greed of developers - including Stanford.

Okay, I am kidding. The City Council should FIRE THE CITY MANAGER AND CITY ATTORNEY. Okay, I am dreaming. Firing bad public employees rarely occurs in the real world. And when they are fired, they often just move on to another unsuspecting community. This newspaper should do a background check on the City Manager and City Attorney.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 14, 2013 at 8:09 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

More background on exactly how the consultant was selected for the Downtown Specific Plan - a VERY open process:

"By the September 25, 2008 RFP deadline, the City received four proposals from the
following consulting firms:
• Design, Community & Environment (DCE)
• EDAW
• PMC
• SMWM (Perkins+Will)
(Note: during the review process, SMWM announced an earlier-planned merger with
Perkins + Will. The latter, current name is used throughout this report for clarity.)
Electronic copies of the proposals were posted on the project web page and hard
copies were made available at City offices for public review. Staff reviewed the
proposals for basic compliance with the requirements of the RFP and found that all
adequately met the project objectives. As a result, the four firms were scheduled for
interviews with the Consultant Review Committee, a seven-person group comprised of
the following:
• City Council Member John Boyle
• City Council Member Richard Cline
• Planning Commissioner Vincent Bressler
• Planning Commissioner Henry Riggs
• Community Development Director Arlinda Heineck
• City Manager Glen Rojas
• Community Engagement Manager Cherise Brandell
All meetings of the Consultant Review Committee were open to the public and provided
opportunities for public comment. On October 13, 2008, the Consultant Review
Committee met to discuss the format of the interviews and to provide direction on the
questions to be asked of each firm. On October 14, the Consultant Review Committee
conducted one-hour interviews of each firm and discussed the next steps. The
Consultant Review Committee directed staff to conduct additional background research
and reference checks. After meeting on October 21 to review this information and
discuss the proposals in more detail, the Consultant Review Committee elected to
remove EDAW from consideration and to invite DCE, PMC, and Perkins+Will for
second-round interviews to focus on key questions, some of which were specific to each
unique proposal and some of which were more general.
On November 5 and 6, the Consultant Review Committee conducted the second-round
interviews. The final interview was followed by a discussion and deliberation session, at
which the Consultant Review Committee elected to recommend the selection of
Perkins+Will. The Consultant Review Committee felt that Perkins+Will offered the best
combination of community engagement and technical expertise to manage the Specific
Plan process. In addition, at the second-round interview, Perkins+Will reduced its
proposed fee from $938,230, which had been the highest of all four firms, to a range
between $808,000 and $828,000, comparable to the other proposals. Since the
second-round interview, staff has worked with Perkins+Will to finalize certain changes to
the proposed scope of work, schedule, and fee, as well as to refine the roles,
responsibilities, and composition of the project working group, which is discussed in
more detail in the Oversight and Outreach Committee section."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by joe
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Independence protects both the city and the developer when acting in the public's view.

This OPEN appearance of a conflict of interest is still a problem. It could have been avoided by both parties and the consultant.

It is real. We have laws to avoid the APPEARANCE of a conflict of interest. People should trust decisions.

The current objections to the project and concessions already made by the developer indicate problems existed and complaints show they still exist.

Citizens see the project, react and investigate.
It's time to accept the consequences.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by joe
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2013 at 10:21 pm

""seems like Peter did everything *but* address Joe's point about validation of the Specific Plan"

No, I asked Joe what were his standards for validation and he replied ""complaints are with the outcome -- that's validation." That is a very poorly defined and minimal standard at best."

Oh not at all.
I gave criteria such as traffic and tax revenue per trip. That's a common thread of complaint I see in the comments and understand from my own city gov't. You steadfastly skirt the metric which this project lags.


I cannot tell you exactly how many cigarettes you have to smoke to get cancer. I can't say exactly what attributes will get this project approved.

The acceptance of this project is a political process, not a F=MA equation so exact criteria will be difficult.

The Developer already conceded the project needed to be modified and made modifications. That decision did not fix any non-compliance to the requirements so by your logic - it was irrational and unnecessary.

In reality - they recognize the requirements alone do not specify an acceptable outcome.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 15, 2013 at 5:32 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Glad that Joe recognizes that he cannot specify the required metrics for his validation and that the developer has already made concessions which were not required by the zoning ordinance - now is time for the opponents to do the same.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2013 at 3:27 am

"Glad that Joe recognizes that he cannot specify the required metrics for his validation..."

Sigh.
I gave criteria such as traffic and tax revenue per trip. That's a common thread of complaint I see in the comments and understand from my own city gov't. You steadfastly skirt the metric which this project lags.


" and that the developer has already made concessions which were not required by the zoning ordinance - now is time for the opponents to do the same."

No. modification not required by the plan are proof the Specific Plan is not sufficient for describing all desired attributes. Since you insist on precision and hard numbers, the only solution is to reboot this entire project.

I would have hopped for a more reasoned approach but when you insist on precision in the requirements, the only solution to your demands is for MP to try again.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 16, 2013 at 8:17 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Downtown Specific Plan provides both detailed specifications and not to exceed limits for each element of those specifications. The Stanford proposals conforms to those specifications and the revised Stanford proposal is less than some of the not to exceed limits - which in no one invalidates either the Specific Plan or the Stanford proposal.

We wait patiently for anyone to provide a specific element of the Stanford proposal which violates the Specific Plan limits.

We wait patiently for anyone to demonstrate that the unanimously adopted Specific Plan is not the will of the majority of Menlo Park residents.

We wait patiently for the opponents of orderly growth and renewal to provide facts - beyond stating I don't like this project because it impacts my narrow, unspecified self interests.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 16, 2013 at 9:55 am

"We wait patiently for the opponents of orderly growth and renewal to provide facts - beyond stating I don't like this project because it impacts my narrow, unspecified self interests."

The fact that Peter equates "opponents of orderly growth and renewal" with anyone opposed to the Stanford project perfectly illustrates his own bias in this matter. And I imagine it's very easy to pooh-pooh the hundreds or thousands of additional daily cut-through car trips this project will impose on the Allied Arts and Linfield Oaks neighborhoods when one's arse is parked so safely and serenely in Lindenwood.

There is nothing unspecific about our concerns (or "self interests") with this project, Peter, something I and others have shared with you dozens of times in this forum: greatly increased traffic and added safety risks to pedestrians and cyclists, with no clear mitigation; increased train noise from the four- and five-story amphitheaters of glass sited next to the railroad right-of-way; and the nominal-to-no public benefit received from Stanford in exchange for the 200+% FAR increase gifted them by the Specific Plan, to name just three. You would undoubtedly share the first two concerns were you a resident of either aforementioned neighborhood, and only someone with financial or emotional investment in the Stanford project would claim Menlo Park received its public benefit due with respect to 500 ECR East.

The fact that you are financially or emotionally wedded to the project is clear, Peter -- and there's nothing objectively wrong with either position -- but to then deride opponents for their narrow self-interest is every shade of sanctimonious. That the Specific Plan is flawed is also clear given the recent actions of our City Council and of Stanford University with respect to 500 ECR East, a statement with which you alone appear to disagree.

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 16, 2013 at 10:06 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Council has changed nothing with regard to the Specific Plan and Stanford's modifications to its proposal no more invalidates the Specific Plan than does someone driving 60 mph in a 65 mph invalidate the speed limit .

None of the impacts described above were unanticipated and all were addressed in the preparation of the Draft EIR, it's public review and comments and then the Final EIR.

As for me - on this matter I am wedded only to the facts and a deep respect for the law..


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 16, 2013 at 10:40 am

"As for me - on this matter I am wedded only to the facts and a deep respect for the law."

It therefore follows that if the Council subcommittee returns from its deliberations with a recommendation to remove 500 ECR East from the Specific Plan and the City Council votes to do just that, all in accordance with applicable law, then Peter Carpenter will be the Council's singular, stalwart champion in the matter. Any other reaction would smack of self-interest and would belie (cue the John Philip Sousa) "a deep respect for the law."

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 16, 2013 at 11:19 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern clearly is not paying attention. I posted/stated long ago that I would totally accept a decision by the council to change the Specific Plan. This is just one more fact that Gern dishonestly ignores.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Gern stated "the Council subcommittee returns from its deliberations with a recommendation to remove 500 ECR East from the Specific Plan". That was NOT what the subcommittee was tasked to do. (Check the City Council video.)

Joe stated: "The current objections to the project and concessions already made by the developer indicate problems existed and complaints show they still exist." I disagree. A project modification does not, in and of itself, means that "problems" exist. The only "problem" that I see is an uninformed community that believes if they repeat the same misstatements over, it somehow makes them "right" or "correct".

Look at Menlo Park's history in providing new housing. Project after project is submitted in appropriate locations throughout the City, yet the projects are whittled down to almost nothing. Those projects weren't modified due to problems, they were modified in an attempt to appease a vocal minority. It has happens time and time again in Menlo Park, and then we are surprised that the City is sued for an inadequate housing element? The solution? Dump more housing in the Bella Haven area, where apparently that vocal minority doesn't have the same horsepower as Allied Arts or the Willows.

Does the word "sanctimonious" come to mind?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm

" I posted/stated long ago that I would totally accept a decision by the council to change the Specific Plan."

And yet, Peter, there are so many examples in this forum and in your letters to the City Council which flatly contradict this assertion. Here are but a few:

From an April 3rd email to the council [Web Link]: "...even thinking about removing parcels from the specific plan and moratoriums less than a year after the Specific Plan was adopted are clear signs of lunacy."

From another April 3rd missive attempting to mock (rather feebly, it must be said) the Council's imagined disdain for the Planning Commission's purview with respect to the Specific Plan [Web Link]: "Sorry, but we don't trust you. Keep up the good work but don't make any important decisions. You have the necessary professional expertise but we are smarter than you are."

And perhaps most significantly, Peter's frantic attempt to quash any Specific Plan discussion by the Council at its April 16th meeting by raising the specter of the Brown Act [Web Link]: "Given that there is no mention or reference to the Specific Plan in the posted F1 agenda topic this would seem to preclude the Council from discussing any changes or modifications to the Specific Plan during their deliberations on item F1."

You are invested in the Stanford project, Peter, above and beyond any purported concern for process or the law. Your self-interest in the matter remains your secret, is all.

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Gern, you miscast Peter's position and quote:

" I posted/stated long ago that I would totally accept a decision by the council to change the Specific Plan." - Peter Carpenter.

Saying one "accepts" a decision is not equivalent to "supporting" a decision.

For example, I do not support the death penalty but I do accept that it is permitted.

If I would actively fight to change the law if I did not accept it.

Why do you fabricate and perpetuate conspiracy theories about Peter and his motives?

Can't keep up with his facts and reasoning?



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm

"Saying one "accepts" a decision is not equivalent to "supporting" a decision."

Read the entire thread (or the last ~10 posts), Dana. Peter claims to have no interest in the matter of the Stanford project other than a strict observance of the facts and the law. Questionable as that may seem, he further states that he would "totally accept a decision by the council to change the Specific Plan." If we can disregard the obvious contradictions in that statement with so many of Peter's posts in this forum and in his email to the City Council, tell me, are not accepting and supporting one and the same in Peter's case? Or is yours merely a semantic dodge which failed utterly?

[Portion removed. See terms of use. No personal attacks.]


Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

{Post removed. Let's tone down the rhetoric and refrain from personal attacks.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 16, 2013 at 4:03 pm

And Gern once again resorts to ad hominem attacks.

Gern, you honestly don't understand that one can accept a decision while not agreeing with it or supporting it? Are you that slow or just purposely being obtuse?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 16, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Slow, very slow.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 16, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Peter & Other Posters, It's a senseless waste of time try to reason with or respond to Gert. As I said once before, ignore him. And I will too! Simply deny him the pleasure of mental jousting.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 16, 2013 at 5:29 pm

"Gern, you honestly don't understand that one can accept a decision while not agreeing with it or supporting it?"

Dana and Manic Voter didn't bother or weren't able to follow the recent posts in this thread so I'll lay things out for them:

When asked a very direct question about his investment, financial or emotional, in the Stanford project Peter responded unequivocally: "on this matter I am wedded only to the facts and a deep respect for the law." From this statement one might reasonably infer that Peter will support -- will "totally accept" -- any Council action regarding the Specific Plan so long as it is arrived at openly and legally, up to and including removal of 500 ECR East from that Plan. Holding any other position in the matter (e.g. removing parcels from the Specific Plan "are clear signs of lunacy") would imply an agenda distinct from the purely legal and factual.

When then confronted with his own email messages to the City Council, wherein are emblazoned for posterity such niceties as, "even thinking about removing parcels from the specific plan and moratoriums less than a year after the Specific Plan was adopted are clear signs of lunacy," Peter responded with atypical verbal violence, casting aspersions and libel at yours truly -- his wholly censored comment, above, serves as mute testimony to the brief yet dangerous fusion of his twin realities.

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Big Lie technique of repeating, repeating and repeating a lie simply does not work.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by joe
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Fact checker wrote:
Look at Menlo Park's history in providing new housing. ....City is sued for an inadequate housing element? The solution? Dump more housing in the Bella Haven area,..."

I'm not advocating NIMBYism.

MP's housing strategy was wrong strategically and morally. The quick fix solution is unfair. There are huge inequities where the units will be concentrated.

As an outsider, I think it was unfair the City stalled for 20 years. Mountain View did not.

I advocate using the traffic capacity MP has left wisely.

MP has limited capacity for traffic so development that produces tax revenue (sales tax) will help the city. Use the tax dollars to improve the community - bike paths are my pet rock. Make it safer for kids to get to school.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 17, 2013 at 7:34 am

[Post removed; personal attacks violate terms of use]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 17, 2013 at 11:26 am

"The Big Lie technique of repeating, repeating and repeating a lie simply does not work."

Couldn't agree more, Peter, but to which Big Lie do you refer?
- "On this matter [of the Stanford project] I am wedded only to the facts and a deep respect for the law"?
- "I posted/stated long ago that I would totally accept a decision by the council to change the Specific Plan"?
- "Even thinking about removing parcels from the specific plan and moratoriums less than a year after the Specific Plan was adopted are clear signs of lunacy"?
- Or perhaps your erstwhile rallying cry, "Menlo Park does NOT want a village!"?

You are invested in the Stanford project, Peter, above and beyond any purported concern for process or the law. Your self-interest in the matter remains your secret, is all.

And I ask again: What is your relationship to Dana Hendrickson or to his non-profit, if any?

Gern


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If this forum is to remain a thoughtful gathering place then posters need to be able to comprehend simple English and to refrain from repeatedly posting false statements.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Why do the Editors countenance this trash:
"Peter responded with atypical verbal violence, casting aspersions and libel at yours truly -- his wholly censored comment, above, serves as mute testimony to the brief yet dangerous fusion of his twin realities."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Editor:

please explain to me how calling Gern what he is, a troll, is a "personal attack." Especially when you allow him to repeatedly make ad hominem attacks and call other posters names.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 17, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Perhaps the Editors are simply complying with the ADA:

{8}  A mental impairment is defined by the ADA to include: "[a]ny mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities." 29 CFR Β§ 1630.2(h)(2).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 17, 2013 at 2:26 pm

"Why do the Editors countenance this trash"

Reading, re-reading, stewing over, and cursing that post, Peter? I'm glad you, at least, appreciate what Dana and Manic Voter will ever remain insensitive to. Were I asked I might tentatively hazard that the editorial staff vouchsafed such truths because they added a little levity to an otherwise dreary thread (I see your "countenance" and raise you one "vouchsafe"). And, Manic Voter, were I truly a troll I might encourage your exertions here as welcome fodder, rather than simply ignore them as I prefer to do -- you might do well to disregard mine, since you're striking out so consistently with your censored responses to same.

Gern

P.S. Way to class up the thread by poking fun at mental illness and mental retardation, Peter -- can we sink any lower?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Not 'poking fun' at anyone, just quoting the law.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm

I can see the new Town Square article/thread now:

"Peter Carpenter Pillories Americans with Disabilities"

Peter Carpenter, self-styled pillar of the community, Atherton bon vivant, and professed protector of "thoughtful gathering places" everywhere, today stole from the third-grade recess playbook and uncorked a senseless, shameless attack on Americans with Disabilities, specifically those suffering from mental illness and mental retardation, in response to his own unchecked angst in an online forum.

In his defense Carpenter initially claimed to have been hacked, to have no knowledge of how the post was made with his account, but after a check of IP addresses by the astute Almanac staff Carpenter recanted and stated the post, quoting from section 8 of ADA law, was intended to shore up a vast, interconnected thread of arguments supporting a development project in Menlo Park, California, and that in peppering various online forums with lorem ipsum and irrelevant ordinance he mistakenly posted the ADA law in one and only one thread. Carpenter couldn't be reached for further comment but his immediate response to the blunder was a quick forum note stating, "Not 'poking fun' at anyone, just quoting the law."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 17, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I was not hacked and Gern continues to simply lie.

I suggest that the Editors close this thread.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 17, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I know that you weren't hacked, Peter, and I'm certain you are a far better person than to make fun of anyone with a disability, but your quote was inappropriate and unfortunate, no matter how you try to couch it now, and you well know that. You set yourself up for a little satire, something you continually mistake for "lies."

Gern


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

To Cambodia With Love
By Laura Stec | 4 comments | 3,384 views

Life in fast forward
By Jessica T | 3 comments | 1,645 views

Medical
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,583 views

My Morning Off
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 1,112 views

It’s Not About The Officer Or The Mom—It’s About All Of Us
By Erin Glanville | 9 comments | 834 views