Mickie Winkler: Update on plan to restore revenues and end blight
Original post made by Note This on Oct 29, 2006
When we came on City Council there was nothing but deficit and state take-aways on the horizon. Our car dealerships were no longer dealing. To sustain and improve the services that make Menlo Park a special place to live we developed and have been implementing a long-term income-generating plan.
It was immediately obvious that we needed to increase our revenue stream from businesses. Toward that end, we convened a 2-month-long business round table to better understand our problems, and we hired a business manager to reverse the "business toxic" legacy we learned that we had. The revenue generation plan includes.
1. Encourage construction of new hotels and upgrade those we have. Cities love hotels because they bring in 10% of the sales tax dollar. To get more hotel tax dollars we need to:
-- Make sure that the new Rosewoood hotel at I-280, which is projected to bring in $1.9 million in annual tax revenues, stays on schedule to open in 2008.
-- That the proposed hotel on 101 near Marsh goes forward expeditiously.
-- That the Stanford Park hotel expands, as planned, to add meeting space, so it can become a full-time, not just seasonal, facility.
-- That the other hotels in the Menlo-Park portion of El Camino Real have incentives to remodel. (Dave Johnson had us meet with them.)
2. Attract tax-generating businesses, especially in the business to business sector, east of 101. Menlo Park has an ideal location, and the rents in our primary business district (east of 101) are comparatively low.
However, we need to continue reforming our approval processes so it takes days not months for high-quality tax-generating businesses to get licensed here.
We need to commit, long-term, to the 4 big projects underway in this, our "cash cow" sector:
(Check the website at Web Link to see the impressive and productive reforms already made, and to learn more about the 4 projects underway)
3. Increase user fees, so that residential and commercial developers pay for the staff and construction costs they incur. Done.
4. Restore Pride and Prosperity to the heart of our town. Santa Cruz Avenue has two retail stores under construction. Even the new Ace Hardware store wants to expand.
On El Camino Real, where you still see blight, we see progress. There are 6 new developments in various stages of the planning pipeline, most of which will create environmentally blessed housing near public transportation and in walking distance of downtown. Our merchants like this too. We need to responsibly create places for our aging population to live -- and with it new retail space.
Fellow Residents, that's the income-generating side of the plan. (The cost-containment side is coming). If you'd like to participate -- or if you'd like a library or a playfield named after you :-) --just email me.
Thanks for hanging in 'til the end. Mickie
on Oct 29, 2006 at 2:43 pm
"If you'd like to participate -- or if you'd like a library or a playfield named after you :-) --just email me."
O'Brien, Summerhill, Pollack, Foxhollow gang, are you listening?!
on Oct 29, 2006 at 2:50 pm
This is SPIN from Mickie "Rove" Winkler. Please see other online conversations with FACTS about the budget, not her rosy "truthiness".
The car dealers did not start going away until the last few years. American car dealers have not done well in general. Their departure came as a surprise initially, even though this was predictable. Camino.
Mickie and company ignored the input of 4 of the 5 subgroups of the Business Roundtable and started dismantling the commercial zoning ordinance in favor of large property owners who want no rules that constrain them. Their empty offices would fill faster if they lowered rent!
Sure, we need to bring back revenue producing businesses to the commercial areas east of 101 but until Mickie and Co. realize the rents there are HIGHER than surrounding communities, the challenge is great. Where is the business development plan? There isn't one! Mickie thinks the "market" will solve all problems and drop in what's needed. Well, it doesn't work that way. The role of government is to encourage what we want to happen and constrain what we don't. She isn't trying. We need a real plan. We have had a great opportunity during the Dot Com bust to figure out what we want and what it should look like, but it whas been squandered.
The ACE hardware store's need to expand was entirely predictable. The space the old store occupied is currently split between the new store and a church meeting room that has no place in the middle of prime retail real estate.
The user fees for development and construction support from staff remain subsidized by taxpayers. The city does not seem to understand how to recoup costs through cost accounting changes, and neither does Mickie.
What are the six projects on El Camino she keeps mentioning? What are the 4 big projects east of 101? There is NO PLAN for El Camino, NO PLAN for east of 101. Why does she think these developer-driven projects will help bring in revenue when projects like the Beltramo mixed-use project's commercial space wasn't required to be revenue-producing. The reason: to give "flexibility" to the developer.
We need much better business leadership than she is capable of providing.
on Oct 29, 2006 at 4:26 pm
To begin with, there would be NO ACE Hardware if the business development manager that Mickie Winkler hired had not worked out the arrangement you refer to with Menlo Presbyterian. It should also be pointed out that the minority fought against allowing ACE Hardware to sublet the space, prefering instead to keep it vacant.
Second, anyone can go to the planning department website Web Link and see some of the projects underway for El Camino. It typically takes 3-4 years before construction begins.
Third, the suggestion that Menlo Park should enact policies to lower commercial rents is unfair to property owners and ignores their self interest to maximize profits. Last quarter, downtown Menlo Park had one of the highest commercial rents on the peninsula AND the lowest vacancy rate. Properties like the former Juice Patch and Bicycle Connection are vacant WAITING FOR PERMITS so that they can upgrade their retail space to take advantage of the high demand. Why would developers be building two other retail buildings on Santa Cruz if they did not think that they could rent them.
The large industrial sites along 101 take longer to rent or sell, but as in the case of the Tyco site, progress is being made. Down-zoning would have a chilling effect on progress.
Lets get realistic about how long redevelopment takes and acknowledge that current council has made significant progress towards attracting new businesses to Menlo Park.