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Menlo Park Needs New Management
Duboc, Winkler, Jellins preside over mass exodus of car dealers and retailers; Sales tax revenues drop by 50%. No rebound in sight.
During the term of Menlo Park’s “business friendly” council majority of Lee Duboc, Mickie Winkler, and Nicholas Jellins , budget deficits soared as sales tax dropped sharply even though state sales taxes have recovered and boomed. The city lost many small retailers and sales tax producers, including all of the car dealerships. Many buildings, some new, are still empty. During the same time Redwood City retained all four dealerships on El Camino and even added a Ferrari dealership.
Other cities have created and implemented successful plans to increase their sales tax base. Palo Alto plans to expand Stanford Shopping Center. Sadly, Duboc, Winkler, and Jellins have no such plan. Menlo Park’s only plan, “friendliness” refers to a set of zoning liberalizations that make condo and office conversions easier, and eliminate the city’s ability to protect or expand retail areas. These changes are making the problem worse not better.
Retailers and other sales tax producers are being crowded out by high rents. Property owners are replacing retail areas with offices and condos to exploit high rents and high property values. Once converted, these areas will never produce sales tax again.
Duboc, Winkler, and Jellins are enacting policies that benefit commercial property owners and landlords at the expense of the city.
Menlo Park famously hired a business development manager , yet our city did not retain a single car dealership or attract a significant new project. Menlo Park officials were all unaware of the Stanford Hotel project before it was announced, according the San Jose Mercury.
The business development manager has been mis-used working on behalf of property owners preparing the zoning changes that expedite office and condo conversions.
We must replace Lee Duboc and Mickie Winkler before more sales tax producers are driven away permanently.