Life after Measure M | On a Roll | Paul Bendix | Almanac Online |

Local Blogs

On a Roll

By Paul Bendix

About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl...  (More)

View all posts from Paul Bendix

Life after Measure M

Uploaded: Oct 1, 2014
Really, I'm already tired of it and looking beyond. Also, looking within.

The other day, wandering that center of community life, Menlo Park's Sunday farmer's market, I had a chat with a Measure M constituent. Actually, I was intending to speak to an opponent of the November ballot proposition. But it says something about local politics that partisans from both sides stood leafleting so close together...that I inadvertently approached the wrong one.

Thing is, maybe it was the right one. The man tried to explain his views. And unfortunately, I couldn't resist arguing. And what about? Well, he said that he takes his life in his hands when crossing El Camino Real. With two visiting London cousins in tow, I couldn't resist an explanation – that our main drag flowed at about 10% the rate of Notting Hill Gate, a thoroughfare of similar width. We carried on in a similar vein, the man and I, until I carried myself and the cousins off. "Thanks for the explanation," I told him.

He considered this. "I'm the whipping boy, am I?"

I considered this too.

I suppose he was. And what we were arguing about happens to be unarguable. If you're used to urban life, and enjoy it, then a denser downtown isn't for you. In the end, it comes down to experience, personal preference and other utterly subjective factors.

Okay, it doesn't make sense to me that we can have general economic development in Silicon Valley – without development of housing and transportation to support it. But others think this development needs to occur elsewhere. NIMBYism? Of course. But we all have it, in one form or another.

Anyway, on Sunday I continued showing family members around the market. And then, over coffee, my Gloucestershire cousin's twentysomething daughter had a simple question about Measure M. "Is it a fight between people who have owned property here a long time and those who haven't?"

I gave her a nod. The truth is more complicated, of course. But I had nothing more to say.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks,
on Oct 1, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"If you're used to urban life, and enjoy it, then a denser downtown isn't for you."

Something's amiss with this statement -- is that supposed to be "suburban life"?


Posted by Louise68, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Oct 1, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Paul --
Your cousin is wrong about Measure M. It is not a fight between long-time property owners and newbies, but, rather, a tiny effort to stop billionaires and Stanford University from profiting from building even more unnecessary mixed-use and office buildings -- which are built only to make even more money for those obscenely rich people -- and for Stanford University. It is very sad that Measure M is so flawed that it would do very little to stop the building of all these unnecessary office or mixed-use buildings. What a colossal waste of precious monies, which should be spent, instead, on desalinization plants. This beautiful state is heading towards an almost inevitable economic collapse if the drought does not end soon. (State officials have estimated that, at present rates of use, California has only 1-1/2 to 2 years of water left in all of its reservoirs.)

And -- even if one takes a short-term view and -- for the moment -- ignores the economic impact of our horrible drought -- the residences that would be built in these new buildings will never be affordable by any ordinary working people. These dwellings will cost so much that only the rich will be able to afford to live in them -- which I am convinced is deliberate. First: building anything these days is very expensive, and the builder does deserve to make a fair profit, and the landlord also does deserve to make a fair profit from renting whatever units are for rent (that is, if the buildings are not all condos -- which few working folks can afford). Second: too many of the wealthy people in this area *seem* to have no respect or compassion whatsoever for ordinary working people. If they did, there would be lots of truly affordable housing in this area, and far fewer overpriced apartments and condos. Quite simply, it looks to me as though greed has overcome kindness. (I am awaret is very hard to resist pricing anything as high as possible.) This is a problem no one person -- except for a few billionaires -- can do much to solve.

As it is now, ordinary working people are forced to endure ridiculously long commutes -- that is, if they can even find jobs here.

Measure M is a poor substitute for what really needs to be done. Sigh.....

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Oct 4, 2014 at 7:08 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Measure M is a poor substitute for what really needs to be done."

True, what really needs to be done is already being done by the Specific Plan and the Council continuing to demand that each new development be carefully evaluated and modified as necessary to meets the needs of the citizens. Remember that the Council still has the tools to negotiate with Greenheart and Stanford BEFORE it approves their projects - Measure M would take away those tools.

Posted by bruce adornato, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights,
on Oct 5, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Measure M is a wakeup call for the city council. The initial traffic study for the Plan didnt even include the traffic on Sand Hill Road.

Now it is obvious that the traffic study was deeply flawed and the Council is scrambling to recover.

Go down to Los Altos on First Street and see the wisdom of a city council and some developers.

Vote YES on M.

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

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

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Almanac Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Worried about the cost of climate change? Here is some hope.
By Sherry Listgarten | 23 comments | 3,329 views

Two Hours - 75,000 Meals – Wanna Help?
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,700 views