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On a Roll

By Paul Bendix

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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)

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After M

Uploaded: Nov 9, 2014
It's over. Lawn signs are disappearing. The Farmers' Market is selling produce, not politics. And what are the lessons?

For me, it's simple. Stay involved.

I confess to having been AWOL as Menlo Park's future took shape. In five years, there were lots of opportunities to support, oppose or amend the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan. Frankly, I wasn't paying much attention. I saw the occasional report, read an article here and there...but otherwise ignored the process.

That's why Measure M delivered a win for everyone. The issue engaged the community. It forced us all to think about our downtown.

But will I stay engaged? I hope so, but it's hard to say. I only managed half of a City-sponsored workshop on traffic. This came as Measure M campaigners, pro and con, inveighed against congested streets. The City workshop was sparsely attended. Traffic may be a hot campaign topic, but understanding it takes work. Still, I learned that much.

Thing is, there's a lot more work to do. 'Menlo Focus,' published by the City Manager's office, remains on my desk. As a resource for considering urban growth and prosperity, it's a good place to start.

In our nation we have gotten used to embittered politics. Maybe we can do better in Menlo Park...less cynical, more involved.
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Comments

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Nov 10, 2014 at 9:36 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Paul - Thank you being involved and for encouraging others to do the same. And note that half of the registered voters did not vote in this election.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Louise68, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 11, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Paul --
I completely fail to see how defeating a citizen-led effort to stop Menlo Park from being Manhattanized is a win for anyone. Yes, Measure M had flaws -- but allowing Stanford to build a huge new office building on El Camino is far more than flawed -- it is just plain wrong.

I hope all the people who were so much against Measure M will enjoy driving on El Camino Real after that new building is open and has tenants, and I also hope that no one who opposed Measure M will ever complain about the awful traffic on El Camino here in Menlo Park.

I also look forward to hearing Measure M's opponents tell us stories about how much they enjoy walking on the private balconies and roofs of this new office building. After all, this development calls balconies and roofs "open space", so that square footage should be available to anyone who wishes to walk on it -- and also with their kids and dogs. [sarasm OFF]

Then there are the illegal actions of our City Council in using City staff and time to hire a consultant to prepare anti-Measure M material s that were posted on the city's website., and to write fake letters to the Almanac None of this was made public until just after the election -- of course It was also quite wrong for Measure M opponents to take $200,000 from Greenheart, who stood to win big if measure was defeated -- which it was.

Gee -- how coincidental those two facts are. And how convenient that the city's illegal actions did not come to light until just after the election. I feel very strongly that, because of this, the result of the vote on Measure M should be thrown out and a new election should be held. That would be the decent and honest thing to do.

Our political system really needs a big clean-up. Now.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Nov 11, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Then there are the illegal actions of our City Council in using City staff and time to hire a consultant to prepare anti-Measure M material s that were posted on the city's website.,"

This is an allegation with zero basis in fact. Show one legally prohibited statement that was posted on the City's web site.

Here is the law:
CAL. GOV. CODE § 54964 : California Code - Section 54964

(a) An officer, employee, or consultant of a local agency may not expend or authorize the expenditure of any of the funds of the local agency to SUPPORT OR OPPOSE THE APPROVAL OR REJECTION OF A BALLOT MEASURE, or the election or defeat of a candidate, by the voters.

(b) As used in this section the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) "Ballot measure" means an initiative, referendum, or recall measure certified to appear on a regular or special election ballot of the local agency, or other measure submitted to the voters by the governing body at a regular or special election of the local agency.


(3) "Expenditure" means a payment of local agency funds that is used for communications that expressly advocate the approval or rejection of a clearly identified ballot measure, or the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, by the voters. "

There are no public communications by the City which SUPPORT OR OPPOSE THE APPROVAL OR REJECTION OF MEASURE M.

Feel free to post specific examples of specific language that violates the law.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 12, 2014 at 10:48 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Louise:

Measure M lost. It's time to move on. Get over it.

I'll enjoy driving on ECR after these projects get built as I am mighty tired of looking at the blight that's there now.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by curious, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Nov 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Paul B - Thanks for suggesting that people stay involved. The city's General Plan is under discussion right now. It's an outstanding way for residents of our town to determine what matters for their future.

The city website still states "Office uses are generally fiscally positive with regard to direct City revenues/costs;" This is untrue and is contradicted by the findings of the consultant hired by the city to study Measure M's impacts. Office uses result in a net negative financial impact on the city. (page 5-4 of Lisa Wise Consulting report). Why wouldn't the city modify this statement in light of their consultant's findings?
The election is over but many issues remain to be addressed.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by curious, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Nov 12, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Paul B - Thanks for suggesting that people stay involved. The city's General Plan is under discussion right now. It's an outstanding way for residents of our town to determine what matters for their future.

The city website still states "Office uses are generally fiscally positive with regard to direct City revenues/costs;" This is untrue and is contradicted by the findings of the consultant hired by the city to study Measure M's impacts. Office uses result in a net negative financial impact on the city. (page 5-4 of Lisa Wise Consulting report). Why wouldn't the city modify this statement in light of their consultant's findings?
The election is over but many issues remain to be addressed.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Basic math, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Nov 14, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Tall buildings in Manhattan are 30-100 stories tall. The tallest building on ECR will be 5 stories tall, in a mix from 2-5 stories.

Come on, folks. Kindergarten math. 5 is not the same as 30. Exaggerate much?


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