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About this blog: I have lived in Belle Haven since 1997, and work as an interpreter in the emergency department of a county hospital. My main interest is to help improve society by way of giving families the support and information they need to ra...  (More)

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Measure M and City Hall-- When in a hole... stop digging!

Uploaded: Nov 13, 2014
My good friend, the late Bob Beyers, who inspired some of my early love for written journalism, was known for his willingness to facilitate getting to the bottom of issues; as soon as possible. As Director of the Stanford University News Services, his unique approach to scandals allowed him to serve his institution well for more than 25 years.

He used to say that when confronted with an scandal like the one our City faces in the "Muddlegate" unleashed against Measure M, instead of trying to cover things up, the best action if you respect your institution, was to come clean as soon as possible. Even if at the outset, doing so would be embarrassing and reveal your dumb mistakes.

"Because if you attempt to conceal it, you will eventually end up with not one, but two big problems. The original one, and the one created in trying to cover things up. Which oftentimes turns out to be a bigger headache."

In watching the City Manager struggling to convince there is nothing to report in their use of a consultant to attack Measure M and its proponents, Bob's wise words keep coming to mind.

I won't assume anything beyond what we have already seen. But in spite of those who lurk around the forums of The Almanac and who will try to confuse things even more, I have a feeling that what is visible at this point is just the tip of the iceberg.

With all due respect, Mayor Mueller's declarations that he didn't know about any consultant, sound too naïve to be true. And even if we gave him the benefit of the doubt, what role did he think he was playing when he allowed Greenheart to plaster his photograph on just about every piece of propaganda it put out?



Didn't he stop to consider the big favor he did the developer in reaching its goal of drowning any intelligent discussion about what the residents were trying to say?

And of course, every other Council Member did the same thing.
But at least they so far have remained very quiet about all this. I want to think they might be thinking that next time they shouldn't be so blatant in rooting for the guy with the big stick, as he beats up the little guy.
What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.

Comments

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by propaganda, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 14, 2014 at 12:18 am

Martin, none of those elected officials "allowed" Greenheart to plaster their photographs on propaganda. It doesn't work that way. The public figures pictured, were most likely first made aware of those pieces when they landed in their mailbox or under their doormat.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by call me Ishmael, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 14, 2014 at 9:51 am

Arghh! This whole escapade - obsessively trying to find the white whale -- err I mean city funded campaign document against measure M --- reminds me of my dear departed Captain Ahab who lost his election --- err I mean his leg to that whale.

I know you guys will find that whale somewhere -- just remember how the book turned out.

Yours truly,
Ishmael

PS - I'm off to Starbucks for a cuppa..


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Tunbridge Wells, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park,
on Nov 14, 2014 at 10:24 am

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

propaganda is correct. Our city council are public figures, and as public figures their names and photos may be used in this manner without needing to seek their permission.

Instead of endlessly rehashing and insisting on searching for proof of corruption or shenanigans, how about let's move forward and look for some common goals that we can work on together.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Follow the money, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Nov 14, 2014 at 11:01 am

Martin, thank you for this brave post. I believe you are correct, and there is much more than remains to be uncovered (or covered up, as the case may be).

Have you seen any comments from current council members complaining that their photos were used inappropriately? Of course not! They consented to the use of their pictures just as they accepted the majority of their campaign funding from the deep-pocketed opponents to Measure M.

The opponents of Measure M may think they have won, but in actuality they are losing. The purpose of Measure M was to minimize if not eliminate the impact of corruption on our city planning processes. Exposing the fact that our city staff is happy to sell our city to the highest bidder, consequences be damned, is a huge step in that direction.i


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Nov 14, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Exposing the fact that our city staff is happy to sell our city to the highest bidder, consequences be damned, is a huge step in that direction.i"

Presuming facts not in evidence.

Where is the integrity of posters who keep asserting things that are simply not true?


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Digging deeper, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 14, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Thank you for the insightful commentary,
I agree that Mueller's claim that he knew nothing is also not believable considering that the Vice mayor has already gone on record stating that she did know about the consultants work.
seems way too hard for them to keep their stories straight as they keep on digging,


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Nov 15, 2014 at 11:40 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

Paul.

As one the members of "Menlo Park Deserves Better" I can assure you we did NOT ask permission of the city council members to put their pictures and quotes in the brochures we created. To do so would have violated campaign laws.....

As the disclosure of work product provided by Mr. Smith has now shown, he wrote UNBIASED pieces. telling staff to tell people to read both websites and decides. so can we move on now?

And can we expect an apology for the unfounded accusation forthcoming?

Roy Thiele-Sardina


 +  Like this comment
Posted by formerly formerly, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows,
on Nov 15, 2014 at 12:01 pm

formerly formerly is a registered user.

@Digging deeper

I think there is a typo in your post. You stated "Thank you for the insightful commentary."

I think you meant "Thank you for the incite-ful commentary."

I'm waiting for the DA, the FPPC and the grand jury to dismiss these baseless charges due to lack of evidence.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Follow the evidence, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Nov 15, 2014 at 12:22 pm

The city manager finally figured out that he could keep his job by producing some hastily-composed letters and claiming that was all he had. If the DA/FPPC/grand jury accept those bland, not professionally written letters as the sum total of the work product, that's unfortunate for our poor city. And may indicate that corruption is even more widespread.

P.S. It's really not very ethical to use photos of others on campaign materials without getting their permission first. But some of you think that's fine? Color me not surprised. The fact remains that those council members got most of their funding from developers.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Nov 15, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Following the evidence leads to a clear conclusion that there have been NO City sponsored communications advocating either a Yes or a No vote on Measure M.

The the constant whiners cannot produce any evidence to the contrary.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by formerly formerly, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows,
on Nov 15, 2014 at 1:56 pm

formerly formerly is a registered user.

Comment removed.

This person has been posting comments under at least 4 different aliases.

I wonder if he works for that famous consultant.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tunbridge Wells, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park,
on Nov 16, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

Follow the evidence, despite the Supreme Court's gutting of campaign finance laws, it is still illegal for candidates to coordinate political campaigns with outside money. As Roy Thiele-Sardiña mentioned, it would have been a violation of the law for either side to reach out to Ohtaki, Cline or Keith before the election, and it is indeed standard practice, and by standard practice I mean so standard that nobody who knows anything about running a campaign thinks differently, to use names and photos this way. People who have been elected to public office and have stated a position on an issue will see their name and photo used by others without any communication between the parties.

Think about how often Republicans use President Obama's photo in their campaign materials, and ask yourself if they got permission to do that.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Casting stones, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Nov 16, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Journalistic integrity usually requires at a minimum talking to the subject, prior to expressing an opinion about the veracity of their statements. Have you spoken to the Mayor? I see no quotes from him in your blog. Or are you insinuating that he is a liar to our neighbors, when you have never had the courtesy to contact him to discuss the underlying matter? One might call that reckless, or just plain libelous.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Martin Lamarque, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Nov 16, 2014 at 8:20 pm

@Casting Stones:

Thanks for reading my blog.

Your point is well taken. Just remember: I am blogger, not a reporter.

I am merely expressing my very personal opinion. In this case,an opinion based on some insignificant revelations that--interestingly late--didn't surface until just a few day before election day.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 16, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Martin:

you are certainly entitled to your opinion. It's a shame you choose to base that opinion on something other than FACTS. You should try it. You'll like it. Unless your point is to simply stir the pot of BS.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Martin Lamarque, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Nov 16, 2014 at 9:33 pm

@Menlo Voter.

Oh Boy!
You guys have gone from gloating about M's defeat at the hands of big money, to protesting because some of us would like to know a bit more about a little contract the City tried to keep from public view.

In any case, tanks for visiting my blog.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Martin Lamarque, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Nov 16, 2014 at 10:01 pm

Martin Lamarque is a registered user.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Casting Stones, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Nov 16, 2014 at 10:47 pm

When your opinion casts inflammatory dispersions based on nothing more than inflammatory spin, all it can be called is a smear.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by formerly formerly, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows,
on Nov 17, 2014 at 11:12 am

formerly formerly is a registered user.

Interesting -- one of comments has been removed. Why?

Here is the comment left behind ---

"Comment removed.

This person has been posting comments under at least 4 different aliases.

I wonder if he works for that famous consultant."

I'll answer your accusatory question -- no. I don't work for anybody. I'm a self employed electronics consultant specializing in semiconductor circuits that require deep modeling expertise. I've been in the electronics field for about 4 decades in many roles. I don't do political consulting - nor do I know Malcolm Smith.

Regarding aliases - as a registered user only one. I'm a relative newbie to posting on the Almanac -- Measure M got me going. My progression of aliases is as follows as an unregistered user "undecided on M" -> "formerly undecided on M" -> as a registered user "formerly formerly". I thought that was kind of funny.

My post had to do with the 51.25 hours that Malcolm Smith charged the city for at $100/hour - so 51.25 hours over a period of 4 months. Based on my experiences designing websites (not professionally - but as a favor) for friends and family - and looking at the overall design of the 7 pages Malcolm Smith created for the city, the links to supporting material - the research to generate the verbiage -- as well as estimating the editorial review with city stakeholders - it seems like a reasonable week of work.

Fair enough so far.

The post I was referring to by "follow the evidence" only considered the 5 pdfs of the drafts that the city released last week - and not the work that went into the website - which seemed to be a much larger endeavor.

Any other questions?

I want to know why my post was pulled - and why aspersions were cast on my motivations.

Regards,


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 17, 2014 at 11:55 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Martin:

your comments are based on innuendo and spin. As casting notes, they are "smears." If you have some actual facts on which to base your opinion please share them. Otherwise it's just your opinion. Opinions are usually worth what one pays for them.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Martin Lamarque, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Nov 17, 2014 at 12:53 pm

@ formerly formerly.
Or should I refer to you as "formerly undecided", "formerly undecided on M", "formerly undecided onM", or "call me Ishmael"?

I removed your last post for the mere reason that it was when I realized you have been posting under multiple aliases, giving the errouneous impression that all those posters share the same opinion. Please don\\\'t read beyond this.

Posting under multiple aliases is called Casting Stones and hiding the hand.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Martin Lamarque, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Nov 17, 2014 at 12:59 pm

@Menlo Voter:

I am very sorry to hear that my opinions are not of your liking.

But I think you are castigating the wrong guy. The facts you demand is exactly what the DA is trying to get to as we speak.
Why don't you go ask him to stop such an unfair investigation.
As you said: my opinion is worthless. It's the DA's findings you should concerned with.

Thanks for visiting again!


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by formerly formerly, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows,
on Nov 17, 2014 at 2:58 pm

formerly formerly is a registered user.

Martin

I take it there is nothing factual in my post you are responding to or deleting. I think understand the "rules" of your blog much better now.

Ciao


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 17, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Martin:

Waiting for the outcome of the investigation is exactly what you should do before you start throwing innuendos around. That was my point, but I think you know that don't you?


 +   3 people like this
Posted by dana hendrickson, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Nov 18, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Martin:

"I won't assume anything beyond what we have already seen. But in spite of those who lurk around the forums of The Almanac and who will try to confuse things even more, I have a FEELING that what is visible at this point is just the tip of the iceberg." - Martin

Expressing Just a "feeling" or a "strong bias"?

I "feel" you supported M and are now simply having a difficult time accepting your loss.

Time will heal.

Dana


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Digging deeper, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Dec 29, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Those who fought hard to defeat Measure M need to take some time to reflect on their own biases. In the meantime, the D.A. and the Grand Jury will sort though the evidence and determine if city officials violated the law. Doesn't matter if it's measure X, Y, or Z, if there is evidence that city officials actively worked to defeat a citizen's initiative (or hired a consultant to do so), then they need to be held accountable. Whether one favored or opposed Measure M has little to do with the issue.


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

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