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By Martin Lamarque

Menlo Gateway: Our Council is in the pocket

Uploaded: Mar 9, 2015

Today, the Mercury News ran the story about Mr. Bohannon's newfound partnership to build a 250-room hotel at the corner of Frontage and Marsh Roads. The story included the expected praise from 3 Menlo Park councilmembers.

It is now very clear that us mere citizens have nothing else to say on what will become an even bigger traffic nightmare for those who live close to this monstrous development.
The project is being touted as a money maker and a job creator. Both of which would be great if we were talking of jobs capable of at least providing half of what one family needs to sustain itself.

One of the most evident signs of the gentrification of Belle Haven is the number of families who in the last 3 years have had to move into what already were crowded households.

Now, I am not suggesting that it is the developer's obligation to house families who can't compete in the exclusive real state game playing out around us. But if our city's councilmembers invested at least half the energy and attention now currently lavished on developers and their limited interests, maybe a few solutions would emerge to at least alleviate part of this housing crisis.

For the last year I have been witness to the troubles of a young family that lost their housing in one side of Belle Haven, and had to move back to his parent's home in another side of the neighborhood.

It would not be so bad if the house was big enough for 2 families, but in this case, the young couple had no alternative but to adapt the laundry and storage room in the back of the house to move into with their 2 teenage sons. Maybe one of these days things will get better and they will be able to get their own place around here, but good luck with that. What makes this even sadder, is that this man has lived in Belle Haven since he was born. His parents, since long before that.

As I mentioned a couple of blogs ago, all 3 incumbents voted into office last year received some of their biggest donations from Mr. Bohannon. I don't know much about laws and ethics, but it would seem to me that in view of this, at least those 3 should be disqualified from having anything else to do on this decision.

If Mrs. Carlton and Mr. Mueller were also products of Mr. Bohannon's purchasing power when they ran for office, they should also be excluded from voting on his project.

One more problem: We are finding out that in spite of the city resources this monster development will gobble up, and its effect on the quality of life around here, our councilmembers don't seem too interested in at least negotiating some meaningful benefits for the city, and specifically for Belle Haven.

To illustrate just one aspect of this, Mr. Peter Carpenter has been asking important questions regarding the new demand on Firefighting and Rescue services that Gateway will represent, with no funding to make up for it. At least not from the main beneficiaries of the project.

Fellow Citizens: Please keep this in mind the next time they put a Bond on the ballot to subsidize public services for the developers.

Cancel the hotdogs and the soda; no need to convince anymore.
Our Council is in the pocket, and nothing else matters.