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November 30, 2005

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Publication Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2005

LETTERS LETTERS (November 30, 2005)

Watching closely as council elects mayor


On December 6, the Menlo Park City Council will follow the annual ritual of shuffling seats which results in the selection of council members to serve as mayor and mayor pro-tem for the upcoming year.

Council members may appoint whomever they wish, even bypassing council policy, as was done in December, 2002, when Nicholas Jellins was appointed a second time as mayor. Thus began three years where the council majority circled its wagons and closely held the mayoral seats among themselves.

According to a mayoral rotation policy established in 1993 (Policy CC-93-001), the council is to choose a member who has served on the council at least a year but who has not yet served as mayor. Only council members Kelly Fergusson and Andrew Cohen, both elected last year, now fall into that category.

As Council member Jellins is currently pro-tem, recent history suggests that he will ascend to mayor a third time, having already served twice as mayor in 2001 and 2003.

Ironically, his first term as mayor was the result of the former council upholding policy even though he wasn't a member of the perceived council majority. If he is again nominated as mayor, he could take advantage of that opportunity to demonstrate fairness and respect for council policy and procedures by saying, "Thank you, but I've already served twice as mayor," and instead nominate Ms. Fergusson or Mr. Cohen as mayor. Stu Soffer Linfield Drive, Menlo Park

Bike official appreciates comments


As one of the Menlo Park bicycle commissioners I want to thank those who wrote their concerns, made a public statement or simply attended the recent special joint meeting of the Bicycle and Transportation commissions.

And although the format of the agenda, which focused on bike and motorist concerns, didn't allow us to have useful discussion with the public about their comments, I want to invite anyone interested to attend the regular bicycle commission meetings. At upcoming meetings we will be discussing road hazards, the safe routes to schools programs, and safety education outreach. Our regular meetings are held on the second Monday evening each month at the Menlo Park City Hall.

For those who did not attend the meeting, the public comments were greatest regarding safe cycling routes to schools. Laurel School was a common concern, including Coleman Avenue, Ringwood, and Bay Road. The second most mentioned concern involved conflicts with automobiles parked or using bike lanes. The situation with Laurel Avenue (parking allowed in the bike lanes at certain hours) was such an example.

Many of the concerns in the public comments (such as a good east-west crossing that spans the El Camino/Caltrain track barrier, the need for consistent wayfaring signs, good connectivity to our neighbor city bike routes) are addressed in the City's approved Bike Plan. Each year we recommend projects from this plan to the council for funding, and we appreciate the public helping set priorities with their suggestions. The Menlo Park Bike Plan can be read on-line ( or a copy can be obtained from the city transportation department. John D. Fox Bicycle Commissioner Elder Avenue, Menlo Park

Theater owner Packard deserves better treatment


I am appalled at the way the city of Palo Alto has treated David Packard and his plan to add a movie gallery to his lovely Stanford Theatre. As a current credit card advertisement states, "Some things are priceless."

The Stanford Theatre is like and island of sanity in a deeply troubled world. We are so fortunate to have this jewel.

I hope the city of Palo Alto gets its priorities straight and helps Mr. Packard finish his project. He deserves better treatment than he has received. Beth Sweet Portola Road, Portola Valley

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