Menlo Park City Council candidates at forum tonight

The League of Women Voters will hold a Menlo Park City Council candidates forum from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the council chambers in the Civic Center, between Laurel and Alma streets in Menlo Park.

During the forum, candidates will answer written questions submitted from the audience.

Three candidates are competing for two four-year terms on the five-member council. The three are Rick Ciardella and incumbents Andy Cohen and Kelly Fergusson.

The forum will be taped and later broadcast on cable Channel 27, and online through the Palo Alto-based Media Center's Web site. The forum will not be broadcast live.


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Posted by Betty Morris
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 21, 2008 at 8:55 am

Good Luck Rick! We think you're the best for our town! We NEED to get El Camino fixed!

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Posted by Vote for incumbents
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 21, 2008 at 10:20 am

And Rick is THE best person to do it...because...oh, he has experience with landscaping. of course!

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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 21, 2008 at 1:01 pm

If Rick shows up tomorrow night it will be one more than any ECR visioning meeting. Shouldn't you at least have to show up before you say you can do it better? Hypocrisy thy name is Ciardella.

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Posted by Barbara - For Rick
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 21, 2008 at 10:46 pm

I think Rick attended the 7, count that 7, other "visioning processes" dating back to the mid-70's. I think you guys call it the "visioning process" because that's all it will ever be with your little group, a "vision". There's a trend here with your group, delay, delay, delay, so that nothing gets done. Thank GOD you can't touch the school building process. Your peeps Andy and Kelly tried, but alas it will fail! Remember, those that get in the way of progress, will surely get run over..........Now, hurry up and form a committee, so that you can respond to this message, check that, get Andy and Kelly to form a committee, they haven't formed one in a day or so!

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Posted by Kelly and Andy get my vote
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 21, 2008 at 10:58 pm

So Rick has been involved in updating El Camino for THIRTY YEARS?!? Hasn't accomplished much, has he? Looks as though all he's got going for him is that he's lived here a long time, and he's got a lot of old friends. Doesn't exactly fit the fresh new face image he's trying to project, does it?

Sorry, Barbara, you know and I know that he hasn't got a chance. Kelly and Andy have been doing a good job. Need proof? Come to the forum tomorrow...or are you afraid to show your face?

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Posted by Barbara - For Rick
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 21, 2008 at 11:46 pm

What are we in 3rd grade? OOooo, I bet you want to meet me in the parking lot too! The list is very long, from the MP Environmental Beautification Commission, to the Downtown Redevelopment project, to improvements to Willow Oaks, Fremont, Kelly and Nealon Parks, Business Round Table, multiple task forces, MP Chamber of Commerce etc. Rick has actually DONE something. He did all of this and more, without "forming a committee". He works, tirelessly and sometimes at pro bono.(aka MA High School) Kelly and Andy have done a great job forming committees, and slapping their own backs for successes like: Safeway - Andy was against it, but now trumpets that he was for it??? Tesla Motors - GREAT business Kelly, how much tax revenue have we generated from that soon to be bankrupt boon doggle! Again, 7 years of attending meetings, that amounted to NOTHING, he now is fed up, like the rest of us, and WILL get something done.

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Posted by bottom of the barrel candidate
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:02 am

Rick plants trees. That's nice. But in his 30 years, he has done nothing, nothing to help improve El Camino in any way beyond the purely cosmetic.

The examples of Kelly and Andy's shortcomings are pretty pathetic. No wonder the pro-developer crowd couldn't find anyone else to run against them.

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Posted by no rick for me
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:06 am

I for one don't care to have the Menlo Park Chamber dominating the council. I look at Rick's supporters and I see a return to the Jellins, Winkler, Duboc scheme of action. Then I see good old Sam Sinnott getting in his punches hoping to save his beloved pools, now dedicated to the Menlo Masters group.

Everyone says he is a nice guy -- well reading his campaign literature and his approving of e-mails coming from Lee DuBoc, I'm not sure he is a nice guy at all.

So if you want all the developers in town putting up 5 and 6 story buildings along El Camino and building 8 to 10 story towers along Bayshore, bring in thousands of new jobs and tens of thousands of new daily trips for our empty streets, vote for Rick. You will accomplish your goals.

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Posted by Another One For Rick
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:25 am

Good Luck Rick, once again the lies and untruths persist from people that know nothing about you and try to stir up trouble. I hope this is the election that MP residents "see the light" and finally get one of the "Do Nothings" off council. We appreciate all of the work you have done, about 10X more work than the two incumbents combined, and you aren't even on council! It's funny Rick, I've never heard you talk about "8 to 10 story office towers" and "Jellins, Winkler, Duboc etc." aren't even on your campaign, let alone your Endorsement List, last time I checked. The depth these "stay at home, stir up trouble, do nothin's" bring to their "No Growth" campaign, is scary!!

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Posted by Sammy - For Rick
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:26 am

Nice job on the endorsement from The Post Rick! You deserve it! I love the endorsement of Andy, as long as he keeps quiet! Classic!

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Posted by this time, the bad guys lose
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:30 am

No one knows about him cause he aint done nothing! Hasn't even GONE to council meetings. Oh, that's right, the council is a "committee" and Rick prefers to operate as a one-man show. That may be fine for a gardener, but unfortunately for Rick and his buddies, the city government is a democracy, not a dictatorship.

The usual suspects couldn't be talked into running because they knew they'd lose. So the Ickie Mickie group talked poor Rick into taking on the incumbents. Will you still be his friend when he gets blown away, or will he go back to being nobody?

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Posted by this time...
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:31 am

Wow, the Post! Who's next? The National Enquirer?

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Posted by Another One For Rick
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:55 am

"I speak for the little guy.......bla, bla, bla, bla........I haven't done one thing to promote Menlo Park or to fix anything on El Camino Real, cause I speak for the little guy, bla, bla, bla.......when I was a judge, bla, bla, bla........I didn't do anything there either, bla, bla, bla...........I wonder why I'm not a judge anymore???" Hmmmmmmmm, THAT would be a nice undercover piece for the National Enquirer!

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Posted by the sensible vote
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 22, 2008 at 10:29 am

Let's see, in the last election we managed to get rid of Nicky, Micky, and Icky. But the horror hasn't been completely expunged, because now we have...Ricky! We can only hope that he doesn't get the same chance to run this city into the ground that they did.

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Posted by Another One For Rick
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 22, 2008 at 10:53 am

It's horrible isn't it? Living here is the pits! Between the ugly Park Theater, El Camino being an eye soar, Union wages out of control, stagnation with's bad! Oh wait, that's this current council! Ouch.

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Posted by keep the momentum going!
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 22, 2008 at 11:06 am

And why is El Camino so desolate? Because FOUR auto dealerships left town while Rick's friends were on the council. Rick's allies knew those dealerships were about to close shop, and they did NOTHING to stop them from leaving or to fill the gaps on El Camino. During the time Rick's cronies were on the council, revenues plunged.

Kelly and Andy have had less than two years to try to clean up the mess that was left by Rick's buddies. They have made a lot of progress in two short years, and the last thing we need is for Rick to short-circuit that process.

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Posted by Another One For Rick
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 22, 2008 at 12:10 pm

I guess this will be the last time I ask, then I'll officially give up: What progress? Seriously?
I don't care who is on council, I just want something done. The prior regime tried, but that "no growth faction" continued to prevail, and still prevails. I think this will continue for another 30 years, unless someone gets aggressive, and does something about it!
"Paralysis by Analysis" is not a good thing.

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Posted by getting it done
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 22, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Yes, progress. Have you been to a single El Camino meeting? They finished the first phase and now are launching into the second. I haven't seen much analysis, much less "paralysis by analysis." I have seen an effort to include disparate voices, and that's a good thing even if it isn't the speediest route. The previous council majority, the ones that got voted out in 2006, were justifiably slammed for their propensity to make unilateral decisions without public input. The process may be slower when you involve the public, but the outcome should be acceptable to the majority intsead of contentious.

Interestingly enough, the council member who has tried to put on the brakes is John Boyle, supported by that old council majority. He claims it's not good to move too fast. Cynical minds might wonder if he's deliberately trying to prevent progress from occurring on El Camino so that "not enough has happened" can be a rallying cry for the 2010 election.

You can't look at city politics in a vacuum. Note that a big chunk of El Camino is Stanford land. Negotiating with Stanford is never quick and easy. The properties downtown are owned by many people, primarily absentee landlords. That complicates tangible progress, whereas in other communities -- Palo Alto, for example -- a handful of owners control almost all downtown properties, making it easier to transform an area.

Serving on council is a volunteer job! The council members receive a meager stipend, yet are expected to devote around 20 hours a week, week after week, for four years. I applaud anyone who is generous and selfless enough to take on that role, whether or not they make a hash of it. I also believe that most people who run for council do so because they honestly, sincerely, truthfully want to help their city and make a difference, not because they expect to profit personally or professionally. But, as we have seen a few too many times, power corrupts, or maybe it's just too tempting to listen to the wrong people--the ones with lots of money who wine and dine you.

Though I have nits to pick with Kelly and Andy, both are sincere in wanting to improve our city without selling out to outside interests. Andy has put his heart and soul into being mayor, and the outreach he has directed, engaging other local cities to work together to solve regional problems, has already had an impact.

Both Kelly and Andy are smart people with a lot of integrity. You may not agree with their decisions, but they stand by their principles.

From all accounts, Rick is a nice guy and a good landscaper. He's the sacrificial lamb the old majority offered forth because none of the regulars wanted to go down to defeat in this election. He's about as qualified to serve on council as your average Menlo-Parker-on-the-street. But there's simply no need to replace either Kelly or Andy, both of whom have learned to deal with the constraints and are performing their job admirably.

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Posted by done
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 22, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Thank you, League of Women Voters. The event was well executed, although sparsely attended.

Andy and Kelly time and again showed that they were familiar with the workings of the city and that they were in touch with residents. Rick, although a perfectly pleasant fellow, did not add much to the discussion. His knowledge of Menlo Park operations seemed limited, and he had very few suggestions. He typically agreed with the others, and when he was the first to respond to a question, gave brief, uninformed answers. Nice guy, not ready for prime time.

Expect to see the gang with fangs back on the dais in 2010.

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Posted by disappointing turnout
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 22, 2008 at 10:45 pm

Yes Andy and Kelly did fine. Not much competition. There were only 40 people attending and that's counting probably 5 from the League.

Also Thanks here to the League.

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Posted by Hannah B
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 23, 2008 at 7:58 pm

The disappointing turnout is fitting, because it's a disappointing council race. I'm not thrilled with the job that Andy and Kelly have been doing, but Rick doesn't seem qualified at all, so I guess I'm voting for the incumbents.

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