Menlo Park: Six run for three seats on council


As the clock slipped past 5 p.m. on Wednesday (Aug. 11), so did the opportunity to run for Menlo Park City Council.

On the final roster of six candidates are incumbents Rich Cline and Heyward Robinson; Planning Commissioner Kirsten Keith; Peter Ohtaki, board president, Menlo Park Fire Protection District; and rounding out the list with no government titles but plenty of community involvement: educator Chuck Bernstein and businessman Russell Peterson.

Prior to filing, Mr. Peterson told The Almanac he was having to weigh serving on the council against speaking out on high-speed rail, since he lives near the proposed tracks and would be disqualified from voting on related issues.

Potential contender Michael Brady decided not to run, choosing instead to continue devoting his energy to battling plans for high-speed rail.

The candidates have until the Nov. 2 elections to convince Menlo Park residents why they'd be the best choice to fill one of three open seats on the City Council.

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Like this comment
Posted by fed up
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Aug 11, 2010 at 10:46 pm

maybe they will replace the city manager, and get someone is is
progressive & not regressive !

Like this comment
Posted by Election Watcher
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Aug 12, 2010 at 7:08 am

Russ Peterson is a highly regarded and well respected fiscal conservative and is just what the City Council needs in light of Mr. Robinson's and Mr. Cline’s egregious funneling of taxpayers money to the labor unions at the expense of Menlo Park Residents.

Kirsten Keith has been a beacon for ensuring quality education in Menlo Park. Unfortunately she is Gail Slocum's stealth candidate. Which means the voters would be well advised not to vote for Ms. Keith. This is lamentable since she has done so well in education.

Ms Keith's sponsor Ms. Slocum has anachronistic attitudes regarding City Government. The Slocum method of governance can only be sustained in the greatest of economic booms and is fiscally disastrous in times of economic stagnation. We can not afford more Slocum Socialism being heaped on the City at this juncture.

Ms Slocum exerts considerable influence over her endorsed candidates. This is because she has perfected the election/re-election machine. We don't need to go into the details; but she is very adept at getting her candidates elected regardless of their qualifications. And the devil must be paid her due once her hand chosen candidates assume office.

It is ironic that the Slocum side was previously known as "Residentialists". But what have they done for the residents lately? The answer is a resounding Nothing-- unless you count diverting tax payers money to already overpaid and over-benefited City employees. Ms. Slocum should relabel her side to reflect her leftist agenda and that would be the "Labor Unionists". Residentialists they are NOT!

Menlo Park voters it is prudent and in fact necessary for you to reject the Slocum slate of Robinson/Cline/Keith which is, for all practical purposes, a public relations and funding arm of the employee Unions. We need 3 candidates who are focused on the residents and not on promoting the wealthy unions' agendas at the expense of the residents.

So I urgently implore you to vote for 3 fiscal conservatives who really have the residents best interests in mind. These candidates are: Chuck Bernstein, Russ Petersen, and Peter Ohtaki.

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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 12, 2010 at 11:43 am

Cut and paste it all you want, no birds, it won't make the fact that your party of no has a record of ridiculous.

No to Derry, no to Gateway, no to downtown plans, no to Rosewood, no to 1300 in any form, no to the new gym...and so on.

Paul C. can write your hit pieces all you want, but it won't make a difference once we show all the letters and soundbites from the Morris brigade of no.

Like this comment
Posted by What I want to see
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm

What I want are council members who only want what is best for Menlo Park. I do not want any candidates who will NOT stand up to the powerful government employee unions. I do NOT want any candidates who will NOT stand up to 'big developers'. I believe as it stands right now, Cline, Robinson and Keith will be the "party" of BIG Labor and BIG developers (will have the support of the public employee unions and the entrenched bureaucracy of the City, even though their campaign filings may not show it; will have the backing of big developers like Dave Bohannon, et al). Just look at Cline's and Robinson's track record -- endorsed by the unions four years ago and almost immediately gave the City employeess (all of them including top management) a 35% RETROACTIVE pension increase. They then went on to increase the police salaries by at least 20% across the board and snuck in clauses to give this privilaged employee class the ability to retire even earlier than age 50 with 90% of their last and best for life (with COLA increases). That enabled Chief Goitia (who helped negotiate this abomination) to retire at age 48! In fact, a few days before his June retirement, I spotted him riding around in a fancy sports car that I and my family will never be able to afford. Public service is a great gig, no?!

Enough! Menlo Park residents, support those who will stand up to entrenched interests. It's time to take our City back!

Like this comment
Posted by a concerned taxpayer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 12, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I will wait to pass judgment on Ms. Keith until after I hear from her, not from "Election Watcher". Menlo Park needs to have people who decide what is best for its residents and not developers. I will decide who to vote for after hearing from all six.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm

These are the criteria which I have asked the Atherton Town Council candidates to respond to - perhaps a Menlo Park voter may wish to ask the same of the MP Council candidates:

It is my intention to personally (and not in any other capacity) endorse, support and vote for the three candidates who fulfill the following criteria:

1 - committed to open and transparent government and pledged not to use closed sessions except when absolutely necessary (as opposed to using closed sessions whenever permitted).

2 - independent as demonstrated by neither seeking nor accepting support from anyone who is not a registered voter in their jurisdiction, which means accepting neither money or endorsements from unions, developers, business organization or civic groups.

3 - committed to acting in the best interest of the citizens of their jurisdiction rather than to further their own agenda or the agenda of some outside group.

4 - committed to working with their fellow council members to find the best solution for their jurisdiction without personal attacks or animosity.

5 - committed to having a balanced budget without recourse to reserves or accounting tricks.

6 - open to considering any opportunity for significant costs savings such as outsourcing of specific services.

7 - Superior critical thinking skills.

I would welcome your responses regarding your position on these criteria.

Like this comment
Posted by Team 911
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 13, 2010 at 8:59 am

Chuck Bernstein and Andy Cohen together spells trouble. This is a power base controlled by Paul Collacchi, a former city council member who now lives in Redwood City. Do not be fooled by "fiscal responsibility" talk. The city needs positive council members with ideas for how we can get Menlo Park out of the '50s no-growth ditch. If anyone thinks this council has problems, just wait for the real "no" people to run the whole show.

We need young people with children in our schools who understand the challenges of 2 working parents, child care, getting from one side of the city to the other, safe streets for our kids, sidewalks for people who walk and push strollers in addition to big mortgages

Angry and negative people, step down!

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 13, 2010 at 10:13 am

Team 911 states:"We need young people with children in our schools who understand the challenges of 2 working parents, child care, getting from one side of the city to the other, safe streets for our kids, sidewalks for people who walk and push strollers in addition to big mortgages"

The filing period for the November race has closed - you get to choose from the current candidates, period. If you want people to run such as you describe then you better start recruiting them now for 2012.

Like this comment
Posted by Renee Batti
associate editor of The Almanac
on Aug 13, 2010 at 10:34 am

Renee Batti is a registered user.

More comments on the City Council race can be found on this older thread:

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Concerned resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 13, 2010 at 11:43 am

Obviously "Concerned Taxpayer" is eith Gail Slocum or one of her shills.

Like this comment
Posted by lots of choices
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 14, 2010 at 12:19 am

Dear Team 911

If you want candidates with young kids in the schools, four of the six contenders qualify:

Heyward Robinson (one boy at Oak Knoll and one boy at Hillview)

Rich Cline (three girls, oldest one Oak Knoll)

Russ Peterson (triplets entering Hillview)

Kirsten Keith (two kids, I thin Encinal and Hillview)

As for the others, Peter Ohtaki's three kids I believe are not school aged yet

Chuck Bernstein's two boys already graduated Menlo Park schools

Like this comment
Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 14, 2010 at 6:16 am

Having your children in Menlo Park Scools no more qualifies you to be a city council member any more than being a property owner rather than a renter. The first and foremost qualification is to be an advocate for the people. Cline and Robinson have clearly demonstrated that they have place employee union advocacy over the interests of the residents. That is an immediate disqualifier.

According to a former mayor who is not Lee Duboc or Mickie Winkler (two people who were excoriated in a well orchestrated smear canpaign by the San Mateo County Labor Council and GFail Slocum) Kirsten Keith was inveigled by Ms. Slocum to enter the race.

For those of you who do not know Ms. Slocum, she is the behind the scenes person who is the leader of the far-left movement in Menlo Park. She is solidly behind Cline and Robinson and has made a Faustian pact with organized labor that ensures their dominant influence over Menlo Park elections and subsequent council policy making.

We need to wrest control of the city from the Unions and Ms. Slocum and the best way to do that is to vote for candidates outside the their sphere of influence.

The best way to do that is to vote for Chuck Bernstein, Peter Ohtaki, and Russ Peterson. Then we can all chip in a buy a windmill for Ms. Slocum and let her tilt at that instead.

Like this comment
Posted by looking on
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 14, 2010 at 8:14 am

Lots of ways to look at this council race.

Certainly we need a new direction on the fiscal side, and that means that Cline and Robinson must be removed.

A new City manager is warranted as his contract will be expiring next August.

Robinson especially is nothing but a tax and spender. His removal would also shorten council meeting considerably, since he insists on taking so much time to express his opinions as well as always trying to design from the dais. The animosity between him and Cohen is stunning.

Indeed Slocum is the power broker and boy has she changed in terms of land development. Now fully pro development at any cost, she has promoted the Bohannon project, in spite of its very anti "green" aspects.

How can this lady pretend to be a leader in the "green" movement, when she fully endorses the Bohannon project, which being fully dependent on auto transportation, will generate tons of greenhouse gasses.

Whatever, to make it simple, don't vote for either Cline or Robinson.

Choose among the others.

Like this comment
Posted by Anthony Stoner
a resident of another community
on Aug 14, 2010 at 9:03 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2010 at 7:19 pm

I would vote for a minority person to balance out predominaely Anglo
list of candidates who is not an "investment broker", and who does not live in the past.

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 16, 2010 at 8:54 pm


are there any minority candidates on the slate? No? Then perhaps you should get one on there.

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

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