News

Money trickles into Menlo council campaigns

Tight race, tight budgets

The six Menlo Park City Council candidates disclosed the state of their campaign finances this week, covering donations and expenditures from July 1 through Sept. 30.

Three seats are open, with two incumbents seeking re-election. But two newcomers lead the money race, with less than a month to go before the Nov. 2 election.

Biggest war chests

According to the filed statements, Peter Ohtaki raised the most, with $11,790 in donations; $800 came out of his own pocket. The Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board president also landed the largest single donation of any candidate, $2,500, from local certified public accountant James Brenzel.

The California Apartment Association chipped in $250 for Mr. Ohtaki; the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, $1,000. Fifty-seven percent of the donors listed Menlo Park addresses.

Coming in second, educator and community activist Chuck Bernstein followed Mr. Ohtaki's lead with $9,830, donating $500 to his own campaign. He was the only candidate to list non-monetary donations, approximately $190 worth from Cisco employee Tiffany Choy, who pitched in with nametags, refreshments, and paper goods.

Certain contributors of interest read like a "who's who" of Menlo Gateway opponents: Patti Fry ($200), and Martin Engel ($1,000); Planning Commissioner Vincent Bressler ($200), and Councilman Andy Cohen ($200). A duet of former mayors also put money behind Mr. Bernstein: Lee Duboc ($200), and Mickie Winkler ($150).

Eighty-one percent of Mr. Bernstein's backers listed Menlo Park addresses.

Incumbents

Incumbent Heyward Robinson reported $9,214, including a $1,000 loan from himself. Sixty-seven percent of the money came from Menlo Park donors.

Mayor Rich Cline collected $8,837, including $2,198 he loaned to the campaign. Eighty-two percent of the 43 contributors live within Menlo Park.

He provided the only surprise among the candidates' list of expenditures. Mr. Cline seems to subscribe to the "get 'em while they're young" philosophy of civic involvement -- the mayor rented a jumpy house for his and Mr. Robinson's joint kickoff party.

"It was for me. I shoved the kids aside," Mr. Cline said.

Former mayor and active Democrat Gail Slocum favored the incumbents by giving each $250.

Other candidates

Attorney Kirsten Keith reported $4,199 in contributions -- $3,000 from a self-loan, and the rest from 16 donors, about half of whom live outside the city. One fellow planning commissioner chipped in; John O'Malley donated $100.

Trailing the pack is community volunteer and stay-at-home dad, Russell Peterson. Of the $3,150 Mr. Peterson collected, $3,000 came from himself and a relative. Fifty percent of his four donors live in Menlo Park.

PACS

One political action committee, California Real Estate PAC, put in an appearance, giving $1,000 to Mr. Bernstein and $500 to Mr. Robinson.

The unions are not only skipping the endorsements, so far they've also refrained from contributing money or other assistance to any Menlo Park candidate.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Add the Stealth L Money...
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 8, 2010 at 1:58 pm

This article missed a few other really important doozeys in the City campaigns' financial Reports: The Almanac forgot to mention that Yes on L campaign has raised $10,975 this period (and $21,761 overall).

Its donor lists are a GOP who's who. Biggest donor: that infamous Athertonian, Howard Crittenden (defacer of his now-vacant Park Theater) who lavished $4,500 on Measure L campaign, Fomer MP Mayor Dee Tolles as well as Peter Carpenter of Atherton each gave $1,000, and Former MP Mayor DuBoc gave almost $1,000.

Measure L's messaging is expected to give a free boost to the challengers' campaigns by attacking the current Council, even though they already unanimously imposed 2@60 on the Unions.

That it's being used as a wedge issue (like gay marriage was in the Bush 2000 election) shouldn't be a surprise -- all the active effort like copying and printing is being handled by none other than.... drum roll please.... Lee DuBoc (major Bush donor) and Mickie Winkler (who has now registered back as a Republican), with Henry Riggs (a registered Libertarian) on lawnsigns.

Expect Measure L to foment more of the same old divisiveness we saw from Lee and Mickie when in office that caused so many to drum them out of office too.


Like this comment
Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 8, 2010 at 2:05 pm

We're covering the Measure L and Measure T finance reports in a separate story.


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Posted by Interesting Read
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 8, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Yes, "Add" is right to look at the money for Measure L, which is higher than any candidate.

L serves as a vehicle for Mickie Winkler and Lee Duboc's vendetta against the two (Cline and Robinson) who resoundingly ousted them four years ago. But sadly if L passes it will actually cost the City money in the short term and won't save anything for 14 years. The disclsure shows that L itself has already had to spend most of the money it has raised defending lawsuits, which the City would have to take over if L wins. Hard to call that fiscally conservative.

We should see Lee and Mickie's effort for what it is, to foist a thinly veiled hoax on our City when it's really a non-issue -- the COuncil unanimously passed 2@60... There are far more important unresolved issues out there. This is a distraction from HSR, ECR Downtown Specific Plan, and long term planning to attract businesses to our industrial and commercial areas that bring revenues.

But then again, Lee and Mickie aren't running. So they can snipe all they want without actually having to govern. AFter all, working for the whole City's interests is the really hard and thankless work but if you do it well it shows.

Unlike the prior COuncil, our current Council has done a pretty darn good job in the balancing act of actual decisionmaking -- Yes on Gateway, Yes on 1300 ECR mixed use project and others, moving forward on a community driven ECR plan, healthy reserves and a AAA Bond Rating that are the envy of most other Cities - all despite the "great rescession"...

I'm voting for the moderates who are effective -- Cline and Robinson -- and against those being put forward by the extremist and divisive Mickie and Lee... We need to say no to Lee and Mickie again.

P.S. I find it bizarre in the extreme that Mickie and Lee each have Chuck Bernstein signs on their lawns. Surreal! Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed -- Chuck opposes all the types of development they support (Derry, Rosewood etc), but it seems Measure L hypnotized both sides to allow the far right to start dirty dancing with the libertarians, I guess. In the unlikely event Bernstein won, Lee and Mickie would throw him under the bus the first time a business development issue came up -- which is the bread and butter of what the City Council does after all. Beware of false friends, Chuck!


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Posted by callie
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 8, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Hello
I'm for Measure T, Kirsten Keith, I'm a democrat and I'm FOR Measure L which is by far the most important item we have to vote on.
So I suggest, you
1. Resist being ugly.
2. Face the fact that although the council "unanimously supported pension reform," two of the council members are campaigning against 2%@60. Unless Measure L passes, expect pension reform will to go down.
3. Understand that Measure L has spent--and will spend--almost all of its money defending against the labor law suit that has sought to deprive voters of the right to vote.
callie


Like this comment
Posted by What A Shame
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 8, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Anytime a fiscally responsible idea is proposed people like "Interesting Read" start yelling "Foul it must be Mickie and Lee, it must be Mickie and Lee!" It is too bad that this individual cannot see beyond their own prejudices. Ned Moritz, who is a Democrat was the one that wrote the darn thing! There were several school leaders that supported and volunteered for the cause. It's not only about development, although the above poster would like it to be, this is the reason Chuck's lawn sign is on Mickie and Lee's front lawn, Chuck is a fiscal conservative. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having someone on council that is fiscally prudent and wants to make sure OUR money is taken care of, and spent wisely. Kudos to both Mickie and Lee for seeing "beyond the trees" and making this election about fiscal responsibility. As for the "hate posters", get a grip these two individuals have not been on our council for now 4 years, can't you leave it in the past and have a sense of calm that your money will be taken care of by fiscally responsible NEW council people? I'm counting the days when your voice is silenced, it's giving us all a headache!


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 8, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

Dear Interesting Read

As Chairman of the Yes on L campaign let me clear up several errors in your post.

The VAST majority of the money we have raised went to defend ourselves in a lawsuit filed against us, and against ballot initiative, by the two unions representing Menlo Park employees. They brought the lawsuit to stop the initiative from ever reaching the ballot, and they lost. So the money spent did not further our message, it was to defend our constitutional right to have our voices heard. It cost us tens of thousands of dollars, in addition to what the city of Menlo Park spent.

The council did NOT pass a 2%/60 plan. They temporarily imposed that contract on the SEIU. Until they negotiate, then impose, similar terms with the AFSCME in 2011 it is NOT valid. It can also be rescinded (in the middle of the night) by a future council without input of the public. So it is not the same as our initiative. Do you understand that? Or should explain that difference further?

As to your apparent issues with Mickie and Lee, please take your insults elsewhere. Since you have shown cowardice in hiding behind an anonymous pseudo name, I will assume you have some personal axe to grind with them, and lack the integrity and class to do so in a civilized manner.

Anybody who has met me or knows me, would know I am never someone’s errand boy. I took on this cause to save Menlo Park for my children, to help make Menlo Park a better place to live. Your cowardly vitriol does nothing to further that cause.

And for the record, the current reserve is less than when this council was elected [I’ll use REALLY plain English for you – you are wrong when you say they increased reserves]. This council has run a deficit for 3 years, and delayed promised transfers to long-term maintenance projects to maintain its deficit spending. So PLEASE show a little budget knowledge before you extol the virtues of a council that voted on the largest transfer of city wealth to the SEIU and AFSCME ever. We will be paying for the 35% pension increase they gave for the next 50 years. It will cost us money that will never go to develop a park or recreation area, improve our libraries, or plant a tree. Do you understand that? Do you need any additional data to understand the costs?

If you’d like to discuss the subject with me privately please contact me at the address below. But please do not insult people behind an anonymous name, show some spine and a little class.


Roy Thiele-Sardiña
roy@sardina.com


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Posted by Follow the Money
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 8, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Highlights of newcomer's and Measures' disclosures.

Actually the top 4 Council candidates are within $2,500 of each other in money raised ($9,200 – $11,790 spread). This probably tilts toward the incumbents.


OHTAKI (a Republican)
Raised $11,790
Spent $ 4,406 (lots of spending!)
On Hand $ 8,608
Major donors: Key Question: why so much real estate money?
Sil. Val. Realtors $1,000
James Brenzel $2,500 (who is this CPA? Does he own ECR land)
Howard Crittenden $ 300 (owner/mutilator of still vacant Park Theater which he wants to turn into offices).
Robert Lane $500 (R/E investor possibly from out of state, but with a Menlo PO Box? Does he own ECR land?)
Bob Ekedahl $250 (Menlo Res, Florida developer,also supports L)
Nancy Couperus $500 (Los Altos Hills, downtown building owner and leading opponent of specific plan)
Deborah Clemetson $500 (also from Los Altos Hills, friend of Nancy Couperus/possibly co-owner of downtown building?)
[Do we really think Ohtaki can give a fair shake to others' views on the Downtown Plan having taken about 1/10 of his money from downtown opponents?]


BERNSTEIN
Raised $ 9,640
Spent $ 2,227 (NOTE: something fishy – no printing of fliers when distribution of color offset fliers ongoing for weeks)
On Hand $ 7,413

Major Donors:
CA. R/E PAC $1,000 (why is a Los Angeles based real estate PAC supporting a no growther?)
Morris Brown $1,000 (Opposes T and led Derry referendum)
Mrs Morris Brown $1,000 (")
Jim Madison $ 500 (Opposes T)
Workers submitting expenses include: Mickie Winkler, Lee DuBoc, Stu Soffer, Patti Fry (Measure T opponent) but Ed Moritz (of Meas L) got Chuck's lawn signs.


KEITH (Got the Dem endorsement with Cline and Robinson)
Raised $4,199 (+$3,000 self loan, totals $7,199)
Spent $1,140
On hand $6,051

Kirsten's donors are very odd seeming – almost all from out of town/out of state, with occupations not normal for a council race.
Can someone check into that a little more? (Almanac reporters??)

Look for an uptick in her fundraising soon - her campaign was slow to get started.

6. PETERSON
$2,079 on hand

Russ is a really nice guy with a lot to offer, but with a campaign that also got off to a late start.


Yes on Measure L
Raised $21,761 to date, of which $10,975 was during this period
Spent $13,742 this period (of which $2,323 as a prepay of postage that Mickie did; lots went to lawyers --$6,500 recently to defend SEIU/AFSCME suit)
On hand $6,100

Major donors:
Ekedahl
Dee Tolles $1,000
Lee DuBoc $ 891
Howard Crittenden $3,500 ***** (Atherton)
Peter Carpenter $1,000 (Atherton)
DuBoc and Winkler were the ones doing all of the printing and copying work, Riggs did the lawn signs.


"MEASURED GROWTH FOR MENLO PARK" (New, Anti-T group)
$2,784 on hand
It’s pretty much all Morris Brown and Paul Collachi money.
Spent some on printing and postage already (what did they mail??) Probably enough for one decent targeted mailer still...

No on L
Where are the Unions with a No on L campaign????? If there is some mail that sheds light, the Yes on L "bloom" may fade.

Yes on T
$150,000 from Bohannon org. Pretty much as expected.


The betting money is on Cline, Robinson and Keith for Council.
Yes on T for sure.
Probably Yes on L (though that could change. It's harder to get people to vote yes on something than No.)


Like this comment
Posted by Dear Callie
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Callie,

I appreciate your comment, and like you am a Democrat and am voting Yes on T and for our neighbor Kirsten Keith. I will also vote for CLine and Robinson.

I take issue with your claim that the two incumbers are "campaigning against 2@60. No they are not.
First they voted to impose 2@60 and have stood by that during the cmpaign. Cline is officially neutral on L; Robinson has stated that that he is not against the 2@60 portion of L but rather opposes its its requirement that the City fund a vote of the people if it's ever changed. And both have expressed concerns, as did the independent analysis, that passage of L's unfortunate wording would put the City on the hook to pay for further lawsuits at a time of tight budgets, and is likely to cause the City not to qualify for CALPERS which would also cost the City more to do on its own.

Everyone should read the independent analysis before voting.

It made up my mind to vote No on L despite all the rhetoric.

Let the Council do its job considering the full range of compensation considerations so we can attract and retain good workers even as budgets need to get cut.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 8, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

As far as the No on L spending.

There was a MAJOR "No on L" push poll done last week (as reported by the Almanac and Daily Post) The estimated cost was over $75,000.

Clearly Kelly as the person responsible for the no on L campaign didn't spend her own money.

One would assume the unions spent this money, will they report it?

Will the San Mateo Labor council post the donations in kind of all the union members expected to walk the precincts with No on L literature in the next few weeks?

Will the unions have to declare/report their legal costs in filling the lawsuit to stop the ballot initiative from being voted on? Is this not a No on L expense?

If history is provides us any lessons. The Unions will NOT declare the tens of thousands of dollars they spend in support of the candidates they help elect. The Unions will NOT report the tens of thousands of dollars they spend against ballot initiatives.

We will have to continue to seek help in competing with these bottomless pocket Unions!

Please help by voting November 2nd, let your voice be heard.

Roy Thiele-Sardina
Yes on L!


Like this comment
Posted by E. Moritz
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 8, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Dear “Stealth ‘L’ Money” and “Interesting Read”,

Since I am the person who keeps all the records of contributions and expenses for the Citizens for Fair and Responsible Pension Reform (CFRPR), allow me to address the concerns you have raised in your posts. First, let me say how happy I am that you took the time to read the reports I constructed and filed. It takes a lot of time to do this, so it’s gratifying to know of your interest.

You seem to be upset about the consist of the donors and volunteers who have worked on this project since January of this year. The processes and forms required to complete a ballot initiative are quite daunting. It takes a lot of time, people and money. And we have no problem with that. Going in we knew it was a tough assignment, but a citizen initiative is a serious thing.

We were out to correct a serious error in math and judgment made by our City Council. They voted for a change in pension payments that was simply unsustainable. And by the way, the two incumbents whom you seem to support in the current election (Robinson and Cline), voted for this serious error. I wish myself and my colleagues did not have to take the action we saw as necessary. I would have much preferred to use my retirement time for reading and other positive activities. But the error in math was so stark and held such devastating consequences, myself and others could not sit at home.

Once we began a campaign to explain the math error it was very easy to get citizens from all political spectrums in Menlo Park to join the cause. The Chuck Bernstein sign in front of Lee Duboc’s and Mickie Winkler’s houses (and mine) is not “bizarre”, it should be “instructive”. Instructive of how almost everyone in Menlo Park could understand the simple math that escaped Msrs. Robinson and Cline, along with the rest of the Council in 2007. Menlo Park is a pretty well educated town. That’s why we were able to quickly gain the support (through signatures on our petition and contributions to our finances) of a large group of diverse citizens…… except you, I guess. In fact, EVERY candidate for the City Council has endorsed Measure “L”….. except Robinson and Cline. Uhmmm! It would seem there’s a story here about math skills.

Have former council member Winkler and Duboc helped in our campaign??? Absolutely!!! And we’ve welcomed their help. Just as we have welcomed the help of Chuck Bernstein and many other citizens who found common understanding and concern about the looming debt related to the unreasonable pension promises made by our City Council.

The financial report I filed has all the names of our contributors except six names who gave less than $25, so they don’t need to be reported. Did you notice that virtually all the contributors are from Menlo Park? Mr. Crittenden was one of the four exceptions out of ninety-three donations? In the 2008 election the financial records show that one candidate received almost 45% of her contributions from outside Menlo Park. That’s not too unusual. But it should also be noted $4,200 came directly from unions, with $1,000 coming from the SEIU, one of the unions that benefited from the vote on pensions. Whoa!!! Talk about need for concern? Finally, did you notice that over 40 percent of the donors are “retired”? This reflects the outrage over a pension system that is transferring wealth, not providing a fair retirement.

You were silent on the costs we were forced to incur. All the facts are in the report. There’s no need to be selective in their presentation. We spent over $2,400 on lawyers just to make sure our initiative forms met the very stringent requirements of the ballot initiative rules. Let’s hear it for the lawyers who wrote the rules providing them full employment!! ☺

And then along came the unions (AFSCME & SEIU) lawyers and sued the City and our group (me, personally) to keep the initiative off the ballot and away from the citizens. This forced us to expend another $8,400 in legal fees to defend our effort and support our City. In case you missed it, the judge ruled against the unions, saying the citizens right to vote trumped the unions selfish concerns.

We still have reserve funds. And we expect the same unions to pull another publicity stunt (think the Gloria and Nicki show) before election day. Will we see some poor retired union member who left the City ten years ago and now is being evicted from a house on which they took a mortgage for which they had no hope of paying off? Who knows?

But since you are concerned about expenditures and donations coming from outside Menlo Park….. Have you been one of the MANY Menlo Park citizens who were contacted by telephone last week and last weekend on what is called a “Push Poll”. The caller asks questions related to the Menlo Park election, and much of the time (15 to 20 minutes for each call) was spent on the topic of Measure “L”. The “Push Poll” is carefully constructed to implant statements within those questions that try to establish doubt or misinformation in the mind of person taking the poll. The poll was conducted by professional marketing companies and the calls were made from both Portland, OR and Phoenix, AZ. As a former vice president of marketing for a major international corporation I am very familiar with the makeup and cost of this type of poll. Trust me when I tell you that the “polling” effort last week cost $100,000 or more. And you didn’t like the several thousand dollars Mr. Crittenden donated!! Mr. Crittenden, you are officially a PIKER in this election !!! ☺

“Stealth ‘L’ Money”….. Does it concern you that the City Clerk says no organization has registered with the City to oppose Measure “L”, but obviously LARGE sums of money are being thrown into an effort to do so? Since you are one who looks at the financial reports of candidates, have you looked at the records filed in the 2006 election by Robinson and/or Cline to see if they received any donations from unions? We’d love to hear your report back on this.

Our organization has followed the rules. We have reported everything publically. We will continue to do so. We welcome everyone’s support, even yours, if you get the MATH.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 8, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

I again want to clarify a statement again mentioned above concerning the city being ejected from CalPERS.

Bill McClure the city attorney stated in a presentation to the council in July and in his memo to the City Council, that the issue could clarify the terms of the initiative through a declaratory relief action. This would be a minor hearing in front of a judge. It is made easier with the permission of the Yes on L organization. We have given him that permission. He also presented several other ways around this issue.

Also any clause deemed unlawful can be separated from the initiative. We have a severability clause in the initiative for that reason.

The city will ONLY have to spend money on legal fees if the Unions chose to sue them. Think about that, if the people who we give +70% of the city general budget to decide to bite the hand that feeds them, we as citizens will have to spend money to defend the will of the people of Menlo Park!

Roy Thiele-Sardiña
Vote Yes on L!


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Posted by looking on again
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 8, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Bohannon reported spending almost $200,000 in his committee for Yes on T.

$25,000 was for the poll he did. Your estimate of $75,000 is way off the mark for a No on L poll. I'm for Measure L for sure, but I'm dead set against the dreadful Bohannon project with all its impacts and the lousy deal the City made.

Measure L will win and win big. Then you will be facing another court battle, and that one will be more expensive and your chances of winning are 50:50 at best.


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Posted by interesting
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 8, 2010 at 5:16 pm

I think if you look at the candidate reports there is little to be suspicious about. I may not support Mr. Bernstein, but to try to make something out of his not having paid for fliers is pretty lame. Candidates get invoiced at different times and pay bills at different times during the election cycle. The amount raised by any is of little significance so far. Let's not get carried away bashing candidates or incumbents on made up stuff.


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Posted by A question
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm

I am getting inundated with Yes on Measure T fliers. Some days I am getting two! I wonder if the incumbents, Robinson and Cline, will report that these Bohannon-financed fliers have featured these CANDIDATES? Will Cline report in his filings that there were two ads for Measure T in the Almanac featuring Mr. Cline? After all, these fliers/ads, while extolling the benefits of the Bohannon Project (in, it would appear, the words of the INCUMBENTS/CANDIDATES)do put their names and faces in the public's eye. This is blatant campaign help by Mr. Bohannon.

Talk about candidates in the pocket of developers. How about all the Robinson and Cline signs appearing at rental properties owned by a very big property owner Speiker? Hummmmm. I'd say the development interests have picked their candidates -- and it's the incumbents, Robinson and Cline.

As a voter, I expect these elected officials to show me just who has supported them. I want the ENTIRE picture.


Like this comment
Posted by callie
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 9, 2010 at 4:16 pm

to the writer who "corrected" my comments above. Please reread. I did NOT say that the two incumbents opposed Pension Reform. Callie


Like this comment
Posted by I checked
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 12, 2010 at 1:35 pm

1. OK - I checked, and neither Robinson nor Cline has received any money from any Unions.
the Labor Council did not endorse anyone in this race, and in fact word is that the Unions are MAD at Cline and Robinson for imposing 2@60 and cost sharing (the latter of which Measure L does nothing about).

2. If, as all expect, there are No on L mailers after Oct 1, they will be reported in the Oct 21 disclosures. I agree with you that they will probably be funded by the Unions, but that's their right in a democracy. There is really nothing inherently wrong with unions. That's one of the unseemly things about Yes on L -- a bunch of upper middle class Menlo Park people being resentful of city workers whose average wage is around $60,000 a year and for whom the non police workers' pension is only about $17,000 a year and they get no social security either.

3. As for the Measure T campaign's "why I support T" type ads and mailers, as I understand it they are featuring a wide variety of recognized people from both parties. To the degree that among these they chose to include quotes from Cline, Robinson, and I suspect Ohtaki and Keith, along with Belle Haven leaders, area Business leaders, Bayfront Park protectors etc, they can do so. If someone also happens to be a candidate -- like Ohtaki, Keith, Cline and Robinson, who all support Gateway -- as long at the Measure T materials do not say to VOTE for them, there is not any legal requirement. That's what I understand, at least...


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Posted by Upper Middle Class
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 12, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Dear I Checked

I noticed you live in Menlo Park, which automatically makes you Upper Middle Class. You live in a city with a median household income of $85,000, a City where +75% of the residents have gone to college. I don't see anything against the Unions in Measure L's material. It talks about unsustainable pensions.

I would like to correct a couple of the factual errors in your email. According to the city, the non-police average compensation is $75,838. When that “average” city employee retires they will get $61,429 per year (which is more retirement than you thought they earned!). That pension is $33,230 MORE than the maximum social security payment in the US. In fact to receive the $28,200 maximum social security payment they would have to be earning nearly $90,000 and retire at the current 65 years of age. Which apparently is hardship on our employees since they can retire at 55 with the $61,429. That is a $1,800,000 (yes million) prepaid annuity on retirement. Do you have that much money in your 401K? Because that’s what our residents gave each of them. Do you think we should give them Social Security too?

So excuse me if I find your comments absurd. NOBODY should expect that level of retirement and 55. Certainly not anyone who is a public servant. That is why most of us will be voting YES on L, to stop this unsustainable transfer of city wealth to Menlo Park employees.


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

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