News


Surreal moments from the Menlo campaign trail

Theme songs, developer parties, and ...

Where will the candidates spend election night?

The answer depends on whether a candidate backs Measure T. David Bohannon, the developer who hopes to see the ballot measure pass so he can build Menlo Gateway, a nearly 1-million-square-foot office-hotel complex, is hosting an election night party at the Oak City Bar and Grill in Menlo Park.

Expected to attend, according to Mr. Bohannon: Incumbents Rich Cline, who confirmed his plans; and Heyward Robinson, along with candidate Kirsten Keith.

All three support the project, and all three received assistance from the Bohannon camp during the campaign, according to the party invite -- something that hasn't appeared on the campaign finance reports as either a monetary or non-monetary donation.

Mr. Bohannon has thrown $475,000 at last report into funding the campaign to support Measure T, with $14,864 dedicated to a series of mailers attacking one candidate -- Chuck Bernstein, a vocal opponent of Menlo Gateway.

No word yet on where Mr. Bernstein will be on Tuesday night, but the other candidate against the measure, stay-at-home dad and community volunteer Russell Peterson, said he plans to stay home.

"Final plans include getting to sleep at a reasonable hour and re-introducing myself to my family," Mr. Peterson said. "Perhaps I'll hold a private press conference and explain my position on the weighty issues; homework, chores, when do the kids get cellphones, how much Halloween candy can be consumed per day."

Campaign mode vs. council mode

Incumbents running for re-election face several pitfalls during campaign season. Every decision of the past four years returns to haunt them, for example. Then there's the temptation to campaign during council meetings -- technically (and ethically) a no-no.

Competing candidate Chuck Bernstein addressed the City Council at its Oct. 19 meeting on Measure M, a countywide ballot measure that would raise vehicle registration fees $10, describing it as "a regressive tax" that falls more heavily on poor people.

Incumbent Heyward Robinson couldn't resist firing back. "I find it interesting that Mr. Bernstein, who is touting himself as a fiscal conservative, and [Vice Mayor John Boyle, who is touting himself as a fiscal conservative, is not willing to take steps to address well-known subsidies."

Mr. Boyle has not endorsed Mr. Robinson's bid for re-election.

Later, Mr. Robinson told The Almanac he had realized the comment was inappropriate, and had apologized. "I realized 'I'm not in campaign mode here, I'm at a council meeting,' and I blurred the lines a little bit."

He said the issue "pushed one of his buttons."

Every campaign needs a theme song

While you might expect challenger Chuck Bernstein to go for a feisty "Rocky"-type theme song, instead the candidate took a folksy route.

"Chuck, Chuck, save us a buck," goes the refrain of his campaign song. Mr. Bernstein said a music teacher who works with his childcare business composed and sang the tune, with the candidate himself contributing a few verses "to make them as relevant as possible to city politics."

He said the inspiration came from a student-designed fundraising billboard that read, "Give a buck to Chuck."

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Boohannon
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 31, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Who is investigating Bohannon, Cline, Robinson and Keith for potential violations of campaign finance regulations?

It has further been noted that Mr. Bohannon has hired workers to distribute, along with Measure T literature, campaign materials for Cline, Robinson and Keith. What is the fair value of these services; has this been reported by the candidates and/or Mr. Bohannon?


Like this comment
Posted by Officer Krupke
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 1, 2010 at 11:48 am

[Post removed; personal attacks violate terms of use.]


Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 1, 2010 at 11:53 am

The party invite (that was sent to me) did not say anything about candidates receiving assistance, which is very strange content to put in a party invite. Maybe Sandy received a fake invite from the No-on-T campaign. Sandy should contact the person that sent her the fake invite and get to the bottom of this.


Like this comment
Posted by Dr. Jack
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 1, 2010 at 12:46 pm

[Post removed; personal attacks violate terms of use.]


Like this comment
Posted by Outside Looking In
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm

[Post removed. Please don't shout by using all caps. ]


Like this comment
Posted by just the facts
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Boohannon: please put some facts here before asserting a violation of campaign finance disclosure rules.

Donations and campaign expenditures after October 17 and which are under $1000 must be reported by early January, but no sooner.

You have presented no evidence that there was a failure to properly report campaign expenditures by the October 16 deadline by Ohtaki, Cline, Robinson,Keith, or the Measure T people. Please refrain from making accusations which are not supported by facts.


Like this comment
Posted by Morris Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Nov 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I don't know for sure where Sandy got the invite, but I posted a few days ago the invitation for all to see:

It is at:

Web Link

It certainly is not a fake. On the other hand, it I wasn't the one invited, for reasons I really don't understand.

morris brown


Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Thanks Morris. That sounds like a fun party, but where did Sandy get the statement?

"...all three received assistance from the Bohannon camp during the campaign, according to the party invite..."

The party invite (thanks again for the link) does not say any such thing.


Like this comment
Posted by Nothing wwrong here
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 1, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Bohannon was dropping Ohtaki's fliers too (Ohtaki finally decided to endorse T about a month ago. But the Bohannon combined literature drops started *after* the last campaign reporting period ended.

I am sure that if the rules require it, Bohannon and the four candidates will report whatever is necessary.

The Yes on L people and the No on T people were carrying their favorite candidates fliers door to door too.


Like this comment
Posted by Boohannon
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 1, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Perhaps so, Mr. "Nothing," but the "No on T" people are VOLUNTEERS, not like the hired guns used by Mr. Bohannon, and there is nothing wrong with their also volunteering to support various candidates. This is unlike the case with Mr. Bohannon; since he used paid mercernaries, the proportional value of those services should have been reported as campaign contributions to Robinson, Cline, etc.


Like this comment
Posted by levity
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Nov 2, 2010 at 12:13 am

Russ Peterson's quote made me smile. Chuck and Peter might want to try dialing back the super-seriousness and try a little humor.


Like this comment
Posted by rules rules
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 2, 2010 at 8:54 am

in the last few weeks of campaigns, state laws from the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) require reporting any donation or expense greater than $1000 within 24 hours.
maybe Bohannon and his many paid consultants think the rules don't apply?


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

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