News


Menlo Park council: Ohtaki, Keith, Cline elected

Robinson and Bernstein reflect on outcome

Incumbent Heyward Robinson and educator Chuck Bernstein are reflecting on their unsuccessful bids for Menlo Park City Council, as Peter Ohtaki, Kirsten Keith, and incumbent Rich Cline were elected Nov. 2.

Incumbent Heyward Robinson, who ran a close fourth to Mr. Cline (click here for latest count), thought an anti-incumbent vibe and a targeted smear campaign contributed to his loss.

"It didn't help that two of my council colleagues campaigned against me," he said. "I don't think there's any one thing, but it all kind of added up."

"Voters took us took us for granted a bit, not appreciating what we're doing," he added. "One of my concerns with the two new people coming in is our ability to be effective advocates on high-speed rail, and the Dumbarton Rail project. It's frustrating for me because we get no press coverage; no reporter ever comes to those meetings."

Still, Mr. Robinson, who doesn't think he'll run again, was pleased with his strategy, describing it as a very positive, issues-oriented campaign.

So was challenger Chuck Bernstein. "I ran the campaign I wanted to run, and I felt like I said the things that needed to be said, and I don't have regrets about any of it."

Don't expect Mr. Bernstein to retire from the political arena any time soon. "I'm going to have a response to the letter (city manager) Glen Rojas wrote about the budget. I'm still on the case," he said, laughing. "I've always been involved, and yes, I'm disappointed, but I'm not going anywhere."

There were a total of six candidates running for three seats on the council. Mr. Cline and Mr. Robinson were vying for second terms against Mr. Ohtaki, Ms. Keith, Russell Peterson, and Chuck Bernstein.

Ms. Keith appeared ebullient as she monitored the polls first at the 'Yes on Measure L' election night party, then over at David Bohannon's Measure T gathering at the Oak City Bar and Grill.

Mr. Cline, on the other hand, found Zen. "However it turns out, I will accept it," Mr. Cline said under the din of the party.

Outgoing council member John Boyle was spotted at the 'Yes on Measure L' party watching the polls with Ms. Keith, whom he endorsed.

Asked whether he felt nostalgic at not seeing his name appear among the candidates, Mr. Boyle laughed. "I thought I might be a little sad ... but no."

As of the Oct. 21 campaign finance reports, educator and business owner Chuck Bernstein led the money race, barely ahead of Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board President Peter Ohtaki.

Mr. Robinson and Mr. Cline were third and fourth, respectively, in monetary contributions, with Planning Commissioner and attorney Kirsten Keith next, and stay-at-home dad and community volunteer Russell Peterson in last place.

Perhaps more important than dollars are the positions taken by each candidate on issues currently facing the city -- pension reform, high-speed rail, the downtown specific plan, Menlo Gateway, and the budget deficit.

Distinguishing between the candidates' positions, however, requires a fine-toothed comb. Mr. Bernstein and Mr. Peterson didn't support Measure T, a ballot measure that voters approved that allows developer David Bohannon to build Menlo Gateway.

No one among the candidates likes the current elevated-track design proposed by the state rail authority board for high-speed rail though the Peninsula.

Measure L, the pension reform initiative approved by 72 percent of voters, counted everyone except the incumbents as supporters. Mr. Bernstein helped get the measure on the ballot by collecting signatures.

As for the downtown specific plan, everyone likes the concept of having a detailed plan for developing downtown Menlo Park. It's the details that divide opinions. Mr. Ohtaki wants to first focus on filling the empty lots on El Camino Real and Mr. Bernstein suggests implementing the plan in phases.

Ms. Keith reiterated the need for a plan, and pointed out there's still time to influence the specific design since it has yet to come before the council.

Experience also sets the candidates apart. The incumbents have long histories of public service, as commissioners and now council members; so does Ms. Keith, with six years on the Planning Commission and volunteer work on numerous county-wide issues.

Mr. Bernstein has served on committees shaping education, childcare, and budget policy. Now president of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board, Mr. Ohtaki previously volunteered with the Mid-Peninsula Water District.

And Russell Peterson, with no political experience, still serves the community as president of the Felton Gables Homeowners Association and founder of the Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Eva Cuffy
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Although the race is over,I look forward to more involvement by Chuck Bernstein. He has a true dedication to keeping Menlo Park beautiful and vibrant. He's smart, knowledgable and he listens.


Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

The new council are thoughtfull people who will do a better job protecting our city's financial future. They form a mojority of members to change the tax and spend policies of the last council, and we can look forward to a great Menlo Park!

We all hope Chuck will stay as involved as he's always been.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


Like this comment
Posted by looking on
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 3, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Until or unless they start the search for a new City Manager, nothing of substance will change --- PERIOD.

Those who have been involved in City politics recognize, that really staff runs the City; not having a City Manager on board with policy decisions is a disaster, and certainly there has been very little if any restraint during the last 4 years towards fiscal responsibility, and although council is really where this result should be placed, the City Managers are able to manipulate and do as little on areas in which they disagree.

Keith as she as advertised is quite happy with just raising taxes. We have to wait and see if Ohtaki will want to cut expenses. He claimed one of his big achievements was get a balanced butget in the fire district.

Obviously that is becuase the district receives too many funds, since the average fireman, with benefits, gets $200,000 per year in compensation.


Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 3, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Heyward's comments are well taken. The two new Councilmembers will have a steep learning curve and may not be able to really make a difference on High Speed Rail undergrounding (or stopping it at San Jose if not undergrounded). They will really have to buckle down and focus on that and hopefully Rich CLine can help them do so, for all of our sakes.

Same for El Camino and downtown. That is coming back soon. Keith really needs step up on that one. We will see if she can grow a spine. She's also not known for doing her planning commission homework, which hopefully will change with the greater responsibilities of Council.

On a positive note, this Council (other than Andy) has the prospects of being reasonable and collegial. However, many of our Council watchers are afraid that we will all regret no re-elecing Heyward for the very reason the Almanac endorsed him. To keep the momentum going on these important HSR and ECR/downtwon issues, which are the real ones facing the new council -- since we all knew Measures L and T were going to have already been decided by the voters.


Like this comment
Posted by Proverbs
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 5, 2010 at 8:19 pm

"He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind."

It is perhaps telling that Heyward Robinson failed to understand that he had a house, but he did. And he did indeed trouble it, and woe unto him for that.

It is easy to run a positive campaign when Bohannon is carrying your water and going negative to protect your flank. If the Big, Clueless goes to Robinson, then the Big, Easy goes to Rich Cline who also troubled his own house but survived to talk about it.

I never know how many votes these hit pieces are worth, and surely Bernstein was a weaker candidate, but the anti-incumbent fingerprints are obvious in this election, and one might wonder if Bernstein was on track to overtake both incumbents, until the Bohannon hit.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 6, 2010 at 9:17 am

I hope that this council will represent a new era of ethics, civility, transparency, responsibility and sanity that has been long overdue in Menlo Park.


Like this comment
Posted by Post-Mortem
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 6, 2010 at 4:15 pm

The big losers here are Andy Cohen's Kitchen Cabinet and the so-called Downtown Alliance (basically just Flegel, Draeger, and Couperus). While Ohatki has been critical of parts of the downtown plan, he generally seems supportive of moderate-density development on El CAmino, as were the next 3 top vote-getters. Seeing Chuck and Russ at the bottom of the list, along with Measure T's passage, should hopefully get the no-growthers to come to the table and stop just trying to 'sabotage' things.


Like this comment
Posted by you don't get it
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 7, 2010 at 9:26 am

Hmmm - let's see. The election involved a proponent of Measure T who had a fund of $475,000 from one source, and who supported the winning candidates and besmirched a wonderful man who has more integrity than Bohannon ever will. There was no sabotage other than what he did.

The so-called "no-growthers" want to grow the city's revenue, not just the income of wealthy developers, something sadly missed in all the hype about the Bohannon project. To my knowledge, none are against change or against planned growth. Please stop the labeling and think about what really happened.


Like this comment
Posted by nobody gets it
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 7, 2010 at 10:26 am

What is missing here are the real winners and losers.

David Bohannon and his family got the big prize, worth to them somewhere between $75 and 200 million. The City gets the shaft due to the poor leadership of previous council, almost non-existent leadership from the City Manager, and the negotiating team, which was completely out classed by Tim Tosta and crew. Rumor is Tosta to get huge bonus from binging home this much bacon

David Bohannon personally suffers a real black mark for his smear campaign against Bernstein --- I doubt he cares as he loads his SUV with cash on the way to the bank.

Th SEIU the big loser. Their reputations are in the dumps and now they go to court to fight on.

The Duboc crowd, got both Keith and Ohtaki elected, but if they had been able to persuade Boyle to run again they would have captured all three seats.

For my part I wonder about Ohtaki and his promise to bring fiscal responsibility to Menlo Park. On the fire board, he over saw salaries with benefits averaging $200,000 per fireman. That is real fiscal responsibility.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 7, 2010 at 11:04 am

Nobody gets it states:"For my part I wonder about Ohtaki and his promise to bring fiscal responsibility to Menlo Park. On the fire board, he over saw salaries with benefits averaging $200,000 per fireman. That is real fiscal responsibility."

Nobody gets it didn't bother to get the facts. During his tenure on the Fire Board Ohtaki has never voted for a salary increase for the firefighters and has held the line against the union's demand for an 11% increase and saved the District millions in interest costs on its pension liabilities. The firefighters contract expired in 2008 and a new contract is nowhere in sight given the union's excessive demands and the Board's refusal to cave in to those demands. These are real accomplishments and REAL fiscal responsibility. He will brig a great perspective to the MP Council.


Like this comment
Posted by nobody gets it
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 7, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Just staying with the status quo is not what Menlo Park needs. What is needed is real reform, not only readjustments of salaries, but elimination of positions and the bureaucracy the has expanded in the last 4 - 6 years. We shall see, what we shall see, but Kieth certainly is on the side of more taxes and Fergusson has never seen a tax she didn't like. Just remember only Boyle and Cohen resisted increasing the TOT hotel tax, and only Cohen has pushed for salary reductions and staff reductions also.

As for the Fire departments in general, why not consolidate them over a much bigger region. Should be major cost savings in that plan.


Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 7, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Peter and POGO again, outsiders with no real knowledge into our city making the same comments over and over and over.

Peter cuddled up to Duboc at the after party just as he has for the past four years. Another [portion removed - please don't characterize other posters} hard right wing outsider claiming some kind of ownership over my city.

Anyone notice how Ohtaki tried to distance himself from Carpenter? Good move because Carpenter and Duboc are not the reason for the Keith and Ohtaki win, it was the economy, stupid.

To try to negate Cline's re-election as something less than what it was, a major win in a down economy. Cline won hands down that third seat.

So we have a new blend on council, that isn't bad. I respect all candidates for running and for putting themselves out there so that Carpenter and POGO, non-residents and clearly ideologues, can take shots from the sidelines.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 7, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Nobody gets it states:'As for the Fire departments in general, why not consolidate them over a much bigger region. Should be major cost savings in that plan."

As I have previously and often posted on this Forum and elsewhere and as the Fire Board has itself endorsed All the fire agencies in San Mateo County should be consolidated into a single agency ala Orange County and Sac Metro.

See:
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 7, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Truth? states:"Peter and POGO again, outsiders with no real knowledge into our city making the same comments over and over and over."

The Real Truth is that Peter and POGO know much more about Menlo Park than does Truth? - just review ALL of Truth's postings and then Review ALL of Peter and POGO's postings and ask yourself who has made the most substantive postings vs who has spent almost all of his time simply attacking others. What has Truth ever done in the way of public service or even bothering to vote? There is no record of Truth ever having voted in any local election.

Calling oneself Truth does not make you the truth anymore than sitting in a garage makes you an automobile.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Truth:

I happen to agree with much of what Peter and POGO have to say and I am NOT an outsider. I think they happen to have the benefit of NOT being in our city. It offers them objectivity. You seem to ahve never met a liberal you didn't like, just like Hank Lawrence has never met a conservative he didn't like. Most of us happen to live in the middle.

And if it was the "economy stupid," why elect Keith? She supports raising the utility tax. No, what it was, was people were fed up with a council that was beholden to the public employee unions.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 7, 2010 at 2:12 pm

A very relevant article from the SF Chronicle:

Service sharing essential in era of deep deficits

Paul Saffo

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Small-town living has long been part of the American dream, but amid California's fiscal crisis, it is becoming a nightmare. Cities like Vallejo have declared bankruptcy as municipal deficits deepen. Others, like Maywood in Southern California, have fired their city employees and outsourced everything from police and fire protection to pothole filling.

Cities all over the state are contemplating similar measures, but the Bay Area is particularly at risk of further municipal bankruptcies. Quite simply, the Bay Area has too many cities, and if serious steps aren't taken to consider all options - from sharing services, to merging municipalities and even disincorporation - the list of bankruptcies is certain to grow.

The nine counties of the Bay Area are home to 6.9 million residents, living in 101 cities. By contrast, Los Angeles County has nearly 10 million residents living in 88 cities, while Orange County's 34 cities represent 3 million residents. Over a third of Bay Area cities have populations of less than 20,000 residents, and nearly a quarter are smaller than 10,000 citizens. Among these are more than a few micro-cities like Belvedere, with just over 2,000 residents, and tiny Colma, whose population of just over 1,000 citizens is outnumbered 10-to-1 by a silent majority interred in the town's cemeteries.

Too many cities means wasteful duplication of services. Many Bay Area cities already share or outsource fire protection and are moving to share other services such as police and maintenance, but this still leaves plenty of pointless duplication. A hundred and one cities inevitably means too many mayors, city councils, city managers, administrators, town halls, maintenance yards and all the other costly trappings that make a city a city.

Too many cities also translate into more than just waste. City revenues are for the most part spent within city limits, and thus a proliferation of small cities translates into greater regional inequities when it comes to funding for schools and other services.

The result is an uneven landscape of municipal haves and have-nots, of well-off cities like Palo Alto and Menlo Park abutting a struggling East Palo Alto. Altruistic generosity is out of the question, but increased intercity service sharing could create a win-win situation where all cities involved realize cost savings and enhanced citizen benefits.

The current financial crisis thus has a silver lining: It is an opportunity to craft solutions that benefit the Bay Area as a whole.

The inefficiencies bedeviling Bay Area cities have been present for decades but ignored while cities were flush with revenue. Faced with historic budget deficits, our cities can't simply cost-cut their way out of this mess. We need new, creative solutions that rethink what a city is and how it serves its residents.

Boundary drops and shared services are a start. Fire services across the Bay Area have supported the idea of consolidation for years, but we need to think bigger. The Los Angeles County Fire Department serves 4 million residents in 58 cities and unincorporated areas. Why doesn't each of our Bay Area counties have a single fire department, or better, why isn't there a single Bay Area-wide fire department? The savings realized from consolidation could be spent on shared resources unaffordable to individual departments. For example, Los Angeles County Fire operates a fleet of nine life-and-property-saving multipurpose helicopters; the Bay Area has none. Such a fleet would be a godsend during fire season and when the Big One hits.

But fire is just a start. San Carlos is disbanding its police department and will rely instead on the San Mateo County sheriff's office for law enforcement. San Mateo is the second-smallest county in California; does each of its 20 HO-scale cities really need a police force?

If cities can share cops and firefighters, then surely they can also share just about any service a city provides. Our counties all have fine infrastructures, from road maintenance to legal services. If done with vision, outsourcing services to the county level can deliver real benefits at lower cost across the entire spectrum of governmental functions.

Municipal-service sharing is not just inevitable; it is also the path to a larger and equally inevitable result. One way or another, the Bay Area has fewer cities in its future. Gus Morrison, the former mayor of Fremont, is promoting the idea of merging Fremont, Newark and Union City in Alameda County to share services and costs. Half Moon Bay is already considering the once-unthinkable option of disincorporation, but our cities also need to begin serious consideration of merging with their neighbors. On the Peninsula, for example, Portola Valley should merge with Woodside, Hillsborough should join forces with Burlingame, and San Carlos really wants to be part of Belmont.

The obstacles to such unions seem insurmountable, but service sharing paves the way to this end by creating the habit of cooperation. As cities share more and more, they will rapidly reach a point where merger seems inevitable and obvious in its benefits. Eventually many of our cities will merge, and the toughest issue they will face in doing so will be one of merely trying to agree on what to call their newly conjoined municipality.
City mergers: Mixing it up

Bay Area cities that could merge - and what they could become:

Fremont

Population: 206,241

Area: 92 square miles

Union City

Population: 67,207

Area: 19.3 square miles

Newark

Population: 42,215

Area: 14 square miles

-- Frewark City

Population: 315,663

Area: 125.3 square miles

Tiburon

Population: 8,666

Area: 13.2 square miles

Belvedere

Population: 2,125

Area: 2.4 square miles

-- Tiburdere

Population: 10,791

Area: 15.6 square miles

San Carlos

Population: 27,718

Area: 5.92 square miles

Belmont

Population: 24,984

Area: 4.5 square miles

-- BelCarlos

Population: 52,702

Area: 10.42 square miles

Paul Saffo is managing director of foresight at Discern, an institutional investment research firm based in San Francisco.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 7, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Here is another thread on consolidation that you might find interesting:

Web Link


We are, of course, still waiting for a substantive suggestion on these matters from the anonymous person who has the audacity to call herself Truth.


Like this comment
Posted by The Middle Ages were not that greatn't that great
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Peter: If we are all destined to become absorbed into one big SMC CITY STATE--could we try to clean the county up first please-- before it become even more powerful and unwieldy?
If the Sheriff does take over we would need to feel very sure about it first, because that would be even harder to fix than any problems with the local militias.
But it is all worth thinking hard about....there are many kinds of economy besides those of scale...interesting article on Adam Smith in a resent New Yorker---market theory and governance.


Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 7, 2010 at 3:34 pm

So if I cut and paste articles that makes my posts substantive?

How about we talk of Atherton and its costs Peter? Why is Atherton not outsourcing more? And if you cannot get a city of less than 10,000 to outsource, and it is your town, and you are a self-proclaimed expert and genius, why can't you fix YOUR town first?

Menlo Voter, trust me, I know you agree with Peter. This is the golden age of the hard right, so you guys are just full of glee.

My original point was against your condemnation of council as you all take so much joy in doing. Keith was elected because she was a new face, has relevant experience and because she supported L and T. She was able to ride a lot of coattails. She snuggled up to Boyle, claimed support of Cline and Duboc and had people dropping her literature for T while Duboc spammed the city with her endorsements.

Cline was re-elected after you all said the incumbents would be flushed.

My point to you is you do not know our city. Our city is not some monolithic tea bagger city. We hire moderates and support moderates.

You three are neither. Check my past posts, I have complimented Boyle and past electeds of either persuasion because I respect what it takes to serve.

You children just bicker and insult and claim your own superiority. It disgusts most of us.

That kind of helps.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 7, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Truth states:"My point to you is you do not know our city."

How UNtruth - I have represented all of your citizens for over 8 years as an elected official - and just exactly what is your claim to expert knowledge other than the anonymous claim that yoy reside in Menlo Park?


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 7, 2010 at 5:04 pm

We are, of course, still waiting for a substantive suggestion on these matters from the anonymous person who has the audacity to call herself Truth.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 7, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I'm not sure Truth read my comment so I reprinted it below in its entirety.


"I hope that this council will represent a new era of ethics, civility, transparency, responsibility and sanity that has been long overdue in Menlo Park."


Sorry for such a negative, tea-bagger post from the outside.


Like this comment
Posted by Black Friday?
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 7, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Revealing line by Merc reporter on the Beltramo strong arm letter to their employees to turn out en masse at Tues. Council hearing to stiff the BevMo use permit
"City officials were not available Friday because City Hall was closed for financial reasons"
I sure hope the new council can get some sanity to this process.
Why whould city Hall be closed on alternate Fridays, when staff is paid higher than private sector comparables.
This is nuts!!!


Like this comment
Posted by lookiing on
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 7, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Black Friday?

I have always thought the 9 day, 2week work schedule was stupid and very un-productive. They are supposed to work 9 hour days, but often if you are around City hall, may leave at 5:00 PM, and for sure that last hour of the days is hardly productive.

I believe this was setup up as a union request during the Jan Dolan era, and nobody seems to question it, I guess because even the City Manager loves it.

Let's see if the new council would even think of taking on such a "radical request" as to get to a normal 8 hour 5 days workweek.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 8, 2010 at 7:34 am

Truth:

you are clueless. Me? Hard right? Hardly. Maybe if you weren't so far to the left you would realize that.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 8, 2010 at 7:51 am

There is an alternative to shutting down the entire Menlo Park city hall every other Friday. Why not have half the employees rotate their Friday's off? That's the way we do our 9/80 work week in the private sector.

That way, at least half of the staff is at city hall to take care of business on a Friday. Not so difficult.


Like this comment
Posted by get creative
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 8, 2010 at 8:37 am

If we combine functions with any city, why not Palo Alto? There are a lot of affinities between our communities.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 8, 2010 at 8:48 am

Get creative asks:"If we combine functions with any city, why not Palo Alto?"

Great idea. Even without a total merger the two cities could easily share finance and HR. And the PA Fire Department could easily merge with the MPFPD with big savings on overhead and improved coverage - particularly for emergency medical response.


Like this comment
Posted by looking on
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 8, 2010 at 9:02 am

Combine functions with Palo Alto --- good idea!!!

Peter you are out to lunch with any such suggestion.

Menlo Park should join with Palo Alto under any circumstances. Palo Alto has in the past and present shown little respect for our community and does what it want in pushing impact our way.

The new hospital is an outstanding example along with ever increasing size of the Stanford shopping center, of pushing traffic our way, while they enjoy all kinds of Stanford perks.


No No NO, Menlo Park, should never consider joining Palo Alto.

Peter go back to Atherton and work on your problems, and don't comment on issues you have absolutely no understanding of or about.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 8, 2010 at 11:15 am

Looking on states:"don't comment on issues you have absolutely no understanding of or about."

How quickly and without facts you dismiss input from knowledgable people - with whom you just happen to disagree. Having served as Palo Alto Planning Commissioner and as the Executive Director of the Stanford University Medical Center and an elected official for 8 years for all of the citizens of Menlo Park I would suggest that I DO a bit more about these issues than looking on (and doing nothing?) suggests.

Why specifically would be the problems with MP and Palo Alto sharing finance and HR? And why not merge the PA Fire Department with the MPFPD with big savings on overhead and improved coverage particularly for emergency medical response? No diatribes please, just well reasoned counter arguments.

As Looking On stated:"Menlo Park should join with Palo Alto under any circumstances."


Like this comment
Posted by C'mon Truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 8, 2010 at 12:24 pm

C'mon Truth, you are so far out there in left, you can't see your cut off man! Constant berating of the Tea Party, excuse me "Tea Baggers". Why are you so against limited government, lower taxes, no more bailouts, reducing wasteful spending, reducing the national debt and adhering to the Constitution?? Any moderate, fiscally responsible person would be! You must be part of the 26% of the folks that voted against Measure L too. How can you people live your hypocritical lives? You want all these things, and subsidies, and programs, but want the rest of us to pay for them! Please just answer to all of us why you are so against these Tea Party ideals, listed above? You can be a Democrat, like I am, and still have respect for what the Tea Party is trying to do. Other than California, I think the rest of the country is certainly getting the message, you can't tell me it's a good thing that many in our fair state don't care about fiscal responsibility. You must know that this will soon destroy this state. Heck we could already be there, and we don't know it.





Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Depending on the survey, about two-thirds of Americans appear to identify or support the ideals of the Tea Party, specifically smaller government and less federal spending. That's not to say these people are members of the Tea Party (and I am not), they just support some of their tenants (which I do).

The other third of Americans - and I suspect that Truth is in that category - will always focus on the most offensive fringe elements and ignore the greater issues. These fringe elements exist on both sides of the political aisle and seem to be universally abhorred.

With the exception of California, if last week's election revealed anything, it's that more people seem to identify with those smaller government ideals than we even thought, even in traditionally blue states that are now solid red. Politicians who ignore this trend - especially the 23 Democratic senators (out of 33 total) who have to stand for re-election in two years - will do so at their own peril.


Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Peter, with due respect and acknowledgment of your service in PA and the fire district, I have to ask you a question before we start a dialog regarding the merits/barriers to any consolidation initiatives between PA and MP. What do you see are the incentives for Palo Alto (not Menlo Park) to consolidate services with either Menlo Park or Menlo Park Fire? I fully realize that often consolidation of services between cities/agencies bring financial incentives, but I'm thinking also about quality of services. Menlo Park Fire has an excellent reputation, but so does PA Fire. I don't know whether PA's HR department is good or bad, but from what I've heard/read, I would guess they have to be better than Menlo Park's HR. Where do you see the quid pro quo lying? As the old song went, it takes two to tango.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 8, 2010 at 2:39 pm

WhoRUpeople - great questions, but since we are moving off the topic of this thread I have posted my responses on the new thread on consolidation:

Web Link


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

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