News

Fergusson ponders whether to ask for D.C. trip reimbursement

Recaps HSR trip for Menlo Park council

It was past bedtime even for night owls by the time the Menlo Park City Council got to the staff reports section of the March 15 agenda, but those who stayed awake past 1 a.m. heard a recap of Kelly Fergusson's recent two-day trip to Washington, D.C.

Accompanying Palo Alto Councilman Larry Klein and high-speed rail (HSR) lobbyist Ravi Mehta, Ms. Fergusson met with 11 congressional staff members and legislators, including Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, she said. The councilwoman described Ms. Eshoo as saying California had botched HSR, but wasn't against Caltrain modernization.

Their discussions in Washington, D.C., focused on the first four of five points laid out in a memo she released on March 3, Ms. Fergusson said: Build high-speed rail right or not at all; publish a credible ridership study and business plan; correct oversight deficiencies; and invest in electrification to benefit both Caltrain and Menlo Park.

Palo Alto's position on electrification is that the city doesn't want to spend HSR funds on the project, while Menlo Park's stance is not so clear-cut, Ms. Fergusson said, therefore she didn't spend much time on that topic. She said Palo Alto had created a booklet outlining that city's position on HSR and steps the council had taken. "It serves to bring anybody up to speed in a half hour or less."

"It was really a great two-way opportunity for education," Ms. Fergusson told the council, and reported that some of those she met with weren't aware of the flawed ridership study.

Fellow council member Kirsten Keith asked for a written report listing everyone her colleague met with in D.C. and indicating whether they were a staff member or legislator.

Ms. Fergusson said she hasn't decided whether to ask the council to reimburse the approximately $1,400 trip. In the days leading up to the trip, residents expressed indignation over her plan to stay in a $400-per-night hotel.

Comments

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Posted by Bubu
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Mar 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Perhaps she can take it out of her campaign funds. If she does, it's clearly then a political trip for herself.

Then she should resign.

The press can follow up on this.


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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Yes I think Kelly Fergusson should ask for reimbursement and bring along her entourage of tired has been Menlo Park mayors to speak on her behalf during public comment. That would be fun to watch.


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Posted by thedude
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 16, 2011 at 2:49 pm

God, I can't wait until she is up for re-election so we can throw her out of office.

I can't stand self-serving, ambitious politicians who cloak their actions in the guise of "public" service.


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Posted by Priorities
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Of all the things from the Council meeting last night, the Almanac picks this to write a story on? I would have gone with the budget discussion, personally.


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Posted by "B"
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2011 at 11:32 am

Again.....
For many months now I've been reading all of the complaints and dissatisfaction about Kelly Fergusson and her multitude of questionable behaviors including Brown Act violations, conflicts of interest, providing inconsistent and often contradictory versions of events when asked to explain, outright refusals to explain, that are if not illegal, then definitely unethical. The City Counsel represents the citizens of Menlo Park, and are therefore accountable to the citizens of Menlo Park. Rather than simply continue to vent about your frustrations, disgust, dissatisfactions, etc., are you all willing to take the necessary steps to make change happen? I know that Peter Carpenter certainly was proactive in attempting to do so with her Brown Act violation. What about the rest of you? Do you attend the weekly council meetings and raise these issues there in the same way that you go on about them here? If people are not held accountable for their behaviors then they don't have to BE accountable. Children learn this from a very early age. When a child misbehaves and the parent starts "counting" to 3, how many children stop the behavior BEFORE the parent reaches "3"? Your words are only as good as your willingness to follow through. If you don't want her to be your representative, do something to make that change happen.


Like this comment
Posted by informed community member
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Mar 18, 2011 at 3:48 pm

It is painfully clear that Kelly's presentation was poorly put together re. her trip to DC. BTW, I have trouble listening to her because of her speech problems. However, I suffered through and listened to her report on line. It was hollow and lacking in substantive detail. Do not use taxpayers money to fund Kelly's trip.


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Posted by halle
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 19, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I do so wish that all the Council members would read the comments we have on all the issues that are about Menlo.

As far as Fergusson is concerned, the sooner she is off the council the better. She has dug her own hole to end her political career.

However, the council, city manager, attorney and others that have a say in the matters are equally almost to blame if they let her get away with this stuff!!


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Posted by halle
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Definitely, do not waste my money reimbursing her!!


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm

halle states:"the council, city manager, attorney and others that have a say in the matters are equally almost to blame if they let her get away with this stuff!!"

Don't forget the people who elected her.


Like this comment
Posted by looking on
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Peter Carpenter:

How are the voters to know how a candidate is going to perform in office?

Fergusson got more votes the last time she ran (2008), than any candidate in the history of MP. She was fortunate to have really no opposition and she spent a fortune. The stench of the Winkler/ DuBoc council was still fresh in the voters minds, and she coasted in; as did Cohen.

She then proceeds to abandon her base supporters, by allying herself with D. Bohannon and the development community, and supports the unions against pension reform in a quest to get elevated to higher office.

The motivation for her Brown act violation was clearly to become Mayor and she thought she would never get caught. Then she in another self promotion scheme, proceeds to make a trip to DC to get herself back into resident's favor and does so without approval of the council. One might really wonder if the letters dated 3/3 were not predated; certainly nobody seems to have understood that this trip was previously planned. Why in the world do you travel to DC to talk to Anna Eshoo, who lives in town?

She should resign. Those calling for a recall can act if they want to, but in general they are lots of talk and no action.

The seat of Rose Gibson is up shortly on the supervisor's, and rumor has it that was her target. Lots of luck now Kelly.

One would have thought that Council would at least Censure her, but according to them, everybody on Council has integrity that is beyond reproach.

Finally she must recuse herself from further input on HSR issues. There is a clear conflict of interest there with her employer Siemens.




Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 19, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Looking on asks:"How are the voters to know how a candidate is going to perform in office?"

Follow the money - look at 1) who were her campaign supporters - all a matter of record and most were know well before the election

2) look at her Form 700 - who pays her and
why.

And most important - VOTE
How many eligible citizens voted in the last Council election?


Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2011 at 5:41 am

I hsve never had the opportunity to hear Ms. Fergusson speak. When I saw and heard her report to the City Council regarding her recent trip to Washington, D.C., I must say it was terrible. Over the past ten years I have viewed, in person and via video, several City Council meetings from the various Cities in San Mateo County and from several other Cities such as Folsom. Elk Grove and other Cities in Sacramento County. Ms. Fergusson's comments, body language, presenation skills, etc., were the worst I have ever viewed. I could not believe how disorganized and unskilled she was in her presentation to fellow Council members. I also have never met Ms. Fergusson, but I truely felt sorry for her. If this video was an accurate sample of her communication skills, I really don't understand how she was ever elected to her present position with the City or maintains her job with her current employer. Ms. Fergusson, for her own good, should seriously consider resigning from the Menlo Park City Council. In conclusion, She definitely does not have the skills to become a County Supervisor.


Like this comment
Posted by Reality
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 20, 2011 at 8:55 pm

If all of the important people in this world actually read the almanac town square forum comments then it wouldn't be the local irate-resident's gossip girl that it is today. COME ON HALLE


Like this comment
Posted by reader
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2011 at 10:59 am

Did anyone notice that Kelly endorsed all candidates for County Supervisor? And, she calls herself former mayor of Menlo Park on one of them.


Like this comment
Posted by peter carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 21, 2011 at 11:03 am

peter carpenter is a registered user.

reader stares:"she calls herself former mayor of Menlo Park on one of them."

Fergusson was NEVER Mayor - that election was invalidated not superseded.


Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2011 at 11:49 am

Reader,

"Did anyone notice that Kelly endorsed all candidates for County Supervisor? And, she calls herself former mayor of Menlo Park on one of them."

I hope she didn't endorse me.


Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Peter--it is sooo seldom that I get a chance to correct you, but....Kelly is a former mayor of menlo park having served her turn in the mix during her previous term. Remember the Green Ribbon Task Force year?


Like this comment
Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Wasn't she mayor during the Park Theater handout/fiasco?


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Posted by Joanna's greatest hits!
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Mar 21, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Wow, a Park Theater dig- classic! There's a reference that will really resonate with today's youth.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm

I stand corrected - Fergusson did serve a term as Mayor. Some things are easily forgotten.


Like this comment
Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 22, 2011 at 8:11 am

If Kelly Fergusson resigns from the City Council by the end of the week I will personally reimburse her for her Washington D.C. trip. [Portion removed. Stick to topic.]


Like this comment
Posted by Michael
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Is this really what we are wasting our time on?


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

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