News

High-speed rail lobbyist Ravi Mehta sticks around

Menlo Park council votes 3-1 to approve contract

Residents said 'nay', and so did the mayor, but the Menlo Park City Council voted 3-1 to retain high-speed rail lobbyist Ravi Mehta of Capital Advocates through December.

The council subcommittee, consisting of Rich Cline and Kelly Fergusson, had recommended approving a $50,000 contract with Mr. Mehta. But the discussion during Tuesday night's (Feb. 28) meeting suggested that colleagues Kirsten Keith and Peter Ohtaki were worried about the city's bottom line.

Councilman Andy Cohen recused himself, as he does for all high-speed rail discussions because he lives near the proposed line.

Previously, Mr. Mehta worked for Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Atherton, but the latter two cities dropped his services earlier this year. Mr. Cline reasoned that given Menlo Park's "do it right" stance on high-speed rail, as opposed to Palo Alto's and Atherton's "just say no" position, the city needs its own lobbyist.

Mr. Cline also expressed a lack of confidence in the California High-Speed Rail Agency, which he said wants to recirculate a still-flawed environmental impact report (EIR) based on a design Menlo Park doesn't support, while the governor pushes the project forward. "I think we're going to be outgunned and outmanned again when the EIR comes out," he commented.

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Before casting the dissenting vote, Mayor Keith said she didn't support paying $5,000 a month plus expenses for a lobbyist right now, given the loss of the city's redevelopment agency, but was willing to reconsider in a couple of months. "I want to watch the (high-speed rail) situation," she commented. "And I know Ravi's not going away. He's going to be there."

The subcommittee's arguments for keeping the lobbyist appeared to sway Mr. Ohtaki. "Both of you are saying this is a critical time," he said, and voted to approve the contract with the caveat that it be closely supervised and the cost reduced wherever possible.

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High-speed rail lobbyist Ravi Mehta sticks around

Menlo Park council votes 3-1 to approve contract

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Wed, Feb 29, 2012, 10:43 am

Residents said 'nay', and so did the mayor, but the Menlo Park City Council voted 3-1 to retain high-speed rail lobbyist Ravi Mehta of Capital Advocates through December.

The council subcommittee, consisting of Rich Cline and Kelly Fergusson, had recommended approving a $50,000 contract with Mr. Mehta. But the discussion during Tuesday night's (Feb. 28) meeting suggested that colleagues Kirsten Keith and Peter Ohtaki were worried about the city's bottom line.

Councilman Andy Cohen recused himself, as he does for all high-speed rail discussions because he lives near the proposed line.

Previously, Mr. Mehta worked for Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Atherton, but the latter two cities dropped his services earlier this year. Mr. Cline reasoned that given Menlo Park's "do it right" stance on high-speed rail, as opposed to Palo Alto's and Atherton's "just say no" position, the city needs its own lobbyist.

Mr. Cline also expressed a lack of confidence in the California High-Speed Rail Agency, which he said wants to recirculate a still-flawed environmental impact report (EIR) based on a design Menlo Park doesn't support, while the governor pushes the project forward. "I think we're going to be outgunned and outmanned again when the EIR comes out," he commented.

Before casting the dissenting vote, Mayor Keith said she didn't support paying $5,000 a month plus expenses for a lobbyist right now, given the loss of the city's redevelopment agency, but was willing to reconsider in a couple of months. "I want to watch the (high-speed rail) situation," she commented. "And I know Ravi's not going away. He's going to be there."

The subcommittee's arguments for keeping the lobbyist appeared to sway Mr. Ohtaki. "Both of you are saying this is a critical time," he said, and voted to approve the contract with the caveat that it be closely supervised and the cost reduced wherever possible.

Comments

Menlo Observer
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm
Menlo Observer, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm

[Comment removed; stick to the topic.]


Steve
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 1, 2012 at 9:42 am
Steve, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 1, 2012 at 9:42 am

Sigh

The majority of Menlo Park voters approved HSR.

This expenditure is a waste. There is no doubt that Fergusson and Cline are behind this approval of a waste of funds.


Steve
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 1, 2012 at 9:44 am
Steve, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 1, 2012 at 9:44 am

Here is a joke:

What does boondoggle mean?

It stands for a group of residents who bought houses near the tracks and didn't understand what the implications were.


Steve
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 1, 2012 at 9:46 am
Steve, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 1, 2012 at 9:46 am

I can't support anything that gives the city more tax money if our defective city council insists on wasting money on lobbyists.

Something has to happen regarding unjustified high salaries... but that is for another topic.


truth
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm
truth, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Sigh.

Voters approved prop 1A with the idea it would cost $30B. Now it is $100B.

Sigh.

Voter approved prop 1A not knowing the ridership study was fraudulent and propped up numbers on false data.

Sigh.

The state controller, the budget office, the ca legislative office all have said the project is infeasible and should be either reconsidered, restarted or killed.

Sigh.

Thank gosh for the work people like Cline put in. I may not agree with in all the time, but this one he has right. So did Robinson, so does Fergusson and Cohen...


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