News

Update: City manager releases consultant's drafts of letters to editor, talking points

Menlo Park City Manager Alex McIntyre sent the Almanac Wednesday night (Nov. 12) what he described as all of the documents that consultant Malcolm Smith "originally submitted (to the city) that were discarded."

The documents are drafts, written by Mr. Smith, of proposed letters to the editor, talking points and an "op-ed" opinion piece on the topic of the Menlo Park downtown/El Camino Real specific plan in the context of a proposed ballot initiative to revise the plan.

The materials ask readers to look at the city's website on the issue as well as the website of Save Menlo, the grassroots coalition that brought the initiative to the ballot.

The "op-ed" opinion piece was proposed to be attributed to the mayor.

"I never asked for an op-ed to be ghostwritten for me. I never saw the material until yesterday's release, and I never submitted an op-ed on the subject of Measure M for publication," Mayor Ray Mueller told the Almanac on Thursday, Nov. 13.

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He has called for the city to hire an independent investigator to review the consultant's work for Menlo Park, and plans for the matter to be discussed during the Nov. 18 council meeting.

"It is my expectation that all materials related to the city's dealings with Malcolm Smith will be released to the public, and I have made that clear to the city manager," Mr. Mueller said. He is scheduled to give the annual state of the city speech this evening, at the Chestnut Street paseo, off Santa Cruz Avenue, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The initiative became Measure M, which 61 percent of voters rejected in the Nov. 4 election.

Measure M camps

For once, representatives of the opposing campaign groups on Measure M found themselves in agreement in questioning the utility of a third-party investigator.

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Former councilman and Measure M advocate Heyward Robinson, whose public records request turned up the consultant's initial proposal, said that the council should be able to handle the matter without spending taxpayer money on an investigator. If Mr. McIntyre cannot provide a satisfactory accounting of the consultant's work, "(the council) should fire him immediately."

He has asked the county district attorney, grand jury and the state's Fair Political Practices Commission to investigate. Mr. Robinson said he didn't buy the consultant as the scapegoat, describing email exchanges between Mr. Smith and city staff as showing that staff was "fully on board" with the work.

"We already know enough to make a judgement on Mr. McIntyre," Mr. Robinson said. "He's been untruthful; his staff were involved in drafting (at least) blog postings and letters to the editor; he has admitted to destroying public records. The council should suspend him immediately while the district attorney investigates. Mr. McIntyre should not be allowed access to his computer or the city's network."

The California Public Records Act does not consider drafts to be public record. Mr. Smith's contract required that the consultant retain "required records" for three years; it is not clear what records fell under the purview of that clause.

Patti Fry, the former planning commissioner who co-sponsored the measure, challenged the impartiality of a city-hired investigator. "It defies common sense for the city to hire anyone to examine itself," she said.

Former planning commissioner Henry Riggs, who supported the "No on M" coalition, agreed that a third-party investigator was not the optimum choice.

"I want answers -- this could be a real black eye if the city used PR letters to editors. I support having two investigations and I already am paying for them," Mr. Riggs said, referring to the district attorney and the FPPC. "This is right. Both will have more leverage than a consultant. The idea of spending $20,000 to $30,000 on a third party to evaluate $6,500 worth of PR consultant seems a poor use of taxpayer funds."

John Boyle, former councilman and "No on M" advocate, said the key question is whether or not the city campaigned to influence the election. "It's not about whether or not a consultant, or employee for that matter, internally discussed or proposed possible actions. Is there any evidence that the city actually campaigned externally?" he asked.

"If there is, then sure, an investigation is warranted. If not, then unless we're going to start doing investigations every time someone in town makes an accusation, then we should be cautious about spending more taxpayer money and valuable time and effort on everyone's part."

Mr. McIntyre has said that the draft materials were never used.

Below are links to the seven documents Mr. McIntyre sent to the Almanac on Wednesday night.

● ConsRptTalking Points-7-11-14

● Draft letter to editorMay-rev2

● draft op ed 5-18-14.1

● for comments sections5-15-14

● FoW_themed_7-2-14

● Talking Pts - Submission of Signatures_4-29-14

● talking_pts_3-18-14

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Update: City manager releases consultant's drafts of letters to editor, talking points

Uploaded: Wed, Nov 12, 2014, 8:40 pm
Updated: Thu, Nov 13, 2014, 11:07 am

Menlo Park City Manager Alex McIntyre sent the Almanac Wednesday night (Nov. 12) what he described as all of the documents that consultant Malcolm Smith "originally submitted (to the city) that were discarded."

The documents are drafts, written by Mr. Smith, of proposed letters to the editor, talking points and an "op-ed" opinion piece on the topic of the Menlo Park downtown/El Camino Real specific plan in the context of a proposed ballot initiative to revise the plan.

The materials ask readers to look at the city's website on the issue as well as the website of Save Menlo, the grassroots coalition that brought the initiative to the ballot.

The "op-ed" opinion piece was proposed to be attributed to the mayor.

"I never asked for an op-ed to be ghostwritten for me. I never saw the material until yesterday's release, and I never submitted an op-ed on the subject of Measure M for publication," Mayor Ray Mueller told the Almanac on Thursday, Nov. 13.

He has called for the city to hire an independent investigator to review the consultant's work for Menlo Park, and plans for the matter to be discussed during the Nov. 18 council meeting.

"It is my expectation that all materials related to the city's dealings with Malcolm Smith will be released to the public, and I have made that clear to the city manager," Mr. Mueller said. He is scheduled to give the annual state of the city speech this evening, at the Chestnut Street paseo, off Santa Cruz Avenue, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The initiative became Measure M, which 61 percent of voters rejected in the Nov. 4 election.

Measure M camps

For once, representatives of the opposing campaign groups on Measure M found themselves in agreement in questioning the utility of a third-party investigator.

Former councilman and Measure M advocate Heyward Robinson, whose public records request turned up the consultant's initial proposal, said that the council should be able to handle the matter without spending taxpayer money on an investigator. If Mr. McIntyre cannot provide a satisfactory accounting of the consultant's work, "(the council) should fire him immediately."

He has asked the county district attorney, grand jury and the state's Fair Political Practices Commission to investigate. Mr. Robinson said he didn't buy the consultant as the scapegoat, describing email exchanges between Mr. Smith and city staff as showing that staff was "fully on board" with the work.

"We already know enough to make a judgement on Mr. McIntyre," Mr. Robinson said. "He's been untruthful; his staff were involved in drafting (at least) blog postings and letters to the editor; he has admitted to destroying public records. The council should suspend him immediately while the district attorney investigates. Mr. McIntyre should not be allowed access to his computer or the city's network."

The California Public Records Act does not consider drafts to be public record. Mr. Smith's contract required that the consultant retain "required records" for three years; it is not clear what records fell under the purview of that clause.

Patti Fry, the former planning commissioner who co-sponsored the measure, challenged the impartiality of a city-hired investigator. "It defies common sense for the city to hire anyone to examine itself," she said.

Former planning commissioner Henry Riggs, who supported the "No on M" coalition, agreed that a third-party investigator was not the optimum choice.

"I want answers -- this could be a real black eye if the city used PR letters to editors. I support having two investigations and I already am paying for them," Mr. Riggs said, referring to the district attorney and the FPPC. "This is right. Both will have more leverage than a consultant. The idea of spending $20,000 to $30,000 on a third party to evaluate $6,500 worth of PR consultant seems a poor use of taxpayer funds."

John Boyle, former councilman and "No on M" advocate, said the key question is whether or not the city campaigned to influence the election. "It's not about whether or not a consultant, or employee for that matter, internally discussed or proposed possible actions. Is there any evidence that the city actually campaigned externally?" he asked.

"If there is, then sure, an investigation is warranted. If not, then unless we're going to start doing investigations every time someone in town makes an accusation, then we should be cautious about spending more taxpayer money and valuable time and effort on everyone's part."

Mr. McIntyre has said that the draft materials were never used.

Below are links to the seven documents Mr. McIntyre sent to the Almanac on Wednesday night.

● ConsRptTalking Points-7-11-14

● Draft letter to editorMay-rev2

● draft op ed 5-18-14.1

● for comments sections5-15-14

● FoW_themed_7-2-14

● Talking Pts - Submission of Signatures_4-29-14

● talking_pts_3-18-14

Comments

Sign here
Menlo Park: other
on Nov 13, 2014 at 6:11 am
Sign here, Menlo Park: other
on Nov 13, 2014 at 6:11 am

This opposition to Measure M was signed by the Mayor. Who wrote it? Is Alex McIntyre holding back any more drafts?

>>We strongly urge No on Measure M.
Measure M creates negative impacts to Menlo Park’s Downtown revitalization, handcuffs the City with
unworkable, inflexible rules for 30 years and damages the city, schools’, and fire district finances. Additional
negative, unintended consequences also happen.
Loss of Downtown Vibrancy
• Vacant, blighted lots on El Camino Real remain for years.
• Anticipated mix of daytime customers (professionals) and nighttime customers (new residents)
supporting newly created great restaurants and retail downtown will not materialize.
Unintended Consequences
• Increased Taxpayer Costs-future changes because of Measure M, even minor, must be made at
costly city-wide elections.
• Increased Burden on Schools -significantlymore family housing built.
• Increased Traffic! The mix of uses allowed under Measure M may degrade traffic on El Camino
worse than current proposals.
• Harms Small Property Owners because limited development options and rules work against them.
• Unattractive, above-ground parking structures built instead of new underground parking.
• Planned bike/pedestrian railroad underpass may never be built, reducing safety for school
children and bicyclists.
• Modernized Downtown Fire Station jeopardized.
Significant Negative Fiscal Impacts
• Menlo Park, Schools and Fire Districts will losemillions of dollars annually in new tax revenue for
public safety, street repair, parks or school improvements.
• Expensive lawsuits.
• Rentable, affordable housing jeopardized.
In a city-wide collaborative process, Menlo Park spent 6+ years and over $1 million dollars building consensus for
development standards for our Downtown that encouraged an optimum mix of uses to improve our Downtown,
manage traffic and generate new tax revenue.
Measure M changes that publicly created work with a secretly crafted, deeply flawed, negative impact initiative
locked in for 30 years. An independent, impartial analysis studied impacts of this initiative and identified
numerous negative consequences if adopted (www.menlopark.org/documentcenter/view/4683).
The Menlo Park City Council unanimously opposes Measure M. We urge a No on Measure M.
Ray Mueller, Mayor of Menlo Park
Fran Dehn, President/CEO Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce
Benjamin Eiref, Menlo Park Planning Commission Chair
Maria Hilton, Governing Board Member, Menlo Park City School District
Bianca Walser, Chair, Menlo Park Transportation Commission


formerly formerly
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:03 am
formerly formerly, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:03 am

@Sign here

Looks like it could have been written by any number of people. Probably was a collaborative effort.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:04 am
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:04 am

Here are some excerpts from these drafts:

"Please, take the time to learn and understand both sides of these issues so that you can take a position that is informed, educated, and balanced."

"• When we say “impacts” of the initiative, it simply means the initiative’s effects, including both positive and negative"

"• The Council’s intent, while fully respecting the viewpoints of the initiative proponents, is to gain a full, balanced, and objective understanding of the effects of the proposed measure, so that the community and the City are operating with the complete range of information necessary for a valid and fruitful conversation"


"For use if/when the initiative proponents submit their petition signatures, particularly if this occurs during the public communications portion of a City Council meeting
1. Thank you–I want to reiterate that the City respects the fundamental right of community members to utilize the initiative process."

"Everyone should be fully informed about this proposed ballot measure and about the Specific
Plan, before drawing conclusions. Many of you have no doubt already visited savemenlo.org,
and I want to encourage you to also visit the City’s fact-based, neutral, informational web page
that discusses the proposed measure’s key elements and how the Specific Plan works. It’s at
www.menlopark.org/proposedinitiative."

"
With the utmost respect for the fundamental right of citizens to use the initiative process, the City is diligently doing its part related to that process. The initiative’s proponents have a website, savemenlo.org, which outlines their concerns and their proposed changes to the plan. For additional information, residents can visit menlopark.org/ProposedInitiative. There, from the voluminous number of public documents on the Specific Plan, the City has compiled and summarized key elements into a manageable and understandable format to help the community learn about all sides of the issue."

"As the community considers the initiative proposed to revise Menlo Park’s El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan, I hope everyone takes the time to become fully aware of all the facts before taking a position. The initiative supporters’ website, savemenlo.org, outlines that group’s concerns and the revisions that are proposed. The City has a neutral informational website about the initiative, menlopark.org/proposedinitiative, summarizing how the Specific Plan currently approaches these issues. There, you can also learn about how the plan was created, the reasoning behind its elements, and the public process that was involved."

"We respect the viewpoints of the initiative’s proponents, while at the same time honoring the community’s five-year investment of time and public funds in creating the Plan – the City is committed to openness and transparency as the initiative discussion moves forward."

**********************************
There was NO advocacy of a Yes or a No vote on Measure M.

There is NO evidence of illegal activity.

And, correcting my earlier statement, there is NO evidence of stupidity.

The only shortfall was in the lack of a timely response to the FOI request for this information.


formerly formerly
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:16 am
formerly formerly, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:16 am

@Peter Carpenter

My guess is that the grand jury will agree. No evidence of illegal activity.

I spent a fair amount of time reading the drafts last night and frankly was impressed with the craftsmanship of the writing.


Read here
Menlo Park: other
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:17 am
Read here, Menlo Park: other
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:17 am

@Sign here:
The Ballot Statement you copy in this thread resembles nothing like any of the draft documents released by the City Manager. Same old tactics that lost the election. Smear with innuendo. Attack attack attack. Look where that got you last time.


another heyward goosechase
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:23 am
another heyward goosechase, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:23 am

How much money and time are we wasting following Heyward Robinson's fantasmic adventures? This is beyond crying wolf, this is a guy who is so angry he is trying everything he can to hurt the reputations of others. These documents prove he is flat out wrong. When will a former councilman step up and take accountability for false accusations? He never took accountability in office and got flushed. Will he now?

What is next, Heyward? Another accusation? Who is next? How much money and time do you want to milk from the city before you will finally accept defeat by a 2 to 1 margin?


George C Fisher
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:25 am
George C Fisher, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:25 am

These documents, from March, April, may and June, dispel the earlier claims that Smith's work was rejected by the city when it signed its March Agreement with Smith. Those claims relied on by the Almanac and other for election eve and election day headlines and articles were false.

Most of these documents are funnels to the city's initiative and measure M Web site, which McIntyre previously admitted Smith wrote. The city made many references during the election period to that web site. That Web site contains false information and concealments, among other purposes, to (1) refute Measure M's limit of office space to the amount "disclosed and analyzed in the 2012 Specific Plan EIR (240,820 sf)" and to (2) refute Measure M 's claim that office space in excess of that studied in the EIR would cause 90% of its traffic to cut through Menlo Park residential streets and neighborhoods coming from, and going to, non Menlo Park locations mainly to East and West freeways, and (3) to refute other measure M claims related to open space, balanced growth, and fiscal analysis.

None of these documents contain what Smith wrote on the website Smith wrote and posted by the city, and I don't believe drafts and comments on the web site content have been produced. The City council has been made aware of some of the false and misleading information there, but made no changes.

These documents apparently submitted over many month's raise questions about the city's document retention policies and possible breach, as well as what city personnel received them.

Good idea for the City to refer these matters to the district attorney to review.


Read here
Menlo Park: other
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:30 am
Read here, Menlo Park: other
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:30 am

George,

Did you actually read these documents? They can't be more vanilla. And they were never used.


Menloshopper
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:31 am
Menloshopper, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:31 am

Thanks to the city manager for releasing these materials. They show that quite a bit of work was done as described in the consultant's proposal, even as we are being told that the work was not used. Given the volume of work done, and the ethically-challenged suggestion to create fake letters or postings, one can see why Alex and the consultant did not want this package to become known. A statement and apology could still be in order, including that nothing remains to be known or uncovered.


Gern
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 13, 2014 at 8:29 am
Gern, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 8:29 am

Case closed then, people? No need to see the lengthy email trail which accompanied Malcolm Smith's wordsmithery, and for which Menlo Park taxpayers were billed? No need for the city and Mr. Smith to confirm that those documents released by Mr. McIntyre represent the sum total of Mr. Smith's work on this "project," something which this article fails to address?

No need to understand why, just a short day or two ago, the released documents which were claimed to exist in hardcopy form only and were either destroyed or kept by Mr. Smith, have now suddenly materialized in electronic form? Mr. McIntyre was quoted just yesterday in the Daily News (Web Link 11/12/2014 edition):

“He drafted this stuff for us but it didn’t come in to us electronically because he would come in and have meetings with us and hand them out,” McIntyre said. “He gave them to us, we read them and decided, ‘No, we don’t want this’ and so he obviously took his [copies] back. And, very candidly, I don’t save drafts. I tend to throw them away because we aren’t going to use them.

“So all those [letters to the editor and opinion pieces], we don’t have. If we did, we would have disclosed it through the Public Records request that Heyward [Robinson] had done originally.”

And, assuming the documents above do represent the totality of Malcolm Smith's work, did Menlo Park taxpayers get their $5,125-worth? Does the scant work represented by these documents jibe with Mr. Smith's invoices? Make no mistake: there may not be illegality in these machinations, but stupidity remains very much afoot.

Gern


formerly formerly
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 13, 2014 at 9:04 am
formerly formerly, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 9:04 am

@Gern

Could it be that only Malcolm Smith had the electronic copies? The city staff had hard copies passed around for marking up.

Anyway - I know what many consultants in my field charge per hour. $5k isn't that many hours - I doubt there is very much more here to be uncovered .

Thematically, the drafts seem different to me than the campaign statement referred to by "Sign here". The drafts stress the 5 years of complicated process with a thousand participants. Respect the process is the theme. The campaign statement stresses the 'unforeseen' consequences - with inputs about customer impact (Chamber of Commerce?) and fire stations - hmmm. :-). The theme was be wary of unforseen consequences.

I think a reasonable person would see different sources for the points being made.

My guess is that the grand jury won't see hard evidence of possible illegal activity.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 13, 2014 at 11:36 am
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 11:36 am

There was a great hue and cry when Heyward made his election eve allegations and a lot of folks showed up with their nooses and pitchforks.

I wonder if they will now quietly slink away or will they instead acknowledge the facts.

Hopefully not many voters were swayed by their last minute theatrics.


Menlo Voter
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Nov 13, 2014 at 11:39 am
Menlo Voter, Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 11:39 am

The theatrics could have been prevented had the city acted on the FOI request in a timely fashion.


Gullible
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 13, 2014 at 2:21 pm
Gullible, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 13, 2014 at 2:21 pm

These documents reflect about 5 or 6 hours of work. Not 65 hours. Some of them apparently were composed during the last week because they truly could not be more simple or vanilla. They certainly do not match the work described in the contract. Looks like a massive CYA, executed hastily on the fly.

If these were the actual documents, the city would have had no qualms giving them to Heyward last August. No need to violate the time limit for production (10 days) and then flail around talking about lost documents for two weeks!


formerly formerly
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 13, 2014 at 2:45 pm
formerly formerly, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 2:45 pm

@gullible

Wasn't a big part of the contract to wordsmith the website as well? Add that in, including time to research Measure M and the DSP - work with the stakeholders like the city attorney to understand legal issue - and it looks pretty reasonable to me.

I don't know where you guys are getting 65 hours -- that's $78/hour -- pretty cheap for any specialized consulting. How many people like Malcolm Smith are floating around with a specific background in city government communications?

Regarding electronic copies of something - it all depends on how it was generated. If a consultant is brought in to participate in a brainstorming meeting -- many times the output is actually generated on a whiteboard. This has happened to me. I critiqued a design - and whiteboarded a solution for people to see. Most people just took notes - the only electronic copy was created when someone took a picture of the whiteboard with their cell phone I got paid for participating in the meeting... and my design worked in a subsequent revision of the product.

There are a assumptions floating around here - but they all are based on an end conclusion (something nefarious happened - all roads lead from there.) I strongly suggest keeping a more open mind.


Moe
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 13, 2014 at 3:03 pm
Moe, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 13, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Fisher: How nice it would be if you could muster all of your energy, time, talents and resources to support and nourish orderly, well guided growth of Menlo Park in lieu of preventing it.


Gullible
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 13, 2014 at 3:11 pm
Gullible, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 13, 2014 at 3:11 pm

I believe it was the city who said 65 hours, and there are plenty of very talented and experienced consultants who charge well under $100/hour. It's called being over 35 years of age in Silicon Valley.

Why not turn over the documents within 10 days of the original request?

Smith created a long and detailed list of deliverables -- that was in the first set of mmaterials released on October 31. The most recent docs pale in comparison to that list. Fact is, the city can simply stonewall on the documents and claim they've handed over everything. Barring an examination of their computers, we'll never know the difference. It's not a bad strategy...for them.


looking on
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 13, 2014 at 3:31 pm
looking on, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 13, 2014 at 3:31 pm

The only way this issue is going to be decided is if the DA or the Grand Jury,those with subpoena power and threat of perjury on those who testify will be in place.

Despite Atherton Resident, Carpenter, who is not a lawyer and yet dismisses all of this, he is dead wrong; again the DA and or Grand Jury is needed to get to the bottom of this.

At the very least, the City Manager should not have gone off on his own with such a program; he has pissed off at least some of Council; whether they will do anything other say "bad City Manager", is yet to be determined.



Gern
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 13, 2014 at 3:31 pm
Gern, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 3:31 pm

When I first read through the collection of documents linked in the article, above, I shared @Gullible’s reaction — this “work” was far too contrived and smelled of something created after the fact to diffuse an escalating, bad situation for the city. I didn’t state as much because I still wish to give our city staff the benefit of the doubt, but the concern expressed in my previous comment still holds — there is a good deal of work and communication captured in Malcolm Smith’s invoices which has clearly not seen the light of day (his email exchanges with Thomas Rogers being but one example).

@FF, no need to speculate about Malcolm Smith’s hourly rate — that information (http://ccin.menlopark.org:81/att-8615/Malcolm_Smith_invoices.pdf) along with his work proposal and the signed contract (http://ccin.menlopark.org:81/att-8615/Malcolm_Smith_Agreement.pdf) have been available for more than a week now, and have been cited many times in this forum.

Gern


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 13, 2014 at 3:56 pm
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 3:56 pm

No one has yet provided a single example of the City expressly communication to the voters expressly advocating either a Yes or a No vote on Measure M.

Hint, there is no such communication.


Here is the law:
"
CAL. GOV. CODE § 54964 : California Code - Section 54964

(a) An officer, employee, or consultant of a local agency may not expend or authorize the expenditure of any of the funds of the local agency to SUPPORT OR OPPOSE THE APPROVAL OR REJECTION OF A BALLOT MEASURE, or the election or defeat of a candidate, by the voters."


formerly formerly
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm
formerly formerly, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm

@Gern

Got it. thanks. 51 hours @ $100/hr. Not to exceed 65 hours.

My point still stands. Consider all research - website design - wording - review with stake holders - rewording plus the PDFs released to to the Almanac last night - and the potential meetings with city staff. It all seems to be a reasonable amount of work in 51 hours.

There's an old adage "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." I get that. But at the same time you can't convict normally on absence of evidence.

What specifically of released documents/website strikes you as being illegal? You intuit that there is more there that you haven't been shown - but why should that be any different than me intuiting this is an honest 51 hours of work?


Gern
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 13, 2014 at 5:02 pm
Gern, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 5:02 pm

"My point still stands. Consider all research - website design - wording - review with stake holders - rewording plus the PDFs released to to the Almanac last night - and the potential meetings with city staff. It all seems to be a reasonable amount of work in 51 hours."

First, Malcolm Smith is no web designer -- he performed no services of a technical or design nature. He merely wrote content and composed emails and billed the city for both. More importantly, when I as a taxpayer read through the scant documents linked above, consider they cost our city $5,125 and may be the sum total of Mr. Smith's work where Measure M is concerned; that this work was *never* used for any purpose whatsoever, if Mr. McIntyre's claims are true, then I must conclude our fair city was rolled over a barrel with Mr. Smith manning our ankles.

Why, that is, would city staff continue to use the services of a contractor for five months when that contractor's product is finding zero application? Something simply does not add up here, and I'm guessing more insight may be found in the email exchanges between Malcolm Smith and city staff.

"What specifically of released documents/website strikes you as being illegal?"

I have stated several times in this forum that I do not know whether illegal activity took place -- I am not a lawyer. But the only sure way to rule out unseemly, unethical, or illegal behavior is to be in possession of all the evidence, and thus far city staff have failed us in the matter. Offering up for review all communication between Mr. Smith and staff would go a long way toward allaying my concerns -- we were invoiced for his email messages, after all -- and frankly I'm surprised that more people aren't demanding such a release of information, no matter their feelings about Measure M.

For me, personally, this is no longer about the measure, which clearly lost, but has everything to do with ethics and fiscal prudence -- I would like to be reasonably certain my city isn't throwing money willy-nilly at contractors for months on end who produce nothing of value for taxpayers. Can't state it much simpler than that.

Gern


Sign here
Menlo Park: other
on Nov 13, 2014 at 5:20 pm
Sign here, Menlo Park: other
on Nov 13, 2014 at 5:20 pm

"For me, personally, this is no longer about the measure, which clearly lost, but has everything to do with ethics and fiscal prudence -- I would like to be reasonably certain my city isn't throwing money willy-nilly at contractors for months on end who produce nothing of value for taxpayers. Can't state it much simpler than that."

Much in the same way that McIntyre recently paid a consultant $48,000 for a 'new' city logo. if you want fiscal prudence, this staff ain't it.


looking on
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 13, 2014 at 5:21 pm
looking on, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 13, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Gern:

If you think Mr. Smith rolled the City over a barrel, what about Lisa Wise consulting. There the City paid $150,000 plus another $15,000 for their analysis, an analysis that was from the very beginning fatally flawed, because the scope of the analysis eliminated from examination any results of the Visioning part of the Specific Plan process.

Clearly the City didn't care to have included that the Visioning process did not endorse anything like the density that the Specific Plan finally allowed.


George C Fisher
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 13, 2014 at 5:37 pm
George C Fisher, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 13, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Posted by Moe
Fisher: How nice it would be if you could muster all of your energy, time, talents and resources to support and nourish orderly, well guided growth of Menlo Park in lieu of preventing it.



Believe me, I have tried. I, along with other interested persons, met productively with Stanford twice in early 2013 to discuss their project, issues and possible compromises, once in the City Library and once at Stanford Land Management headquarters. Then the City Council appointed a sub committee of Keith and Carlton, appointed three of us who had met with Stanford in writing as neighborhood representatives and established written Ground Rules of Engagement for further discussions.

These Ground Rules required the subcommittee to “facilitate conversations between neighborhood representatives and applicant [Stanford] . . .to ensure that the final project balances the needs of Stanford and the greater Menlo Park community”. No such conversations occurred. Keith and Carlton refused several requests for the facilitated conversations. In addition, the Ground rules required “Action minutes will be managed by the Staff representative (Jim Cogan) and made available to the public. No minutes were kept. Keith and Carlton ignored their charge and went off separately and did some sort of a deal with Stanford, with unclear terms. Their report was approved by City Council, over the appointed neighborhood representatives’ strong objections of failure to follow the Ground Rules of Engagement.

I learned that City Government works in mysterious often secret ways as further evidenced by the present controversy. Nevertheless the electorate has clearly spoken on Measure M. Hopefully City Government will become more transparent and engaging. City Government Responsibility and Accountability are big questions. Perhaps an ombudsman, or at least a neighborhood development director on staff, is warranted. It is time to move productively forward.


Dharma
Menlo Park: other
on Nov 13, 2014 at 6:08 pm
Dharma, Menlo Park: other
on Nov 13, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Wait, all this fuss for "draft communication" suggesting we look at the web site? Seems a little early to be jumping all over the city manager about having hired a PR guy whos web work was apparently good. Tough gig bbbering a city manager for this town.


formerly formerly
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 13, 2014 at 6:22 pm
formerly formerly, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 6:22 pm

@Gern

I used the term website design to indicate the overall process of outlining of the website. As I recall there are about 5-6 different sections. When you do a website you plan it's content out first. I'm not picturing this as html coding. It's the plan for the pages and how they link into supporting materials.

Yes I have done this - not professionally - I'm a circuit designer by trade. But I have designed websites for friends and family. The top level plan takes more time than people realize. I've been doing design work and management about 4 decades. My sense is - Mr Smith did a pretty good job.

So we have basically 51 hours spread out over four months - including meetings to get staff input and approval. Ther is no specific communication from the city that's flagged as illegal. Now if only we could see the emails from Thomas Rogers - we may at last find something illegal? I give. What's after that?

Regarding wasting city money - I think the new logo is a better choice.

Regards,


More Common Sense
Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 13, 2014 at 6:30 pm
More Common Sense, Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 13, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Why was Smith producing Op Ed pieces and Letters to the editor as late as mid May if the City Mgr. McIntyre nixed everything but website work in March?

Also, McIntyre was quoted in one of the articles stating something like once he realized the work was going over the neutral line, he decided it shouldn't be used. As mentioned in a few of the posts above, what has been released so far has been thoroughly vanilla. Therefore, clearly there was work submitted, other than what has been turned over this far, that was biased and caused McIntyre to make that comment.

Smith's hard drive should certainly be subpoenaed - and soon, before he claims it has crashed and isn't recoverable.


formerly formerly
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 13, 2014 at 9:25 pm
formerly formerly, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 9:25 pm

@More Common Sense

What Op-ed or letters were produced by Mr. Smith. Would you provide a link please?


Gern
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 13, 2014 at 10:20 pm
Gern, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Nov 13, 2014 at 10:20 pm

@FF, the draft letter to editor and op-ed pieces attributed to Malcolm Smith are the second and third links found at the end of the article text, above.

Gern


www.nothing
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 13, 2014 at 11:46 pm
www.nothing, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 13, 2014 at 11:46 pm

The Grand Jury could issue an accusation of official misconduct in connection with the unlawful city hall campaign against the measure (Gov. Code sections 54964 and 3060, er seq.) and now. with the City Manager's failure to provide public records. Such an accusation would require a trial on the removal of this City Manager from Oregon. But the Grand Jury relies upon advice from public attorneys including the DA' Office. So, what will the District Attorney do about this unlawful use of public funds and other official misconduct? Some predict: "Wagstaffe white-wash followed by nothing" (www.nothing).


formerly formerly
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 14, 2014 at 6:50 am
formerly formerly, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Nov 14, 2014 at 6:50 am

@Gern

I should have been more clear - my apologies. Are there any links to actual op-eds or letters from the city that were published *and* campaign against Measure M specifically? Links would be nice.

Consider - there is no explicit sentence against M - only a request to learn both sides - and even a pointer to SaveMenlo's website. This seems pretty innocuous to me.

"As the community considers the initiative proposed to revise Menlo Park’s El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan, I hope everyone takes the time to become fully aware of all the facts before taking a position. The initiative supporters’ website, savemenlo.org, outlines that group’s concerns and the revisions that are proposed. The City has a neutral informational website about the initiative, menlopark.org/proposedinitiative, summarizing how the Specific Plan currently approaches these issues. There, you can also learn about how the plan was created, the reasoning behind its elements, and the public process that was involved.

I think it’s important to understand the initiative’s concerns with the Plan’s definition of open space, and about the discussions on this issue that already took place during the Plan’s creation, as well as the reasoning behind why the Plan uses that definition. Residents should learn about the proposed initiative’s issues related to the overall amount of office/non-residential space allowed, and about the Plan’s cap on total square footage of non-residential use. It’s also crucial to know some details about the two largest developments currently proposed under the Plan’s existing limitations - that information is on the City’s web page, menlopark.org/proposed-initiative
Please, take the time to learn and understand both sides of these issues so that you can take a position that is informed, educated, and balanced."


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