Menlo Park's Measure M opponents outspent proponents


The final batch of campaign finance reports for the 2014 election were due Feb. 2, and the numbers show serious money – by the standards for a Menlo Park campaign, at least – was spent by both sides of the Measure M debate.

Opponents spent approximately $192,980, while proponents spent about $146,944.

Approximately 61 percent of voters said no to Measure M, the initiative brought forth by grassroots coalition Save Menlo to change elements of the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan.

Save Menlo raised $131,029 in 2014, with $36,269 coming from October through December. Former councilman Heyward Robinson loaned the campaign a total $8,500.

The group continued garnering donations well into the final days of the year, with approximately 80 people giving money from Oct. 19 through Dec. 31. Major donors and the total amount given in 2014 included Michelle Lamarre and Brent Townshend ($5,000); Catherine Wilson ($3,000); Nancy Couperus ($2,100); Eric and Sonali Fain ($1,500); Robert Ekedahl ($1,250); George Windhorst ($1,087); Jeffrey Abramowitz, Frank Fischer, Diane and Peter Hart, and Mary Ratner ($1,000 each).

Nonmonetary contributions came to $3,926 for items such as mailers and yard signs, with $3,427 chipped in by Save Menlo organizers Mike Lanza and Perla Ni.

The group spent $131,029, mainly on consultants (Stearns Consulting: $15,469) and legal counsel from attorney Keith Wagner. The campaign had $15,915 in unpaid bills at the end of December, according to the finance report.

No on M

Developer Greenheart Land Co., which is proposing to build a 420,000-square-foot, mixed-use development on El Camino Real at Oak Grove that would have been affected by Measure M's cap on office space, contributed $200,000 to the political committee it organized to defeat the measure.

The Committee for a Vibrant Downtown – No on M spent nearly all of the money, apart from a $26,486 refund to Greenheart. Expenses included literature such as door hangers and salaries for campaign workers Valerie Bellofatto, based in Menlo Park, and Michael Grealish, based in San Francisco.

It also reported $2,500 in nonmonetary contributions for the entire calendar year, with none made during the final reporting period, which ran from Oct. 19 through Dec. 31.

The other "No on M" committee – Menlo Park Deserves Better – collected $16,955 in donations in 2014, $250 of that coming in during the final reporting period. Nonmonetary contributions came to $2,903 for 2014 for food and copying.

The top donor from Oct. 19 through Dec. 31 was Ed Moritz, who contributed $100.

It spent $16,967 total, with $8,001 in expenses for the last reporting period, primarily for campaign literature and meetings, along with $580 on a phone bank.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


2 people like this
Posted by June Curran
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 3, 2015 at 11:56 am

I was so against Measure M. But one thing is certain, and I would hope that we can all agree that something attractive must go in where all those auto dealerships once were. As it stands now, empty, blighted, and dreary looking, it is an embarrassment. When my guests come up from Palo Alto, this is what they see - ugliness where there should be pleasant looking buildings with beautiful landscaping. I'm embarrassed and annoyed having to explain to people when they ask what on Earth is happening there. Let's develop that area into something very attractive, and the sooner the better!

Like this comment
Posted by frugal
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2015 at 1:10 pm

I'm one who voted for Measure M but have many friends who's vote against it was based on the feeling that we could avoid super large developments by trusting our council. I hope their faith is well founded.

5 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 3, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Please close this discussion thread. I don't know if I can take it again!

1 person likes this
Posted by no zombie apocalypse
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 3, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Dear @frugal, 2014's Measure M proposed nothing to limited the size of development projects, only the mix of office to housing and retail. The "super large" building shown in "Yes on M" propaganda is in Redwood City, and nothing like that has been proposed in Downtown Menlo Park.

Like this comment
Posted by Responsible
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 6, 2015 at 12:23 pm

It is a wonder that a former Menlo Park mayor form the nineties did not get her buddy Tom Steyer to claim that the development will cause the water level in San Francisco Bay to rise so much that Belle Haven will be under water.

This is a classic case of liberals trying to vacate the property rights of others and deprive the city of much needed property tax revenues.

The DSP is about responsible development to enhance the quality of life in Menlo Park. Measure M was about retaining the blight of the empty lots on ECR because, in the minds of the Measure M proponents, no development is far better than responsible development.

1 person likes this
Posted by Responsible Too
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 12, 2015 at 4:27 pm

The people behind M were acting on impulses that are neither liberal or conservative. M was about interfering with open and inclusive government.

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

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Downtown Palo Alto gets new Vietnamese eatery
By Elena Kadvany | 15 comments | 6,551 views

On Metaphor and Mortality
By Aldis Petriceks | 0 comments | 1,185 views

Premarital and Existing Couples: Marriage Rules: Yours, Mine, or Ours?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 966 views

Big Island Food Party!
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 799 views

No sand toys, no problem
By Cheryl Bac | 2 comments | 408 views