News


Tuesday update: Taylor, Combs, Nash maintain big leads in Menlo council race

 
Menlo Park District 1 City Council candidate Cecilia Taylor (left) and Belle Haven Action colleague and supporter Julie Shanson smile at early election results the night of Tuesday, Nov. 6. (Photo by Federica Armstrong.)

The latest results from the San Mateo County Elections Office, released on Tuesday, Nov. 13, show Menlo Park City Council candidates Cecilia Taylor, Drew Combs and Betsy Nash maintaining their significant leads in the race for council districts 1, 2 and 4, respectively. The first tally was released shortly after 8 p.m. on Election Night and has not changed substantially in subsequent counts.

Many ballots remain to be counted. The election night results included only mail-in ballots that had been received by Election Day and ballots of those who voted early.


Cecilia Taylor is the likely winner of the council seat representing District 1. If elected, she will be the first African American woman on the council, and the first African American council member since the mid-1980s.(Photo by Natalia Nazarova.)

Mike Dunn, District 1 candidate.

George Yang, District 1 candidate.

Drew Combs, District 2 candidate. (Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac.)

Kirsten Keith, District 2 candidate.

Peter Ohtaki, District 4 candidate. (Michelle Le/The Almanac.)

Ron Shepherd, District 4 candidate.

Betsy Nash, District 4 candidate.
Votes from people who submitted their ballots on Election Day, or whose mail-in ballots hadn't yet been delivered, are still being counted, according to a spokeswoman at the San Mateo County Elections Office.

The Nov. 13 results show that Taylor dominates District 1 with 330 votes (75.9 percent); George Yang has 68 votes (15.6 percent) and Mike Dunn has 37 votes (8.5 percent).

In District 2, Combs has 410 votes (60 percent); incumbent Kirsten Keith has 273 votes (40 percent).

Nash has 660 votes (54 percent) in the District 4 race. Incumbent Peter Ohtaki has 348 votes (28.4 percent) and Ron Shepherd has 215 votes (17.6 percent).

The next round of election results is scheduled for release Friday, Nov. 16 at 4:30 p.m.

The total vote count since the last numbers were released last Thursday, Nov. 8, increased by 30 votes to 435 in District 1, by 23 votes to 683 in District 2, and by 16 votes to 1,223 in District 4. There are likely still many votes to count, though exactly how many more is unknown.

According to the county's election office, there are 2,659 registered voters in District 1, 3,952 registered voters in District 2, and 4,392 registered voters in District 4.

The county reported to the state on Nov. 8 that it still had 195,602 unprocessed ballots.

Looking at previous voter turnout in these districts, at the last midterm election in 2014, 618 voters cast ballots in what is now District 1; 2,326 voters in District 2; and 2,566 voters in District 4, according to city statistics.

In 2016, during a presidential election year, which tends to draw out more voters than midterm elections, 1,697 residents of what is now District 1 voted; there were 3,355 voters from District 2, and 3,3767 from District 4.

Eight candidates vied for three seats in Menlo Park's inaugural district-based elections this year.

District 1

District 1 covers the city east of U.S. 101; the winner in this race will take the council seat that the district system was intended to create. In August 2017, the city was threatened with a lawsuit unless it switched to district elections in which each candidate must come from a designated area and be elected only by residents of that area.

The city had previously held at-large elections, in which all residents can vote for any candidate to represent the whole city. The city's at-large voting system was criticized in the lawsuit threat because such systems typically make it harder for minority voters to elect people they prefer and, in fact, the Belle Haven neighborhood, which is the city's only majority-minority district, made up of mostly Latino and black residents, hadn't had a City Council representative for 30 years.

No matter who is elected, the Belle Haven neighborhood will have representation on the City Council moving forward.

Counting down to the first round of council election results on election night, Taylor and her supporters waited in the home of Belle Haven resident Pushpinder Lubana for the numbers to be announced.

One of Taylor's biggest supporters, Menlo Park activist Pam Jones – who is also Taylor's mother – waited with anticipation for the results.

"This must be what it's like to be the mother of the bride," she said. "You work as hard as you can, and then it happens."

When the preliminary results came in and indicated Taylor was in the lead, she celebrated with a shout of joy and a giddy dance around the living room as supporters clapped and raised glasses.

If the pattern of preliminary results hold, Taylor will be the first African American woman to serve on Menlo Park's City Council, and the first Belle Haven resident on the council since former councilman Billy Ray White ended a term in 1986.

The most recent mandatory campaign finance reports for the District 1 race show that Taylor reported raising $3,859, George Yang reported raising $900, and Mike Dunn did not report raising any campaign funds.

Taylor told The Almanac her campaign plan was different this time around compared with two years ago, when she didn't win a seat. One notable strategy: using traffic to her advantage. She and supporters today spent time holding posters and talking to drivers stuck at the intersection of Willow Road and Newbridge Street a captive audience, of sorts.

She said one driver told her, "I voted for you. You need to do something about traffic."

Her mindset, she said, was different in this campaign: She found a sense of "glory" in the work she was doing in getting to know the community and listening to residents' concerns.

Julie Shanson, who volunteered with Taylor's previous campaign and has worked with her at Belle Haven Action, said, "She's going to be a terrific leader."

District 2

District 2 includes the Willows, Flood Triangle and Suburban Park neighborhoods. This race has resulted in the most money raised for its candidates, compared with the other district races, with Keith raising $27,740, and Combs raising $15,447, as of Oct. 20.

The District 2 race has raised questions of ethics and political conflicts, and made for a hotly contested seat.

On one hand, Keith, a two-term incumbent in Menlo Park who generally favors housing, the environment and bicycle-related projects, is currently the subject of an ethics violation complaint alleging that she accepted free travel to China in excess of what the state permits at the same time the council held a major study session on Facebook's proposed Willow Village project. The allegation hinges on the specifics of whether the organization that funded the trip had the proper certification as a formal 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

No ruling has yet been made by the state's Fair Political Practices Commission. She voted recently to approve a City Council policy that would provide clearer guidelines for council members about what steps must be taken in order to accept free travel.

On the other hand, Combs, a planning commissioner, works for Facebook, so he will have recuse to himself from key discussions about the proposed Willow Village and potentially other projects tied to Facebook.

"I'm not completely recused from everything happening in the Bayfront area, but certainly the stuff of which there is a direct impact on Facebook and maybe a sort of clear indirect impact," he said.

Combs' election night gathering, held in his home, had a cautiously celebratory air – although he was leading in the vote count by a wide margin in the preliminary results provided by the county, the current Planning Commissioner was hesitant to provide definitive comments on a likely win.

"If these trends continue," he consistently prefaced each statement, and if he and District 4 candidate Betsy Nash win council seats, the voters of Menlo Park would be giving the city a "clear indication" that they value new energy, faces and ideas – something that's been an "informal tradition" in the city, he said.

Combs ran unsuccessfully in 2014, but said the 2018 campaign was different because there wasn't a key issue shaping the political landscape – like 2014's Measure M, which would have altered the city's newly adopted downtown plan.

Instead, he was able to address the policies he wanted to focus on, such as changing the requirements for house projects on substandard lots, implementing a "sunshine" or transparent calendar policy, and disavowing what he described as the current council's slowness to address traffic in the Willows neighborhood as well as its eagerness to get behind a new main library.

If elected, he said, a top priority will be to home in on what the city should look for in a new city manager.

Fellow Planning Commissioner Henry Riggs told The Almanac that while he didn't always see eye to eye with Combs on the commission, he believes Combs has a "good thinking process." Combs, he said, has earned his respect.

Former City Council member Mickie Winkler explained that her support for Combs came from both positive feelings toward his campaign and "honest reservations" about Keith's, arguing that she doesn't support the council's decisions to support the new Willow Road/U.S. 101 interchange or its plan to separate Caltrain from roads.

District 4

District 4 includes downtown Menlo Park and the Allied Arts neighborhood.

The race is Complete Streets Commissioner Nash's first experience running for public office. She said at an election night gathering in her home with supporters that the experience has been a great one, even if she doesn't hold her lead as the favored candidate to win the District 4 seat.

If elected, her key priorities would be to choose a new city manager and work on staffing, and improve traffic safety. She wants to make it easier and safer for people to ride their bikes downtown, she said.

Her key supporters include members of the Parents for Safe Routes coalition, including organization founder Jennifer Wolosin, and Katie Behroozi and Lydia Lee, who are on the Complete Streets Commission with Nash.

"Her energy was where her mouth was," Lee said.

Nash said her campaign was "grassroots" and had about 180 people involved, whether through donations or endorsements.

Her campaign manager, Dorna Hakimi, said that early on in Nash's campaign, it became clear that "her biggest asset is her personality. She cares about the people she comes in contact with," she said.

Peter Ohtaki, current Menlo Park mayor and District 4 contender, said that he is disappointed with the preliminary election results. "It's a clear message that voters want to slow down growth and resulting traffic congestion," he said in a written statement. "I encourage the next Council to move quickly on the Transportation Master Plan, Middle/Burgess underpass and Ravenswood grade separation."

As of Oct. 20, Shepherd had raised the most, at $7,600, followed by Ohtaki at $6,905 and Nash at $6,350. None of the District 4 candidates reported nonmonetary donations.

High-impact election

Whoever is elected will have some big decisions to make about the city's future over the next four years. During that time, Facebook's proposed Willow Village, the city's largest-ever development, is likely to come before the City Council for approval, following environmental review.

The council will also likely be involved in deciding the next steps of the Dumbarton rail corridor project, assuming the environmental review process goes according to an ambitious timeline set forth in a new partnership between Facebook, SamTrans and the Plenary Group, an infrastructure business. (The ultimate approval process will rest in the hands of the SamTrans board of directors).

In addition, the council will also review the city's El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan, which could mean reconsidering the limits of what can be built downtown, including a potential increase in the amount of housing permitted there.

The council is also due to discuss the possibility of a downtown parking garage, iron out a definite preference on what to do about separating the city's roads from the Caltrain tracks, and consider a policy mandating that landlords, in some situations, be required to provide relocation assistance to tenants who are displaced, among a number of other key policy discussions ahead.

Track the latest county results here and state results here.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Comments

34 people like this
Posted by Henry Riggs
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 7, 2018 at 9:08 am

City Council had lost touch with the basic needs of the City. Mesmerized by development (and the celebrities behind it) the City rushed headlong into development on the East Side with no real expectation of transportation to feed it. Meanwhile a vanity project at the Civic Center took precedence over basic functions, and dreams of two miles of coffee bars along El Camino stalled traffic relief there. One long-time council member replied to a request to fix our pot-holed streets with "in a perfect world, we would have smooth streets, but thats not going to happen".
Sometimes you just need a fresh perspective to see past the flurry of trends and weekly Hot Topics.


9 people like this
Posted by Stu Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 7, 2018 at 10:01 am

Well phrased, Henry.


11 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 7, 2018 at 10:20 am

Brian is a registered user.

Henry,

I agree and I am happy with the early results. If the full results stay in line with the early results then it looks line the shape of our City Council is going to significantly change. I am cautiously optimistic as we wait for more results to trickle in.


6 people like this
Posted by The Willows
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 7, 2018 at 10:41 am

The Willows is a registered user.

Combs was on the losing side of Measure M in 2014, but came around. Combs approved the same El Camino Real development projects as Keith. People that pay $4 million for three-bedroom home in West Menlo don't want to see weeds and cyclone fences while driving through town. It has taken over a decade to clean up ECR, other than Allied Arts it's fair to say that the entire city was supportive of the DSP.

Henry, when you suggest the council has been "mesmerized" by development. You must be referring to Facebook. The Menlo Gateway project will be an enormous increase in office occupied by Facebook, but that was approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2010. If you're "mesmerized" comment refers to the general plan update, we look forward to hearing how you and Cecilia Taylor will pay for the promise of ConnectMenlo without development agreements. It's not likely Combs will be able to participate in any part of that discussion.


8 people like this
Posted by Former Belle Haven Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 7, 2018 at 10:46 am

Henry- Could not have said it better myself.

We need new perceptions from candidates who will actually put a halt to excessive development in the Belle Haven neighborhood. I am so happy to see a new council member, who understands the area, and can lead discussions about the consequences of excessive development regardless of throwing money at the problem with no real solution! Just look at the dumbarton corridor project...the funding is there, but there is no REAL discussion about the consequences it will impose, i.e. pollution, home price devaluation, elitism-based corridor, etc...


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Posted by The Willows
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 7, 2018 at 2:32 pm

The Willows is a registered user.

Fortunately for Mickie Winkler, Keith's third vote and friendly motion to move forward with grade separations required the consultants return with the actual cost of the fully elevated solution. Had Keith voted against grade separations, Menlo Park would be moved to last place for funding... again, and there would be no data to back up Winkler's assertion that a fully elevated rail line would in fact be the cheapest solution. Now that District 3 is without representation on city council, there is no better time for city council to take action on the fully elevated solution. If Drew Combs is elected, we hope he will be a man of his word on this fully elevation rail option and not be stifled by Mueller who voted against grade separations all together.


6 people like this
Posted by Historian
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 7, 2018 at 2:46 pm

Mueller didn’t vote against grade separations. We know he voted to study the tunnel and trellis. Both are grade separations.


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Posted by Felton Gables Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 7, 2018 at 3:26 pm

@The WIllows:

For us newbies, what was "Measure M in 2014" about?

Would "Now that District 3 is without representation on city council, there is no better time for city council to take action on the fully elevated solution." affect Felton Gables? How?


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Posted by The Willows
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 7, 2018 at 4:13 pm

The Willows is a registered user.

The Fry/Lanza Initiative (Measure M in 2014) was, among other things, a challenge to the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP).

Former Mayor Mickie Winkler says she supported Combs because she has "honest reservations" about Keith's plan to separate Caltrain from roads. Winkler, Schmidt, Riggs and others want a fully elevated rail line through Menlo Park. Obviously, this would require some elevation near Felton Gables, but District 3 currently has no representative on city council.


4 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 7, 2018 at 5:16 pm

@willows, your posts smack of sour grapes and don’t reflect well.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 7, 2018 at 6:05 pm

Does anybody know when we can expect the full results?


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Posted by The Willows
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 7, 2018 at 6:25 pm

The Willows is a registered user.

Mike, what "sour grapes" are you talking about? If you have a better description of Measure M, please provide it here. Winkler's comment is taken directly from this article. It's obvious a fully elevated option through Menlo Park will be the least expensive, but Felton Gables residents have been outspoken that they want no elevation.


5 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 7, 2018 at 6:39 pm

It’s fairly obvious you are bent out of shape at Kirsten Keith’s performance in the election.


2 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 7, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Brian is a registered user.

The Willows,

So you think that the new council should just ignore their issues and force it through since they don't have representation? I think you miss the point of City Council in that while they are now elected by a district they are also responsible for representing the city as a whole. Maybe the right decision is to elevate (though I don't feel that way) but the wrong way to do it would be to force it on an area just because they don't have direct representation at this time.


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Posted by The Willows
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 7, 2018 at 7:34 pm

The Willows is a registered user.

Mike, I responded to a post by Henry Riggs. His post doesn't mention Keith. Riggs has access to a grocery store and other amenities at Marsh Manor. ConnectMenlo is a way for Belle Haven residents to have the same amenities. If Riggs believes council should not have approved the general plan update to implement ConnectMenlo, it's fair to ask how Riggs expects Belle Haven residents can have the same amenities without development agreements that fund the elements of ConnectMenlo.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 7, 2018 at 7:44 pm

The article says Riggs and Winkler were at Drew Combs election party. I just assumed since you appear bent on criticizing them and their quotes, you have an axe to grind over Kirsten Keith losing.


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Posted by The Willows
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 7, 2018 at 8:37 pm

The Willows is a registered user.

Mike, I didn't notice anything in the article about Riggs, I was just responding to his comment.

Brian, I believe a fully elevated rail line will be the least expensive and least destructive option. I believe several more people will die at Menlo Park crossings even if council moves forward with grade separations as their top priority. It is for the new council to decide when they represent the people that voted for them or the entire city.


8 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 8, 2018 at 8:20 am

Brian is a registered user.

The Willows,

I disagree. The title is City Council member not "District X council member". Sure they are elected by a district but they need tp represent the city. It is like saying that a senator should only care about their state. If we get into that mentality we become small groups only looking out for their best interests.

As for your comment about how Belle Haven gets those amenities it is not through the general plan update. How many millions of square feet of new office space has been approved in that neighborhood in the last 8 years? Several million square feet at least and where is the grocery store? Where is the full service bank? Where is the dedicated library? They don't have them. It should have been a condition on approving that office space that those services were brought into the community, it was not. I hope the new city council, all of them not just the one from District 1, decide to make this a priority and get things happening as one of, if not the top, priority when they take office. It was neglected by the previous council for way too long...


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 8, 2018 at 8:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

A responsible City Council would have included sites in the M 3 upzoning for all public services - libraries, police stations and fire stations - it did not.

A responsible City Council would have included transportation upgrades in the M 3 upzoning - it did not.

That is why we now have a new City Council.


6 people like this
Posted by The Willows
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 8, 2018 at 11:32 am

The Willows is a registered user.

Brian, you may be mistaken. I believe the general plan update implemented ConnectMenlo. The general plan update does not allow Willow Village, for example, to move forward without a development agreement. You also ask about the last 8 years, that number may be tossed around because the incumbents have been on council for 8 years. With the recession of 2008, there was no traffic issue and nothing was being built 8 years ago, but the value of my Menlo Park home has increased 4 to 5 times in the past 8 years.


5 people like this
Posted by Stu Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 8, 2018 at 11:41 am

One mechanism the city has - but rarely if ever uses - are zoning overlays.

This reserves a provisional zoning designation over some existing zoning designation, signaling to potential owners and developers what use it would like to see developed.

This could be used in District 1, say on Willow near WineBank, neighborhood serving commercial.


3 people like this
Posted by Stu Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 8, 2018 at 11:44 am

@Peter Carpenter:

To your points "A responsible City Council would have included sites..."

... the Overlays I mention above perform just that.


10 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 8, 2018 at 5:39 pm

Brian is a registered user.

I saw Drew Combs out yesterday collecting all of his campaign signs. It's nice to see them cleaned up so quickly. I hope Keith does the same because I'm still seeing hers all over the place.


1 person likes this
Posted by frugal
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2018 at 5:43 pm

frugal is a registered user.

Per "The Willows" posting: The Menlo Gateway project will be an enormous increase in office occupied by Facebook, but that was approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2010.

Refresh my memory please, but what did each side spend on this vote. 10 to 1? I can't remember.

Developers have deep pockets.


7 people like this
Posted by Politico
a resident of another community
on Nov 9, 2018 at 10:51 am

Kirsten Keith had all the major regional political endorsements including congressional members, mayors, supervisors.

She had the endorsement of the Democratic Party and Labor.

She had numerous city commissioner endorsements before her opponent even declared.

The current Council (except one member) and the current Mayor endorsed her. The Mayor and one colleague appeared in mailers for her.

She had close to $30,000 to spend on 2500 voters, almost double her opponent.

Her opponent moved into the district where she had lived for decades a week before the election.

And yet, Drew Combs is looking like the victor in the election.

Political science student should study this local race.








9 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 9, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Brian is a registered user.

It really shouldn't be a surprise. First off I think voters in a local election are smart enough to make decisions for themselves based on their experiences and don't really care about who endorses who. Second Keith only ran on a platform of Drew working at Facebook. She did not claim that she had done anything amazing in the last 8 years and she did not run on her record. What she did claim to do was mostly refutable by the record. When you're running in a District of educated, engaged votersand you don't have a very good track record for the last 8 years it would be hard to expect to win an election. You might also know that the other incumbant running for office also lost. I'd say that's pretty indicative of dissatisfaction with most of the current city council.


4 people like this
Posted by facts matter
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 9, 2018 at 2:28 pm

Actually, what Brian claimed was refutable by the record: Web Link


19 people like this
Posted by Rich Cline
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 9, 2018 at 3:35 pm

Congrats to Betsy and Drew and Cecilia for a great victory. Thank you Peter and Kirsten for your many hours of service. I look forward to working as a resident with you and our community to help where I can. Don’t let personal barbs and insults that come with the honor of working for passionate Menlo Park folks damper your enthusiasm for public service. It really isn’t personal, until it is...ha ha.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 9, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Rich - Well said - thanks


5 people like this
Posted by facts matter
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 9, 2018 at 5:41 pm

This new council won't be complete until we have representation form District 3. Stu Soffer would be a fun choice, but Lynne Bramlett will take it to the next level. I'm ready to write a check.


2 people like this
Posted by The Willows
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 9, 2018 at 6:56 pm

The Willows is a registered user.

Wow, thanks for the link @facts_matter. Drew Combs has no filter between his creative mind and his mouth.

"A new Belle Haven library was the priority before John Arrillaga came along and he said that he wanted a new downtown library, I guess because he had some issues about facing his own mortality, I don't know, I don't care." Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 9, 2018 at 9:09 pm

Brian is a registered user.

The Willows,

You do seem to have an axe to grind with Drew.

Brian


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Posted by The Willows
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 9, 2018 at 11:42 pm

The Willows is a registered user.

No axe to grind, just surprised. Combs says the Belle Haven library was a priority over the main library before John Arrillaga came along, but it appears Combs is mistaken. The City Council 2017 Work Plan describes a "Library Space Needs Study" with no mention of the Belle Haven library. Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 10, 2018 at 9:44 am

This election was the first test of the new system, proving that Council members are chosen by 100 votes.

Small town Menlo Park just got even smaller. We want to think that in planning and development we're a 'Village', but with politics and self-importance, we punch above our weight. Turns out it's just the reverse.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 10, 2018 at 10:02 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Lots of very big cities elect representatives on a district basis and they have learned how to combine an important neighborhood/district perspective with an essential city-wide perspective.

That will certainly happen in Menlo Park and probably very quickly.


5 people like this
Posted by Stu Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 10, 2018 at 3:50 pm

@Willows...

'A' Belle Haven Library was indeed a topic and among the needs identified back when Menlo Park had a Redevelopment Agency (RDA) to fund such projects. I know this how? By visiting the Belle Haven library in the school and speaking with the librarian - when I was on the Planning Commission - and checking the Ivy Drive streetscapes and Belle Haven Child Development Center which were other RDA projects. The programs of the BH library - within the school - were more focussed on English as a second language.


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Posted by The Willows
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 11, 2018 at 1:29 am

The Willows is a registered user.

Stu, do you agree that John Arrillaga's issues about facing his own mortality played a role in prioritizing the main library over a Belle Haven library?


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Posted by gina
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Nov 11, 2018 at 3:49 pm

gina is a registered user.

I was sad to see that Peter OhTaki (sorry if I spelled his last name wrong was not intentional) was not reelected to serve on the Menlo Park Council Chambers. I went to school with Peter at Woodside High School class of 1979. After I found out he got into Stanford. I told myself this dude was going places and he did. He ran for every office their was to run for as a civics leader in Menlo Park not to mention being elected Mayor twice and he won every race. Peter being a life long resident of Menlo Park has served the city well and has challenged every issue that came his way that needed to be dealt with. The Peter I know I bet you if he ran for higher offices one day we will be seeing him as POTUS sitting in the Oval Office. There isn't anything this person can't achieve and I think he will be a great leader one day and do good for the people of Planet Earth.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 12, 2018 at 11:54 am

Brian is a registered user.

The Willows,

It is funny you seem to think Belle Haven was not a priority even before Arrillaga offered to help with the Menlo Park library, which was not needed nearly as badly but he may have considered more prestigious to put his name on.

You might want to read this article from the Almanac from back in July of 2017. In the Article the Menlo Park city manager, Mr McIntyre, states clearly that when he got a call from Mr. Arrillaga about helping fund a Menlo Park Library expansion, he said the Belle Haven library was more of a priority but that Mr. Arrillaga was not interested in helping fund that project.

"I got a phone call completely unsolicited and completely unexpected from (Mr. Arrillaga) basically saying, 'What's going on with the library? How can I help?' And actually, my very first comment to him was 'Well, actually, the need is greater in Belle Haven. That's where we would like to see some investment.' He said he was not at all interested in that. He wanted to invest in the main library for the city. "

I don't know if Arrillaga is looking to address his own mortality or not, he certainly wants to get his name on a number of buildings in Menlo Park and Palo Alto. I mean there is the Arrillaga Family Dining Commons, the Arrillaga Family Sports Center, Arrillaga Family Recreation Center, Arrillaga Family Gymnastic Center and the list goes on. Why do you think he was interested in donating $25 million to the Menlo Park library and not to the Belle Haven library that needed in much more? Not that it matters since the delays caused by the Brown Act violation seem to have caused him to back out anyway.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 12, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" I mean there is the Arrillaga Family Dining Commons, the Arrillaga Family Sports Center, Arrillaga Family Recreation Center, Arrillaga Family Gymnastic Center and the list goes on."

And the list of projects that he has quietly funded and which do NOT have his name on them is far longer.


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Posted by Lean Out
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 15, 2018 at 6:47 am

[Post removed; facts are fine, innuendo is not. You're welcome to start a new thread on this topic, without the innuendoes.]


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