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Campaign finance roundup: Contributions to Woodside's Measure A spark accusations; Real estate firm gives $10K to Menlo Park schools parcel tax

Voters in Woodside, Menlo Park City School District to decide on measures on the Nov. 2 special election ballot

A masked server clears plates from customers dining on the patio at The Village Pub in Woodside on July 6, 2020. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Owners of a popular Woodside restaurant and bakery are sounding off on claims made by an opponent of Measure A, that the initiative to allow for more outdoor community gathering spaces, is a money-grab by a local business.

The measure on the Nov. 2 ballot to change zoning on some parcels is an alleged "ploy by the Bacchus (Management) Group, which owns and operates The Village Bakery (and The Village Pub), to bulldoze the open space lot to expand parking to allow more seats and to make more money," according to Measure A opponent Don Pugh.

Bacchus has given a total of $3,000 in cash and $2,000 in-kind donations like banners, yard signs, design and legal work to proponents of Measure A since the beginning of the year, according to campaign finance reports, which can be viewed here and here.

George Roberts, owner of Roberts Market, contributed $3,000 to the Yes on Measure A campaign, records show.

No other campaign contributions were reported.

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"Does Bacchus Management benefit if Measure A passes? Yes, of course," said Bacchus spokesperson Karey Walker, in an email. "And so does every other business in the Cañada Corners retail area. But the biggest winners of all? The residents of Woodside who get to continue meeting friends and neighbors at The Village Bakery and Buck's of Woodside to dine, laugh, and enjoy our town."

She said Bacchus is "very disappointed by Mr. Pugh's misleading statements," calling the outdoor dining rolled out during the pandemic "an overwhelming success in Woodside for The Village Bakery and Buck's of Woodside. And that success is measured by the overwhelming support of bistro dining from the residents of Woodside, who have enjoyed it during these past difficult 18 months and want to continue to enjoy it in the future, despite the grumbling of a few who would prefer not to let 'outsiders' into our town. ... The time has come for such a change and the residents clearly want to make this change."

Pugh, who wrote the argument against the ballot measure also authored a measure back in the 1980s that put limits on two residentially zoned pieces of land adjacent to the Town Center -- a town-owned complex along Woodside Road from Whiskey Hill Road to Roberts Market that includes government buildings and commercial businesses, and Cañada Corners at the Canada Road intersection (owned by Roberts Market).

Measure A would allow the property behind Cañada Corners to be outfitted with surface parking to accommodate permanent outdoor dining, trails and play structures, all of which are now prohibited. It would also allow for the possible construction of a public building — amphitheater or gazebo — for community events in the residentially zoned Town Center area.

Woodside resident Alex Tauber stands on the undeveloped parcel of land behind the parking lot behind Buck's Restaurant in Woodside on April 21, 2021. Tauber started an online petition to change the zoning regulations of the parcel so that it may be developed into a parking lot. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

To overturn these rules, established by ballot measures J and 1 in 1988 and 1989, respectively, residents must submit a petition to the town for a ballot measure. The current new outdoor dining is only possible because the town waived certain parking requirements, which are part of the conditional use permits, due the pandemic, Walker said. Normally a zoning issue this simple would be under the purview of the Town Council, but Measure J requires a vote of the citizens of Woodside a condition of any changes to this specific area, Walker said.

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"The new outdoor dining was so wonderful and enjoyed by so many Woodside residents. … that (Woodside residents) Alex Tauber and Peter Bailey recognized there might be an opportunity to allow for both continued outdoor dining and also to alleviate the chronic lack of parking, which has existed for a long, long time before the pandemic," she said. "In fact, 40 parking spaces are required every day just for the employees of Roberts Market and the hardware store."

She added that it's possible that the new lot could be employee parking only, which would alleviate the overcrowding in the rest of the lot.

Tauber and Bailey, who proposed the measure, noted they have no ownership in The Village Bakery and have never met with the owners of Bacchus. They also noted that since Roberts Market owns the Cañada Corners plot, it should be able to decide what it wants to do with it.

Pugh said he is not opposed to outdoor dining in an email Friday, but said that the proponents of Measure A are going about it backwards. "They should have gone to the town and planning department to develop a specific plan with details of seating, parking, etc. Then determine what zoning issues need to be addressed. Instead they took a axe to eliminate a provision from Measure J that prevents residential parcels for being used for commercial purposes. This is why I do not trust them. Bacchus is spending thousands of dollars to beguile the citizens to vote (in) their favor."

He said without the protection of Measure J, "their proposal is to bulldoze the lot to create lots of parking to facilitate the expansion of (The Village) Bakery."

Menlo Park City School District initiative raises over $40K in latest reporting period

Lane Partners LLC, a Menlo Park-based commercial real estate services firm, donated $10,000 to the Menlo Park City School District (MPCSD)'s parcel tax measure campaign. The proposed tax is also on the November ballot.

Lane Partners, which is involved in plans to redevelop SRI International's 63-acre Menlo Park headquarters at 333 Ravenswood Ave. by adding redeveloping buildings, adding housing and opening part of the campus to the public, made the donation to the "Committee to Support Menlo Park Schools, Yes on Parcel Tax Measure" on Aug. 19. Lane Partners could not immediately be reached for comment.

"Lane Partners is a Menlo Park-based company," said Mark Murray, principal at Lane Partners, of the contribution, in an email. "Our partners and employees are residents of Menlo Park and several of us have children in the district. We share the deep commitment residents have for their schools and we believe in being good partners to the communities where we live and work. We know that Measure B is vitally important to our city and our kids and we are happy to stand with parents, teachers, seniors, other business owners, and community leaders in support of our schools. We look forward to Measure B passing for a stronger and better Menlo Park."

The committee raised $40,015 from the beginning of July until mid-September to support the $598-per-parcel measure, which would provide $4.6 million annually for 12 years. Statements show a total of 40 donations were made.

Valerie Frederickson, CEO of Frederickson Partners, gave the second largest contribution of $5,000. Former MPCSD trustee Mark Box gave $1,000. Trustee Scott Saywell gave $250.

During the reporting period, the campaign spent nearly $45,000. The bulk went to pay Whitehurst/Mosher Campaign Strategy and Media, a political consulting firm hired by the district that charged $15,000 for its campaign consulting fees. The campaign organizers paid the consultants an additional $20,000 for marketing materials.

In June, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg also donated $10,000 to the campaign.

Measure B, which requires two-thirds voter approval to pass, would replace the district's Measure X, which passed in 2017 with an initial annual rate of $360 per parcel for $2.83 million annually and expires in July 2022.

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Campaign finance roundup: Contributions to Woodside's Measure A spark accusations; Real estate firm gives $10K to Menlo Park schools parcel tax

Voters in Woodside, Menlo Park City School District to decide on measures on the Nov. 2 special election ballot

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, Oct 8, 2021, 4:49 pm

Owners of a popular Woodside restaurant and bakery are sounding off on claims made by an opponent of Measure A, that the initiative to allow for more outdoor community gathering spaces, is a money-grab by a local business.

The measure on the Nov. 2 ballot to change zoning on some parcels is an alleged "ploy by the Bacchus (Management) Group, which owns and operates The Village Bakery (and The Village Pub), to bulldoze the open space lot to expand parking to allow more seats and to make more money," according to Measure A opponent Don Pugh.

Bacchus has given a total of $3,000 in cash and $2,000 in-kind donations like banners, yard signs, design and legal work to proponents of Measure A since the beginning of the year, according to campaign finance reports, which can be viewed here and here.

George Roberts, owner of Roberts Market, contributed $3,000 to the Yes on Measure A campaign, records show.

No other campaign contributions were reported.

"Does Bacchus Management benefit if Measure A passes? Yes, of course," said Bacchus spokesperson Karey Walker, in an email. "And so does every other business in the Cañada Corners retail area. But the biggest winners of all? The residents of Woodside who get to continue meeting friends and neighbors at The Village Bakery and Buck's of Woodside to dine, laugh, and enjoy our town."

She said Bacchus is "very disappointed by Mr. Pugh's misleading statements," calling the outdoor dining rolled out during the pandemic "an overwhelming success in Woodside for The Village Bakery and Buck's of Woodside. And that success is measured by the overwhelming support of bistro dining from the residents of Woodside, who have enjoyed it during these past difficult 18 months and want to continue to enjoy it in the future, despite the grumbling of a few who would prefer not to let 'outsiders' into our town. ... The time has come for such a change and the residents clearly want to make this change."

Pugh, who wrote the argument against the ballot measure also authored a measure back in the 1980s that put limits on two residentially zoned pieces of land adjacent to the Town Center -- a town-owned complex along Woodside Road from Whiskey Hill Road to Roberts Market that includes government buildings and commercial businesses, and Cañada Corners at the Canada Road intersection (owned by Roberts Market).

Measure A would allow the property behind Cañada Corners to be outfitted with surface parking to accommodate permanent outdoor dining, trails and play structures, all of which are now prohibited. It would also allow for the possible construction of a public building — amphitheater or gazebo — for community events in the residentially zoned Town Center area.

To overturn these rules, established by ballot measures J and 1 in 1988 and 1989, respectively, residents must submit a petition to the town for a ballot measure. The current new outdoor dining is only possible because the town waived certain parking requirements, which are part of the conditional use permits, due the pandemic, Walker said. Normally a zoning issue this simple would be under the purview of the Town Council, but Measure J requires a vote of the citizens of Woodside a condition of any changes to this specific area, Walker said.

"The new outdoor dining was so wonderful and enjoyed by so many Woodside residents. … that (Woodside residents) Alex Tauber and Peter Bailey recognized there might be an opportunity to allow for both continued outdoor dining and also to alleviate the chronic lack of parking, which has existed for a long, long time before the pandemic," she said. "In fact, 40 parking spaces are required every day just for the employees of Roberts Market and the hardware store."

She added that it's possible that the new lot could be employee parking only, which would alleviate the overcrowding in the rest of the lot.

Tauber and Bailey, who proposed the measure, noted they have no ownership in The Village Bakery and have never met with the owners of Bacchus. They also noted that since Roberts Market owns the Cañada Corners plot, it should be able to decide what it wants to do with it.

Pugh said he is not opposed to outdoor dining in an email Friday, but said that the proponents of Measure A are going about it backwards. "They should have gone to the town and planning department to develop a specific plan with details of seating, parking, etc. Then determine what zoning issues need to be addressed. Instead they took a axe to eliminate a provision from Measure J that prevents residential parcels for being used for commercial purposes. This is why I do not trust them. Bacchus is spending thousands of dollars to beguile the citizens to vote (in) their favor."

He said without the protection of Measure J, "their proposal is to bulldoze the lot to create lots of parking to facilitate the expansion of (The Village) Bakery."

Lane Partners LLC, a Menlo Park-based commercial real estate services firm, donated $10,000 to the Menlo Park City School District (MPCSD)'s parcel tax measure campaign. The proposed tax is also on the November ballot.

Lane Partners, which is involved in plans to redevelop SRI International's 63-acre Menlo Park headquarters at 333 Ravenswood Ave. by adding redeveloping buildings, adding housing and opening part of the campus to the public, made the donation to the "Committee to Support Menlo Park Schools, Yes on Parcel Tax Measure" on Aug. 19. Lane Partners could not immediately be reached for comment.

"Lane Partners is a Menlo Park-based company," said Mark Murray, principal at Lane Partners, of the contribution, in an email. "Our partners and employees are residents of Menlo Park and several of us have children in the district. We share the deep commitment residents have for their schools and we believe in being good partners to the communities where we live and work. We know that Measure B is vitally important to our city and our kids and we are happy to stand with parents, teachers, seniors, other business owners, and community leaders in support of our schools. We look forward to Measure B passing for a stronger and better Menlo Park."

The committee raised $40,015 from the beginning of July until mid-September to support the $598-per-parcel measure, which would provide $4.6 million annually for 12 years. Statements show a total of 40 donations were made.

Valerie Frederickson, CEO of Frederickson Partners, gave the second largest contribution of $5,000. Former MPCSD trustee Mark Box gave $1,000. Trustee Scott Saywell gave $250.

During the reporting period, the campaign spent nearly $45,000. The bulk went to pay Whitehurst/Mosher Campaign Strategy and Media, a political consulting firm hired by the district that charged $15,000 for its campaign consulting fees. The campaign organizers paid the consultants an additional $20,000 for marketing materials.

In June, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg also donated $10,000 to the campaign.

Measure B, which requires two-thirds voter approval to pass, would replace the district's Measure X, which passed in 2017 with an initial annual rate of $360 per parcel for $2.83 million annually and expires in July 2022.

Comments

awatkins
Registered user
Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Oct 11, 2021 at 12:31 pm
awatkins, Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
Registered user
on Oct 11, 2021 at 12:31 pm

Once again, Measure A Proponents and Bacchus Management propagate the Big Lie, which is that we can't continue outdoor dining in front of Buck's and the Woodside Bakery & Cafe without an expansion of parking.
The truth is that the Bakery prior to the pandemic the Cafe has always had outdoor dining on it's back patio and there is no doubt the Planning Dept. and/or commission will allow them to continue that in front. This is all designed to hide a HUGE expansion in seating capacity at the Cafe which will increase congestion on Woodside Rd.


awatkins
Registered user
Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Oct 11, 2021 at 1:25 pm
awatkins, Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
Registered user
on Oct 11, 2021 at 1:25 pm

Karey Walker of Bacchus accuses Pugh of "misleading statements" and turns right around to assert that opponents are "grumbling of a few who would prefer not to let 'outsiders' into our town." NO ON on either side of the issue has said anything like being opposed to outsiders.

She then goes on to claim "current new outdoor dining is only possible because the town waived certain parking requirements," dishonestly avoiding that those "parking requirements" specified only which spaces could be occupied by tables. The town said NOTHING about expanding parking and left the restaurant's seating capacity alone.


Neighbor
Registered user
Portola Valley: other
on Oct 12, 2021 at 12:12 am
Neighbor, Portola Valley: other
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2021 at 12:12 am

There aren’t “just a few people grumbling.” This is a total repeal of a zoning law, which would then allow Bacchus group to develop that area pretty much any way they want. There is no reason why outdoor dining can’t continue just as it is, without creating a parking lot, gazebo, carousel, or other built-up areas on a rural piece of land crisscrossed by hiking, running, and riding trails. Why must our rural communities continue to fight tooth and nail to simply prevent the wholesale destruction of our natural environment to benefit a few private owners who are already enormously wealthy and successful?


Betsy Roble
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Oct 12, 2021 at 4:41 pm
Betsy Roble, Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2021 at 4:41 pm

Neighbor (not in Woodside).

I don't live in Woodside either, but have loved coming to Woodside to eat at Bucks (previously the 'Stage Coach', I think) since the early-eighties. The new tables outside are fabulous! why are you and AWatkins so opposed to what seems like a beautiful addition to Woodside that appears to be so popular?

Carousel?
Wholesale destruction of the natural environment?
Benefit a few private owners?
That seems a bit over-the-top, but this is America in 2021.

How about the benefit to those of us who really enjoy the experience?


Neighbor
Registered user
Portola Valley: other
on Oct 13, 2021 at 6:04 pm
Neighbor, Portola Valley: other
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2021 at 6:04 pm

You should read the Measure carefully. I, too, think the outside dining is great. What I don’t think is great is creating an enormous parking lot, with additional buildings (and yes, a carousel was actually mentioned) and a possible amphitheater. This is not a small undertaking, the parking lot will only serve the restaurants and grocery store already owned by two private families, and the destruction of that area takes away important trail access for runners, hikers, bicycles, and horses. Bucks and Yhe Village Bakery restaurant chose to take over 2/3 of the parking lot with outside dining so that they could manage during COVID. The outside dining part has been a great success (and the Bakery restaurant already has an outdoor patio). However, they should not be able to pave over a whole section of rural area used by other members of the Woodside Community (and abutting a private home) to increase their profits.


Betsy Roble
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Oct 13, 2021 at 10:16 pm
Betsy Roble, Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2021 at 10:16 pm

Neighbor,

OK. I re-read the ballot measure on the San Mateo County Elections website:Web Link
If you scroll to the bottom there is a pdf link to the Resolution, Measure and Full Text. Regarding the parking at Canada Corners the EXACT TEXT states:
"(4) Except Accessor’s Parcel No. 072-162-350, located behind Canada Corners, which may be improved with facilities, subject to duly issued conditional use permits, such as, surface parking to accommodate permanent outdoor dining within Canada Corners, trails, and play structures."
There is no mention of a carousel. So Neighbor, you are lying.
What else are you making up? Please tell us your sources on your claims about trail access and the size of any new parking area.
You and AWatkins have been so utterly nasty on this issue that if I had a vote, I'd vote yes just to spite you.



Sunny Storm
Registered user
Woodside: other
on Oct 14, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Sunny Storm, Woodside: other
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2021 at 4:00 pm

The over-the top exaggerations all over this and the various Next Door threads on this topic would be funny if they were not so ridiculous and have an actual negative impact on the community. Outdoor dining after the emergency orders WILL expire at some point in the future. Outdoor dining will actually come to an end there is not a measure passed that allow it to be permanent. That is the truth.

Fake news is not the problem. It's the humans that lie and stretch the truth, confusing many others as to what the reality actually is.

Read the actual measure and stop reading the crazy misleading comments online. And then vote.


Neighbor
Registered user
Portola Valley: other
on Oct 14, 2021 at 4:36 pm
Neighbor, Portola Valley: other
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2021 at 4:36 pm

Making accusations of lying is not only uncalled for, it violates the rules of this forum. I and many others in this immediate area have heard conversations about both a bandstand/ amphitheater and a carousel/play structures/playground situation. This is in addition to the requested parking. It’s hard to know how much was said in the spirit of “what if” or “wouldn’t it be great,” but it’s been made very clear that the intentions for this space are for it to not only provide a large parking lot, but an extension of the town center so that more entertainment and another center of town gathering place will be created. Feel free to ask the town council about it. The bottom line is that the measure is to provide the ability to develop—including parking and unspecified buildings— an undeveloped area.


Cathy Oyster
Registered user
Woodside: other
on Oct 14, 2021 at 4:50 pm
Cathy Oyster, Woodside: other
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2021 at 4:50 pm

No on measure A is a reasonable pumping of the breaks by Woodsiders. We’ve just spent the weekend enjoying the Day of the Horse, yet we face potential “car centric” planning that might be the demise of terrific outdoor dining. The traffic in Woodside reached epic levels, recently requiring the four way stop at Robert’s to be controlled with the help of flaggers. Measure A promises to open the door to more cars at Canada Corners as well as potentially a vast number of revelers to enjoy an amphitheater at town center (is the one at Woodside Elm fully utilized?)

Measure A puts the car before the horse VOTE NO, and encourage the outdoor dining to be continued by attending planning meetings.


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