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Menlo Park school board declines to oppose city's Measure V ballot measure

Citizen-sponsored initiative aims to preserve single-family zoning by putting all upzoning proposals to a citywide vote

The Sept. 8, 2022, meeting of the Menlo Park City School District governing board. Zoom screenshot.

In a divided decision, the Menlo Park City School District Board of Trustees will not stake out a position against a citizen-sponsored ballot initiative that seeks to take away the Menlo Park City Council's authority to rezone any properties that are currently zoned for single-family housing.

Measure V, also known as the Menlo Balance initiative, is on the Nov. 8 ballot. Proponents of the bill say that it will keep streets safer from increased traffic and force developers to work with residents. Critics say the bill could heavily delay the development of affordable housing and prevent Menlo Park from reaching its state-mandated housing goals. It would put up roadblocks to future projects, specifically renovations to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District's Station 1 on Middlefield Road and developing the vacant Flood School campus for teacher and staff housing.

The majority of trustees said they worried about alienating community members over the controversial measure, even if they are personally against the initiative. Board President Scott Saywell said there is "politicization of school boards across this country and it's not good." With three out of the five board members clearly against the idea of formally opposing Measure V, Trustee Francesca Segrè withdrew a resolution that would have taken a stance against the initiative.

Trustee Stacey Jones said Measure V is "thorny and complicated" and the resolution risks "serious damage to our relationship with the community," and "pitting parent against parent." Trustee Sherwin Chen agreed.

The proposed resolution urged Menlo Park voters "to reject any measure that would seek to limit the ability of city planners and elected leaders to expand access to affordable housing, thereby allowing Menlo Park to be a place where all members of our community are valued and may live, work, and thrive."

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Trustee Dave Ackerman supported the resolution and said it's important to remember that based on the Tinsley program, the district is obligated, under a court order, to take reasonable, feasible measures to remove the effects of segregation.

The Tinsley program came as the result of a lawsuit filed in 1976 by parents in the Ravenswood City School District and neighboring districts. The suit was settled in 1985 by requiring Peninsula school districts to transfer some minority students from the Ravenswood district into their districts each year. The Peninsula districts include Menlo Park, Las Lomitas, Woodside, Portola Valley, Palo Alto, Belmont-Redwood Shores and San Carlos.

A July report from the city says that if it passes, the ballot measure will put the largest number of units in the most marginalized communities.

We missed a chance to be courageous and show our children the difference between upstanders and bystanders.

-Francesca Segrè, MPCSD trustee

"The single-family districts are predominantly white, with the exception of the Belle Haven neighborhood," according to the July report. "The ballot measure would effectively prohibit new affordable housing units in single-family areas. Affordable units will then have to be located elsewhere in the city including in the bayfront area near Belle Haven which has the most capacity for affordable units because of higher existing densities.

"The ballot measure can then be seen to continue the same cycle of putting the highest densities and most affordable units in the area of the community that is predominately lower income, marginalized, and communities of color," the report said.

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Segrè said the board "had a real opportunity in front of it last night — to make good on our prior (anti-racist resolution) that said we wanted to take action to undo structural inequalities."

"It's unfortunate, that together we were not able to convert our own words into meaningful action," she said in a Friday, Sept. 9, email. "We missed a chance to be courageous and show our children the difference between upstanders and bystanders."

Ackerman was more blunt: "The first time we had to stand up to something about race, we (the board) couldn't do it," he said.

Divisive response to the resolution

District community members passionately for and against the resolution spoke at the meeting.

As of Friday, 216 MPCSD parents, students and constituents have signed an online letter urging the MPCSD board to take a position opposing Measure V.

Jennifer Schindler, a district parent and Menlo Park resident, said the board had the chance to be "role models for our children, not bystanders."

District reading specialist Jacqui Cebrian told the board to rise above the fray and oppose Measure V.

Melissa Cole, a Suburban Park neighborhood resident, questioned why the district is involving itself in issues other than educating children.

"Is it your role to concern yourself about land use and rezoning?" she asked.

Others urged the board to keep its focus on students and not land use planning.

Inception of Measure V

A flyer by a newly formed organization called Menlo Balance reads "Residential neighborhoods are at risk" is taped to a light pole on Waverly Street in Menlo Park's Linfield Oaks neighborhood on April 25, 2022. Photo by Andrea Gemmet.

The Flood School site has become a cornerstone of the fight between proponents and opponents of Measure V, despite the bill's citywide effects. There has been heavy debate over a proposal by the Ravenswood City School District to build 90 units of affordable housing for teachers at the vacant campus, which is located in an area zoned for single-family homes and would be directly impacted by the measure. The district is looking to lease the site to develop for staff housing.

Opponents of the Flood site project contend that the district has not explicitly spelled out in its request for proposals that the proposed units would be designated for teachers and staff. The district has stated that they have enough teachers and staff members who want it to fill the units, and that it wouldn't make sense to leave units vacant if they don't fill homes with district staff.

Neighboring resolutions

The Ravenswood City School District governing board passed a resolution in early August opposing Measure V.

"This board believes that this same initiative would run afoul of the district’s anti-racist commitments because, as the impartial analysis of this initiative notes, the initiative would continue 'the same cycle of putting the highest densities and most affordable units in the area of the community that is predominantly lower income, marginalized, and communities of color,' specifically in the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park," the resolution states.

A recent district survey showed that just one-third of district staff report having a "safe, secure, and affordable housing option" and 43% are considering leaving district employment due to their housing situation.

The Las Lomitas Elementary School District will consider a similar resolution at its Oct. 5 meeting.

At a Wednesday, Sept. 7, Las Lomitas Elementary School District board meeting, trustees Heather Hopkins and Molly Finn expressed strong support for taking a stand against Measure V.

Hopkins said that since the Las Lomitas district falls within Menlo Park, properties in the city that could provide housing for teachers or staffers would be affected by the measure. For example, it could make it much more difficult to develop housing on properties within district boundaries that are zoned for single family housing, like St. Bede's Episcopal or St. Denis Catholic churches.

"Our No. 1 resource in this school district is our staff and our number one issue is housing," Hopkins said. "This measure would put another barrier in front of building more multifamily housing. In my mind you can't decouple housing and our housing shortage and what we've heard from our staff. Cost of living is so high staff have to live an hour or more away, oftentimes."

Trustee Gautam Nadella said it feels a little awkward to take a position on what a church could do with its property.

"There's just a lot of uncertainty about what we can actually do to benefit (the housing) problems like providing a material amount of housing," he said.

Hopkins noted that the Ravenswood school board stepped outside of its usual boundaries because they feel this issue is so important.

They directed staff to bring a resolution to the board next month for consideration. Hopkins said that waiting a month gives the community a chance to chime in on if it's something the board should weigh in on.

MPCSD Regular Board Meeting September 08, 2022 from Board Meeting Recordings on Vimeo.

The Menlo Park City School District Sept. 9, 2020, board meeting.

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Reporter Cameron Rebosio contributed to this report.

Angela Swartz
 
Angela Swartz joined The Almanac in 2018 and covers education and small towns. She has a background covering education, city politics and business. Read more >>

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Menlo Park school board declines to oppose city's Measure V ballot measure

Citizen-sponsored initiative aims to preserve single-family zoning by putting all upzoning proposals to a citywide vote

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, Sep 9, 2022, 11:37 am

In a divided decision, the Menlo Park City School District Board of Trustees will not stake out a position against a citizen-sponsored ballot initiative that seeks to take away the Menlo Park City Council's authority to rezone any properties that are currently zoned for single-family housing.

Measure V, also known as the Menlo Balance initiative, is on the Nov. 8 ballot. Proponents of the bill say that it will keep streets safer from increased traffic and force developers to work with residents. Critics say the bill could heavily delay the development of affordable housing and prevent Menlo Park from reaching its state-mandated housing goals. It would put up roadblocks to future projects, specifically renovations to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District's Station 1 on Middlefield Road and developing the vacant Flood School campus for teacher and staff housing.

The majority of trustees said they worried about alienating community members over the controversial measure, even if they are personally against the initiative. Board President Scott Saywell said there is "politicization of school boards across this country and it's not good." With three out of the five board members clearly against the idea of formally opposing Measure V, Trustee Francesca Segrè withdrew a resolution that would have taken a stance against the initiative.

Trustee Stacey Jones said Measure V is "thorny and complicated" and the resolution risks "serious damage to our relationship with the community," and "pitting parent against parent." Trustee Sherwin Chen agreed.

The proposed resolution urged Menlo Park voters "to reject any measure that would seek to limit the ability of city planners and elected leaders to expand access to affordable housing, thereby allowing Menlo Park to be a place where all members of our community are valued and may live, work, and thrive."

Trustee Dave Ackerman supported the resolution and said it's important to remember that based on the Tinsley program, the district is obligated, under a court order, to take reasonable, feasible measures to remove the effects of segregation.

The Tinsley program came as the result of a lawsuit filed in 1976 by parents in the Ravenswood City School District and neighboring districts. The suit was settled in 1985 by requiring Peninsula school districts to transfer some minority students from the Ravenswood district into their districts each year. The Peninsula districts include Menlo Park, Las Lomitas, Woodside, Portola Valley, Palo Alto, Belmont-Redwood Shores and San Carlos.

A July report from the city says that if it passes, the ballot measure will put the largest number of units in the most marginalized communities.

"The single-family districts are predominantly white, with the exception of the Belle Haven neighborhood," according to the July report. "The ballot measure would effectively prohibit new affordable housing units in single-family areas. Affordable units will then have to be located elsewhere in the city including in the bayfront area near Belle Haven which has the most capacity for affordable units because of higher existing densities.

"The ballot measure can then be seen to continue the same cycle of putting the highest densities and most affordable units in the area of the community that is predominately lower income, marginalized, and communities of color," the report said.

Segrè said the board "had a real opportunity in front of it last night — to make good on our prior (anti-racist resolution) that said we wanted to take action to undo structural inequalities."

"It's unfortunate, that together we were not able to convert our own words into meaningful action," she said in a Friday, Sept. 9, email. "We missed a chance to be courageous and show our children the difference between upstanders and bystanders."

Ackerman was more blunt: "The first time we had to stand up to something about race, we (the board) couldn't do it," he said.

Divisive response to the resolution

District community members passionately for and against the resolution spoke at the meeting.

As of Friday, 216 MPCSD parents, students and constituents have signed an online letter urging the MPCSD board to take a position opposing Measure V.

Jennifer Schindler, a district parent and Menlo Park resident, said the board had the chance to be "role models for our children, not bystanders."

District reading specialist Jacqui Cebrian told the board to rise above the fray and oppose Measure V.

Melissa Cole, a Suburban Park neighborhood resident, questioned why the district is involving itself in issues other than educating children.

"Is it your role to concern yourself about land use and rezoning?" she asked.

Others urged the board to keep its focus on students and not land use planning.

Inception of Measure V

The Flood School site has become a cornerstone of the fight between proponents and opponents of Measure V, despite the bill's citywide effects. There has been heavy debate over a proposal by the Ravenswood City School District to build 90 units of affordable housing for teachers at the vacant campus, which is located in an area zoned for single-family homes and would be directly impacted by the measure. The district is looking to lease the site to develop for staff housing.

Opponents of the Flood site project contend that the district has not explicitly spelled out in its request for proposals that the proposed units would be designated for teachers and staff. The district has stated that they have enough teachers and staff members who want it to fill the units, and that it wouldn't make sense to leave units vacant if they don't fill homes with district staff.

Neighboring resolutions

The Ravenswood City School District governing board passed a resolution in early August opposing Measure V.

"This board believes that this same initiative would run afoul of the district’s anti-racist commitments because, as the impartial analysis of this initiative notes, the initiative would continue 'the same cycle of putting the highest densities and most affordable units in the area of the community that is predominantly lower income, marginalized, and communities of color,' specifically in the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park," the resolution states.

A recent district survey showed that just one-third of district staff report having a "safe, secure, and affordable housing option" and 43% are considering leaving district employment due to their housing situation.

The Las Lomitas Elementary School District will consider a similar resolution at its Oct. 5 meeting.

At a Wednesday, Sept. 7, Las Lomitas Elementary School District board meeting, trustees Heather Hopkins and Molly Finn expressed strong support for taking a stand against Measure V.

Hopkins said that since the Las Lomitas district falls within Menlo Park, properties in the city that could provide housing for teachers or staffers would be affected by the measure. For example, it could make it much more difficult to develop housing on properties within district boundaries that are zoned for single family housing, like St. Bede's Episcopal or St. Denis Catholic churches.

"Our No. 1 resource in this school district is our staff and our number one issue is housing," Hopkins said. "This measure would put another barrier in front of building more multifamily housing. In my mind you can't decouple housing and our housing shortage and what we've heard from our staff. Cost of living is so high staff have to live an hour or more away, oftentimes."

Trustee Gautam Nadella said it feels a little awkward to take a position on what a church could do with its property.

"There's just a lot of uncertainty about what we can actually do to benefit (the housing) problems like providing a material amount of housing," he said.

Hopkins noted that the Ravenswood school board stepped outside of its usual boundaries because they feel this issue is so important.

They directed staff to bring a resolution to the board next month for consideration. Hopkins said that waiting a month gives the community a chance to chime in on if it's something the board should weigh in on.

Reporter Cameron Rebosio contributed to this report.

Comments

Michael Levinson
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 9, 2022 at 1:00 pm
Michael Levinson, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Sep 9, 2022 at 1:00 pm

This is a superb article, Angela. Thoroughly researched and presented in a thoughtful, balanced way. Thank you. I am extremely disappointed that the school board declined to adopt the excellent resolution opposing Measure V. Kudos to trustees Segrè and Ackerman for fighting the good fight. Measure V is bad for our city and bad for our schools, and I am aghast at the amount of misinformation going around about it.


MenloMom
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 9, 2022 at 1:17 pm
MenloMom, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 9, 2022 at 1:17 pm

NO on Measure V. I would like to thank Members Ackerman and Segre for reminding the public about how zoning has been a tool to create and perpetuate inequalities in our communities.

The City's independent review of this measure is clear and unequivocal.
"To the extent that the Ballot Measure discourages, delays and/or prevents affordable housing to be provided in or near existing single-family areas throughout the entire city, it will function as a continuation of this historic use of strict land use controls to perpetuate unequal and unfair governmental aims by enforcing and “locking in” residential racial and economic segregation."

Menlo Park, we can do better! This is not who we are, or who we want to be. I recognize that the good citizens of Suburban Park are wanting to keep the character of the neighborhood. I like my neighborhood too! But a poorly designed measure like this can have broad impacts and repercussions, even if written with the best of intentions.

There is a proposed development at the end of my street that I had concern was outside of the scope of my neighborhood's infrastructure. I attended the Planning Commission meetings, and I was so impressed by the thoughtful, well researched citizens who served on those committees. There are channels to improve projects, scale them up/down, and work on transportation solutions. This measure, with no sunset date, is a dangerous alternative.

I hope my fellow citizens of Menlo Park will come together to vote NO on V. We are better than this.


Dawn1234
Registered user
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 9, 2022 at 6:01 pm
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
Registered user
on Sep 9, 2022 at 6:01 pm

I also wish the board would have decided to oppose Measure V formally. Also, I am glad that the opportunity for a public discussion of this issue were had. I'm glad that the historical use of zoning laws as tools of exclusion were brought up. That can't be decoupled from today's debate - regardless of whether you were here then or not. Caveat emptor. Those property value increases are the result of development. Greater housing needs are the consequence of development. To try to exempt a neighborhood from taking on this responsibility is, given history, wrong. Every time they Measure V says "safe neighborhood streets" they are suggesting that neighborhoods with multi-family/multi level income housing is less safe. High rents are a result of scarcity. Reducing locations for housing will increase scarcity.


Mary Gilles
Registered user
Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 9, 2022 at 8:37 pm
Mary Gilles, Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 9, 2022 at 8:37 pm

Measure V is not about housing. It is not about discrimination. It is not about racism though many would try to spin it that way. Measure V is about single family zoning and the school board was seriously overreaching to have it their agenda. Measure V is a wake up call to the homeowners of Menlo Park on 2 fronts: 1) Our well established and current rules of single family zoning can now be ignored due to the recent passage by our governor of SB 9 and SB 10. In the case of Menlo Park, single family zoning rules can now manipulated and controlled locally by a minimum of 3 votes on our city council. Parcels can be split and density increased on any single family zoned parcel in any neighborhood. That means ANY single family parcel. So the next time your neighbor sells their home, the new buyer could be a someone who will split the parcel and build more than one home; 2) Since Menlo Park was sued a few years ago and decided to avoid the suit by creating districts which allowed one council person per district, this meant every 4 years, a resident could only vote for one council member for their district. There are no more city-wide elections for council members. The unintended consequence is that a majority vote of council members could dictate something in your district even if your own district council member does not believe that is the right thing to do. So, 3 of our 5 council members (as in the current case of Suburban Park which has created Measure V) who are from other districts in Menlo Park can decide the fate of a district whose residents cannot vote them out in the next election. This is quite scary and Menlo Park residents have no recourse than to vote YES and pass Measure V to regain control over their properties. Thankfully, there are legal challenges to the state legislation of SB 9 and SB 10. Thankfully, Betsy Nash is up for re-election and challenged by Peter Ohtaki. VOTE YES on Measure V and Yes for Peter Ohtaki for District 4.


Running hard to stay in place
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 9, 2022 at 8:45 pm
Running hard to stay in place, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Sep 9, 2022 at 8:45 pm

Measure V requires a vote of the public for zoning changes to residential single family zones.

Nothing the planning commission does will be affected by this.

This would prevent the city council from doing some pretty extreme things and given the current council, that has become a concern.

Zoning changes are rare. The downtown specific plan had a lot of them and the Bohannon Gateway development created a whole new district. The developer spent years and millions of dollars personally lobbying and working with the planning staff to make sure that happened. It was presented to planning commission as a fait accompli.

Having been around this process for a long time, I find the points made by some others here offensively off topic, naive, disingenuous and/or virtue signaling.

Measure V is entirely appropriate.

Zoning changes to residential single family zones are a big deal and deserve a vote.

The city council has been too permissive of commercial over-development.

In fact, I strongly support the idea of another initiative to prohibit the city council from approving any projects which create a net housing deficit.


Dawn1234
Registered user
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 9, 2022 at 8:49 pm
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
Registered user
on Sep 9, 2022 at 8:49 pm

After reading the Color of Law, and attending the great presentation of more localized history, our zoning is solidly rooted in segregation efforts. That just is. This current effort may not find its motivation there, but they are fighting to preserve zoning tainted by racial segregation efforts.

Google the fight to prevent the bike/ped bridge from being rebuilt. It isn't the first time these neighborhoods have tried to push away Belle Haven. And ask why the town was threatened with a lawsuit that forced it to create districts.


Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 9, 2022 at 9:13 pm
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 9, 2022 at 9:13 pm

Well said Mary,

Several of those opposed to Measure V seem to be afraid of giving any direct power to the voters and would rather have 3 people make unpopular decisions that bind communities that they do not represent. I find it sad that the opposition results to calling people names like NIMBY or worse racist for wanting to preserve the neighborhoods that they have helped build and maintain. Neighborhoods that are culturally and ethnically diverse.


MP_Resident
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 9, 2022 at 11:01 pm
MP_Resident , Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 9, 2022 at 11:01 pm

Listen closely to the public comments and you’ll hear the real reason the board opted to not stake a position..money. With just a few more weeks of fundraising to go, OCC fundraising efforts are only at 20%. As public commenter Kim Yaeger (?) stated, she’s spoken to many parents who will not donate to the OCC this year if the board comes out against Measure V. Therein lies the rub.

Regardless of whether the school
Board should weigh in, this measure puts us decades behind in the progress of our city infrastructure and community relations. Freezing ourselves in time is not a vision. Putting the development of a gas station, an apartment building, a fire station, a restaurant etc..to a citizen vote each and every time someone wants to build something is laborious, costly, and asinine. Don’t slow the progress of our already waylaid city down with even more inefficiency. You’re draining valuable time and money that needs to be spent on revitalizing our downtown, filling important vacant positions in city government, offering competitive salaries, making our streets more safe for bikers and pedestrians…the list goes on and on.

As an aside…if Superintendent Burmeister doesn’t have a gig lined up post 12/22, let’s create one for him within the City of Menlo Park! He basically taught a Masterclass in strategic planning, resourcefulness and communication during the pandemic and I don’t see any of that coming out of our own salaried city positions these days. This measure has made it this far as a direct result of lack of vision and communication from the city of Menlo Park. Vote NO on Measure V this November and encourage our city administrators to start running this city proactively instead of reactively.


Menlo Lifestyle
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 10, 2022 at 7:56 am
Menlo Lifestyle, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 10, 2022 at 7:56 am

It’s no surprise that parents are withholding donations from an activist school board that supports massive changes to neighborhoods they love. No one wants rich funders and activists from outside Menlo telling them how they have to change. Measure V will pass easily.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 10, 2022 at 8:39 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 10, 2022 at 8:39 am

Brian:

Yes, I'm opposed to giving direct power to the voters, especially on an issue as complicated as zoning regulations. Most people can't be bothered to pay attention and be involved in what is going on in the city, let alone inform themselves in the nuances of planning. And you think it is ok to have those same uninvolved and uniformed people voting on something complicated?

What happened after the DSP was passed is a perfect example. The process of putting together the DSP took SIX years. It was done in public, there were no "secret" meetings. The public had plenty of opportunity to be involved or at least inform themselves as to what the DSP was. Did they? NO! After it passed then suddenly everyone is an "expert" and they come up with Measure M. Thankfully, in that case, common sense prevailed and it was soundly defeated. If it had passed, we'd still be looking at abandoned car lots on ECR.

The voters of this city have repeatedly shown themselves to be unwilling to be informed or involved in city processes. I don't want those same people voting on something this complicated. Managing a city by initiative is a recipe for disaster. It is a blunt tool and ripe for unintended consequences. Our state is a perfect example.

I think SB9 and SB10 are bad law, poorly written, and will do nothing to "solve the problem", but Measure V does nothing to address the flaws inherent in those laws. If anything, Measure V will exacerbate the problems with those laws.

Vote NO on Measure V. It is poorly written and WILL have unintended consequences.


Rob Silano
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 10, 2022 at 9:22 am
Rob Silano, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 10, 2022 at 9:22 am

Thank you Menlo Park City School Board not taking a “ Board Position” on Measure V. No other elected board or council has taken such a stand in San Mateo County. I would prefer an individual stand by each member, keeping politics out of the school board’s exposure.


Your School Superintendent has taken a “ No on Measure V”, signing the ballot measure voting booklet augment and appearing in a media publication.

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief has taken a neutral stand. No other appointed government employee administrator has taken such a stand except the Ravenwood School District Superintendent. A School Superintendent taking such a stand, using his title and position. His unprofessional representation could affect future approvals of bond measures or contributions to the school foundation. I do not want to see this happen to our community, since our current board has done such a fine job in representing us.

Taken a position for or against should be on an individual basis as a resident or voter, not using his title as public government administrator.

Again, School Board, thank you. I will, my family, and friends will continue to support your students, parents, and your employees as in the past.


Mary Gilles
Registered user
Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 10, 2022 at 9:54 am
Mary Gilles, Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 10, 2022 at 9:54 am

I agree with Mr. Silano's excellent comment. Local boards and district governance has always been non-partisan which enables them to focus on their core mission, leaving politics aside. The issue we have here is the state has stepped in and taken control of local zoning through its adoption of SB9 and SB10, which is an overreach of its constitutional powers.
The impact of Measure V will be to return the decision making power to voters who will be directly affected by zoning decisions that a non-responsive city council may wish to impose. The argument that voters are not to be trusted to make decisions flies in the face of the initiative process which is an important part of our state governance in California.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 10, 2022 at 10:18 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 10, 2022 at 10:18 am

“ Taken a position for or against should be on an individual basis as a resident or voter, not using his title as public government administrator.”

Why then has Director Silano and the rest of the Fire Board not censured the Fire Board President for signing the Argument for Measure V using his Fire Board title - particularly when Measure V would be very costly to the Fire District?


Menlo Lifestyle
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 10, 2022 at 10:27 am
Menlo Lifestyle, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 10, 2022 at 10:27 am

I’m appalled that our educational leaders would use their offices to wade into a political scum. If I’m a supporter of Measure V how do I deal with my children’s school? If it’s known that I’m a supporter do my children get less favorable treatment? I get it if there was a school bond measure on the ballot that the board and staff would advocate for that. But this zoning measure?

Why invite political tribalism to the local level? This is severely unprofessional and I hope the board will act to replace Superintendent Burmeister with a professional who will advocate for ALL of the parents of Menlo Park and not use his official position to create divisions. I can’t support the schools as long as he’s in charge, and I know many fellow parents who are disappointed in the same way.


kbehroozi
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 10, 2022 at 10:28 am
kbehroozi, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 10, 2022 at 10:28 am

Are people forgetting Measure M? The entire MPCSD school board aligned behind the No on M campaign in 2014, with board members signing the ballot argument + rebuttal.

Also aligned behind Measure M? Henry Riggs, John Boyle, and the city council. Web Link

Among the reasons cited:
Flawed signature gathering
Misrepresentations to the public
Support driven mostly from a single neighborhood
Costly litigation and taxpayer expense
Unintended and unexpected consequences

I found the quotes from the article about Measure M's defeat to be illuminating:

"The issue itself was complicated, and it wasn't made any easier by some of the campaign rhetoric that would have people believe that it was as simple as 'residents vs developers' or that 'you can't trust city hall,'" Mr. Boyle said. "Neither of those statements, of course, is true. The reality is that land use policy is complicated."

"Former planning commissioner Henry Riggs...noted that fewer people appear to have voted in favor of Measure M than signed the petition that qualified it for the ballot. "Save Menlo's aggressive style may have worked against them -- an emotional pitch works in politics, but voters also had access to facts that just didn't support M," he said."

Web Link

Measure V has no impact on either SB9 or SB10. There's no historical precedent for MP city councils rezoning R1 neighborhoods and the current council's approach to the housing element has not deviated from that tradition (no upzoning of single-family homes-just Flood School and some parking lots). I do not believe our single-family neighborhoods are in any danger of radical change, but I do find that Measure V needlessly complicates future land-use decisions and unfairly stymies a school district's current efforts to use their land for housing. It was bad policy in 2014 and it's bad policy now.


kbehroozi
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 10, 2022 at 11:43 am
kbehroozi, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 10, 2022 at 11:43 am

PS: despite the number of MPCSD families who supported Measure M in 2014, the MPAEF doesn't appear to have taken a noticeable hit during that era. Web Link

I understand from talking with friends that most residents in Suburban Park are worried about the impact of construction and additional traffic on their neighborhood while *still* supporting the concept of affordable housing for teachers or anyone else. That's totally understandable. I hope this experience also gives people more empathy for the Belle Haven neighborhood, which is now surrounded by much larger developments than what is proposed for Flood School.

I do think people can and should acknowledge the rational concerns of Menlo Park residents vis-a-vis development impacts to their neighborhoods and work to predict/mitigate those consequences as best we can by adding traffic calming, sidewalks and bike lanes, community-serving amenities and green space, ensuring multiple access points, etc.

But I don't believe that empathy and consideration for residents whose neighborhoods will evolve (as other neighborhoods in our city have done and will no doubt continue to do) should preclude taking a sensible stance on a bad measure with long-ranging consequences.

I will put a No on V sign in front of my house today
--because I believe our current flawed process will not be improved by ballot-box zoning,
--because I think that churches, schools, and the fire district should have the right to develop (comparatively) affordable workforce housing on their land without additional hurdles,
--and because I fervently believe that we have options to mitigate the impact of necessary housing development on existing neighborhoods and should *use* them.

My No on V stance is not personal, and as a Complete Streets Commissioner I will work hard to improve safety for our kids throughout the city–including Suburban Park, Belle Haven, and every other neighborhood. I know our city council will, too.


Rob Silano
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 10, 2022 at 4:19 pm
Rob Silano, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 10, 2022 at 4:19 pm

Peter:

Chuck Bernstein and Marc Berman are both elected officials: on a different side on Measure V. Yet, MPCSD Superintendent is not. How many elected officials endorse candidates during an election, too many to count.


Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 13, 2022 at 4:01 pm
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 13, 2022 at 4:01 pm

Menlo Voter: Where's you get your expertise? When were you on the planning Commission? How many meetings did you attend?


Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 13, 2022 at 4:03 pm
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 13, 2022 at 4:03 pm

In other SB9 consequences, my neighbor (who never spoke with me) chopped down bushes and trees providing shade over our house.




Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 13, 2022 at 4:20 pm
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 13, 2022 at 4:20 pm

Oh wait!
Mary Gilles and I agree on something! This calls for a cold beverage.


Mary Gilles
Registered user
Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 13, 2022 at 4:59 pm
Mary Gilles, Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 13, 2022 at 4:59 pm

LOL Stu! As the world turns!


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 13, 2022 at 7:02 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 13, 2022 at 7:02 pm

Stuart:

What difference does it make how many meetings I attended. I can read and I do.


Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 14, 2022 at 12:43 pm
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2022 at 12:43 pm

Menlo Voter asks me, "What difference does it make how many meetings I attended. I can read and I do."

In the old days neighbors would attend council and planning commission meetings for the issues that concerned them. hearing the comments, and conversing with neighbors about the issues at hand. This was a casualty of Covid upon civil discourse. Online just doesn't cut it.

But I attended many, not only in commissioner roles.

There are city planner conference you could attend. Ask Justin Murphy.


Dawn1234
Registered user
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 15, 2022 at 8:33 am
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2022 at 8:33 am

No on V prevents our city from being saddled with the requirement to hold a citywide vote every time a property owner wants to upzone a parcel in the 43% of town with the identified neighborhoods V claims to protect.

No on V does not prevent the conversation about the parcels in question. It just pushes those conversations into the public light instead of secret money funding ballot box rezoning. Who is funding the arguments today?

The reason that conversation hasn't happened yet is because THERE IS NO PROPOSAL SUBMITTED to talk about. The rezoning is needed in order to begin this work. Well-designed proposals cost money and the Ravenswood district isn't going to spend the money on a proposal without the permission to build something. There are people supporting this measure who know that process, but are silent in the face of this misplaced outrage.

Also, this town seemed fine with votes for neighborhood changes coming from councilmembers not of that neighborhood when the excluded neighborhood was Belle Haven. Under threat of lawsuit, the town instituted district elections. Measure V is an end run around this new rule - to fight multi-family housing from being even a possibility without another citywide election for it.

Vote no on V. Stop pushing decisions that are currently made in the public eye into the deep pockets of the election machine.


Dawn1234
Registered user
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 15, 2022 at 8:37 am
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2022 at 8:37 am

Just because a person doesn't have time to attend all these meetings (and that time crunch is very real) does not mean they are done secretly. They are recorded and can be accessed when convenient.


Rob Silano
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 15, 2022 at 9:08 am
Rob Silano, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2022 at 9:08 am

Dawn:

Closed session meetings are not recorded. Which our current MP Council majority loves to do. A costly endeavor; bought on my the majority of the council not listening to a great number of residents for a fair, reasonable housing solution for all. Let’s see what the voters want now. Thanks Drew and Ray for trying…


Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 15, 2022 at 11:00 am
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2022 at 11:00 am



We in Linfield Oaks have been through this zoning / housing / chicken dance / circle pleasuring before - when AT&T HQ moved out between Linfield and Willow. By raising and focussing our concerned voices we had accommodations added into the improvement: A traffic light at Linfield and Willow; Speed tables (instead of humps) around our streets to control cut through speed. And we can do so again.

How much housing is Atherton adding? Where are additional classrooms for the added demand?

Dawn1234 you forget the private meeting held a couple of years ago by a couple of current council members.


Menlo Park mayor blasts councilwoman for setting up mystery meeting

Web Link

Menlo Park: Mysterious closed City Council meeting violates protocols and raises questions
Web Link


Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 15, 2022 at 11:09 am
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2022 at 11:09 am

And... serial conversations could also be Brown Act violations.



Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 15, 2022 at 12:05 pm
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2022 at 12:05 pm

Dawn1234 - You really don't get it.

As a consequence of a 5 member council, and 'district' elections representing 5 distinct geographic districts - not at large- just 3 council members can rezone regardless of where they live. They can build and push traffic to others.


Dawn1234
Registered user
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 15, 2022 at 2:26 pm
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2022 at 2:26 pm

Stuart-

I think I do get it. Our council has been rezoning regardless of where they live for years. How do you think Belle Haven got all the development? Measure V is a delay tactic to suppress rezoning now that all the neighborhoods have a say.

I have found many councilmembers to be the kind of people who go out to see what conditions look like, and who will be most affected by changes, both good and bad. Councilmember Wolosin did that last night with Middle Ave. Many people may disagree with the choice, but it won't be because it was made with a disregard to non-constituents.

Some council members have a vision of what our town could be with better access to housing in more neighborhoods. And they can apply their thoughtful perspective to the problem. Just because you don't like the outcome does not mean you weren't heard. Sometimes the issues are larger than your neighborhood and should in fact be balanced among all the neighborhoods. Work to mitigate, not eliminate.


Rob Silano
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 16, 2022 at 7:00 pm
Rob Silano, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 7:00 pm

Here’s the “ Yes on Measure V “ Video.

Web Link


Tecsi
Registered user
another community
on Sep 20, 2022 at 8:44 pm
Tecsi, another community
Registered user
on Sep 20, 2022 at 8:44 pm

Kudos to Almanac News for creating this public forum.

Encouraging to hear thoughtful, respectiveful comments about this issue, on both sides.

I’m pleased to hear from so many engaged residents.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 21, 2022 at 8:06 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 21, 2022 at 8:06 am

Please watch the Measure V video and ask yourself:

1 - Isn't this just blatant self interest - keep them out of my neighborhood?

2 - How exactly is Measure V pro-housing except to protect the status quo? Measure V does nothing to increase Menlo Park's housing stock.

3 - How exactly is Measure V pro-teacher? Measure V does nothing to make housing more available for Menlo Park Teachers.

The best arguments against Measure V are to read and watch what its proponents themselves say - "protect our neighborhoods from 'them'"


MP Resident
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 21, 2022 at 10:24 am
MP Resident, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Sep 21, 2022 at 10:24 am

No on V yard signs say "Protect Teacher Housing"

Has the Ravenswood school board guaranteed that the new housing will be dedicated to teachers? How many of the units? Are they guaranteed to be affordable? For how long? If any of the units are not dedicated to school employees, who will be able to rent them, and at what price? What guarantees are the school board making that initial rental practices will continue in the future? In other words, what teacher housing is being protected, at least at the Flood site?

Peter sees hyperbole on one side. I see it on both.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 21, 2022 at 10:44 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 21, 2022 at 10:44 am

There is no hyperbole in Measure V opponents saying vote No on Measure V in order to protect teacher housing.

Measure V was written by some Suburban Park residents in a (futile) attempt to prevent the Ravenswood School District from building housing on its vacant property. In the normal course of project review and approval the details will be worked out BUT the proponents of Measure V have made it clear that they will oppose this project.


MP Resident
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 21, 2022 at 12:33 pm
MP Resident, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Sep 21, 2022 at 12:33 pm

"Measure V was written by some Suburban Park residents in a (futile) attempt to prevent the Ravenswood School District from building housing on its vacant property. In the normal course of project review and approval the details will be worked out BUT the proponents of Measure V have made it clear that they will oppose this project."

Peter, you appear to be a stickler for word choice. Do you really think the residents want to prevent ANY housing from being build there?

Given the contentious nature of the current proposal, is it not unreasonable for residents to not want to wait for the normal course of project approval for the details to be worked out?

By your reasoning, the long term plan for teacher housing won't be known until approvals are completed. So how are the No yard signs not unsubstantiated hype?

I'm not saying that I support V. It is flawed in my view. My point is that each side is looking to persuade and the No side is not exempt from making dramatic, unsubstantiated claims. You included.


Rob Silano
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 21, 2022 at 12:46 pm
Rob Silano, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 21, 2022 at 12:46 pm

Peter:

Looks like many neighborhoods don’t want large developments next to their homes? Remember this? I totally agree with your comment too.

Web Link


I agree with you and your neighbors. Your neighborhood were lucky to be heard by the MP Planning Commission.

Oh well, Suburban Park was unlucky:

1) A council majority that would not listen.

2) A property owner RWCSD that would not compromise. Very costly to the taxpayer in MP too.

Now to the voters. Too bad and $$$$ to us.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 21, 2022 at 2:40 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 21, 2022 at 2:40 pm

Rob - Simple. We did our homework and actually appeared at the Planning Commission rather than trying to preempt the process by a bogus measure calling for a city wide vote.

Whether Measure V passes or not you will not be able to stop this development because you neither understand or respect the process or our elected and appointed officials.


Rob Silano
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 21, 2022 at 3:28 pm
Rob Silano, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 21, 2022 at 3:28 pm

Peter:

Ok… I enjoyed working with you for many years. Thank you for your many years of public service.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 21, 2022 at 8:33 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 21, 2022 at 8:33 pm

The Hampton Inn proposed development is a superb example of how the system works and how to use the system to protect the community - no luck was involved.

AFTER the developer submitted his proposal to the city the neighbors in Park Forest carefully reviewed his proposal. We determined that the proposal would not be financial viable unless the developer was able to get a Public Benefit enhancement that would permit a bigger hotel. That claim for a Public Benefit enhancement was based on the developer's assertion that he would be paying the legal required Hotel Occupancy Taxes. We were able to successfully challenge the claim of a Public Benefit based on paying taxes which were already required by law and the Planing Commission denied the request for a Public Benefit enhancement thereby killing the proposed project. The developer is now doing extensive and welcomed renovations to the existing Red Cottage Inn.

What the concerned Suburban Park residents should have done was to wait until an actual development proposal and any associated rezoning was on the table and then attack that proposal on its merits before the Planning Commission and the City Council.

The process works - as we proved with the Hampton Inn proposal - but only if you understand and use the process to defend your interests.

Again, there was no luck involved just hard work and understanding and respecting the process.


Dawn1234
Registered user
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 22, 2022 at 9:42 am
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
Registered user
on Sep 22, 2022 at 9:42 am

Thank you, Peter. I feel like it's so misleading to complain of being left out of the process, but fighting to stop the process from even starting. I'm also certain that many of the folks behind this measure are smart enough to know about the process but stay silent because the misplaced outrage machine works to their advantage in not having to share in the responsibility to make space for much needed housing.


Rob Silano
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 22, 2022 at 10:03 am
Rob Silano, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 22, 2022 at 10:03 am

Peter:

You saw a fair and unbiased process. “Good for you and your neighborhood”.

Let me be clear: I am resident of Suburban Park. I’ve lived here since 1988. This is my community as well as yours.

We have family members that are teachers, in public safety and tech companies. Myself a retired federal employee and now serving our community on the fire district on my 3rd term. I’m aware of San Mateo County and Menlo Park politics.

Menlo Balance and myself read the majority of the council. 3-2 was not in their favor, and all three coming out for the Ravenwood Project. Menlo Balance ready to compromise… not the RWCSD.

Council Member Taylor speaking at an event held at a Ravenwood Elem. School. Also, Jen Woolsen came out at a council meeting “ for the RWCSD project.

People are not stupid.

Common on, many of us “did not fall off the turnip truck”, they saw the “ Fix was in” between the council and the RWCSD.

A joint meeting with your fire district and the MP Council was scheduled at the end of September. Measure V was on the agenda for discussion.

By a coincidence : ( HA HA) now is Scheduled for the end of October, after voter ballots are to be mailed! Another Perceived trick by your MP council. Mayor Nash… is this the truth? Prove me wrong and Re- Schedule before the ballots are mailed out.

It’s not Menlo Balance that caused this problem: it’s “ behind the door politics” plain and simple. Blame the majority of the MP Council and RWCSD causing us taxpayers to go down this road of costly expenses.

The end… now the voters will decide on Measure V.




Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2022 at 10:13 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 22, 2022 at 10:13 am

Rob - Thank you acknowledging that Menlo Balance elected not to follow the process and instead assumed that what might be proposed was both unacceptable and would not be subject to the normal give and take that every other project in the city goes through.

Why in the world would any council member or planning commissioner promise you a specific outcome on a project that has not yet been submitted to the city for review and comment?


MP Resident
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 22, 2022 at 12:05 pm
MP Resident, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Sep 22, 2022 at 12:05 pm

An outsider's view: I doubt neighbors expected a promise of support. I think they were skeptical they would get a fair hearing after at least two council members publicly supported the district. It is understandable why they decided to take matters into their own hands.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2022 at 12:22 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 22, 2022 at 12:22 pm

"It is understandable why they decided to take matters into their own hands."

That is a great description of this attempt to preempt the well established planning process that in fact works well and responds to intelligent and timely citizen input.

"taking matters into their own hands" is not a healthy description of representative democracy.


MP Resident
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 22, 2022 at 3:02 pm
MP Resident, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Sep 22, 2022 at 3:02 pm

Many people don't believe district elections promote a healthy representative democracy.

Three council members tied to one agenda on housing doesn't make it more representative.

A ballot initiative gives representation to voters.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2022 at 3:38 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 22, 2022 at 3:38 pm

"Many people don't believe district elections promote a healthy representative democracy."

1 - Tell that to the formerly unrepresented residents of Belle Haven.

2 - Where is the data to support your assertion?

Just because you don't get your own way doesn't mean that the political process is not working.


MP Resident
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 22, 2022 at 4:24 pm
MP Resident, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Sep 22, 2022 at 4:24 pm

Very true. Belle Haven was not represented, and was burdened with too much development.

But that does not negate my point about representative democracy.




Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:11 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:11 pm

MP resident - Where is the data to support your assertion?


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:13 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:13 pm

"The Federal Voting Rights Act (FVRA) was adopted in 1965 and is intended to protect the rights of
all citizens to participate in the voting process. The CVRA was passed in the California State
Legislature in 2001, based on the Legislature’s belief that minorities and other members of protected classes were being denied the opportunity to have representation of their choosing at the local level because of a number of issues associated with at-large elections. Upon a finding of a violation of the CVRA, the act requires that “the court shall implement appropriate remedies, including the imposition of district-based elections that are tailored to remedy the violation.” As such, the default remedy and the clearly identified remedy by the Legislature is district-based elections."

Web Link


Mary Gilles
Registered user
Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:22 pm
Mary Gilles, Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:22 pm

I need to pipe in here. The initiative process in California is there for a reason. When people do not feel they are being represented or "listened to" (as is the case of District 2 - Suburban Park where 3 council members who are not accountable to those residents and are dictating what happens there), those residents have the right to pursue the initiative process. And, this is Measure V. Do not forget that Drew Combs who actually represents District 2/Suburban Park and Ray Mueller who represents District 5 had worked out a compromise with District 2 but the other 3 council members, Betsy Nash (District 4), Jen Wolosin (District 3) and Cecilia Taylor (District 1) would not agree to it. The way our city government is set up now with districts really puts every single district at risk for decisions that may negatively impact them with no recourse to vote out those council members who made those decisions. It is hugely problematic in my mind.


Mary Gilles
Registered user
Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:25 pm
Mary Gilles, Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:25 pm

I need to pipe in here. The initiative process in California is there for a reason. When people do not feel they are being represented or "listened to" (as is the case of District 2 - Suburban Park where 3 council members who are not accountable to those residents and are dictating what happens there), those residents have the right to pursue the initiative process. And, this is Measure V. Do not forget that Drew Combs who actually represents District 2/Suburban Park and Ray Mueller who represents District 5 had worked out a compromise with District 2 but the other 3 council members, Betsy Nash (District 4), Jen Wolosin (District 3) and Cecilia Taylor (District 1) would not agree to it. The way our city government is set up now with districts really puts every single district at risk for decisions that may negatively impact them with no recourse to vote out those council members who made those decisions. It is hugely problematic in my mind.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:28 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:28 pm

"Do not forget that Drew Combs who actually represents District 2/Suburban Park and Ray Mueller who represents District 5 had worked out a compromise with District 2 but the other 3 council members, Betsy Nash (District 4), Jen Wolosin (District 3) and Cecilia Taylor (District 1) would not agree to it"

Once the initiative was filed with the required number of signatures the Council only had two choices - adopt the Measure by Council vote or put the Measure on the ballot. The Council did not have the legal authority to negotiate a compromise because all of the signatories would have had to approve such a compromise.

In my opinion the Council erred in agendizing this issue in a closed session as discussing it allegedly under the pending litigation exemption was inappropriate - there was no pending litigation.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2022 at 6:10 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 22, 2022 at 6:10 pm

" The litigation exception under the Brown Act is narrowly construed and does not permit activities beyond a legislative body’s conferring with its own legal counsel. For example, it is not permissible to hold a closed session in which settlement negotiations take place between a legislative body and an adverse party or to hold a closed session for the purpose of participation in a mediation."

Web Link

So what is not clear about that guidance???


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 23, 2022 at 7:23 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 7:23 am

Mary Gilles:

California is a perfect example of why the initiative process is a disaster. People vote for initiatives without knowledge of what they're voting for. They vote for initiatives that they are purposely misinformed about. And they ultimately result in many unintended consequences. Prop 47 is perfect example. It gets passed and surprise!, the crime rate soars. Who would of thought that would happen? There are many other examples throughout history. Did you know many initiatives are placed on the ballot by the legislature? They do it when they don't have the intestinal fortitude to pass a law, so they throw it on the voters. Then when it goes badly, they can throw up their hands and say "it wasn't us, it was the voters".


Private citizen
Registered user
Laurel School
on Sep 23, 2022 at 1:41 pm
Private citizen , Laurel School
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 1:41 pm

Peter, you’ve not been this vociferous since Connect Menlo, measure M and the overbuilding of district 1 for Facebook.


Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2022 at 3:42 pm
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 3:42 pm

Menlo Voter,

Democracy is not perfect as evidenced by the last 5 years of our countries political dysfunction. We try to make the imperfect work as best as we can. In this case having council members, that were not elected by the people being affected, making decisions contrary to the wishes of residents have forced a grassroots effort to have a say in their neighborhood.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 23, 2022 at 3:48 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 3:48 pm

".. have forced a grassroots effort to have a say in their neighborhood."

Sadly the way Measure V is written they may well have a say but they will invariably lose the city wide vote on a upzoning in their neighborhood and then, because of Measure V, neither the Planning Commission or the City Council will be able to change the outcome.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2022 at 10:05 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 24, 2022 at 10:05 am

Brian:

They already have a say in their neighborhoods. But, they have to actually participate in the process to have that say. They want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to have a say, but don't want to actually do what's necessary to have it. Measure V won't get them what they actually want. Wait until the voters vote for a change in THEIR neighborhoods after V passes. I predict a move to rescind Measure V if that happens.

Bottom line, Measure V isn't about "having a say", they already do, but are too lazy to use it. It's about "I got mine, screw you getting yours".

Measure V is a blunt instrument that will have untold unintended consequences.

Vote NO.


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