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Details emerge on Menlo Park council's failed attempt to keep Measure V off the ballot

A compromise deal on the former Flood School site was discussed

The empty James Flood Magnet School property at 321 Sheridan Drive in Menlo Park on Nov. 2, 2021. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The Menlo Park City Council failed to reach a compromise on a teacher housing proposal at the former Flood School site at a closed session meeting on Aug. 4. As a result, backers did not agree to pull a contentious citywide initiative from the Nov. 8 ballot.

The meeting agenda said the council met privately, rather than during a public meeting, to discuss threats of litigation. Sources confirmed to The Almanac that the meeting included a discussion of the compromise.

Central to the deal was the Ravenswood City School District's proposal to redevelop its vacant 2.6-acre school campus with up to 90 units of affordable workforce housing.

The former school property, which is zoned for single-family housing, has been met with a wave of objections by residents of the surrounding neighborhood. Suburban Park residents created the group Balance and spearheaded a ballot measure to take away the City Council's ability to allow anything denser than single-family homes on the Flood campus, or on any other lot with single-family zoning in Menlo Park.

Council member Drew Combs confirmed that he had worked to reach a compromise with interested parties, with the goal of getting Menlo Balance to pull its ballot initiative, Measure V.

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Nicole Chessari of Menlo Balance said she never saw a formal version of the compromise plan from Combs.

Chessari said that any proposal she would've agreed to would have capped the Flood project at a maximum of 60 units and added a secondary access road on the Flood School lot — the single access point and number of units have been a cornerstone of the neighborhood objections. According to Chessari, the compromise also would require single-family lots to be put to a citywide popular vote in order to be rezoned, except those that don't already have a home on them, those identified on the City Council's list of so-called non-residential parcels suitable for development. Those 53 lots identified as having development potential would have to be reevaluated, and the revised list would only include those that do not already have single-family homes or sit in the middle of single-family neighborhoods.

A caveat that was important to Menlo Balance was also making at least 50% of the units guaranteed for teachers at the old Flood School lot. Currently, no developer has signed on, but Ravenswood officials have stated their intent to give school district staff priority for the affordable housing units.

William Eger, the school district's chief business officer, said Menlo Balance is "dishonest" to claim that the proposed Flood School development isn't for teachers. There is a lot of interest in the housing project among school staff, many of them meet the income limits for affordable housing, he said.

"Right now, 85% of our teachers and staff are eligible for affordable housing," Eger said. "We hope to one day get to a point where teachers and our staff are not eligible for affordable housing. Because of that, we don't want to guarantee a set number of minimum units that could someday require us to leave a large number of affordable units open at a time when 40% of our families are homeless."

This compromise was not approved by the City Council in closed session.

While Chessari says that Menlo Balance has no plans to sue if Measure V does not pass, Eger says that Ravenswood would consider the option.

"We're not sure if this controversial ballot initiative is, in fact, illegal," Eger said. "And should it pass, we would certainly explore every option and every opportunity to have it challenged in court and potentially overturned."

Chessari says that the law is not illegal, as a similar one has been in place in Saratoga for 26 years. She purports that since 56% of the city of Menlo Park is unaffected by the initiative, there should be rezoning done in high resource areas, not in neighborhoods full of single-family homes that she believes would be changed by high-density housing. Chessari also rejects the idea that Measure V would be illegal due to segregatory practices, as opponents have claimed.

"That's the City Council not doing its job," Chessari said. "And if people are concerned about City Council not doing its job, or doing things in a way that's racist, then that's not our measure's fault, but the City Council's fault. And part of our measure is that we are concerned that City Council is not thoughtfully rezoning."

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Cameron Rebosio
 
Cameron Rebosio joined the Almanac in 2022 as the Menlo Park reporter. She previously wrote for the Daily Californian and the Palo Alto Weekly. Read more >>

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Details emerge on Menlo Park council's failed attempt to keep Measure V off the ballot

A compromise deal on the former Flood School site was discussed

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, Sep 16, 2022, 9:15 am

The Menlo Park City Council failed to reach a compromise on a teacher housing proposal at the former Flood School site at a closed session meeting on Aug. 4. As a result, backers did not agree to pull a contentious citywide initiative from the Nov. 8 ballot.

The meeting agenda said the council met privately, rather than during a public meeting, to discuss threats of litigation. Sources confirmed to The Almanac that the meeting included a discussion of the compromise.

Central to the deal was the Ravenswood City School District's proposal to redevelop its vacant 2.6-acre school campus with up to 90 units of affordable workforce housing.

The former school property, which is zoned for single-family housing, has been met with a wave of objections by residents of the surrounding neighborhood. Suburban Park residents created the group Balance and spearheaded a ballot measure to take away the City Council's ability to allow anything denser than single-family homes on the Flood campus, or on any other lot with single-family zoning in Menlo Park.

Council member Drew Combs confirmed that he had worked to reach a compromise with interested parties, with the goal of getting Menlo Balance to pull its ballot initiative, Measure V.

Nicole Chessari of Menlo Balance said she never saw a formal version of the compromise plan from Combs.

Chessari said that any proposal she would've agreed to would have capped the Flood project at a maximum of 60 units and added a secondary access road on the Flood School lot — the single access point and number of units have been a cornerstone of the neighborhood objections. According to Chessari, the compromise also would require single-family lots to be put to a citywide popular vote in order to be rezoned, except those that don't already have a home on them, those identified on the City Council's list of so-called non-residential parcels suitable for development. Those 53 lots identified as having development potential would have to be reevaluated, and the revised list would only include those that do not already have single-family homes or sit in the middle of single-family neighborhoods.

A caveat that was important to Menlo Balance was also making at least 50% of the units guaranteed for teachers at the old Flood School lot. Currently, no developer has signed on, but Ravenswood officials have stated their intent to give school district staff priority for the affordable housing units.

William Eger, the school district's chief business officer, said Menlo Balance is "dishonest" to claim that the proposed Flood School development isn't for teachers. There is a lot of interest in the housing project among school staff, many of them meet the income limits for affordable housing, he said.

"Right now, 85% of our teachers and staff are eligible for affordable housing," Eger said. "We hope to one day get to a point where teachers and our staff are not eligible for affordable housing. Because of that, we don't want to guarantee a set number of minimum units that could someday require us to leave a large number of affordable units open at a time when 40% of our families are homeless."

This compromise was not approved by the City Council in closed session.

While Chessari says that Menlo Balance has no plans to sue if Measure V does not pass, Eger says that Ravenswood would consider the option.

"We're not sure if this controversial ballot initiative is, in fact, illegal," Eger said. "And should it pass, we would certainly explore every option and every opportunity to have it challenged in court and potentially overturned."

Chessari says that the law is not illegal, as a similar one has been in place in Saratoga for 26 years. She purports that since 56% of the city of Menlo Park is unaffected by the initiative, there should be rezoning done in high resource areas, not in neighborhoods full of single-family homes that she believes would be changed by high-density housing. Chessari also rejects the idea that Measure V would be illegal due to segregatory practices, as opponents have claimed.

"That's the City Council not doing its job," Chessari said. "And if people are concerned about City Council not doing its job, or doing things in a way that's racist, then that's not our measure's fault, but the City Council's fault. And part of our measure is that we are concerned that City Council is not thoughtfully rezoning."

Comments

Observer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 16, 2022 at 9:59 am
Observer, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 9:59 am

Wasn't this meeting a violation of the Brown Act and why was that not mentioned in the article? Actually that should have been the major point of the article.


Dawn1234
Registered user
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 16, 2022 at 10:32 am
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 10:32 am

"That's the City Council not doing its job," Chessari said. "And if people are concerned about City Council not doing its job, or doing things in a way that's racist, then that's not our measure's fault, but the City Council's fault"

This measure seeks to reaffirm zoning practices with their roots in segregation. I am not accusing anyone of being racist. I am pointing out that supporters of this measure are working to make sure that systems with their roots in segregation stay in place. And second guessing a council that is only *just* beginning to represent every neighborhood seems again like an effort to keep a segregationist system going strong. Though the motivations may be different, the system Measure V is supporting perpetuates segregation (city report) because it was designed that way. If city council working to undo that goes against your wishes, that's unfortunate. Let's work together to mitigate the effect of social justice changes so that streets are safe in 100% of Menlo Park, not just 43%, and our young people can find housing in the community and neighborhoods they grew up in (if and when they wish). Pushing more housing on an overburdened neighborhood hardly seems balanced to me or anyone else in the Bayfront area.


Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 16, 2022 at 10:34 am
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 10:34 am

Daily Post, Friday, Sept 16, 2022.

San Mateo County Central Labor Council endorses Republican Peter Ohtaki for Menlo Park District 4 council seat. Let that sink in. Menlo Park needs Peter's financial expertise.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 16, 2022 at 10:41 am
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 10:41 am

They're saying they met to discuss potential litigation. The article makes no attempt to determine or describe what that "credible" litigation was and by whom.

And then the meeting included a "discussion of THE compromise." THE compromise suggests a known negotiation among known participants, one of whom was a council member? Can a council member brief colleagues on a subject that might trigger future council action?

The expansion of scope sounds like it warrants additional explanation particularly if council action is required to help withdraw a submitted, certified petition.

Its news to me, that once Initiative paperwork has been submitted and certified that it can be withdrawn. I have never seen it. I think Ms. Chessari had wide-ranging responsibilities to the many who signed to protect R-1 zones other than those on the affordable site list.

Many of us think the scope and import of Measure V far exceeds the Flood project or the affordable housing site wish-list.

I'm sure the City can dance around this, but it sure looks like it used a (non-public) litigation threat as a pretext for a closed session whose scope was expanded.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 16, 2022 at 11:21 am
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 11:21 am

@Stu -- Labor endorsed Peter because of his proven unreconstructed laissed-faire development policies, particularly ConnectMenlo. Build, build, build, build, build, build, build.

You know better. Choosing Ohtaki over Nash is a lesser of evils choice required to break up the Menlo Together silliness. Don't tell me for a minute that Ohtaki will push back on SRI. Its out of the frying pan into the fire with Peter over Nancy.


georg0
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 16, 2022 at 2:01 pm
georg0, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 2:01 pm

Before Peter Ohtaki was voted off the City Council, his purported financial expertise caused Menlo Park real estate development problems, including inadequate housing and lack of safe uncongested non-cut-through traffic jeopardizing vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle safety. The housing imbalance led to the law requiring district elections and SB9.

The prior Ohtaki council’s damage caused by stuffing the toothpaste tube area between El Camino and the railroad tracks with office space and Stanford affiliated housing and requiring its traffic, combined with new pedestrian and bicycle access to a new railroad under-crossing, to all squeeze into and out a narrow nozzle at El Camino and Middle Ave has yet to be fully felt.

These complex problems require innovative analysis and judgment for the best interests of Menlo Park, not a redo by those who contributed to their cause. Betsy Nash is better.

George C. Fisher


Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 16, 2022 at 2:08 pm
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 2:08 pm

"I am not accusing anyone of being racist." Seems to me that that is what you post was doing. Pretty much saying that anyone that supports Measure V is racist. Here is my take on it, any who votes for Measure V values their community and neighborhood. People bought into these neighborhoods because they like the feel of the neighborhood and the relative peace and quiet. Putting high density housing in the middle of a single family home neighborhood will ruin that. It would ruin it in Suburban Park, it would ruin it in Belle Haven and it would ruin it in Sharon Heights, unfortunately the majority of our City Council does not seem to care about that. Time to take that decision our of their hands and put it back in the hands of the current residents.

"While Chessari says that Menlo Balance has no plans to sue if Measure V does not pass, Eger says that Ravenswood would consider the option."

So what Eger is saying is that they could care less about the wishes of the residents or the voters on Menlo Park, if they don't get their way they litigate? And why would they be opposed to guaranteeing at least 50% occupancy by teachers? That is why they want to build it, right? Is this intended to be another bait and switch where once it is built they rent it out to anyone who can afford it? Something seems shady with this proposal to me.

Stu, Agreed, I think Peter is the way to go to be the council balanced and not a front for Menlo Together.


Observer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 16, 2022 at 2:50 pm
Observer, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 2:50 pm

I thought this was about the council discussions article. What in heck dies ut have to about Ohtaki! We are discussing the current situation, not what could've been. The upcoming council election is a different issue.


Private citizen
Registered user
Laurel School
on Sep 16, 2022 at 2:50 pm
Private citizen , Laurel School
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 2:50 pm

Have to agree with emerald hills on Ohtaki. Peter was right there helping to enable Facebook’s purchase of and the subsequent overdevelopment of District 1. Aka: Connect Menlo.

Ironically, Nash with her three-person council voting block will now enable the same type of outcome for district 2 and parts of district 3.

Side bar:
It makes me wonder about the closed-door process for identifying lots with potential for high density development. The process is supposed to result in high density housing across the city instead of protecting certain neighborhoods at the expense of others. Shouldn’t residents be involved, or at least have greater visibility into the process? Checks and balances, anyone?

Anyhow:
By all means, build affordable housing for RCSD school employees on the site of the former Flood School. But the best way to keep Measure V off the ballot is to consider right-sizing the housing project so the impact doesn’t exceed the impact of the former school. (Whether that’s by fewer floors, fewer units, eliminating commercial space or some combination- I don’t know.)
And please don’t disturb our Haven House neighbors with a cut through that offloads traffic from the site into adjacent community, Flood Triangle to appease Suburban Park. HH residents desperately need the short-term peace, privacy and safety it provides. There’s no earthly justification for jeopardizing that. Perhaps consider increased egress through the park instead?

There’s all sorts of room for compromise.


Dawn1234
Registered user
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 16, 2022 at 4:36 pm
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 4:36 pm

Brian, if you read the article, racist didn't come from me and I chose my words very carefully. Supporting racist systems can make people uncomfortable when that is pointed out to them. This town has a lot of work to do to recover from zoning laws put in place to maintain segregation. Measure V seeks to make that even harder. What do you mean these developments "will ruin Belle Haven" also? I have a 196 unit complex down the street from me. 3 times the size of the thing you're complaining about, but with about the same ratio of units/acre.
Replaced underused light industrial, worked with the community to make the least impact - once they had the zoning in place to actually get to that stage. It was much less disruptive than I expected it to be. Belle Haven is far from ruined. Have a walk over the bike bridge that neighbors in your area fought to keep from being rebuilt because of the negative perceptions of Belle Haven. Let the zoning happen and the conversations and planning you seek will begin to happen. Like many things, the unknown is scary. Ironically, I bike from one side of town to the other and I breathe a sigh of calm when i get to the Belle Haven side of the bridge because many people on the other side of 101 drive too fast and pull in front of bikes way more often. My streets are so much calmer to ride down even with all that density.


Frozen
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 16, 2022 at 5:59 pm
Frozen, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 5:59 pm

Okay, Dawn1234, since you keep playing/not playing the race card, can you answer these questions?

1. How does zoning, which is about property, not people, discriminate against any ethnic group?

2. Measure V tries to preserve family-oriented housing. Which ethnic groups don't want to live in single family homes? (I note that most Belle Haven residents live in single family homes, so you may have to go beyond Menlo Park to answer that question.)

I hope we can all agree that rezoning first, planning later is a recipe for city-wide regret.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 16, 2022 at 7:31 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 7:31 pm

Any measure/ordinance which seeks to preserve the status quo is inherently discriminatory and racial preferential.

Measure V’s motto could well be “I’ve got mine”.


Running hard to stay in place
Registered user
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 16, 2022 at 8:42 pm
Running hard to stay in place, Menlo Park: Downtown
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 8:42 pm

A troll uses vague terms, accuses others of being racially discriminatory without explaining how, attacks property rights and attempts to shame others in order to provoke a response and keep other on their heels.

Reasoned arguments can be disputed, but the troll does not seek to engage in reasoned arguments. Any use of such arguments is met with more trolling.

This continues inevitably until the troll is confronted with nothing other than a reflection of their own behavior.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 16, 2022 at 9:09 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 9:09 pm

If you cannot refute someone’s arguments then simply repeatedly calling them a troll only confirms that you are unable to defend your position.

Code words like preserve and protect expose Measure V as a discriminatory and racial preferential attempt to maintain the status quo.

“I’ve got mine”


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 17, 2022 at 7:54 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 17, 2022 at 7:54 am

"Housing discrimination on the basis of race has been outlawed for more than half a century, yet Americans still reside in neighborhoods significantly divided by race and, to a lesser extent, class. Although this state of affairs has multiple causes, one of the most important is land use regulations that are used by cities and towns to exclude certain types of people from neighborhoods and even entire towns. Zoning in particular is one such tool."

Web Link

"Exclusionary zoning laws essentially trap many Black families into low-income neighborhoods by pricing them out of richer ones."

Web Link

Measure V supporters - please refute these arguments.


Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 17, 2022 at 7:56 am
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 17, 2022 at 7:56 am

"Have to agree with emerald hills on Ohtaki. Peter was right there helping to enable Facebook’s purchase of and the subsequent overdevelopment of District 1"
Not so. This was the moribund Redevelopment Agency whose purpose was redevelopment of District 1. Then the banks wouldn't guarantee RDA bonds. Ahh, those were the days. To the extent that "Peter was right there helping to enable Facebook’s purchase", all council members were marching with that oompah band as well.

But I digress.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 17, 2022 at 7:56 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 17, 2022 at 7:56 am

"Exclusionary zoning laws place restrictions on the types of homes that can be built in a particular neighborhood. Common examples include minimum lot size requirements, minimum square footage requirements, prohibitions on multi-family homes, and limits on the height of buildings. The origins of such laws date back to the nineteenth century, as many cities were concerned about fire hazards as well as light-and-air regulations. In the subsequent decades, some zoning laws have been used to discriminate against people of color and to maintain property prices in suburban and, more recently, urban neighborhoods."

Web Link


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 17, 2022 at 8:35 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 17, 2022 at 8:35 am

I have seen old deeds from homes in a variety of peninsula areas that specifically stated the homes could not be sold to negroes, hispanics or chinese. Chinese being the word for all asians at the time. Those codicils of those deeds have since been long ago outlawed, but the language still appears in many old deeds. So, if we start with that kind of thinking when the original zoning was set up, what we have now, if we do a deep dive into current zoning that is a reflection of, or continuation of, those early zoning laws they can't be anything but inherently racist. The fact that the original zoning laws were designed to discriminate has never been addressed. The law says one can't discriminate on the basis of race thereby making that old deed language moot, but it never addressed the inherent racism built into the original zoning laws.

Time marches on, things change and so has Menlo Park. And it continues to change. The authors of V and M wanted to stop any change. With M it was the claim that the DSP would "destroy the village character of Menlo Park". Never mind that MP hasn't been a village since the 20's or maybe even earlier. Now it's "we purchased here for the quiet neighborhoods". It's the same nonsense and the same code for, as Peter said, "I've got mine, you can go somewhere else and get yours".

I am against SB9 and SB10. They're both BS laws designed to let the legislature pretend they are "doing something" about housing costs while actually doing nothing. I think the cities of the state should come together and fight it. It is bad law. But, Measure V doesn't do this. It is a blunt instrument that will have untold unintended consequences. We have an electorate in this city that barely participates in local elections and that has very few people that actually inform themselves about local issues and the authors of V want those same voters to vote on something as complex as zoning and planning? It's ridiculous.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 18, 2022 at 9:25 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2022 at 9:25 pm

It is interesting and telling that when studies are posted that show that zoning has been used to discriminate the supporters of Measure V remain silent.

Their silence speaks volumes.


Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 19, 2022 at 11:39 am
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2022 at 11:39 am

Peter:
a) The proper put-down is "I am deafened by [the, your] silence". Learned it years ago in litigation. Memorable for juries.

b) Yesterday I walked Kramer down Sherwood Way and marveled how this one block endures with the same families for years - including two sisters who were born in their house long ago.

c) It's the price of the dirt.



Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 19, 2022 at 11:43 am
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2022 at 11:43 am

@Menlo Voter

"Those codicils of those deeds have since been long ago outlawed, but the language still appears in many old deeds.

"So, if we start with that kind of thinking when the original zoning was set up, what we have now, if we do a deep dive into current zoning that is a reflection of, or continuation of, those early zoning laws they can't be anything but inherently racist"

This is a big jump. Some examples, please.


Stuart Soffer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 19, 2022 at 11:51 am
Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2022 at 11:51 am

"The housing imbalance led to the law requiring district elections and SB9."
No, district elections were caused by a dude in LA.

(Is LA still there?)


Frozen
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 19, 2022 at 12:27 pm
Frozen, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2022 at 12:27 pm

Not all of us have time to post on Town Square every ten minutes, Peter.

Nothing you've linked suggests that Menlo Park zoning is racist. Zoning is related to land, not people. Ensuring livable communities through proper zoning benefits all.

Willie Mays can afford to live in Atherton. Peter lived there too. Most of us can't afford a home there. That's not because of racism or zoning but a matter of plain economics and relative wealth. Or does the NAH-MP crowd suggest scraping capitalism in favor of communes that accommodate all?


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 19, 2022 at 12:32 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2022 at 12:32 pm

Stu - Here are the facts re historical restrictive zoning and the long term impacts racial discrimination:

Web Link


georg0
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 19, 2022 at 4:59 pm
georg0, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2022 at 4:59 pm

Sofer:

“"The housing imbalance led to the law requiring district elections and SB9."
No, district elections were caused by a dude in LA.”

Response:

Per The Almanac: “Menlo Park City Council…faced with what amounts to little choice” changing to district elections due to lawsuit “alleging that its current at large voting system results in ‘racially polarized voting’ and makes it harder for candidates preferred by Latinos or African Americans from Belle Haven to be elected to the city council”. Web Link


Westbrook
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 23, 2022 at 3:04 pm
Westbrook, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 3:04 pm

For the record, I am opposed to Measure V for lots of reasons,

but Peter as soon as you start making it about race you lose me and a lot of other people,

you then start making it about an agenda. Its virtue signaling to the woke crowd. Can we for once leave race out of it.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 23, 2022 at 5:28 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 5:28 pm

Westbrook - How do you respond to these studies which clearly show that single family zoning, the mantra of Measure V, is inherently discriminatory?

"Housing discrimination on the basis of race has been outlawed for more than half a century, yet Americans still reside in neighborhoods significantly divided by race and, to a lesser extent, class. Although this state of affairs has multiple causes, one of the most important is land use regulations that are used by cities and towns to exclude certain types of people from neighborhoods and even entire towns. Zoning in particular is one such tool."


"Exclusionary zoning laws essentially trap many Black families into low-income neighborhoods by pricing them out of richer ones."


"Exclusionary zoning laws place restrictions on the types of homes that can be built in a particular neighborhood. Common examples include minimum lot size requirements, minimum square footage requirements, prohibitions on multi-family homes, and limits on the height of buildings. The origins of such laws date back to the nineteenth century, as many cities were concerned about fire hazards as well as light-and-air regulations. In the subsequent decades, some zoning laws have been used to discriminate against people of color and to maintain property prices in suburban and, more recently, urban neighborhoods."


Westbrook
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 23, 2022 at 10:46 pm
Westbrook, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Sep 23, 2022 at 10:46 pm

Exclusionary zoning laws have been outlawed for 70 years. That's past history. If you're still looking at that today you might as well go back to slavery,

You and I both know the only thing keeping anyone on the "other side of the tracks" is money. Plenty of people of all races live on the "good side of the tracks" Plenty of people of all races live on "the bad side of the tracks",

Can we join the 21st Century now,

To say otherwise is wrong and disingenuous,


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 24, 2022 at 6:30 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 24, 2022 at 6:30 am

"You and I both know the only thing keeping anyone on the "other side of the tracks" is money."

Correct and single family housing discriminates against the less well off and that means disproportionately people of color.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 24, 2022 at 11:42 am
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Sep 24, 2022 at 11:42 am

@Peter Carpenter "Correct and single family housing discriminates against the less well off and that means disproportionately people of color."

Finally, you've said it correctly. You've just stumbled onto your position. Now read what you just wrote.

Markets are unfair. They discriminate directly and indirectly because of income inequality.

Are you proposing to get rid of markets, or income inequality?

Housing advocates confuse housing equality with income equality. Symptom versus root cause.

Upzoning wont fix income inequality. It won't touch the root cause.

Nor can it change the symptom, income-driven housing segregation. New market rate apartments in Menlo Park are luxury units with "exclusionary" rents.

And thanks to SB9 there is no longer single family zoning in California.

So, are we all equal now? Problem solved?

Or are single family homes still a pervasive exclusionary evil that needs to be eradicated?







Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 24, 2022 at 12:24 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 24, 2022 at 12:24 pm

Single family zoning by definition reduces the supply of housing.

That shortage adversely impacts the less well off.

IF society wants more housing then one of the obstacles, given that there is no more land being made, is to reduce the amount of space reserved for single family housing.

That is a choice which our elected representatives have made with SB 9.

If a majority of citizens disagree with SB 9 then California provides the Referendum process as a remedy.


Westbrook
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 24, 2022 at 2:31 pm
Westbrook, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Sep 24, 2022 at 2:31 pm

I believe we both agree housing is not racially discriminatory but through income inequality, Unless we want to become a communist country, we will by the nature of our democracy always have income inequality, We are a meritocracy and should be. That's why millions of people are flooding our country for a chance to get ahead.

Re; Measure V, I am opposed to it for a lot of reasons but you put it most succintly. You made the best argument for opposing it out of everything I've read so far.

"Ironically, if Measure V happens to pass (unlikely) and an upzoning of this site is then submitted to a city-wide vote the upzoning will be approved. Given the State mandate for more housing in Menlo Park, any rational voter would vote to place more housing in some other neighborhood. Only the immediate neighbors would vote against such an upzoning. At that point, those neighbors will wish they had the protection of the process and expertise involved in the normal route of project review and approval but sadly the Planning Commission and Council will have had their hands tied by Measure V."

To those who support V be careful what you wish for. IMO specifically as to this Suburban Park parcel, I'm confident the city-wide vote would support a large development there. Why not it's not in their neighborhood and it makes them feel good to help the cause.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 25, 2022 at 2:09 pm
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Sep 25, 2022 at 2:09 pm

‘Build More Housing’ Is No Match for Inequality

A new analysis finds that liberalizing zoning rules and building more won’t solve the urban affordability crisis, and could exacerbate it.

Web Link

"“Housing is an area where the law of unintended consequences is most powerful,” Storper recently told Planning Report. “The idea that upzoning will cause housing affordability to trickle down within our metropolis, while also setting up Los Angeles and San Francisco as the new golden land for people in less prosperous regions, is just a lot to promise—and it’s based on a narrative of housing as opportunity that is deeply flawed.”

And as Rodríguez-Pose told me via email: “Upzoning is far from the progressive policy tool it has been sold to be. It mainly leads to building high-end housing in desirable locations.”


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 25, 2022 at 2:54 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 25, 2022 at 2:54 pm

It is interesting to note that the exact language of Measure V reserves the authority to rezone most residential properties to the voters in a city wide election. "..shall not be redesignated or rezoned except by a vote of the people of Menlo Park at a regular election."

The unappreciated impact of this is that Measure V in effect permits the city to put a rezoning on the ballot without any studies or public hearings. And the result of such an election would be unappealable. All of the protections provided by the current process including Planning Commission and City Council studies and public hearings and related appeals are NOT required by Measure V.

Be very careful what you wish/vote for !


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 25, 2022 at 3:57 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 25, 2022 at 3:57 pm

The authors of Measure V even went further to make clear that Measure V supersedes all of the process and protections for rezoning that currently exist by stating "To the extent that any provisions of the Menlo Park Municipal Code, including the Zoning Regulations of the City of Menlo Park, or any other ordinances of the City may be inconsistent with this Initiative, the provisions of this Initiative shall prevail."

So a developer who wants an upzoning can simply demand that the city put that upzoning on a general election ballot - no hearings, no studies, no appeals.


Iris
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 28, 2022 at 12:20 pm
Iris, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 12:20 pm

Doesn't Measure V specially allow for state laws to prevail, such as regarding ADU's and lot splits? Please be truthful here.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 28, 2022 at 12:24 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 12:24 pm

"Doesn't Measure V specially allow for state laws to prevail, such as regarding ADU's and lot splits?"

I do not see anything in Measure V that "specially allow for state laws to prevail, such as regarding ADU's and lot splits"

Perhaps you can post any Measure V language that you think specifically addresses this issue.


Roy Thiele-Sardiña
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 28, 2022 at 1:46 pm
Roy Thiele-Sardiña, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 1:46 pm

@Peter,

The main reason to vote yes on V, is that Nash and her Kabul are against it.

And in a Nash vs Ohtaki election....Peter Ohtaki all day long.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 28, 2022 at 1:54 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 1:54 pm

"The main reason to vote yes on V, is that Nash and her Kabul are against it."

Roy I truly doubt that you would compromise your principles by voting for something you did not believe in simply to show disdain for other people who supported it.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 28, 2022 at 2:01 pm
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 2:01 pm

@PeterCarpenter "So a developer who wants an upzoning can simply demand that the city put that upzoning on a general election ballot - no hearings, no studies, no appeals."

Nonsense.

Menlo Park has no mechanism by which anyone can "demand" a rezoning. It doesn't work that way.

A rezoning is a new law. Only council has the authority to initiate and approve a new law. A rezoning goes to the ballot only if council puts it there.

In Menlo Park "privately requested/ad hoc" rezonings are made ONLY as part of a project application. That application requires a project plan and a whole slew of information about the project including any requests for LEGISLATIVE requests like a rezoning or plan amendment or height limit change , etc, etc, etc.

No-one is EVER entitled to them and no-one can demand them.

The city is NEVER required to process an application that includes a legislative change like a rezoning, and Peter knows this. We had this exact conversation about the SRI project.

If they city agrees to process such an application it does so only when the application is deemed complete and then undergoes a lawful planning application process that is governed by both state and local law, including CEQA. There is full initial environmental review.

Part of the local review process is to make sure the proposed project plans conform to the guidelines of the requested rezoning.

The best example of how the process will work is the 2010 Bohannon office/hotel project which went through the normal project approval process. The EIR was eventually certified and the project was approved along with all the required zoning changes SUBJECT TO APPROVAL BY THE VOTERS.

Peter, if you keep manufacturing nonsense I'm going to start urging people to report objectionable content.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 28, 2022 at 2:29 pm
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 2:29 pm

@Iris "Doesn't Measure V specially allow for state laws to prevail, such as regarding ADU's and lot splits?"

Measure V modifies the Menlo Park General Plan. It's just like any other General Plan modification. It doesn't modify any other Federal, State, or local law.

Therefore the rest of legal universe and its hierarchy of precedence remains intact.

Measure V can be rescinded by a majority vote of the people.

IF the voters of the City of Menlo Park do gain the power to supercede State and Federal Laws through the CITY Initiative process, I have some requests to make of you.


Roy Thiele-Sardiña
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 28, 2022 at 3:02 pm
Roy Thiele-Sardiña, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 3:02 pm

@Peter,

in this case YES I would.

Roy


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 28, 2022 at 3:54 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 3:54 pm

Roy - I thought that your role model was John McCain not Lyndsay Graham.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 28, 2022 at 5:45 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 5:45 pm

"Menlo Park has no mechanism by which anyone can "demand" a rezoning. It doesn't work that way."

Measure V would change that - Measure V reserves the authority to rezone most residential properties to the voters in a city wide election. "..shall not be redesignated or rezoned except by a vote of the people of Menlo Park at a regular election."

""To the extent that any provisions of the Menlo Park Municipal Code, including the Zoning Regulations of the City of Menlo Park, or any other ordinances of the City may be inconsistent with this Initiative, the provisions of this Initiative shall prevail."


Roy Thiele-Sardiña
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 28, 2022 at 5:49 pm
Roy Thiele-Sardiña, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 5:49 pm

@Peter, McCain ( a man I admire and met) would have felt the same way about that Troika......Yes on V


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 28, 2022 at 5:54 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 5:54 pm

Roy - you are advocating a long term solution to what is, in your opinion, a short term problem. That is never a good idea. Measure V was impact future councils not just the current council.

Why not put this particular rezoning on a ballot rather than all future rezonings (like Fire Station 1)?


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Sep 28, 2022 at 5:58 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 5:58 pm

PH:

Have you actually read Measure V? What you're saying is flat wrong. It's language specifically overrides anything in the city code. In other words anyone can put a rezoning on the ballot and the voters vote on it. The city has nothing to say about it, PER MEASURE V.

""To the extent that any provisions of the Menlo Park Municipal Code, including the Zoning Regulations of the City of Menlo Park, or any other ordinances of the City may be inconsistent with this Initiative, the provisions of this Initiative shall prevail."


Westbrook
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 28, 2022 at 10:03 pm
Westbrook, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 10:03 pm

What Pro-V supporters seem to keep missing is if it passes people will vote to upzone each time because while sentiment for new higher density up zoning is growing and the state is mandating thousands of new units, each time a vote comes up you will only have the dissenting votes of the people in that particular neighborhood. Plus it will make people feel good that they are contributing to a "noble cause" of supplying more housing. Virtue signaling.

The newly found high-density voters in other neighborhoods will be happy to approve higher density in your neighborhood, No problem.

Suggest you keep the protections the pathway we currently have offers with hearings, studies, planning commission, City Council, approvals, and appeals, Not a simple up-down vote,


Iris
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 30, 2022 at 11:19 am
Iris, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 11:19 am

Isn't the real issue that, no, residents cannot trust the Council or the City process. A goal of long-range plans is to provide certainty for residents, businesses, and developers.
Now we have the State over-ruling plans with Sacramento's ideas of what Menlo Park should be like (Wiener's dense, urban San Francisco), and local decision makers who appear to be uncreative in finding locations for additional housing required by the State, and who seem to kowtow to developers who want to put dense apartment buildings in the middle of single family neighborhoods.
They are targeting single family neighborhoods rather than address the root cause -- approvals of large projects that add far more jobs (= demand for housing) than housing.
This Council is about to make the biggest land use decisions in Menlo Park history: Facebook's Willow Village project (with 5 enormous office buildings!) and SRI's project. Each of these projects adds far more future demand for housing than the new housing the provide. The Housing Needs Assessment for Willow Village concluded that it is short 815 units of satisfying the new demand!
The Council COULD require full mitigation for both of these projects, but will they?
Trust has to be earned.


kbehroozi
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 30, 2022 at 2:43 pm
kbehroozi, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 2:43 pm

"They are targeting single family neighborhoods" is inaccurate, Iris.

Go check the housing element again. Of 69 opportunity sites, only 4 were zoned R1, and only one of those has a developer willing to propose a project (the Ravenswood District's potential project for Flood School site). The other three were church parking lots that are unlikely to result in new development anytime soon (which we'll probably hear about when HCD gets back to us about the viability of our planning).

The Flood School site is not "in the middle" of a single-family neighborhood. It abuts a single family neighborhood, a freeway, a county park, and some apartments for families transitioning out of homelessness. It's also the only undeveloped lot of public land in the entire city, and unlike most other sites in our housing element, it has a landowner who has expressed a desire to develop 100% below-market-rate housing there.

In short, no one should be extrapolating anything about R1 neighborhood housing development from this one extraordinary case.

The rest of the proposed zoning changes in the housing element involved re-purposing commercial sites into mixed-use, adding density to existing multi-family housing, etc. It's hard to be creative when the city is mostly developed, the cost of capital and building is so high, and there's little financial incentive to build housing.

I happen to agree with you about adding more housing/less office to SRI and Willow Village, as do a lot of the people working in the No on V campaign and at least some of city council. (Web Link

I hope you'll come forward and express your support for this goal.


Iris
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 1, 2022 at 7:03 am
Iris, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 7:03 am

@kbehroozi "The Flood School site is not "in the middle" of a single-family neighborhood. It abuts a single family neighborhood,"
When the only way onto a property is through a cul de sac in a residential neighborhood, that fits my definition of "in the middle". There isn't even a street between residents' houses and this property.
You miss the bigger point: what has been proposed is high density -- not low density, not even medium density -- project in a low density neighborhood that would bear all of the impacts.
This is one-off spot zoning (spot density). It could happen somewhere else.
It is remarkable that the neighbors are willing to tolerate moderate density and that the City isn't supporting that, favoring the developer's wishes over residents.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 1, 2022 at 8:13 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 8:13 am

The road to the site is not a " cul de sac" but rather a road that previously served the former school (lots of traffic!) and which is simply temporarily blocked off. When I first saw this it seemed strange until I realized that it was indeed a blocked off road.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 1, 2022 at 10:43 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 10:43 am

Now that AB 2295 is law Measure V becomes irrelevant since all school districts will be allowed to build housing on their property with almost no local restrictions.

So we will now have an expensive election on Measure V which now is irrelevant.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 1, 2022 at 10:59 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 10:59 am

"This bill would deem a housing development project an allowable use on
any real property owned by a local educational agency, as defined, if the
housing development satisfies certain conditions, including other local
objective zoning standards, objective subdivision standards, and objective
design review standards, as described. The bill would deem a housing
development that meets these requirements consistent, compliant, and in
conformity with local development standards, zoning codes or maps, and
the general plan. The bill, among other things, would authorize the land
used for the development of the housing development to be jointly used or
jointly occupied by the local educational agency and any other party, subject
to specified requirements."


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 1, 2022 at 11:02 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 11:02 am

"Notwithstanding any law, a housing development project
shall be deemed an allowable use on any real property owned by a local
educational agency if the housing development satisfies all of the following:
(1) The housing development consists of at least 10 housing units.
(2) The housing development shall have a recorded deed restriction that
ensures, for a period of at least 55 years, that the majority of the units of
the housing development shall be set at an affordable rent to lower income
or moderate-income households. However, at least 30 percent of the units
shall be affordable to lower income households.
(3) One hundred percent of the units of the housing development shall
be rented by local educational agency employees, local public employees,
and general members of the public pursuant to the following procedures:
(A) A local educational agency shall first offer the units to the agency’s
local educational agency employees.
(B) If the local educational agency receives an insufficient number of
local educational agency employees to apply for and occupy the units, the
unoccupied units may be offered to employees of directly adjacent local
educational agencies.
(C) If the local educational agency receives an insufficient number of
employees of directly adjacent local educational agencies to apply for and
occupy the units, the unoccupied units may be offered to public employees
who work for a local agency within the jurisdiction of the local educational
agency.
(D) If the local agency receives an insufficient number of local public
employees to apply for and occupy the units, the unoccupied units may be
offered to general members of the public.
(E) When units in the housing development become unoccupied and
available for rent, a local educational agency shall first offer the units to the
agency’s local educational agency employees. "


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 1, 2022 at 11:02 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 11:02 am

"Notwithstanding any law, a housing development project
shall be deemed an allowable use on any real property owned by a local
educational agency if the housing development satisfies all of the following:
(1) The housing development consists of at least 10 housing units.
(2) The housing development shall have a recorded deed restriction that
ensures, for a period of at least 55 years, that the majority of the units of
the housing development shall be set at an affordable rent to lower income
or moderate-income households. However, at least 30 percent of the units
shall be affordable to lower income households.
(3) One hundred percent of the units of the housing development shall
be rented by local educational agency employees, local public employees,
and general members of the public pursuant to the following procedures:
(A) A local educational agency shall first offer the units to the agency’s
local educational agency employees.
(B) If the local educational agency receives an insufficient number of
local educational agency employees to apply for and occupy the units, the
unoccupied units may be offered to employees of directly adjacent local
educational agencies.
(C) If the local educational agency receives an insufficient number of
employees of directly adjacent local educational agencies to apply for and
occupy the units, the unoccupied units may be offered to public employees
who work for a local agency within the jurisdiction of the local educational
agency.
(D) If the local agency receives an insufficient number of local public
employees to apply for and occupy the units, the unoccupied units may be
offered to general members of the public.
(E) When units in the housing development become unoccupied and
available for rent, a local educational agency shall first offer the units to the
agency’s local educational agency employees. "


Frozen
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 1, 2022 at 1:26 pm
Frozen, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 1:26 pm

No on V has paid canvassers ringing doorbells. One just came to my house and was ridiculously persistent. He did not want to leave despite multiple requests.

Two of my kids have covid and we have a sign on the door asking people not to knock/ring the bell. Perhaps we should have opened the door and infected him?

Who is paying for professional canvassers? It remains to be seen whether residents will appreciate those heavy-handed tactics and propaganda-filled materials.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 1, 2022 at 2:21 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 2:21 pm

Both sides should stop campaigning.

AB 2295 makes Measure V irrelevant.

"Notwithstanding any law, a housing development project shall be deemed an allowable use on any real property owned by a local educational agency..........."


kbehroozi
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 1, 2022 at 2:41 pm
kbehroozi, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 2:41 pm

@Frozen, that definitely wasn't a paid canvasser (we're not hiring canvassers) – that was a Menlo Park resident who was motivated to volunteer. Apologies for the disconnect about your instructions not to knock. We have removed your address from the list and will remind volunteers to adhere to people's posted instructions.

@Peter, there's a lot that we don't know yet about how AB2295 affects the Ravenswood District's hopes for Flood School. What we do know is that it doesn't kick in until 2024, and every year of delay costs the district $500K in funds that they need to sustain teacher salaries. I would personally like to see Ravenswood get the opportunity to bring forward their project proposal without extra years of delay.

I'd also like to educate our neighbors about the potential longer term consequences of this cumbersome law, which doesn't prohibit council from approving the largest, most impactful developments in our community (e.g. Willow Village, SRI, etc.) but adds confusion, expense, and possibly legal jeopardy to our long-term planning process (with no expiration date).

I do find it validating to see that AB2295 doesn't require "reserving" or "guaranteeing" that some % of residents will be teachers. It specifies an order of tenant preference – just as Ravenswood seeks to do. No units are to go empty, even if there aren't always qualified district employees to fill them. This is the responsible way to manage below-market-rate housing during a housing crisis.


kbehroozi
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 1, 2022 at 2:45 pm
kbehroozi, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 2:45 pm

PS: curious how you came to the conclusion that it was a paid canvasser. We checked in with him and he told us no one answered the door. He marked you "not home."

Perhaps it was someone from Yes on V?


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 1, 2022 at 3:11 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 3:11 pm

"@Peter, there's a lot that we don't know yet about how AB2295 affects the Ravenswood District's hopes for Flood School. What we do know is that it doesn't kick in until 2024,"

If RCSD told an architect to start drawing the plans for this site today it would be 12 months before they had a AB2299 compliant set of plans that they could actually put out for bid so a January 2024 start of constructing would be unusually fast. What AB2299 does is let RWCD ignore MP zoning regulations except for these limitations:
"he development footprint, shall be the greater of the following:
(A) The residential density allowed on the parcel by the city or county,
as applicable.
(B) The applicable density deemed appropriate to accommodate housing
for lower income households in that jurisdiction, as specified in paragraph
(3) of subdivision (c) of Section 65583.2.
(5) The height limit for the housing development shall be the greater of
the following:
(A) The height limit allowed on the parcel by the city or county, as
applicable.
(B) Thirty-five feet."


smallbusinessownerCZ
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 1, 2022 at 3:17 pm
smallbusinessownerCZ, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 3:17 pm

Dear Frozen.
I am curious to know how much time you spend talking to young people (ages 16-30 years) and whether or not you have a good perspective on how they see this city, this county, this state, this country and this world. They do not have to be paid, they just do not want the world we are leaving them - they want some things to change.

Kathleen Daly
Cafe Zoë



Frozen
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 1, 2022 at 4:09 pm
Frozen, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 4:09 pm

@kbehroozi

What makes you think you know who I am? That's not creepy at all.

I have canvassed for many school and local elections. Sometimes I could tell people were home but I simply left the flyer at the door. I would never harass anyone or insist that they come to the door, as this person did.

I was not at all surprised to see it was a No on V canvasser

@smallbusinessownerCZ

I actually work exclusively with people in that age group! Yes, they do want to change the world -- but they respect property rights and aren't arrogant enough to believe that they have the right to dictate to others how to live.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Oct 1, 2022 at 7:06 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 7:06 pm

"What makes you think you know who I am? "

Let's see, you put a sign on your door and said not to knock or ring the bell. The canvasser marked you as not home. By address. They asked the canvasser about that address and they said it had your sign. If anyone knows who lives at that address, they know who you are. It's about that uncomplicated. duh


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 1, 2022 at 7:12 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 7:12 pm

Why would a poster on this forum be worried about others knowing who they are?


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 2, 2022 at 7:59 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 2, 2022 at 7:59 pm

Now that AB2299 is law the sponsors of Measure V who saw it as a way to stop the development of the Flood School site need to realize that their efforts are useless. RCSD now has an entitlement to develop this site that cannot be constrained either by the city or by Measure V.


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 4, 2022 at 9:19 am
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 9:19 am

@Peter Carpenter "AB 2295, signed into law by the Governor this week, makes Measure V irrelevant."

It actually doesn't. It clarifies the issue.

Many of us supported both the Flood project and V because we understood the larger issue.

For most of the 3000 signers Measure V was about retaining voter approval over SB-9 like rezonings in their neighborhood made when council comes under pressure to meet State mandates during 8-year Housing Element updates.

As Silicon Valley grows it is running out of housing sites and has its eyes on the large portions of land now occupied by low-density single family homes.

Measure V's first important benefit will be to encourage council to exhaust all other suitable housing sites before attempting to rezone neighborhoods, thereby risking their political careers


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 4, 2022 at 12:20 pm
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 12:20 pm

@kbehroozi "I happen to agree with you about adding more housing/less office to SRI and Willow Village, as do a lot of the people working in the No on V campaign and at least some of city council."

Glad to hear it. Reduced office, really? I hear the words, Katie, but its really hard in practice. Is KG on board? New-friend Sobrato probably won't warm to a "less office" future in Bayfront.

The proof of the pudding is always in the eating. Approvals for Willows Villages are soon? And EIR alternatives for SRI are set?

If council goes into an approval with no clear standards for "fully mitigated" or no alternative approvals available to them they are likely to push green, right? It's doable but hard to say, "No." without a community standard to assert. Requires individual courage.

Now, the Gold Standard, IMO, is Simitian with Stanford. Stanford took its basketball and ran, huffed and puffed, and, its back with a new project. Meanwhile the County is ready with much better standards in place.

A good start might be to have an elected visit Joe Simitian and ask what the County is doing to measure and enforce "fully mitigated" and maybe start (another?) project with Staff to do so for Menlo Park.

(And poor staff. There are so many huge projects going on right now, it will just look like more work to them, and they are already drinking from a fire hose. One reason why a yearly soft cap, similar to the DSP cap, might be welcome. It would take work processing projects off their plate giving them some bandwidth to work on the other stuff. The cap could be removed or expanded when new standards are in place.)



Iris
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 5, 2022 at 8:58 am
Iris, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2022 at 8:58 am

@PH "The proof of the pudding is always in the eating. Approvals for Willows Villages are soon? And EIR alternatives for SRI are set?"

Who on Council has the backbone to stand up for balanced growth? They seem to be poised to approve the biggest project in Menlo Park history, Willow Village, that adds housing demand for at least 815 more units than it provides. Put that in perspective: the THIRTY YEAR limit for the DSP was 680 housing units!
My bet is that Meta will simply bank the approvals for the 5 huge office buildings to add value to their property for the time they sell it. Menlo Park does not need all these office buildings.
SRI is waltzing in with another project that brings more housing demand than housing units.

"No" is a complete sentence. Who on Council has backbone to insist on balance?


PH
Registered user
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 8, 2022 at 4:58 pm
PH, Woodside: Emerald Hills
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2022 at 4:58 pm

@Iris "... Meta will simply bank the approvals for the 5 huge office buildings to add value to their property for the time they sell it"

A really good point that few might fully understand.

SRI and Meta are asking for "developers agreements" in exchange for entitlements and more. That means they don't have a business case today to build all the approved development. As of today, Meta lost 2/3 its market cap and is laying off employees. SRI hasn't fully used its site in decades.

If they NEVER develop a need for all the approved office development, they can simply sell it off to someone else in the future, meaning

1.) Applicants put more food on their plates than they can eat.
2.) Council let them.
3.) All future council's hands are tied. No-one can EVER reverse those approvals. MP cannot zone unneeded SRI office for housing in the future.
4.) Applicants can sell those office approvals to future bidders, who may ultimately build offices that requires future housing in your neighborhood.


These are really good reasons why developer requested rezonings should be frowned upon, particularly for massive projects that seek long-term developer's agreements in exchanged for vesting rights.

This allows four (4) parties, a current majority of three council and one applicant to bypass the existing community plan and change the history of the community for all time, and no-one can reverse the approvals.

In such cases, all applicants have to do is appeal to the personal vanities of three council members and they can set aside long standing community standards as they are doing with SRI.


Matt
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 11, 2022 at 4:27 pm
Matt, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Oct 11, 2022 at 4:27 pm

I’ll be voting “no” on V.
Menlo Park needs to evolve past the selfish nibyism it’s (embarrassingly) known for across the nation.


Frozen
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 11, 2022 at 6:12 pm
Frozen, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Oct 11, 2022 at 6:12 pm

Matt gives us the best reason yet to vote no on V! Because we care about being called names by people "across the nation," whatever that means.

In reality: our council majority has abdicated its responsibility to the community and has prioritized developer profits over resident welfare or long-term city vitality and viability.

That's why Measure V is on the ballot. Residents who have invested time, money, and energy in this city want to preserve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. If you watch the Almanac debate -- well worth the 40 minutes of time it takes -- the No supporter claims that the rich developers who donated to No should be the ones who dictate the future of our city. I doubt many residents would agree.

Unfortunately, the No campaign is well-funded and duplicitous. Residents who can get past the glossy materials will vote yes on V. The measure isn't complicated, and it will ensure that our city remains livable, at least for the near term.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 11, 2022 at 7:09 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 11, 2022 at 7:09 pm

"want to preserve the quality of life in our neighborhoods" simply means I have got mine so stay out of my neighborhood.

Sad.


Frozen
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 11, 2022 at 7:34 pm
Frozen, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Oct 11, 2022 at 7:34 pm

No Peter. It means that once you have invested your life savings in a home, your neighborhood won't suddenly deteriorate, with neighboring homes replaced by multi-story apartment buildings. Plenty of examples of what that looks like in Los Angeles and elsewhere.

Most of us didn't move here from Atherton. It took every penny we could scrape together to buy a home. Everyone is welcome to Menlo Park, and our neighborhoods reflect that diversity -- but don't expect current residents to subsidize housing expenses for anyone who might want to live here if we can make it affordable enough.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 11, 2022 at 7:38 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 11, 2022 at 7:38 pm

"don't expect current residents to subsidize housing expenses for anyone who might want to live here if we can make it affordable enough."

Thank you for your honesty.

It is still "I've got mine and I am not going to help any less fortunate person"

Sad.


Frozen
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 11, 2022 at 8:46 pm
Frozen, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Oct 11, 2022 at 8:46 pm

That's not what I said, Peter, as will be clear to any reader with a mote of sanity. Big difference between being generous to those in need and buying homes for anyone who wants one in an area where the starting price is $1mm.

If you can afford to buy homes for others, you are free to do so.

Most people who want to live here but don't have the cash aren't unfortunate by any definition. Most of us who live in Menlo Park don't consider ourselves unfortunate because we can't afford a home in Atherton. However, if the propagandists prevail, the primary outcome will be general degradation of Menlo Park. The residents -- even the would-be residents -- will not benefit. It would be unfortunate for all.


kbehroozi
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 11, 2022 at 8:54 pm
kbehroozi, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Oct 11, 2022 at 8:54 pm

"In reality: our council majority has abdicated its responsibility to the community and has prioritized developer profits over resident welfare or long-term city vitality and viability."

What an absolutely bizarro-land interpretation of the truth.

Our council has NOT abdicated its responsibility to plan for the housing that the state requires of us - which is fortunate. We've been sued once for whiffing the housing element. Do we need to run that experiment again?

Nor have they abdicated their responsibility for planning for the housing that we need for resident welfare (including renters, retirees, children in our schools) and long-term city vitality and viability (economic vitality being inextricably linked to the availability of housing at various affordability levels).

"the No supporter claims that the rich developers who donated to No should be the ones who dictate the future of our city." Huh. I don't remember Margarita Mendez mentioning anything of the sort.

Frozen, for someone who gets prickly about other people telling yo what to think or how to live, you seem to assume all too frequently that "most" or "many" residents feel just as you do.

I'm not so sure that's the case. There are quite a lot of people (of all age ranges and all income levels) who are contributing time and money to defeat Measure V – and I haven't heard any of them mention their life savings, their home value, or neighborhood preservation as a rationale.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 11, 2022 at 8:54 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Oct 11, 2022 at 8:54 pm

"However, if the propagandists prevail, the primary outcome will be general degradation of Menlo Park."

Thank you for your honesty.

So if there is any change in your neighborhood that will mean a "general degradation of Menlo Park."

Even sadder.


Matt
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 12, 2022 at 7:51 pm
Matt, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 7:51 pm

Frozen: I understand you don’t care if the town we live in is known widely as a regressive enclave of snobs who can’t stomach the idea of following the state law, and that’s exactly the self centered attitude I’m taking about.

V guts the power of our elected officials. Those officials are elected to protect the interests of people who don’t have all day to post on this web site.


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