Editorials | Almanac Online |



Fire board should broaden representation with appointment

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District board will soon appoint a new board member to fill a vacant seat. There are seven qualified applicants for the post, but one outstanding candidate would enhance the board's ability to understand the needs of an underrepresented area of the district.

October 4, 2017 | 9 comments
Threatened legal action is opportunity for better representation

The city of Menlo Park is the latest local jurisdiction to be threatened with litigation over its at-large election of governing-body members. And while threatened legal action may not create the best environment for making public policy, the City Council should consider this an opportunity.

September 6, 2017 | 5 comments
Menlo Park library decision should be revisited

The city is poised to embark on a major capital project that will require the spending of more than $20 million in public funds without having first identified that project as a priority and, equally troubling, without a meaningful public discussion.

August 16, 2017 | 21 comments
Time for city to create a policy on accepting gifts

Who should decide the timing of public-facilities development and the spending schedule for city funds in Menlo Park? The recent offer of a local philanthropist to contribute at least $25 million toward the rebuilding of the city's main library muddies the answer to that seemingly simple question.

August 1, 2017 | 10 comments
Protecting our community in the era of Trump

Last week the Menlo Park City Council gave preliminary approval to two ordinances that might be seen as "Resist Trump" measures. They may appear to be symbolic gestures now, but given White House rhetoric and recklessness, they may become needed strategies in the future.

May 30, 2017 | 7 comments
Vote yes on Atherton's Measure A to fund new civic center

Atherton's Measure A asks voters whether the town should supplement private donations and existing dedicated funds with available non-dedicated money from the general fund to build a new complex to replace the decrepit set of buildings and trailers that now serve as the Town Center.

May 23, 2017 | 4 comments
School district's lapse undermines public trust

The Woodside Elementary School District is doing the right thing this week by setting on a more transparent path in filling a board vacancy after earlier stumbling on a course of action that raised many questions about the openness of the process.

May 17, 2017 | No comments yet
Scope of Menlo Park library study far too narrow

Given the popularity of the city's library branch in Belle Haven, and the significant limitations of that branch with regard to space and hours that it's open to the public, why did the city focus only on the needs of the main library's users when considering the future of library services in Menlo Park?

April 7, 2017 | 7 comments
Pig chase is cruel, and sends wrong message to kids

Does an event that allows children to chase down frantically fleeing baby pigs to capture one for a ribbon constitute animal abuse? An equally important question: Do the values imparted to children who participate in such an event reflect the values we want our children to embrace as they find their way in the world?

March 15, 2017 | No comments yet
Woodside council ducks ethics issue, despite code's mandate

The town of Woodside says it spent nearly $27,500 on an ethics-related investigation of one of its longtime volunteers, an expenditure that Woodside residents might hope would result in something beneficial. What they got instead are troublesome unanswered questions, not the least of which is whether the investigation was warranted or merely a witch hunt.

February 22, 2017 | 3 comments
Woodside council needs to follow the ethics code, conclude investigation process

After the town of Woodside spent nearly $27,500 on an ethics-related investigation of one of its longtime volunteers, the Town Council at its meeting Tuesday (Feb. 14) may drop the matter cold without issuing a ruling on whether the volunteer actually violated the town's ethics code. The town's mayor is recommending that the matter be closed and "no further action be taken on this complaint" -- which is ironic, given that closing the case now may itself be a violation of the ethics code.

February 13, 2017 | 2 comments
Yes on Measure X to keep schools thriving

The Menlo Park City School District community is appealing to voters once again to support a parcel tax, 10 months after two tax measures went down in defeat.

February 7, 2017 | 68 comments


Compassion needed as the vulnerable face uncertainty

It's no coincidence that the incidence of harassment and crimes targeting vulnerable populations nationwide has soared over the last year with the rise of a presidential candidate who made a toxic practice of ridiculing and vilifying "the other" -- Mexicans and Muslims, for example, and the disabled.

December 28, 2016 | 20 comments
Menlo Park general plan update promising, but not ready for adoption

The Menlo Park City Council is poised to approve zoning changes to the portion of the general plan governing the city's M-2 area, east of U.S. 101, when it meets on Nov. 29. If the update is approved, the action will conclude a two-year process that included dozens of community meetings and deliberation by city advisory committees and commissions, as well as the council. But a bit more time is needed to improve the 30-year plan.

November 28, 2016 | 5 comments
County's Measure K is too vague; vote 'no'

Measure to extend half-cent sales tax would not go into effect for seven years
Over the last several years, an increasing number of San Mateo County residents have come to see the light regarding the pressing need for more affordable housing.

October 20, 2016 | 1 comment
Editorial endorsement: Mueller, Taylor for Menlo Park City Council

Menlo Park voters may have a tough time deciding on which two of the three candidates running for seats on the City Council to cast their ballots for this November, considering the impressive ballot roster.

October 11, 2016 | 8 comments
Editorial endorsement: Ackerman and Lucas for Menlo Park City School District board

The Almanac endorses David Ackerman and Caroline Lucas for the two open spots on the Menlo Park City School District board. We believe they can offer valuable new perspectives to the district's decision-making team.

October 4, 2016 | 80 comments
Caltrans must act swiftly on crosswalk safety

Trying to cross El Camino Real at an uncontrolled intersection in Atherton can carry great risk, as evidenced in the number of deaths and injuries occurring in crosswalks at these intersections in recent years. Although measures are being put into place at several of these locations, action has been far too slow, and not all of the dangerous crossings are being upgraded.

August 10, 2016 | No comments yet
A more regional vision needed for Facebook expansion

Menlo Park will reap a package of community benefits valued at over $15 million as Facebook expands its campus and adds some 6,500 employees. What will neighboring cities gain, besides traffic gridlock and more burdensome housing woes? It's time to think regionally about massive development projects on the Peninsula.

July 27, 2016 | 15 comments
Supervisors' bad decision to rush appointment of sheriff

"The public was completely removed from this process," Supervisor Dave Pine says, referring to the rushed and unexpected appointment of Carlos Bolanos to the office of San Mateo County sheriff.

July 18, 2016 | 64 comments
Housing crisis requires bold steps to resolve

Solving the housing crisis that plagues the Bay Area will demand Herculean resolve and enterprise if cities continue to welcome job-generating high-tech companies to set up shop. San Mateo County is taking a number of steps in the right direction, and is considering a ballot measure that could result in a giant step forward.

July 14, 2016 | 3 comments
Vote 'yes' on Measure AA, Bay restoration parcel tax

The nine-county, $12-per-parcel tax to fund the restoration of San Francisco Bay shorelines to functioning tidal marshes would deliver a bang for the buck.

May 26, 2016 | 22 comments
Vicki Veenker for District 24 Assembly seat

There are three standouts in the field of eight candidates for the state Assembly. We think Vicki Veenker would bring a fresh and important perspective to Sacramento.

May 16, 2016 | 11 comments
Careless with facts, but not talking about it

In March, the Woodside Elementary School District board endorsed a "polling and communication strategy" for an effort to renew the district's parcel tax. That plan included the mailing of a "public education" brochure to be sent out in March or April.

May 5, 2016 | 8 comments
A reluctant 'no' on school parcel tax measures

The Menlo Park City School District's parcel tax measures contain a fatal flaw: They have no sunset clause, and that's why we cannot support them.

April 12, 2016 | 77 comments
Electronic billboards on freeway? Kill this plan now

It's hard to know where to begin in trying to sort out the San Mateo County manager's ill-conceived plan to boost revenue by installing billboards -- some, if not all of them, electronic -- on county-owned land along Highway 101 and Interstate 280.

March 23, 2016 | 7 comments
Why is Caltrans still spraying toxics along roadside?

Opponents of roadside herbicide spraying in San Mateo County are watching closely as Caltrans reviews its weed-removal policies affecting the county's state highways, including Highway 84.

February 10, 2016 | 3 comments

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