Letter: Developer spending big to influence election | October 15, 2014 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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Viewpoint - October 15, 2014

Letter: Developer spending big to influence election

The stakes in Menlo Park are getting higher. The risks are getting greater. Developers with deep pockets have never been shy when bringing out an arsenal of big money to get their way. This time, mysterious Greenheart Land Co. (as phony a name as could be found) has followed this tradition by dumping $200,000 into a political action committee against the community's initiative Measure M.

To scare voters, Greenheart has spent over $82,000 on slick mailers and full page newspaper ads that are filled with misinformation and frightening photos of a Walmart store. Part of this money was also spent on the re-election campaigns of incumbents Keith, Cline and Ohtaki. Greenheart needs these three to get re-elected and Measure M to fail in order to protect its proposed 210,000-square-foot office development on El Camino Real.

There is nothing new in Greenheart's attempt to buy a city council. What's different now is this is the first time in the history of Menlo Park that all five of our city council members have joined a developer allowing the use of their mug shots and quotes in material that is false.

Let's talk about Walmart. Only the council has the power to approve big box retail in Menlo Park. If our five council members are using the image of Walmart in our town as a scare tactic, is it possible that they have negotiated with this big box retailer for such a plan?

Measure M has no provision that allows a Walmart in town. Its very goal is to protect the small-town character of Menlo Park. Council candidates Drew Combs, Kris Duriseti and Kelly Fergusson are challenging the incumbents and are firmly against this absurd threat.

Big developer money can make local political campaigns ugly when using threats, exaggerations and downright lies. Menlo Park voters have seen through this kind of deceit before and I hope their eyesight is 20-20 on election day.

Yes on Measure M and yes for three new council members should be the residents' clear answer to Greenheart's efforts to buy this election.

Steve Schmidt Central Avenue, Menlo Park

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