Editorial endorsement: Taylor, Combs and Nash for Menlo Park City Council | October 10, 2018 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

Almanac

Viewpoint - October 10, 2018

Editorial endorsement: Taylor, Combs and Nash for Menlo Park City Council

Much has changed in Menlo Park since 2010, when two incumbents who are now running for re-election to the City Council were elected to their first council terms. And though change is inevitable and some of the changes in the last eight years have been positive, too many have adversely affected the quality of life for residents — or threaten to do so in the future. Many of those residents are calling for change, citing transportation and housing crises stemming from the jobs-to-housing imbalance exacerbated by shortsighted approvals of big developments.

Incumbents Kirsten Keith of District 2 and Peter Ohtaki of District 4 are asking voters to return them to the council for third terms. Their challengers point to what they see as the current council's record of accommodating developers at the expense of residents' needs, and to a lack of transparency in how the city governs.

Voters can look at the records of Keith and Ohtaki to determine for themselves whether the changes the incumbents have supported argue for their return to office come December. But it would be difficult to consider changes that have resulted in roadway gridlock, a burgeoning of office space where housing and retail might have been built, and the severe housing-to-jobs imbalance as positive.

Both incumbents can rightfully boast of accomplishments that served the community well. They have also been part of majority votes supporting, for example, the adoption of a general plan update that greatly increased allowable development on the city's Bay side before working out a plan for needed infrastructure to support that growth. They were part of a four-member council majority that ignored Councilman Ray Mueller's request to discuss a proposal aimed at increasing transparency by requiring council members to make their calendars of council-related meetings with others — developers, businesses, residents and others — available to the public. And they tacitly supported the city manager's opaque strategy of working directly with billionaire developer John Arrillaga in pursuing Arrillaga's offer of millions of dollars to rebuild the main library in a process marred by secrecy and a "public" process that amounted to a charade.

The city faces many difficult challenges that have grown in scale over the last eight years and that stem from rapid development, traffic gridlock and a housing crisis. Three non-incumbents can offer fresh thinking and approaches to confronting those challenges.

We endorse Cecilia Taylor for the District 1 seat. Taylor grew up in the Belle Haven neighborhood, and since her unsuccessful run for council in 2016, has founded and led Belle Haven Action, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of those in the lower-income, traditionally unrepresented community. She often attends City Council and other public city meetings, and her understanding of the development, housing and safe streets challenges facing the city would make her a valuable member of the council.

Taylor's challengers have much to offer, but would do better serving Menlo Park and their Belle Haven community in other capacities: George Yang, an impressive "idea man," would be a positive force in efforts working toward transportation and housing solutions; and Mike Dunn, who is concerned about the poor quality of schools in the district that oversees Belle Haven School, would do well to run for a seat on the Ravenswood City School District board, where strong leadership is needed to solve the district's multi-layered problems.

We support Drew Combs for the District 2 council seat. Yes, he's a Facebook employee who would have to recuse himself when matters involving his employer were before the council. But that's not as problematic as it might appear to be at first glance. With a four-member decision-making body, any project approval would still need three votes. One could argue that such a requirement might make greenlighting a project even more difficult.

Combs forcefully argues for a stronger commitment by the city and the council to addressing residents' needs and concerns, giving them just as high a priority as the needs of developers. He also is an advocate for more transparency, which we agree has been lacking in City Hall.

We acknowledge and appreciate Kirsten Keith's commitment to the community, and her investment of time and effort on behalf of the city. But after eight years, we believe change is in order.

We support Betsy Nash in her bid to represent District 4. A member of the Complete Streets Commission, Nash wants to focus on making our streets safer for everyone, but has a specific goal of encouraging people to get out of their cars by making walking, biking and other alternative means of getting around more convenient and safe.

She also has a strong commitment to address the jobs-to-housing imbalance, in part by supporting more transit-oriented development.

We're grateful for the service Peter Ohtaki has given the city during the last eight years, and for Ron Shepherd's oversight of city spending as a member of the city's Finance Committee.and Audit Committee.

We encourage Menlo Park voters to support Cecilia Taylor, Drew Combs and Betsy Nash for the City Council.

Comments

14 people like this
Posted by Congrats!
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 10, 2018 at 2:49 pm

GO DREW GO!


2 people like this
Posted by District 2 voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 10, 2018 at 6:00 pm

Yes Drew Combs must recuse himself. However that doesn’t solve a bigger issue - District 2 will have NO voice in any decision involving Facebook that will affect District 2 more than most parts of the City (except Belle Haven) is Drew is elected.

Vote for Kristen Keith. She will be able to put our voice into the decision making process. A vote for Drew is a vote for no voice at all on Facebook decisions.


22 people like this
Posted by Almanac Endorsed Drew Combs
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 10, 2018 at 6:09 pm

The Almanac in this editorial endorsing Combs said it best. Removing Keith from council arguably will make it harder for Facebook to receive its approvals. That means removing Keith from council will actually put the City in a better position to negotiate with Facebook.

The Daily Post endorsed Drew Combs over Kirsten Keith as well.

Both newspaper editorial boards, who follow City matters closely, endorsed Combs, not Keith.

Don’t be fooled by the half truths.

Vote for Combs.


16 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 10, 2018 at 8:34 pm

Brian is a registered user.

It's nice to see the almanac come to the same conclusion that many of us have. The recusal issue is not what Keith and her supporters want us to believe. While it's true that Combs will have to recuse himself on Facebook issues, that does not make it any easier for Facebook to push through their massive developments. If anything it makes it even more difficult. If you look at Keith's record she is a rubber stamp to approving everything Facebook requests. I believe she voted in favor of the rezoning of the land that Facebook purchased for Willows Village in order to make it possible for them to move forward with that project. Please correct me if I'm wrong. She has eight years where all she has done is support big developers and not support the residence of District 2 or the residents of Menlo Park as a whole.

I do find it funny that about the only thing that Keith and her supporters have found to go after Combs on is his employment at Facebook. If you look at Keiths record, not only being a proponent of big development she has also been an opponent of the sunshine proposal from Mueller which would make are city council and City staff more transparent and who they're meeting with that is doing business with the city. She has also been slow to act on traffic issues and a myriad of other things proven by her record. We have given her eight years I don't feel the city is any better now than it was 8 years ago in fact I think there are a lot of things have gotten significantly worse and traffic is only one of them. Time to give somebody else a chance.

"A vote for Drew is a vote for no voice at all on Facebook decisions."

I guess it would be fair to say that a vote for Keith is a vote in favor of all Facebook development as well as any other large projects that come across the city council for approval.


10 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 11, 2018 at 9:19 am

Brian is a registered user.

Just to follow up, the Daily Post has also endorsed Combs as well as Taylor and Shepherd. It is a very interesting article and points out a lot of the issues that we have been complaining about for the last 8 years.


Like this comment
Posted by we who?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 11, 2018 at 12:33 pm

Brian, please provide a link to CCIN from 8 years ago to back up your claim. Did you ever write in to city council until recently?

Before moving to Menlo Park and joining a city commission 6 years ago, your candidate, Drew Combs, was registered to vote in LA County but living in Mountain View where he never registered to vote and never voted.


15 people like this
Posted by Congrats!
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 11, 2018 at 12:59 pm

Looking at Keith's record over the last eight years, both the Almanac and the Post have endorsed Combs, as well as the Sierra Club. It's speaks volumes none of the editorial boards endorsed Keith. You can read the Almanac endorsement above. The relevant part of the Post endorsement is below:

From the Daily Post's endorsement of Combs

"In District 2, the incumbent is Kirsten Keith. When you ask her about traffic, she’ll respond by pointing to the city’s Transportation Master Plan, which has yet to be completed. Maybe a consultant-driven plan will be a panacea? Assuming it will be, why wasn’t she working on this eight years ago, before the problem got out of hand? Offering this Master Plan in her eighth year in office strikes us as too little, too late.

Keith, who is collecting campaign contributions from developers, voted for the Facebook expansion, Greenheart and Stanford’s El Camino development. She has a hard time saying no to development. She even went to the groundbreaking of the California High-Speed Rail project and took a selfie with Gov. Jerry Brown.

Her ethics have also become a problem. Earlier this summer, she was caught violating the state open meetings law, the Brown Act, for lobbying another council member over the downtown library development — a violation that caused City Attorney Bill McClure to postpone consideration of the project until a new council could be seated. That delay may have been the reason why billionaire John Arrillaga decided to withdraw his offer of $35 million for the library project.

The China trips

Another ethical problem are the repeated trips she’s made to China, paid for by a nonprofit that appears to be funded by Chinese businesses. At one of these meetings, she wore a pin saying she was mayor when she wasn’t the mayor. The Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating a complaint about whether the nonprofit that paid for her travel was eligible to make such a contribution to an elected official. Regardless of how that investigation turns out, council members shouldn’t be accepting free gifts like this. The only reason they’re being offered these trips is because they’re elected officials. They shouldn’t be profiting from your public office.

When Keith is asked about her opponent Drew Combs, who works for Facebook, she points out that he won’t be able to vote on Facebook’s “village” proposal for Willow Road. Of course she doesn’t point out that when a crucial study session on the village project happened in March, she was missing — taking another trip to China.

Combs, who ran for council in 2014 and is serving his fifth year on the Planning Commission, said one of the reasons he’s running is to promote ethics on council.

He favors a proposal to have council members disclose when they meet with people who have business before the city. Keith has opposed that idea.

Combs has down-to-earth ideas to benefit residents. For instance, many residents want to expand their homes. But some can’t because they live on “substandard lots,” meaning they are shaped differently than conventional lots. That means those residents, when they propose plans to expand their homes, go through a confusing process that often puts them before the Planning Commission. He wants to make it easier for residents on substandard lots to make home modifications.

Combs is thoroughly knowledgeable about city issues and the process at city hall, and if elected, will be able to hit the ground running. We enthusiastically endorse him for District 2."


3 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 11, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Another post another new anonymous name. Why hide behind a pseudonym?

Ask anyone who has lived in Menlo Park for the last 8 years, is this city better that it was 8 years ago for the residents? What answer do you think you will get? Worst traffic, speeding through residential neighborhoods, cut through traffic, massive new office development on both sides of 101, a messed up Willow/101 Interchange that will likely be a problem for Menlo Park residents for the next 50 years. I have been here over 50 years and I can tell you Menlo Park has gotten worse in the last 8 years. Don't believe me? Try this, leave City Hall at 5:30 in the afternoon and drive to Facebook. How long does it take you?

Yes I have written in to the council in the past, I have talked to many council members and mayors over the years. The current council is the most difficult to deal with to get any action taken. I am not alone in this, you can talk to anyone in the Willows who was part of the petition drive and they will tell you how much work it was to get action taken. Keith likes to say how when she was contacted about the cut through traffic she put it on the agenda and got the "No Through Traffic" signs. In reality she left half way through the discussion on the topic to catch a flight and didn't even vote to approve the signs.

I don't know if and where he was registered to vote before moving here, but why does it matter? It seems like all you can do it make pathetic attacks on Combs because you can not run on Keith's record. He is registered to vote here, he has actively participated in city government for years. I personally don't care about where he was or was not registered to vote and I doubt many people do care, it is another smoke screen to hide a pitiful record of supporting developers over the residents of the district and the city.

I liked the Almanac endorsement, it was well written and very positive on Combs, but I thought the Daily Post was better at making the case against Keith. I won't quote it here but I recommend it for anyone who is still undecided or wavering.


6 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 11, 2018 at 1:22 pm

Brian is a registered user.

We Who, or what ever name you choose for your next post,

If you want to talk topics maybe you can explain why Keith opposed the Sunshine proposal? It would have made our city government much more transparent and let the voters see who our city leaders are meeting with that have business before the city. Is there any downside to that?

If you don't want to talk about that maybe you are up for a discussion about the trips Keith took to China "paid for by a nonprofit that appears to be funded by Chinese businesses"? I can only assume she was given those trips because she is an elected official, I don't see that a Defense attorney would warrant that kind of a trip. Does that strike you as ethical? How about misrepresenting herself as Mayor when she was not?

Happy to engage on these topic or others.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 11, 2018 at 1:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The current Council wants to take 6 YEARS to build a much needed Belle Haven Library.

A new library needs land.

Find and buy the land NOW.

Start designing the library NOW.

If the Council don't know how to do that then just ask the Fire District which has made a series of strategic land acquisitions in recent years - including the sites that were necessary to expand Station 2, Station 6, Station 3 , Station 4, Station 1 and a new Urban Search and Rescue Task Force Warehouse and has already built 2 new fire stations using that acquired land.

Note that this is the same city staff and Council that turned down the Fire District's offer to fully fund a Hawk crosswalk on Middlefield in front of Station 1 because they were too busy - doing what??

Do not vote to re elect the current Council members - they have absolutely no sense of what are the community's priorities.


Like this comment
Posted by Suburban Park Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 11, 2018 at 8:08 pm


What?! I am disgusted with the Almanac Editorial Board's disregard for residents of this neighborhood. District 2 residents need a VOICE in these huge decisions. It is critical that Keith win so that we have a representative who can be part of the conversation from start to finish, including the vote.

If Combs wins, it's not just the vote count that is the issue, it's the fact that he would have to recuse himself from ALL conversations around the matter. That means he cannot advocate for traffic mitigations on Bay Road, Willow, or any where in this district. And, with district elections, no other council member would feel compelled to pay particular attention to this district. Recusing means we would literally have no advocate, no voice, no council member accountable for the impacts of projects on Suburban Park, Lorelei, Flood Triangle or the Willows. Unacceptable!

It is critical that KEITH wins this election so we have an advocate paying attention to impacts in our neighborhood.




9 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 11, 2018 at 9:39 pm

Brian is a registered user.

I have to disagree. First off based on her record a vote for Keith is a yes vote for pretty much whatever Facebook wants.

Second why would he need to recuse himself from everything related to projects happening within District 2? It sounds like you don't quite understand what he would need to recuse himself from and what he would not. You might want to reread the article. There's a lot of misinformation going around.

Keith has not bothered to look at the impact of development on District 2 for the last 8 years. Why do you think she would start looking at it now? There's also the issue that even if she were to win who's to say she wouldn't run for another office like she did last time she was elected. So you're not even sure if you're voting for somebody who's going to stay on the city council in a year or two.

With her record for the last 8 years, all of the issues that she's been part of such as traveling to China, missing important discussions on the Facebook projects because she was in China, opposition to the sunshine proposal to provide more transparency to our city leaders, Brown act violations, Etc. All that combines to tell me that she is not the right person to represent this district for the next four years.


3 people like this
Posted by Rachel J.S.
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 12, 2018 at 8:45 am

My 2 cents:

DISTRICT 1: Cecilia Taylor is by far the best choice, so good call there.

DISTRICT 2: Kirsten Keith hasn't done herself any favors with all the ethical missteps, but I'm confused by the Steve Schmidt crowd's embrace of Drew Combs. On the Planning Commission, i think he's voted in favor of every big development project he wasn't absent/recused from? If your main criteria is "is this candidate a different person than Kirsten Keith?", OK, sure- go for Drew. But if you're expecting him to "fix traffic" or totally change his views on development, I think you're going to be disappointed. I'd flip a coin in this one, personally.

DISTRICT 4: I like Betsy Nash's claim that she's pro-housing on transit corridors, but I haven't seen her step up and actually fight for past projects that were adding homes. I'd go with Peter Ohtaki here, since he made stuff like the downtown plan and good balanced projects there happen. He listens, tries to reach good compromises, and doesn't have a traditional politician ego- we're lucky he's up for another 4 years!


12 people like this
Posted by Endorsements for Combs
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 12, 2018 at 9:14 am

Combs has been endorsed by many leaders of BOTH sides of the Measue M debate. That speaks to his balanced approach to development. He also has been endorsed by the Almanac, the Daily Post and the Sierra Club and ten former Mayors (more than Keith.) That’s hardly just the “schmidt crowdl”. People in this town have a hard time letting go of past political battles. Drew has overcome that in his support and has it from all sides of the tents in Menlo Park.

He is an easy choice over Keith this election.

Her campaign has literally been reduced to pointing at his employment, rather than running on her record.


11 people like this
Posted by Dagwood
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 12, 2018 at 10:57 am

Dagwood is a registered user.

Rachel, re: 'political ego': I also find Peter to be a good person and I agree with many of his decisions. But he is also an aspiring politician, having run for State Assembly in 2016 as a Republican. On development, Peter voted for the Connect Menlo plan for the Belle Haven and Facebook areas. Connect Menlo was not approved by the Planning Commission because it lacked an infrastructure component - mostly meaning transportation. The city now has to deal with an over-promise on Bayfront development and an under-promise on transit/infrastructure.


4 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 12, 2018 at 3:56 pm

This whole new version of the election is going to be a big wet blanket. Firstly, with the new redistricting, are we expecting candidates to represent their constituents? Are they going to be speaking on behalf of their neighborhood or for Menlo Park as a whole? Then why the pandering to their local crowd?

This is all such small beer and arguing about non-solutions to un-fixable problems (traffic)


3 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 12, 2018 at 4:10 pm

Brian is a registered user.

A good candidate will represent both the city and their District. The same way and I had state senator should be representing their state and the country as a whole. As for your assertion that some of these problems are not solvable I would have to disagree. In regards to traffic there's a lot that can be done. It just takes a council that is focused on solving the traffic issues and not adding to them, to make a difference.


2 people like this
Posted by political muscle
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 14, 2018 at 10:38 am

Drew's election would be a "feel good" experiment, but he can't represent his constituents on the most important issues. He moved to the district a few months ago and his core support comes from outside the district. He touts endorsements from several former Menlo Park mayors that moved out of Menlo Park. Even though he voted for both large office projects on El Camino Real, his supporters want to take down Keith simply to flex their political muscle... at the expense of having full representation for District 2.


8 people like this
Posted by Endorsements for Combs
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 14, 2018 at 10:57 am

Combs has been endorsed by many leaders of BOTH sides of the Measue M debate. That speaks to his balanced approach to development. He also has been endorsed by the Almanac, the Daily Post and the Sierra Club and ten former Mayors (more than Keith.) That’s hardly just the “schmidt crowdl”. People in this town have a hard time letting go of past political battles. Drew has overcome that in his support and has it from all sides of the tents in Menlo Park.

He is an easy choice over Keith this election.

Her campaign has literally been reduced to pointing at his employment, rather than running on her record.


8 people like this
Posted by Endorsements for Combs
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 14, 2018 at 11:02 am

Combs has been endorsed by six former Mayor who lived in District 2 when they served on council. Three still live in District 2.

Keith has been endorsed by one former Mayor who lives in District 2.

It’s not close. Combs enjoys much more support from former elected officials currently living inand whom have lived in District 2.


2 people like this
Posted by political muscle
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 14, 2018 at 11:14 am

Across the city, residents wanted more than weeds and cyclone fences on El Camino Real, and the voters rejected Measure M and Combs in 2014. Now Combs has the same voting record as Keith on large development projects in El Camino Real.

Combs has been recused on all the projects that matter to District 2. Combs should have been truthful with his new neighbors. Combs hiding the true impact of his employer goes to his integrity.


8 people like this
Posted by Endorsements for Conbs
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 14, 2018 at 11:22 am

@political

The Almanac, the Daily Post the Sierra Club, they all disagree with your broad side swipe. They all endorsed Drew Combs.

Keith didn’t gain one endorsement from a newspaper editorial board that covers Menlo Park.

Spare us the baseless attacks.


4 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 14, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Political Miscle,

Doesn't it bother you to make such incorrect and misleading statements? I have faith that voters in Menlo Park, and especially District 2 can see through the misleading posts you are making. Read the Almanac and the Post, they both make good cases for voting for Combs over Keith. Keith has a record of approving everything developers want. You bring up the cyclone fences on El Camino, do you think the residents of this city really wanted Stanford, a Non-Profit, to buy them and not have to pay taxes on them. Anyone living in that massive development who has kids will be sending them to Menlo Park schools without contributing any revenue toward their education (Stanford agreed to a one time lump sum payment of &1.5 million and nothing past that). That tells me that the School District will try for more bond measures and parcel taxes to compensate for the added burden something that Stanford will be exempt from.

Combs absolutely does not have to recuse himself from all projects that matter to District 2, not by a long shot. I know that is what you would like people to believe, but the Almanac has debunked that lie already. If this is such a hot topic when why did Keith chose to miss a key planning session on the topic to take a trip to China paid for by a Chinese organization backed by Chinese businesses (and incorrectly represented herself as mayor while there)? Voting for Keith is voting to approve Facebook Village without any work on Traffic Impact (Keith has refused to add traffic impact on District 2 to any of the big Downtown projects she has voted to approve). Combs still has a voice on Facebook projects and with a 5 person City Council even with his recusal on Facebook Village it is the same as "No" vote (still takes 3 yes votes to approve).


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 14, 2018 at 3:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I am endorsing and supporting Taylor, Combs and Nash for MP Council and Ballard, McLaughlin and Jones for the Fire Board because I think local government needs new leadership. That is also why I decided not to run for re-election to the Fire Board.


8 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 14, 2018 at 9:41 pm

Brian is a registered user.

"Muscle"

I found your comment interesting:

"...his [Combs] core support comes from outside the district". Not really accurate, have you seen the number of signs supporting him around District 2? I know I support him (lived in the Willows 50 years) as do many of my neighbors in District 2.

I decided that such a statement would be easy to check so I took a look at the contributors to Keith's campaign using the link to her filed form 460 from the Almanac article. In addition to many of the largest ones being from developers I was surprised at how many of them do not even live in Menlo Park. Since they don't have street addresses I can't tell how many are from outside of District 2 but they do list their city so I can tell how many are outside of Menlo Park. Using the data from her for 460, less than 52% of Keith's contributors list Menlo Park as their address (61 of the 118 listed). When you look at the amounts she has received the numbers get even worse, over two thirds (68%) has come from people who do not indicate they live in Menlo Park ($12,425 of the $18,400 reported).

By contrast the reported contributions for Combs, using the lint to his filed form 460 from the same Almanac article show that 88% of his contributors list Menlo Park as their address (38 of 43) and 91% of the contributions to his campaign are from those people who list Menlo Park as their address ($6,230 of the $6,880).

So I have to say the numbers show that Keith is the one getting the majority of her support from out of town people and developers. While the bulk of Combs supporters are in Menlo Park. I guess you are wrong on another point.

*I did note that the periods covered are different. Keith's form was Jan 1 through June 30. Combs's form was from Aug 1 through Sept 22. Not a surprise as Keith know she was running a lot sooner than Combs.


2 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 14, 2018 at 9:43 pm

Brian is a registered user.

If anyone wants to check my math on the above calculations here are the links I used:

The form 460 that Keith filed:
Web Link

the form 460 Combs filed:
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by The Willows
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 15, 2018 at 1:29 am

The Willows is a registered user.

The incumbents did vote to support the adoption of a general plan. Residents of Belle Haven came to city council in force and demanded that their community have amenities that are available to the rest of the city. This did increase allowable development on the city's Bay side, but that does not mean that Facebook's Willow Village and other projects are now magically approved. If we are to believe that all that allowable development has already been approved, there would be no need for the Transportation Management Plan. Moving forward with the general plan update simply allows us to have a clear picture of what is being proposed while being compassionate toward the voices from the Belle Haven neighborhood.


8 people like this
Posted by Endorsements for Combs
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 15, 2018 at 4:49 am

How come none of the papers describe Belle Haven showing up “in force” at the General Plan Meeting?
Looks like one maybe two speakers from Belle Haven? The Almanac and Daily Post articles don’t describe any such large group? This is just more spin.

The Almanac, The Daily Post, the Sierra Club, 10 former Mayors - six from District 2, all endorsed Drew Combs for City Council.

Kirsten Keith did not receive any newspaper editorial board endorsements. She only has one endorsement from a former Mayor from District 2.

Vote Combs for Menlo Park City Council.


13 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 15, 2018 at 8:55 am

Brian is a registered user.

The Transportation Management Plan is a joke, it is like trying to fix the barn doors after all the animals have gotten out and disappeared. There should have been a Traffic Management Plan long before the massive developments were approved. Many of us asked to have traffic for the Willows Corridor studied as part of the Stanford and Greenheart developments before approving them, those requests were ignored (by the current council). Many of us in the Willows asked for measures to reduce cut through traffic, we were told the city would do another study in 2 years, it took a well organized group and hundreds of signatures to get any action taken. Is this what we expect from our elected officials?

We want better. We deserve better. Keith and Ohtaki are just more of the same. And if re-elected who knows how long they will even stay. They both ran for different offices shortly after they were re-elected 4 years ago. I want to vote for someone I know is going to represent the residents of the district and be there for the next 4 years, that is why I am voting for Combs.


12 people like this
Posted by Suburban Park Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 15, 2018 at 1:27 pm

[Comment using another poster's handle removed]


15 people like this
Posted by Vinnie
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 15, 2018 at 1:29 pm

I’m tired of the incumbents in MP. They crow about how much they’ve done, and it’s really been almost nothing. Facebook gets their way and a lot of El Camino has looked like a war zone for the last deacde. Time for some new people, new ideas.


3 people like this
Posted by Not a gas bag
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 15, 2018 at 2:29 pm

@Suburban Park Voter


Quit fear-mongering. You sound like the incumbent who's on her way out.


5 people like this
Posted by Endorsements for Combs
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 15, 2018 at 4:03 pm

@notagasbag

No need to insult people. It’s also dubious to know which camp you are actually in as it’s an anonymous post.

Let’s keep it focused on campaign issues.

Vote Combs for District 2!


3 people like this
Posted by Suburban Park Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 15, 2018 at 6:17 pm

Apparently you can copy other people's handles and pose as them.
This is the original "Suburban Park Voter." I did NOT change my mind. Kirsten Keith for Council!

I want our district representative to be able to be part of the process on our behalf on every issue, specifically, Dumbarton Rail, Facebook, and any/all properties that are within a radius of Facebook. Thus, the ONLY candidate anyone in this district should consider is Kirsten Keith.

Combs would have a really easy job-- recuse from anything controversial and enjoy never having to be part of the process to help this district improve quality of life. But, as he's lived here for a total of 3 months, I am not sure that matters to him.

Kirsten, by contrast, has lived in the Willows for 22 years and cares deeply about this city, these neighborhoods.





4 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 15, 2018 at 9:15 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Suburban,

People couldn't use your handle if you were a registered user instead of posting under different names.

It would be nice if you stopped lying/misrepresenting the facts. I know that Recusal is the only horse Keith has but at least represent it accurately, is that too much to ask?

There is no indication that Drew would need to recuse himself on Dumbarton Rail. If you have a statement of fact from the city attorney then share it, otherwise move along. The city attorney did say that Drew would not need to recuse himself on development around Facebook that is not Facebook itself, so any housing projects, other business development, etc he can participate and vote on. Finally his recusal is only with property owned by Facebook but does not cover buildings rented by Facebook.

If you have information that contradicts that from reliable sources please share it. If you don't, quit spreading misinformation.


Like this comment
Posted by kbehroozi
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 15, 2018 at 11:35 pm

kbehroozi is a registered user.

Brian, read again: Web Link

Property leased by Facebook and transportation projects funded by Facebook are likely also to be affected.

The City attorney has been pretty conservative about recusals. For example, when we were discussing Oak Grove bike lanes, Ray Mueller had to recuse himself from the discussion at one point because his company was talking about leasing property on Chestnut (adjacent to proposed bike Lanes). They didn't, so he participated in later meetings.


12 people like this
Posted by Endorsements for Combs
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 16, 2018 at 12:12 am

All Kirsten Keith and her supporters ever talk about is Drew Combs works for Facebook. The Almanac and the Daily Post both knew that and discussed in their editorials endorsing Combs.

The Almanac, The Daily Post, the Sierra Club, 10 former Mayors - six from District 2, all endorsed Drew Combs for City Council.

Kirsten Keith did not receive any newspaper editorial board endorsements. She only has one endorsement from a former Mayor from District 2.

Vote Combs for Menlo Park City Council.


Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 17, 2018 at 2:32 pm

Brian is a registered user.

kbehroozi,

you might want to read it again. "could" and "Might also" are qualifiers the only definitive thing that Combs will need to recuse himself on is Facebook owned property and projects. McClure won't actually do the research until Combs is elected but he will have a say in development and the items going on in East Menlo even if that is only the voice of a resident on some of them. In my opinion that is much better than the "YES" vote Keith is going to give any Facebook Development projects. Her record is all Pro Facebook approving millions of square feet of development without worrying about the impact that has on residents.

If Drew is recused that is an effective No vote since there would still be 3 Yes votes required from the remaining 4 council members (one of which will represent East Menlo residents). So if a project is good and in the benefit of the city and the neighborhoods then they can probably pass it, if it is not it will be harder without Keith to get it through City Council.

What voters need to ask themselves is are they better off now than they were 8 years ago in terms of traffic, safety on our streets, quality of life, etc? Has all the development helped them in any way? From my viewpoint, No.

*There is a huge hole in the ground where my parents used to take me for an ice cream on hot summer nights and I won't be able to take my kids there for the same great memories.

*I have to think about going uptown because trying to come back on Willow at commute time is going to add an hour to my trip.

*traffic anywhere near 101 has gotten horrible, I occasionally take Bay road and there are backups trying to get to Willow and Marsh at different times of the day, not to mention the people speeding on Bay.

* I am happy that the car lots are being developed but not happy that it is a Stanford project and they will not be contributing their fair share of money to our schools and city services (they are a non-profit and exempt from those taxes). Additional students in the districts means less spending per student or more money from the residents to make up for what Stanford won't have to pay.

*We have a city council that does not want the residents of their own city to know who they are meeting with about business before the city. They would not even discuss the sunshine proposal Mueller proposed. Can you or anyone who supports Keith say why she is opposed to an open and transparent City Government?

*If you live in Belle Haven you have millions of square feet of new office space and a huge hotel but you still don't have a grocery store or a full service bank or even a good library. Are you better off?

Is anyone who supports Keith willing to discuss these topics that are impacting Residents now? How about her opposition to making our city government more transparent? Why won't she even allow a discussion on revealing who in city government is meeting with people who have business before the city? It begs the question what do they have to hide?


2 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 17, 2018 at 8:36 pm

Hello Angry People:

Congrats:

Menlo Park Politics have reached the low level of national politics. Wait until the state of California "Sanctuary State" provisions get over turned by the new majority of the US Supreme Court, under the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution. As the Obama Administration used against the state of Arizona 3 years ago.

The Almanac and Daily Post are not real media sources,they are advertisement supplements for our real estate industry here locally. We don't care who they endorse, they have shown their bias options, many times.

Wake up sore losers, you lost, the President of the United States will be here until 2020 or maybe longer! Start working together, Democrats and Republicans, we as taxpayers want that and we also want our republic to survive.


3 people like this
Posted by Endorsements for Combs
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 17, 2018 at 8:52 pm

@citizen, interesting take.

All newspapers though depend on advertisements to help supplement revenue. Most people would agree the Almanac and Post are at times pretty different papers. But on this issue both papers found common ground!

Also the Almanac and the Daily Post aren’t the only endorsements for Combs!

The Almanac, The Daily Post, the Sierra Club, 10 former Mayors - six from District 2, all endorsed Drew Combs for City Council.

Vote Combs for Menlo Park City Council.


Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 17, 2018 at 9:53 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Citizen sounds like s/he is just angry at the world. I believe "All Politics is Local" and am doing what I can to make a difference. If you don't want to be involved then by all means stay out of it but don't join the conversation just to tell people they should not care about their community. I can tell you the people supporting each candidate in District 2 care about the community and the city regardless of who we are supporting.


3 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 18, 2018 at 8:27 am

Brian and Endorsement for Combs:

I'm not angry, but disappointed in you and many here in Menlo Park. We are above and better than all these angry people.

You guys? have both drank the Cool aid. Oh, those media sources, there's for free, if they charged, their circulation would be lower than it is now. They should pray everyday that the real estate boom continues here!

Thank you Keith and Combs for running, in this tonic environment.


3 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2018 at 8:55 am

Brian is a registered user.

Citizen,

If you are not angry then you are naive. What you see on these boards is called civil political discourse and it is the cornerstone of the American Political system. No one is calling names "Lyin Ted?" or fabricating allegations of crimes. We are discussing the topics relevant to District 2 and to Menlo Park. You are free to choose to not participate or even read the discussion.


8 people like this
Posted by Endorsements for Combs
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2018 at 9:19 am

@citizen,
How in one breath are you disparaging our local newspapers and in the next accusing others of being negative! All newspapers rely on advertising. Sorry but the tactic smells of just trying to undercut the validity of the endorsements for Combs.

The Almanac and Daily Post editorial boards follow the actions of City Council every week. Both editorials came out with strong endorsements for Combs, and fair criticisms of Keith’s record on City Council.

Drew Combs has been endorsed by the Almanac, the Daily Post, the Sierra Club, 10 former Mayors, and six former Mayors from District 2. Keith received no newspaper endorsements, and has less former Mayor endorsements and only one former Mayor’s support from District 2. Don’t buy another tactic trying to credit those endorsements. Vote Drew Combs for City Council!


Like this comment
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 18, 2018 at 10:18 am

Endorsements:

Let’s see what happens. I predict no change, and in fact, Combs who moved into district 2, has my distasteful form of the dirty politics that has been formulated by you angry people, and the so called media. I’m not buying it, so will others. Keep writing endorsement facts about Combs, it’s not working for me.

Just like national politics when the Kennedy’s and Clinton’s moved into New York State to run for the senate. Worked for them, but, not in the long run.

Combs will be thrown to the wolves once he doesn’t do what you angry people want him to do, as Keith was the fair har favorite years ago.

Enjoy your great property values from Combs’s FACEBOOK Employment group.


7 people like this
Posted by Endorsements for Combs
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2018 at 10:57 am

@citizen,
Be careful your true colors are showing.

Your first post was a purposeful misdirection tea party style rant with an undercutting of Combs endorsements thrown in.

Your second post just went after the endorsements and threw in something nice about Keith and Combs.

Your third Post started to go after Combs, his supporters and his endorsements!

Subtle, but obvious. Your intent is to undermine Combs endorsements and him personally, his campaign, and his supporters. Basically you are desperate to undermine anything you can.

Spare us the negativity and misdirection!

Combs received both newspaper endorsements! Keith received zero newspaper endorsements. The editorials contained substantive criticisms of Keiths tenure in office. The Almanac, The Daily Post, ten former Mayors, six of whom who live in District 2, and the Sierra Club have all endorsed Combs!

Vote Drew Combs for City Council!



Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Sad, but I have to agree. Citizen looks like another person who would rather attack Combs but who is not willing to discuss the issues. This is getting to be a pretty common tactic, why are people so afraid to talk about the issues and Keith's record?


2 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 18, 2018 at 6:13 pm

Hey Brian and Endorsement:

This will be my last post here on this thread.

Combs works for Facebook
Combs wife works for Instagram
Combs Moves into District 2.
Combs could move out of neighborhood just as easy.
Endorsements from media.....who cares....Dave Price and Renee Batti, don't live in Menlo Park and I'm going to depend on my decision as to vote on from them....HA!
Like a group of a Xmas past play...

Combs hope you're ready if you don't fall in line, they will turn on you as they have done with Keith.


8 people like this
Posted by Endorsements for Combs
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2018 at 6:23 pm

@citizen
You have gone and completely exposed your bias now.

Once again, all Keith’s supporters do is talk about Combs employment status. This last attempt to undercut his endorsements while doing so was poorly advised.
Four posts later the tactic is clear. Now attacking the editors of local papers as well. Basically you are desperate to undermine anything you can. Somehow I dont think this is your last post. We will just see a new tactic, again to stress the same talking points.

Combs received both newspaper endorsements! Keith received zero newspaper endorsements. The editorials contained substantive criticisms of Keiths tenure in office and also considered Combs employment. The Almanac, The Daily Post, ten former Mayors, six of whom who live in District 2, and the Sierra Club have all endorsed Combs!

Vote Drew Combs for City Council!


3 people like this
Posted by Endorsements for Combs
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2018 at 6:49 pm

Great post from above:

Looking at Keith's record over the last eight years, both the Almanac and the Post have endorsed Combs, as well as the Sierra Club. It's speaks volumes none of the editorial boards endorsed Keith. You can read the Almanac endorsement above. The relevant part of the Post endorsement is below:

From the Daily Post's endorsement of Combs

"In District 2, the incumbent is Kirsten Keith. When you ask her about traffic, she’ll respond by pointing to the city’s Transportation Master Plan, which has yet to be completed. Maybe a consultant-driven plan will be a panacea? Assuming it will be, why wasn’t she working on this eight years ago, before the problem got out of hand? Offering this Master Plan in her eighth year in office strikes us as too little, too late.

Keith, who is collecting campaign contributions from developers, voted for the Facebook expansion, Greenheart and Stanford’s El Camino development. She has a hard time saying no to development. She even went to the groundbreaking of the California High-Speed Rail project and took a selfie with Gov. Jerry Brown.

Her ethics have also become a problem. Earlier this summer, she was caught violating the state open meetings law, the Brown Act, for lobbying another council member over the downtown library development — a violation that caused City Attorney Bill McClure to postpone consideration of the project until a new council could be seated. That delay may have been the reason why billionaire John Arrillaga decided to withdraw his offer of $35 million for the library project.

The China trips

Another ethical problem are the repeated trips she’s made to China, paid for by a nonprofit that appears to be funded by Chinese businesses. At one of these meetings, she wore a pin saying she was mayor when she wasn’t the mayor. The Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating a complaint about whether the nonprofit that paid for her travel was eligible to make such a contribution to an elected official. Regardless of how that investigation turns out, council members shouldn’t be accepting free gifts like this. The only reason they’re being offered these trips is because they’re elected officials. They shouldn’t be profiting from your public office.

When Keith is asked about her opponent Drew Combs, who works for Facebook, she points out that he won’t be able to vote on Facebook’s “village” proposal for Willow Road. Of course she doesn’t point out that when a crucial study session on the village project happened in March, she was missing — taking another trip to China.

Combs, who ran for council in 2014 and is serving his fifth year on the Planning Commission, said one of the reasons he’s running is to promote ethics on council.

He favors a proposal to have council members disclose when they meet with people who have business before the city. Keith has opposed that idea.

Combs has down-to-earth ideas to benefit residents. For instance, many residents want to expand their homes. But some can’t because they live on “substandard lots,” meaning they are shaped differently than conventional lots. That means those residents, when they propose plans to expand their homes, go through a confusing process that often puts them before the Planning Commission. He wants to make it easier for residents on substandard lots to make home modifications.

Combs is thoroughly knowledgeable about city issues and the process at city hall, and if elected, will be able to hit the ground running. We enthusiastically endorse him for District 2."


Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Citizen,

Who cares? You have to work somewhere and a large percentage of Menlo Park works at Facebook. That is not a bad thing, even if you think so. He was upfront about his job and the need to recuse himself on decisions directly related to Facebook projects. Where his wife works is not anyone's business but hers.

You might want to mention that shortly after winning her second term Keith ran for a different office and lost. Had she won she would have left her role in City council and we would have had an appointed council member that we did not vote for. What guarantee do we have that she will even serve her 4 years? None.

Again Keith supporters don't want to talk about her record (it is not good) and they don't want to discuss issues that are impacting all of District 2 like Traffic they just want to attack Combs on non issues. You mentioned how bad Trump is but you are using the same cheap tactics that he likes to use. Sad


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields