Guest opinion: A New Year's invitation from Menlo Park's mayor | January 15, 2014 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Viewpoint - January 15, 2014

Guest opinion: A New Year's invitation from Menlo Park's mayor

by Ray Mueller

Menlo Park is many different things to many different people. To some, it is the country's foremost venture capital destination. It is a social media technology hub. It is a gateway to a world-class academic institution. It is a beautiful suburb with excellent schools. It is a center for bio-medical research. It is a birthplace for high tech and robotic innovation. It is a fount of revolutionary approaches to green and sustainable living practices.

Menlo Park is all of these things and many more, depending upon whom you ask, but there is just one thing Menlo Park is to all of it's residents: It's our home.

At the end of the day we are all just neighbors, striving to renew and preserve a place we cherish and are proud of — to raise our children in, and in which to grow old with those we love. Do we always agree on what that means and how it should be accomplished? No.

But in Menlo Park there is a tradition that we cherish: Our neighbors care enough to be part of the conversation. We all gather and work together to build a better future, because we recognize that a city is not defined by it's boundaries and structures, but rather by the strength and health of the community that dwells within.

We know that our greatest resource is the intellect, passion, and goodwill of our residents. Does it get messy sometimes? Of course, absolutely. But in Menlo Park, that's just part of the fun — the challenge of gathering and distilling all of the information, all of the data, and all of the opinions, and settling upon a course for the future."

In 2014, the city of Menlo Park will face many challenges, some old, and some new, including:

• Working with small business owners to revitalize our downtown and retail areas all over the city.

• Determining how to expand the sales tax base in our industrial areas.

• Determining how to implement the Downtown Specific Plan.

• Collaborating with the Las Lomitas and Menlo Park City school districts as they embark upon infrastructure improvements.

• Tackling how to provide educational equity to students of the Ravenswood School District.

• Planning how to implement an infrastructure for electrical vehicles.

• Finding new ways to expand transportation options for seniors.

• Finally opening our new police station in Belle Haven.

• Determining how to effectively implement an ordinance that balances the residents' right of privacy against government surveillance.

All of these challenges and many more await us in the new year. I invite you to participate in the discussion, whether it be as a resident, or if you have the time, more formally as a city commissioner.

The city has extended recruitment efforts until Jan. 20 for the following commission vacancies: Bicycle Commission, one vacancy; Library Commission, three vacancies; Parks and Recreation Commission, two vacancies; and Finance and Audit Committee, three vacancies.

For more information, visit the city of Menlo Park's Commissions webpage at and click the link on the left titled "Commission Vacancies January 2014." Or call the City Clerk's office at 330-6620.

I confidently know I speak for all of my colleagues on the City Council when I say I hope you will consider joining us.

Happy New Year,

Mayor Ray Mueller


Like this comment
Posted by Stu Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jan 17, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Stu Soffer is a registered user.

Well written editorial, Ray. Thanks.

Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2014 at 6:14 pm

I wish Mueller was my Mayor! This guy rocks. Very well written and heart-felt piece. It may be time to check home listings in Menlo Park...

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 26, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Ray - You provide the kind of leadership that we should all emulate - Thanks.