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Town Hall Meeting

Original post made by James Lewis, Menlo Park: Downtown, on Oct 4, 2007

Would anyone be interested in an 'ol fashion TOWN HALL meeting to address any issues the public would like to ask the City Council, City Staff and the Police Chief about?

This could be done on a weeknight or a weekend, such as Saturday, or both. Any topic could be fair game.

The meeting could be held at City Hall, in the Belle Haven neighborhood or other suitable meeting location, such as a church meeting hall or even in the auditorium at a local school. I idea would be to make it convenient for those with busy lives, families to raise and yet wanted to participate in the political process.

If this type of event is of interest, feel free to chime in. If enough people say Y E S, the rest is then just a formality.

The Welcoming Committee of Menlo Park
Jim Lewis, Co-Chair

Comments (16)

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Posted by notinterested
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 5, 2007 at 7:35 am

Mr. Lewis you are not a resident of Menlo Park. Next time you get up in public comment at a council meeting, please make sure you announce that you are not a resident of Menlo Park.

Your crusade to get the unsightly and obnoxious sign removed from the store at El Camino and Menlo Ave may well be admirable, but your willingness to ignore First Amendment rights in order to achieve that goal certainly is not acceptable.

You new suggestion which really would serve to undermine the efforts of our new City Managerto to correct the problems in our Police Dept. should not be advanced.

I have no interest in attending any "Welcoming Committee" forums, since the Welcoming Committee is not being lead by a resident of Menlo Park.

There are rumors that Mr. Poe, your co-chair, is in the early stages of a campaign to run for council. Is this what this is all about?


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Posted by Baffled
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 5, 2007 at 1:17 pm

Why is Jim Lewis running a shadow city government, issuing press releases and organizing civic events that sound like they're city sponsored, but aren't? Who is this guy?

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Posted by Dick Poe
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 5, 2007 at 9:02 pm

To the anonymous "notinterested"

1. Have the courage to identify yourself when you spread rumors.
2. Do you have any anonymous campaign supporters for me?

Dick Poe

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Posted by James lewis
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 6, 2007 at 10:33 pm

I have previously been a long time resident of Menlo Park, both on Oak Court, just down the street from Mayor Kelly Ferguson's home, and also on Menlo Avenue, just down the street from last year's mayor, Nicholas Jellins. I have worked in Menlo Park for approximately 37 years and have probably spent more "waking" hours here than my present home in Palo Alto.

Globally speaking, I think of myself as a resident of the Planet Earth. Locally, I think of myself as a resident of the BAY AREA, as it is sometimes hard to know when one city ends and another city begins.

Certainly one's residence in ONE CITY get's blurred when considering that REGIONAL SERVICES are needed to live our lives. Consider for a moment a few of the items below, as follows:

1) Health services
2) Educational services
3) Big Box retails services
4) Sports Events

to name just a few. As Hilary Clinton's book title reads IT TAKES A VILLAGE.

Regarding the COMMENTS ABOVE, allow me to ask a few questions, as follows:

1) Why are you hiding behind an anonomous name, such as

a) "Not Interested"; and

b) "Baffled"?

Are you one of the same person, but using different ficticious names? What do you have to hide. How about coming clean and identifying yourself, as Dick Poe and I have OPENLY AND HONESTLY done above?

2) Your remarks above indicate that you have up-to-date and specific knowledge about the situation. Are you a City Council member? Perhaps your true identity can be found by a SEARCH WARRANT of the computer records for this Town Square Forum.

3) What do you have to fear about a Palo Alto resident, who loves the City that he has worked in for DECADES with hopes that one day Menlo Park will aspire to be ONE OF THE BEST CITIES IN AMERICA? Don't you want this too?

In any event, there are big problems in town regarding big solutions by carrying, knowledgable, hard working people, that are positive and professional. Such projects as

1) Filling the vacancies for the El Camino Real car lots;

2) Increasing sales tax and other revenues so that services to the public can be maintained and improved;

3) Solving the dilemma of a severe staffing problem with the POLICE DEPARTMENT and better understanding the dynamics currently underway.

You can suggest that I be run out of DODGE, but before doing that, you ask yourself, WHAT HAVE I DONE FOR THE CITY LATELY? Jim Lewis and Dick Poe have done their part.

Respectfully, Jim Lewis

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Posted by for calm action
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 8, 2007 at 8:23 am

The tone of the notes, including that of Mr. Lewis, seem threatening and angry. Why not turn that energy into something positive and contact the city leadership directly?
There is a weekly forum, called City Council meetings, in which issues can be raised during two open mic periods. The Council also holds priority setting sessions. Are these insufficient? Then talk to the Mayor and to the City Manager. That would be more direct.

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Posted by Community Communication
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 14, 2007 at 12:45 pm

Mark Your Calendars!

It has been suggested that a Town Hall Meeting that is open to the entire Menlo Park community be held as follows:

1) Thursday, November 15, 2007 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm; and

2) Saturday, November 17, 2007 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am.

The Menlo Park City Council Mayor, Menlo Park City Manager and Menlo Park Police Chief will be cordially invited; however, it is not known yet whether they will attend.

Other leaders in the community will also be invited, such as former mayors, the business and corporate community, real estate brokers and most importantly homeowners and renters.

The goal is to make this a relevant, lively, dynamic, informative, helpful, two-way communication on ISSUES OF THE DAY. Any topic about the city will be fair game.

Let us know if YOU'D LIKE TO ATTEND.

It should be fun; refreshments will be served. Location to be announced.


The Welcome Committee
Jim Lewis & Dick Poe, Co-Chairs

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Posted by Just wondering
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 15, 2007 at 4:11 pm

Dick and Jim,

How many members of the Welcome Committee are there, besides the two of you?

Is it open to the public? Are there regular meetings?

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Posted by JustWonderingAlso
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 15, 2007 at 9:48 pm

Whose house will this "event" be held at: Jellins', Duboc's or Winkler's?

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Posted by SeekingAnswers
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 17, 2007 at 8:36 am

Dick and Jim, Are your "Welcome Committee" roles that of the provacateur? If not, could you kindly answer the above questions? The tone of your "invitation" coupled with the mystery surrounding your Welcome Committee envelope your motives with a rank smell. First question I'd like an answer to: What exactly is the Welcome Committee? Come on, you guys, let a bit of sunshine in on this discussion.

Like this comment
Posted by WelcomeToMyCommittee
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 17, 2007 at 11:18 am


My guess is that you are more likely to get answers from Dick Cheney than from the self-appointed MP "Welcome Committee."

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Posted by Dick Poe
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2007 at 10:40 am

The original posting in this string was by Jim Lewis who is a positive, public-spirited member of Menlo Park's business community. He used his name and has offered his hard work and resources to better our community. We are all fortunate to have such generous people in Menlo Park.

I am dismayed that a few sad, pitiful, negative, vitriolic, and notably anonymous postings have tarnished an opportunity for community improvement. They do not merit the dignity of a response.

I hope that other community-minded citizens will identify themselves and offer positive input and civil commentary regarding Jim's proposal.

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Posted by Little Miss
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2007 at 4:24 pm

Would anyone be interested in a little ol' fashioned SUNSHINE?

After all, what could be less NEGATIVE and VITRIOLIC than merely asking for more information about the WELCOME COMMITTEE? Since JIM LEWIS is such a swell guy, why wouldn't he want more people to join his GREAT little club?

Just let us all know WHERE it meets, WHO its other members are, and WHAT purpose it has. I think this has become an important ISSUE OF THE DAY.

Since we're all so FRIENDLY, I think Dick and Jim would be happy to answer these simple questions, for the GOOD OF MENLO PARK.

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Posted by Angie
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 18, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Come on Little Miss, you won, by being so petty. Got to give up your true identity before anyone would invited you to anything, right? People who care about this town and want to discuss public issues and are willing to host an event open to the public, what's so scary about that? By contrast, Menlo Park Tomorrow is a group of citizens who think they run this town, and I'll bet they never invited Mr. Lewis and Mr. Poe. Give up, would you? Or starting insulting me. Thanks in advance.

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Posted by CantHelpButLaugh
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 19, 2007 at 11:33 pm

Here's the "formal" invitation made to the city council by Jim Lewis to attend his and Dick Poe's hootenanny (oops, I mean Town Hall meeting), taken straight off the City Council email page at:
Web Link

Town Hall Meeting

From: <JimLewis_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Sat Oct 13 2007 - 12:49:52 PDT

Honorable Mayor Ferguson, Mayor Pro-Tem Cohen, Council Member Robinson,
Council Member Cline and Council Member Boyle:

As the Welcoming Committee had such a terrific success with 100 or more in
attendance to meet the new Menlo Park City Manager, Glen Rojas, at the LEFT
BANK restaurant on Wednesday, September 19, 2007, from 8 am to 9 am, we would
like to extend a similar CORDIAL INVITATION to you, the City Manager, or his
alternate and the Police Chief, or his alternative to an "ol fashion, informal,

California State Senator Joe Simitian had a similar one recently; and

U. S. Congresswoman, Anna Eshoo is having one today.

These meetings are a part of America as is APPLE PIE.

At your recent Workshop on "goals and priorities" held Wednesday, October 3,
2007 from 3 pm to 6 pm, the above TOWN HALL meeting was discussed. If I
recall, the Mayor respectfully DECLINED the invitation. Another City Council
member felt that if a member of the public wanted to address the City Council,
they were welcome to come during PUBLIC COMMENT #1 or #2. As you know, a
member of the public can ANNOUNCE to the City Council a topic not on the agenda,
but there is no DISCUSSION and certainly not any DECISIONS.

The City Council meetings are also relatively FORMAL, as one stands BEFORE
you, they are on TELEVSION for all to see, as well as COMPUTER streaming. For
some this is very INTIMANATING, INHIBITING, and of course, they are limited
to the INFAMOUS three minutes, or sometimes two minutes.

Obviously, if City Council MAYOR KELLY FERGUSSON won't come, it puts the
staff in a very COMPROMISING position. Afterall, you hire the CITY MANAGER and
the City Manager hires most everybody else.

If you decide NOT TO COME to the TOWN HALL MEETING, and the STAFF feels
awkward enough not to come either, and the POLICE CHIEF, or his delegate, don't
attend either, THAT'S OK.

WE WILL PROCEED ANYWAY - as we feel strong enough about the importance of
offering or hosting this event at this time and in this place.

In the CITY MANAGER'S ABSENCE, we will consider instead sending a CORDIAL

1) David Boesch, the former Menlo Park City Manager (currently with the SMC
Cty. Mgr's. office),
2) Jan Dolan, a former Menlo Park City Manager (currently Scottsdale, AZ
City Manager);
3) David Wheaton, former Menlo Park Assistant City Manager (current Citrus
Heights City Mgr.); and/or
3) Mike Bedwell, a former Menlo Park City Manager.

In the POLICE CHIEF'S ABSENCE, or his delegate, we will consider sending a

1) Chris Boyd, former Menlo Park Police Chief;
2) Bruce Cumming, former Menlo Park Police Chief, and/or
3) A host of Police Officers that have left the force in recent years.

In the Menlo Park City Council MAYOR'S ABENSE, and/or other current COUNCIL
MEMBERS, we will consider sending a CORDIAL INVITIATION to

1) Last year's mayor, Nicholas Jellins;
2) Former mayor Mickie Winkler;
3) Former mayor, Chuck Kinney;
4) Former mayor, Steve Schmidt;
5) Former mayor, Gail Slocum;
6) Former mayor Lee Duboc;
7) Former mayor, Mary Jo Borak; and
8) Former mayor, Paul Collacchi.

The good citizens of Menlo Park I'm sure would rather have in attendance you
folks. Therefore, allow me to

RESPECTFULLY REQUESST that you RECONSIDER, and accept our humble and cordial

I feel strongly that we have a lot to LEARN from one another. TOGETHER
EVERYONE ACHIEVES MORE (TEAM), as some fondly say. It may also be said that THE

This may be a reason why you have citizen volunteer COMMISSIONS, BLUE RIBBON
COMMITTEES, etc. There are many important topics currently before the city.
Please allow for this IMPORTANT area of COMMUNITY COMMUNICATION to take

I look forward to hearing from you, in hopes that you and others from the
Staff and PD will be in attendance.

Jim Lewis
Co-chair, Welcoming Committee
a grass roots, ad hoc citizen based committee

Like this comment
Posted by Jim Lewis
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 20, 2007 at 5:16 pm

Would someone explain to me what in the world is wrong with a good 'ol fashion Town Hall meeting? Isn't effective communication an important element of a democracy?

Perhaps some of the writers above would prefer the "Old Boys Club" of running things, or "behind the scenes" politics? I'm talking about a open, honest, transparent community discussion of any issues the general public wants to talk about.

There is no agenda other than, "let's talk" about whatever is on your mind. "Together everyone achieves more" (team), as the slogan goes. Others say "The Team Approach is the Best Approach".

If some of you feel that a community wide opportunity to talk about city issues is nonsense, perhaps we should instead consider the following:

Let's have a SUMMIT. That is, invite all three school districts, invite the fire department, invite the neighborhood associations, invite others with a vital interest in the welfare of this city to a meeting. It's done on an INTERNATIONAL level, its done at a NATIONAL level. It's done on a REGIONAL level. Perhaps this is the TIME, and this is the PLACE for it to happen on a CITY level.

If you you agree, then I invite you to CHIME IN. If you disagree, I also invite you to CHIME IN. In a democracy, DEBATE is healthy, debate in encouraged and debate is what makes us GREAT.

Like this comment
Posted by Inquiring minds
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 20, 2007 at 6:48 pm

Some of us want to know:

* What's the hidden agenda?

* Why doesn't Mr. Lewis use a spellchecker?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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