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Should the city buy the Park Theatre? Two views from City Council members

Original post made on Nov 1, 2007

<B>Mayor sees it as a good deal for the city

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007, 12:00 AM

Comments (15)

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Posted by what is KF thinking?
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 1, 2007 at 11:30 pm

"magnificent community public theater"
did i miss something? isn't the space to be turned over to a PRIVATE dance studio. In what way is it "community"? When completed, it's not even a theater. No stage, no fixed seating no public access.

"Experts specializing in CEQA and historic buildings"
Whose experts? Did you mean the developer's PAID experts. All experts do is deliver paid OPINION. Lots of opinion out there. didn't our own Menlo Historical society disagree?

"the property's financial quandary"
Nothing special about the plot of dirt that is the Park. Even if the owner does not have the imagination or the guts to make something of his property, it is not the responsibility the city to bail him out. Let him develop on his own funds or sell out to someone who can.

"gaining control of real estate key to El Camino Real revitalization"
how is that suppose to spark a revitalization? The park is a nearly landlocked parcel of half acre with no parking and a very narrow front. There is no scenario in which it becomes a crowning gateway to the city.

private funds restoring a public facility"
You must mean private funds restoring a public facility that is leased out for 55 years in which case the funds are actually TENANT improvement made for HIS OWN USE. after the lease is up, the improvements are worthless to the public.

"dance... ability of that 'use' to generate rent."
lots of things could make that site generate rent. there's nothing sacred or special about that plot of land or that concrete building that is the Park. Let private developers figure it out.

"It temporarily leases the building back to Duncan."
'Temporarily' in this case is 55 years, beyond my lifetime, and about when my elementary school kids become grandparents.

"Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Theater"
MAPAT - 55 days available to the city. Duncan Plan for Park = zero days. 'nuf said.

"Kepler's and Allied Arts re-opened..."
Here's the difference, people with experience as businessmen and real estate in the PRIVATE sector saved Keplers and Allied Arts. The city is not a business, has no experience, and no one on the council with the exception of Boyle seems to have a level head about this deal. Maybe Cline is a business guy, but he sure treats taxpayer money differently than his own.

"public-private partnership"
Partnership come with responsibility and benefits for all partners. We know what benefit Duncan gets. What's the benefit to the public?
And don't give us a bunch of handwaving of "uniqueness", "treasure", etc. etc.

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Posted by nuf said
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 2, 2007 at 7:55 am

Well said, KFT! Get Crittenden to provide a Phase 2 environmental cleanup analysis like most private commercial real estate deals and you'll conclude KF spent too much time under water in the dunk tank.
Was this Halloween midnite posting by da mayor some kind of trick or treat for the taxpayers?

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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 3, 2007 at 11:05 am

Is contaminated land a safe investment?? Is this land a "safe[r] investment" than U.S. Treasuries?

There is no public benefit in taking on this kind of liability. I, and most people agree, think that it is irresponsible to enter into this kind of partnership.

I just don't get it!

Why have professionals run from this building?

I don't think the lock or plumbing guys are going anywhere.

There are so many reasons why this is such a bad idea.

There is a slippery slope here. Get out of negotiations and save face. I wrote an analogy in another thread. I think it is valid.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 3, 2007 at 8:41 pm

Here is a view from a voter:


Don't put Menlo Park in places where it does not belong. Do not volunteer to do things that professionals run from. Especially without consent of all of Menlo Park. You have crossed a line. Ignore the residents of Menlo Park no more. Do not pick and choose which private enterprise will get our tax funds. We do not consent.

Because we have no confidence that this type of autonomous behavior will not happen again... Enough is enough.

Web Link

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Posted by watchee
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 3, 2007 at 10:42 pm

Fergie just posted on the city email blog a half hearted mea culpa.
Maybe her handlers have finally gotten through to her that her political career is history if she doesn't change her demeanor/ attitude?

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Posted by endisnear
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 4, 2007 at 7:48 am

Major announcement to be made on the theater on Tuesday (Nov 6)


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Posted by Not yet forgiven
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 4, 2007 at 7:54 am

I appreciate that our mayor has apologized in public to the commission. When will she apologize to the rest of us for ignoring our input?

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Posted by end is here
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Nov 5, 2007 at 7:28 am

This morning's Daily News says Robinson and Cline nixed the deal.
Curtain has dropped on Duncan, probably soon on Fergusson.

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Posted by can't wait
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 5, 2007 at 9:33 am

That's great news! I wonder why the Almanac didn't get that story.

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Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2007 at 2:35 pm

At 55 years old the Park Theater could qualify as "historic," couldn't it? Someone I know suggested this great idea and I want to share it with all of you. What if the Park Theater became a place to have dinner and show movies, too -- movies that aren't playing anywhere else because they have been around for awhile, and the price of the movie could be included in the cost of dinner. My friend says these "cinema cafes" are very popular back east. One or two nights a week the theater could also showcase local musicians and comedians -- and even live theater. A little Art Deco (or 50's) decor and it could be a great place to spend an evening and also bring people to downtown Menlo Park. How does this sound?

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Posted by FilmFan
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 5, 2007 at 4:59 pm

That really is a grand idea. Don't know if it's economically feasible, though. But certainly an idea worth floating.

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Posted by Pat White
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 6, 2007 at 7:41 am

I posted a comment yesterday.......I don't see it listed, today. Is this more political censorship by the editor? Would hate to take this farther, but I will.
People are tired of you editing (emasculating) their comments for your political agenda!

Like this comment
Posted by chillin' the patrick man
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 6, 2007 at 8:36 am

My man Patrick, it's under the PC (inside analyst) inspired heading of "Park Theatre or Political Theater", "view all posts". I guess the newsies didn't think you should be front page, any more than retired politicians?

Like this comment
Posted by Renee Batti
associate editor of The Almanac
on Nov 6, 2007 at 8:38 am

Renee Batti is a registered user.

Pat, Your comment was not removed. You posted yesterday on the "Park Theater or Political Theater" thread, where your comment remains.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 7, 2007 at 3:08 pm

The Duncan handout deal is done for now. Look at the subcommittee report by Robbinson and Cline. You can find it on Web Link along with other documents.
In the report, there is an interesting little nugget. Fergie and friends have kept the option of "helping" or "partnering" with Duncan again in the near future.

Like I feared, their train doesn't want to stop.

Web Link

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