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Menlo Park: Despite state's grief, city eyes balanced budget

Original post made on Jun 3, 2009

As the state of California struggles to find billions of dollars in budget cuts, the city of Menlo Park finds itself with a nearly balanced budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year — though city staff and City Council members alike note that the long-term forecast isn't so rosy.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 12:00 AM

Comments (20)

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:25 pm

When the Unions are on both sides of the negotiating table they will get everything they want. In effect, there is no negotiation and the people of Menlo Park are now paying city employees 43% more than they should. In November 2010 the voters will have a choice to either vote for runaway salaries and benefits by voting for Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline or voting for two people who will represent the residents of Menlo park rather than the Unions.

Remember what Heyward said on camera at a City Council Meeting "Chief Goitia are they worth it and Chief Gotia replied Absolutely and that was good enough for me".

We can not afford to have City Council members who abrogate their fiduciary responsibility to the residents of Menlo Park. Gail Slocum managed the City Budget better than Heyward and that is not praise.

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Posted by run hank
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Run your mouth or run for office. Please prove once and for all how little support your ideas have in this city, this county, this state and this country.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 5, 2009 at 12:25 am

Notice how the far left wants to censor public opinion differing from their own by making it a requirement to run for public office as a prerequisite for expressing our outrage at our city council's irresponsibility. So much for freedom of speech.

Well I have a job that requires too much of my time. I work to pay taxes so those on the far left can enjoy their cushy jobs in oligopolistic utilities that just go to the State legislature to raid our wallets whenever they need more money or research labs that have a front seat at the Government trough. These people are fresh at the end of the day because their jobs are like paid vacations. Then after loafing all day these Council members go to the Dais where they can squeeze more money from us by lying about the need for the UUT so they can fund egregious pay raises for the SEIU.

Well the residents are finally waking up and our semi-scocialist City Council members will be shown the gate in November 2010. Atlas is about to shrug and the party is over for socialism. We have had enough and we are not going to let these feckless fools destroy our city.

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Posted by Joan
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 5, 2009 at 8:09 am

Hank, Amazing that you were able to write at such length without a blizzard of typos, given that you had only the light of votive candles at your Ayn Shrine. Now if only your thoughts were as unscrambled as your spelling.

Just so you don't think I'm picking on you and trying to rob you of your freedom of speech, I'll concede that there's a germ of truth in your first post on this thread. You say "when the unions are on both sides of the negotiating table they get everything they want." Well, although technically the unions are not on both sides, they may as well be to a certain degree. That's because the city's negotiators include city staff, and even though those city staffmembers are in unrepresented positions, unrepresented staff often if not always get the equivalent (in one recent shameful case, even better) terms in their contracts, including post retirement benefits. So what motivation is there to get out-of-control employee costs back under control?

I reject, however, your often stated claim that some council members are in the pocket of the unions. I just think they've been too willing to go along with staff recommendations rather than think for themselves. But even that blindness may be coming to an end. It's pretty shocking, though, that they still hadn't figured it out by January (?) when they gave the sergeants such a huge salary increase.

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Posted by Does It Get Lonely In The Foxhole?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 5, 2009 at 10:12 am

In reading Mr. Lawrence's latest screeds, its suddenly hit me: He must be a closet enviro, because he certainly acts like one - Always ranting and raving that the world is coming to an end due to alledged evildoers who must be completely eradicated from the face of the earth, while never having anything constructive to contribute and, never oh never, venturing out out his foxhole to actually help try to fashion a viable solution.

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Posted by Same song, 32nd verse
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 5, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Union-bashing, union-bashing, blah blah blah. I'd love to read something new and interesting on a post that mentions town staff or the police, but it's always the same thing: "Evil unions undermining civilization, wah wah wah."

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Posted by Gail Slocum
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 15, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Hank -
As to your comparisons of this year's City budget under Heyward Robinson with 1993's under my Mayorship -- I am guessing that you don't have the foggiest about the budget, or the starting or ending general fund levels in 1993 -- let alone the reserves the COuncil and I instituted back then that are now so critical to our City's positive position relative to other local governments... If you know this data and can provide proper citations, I will give you a nice bottle of wine.

However, it seems pretty ridiculous to even THINK of comparing this past year (the worst recession since the Great Depression) to 1993 in any event. While we had to deal with a modest recession in the early 90's when I first got on the Council, it was nothing like this. A major focus of my attention was the 42 murders in EPA in 1992 (with that made it the FBI's Murder Capital of the Country, and as you will recall there were ZERO murders there in 1993 and we put into place significant plans for economic development and jobs to help fund a better EPA police force. And the dozens of spill-over car jackings and high speed chases that Menlo Park, including my own WIllows neighborhood, suffered in 1992 also came to an abrupt halt in my Mayoral year thanks to a broadbased coordinated regional effort by many including the public as well as the private sector, schools, faith communities and just regular people. I am proud of what we (and I) were able to do working together then -- and fail to see the point of your making narrow comparisons in a vacuum.


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Posted by Hello ... Hank... Hello?
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 16, 2009 at 10:36 am

Isn't this interesting. Hank's boogey-woman -- the one he trashes and ridicules endlessly on this forum -- is talking directly to him, and he's not willing to engage her directly. For once, I actually want to hear from Hank, and the silence is deafening.

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Posted by Myna
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Jun 16, 2009 at 11:27 am

I'd say the silence speaks volumes. Stop poking the hornet's nest and back away quietly.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 16, 2009 at 12:44 pm


I am glad you offered a bottle of wine instead of a glass of your vintage Kool Aid. Yes we are having a recession. This was largely due to the Clinton Administration pressuring banks to give mortgage loans to people who could not afford them. Then when Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae offered to guarantee this worthless paper with the aid of your ACORN buddies who gleefully harassed bankers, Wall Street made the loans knowing they could get rid of those hot potatoes. The end result was that Clinton Hack Franklin Delano Raines made over $94 Million and the taxpayers were left holding the bag. Then you had fine upstanding people Like Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Maxine Waters saying there is nothing wrong with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. As everyone knows now, they all lied- BIG TIME.

As far as the Crime wave is concerned the drop in crime was attributed in part to a multi-agency task force that the East Palo Alto Police Department formed in 1992 with officers from other areas, including Menlo Park, the San Mateo Sheriff's Office and the Highway Patrol. The effort nearly doubled the average number of officers and investigators. Now pay attention Gail, the EPA Police Department formed the task force not you. At least you had the good sense to climb on board and embrace East Palo Alto's good idea. But anyone would have endorsed EPA's plan. It made good sense. So are we supposed to pat you on the back for doing what any reasonable person would do?

Now getting back to Heyward. He rolled over on the union negotiations. Remember what Heyward said on camera at a City Council Meeting "Chief Goitia are they worth it and Chief Goitia replied Absolutely and that was good enough for me". How can you defend Heyward's reckless and irresponsible behavior. We are in a grave recession and you want to advocate a Union Pluto-Kleptocracy?

Well your disciples may bow at your feet but the residents are wising up to you and your ilk and even your great re-election army won't save Heyward and Rich this time. Throw the bums out!

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Posted by Still Flogging A Dead Horse, Eh?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 16, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Talk about Kool-Aid!
8 long years of Bush, but of course it's still all Clinton's fault.
Even PT Barnum couldn't sell that one, Hank!

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Posted by Oh, woe ... Hank... Oh, woe...
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 16, 2009 at 2:49 pm

I must have been drinking some mind-altering substance myself when I said I wanted to hear from Hank. A rational conversation with an ideologue is just too much to hope for, I guess. Oh well, the bright side is that Gail gets to keep that nice bottle of wine for herself.

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Posted by Please Stop
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Jun 16, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Please stop, you guys add nothing, absolutely nothing to our community. You sound like a bunch of school children. Put on some clothes, come out from your mother's basements, and get a job in the real world. Stop blogging senseless garbage! We wonder why Menlo Park is quickly becoming the "ugly redhair stepchild", with ridiculous blogging like this. We're becoming the laughing stock of the peninsula, the only thing that saves us is that we're wedged between Atherton and Palo Alto. Now THAT you bloggers cannot mess up!

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Posted by Gail Slocum
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 16, 2009 at 3:42 pm


Until you answer the specific question I asked, I am holding onto that nice bottle of wine.

Also, I hate Kool-Ade and have neved served it to anyone.

It is easy to critize and be against things, and it is very hard to govern and try to make as many good things as possible happen. If you want to put your ideas to work, I suggest you put out a specific constructive suggestion for every criticism, and, more importantly run for office.

Finally, I rarely have time to check Town Square, and have been appalled at what I am seeing. While I do respect you for using your name when you post, Hank, as I do. HOwever, it seems to me these anonymous postings in Town Square have taken our political discourse down several notches and it's getting worse. I am not "going there." Are you willing to join me in that pledge? I would get you a case of nice California wine if you so pledged and carried through. It would make for a considerably different tone in Town Square. Dare we HOPE?


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Posted by Still Flogging A Dead Horse, Eh?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 16, 2009 at 7:07 pm

"HOwever, it seems to me these anonymous postings in Town Square have taken our political discourse down several notches and it's getting worse."

Uh, Gail, perhaps you should read a little further around this forum, specifically Hank's comments.

Some of us anonymous posters may get down in the gutter, but we're clearly not leading the way down:)

Or, put another way, we're just Letterman to Hank's Sarah Palin.

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Posted by Prima
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jun 17, 2009 at 11:47 am

The problem with free speech is that you have to let everyone speak, even idiots and blowhards. This forum reflects that reality. It would lovely if we could have a calm, thoughtful dialogue amongst intelligent and insightful people, but the reality is that everyone gets a say, no matter how repetitive or pointless.

Solution? Engage with the rational people and ignore the trolls. The trolls are just trying to get a reaction and diatribes against them just make it worse.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 18, 2009 at 7:35 am


You selectively read and retain. I said you did a better job than Heyward in managing the budget. Do you want the City to erect a shrine commemorating your achievement? And [portion removed] I don't say "How High" when you say "Jump". It may work on your naive following who are captivated by your hollow words; but I see them for what they are - a charade to inveigle people into believing that big Government is a good thing.

Our country has flourished in spite of our Government not because of it. But if it gets too big it will choke the greatest economy in the world. The United States will soon be surpassed by the formerly Communist PRC if we don't throw the lefties out. And we will have the far left to thank for our country's decline.

I guess Tom Gibboney doesn't like my choice of wines since he completely deleted my response to you yesterday. [Portion removed] But Gibboney, like most journalists, if you want to call them that, are nothing more than leftist cheerleaders with a romantic notion of utopian socialism.

But as Margaret Thatcher said "The only thing wrong with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money".

Gail, if you want me to stop talking about socialism, then you and your ilk should quit advocating it. If there is no promotion of socialism then there will be no complaints.

Have a happy 50th Birthday.

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Posted by once more, with feeling
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 18, 2009 at 9:26 am

Keep talking, Hank. With every post, you push more voters into the camp with the leftist cheerleaders.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 18, 2009 at 10:01 am

Once more with Feeling,

You seem to have grossly overestimated the number of people who read these blogs. But even those who do are going to be more concerned with the current council's fiscal recklessness than with my or your opinions.

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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2009 at 4:00 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

In HALF MOON BAY the REVIEW cuts the senders names and blocks transmission of email permanently if what you write does not meet their standards. It does not even have to be foul language as long as it does not agree with the editors who have infuriated the town and members are blaming the paper for permitting the HALF MOON BAY BANKRUPTCY which they did not ever acknowledge. The city is furious and blaming the collapse of the town on unreported information.
This is NOT a good time to cut the people who are losing everything out of the picture. The local FREE PRESS had the story of the BANKRUPTCY as a HEADLINE!

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