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Stanford offers $124 million in 'community benefits' for hospital expansion

Original post made on Jun 18, 2009

New bike lanes, an expanded shuttle service and a $23.1 million payment for affordable housing are all items the Stanford University Medical Center is offering to Palo Alto in exchange for the city's permission to expand its hospital facilities.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 12:56 PM

Comments (22)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 18, 2009 at 1:02 pm


Take the $124 million and buy a big parcel in Redwood City - they will welcome you with open arms. And then move the whole Medical Center there, de-annex the current Medical center from Palo Alto and use that land for academic purposes.

Palo Alto will never stop its short-sighted extortion.

Former Executive Director of the Stanford University Medical Center and former Palo Alto Planning Commissioner.

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Posted by Gail Slocum
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 18, 2009 at 2:36 pm

This begs the question of WHAT DOES MENLO PARK GET? -- Considering that much of the traffic impact falls on Menlo Park (including as a result of Palo Alto's refusal to let cars cross over ERC at Alma into North P.A.), Menlo Park should be getting something as well, even though we don't get to be the lead agency approving the expansion.

Gail Slocum
Former Mayor of Menlo Park

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Posted by 900 lb gorilla
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 18, 2009 at 3:19 pm

bupkiss, Gail, and I'll have some of that wine since Hank doesn't seem to want it.

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Posted by Ward Rodriguez
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Jun 18, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Traffic from 280 via Alpine, Sand Hill, and Page Mill: It seems to me that they are presently near the saturation point during critical commute hours. In what way did the Stanford proposal address this issue? Go Passes?

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Posted by Roger Potash
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 19, 2009 at 10:11 am

With regard to Mr. Carpenter's comment, there are two new Stanford Medicine Buildings located in Redwood City facing Hi 101 in the old Ampex site. That Stanford will and can pay this large a sum to Palo Alto indicates the significance of the hospitals' expansion to the Medical School, both in supporting teaching of the next generation of doctors as well as providing state-of-the-art health care to the greater community. Having just toured the new additions at LPCH, one comes away with a sense of awe and pride at the level of commitment by the medical staff, and the scope of the medical technologies that these hospitals encompass.

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Posted by 900 lb gorilla
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 19, 2009 at 10:23 am

Stanford wants to remake our communities to serve their own purposes. I am sure their new facilities are just beautiful -- thanks to the foresight of the Stanfords in acquiring so much land, Stanford has to be among the richest universities in the world. They seem to have money to spend (or waste) on whatever they want. (When's the last time you heard of a school that had enough money to rip out a perfectly serviceable stadium and construct a new one in record time?)

Of course we're not going to see a penny from this, and 99.99% of us would be just as well served by a local hospital that could handle most medical issues rather than a monolith that is trying to win international acclaim and fame.

The major fallout for us will be the traffic. Santa Clara County has been giving the university a hard time because of the traffic it generates, and the university already offers many incentives to employees who commute via bike or take the train. The Marguerite system is excellent and underutilized (wish that we had such amazing local transit throughout the peninsula). Most employees still want to drive.

My prediction: a renewed effort to create an expressway that slices through the southern section of Menlo Park as Stanford seeks new ways to get people to 101 and 280. Sure, it might adversely affect a few thousand of us, but aren't we worth sacrificing in the face of Stanford's relentless ambitions?

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Posted by And There You Have It
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jun 19, 2009 at 12:15 pm

THAT is the reason we have what we have in Menlo Park. When individuals like "900 lb gorilla" continue to bash the #1 reason there is a town called Palo Alto, and the #1 reason there is an area of the world called Silicon Valley, they exclude all the good that Stanford does, and continues to do, like supply jobs, wealth, tax dollars, opportunity, good will etc. A little inconvienence like traffic is a very, very, very small price to pay for what Stanford brings.
We have to calm down the bashing Stanford rhetoric. I am not a graduate from the school, I don't work there, I have no affiliation. However, I do recognize the importance of it's being. No other "thing" or corporation or government agency is remotely close to what Stanford gives us in benefits. Please stop the ridiculous envy, and be grateful for them being so involved in our community!

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Posted by menlo parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 19, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Response to Gorilla -- (When's the last time you heard of a school that had enough money to rip out a perfectly serviceable stadium and construct a new one in record time?)

How about Hillview? Tearing down an entire campus, some of it recently constructed, to rebuild it on the field? Crazy.

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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

For what is proposed the amount of money seems wisely spent and I think the bottom line is that most people who carry on like wounded pigs, are not happy with the "affordable housing" part.
It strikes them as inviting illegals and all the really stupid and objectionable attitudes the "barely got ins" feel when they think their property values will decrease.
Nurses,young doctors, and new employees need housing and it is not a luxury but a necessity. Stanford remains one of the best run hospitals and research centers in the country and not part of a real estate scam.

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Posted by 900 lb gorilla
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 19, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Uh, did I mention affordable housing? That's Palo Alto's problem anyway, and you're posting on a forum that's frequented by MP/Atherton residents. They're discussing this same topic on the Palo Alto Town Square, so maybe you want to go over there and knock a few heads together?

Menlo Parent, the only "new" building on the Hillview campus is the multi, which is about 10 years old. It will remain intact throughout the construction. If you send your children to Menlo, you may not be aware that Hillview is in rather sad shape -- it was originally constructed in the 50s, I believe. The district was faced with the challenge of upgrading the facility to accommodate a 50% increase in students while continuing to operate a school. I don't think they had any viable choice other than to build on the current field.

The construction for all four schools was financed by a $91 million bond, Measure U, passed by the voters. Stanford doesn't have to have its projects approved by any democratic process, which is why they can tear down buildings all over the place and build new ones. $50mm parking lot? Not a problem.

Remember that the founders located the university in this part of the world because of its many natural amenities. This was a desirable community before Stanford ever existed! For decades, Stanford has been a more or less benign neighbor, but it's becoming increasingly aggressive and selfish. The attitude seems to be: if you don't like it, move. Time to put a stop to their Napoleonic aspirations!

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 20, 2009 at 10:57 am

In one of my rare concurrences I agree with Gail. Menlo Park will be greatly affected by the New Hospital traffic and we will have nothing to show for it.

However all the recent councils, with the exception of the Duboc-Jellins-Winkler council had very antagonistic relationships with Stanford. And schadenfreude carried the day with regard to Stanford.

So, why did Stanford wait until the reasonable Duboc-Jellins-Winkler council was elected to propose the Rosewood Hotel? It was because other councils would have made it impossible for this project to go forward. So when this small window of opportunity opened, the respsonsible Duboc-Jellins-Winkler Council, seeing what a boon this would be to the Coumnunity, unlike previous councils, worked rather than battled with Stanford and now we have this wonderful hotel resort.

YOU CAN BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR THAT THIS PROJECT WOULD HAVE BEEN REJECTED OUT OF HAND WITH THE CURRENT COUNCIL. They would not have allowed any office space and the project would have been a money loser for Stanford. Admittedly office space does not benefit the city. But the City need to know the meaning of compromise and engage in negotiations where both sides get substantially what they want. The current Council has this attitude that "its my way or the Highway". It would rather get nothing then engage in a meaningful compromise. This is rather myopic on its part and re-electing Robinson and Cline will further vitiate Menlo Park's good will with the community at large.

If we can get councils elected who are willing to work with Stanford rather than reveling in "sticking it" to that fine institution, then perhaps Stanford would should its appreciation. But the the Duboc-Jellins-Winkler Council, is the only council in recent Menlo Park history that has been willing to work with Stanford.

I don't blame Stanford for not offering Menlo Park any money. We, as a city, have treated Standord egregiously. We need to change our ways and a change out of Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline in November 2010 will go a long way towards rehabilitating our fractured relationship with Stanford and the rest of the community. Menlo Park deserves better.

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Posted by 900 lb gorilla
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 20, 2009 at 11:53 am

Way to sidetrack the topic so as to lavish praise on former council members who went down to ignominious defeat because most people in town couldn't stand them! Some of us haven't forgotten (by the way) that the Rosewood was a complete surprise to the council -- they may have approved it, but they had nothing to do with bringing it to the city.

Stanford will never pay us a cent that they don't have to pay. They are only offering PA money because they need PA's approval. Unless/until they touch their properties in our city, they don't need anything from us, nor will they give us any thing. Your beloved former council proved to be such shrewd negotiators that they allowed Stanford to build the Rosewood without getting much quid pro quo. Those empty car dealerships could be soccer fields if LMN were half as competent as their PA counterparts (see: page mill@el camino).

Any productive thoughts on this hospital project? Any opinions at all? Or just a desire to bash council members that your fellow MP residents seem to like quite a bit?!?

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm

I like the 900 lb Goriila's revisionism. We are getting a huge bonus from the Rosewood Hotel in Occupancy Tax. We would not be getting any occupancy tax under the current council becuase it would have insisted on no office buildings and that would have killed the deal.

With the exception of John Boyle this council does not have a clue on how to negotiate.

The reason Winkler and Duboc were not re-elected was that the SEIU in conjunction with the Slocum crowd engaged in a mean spirited disinformation campaign the Goebbels would have been proud of.

And this is the reason that Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline will not be re-elected. We are tired of the arrogant SEIU sycophants running this town and come November 2010 we will elect people who put the residents interests first and foremost.

Do Svidanya SEIU

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Posted by 900 lb gorilla
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 21, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Nope, sorry Hank, but Lee and Mickie were their own worst enemies. The residents of Menlo Park were tired of coming to council meetings and presenting their concerns, only to be met with knowing smirks by the ruling triumvirate. Everyone in town knew that the trio relied on behind-the-scenes deals to make their decisions, and that those decisions were made before the meetings even started. So much for transparency and accountability.

Sure, the unions had (and have) their own interests. They are an undeniable factor in this town, and why shouldn't they be, since they represent so many city employees? A savvy council knows how to work with the unions rather than alienating them. If nothing else, Mickie/Nicky/Lee proved that putting your hands over your ears and crying nah nah will not help the city, its residents, the unions...or the councilmembers that engage in such pointless tactics.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jun 21, 2009 at 7:56 pm

The 900 lb gorilla has accused Jellins, Winkler & Duboc of violating the Brown Act. Gorilla you have evidence to back it up? If so present your evidence or offer Jellins, Winkler and Duboc an apology for libeling them.

As far as the Unions are concerned, the only ones destroying the economy are the Government Employee Unions. The Trade Unions should jettison their alliance with employee Unions. With the trade Unions you get skilled employees oerforming quality work at a reasonable price. With the Government Unions you get employees being paid 43% above market rates with benefit 63% above market rates This is causing cities throught the State to declare bankruptcy. We can't afford the SEIU anymore.

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Posted by Ken
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jun 22, 2009 at 10:25 am

Pretty big leap to say "gorilla" has accused JW&D of violating the Brown Act, Hank. "Behind the scenes" doesn't mean they were meeting with one another, which would be a violation.

We can afford the SEIU -- probably couldn't afford not to have it. What we can't afford is weak leadership by city officials who are supposed to strike the best deal possible to serve the public's interest. We haven't had that for a while. We've had leaders who have tried to work within a broken system. The system -- which includes the union -- needs fixing. But it would be foolish to throw out the baby with the bath water.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 22, 2009 at 12:49 pm

The SEIU unionized City workers in 2000. The City of Menlo Park thrived quite nicely without the SEIU before 2000. All the SEIU has done is caused the cost of labor and benefits to soar way beyond the City's ability to acculate revenues. The SEIU has been an extreme burden on the city. In fact, it is unequivocably the greatest financial burden on the City.

Future budgets will have increasing percentages allocated to paying lavish benefits and retirement crowding out the City's ability to sustain a viable workforce that can address the City's needs. The SEIU has caused this imbalance.

The statement we couldn't afford not to have the SEIU is the most preposterous nonsense I have ever heard.

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Posted by Why Unions?
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 22, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Why honestly is there a need for the SEIU, I mean seriously? Is it such a bad work environment? Are the work hours over the top? Are they employing minors? Is there
asbestos in the buildings they are working in?(that's right there is an OSHA) Are the salaries and benefits that low (before the SEIU) that we needed the SEIU to attract good people for higher salaries? I think not. Before the SEIU, Menlo Park was doing very well, with attracting good people, and doing a great job servicing the needs of the taxpayer. That's the job, that's why these individuals work for the city. I ask again, WHY is there a union? I think Arnold is asking that question himself, and every tax payer in this state should start asking this question. Nothing hurts more than to be overpriced, and to be charged way too much for a service, for something you can pay less. If this keeps up, sub-contracting work out will replace the city workers. Thank you SEIU.

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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 22, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Did the local NRA Republicans just circulate a letter writing email campaign?

How many different threads are you guys going to do this with?

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Posted by Ken
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jun 23, 2009 at 11:18 am

Yes, let's get off the union-bashing and talk about this issue. We're going to be affected big time by this, folks. Gorilla's concern that there'll be "a renewed effort to create an expressway that slices through the southern section of Menlo Park as Stanford seeks new ways to get people to 101 and 280" seems legitimate to me. The community really needs to get involved in this matter before we're done to and done for.

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Posted by observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 28, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Menlo Park should immediately start on a research effort to pave the way for a challenge to the EIR. The Medical center is right on our border and traffic mitigations, housing mitigations and other impacts must be dealt with here as well as in Palo Alto.

Enough of this pampering of Stanford. They treat us like peons. They shift workers to the SRI campus to avoid traffic impacts in Santa Clara County. Same is true of the new clinics at the old Excite@home facility in Redwood City and apparently planning much more expansion in Redwood City. Menlo Park is caught in the middle.

Much of this could have been stopped if ex-mayor Steve Schmidt had not given away expansion of the bridge for some bicycle lanes. Boy are we glad he is no longer a factor in Menlo Park politics. He did have help from Kinney as well. Really a stupid decision with which we must live forever.

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Posted by Why Unions?
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 29, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Thank you Stanford for being a great neighbor and supplying us with jobs, tax revenue, opportunities for entertainment, a great medical facility and a reason to be proud to live so close to one of the WORLD'S greatest universities. And, I am not even a graduate!!

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