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Letter: No need for food, beverages at 'paseo'

Original post made on Mar 1, 2012

Reading John Kadvany's guest opinion last week brought a smile to my face and made me wonder if he has an awareness of what businesses are in Menlo Park's downtown.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 12:00 AM

Comments (20)

Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm

My taxes should not be used to protect local businesses from competition. To say no to big box is one thing. But Mark thinks we owe him something for making millions off of our residents over the years. We owe you nothing, Mark. You and everyone should compete for business in a free market.

Posted by looking on
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm

John Kadvanany's ridiculous support of food trucks being allowed in the downtown is jut another indication of how bankrupt the whole Downtown/El Camino propsed specific plan is really.

Supposed to be community driven, it was high jacked by the consultant,with the support of the MP staff. In many circles it is now known as "Cline's Folly", since ex-mayor Richard Cline was the initiator of the whole idea many years, and many many dollars ago. Mayor Cline refused to take any control away from staff and the consultant, when it was obviously in "runaway" mode. At least Rojas is now gone, and he should have gotten this under control.

Mark Flegel is not alone with his view on the subject... talk to any of the merchants in the area. The City Staff continues pushing the plan ... after all it is something from them to do and our silly council, just goes ahead and approves more delays and more money for the consultant.

Posted by Question
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 3, 2012 at 12:11 am

If there are food trucks, will they pay any taxes into City coffers?

Posted by Or Consequences
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Mar 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Truth advocates a handout for the trucks. Do the trucks pay any property taxes? The answer is no. Why does Truth advocate biting the hands that feed the City of Menlo Park?

The brick and mortar stores in Menlo Park are the heart and soul of our downtown. Menlo Park already has a bad reputation in the eyes of the business community. We now have a decaying El Camino Real and Truth wants to destroy what we have left.

We should be thankful for people like Mark Flegel, who has kept a keen eye on the furniture industry and has jettisoned name brands when they compromised on quality. Anything you buy at Flegels will be the best. Flegel has more than paid his dues. So have all the great downtown eateries. Why should the trucks get a property tax break. It would be one thing if we had a paucity of fine restaurants in Menlo Park. But we have a great selection. There is no reason to have the trucks in a location where there is already plenty to choose from.

Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm

The faster we move toward responsible housing near transit, chase out the old guard who are to blame for empty lots and crappy parking systems, the better we will all be. Flegel's contribution in terms of sales tax is but a sliver that can be replaced by a business that serves real people, not Meg Whitman and her buddies.

The specific plan will be the first modern land use planning since 1992.

That is a fact. I cannot speak for folks who just sat there while the downtown area aged beyond the demographics of the town, but at least we have people who show vision and take a stand for something other than Mayberry and some old fable about how it used to be.

Tell me is a $10,000 dining room table family friendly? I think not.

Go council and get this approved and know that Mark will sue the city. You can sue the city when you sell a table for $10,000. But the process has been long and it is right on.

I hope this goes to a vote so we can see yet again how marginal the nay sayers are -- see Gateway. I mean the best part about this is that Mark wouldn't even be able to vote because he lives...out of town with the rest of the old downtown cronies.

Posted by Menlo rocks
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I go to San Mateo to dine on B Street occasionally, though not often as there are a bunch of great restuarants in this area (Flea St, etc...)

When I look at the last year, I found I ended up at Off the Grid (a great collection of trucks at the San Mateo train station on Mondays) just as often as the established restaurants on B Street, even with the fabulous Coppa now open.

Look at Laurel Avenue and their Harvest Nights.

If Mark wants Santa Cruz Avenue to be a ghetto for the high end, then by all means, make it exclusive.

Don't invite folks of all stripes to enjoy the avenue.

Wouldn't want to increase retail traffic if it means some of the hoi polloi might get in... the great unwashed might not buy a table for 20 grand.

Or maybe they do, but want to have a little Off the Grid style fun once in awhile.

His father got it. Mark doesn't.

Nice to get it handed to you, and then pull the ladder up behind you.

What a swell fella. Makes me want to go buy a table.


Posted by Question
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Insults aside: Do food trucks pay ANY taxes into the City coffers?

Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm

With the city wasting $250k a year on a city manager and $160k on his assistant, who cares about making the city money. We need to trim the fat and take some serious austerity measures.

City council pays lobbyists to go against what voters wanted (HSR). It pays consultants tens of thousands of dollars to see if we should pay consultants to do ridiculous studies (ECR).

Enough is enough!

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 3, 2012 at 7:18 pm


family friendly or not, $10,000 tables are being sold at Flegel's. That's $925 in sales tax. Not all of it going to the city, but some of it does. And they don't sell just one table. Where do you think many Atherton residents buy their furniture? A hint, it's not Atherton, it's Menlo Park, Atherton doesn't have any businesses. I'm betting they won't be buying food from trucks in the street either. Those trucks, by the way, that only pay a direct tax to Menlo Park for a business license. Sorry, but I'd rather see businesses actually puting money in the city coffers via sales taxes as the fees for business licenses are negligible.

Posted by Question
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 3, 2012 at 9:08 pm

In the current economic climate, perhaps it is advisable that one of the end results of a multimillion dollar study to spur economic activity in the city, and increase it's "vibrancy", not be to welcome food trucks that operate at tax discount compared to the other businesses they will compete against. It has nothing to do with whether the project is viable, it's just common sense.

Posted by bigger problems
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 4, 2012 at 11:28 am

There are bigger problems with the potential paseo. These include air pollution from food trucks but by far the worst is lost parking spaces for Trader Joe shoppers, bank customers, store and restaurant patrons. One way to kill what does work now downtown is to remove large chunks of parking spaces where they are most needed.
We should be grateful for merchants such as Flegel. Maybe he doesn't pay much in property taxes (what commercial property owner does ANYWHERE in Menlo Park?), but his business generates sales tax revenue.

Posted by Menlo rocks
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 4, 2012 at 11:47 am

The very example of grasping for straws "These include air pollution from food trucks"

Wow. A half dozen trucks.

That many rumble down El Camino in what, maybe every 90 seconds?

If sales tax is the issue, I suppose everyone here is in favor of taxing internet purchases, right? Certainly, Mark is.

As usual, someone makes a good suggestion and the flat earthers on these boards prove Menlo doesn't deserve it. Let the other communities move forward.

Menlo rocks, but only if it doesn't bring more customers into the area, I suppose. Makes one wonder if the various street fairs and events on Santa Cruz would happen with today's mindset if they weren't already in place.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I, having lived many years in Menlo, still living nearby & preferring to spend my $$ whenever possible in SM County, would love it if there were food trucks. This is because I look at the paseo in terms of diversity, drawing in people w/varying needs & having MP meet those needs. I'm tired of the restuarants Mark mentions. It'd be fun to experiment w/goodies from food trucks, & there don't have to be as many as at Edgewood Eats. For those not interested, there are plenty of walk in dining establishments in that area.

Looking just in terms of capturing taxes is wrong, imo. Sure, it's part of the overall picture & an important one. But please, pay attention to what those who'd go would want. So that's why I'm voicing my opinion. I also have shared this article w/several friends from Menlo, incl 1 who lives downtown & 2 others that live in neighboring towns. They ALL said food trucks would be fun - & these are people who also are loyal to long time MP restaurants. A couple of them have even bought furniture at Flegel's. Menlo can move w/the times AND keep the classic.

Posted by Question
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Where does one factor "cool" and "hip", to offset the tax discount the food trucks will receive, in the City's revenue calculations, as the City tries to balance the budget and continue to provide services after the state's ending of RDA funding?

Posted by bigger problems
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm

yes, air pollution. Who would want to sit or eat next to an idling truck?

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2012 at 7:11 pm

The trucks don't sit at idle. they shut the engine off. They use propane to cook and ice to cool. No polution from idling trucks.

Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 4, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Reading Mark Flegel's commentary actually brought a smile to my face. [Portion removed. Please discuss the topic without attacking someone who has another view.]

Comparing sit down restaurants such as Ann's Coffee Shop and Le Boulanger to food trucks where one can pick up a quick bite illustrates his lack of understanding. Reading The Almanac,there always seems to be stories every few months regarding new businesses coming into Menlo Park to the vocal objections of either Flegel's, Draegers, Keplers or Beltramo's and I find such objections do not reflect well on these establishments in an area rife with so much free enterprise.

Posted by Mp resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 4, 2012 at 8:33 pm

1950's are gone guys...tastes and residents change. It's too bad only those that are retired have time to complain at these meetings. I think the town needs to modernize. Maybe just a bit here old timers...I have lived here for 30+ years and for one would love to have a vibrant downtown.

Posted by Part of the 99%
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2012 at 8:53 pm

[Post removed. Please don't use Town Square to speculate about what someone's preferences are.]

Posted by Question
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Is it possible for people to make substantive comments on the forum without insults.

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