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A Measure M debate: council control

Original post made on Sep 16, 2014

Measure M includes a provision requiring voters to approve any changes to what the measure puts into place, as well as any projects that would exceed nonresidential development caps. The Almanac asked two former Menlo Park City Council members about the wisdom of shifting the decision-making on land-use policy to the voters and out of the hands of the council. Their responses are below.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 12:00 AM

Comments (202)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Robinson states - " Measure M does not take away the council's ability or obligation to manage development within our community."

Clearly he has not read or does not understand Measure M:

"NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City’s ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting “YES” on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. The entire text of the proposed definition or standard to be repealed, or the amendment proposed to any such definition or standard, shall be included in the sample ballot materials mailed to registered voters prior to any such election.

Consistent with the Planning and Zoning Law and applicable case law, the City shall not adopt any other new provisions or amendments to the Policy Planning Documents that would be inconsistent with or frustrate the implementation of the voter-adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, absent voter approval of a conforming amendment to those voter-adopted provisions. "

What is not clear about this language in Measure M?

Measure M is poorly worded, unvetted and not even understood by its most ardent supporters. They have created a Monster that they are trying to sell as a Mouse.

M NO.


6 people like this
Posted by wake up
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 16, 2014 at 4:58 pm

In the Menlo Park pipeline is 2 million square feet of office development.
850,000 SF Bohannon Approved by MP voters
260,000 SF Sobrato Approved by current council 2 weeks ago.
400 000 SF Stanford & Greenheart on ECR proposed and current council wants to approve them
027 000 SF Hunter/Beltramo on ECR Approved and built.
430 000 SF Facebook Approved and under construction
1,967,000 SF TOTAL
60 acres just purchased by Facebook for how many SF of office? We do not know.

State and Regional Housing mandates (ABAG) will force us to find 5,000 housing sites in Menlo Park or we lose all transportation money for our roads, shuttle busses, possible undercrossing at Middle Ave.

We do not need all this office. We need retail. Stanford only has to provide 10,000 SF of retail in its 400,000 SF development, thanks to the three incumbents running for another term. Greenheart talks of 23,000 retail but has told the City, it may not work so they will have bank or real estate offices on the ground floor of their development. The General Plan calls for retail on ECR.

Peter Carpenter has no dog in this fight. He lives in a gated community in Atherton, a town that allows no offices or retail. Ignore him.

We do not want Menlo Park to turn into an Office Park, like Sunnyvale. VOTE YES ON MEASURE M


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 16, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@wake up

Are you planning on posting the same thing on every blog?

Roy


4 people like this
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 16, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"Are you planning on posting the same thing on every blog?"

First, Roy, while almanacnews.com does host blogs this isn't one of them -- it's a Town Square forum thread or topic. I make the distinction because I'm not certain whether you object to the specific location of the repeat comments or merely the repetition itself. Second, and far more salient, it would take @wake up several weeks of near-constant posting to even begin to equal the repetitive comments made by your comrade-in-arms, Peter Carpenter. The "Carpenter Manifesto," easily four or more times the length of @wake up's comment, has graced this forum no less than 100 times, I'm guessing, which, if I may be blunt, was about 98 times too many. So if you have an issue with repetition you'd best speak with Peter first.

@Wake up, nice comment -- please continue to post it.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - I only post unanswered questions. The problem is that the Measure M supporters refuse to answer any questions. They are hoping for a low turn out election in which the voters are uniformed and only their zealots vote. That is not going to happen.

Democracy demands informed voters.

Measure M has chosen ignorance at its ally.

Measure M is a Mistake.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 16, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@gern,

Thanks for the update.

Your post, as the is the norm, a content free one.

My point was that this poster didn;t even retype it, change a line, comma, or period.

Roy


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 16, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Gern:

do you have anything of value (factual) to add to the conversation?


1 person likes this
Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 16, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Measure M does not affect the council's ability to modify just about everything in the Specific Plan.

Carpenter's quote fails to refer to the very limited few things that Measure does affect -- what counts as project open space, the non-residential and office caps, and per-project amount of office (affects only the few sites larger than 3 acres). The Measure does not affect the rest of the council's authority and duty to administer zoning and planning.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"the very limited few things that Measure does affect -- what counts as project open space, the non-residential and office caps, and per-project amount of office (affects only the few sites larger than 3 acres). "

Wrong - Read Measure M. Measure M freezes 9 definitions as well as places a meaningless 100,000 sq ft cap on a single project when NONE of the existing parcels in the Specific Plan area would be allowed under the Specific Plan to have that much sq footage. Measure M ensures that these existing parcels would be built with uncoordinated slab sided, non balconied buildings all requiring separate ECR access and with no public benefits.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 16, 2014 at 9:35 pm

fact:

have you actually READ measure M or are you just parroting the Lanza/Fry BS? You keep repeating the same nonsense which anyone that has read the measure and has a modicum of intellect can discern that what you are saying is false.


1 person likes this
Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 17, 2014 at 7:43 am

PC - Measure M adopts the same amount of non-residential and office square feet that was assumed all through the Specific Plan process to be what happens over the THIRTY YEARS of the Plan's intended life. Measure M does not reduce that amount. It does affect the amount of office on a few sites so that the Plan vision of balanced growth can occur. The truth is that the 100,000 SF office limit affects only properties that are 3 acres or larger. Stanford's site, Greenheart, Big 5 and Safeway shopping centers. Do the math.
Balconies are good. They just shouldn't be counted as project open space, which was intended to provide separation between buildings, green areas on the ground. That was an explicit tradeoff made by the community for taller buildings. The change in definition, which was not in the draft plan, violated that tradeoff and Measure M corrects this.

MV - yes I have read Measure M many times and I have read the Specific Plan. You keep ignoring that all Plan definitions (including open space and office) are subject to review and interpretation by staff so if there is any confusion about interpretation or about new uses, they are authorized to decide. Done. End of story. See page H3 of the Plan.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 17, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Fact:

if you've read it then you are aware as has been repeatedly posted here that any changes to the plan after the passage of measure M REQUIRE A VOTE.

"NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City's ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. The entire text of the proposed definition or standard to be repealed, or the amendment proposed to any such definition or standard, shall be included in the sample ballot materials mailed to registered voters prior to any such election.

Consistent with the Planning and Zoning Law and applicable case law, the City shall not adopt any other new provisions or amendments to the Policy Planning Documents that would be inconsistent with or frustrate the implementation of the voter-adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, absent voter approval of a conforming amendment to those voter-adopted provisions. "

Just what is it about "NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL" don't you understand?

Constantly repeating the same lie doesn't make it the truth. Changes cannot be made by staff or council. It's in your own measure. STOP LYING ABOUT IT!


5 people like this
Posted by George C Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 17, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Blaming Measure M for the failures of the Specific Plan is the height of absurdity. Measure M, if voter-adopted, by its express terms only requires future voter approval for repeal or amendment to “the voter-adapted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3 of Measure M.” Those standards and definitions are succinctly stated in Menlo Park’s Impartial Analysis of Measure M by Gregory W. Stepanicich, Special Legal Counsel for the City of Menlo Park.

“The Measure amends the open space definition and standards in the Downtown Specific Plan to require open space areas to be no more than four (4) feet in height in order to satisfy the minimum open space requirements. The Measure mandates that office space in any individual development project not exceed 100,000 square feet and caps the total net new office space approved after July 12, 2012 at 240,820 square feet. The Measure retains the overall cap of 474,000 square feet for all net new non-residential development in the Downtown Specific Plan area. The Measure also retains the existing cap of 680 residential units. The Measure readopts specified definitions and standards in the current down town Specific Plan relating to open space and office space.”

Measure M does not prevent city council fixing problems caused by the Specific Plan such as limiting medical office space or big box retail, restraining blight, dealing with residential, or anything else not covered by section 3 of Measure M.

The Specific Plan has come down to two Projects, Stanford and Greenheart, with a total new development under Measure M, of over 400,000 square feet of office space, over 90% of their total non-residential space.

Certainly each could accomplish whatever it wanted to accomplish, including servicing embryonic start up entrepreneurs or landscaping their premises, with 100,000 square feet of office space. This is well in excess the 65,000 square feet of Safeway, or almost double the size of the Survey Monkey building.

City documents, including the Lisa Wise Consulting Report, the City’s transportation documents, including its Transportation Impact Analysis Guidelines (TIA), its Circulation System Assessment (CSA) document, its bae urban economics Final Background economic Trends report of April 30, 2014, the Strategic Economics, Fiscal Impact Analsis (FIA) of July 28,2011, amended August 31, 2011, the Specific Plan EIR, and the W-Trans March 7, 2014 report on Stanford traffic, all demonstrate that Measure M is helpful and not harmful in many areas. Opponents of Measure M don’t cite reports only report scare tactics, such as blight, big box retail, more traffic, medical offices, lawsuits, harm to schools and finances, etc. Examining the documents finds just the opposite. Measure M by limiting office space is a big help to finances, traffic, schools, and more importantly to the balanced growth and vibrant community we all seek.

More retail and hotel space is needed to generate sufficient revenues to salvage the Specific Plan Fiscal Impact Analysis (FIA), which is based primarily on such revenues $2.5M out of $3.8M per year (only $741,000 property tax) and included $477,000 per capita revenue, but no impact fees. As the Lisa Wise Consulting report (LWC) pointed out, Property taxes are neutral whatever the space (page 5-4), so more property tax is not generated by one use over another. In fact LWC expressly stated that the only significant variables to General Fund Revenues and Expenditures are Sales Tax from Retail, and Transit Occupancy Tax from Hotel, both of which are displaced by 400,000 square feet of office space. Any statement that $5M/year is lost to city schools and fire district is false. No impact fees are in the FIA, but are not claimed by City Council to offset lost sales tax and tot revenues.

According to the city's Circulation System Assessment (CSA) document, El Camino Real Office space use directs 3 out of every 4 traffic trips through Menlo Park to reach 280, 101, 84, and the alameda/junipero serra. These direct cut through trips are in addition to cut through traffic caused by congestion to El Camino Real, Middle, Ravenswood, Middlefield, and Willow. More traffic will be headed in/ out Avy and in/out Monte Rosa to reach Sand Hill and 280. The Specific Plan EIR reported significant impacts on 14 Menlo Park roadway segments, and 15 intersections, which could not be avoided by mitigation. The City council waived these environmental impacts due to the superseding benefits of the Specific Plan. Who knew these benefits would be limited to owners of two projects, Greenheart and Stanford. Whatever benefits from those two projects are not worth impacts on 14 roadways and 15 intersections.

More importantly the impacts found by the Specific Plan EIR did not include traffic through the neighborhoods resulting from office space. As found in the W-Trans report for Menlo Park on Stanford Traffic of March 10, 2014, the specific routes analyzed were not those locally used, but only based on regional transportation routes, such as El Camino Real and Santa Cruz Avenue [Santa Cruz Avenue?] (page 9). That report found that Middle avenue traffic from Stanford would increase over 528 trips a day, although the Specific Plan EIR had only found an increase of 222 trips a day from the entire specific plan area (only 87 trips from the Stanford project). AM peak hour traffic on Middle increased from 4 trips to to 63 trips, and pm increased from 9 to 67. (p.10). The city has not yet released the Stanford Cut through traffic report, which it contracted for over a year ago.

The bae Urban Economics Back Ground Economic Trends Report for the City of Menlo Park, of April 30, 2014 to Jim Cogan, Economic Director, reported, page 27, on a city wide basis Menlo Park now has 30,890 jobs, however only 11 percent are held by 3,440 Menlo Park residents, and 12,010 commute out to other locations. The remaining 27,450 Menlo Park workers commute in from residences elsewhere. Wow, just imagine what another 400,000 square feet of office space on ECR will bring.

El Camino Real per the Specific Plan EIR had 38,000 trips per day. Now between Middle and the San Fransquito bridge, and before building the Stanford Project, ECR has 47,000 trips per day. City Council should have examined and solved that problem, before doubling free zoning under the Specific Plan. Now it must do so, and after helped by limiting office space under measure M, must act to limit other traffic.

No revenues are lost by limiting office space, only the possibility of increased revenues gained. Less Office space means less ABAG pressure for additional residential units. Schools are not adversely impacted by Measure M, either in lost revenues or more students. See FIA analysis above.

One of the more interesting claims by the defensive postured City Council, is that Measure M is not “vetted” but the specific plan has been thoroughly vetted. Utter Nonsense! City council ignored the plea of the fire district prior to adoption of the plan to include the entire station 6 either in the plan area or out, intentionally leaving it half in and half out. Not a big problem to solve but and example of unvetting. The Specific Plan did not require retail or hotel or reasonably limit office space, creating the present exploitation causing city council persons shock and loss of trust in Stanford. The Specific Plan amalgamated office, retail, and hotel uses in a blanket square footage limit, knowing the city’s TIA, FIA, CSA, all consider each use independently and such uses are not fungible. Apparently City council is now afraid of big box retail, medical office space, loss of sales or use taxes, blight, all of which can be fixed and each of which would not have been a problem if the Specific Plan were properly vetted. (14 roadways and 15 intersections significant impacts accepted without proper vetting!)

What value to Menlo Park are these two office space projects to cause so much defensive posturing by the City Council and development sycophants? What happened to Retail, Hotel, vibrancy, balanced growth and why should they be sacrificed for 400,000 square feet of office space on a congested area in plots landlocked by railroad tracks and creeks? No wonder voters seek limited control of maximum new development after adapting what was studied, analyzed and reported to be 30 years limits on non-residential space growth in the Specific Plan Area, while allowing City Council to do its job, unrelated to controlling office space, which it abandoned. City Council abandoned residents by usurping any participation by them in the subcommittee sham last August. City Council would be better off now getting to work, rather than all gathering together to support each other’s reelection and oppose measure M, which simply beneficially limits office space, in the coming election.

In Summary for the reasons stated above, as demonstrated by the City’s own documents and consultants:

Measure M decreases Traffic
Measure M means more revenues, not less
Measure M limits office space
Measure M benefits Schools

City Council must fulfill its responsibilities for balanced growth, sales tax and TOT revenues and otherwise fixing an unvetted specific plan: City Council may limit big box retail, medical offices, blight, fire station issues, and other specific plan problems, which is their responsibility, notwithstanding measure M. Incidentally it is hard to imagine a city in Silicon Valley unable to simply remedy a blight nuisance, other than by giving away hundreds of millions of dollars of development rights.

We should get together and work constructively now to help City Council implement the Specific Plan Vision. Measure M will be a big help by limiting office space, but more, much more, is needed.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 17, 2014 at 6:18 pm

"Measure M decreases Traffic"

Sorry, BS.

"Measure M means more revenues, not less"

More BS

"Measure M limits office space"

Even more BS

"Measure M benefits Schools"

PhD level BS


3 people like this
Posted by kay
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 18, 2014 at 11:53 am

(we shall certainly hear more from Mr. Carpenter who believes in growth at all costs.)

Measure M is doubtless not the best possible way to slow down the overgrowth of Menlo Park, but it seems to be the only route now available -- better than doing nothing to prevent it... and wringing our hands when the harm is done. so I vote for M.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 18, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@kay

They can still build the EXACT same amount of square footage (or maybe more since they are legally allowed), it will just be higher traffic occupants. We will have less control over their building (since the City Council can't horse trade for public benefit anymore)

So how does this slow down growth. Measure M backers are delusional. And to boot Menlo Park will lose tens of millions of $$ whilst we wait.......oh joy.

M is a Mistake
Vote NO on Measure M

Roy Thiele-Sardina


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 18, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Measure M is simply a ploy to stop development in Menlo Park and to discourage new investors in our community regardless of the outcome in November.

Measure M has already STOPPED the Stanford, Greenheart and fire station projects - what are the costs to the community of such delays even if Measure M fails?


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"Measure M is simply a ploy to stop development in Menlo Park and to discourage new investors in our community regardless of the outcome in November."

Let's see, the Roger Reynolds property will get 27 new homes (love them or loathe them), 1283-1295 El Camino Real will be combined to create 19 housing units and ~1900 s.f. of commercial space (Web Link), and we learned a short time ago that the newly-renovated office building at 200 Middlefield Road in Menlo Park sold for an astounding $50.025 million dollars (Web Link), or about $1,193 per square foot so, yes, no one in his or her right mind will ever invest in Menlo Park again, Peter.

But such are the vagaries of Peter's wavering position round Measure M: one week he's preaching the doom of all investment in our town and the next he's prognosticating maximum housing buildout and/or 99,000 s.f. office towers on El Camino Real -- nothing is too outrageous, truly, so long as it scares the electorate.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern beautifully points out the value of DEVELOPED property in Menlo Park - after all the uncertainty created by things like the midnight scrapping of the Specific Plan by Measure M.
Do you think anyone would pay that kind of money for a vacant parcel in the Specific Plan area?
Even people who already own vacant property in the Specific Plan area have put their plans on hold solely because of Measure M - Stanford, Greenheart and the Fire District have all publicly confirmed their decisions to do just that.

The Stanford and Greenheart properties offer unique opportunities, as recognized in the Visioning process and the Specific Plan, for doing something truly unique. Measure M would, because of its ill conceived language, literally force Stanford and Greenheart to either do nothing (the hidden desire of many Measure M supporters) or to build 8-10 uncoordinated separate projects (the likely outcome) with no balconies, all surface parking and no public benefits.

Measure M is a huge Mistake.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 18, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"Do you think anyone would pay that kind of money for a vacant parcel in the Specific Plan area?"

[portion deleted] Peter, you ignore the fact that the Roger Reynolds property and 1283-1295 El Camino Real, both of which are in the DSP area, will be scraped, will at some point be "vacant parcels" before homes are built thereon. So, yes, people have demonstrated an eagerness to invest in Menlo Park -- within the DSP area no less! -- even before voters have had their say on Measure M. How many months or years have you and [portion deleted] been claiming such investment would vanish should the SaveMenlo effort gain steam, only to be proven utterly wrong.

"Even people who already own vacant property in the Specific Plan area ..."

Stanford and Greenheart are the sole property owners currently affected by the measure's office space cap, Peter, and the fact that you and your predecessors sat on the fire station decision for six or seven years is no fault of Measure M, though you wasted no time foisting blame for the many delays (including the DSP zoning mistakes) on the measure.

"The Stanford and Greenheart properties offer unique opportunities, as recognized in the Visioning process and the Specific Plan, for doing something truly unique."

'Truly unique' in this case meaning glass office canyon walls bookending Menlo Park should Measure M fail, and one need travel as far afield as Redwood City or Mountain View to see such 'unique' development elsewhere.

"Measure M would, because of its ill conceived language, literally force Stanford and Greenheart to either do nothing (the hidden desire of many Measure M supporters) or to build 8-10 uncoordinated separate projects (the likely outcome) with no balconies, all surface parking and no public benefits."

Utter. Nonsense. Both Stanford and Greenheart could counter a successful Measure M with projects closer to 300,000 s.f in total size for all we know. If you have *specific* information about the plans of either development party should Measure M succeed please share it with us. Otherwise, if you have any concern for honesty, you should preface statements such as "literally force Stanford and Greenheart to either do nothing" with the fact that they are solely your opinion, nothing more.

Gern


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Posted by Menlo Park
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 18, 2014 at 6:39 pm

There you go again Gern trying to make my opinion somehow less valuable because I'm a "builder." Never mind the FACT I don't have a dog in this hunt aside from being a MP resident. The FACT is I build custom homes. Certainly not large projects like Stanford or Greenheart. That's a FACT. I know you have difficulty with the concept of facts, but please try to stick to them. I know it's difficult for you given past experience, but please, try.


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Posted by No Easy Solutions
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 18, 2014 at 9:42 pm

As they say in politics, if you can't attack the message, attack the messenger. So which side is doing more of the character assassination?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 18, 2014 at 9:57 pm

No easy solutions:

"So which side is doing more of the character assassination?"

What's your opinion?


1 person likes this
Posted by No Easy Solutions
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 18, 2014 at 10:20 pm

I've been following this "lively" discussion since Stanford revealed their initial plan. I was totally against it as it had too much impact to our quality of life without offsetting it with sufficient public benefits. I even signed up to "Save Menlo".

Now there is no way I can support "Save Menlo" or Measure M, based on independent analysis and severe limitations (i.e. ballot initiative to change the plan) imposed by it. Supporters of Measure M seems to offer contradictory reasons for M, i.e. less traffic and more revenue through more retail. Seriously!?!?


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Posted by Newcomer
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 19, 2014 at 6:27 am

Interesting debate. In looking at this measure and the opposing views for the first time, it occurs to me that both options are suboptimal. But my wife, friends, and I are leaning towards a yes vote, because a bunch of office space development would be a bummer. I'm guessing that those who oppose the measure stand to make money by turning MP into a quagmire.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 19, 2014 at 6:37 am

newcomer:

I oppose M. I so not stand to benefit financially from these projects. Please read the measure and consider the many unintended consequences it contains. Then remember those unintended consequences a carved in stone short of a city wide vote.

Vote no on M


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 19, 2014 at 7:21 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" I'm guessing that those who oppose the measure stand to make money by turning MP into a quagmire."

Your guess is wrong; most of those who are opposed don't own property in the Specific Plan area but are heavily invested in the democratic process of open, deliberative good governance which led to the Specific Plan. Measure M was written by two people and an unknown lawyer with no public input, no public hearing and no impact assessment - and the faulty wording and unintended consequences are the result.


1 person likes this
Posted by old timer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 19, 2014 at 8:28 am

Whether Atherton resident Peter Carpenter will make money or not if Measure M goes down, I don't know.

What I do know, is his love affair with anything Stanford proposes. Friends who know him, say he talks about nothing else but just how wonderful Stanford is, and we must support Stanford in all areas.

Stanford has been giving Menlo Park the shaft for many years. Stanford gives Palo Alto everything. Prime examples, the blocking of Sand Hill at El Camino, thus keeping traffic from proceeding to Alma in Palo Alto. The awarding of 3 times the traffic mitigation fees from the Hospital expansion to Palo Alto, vs. Menlo Park, even though all the studies showed Menlo Park would be absorbing more of the traffic.

Time for Menlo Park to stand up.

Yes on Measure M.

Yes votes to replace the present council incumbents.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 19, 2014 at 10:12 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is very telling that the best retort of Measure M supporters is an anonymous person reporting anonymous people about my beliefs - sad.

My beliefs have been clearly and frequently expressed on this Forum along with the facts that form the basis of those beliefs. My financial interests have been publicly reported on my Form 700s for over a decade. My experience as a planning commissioner and as a long time elected official representing, among others, the taxpayers of Menlo Park are u disputable facts.

I have no financial relationship or financial interest in Stanford or any of its projects.

Given those facts, rather than anonymous rumor mongering, I clearer am opposed to Measure M.
Measure M is a poorly worded, unvetted effort by a few losers in the six year totally open Specific Planning effort that include scores of public hearings , a draft and final EIR and unanimous approval by Menlo Park's elected City Council. Measure M was written in secret by two people and an unknown lawyer ( what are their financial interests?), had no public review, had no EIR and has dozens of unintended consequences that are frozen forever absent an expensive city wide vote to change a single word.

Measure M is a mistake.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 19, 2014 at 10:31 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Old Timer

Measure M's passing will not change how many square feet Stanford can build. It will only force them to make more of it Medical Offices to not exceed the Measure M 240,000 square foot general office cap. Which will increase traffic in Menlo Park.

I have NO affiliation to Stanford (I am a Wisconsin Badger for my technical Degrees, and an NYU Stern Alumni for my MBA). So I do not defend Stanford out of allegiance. I also don't own or develop properties in Menlo Park. What I am against is a POORLY written Ballot Initiative with DIRE unintended consequences.

This is BAD for Menlo Park in MANY ways (elaborated by many writers here).

PLease Vote NO on Measure M
Measure M is a Mistake

Roy Thiele-Sardina


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Posted by George C Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Medical office space is included in Measure M's office space 100,000 sq foot per project cap. Whether any developer would choose to use any portion of that 100,000 sq foot space for medical office rather than general office space is pure speculation, but in any event limited per specific plan's recent amendment, and traffic considered after the 200,000 office space reduction.

All the Signs and malicious spamming proclaiming that a no on M means no more traffic are ridiculous and based only on speculation. By essentially cutting Stanford's and Greenheart's office space in half, from 400,000 sq feet total to 200,000 sq total cuts office space traffic in half. Office space traffic is toxic because per the City's CSA document, 3 out of every office space traffic trips go to or come from 280, 101, 84 or the Alameda/junipero Serra. These trips are direct cut through traffic and do not include additional cut through traffic to avoid the added congestion to the present 47,000 trips per day on ECR south of Ravenswood, up 9,000 trips per day from 38,000 trips stated in the Specific Plan EIR. The cut through trips also do not include the additional trips on ECR North or South which will add to the 47,000 daily trips.

Toxic office space traffic is cut in half by Measure M, pure and simple. Whether Stanford or Greenheart would replace office space with other uses with higher traffic generation numbers per ITE is purely speculative. Developers may, as is happening in Palo Alto after the Maybell initiative, decrease the size of their projects. However even, as claimed, if the specific plan allows higher initial trip generation numbers, trip generation numbers without examining routes taken and intersection delay and roadway increase impacts per Menlo Park Traffic Impact Analysis requirements are meaningless. See the Thomas Brohard and Associates Report. Web Link.

Further as the W trans report of March 7, 2014 comparing Stanford projected traffic to the specific plan EIR found , the Specific Plan EIR only assumed basic arterials such as ECR or santa cruz would be used for traffic, not direct routes such as Middle Ave or through Allied arts or other neighborhoods to the East. W-Trans found even after deducting claimed prior use traffic of Tesla, Stanford generated traffic volume would increase 6 fold on Middle and AM and PM Peak hour traffic would increase 7 fold and 15 fold. Actual Increases to present day traffic will be substantially more. Those numbers will reduce if office space is reduced because less traffic would need to cut through our neighborhoods to reach the freeways.

What route would you take from ECR to reach 280 or 101/84 , and what route would you take at peak office traffic congestion hours in the morning and at night? Would those routes pass through your neighborhood or somebody else's who also lives in Menlo Park? Is 400,000 square feet of new office space on ECR that important? Won't there be enough problems even if limited to 200,000 square feet (over three times the size of Safeway's 65,000 square feet). The toxic office space traffic from the 200,000 square feet should be more than enough community pain to accept, Why double it by voting no on M? Vote yes on M.

Per the City's CSA and TIA guidelines, measure M reduces traffic. Per speculation, elephants fly.



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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Whether Stanford or Greenheart would replace office space with other uses with higher traffic generation numbers per ITE is purely speculative"

Precisely true - there is NO impact analysis of Measure M and therefore a well informed voter will look at the worst case analysis. And what Measure M does is force Stanford and Greenheart to either do nothing or to develop, without any Measure M control, each of their many parcels as separate projects with separate ECR access and without any requirement for public benefit - now that is toxic.

Measure M is a Mistake because it replaces well defined and carefully balance outcomes from the Specific Plan with a totally untested and unvetted set of new rules which are poorly defined and which the Measure M folks refuse to test against the mind of a rational property owner.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Neither Measure M or the Specific Plan are without flaws. The flaw was the manner in which the Council went about its business. Being a "volunteer" (or a minimally compensated employee) is not an excuse for poor decision making. We've heard this from School Board Members too many times. Council should not adopt this meme.

The problem with Peter and MV's posts is that they cite a particular section and sub point in the document. Those of you who have read contracts or provisions -- or frankly any outline -- know that sub points refer to antecedent points and often qualify them. The phrase "Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4" implies conditional statements. It's not as black and white as they claim.

This debate is tired.

The only things you need to know are as follows:

1) both sides want to see useful development and reduce ECR visual blight
2) one side is supported by someone who posts lengthy remarks on every single topic in this town -- while living in Atherton (Peter). Does he work? Does he live a life that vaguely resembles your life? Does he have to commute around town? Does he use his return to home as a return to sanctuary?
3) one side wants to preserve some of the residential attraction of Menlo Park. This side has the audacity to want to preserve the sanctuary, in as much as it is possible, of their Menlo Park neighborhood while also meeting point 1 above. Their view is the council has failed them, so they are going to the ballot box.
4) one side is supported by aspiring career politicians (Keith being the foremost of this bunch). Keith is someone whose husband is under investigation for destroying yard signs of a competing candidate and destroying evidence in an investigation.

You decide what side you want to be on. Everything else is largely immaterial and gets lost in the fog of intentional misinformation.


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Posted by Willows neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:34 pm

As one who only wants to see MP flourish I've not known which way to go on Measure M. To be clear, besides being a homeowner, I have no financial interest one way or the other. A problem for me in determining which way to vote is to understand at least some of the background-politics behind the proponents of each position. Mud-slinging isn't useful. Forecasted changes in traffic, tax revenue, and the like are, well, forecasts, and often inaccurate.

I do agree with the position that Stanford's interests are not necessarily those of Menlo Park. After all, we live with the traffic diversion from Stanford Shopping Center toward ECR for some years.

I also think it's interesting how vocal anti-M people are, and how many of them are not even MP residents.

The City Council is elected, and they spent a long time creating the plan. So why now, at the 11th hour, is it being shot down? (This equates with No on M.) Are the Yes on M people essentially saying that the Council is not acting in the best interests of MP? That seems to me to be a fundamental question.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"Are the Yes on M people essentially saying that the Council is not acting in the best interests of MP?"

Yes, that is exactly what they are saying. But they're not being truthful. The council is not acting in the narrow self interests of those that created Measure M. They don't like the outcome of a 6 year long public process so they are throwing a tantrum.

Zoning by ballot box is stupid.

Measure M is seriously flawed.

Vote NO on M


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Listen:

it's interesting you take issue with Peter being from Atherton, yet nowhere in your screed do you mention that the lions share of the money for the Lanza/Fry initiative came from an Atherton resident. Double standard?


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:54 pm

@Menlo Voter

Not really. These people and they are not happy with the direction the council has chosen. They are exercising their democratic rights.

Zoning by ballot box is stupid? I agree. But when your leadership fails you and the decisions they make cannot be retracted by anything but a ballot measure, you are left with the cards you are dealt. I get their perspective.

As I said earlier, neither plan is perfect and the debate is tired.

For those who are researching their position and are undecided, follow the bouncing ball and the various associations of different sides. The Specific Plan was a huge giveaway to developers. Developers have a right to make profits and I encourage them in their efforts to be aggressive capitalists. The Council's job is to make sure that developer interests are balanced against city interests. It seems like they kind of failed. Whether or not the failure was "intentional" depends upon the flow of political donations and the aspirations of various council members.





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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"2) one side is supported by someone who posts lengthy remarks on every single topic in this town -- while living in Atherton (Peter). Does he work? Does he live a life that vaguely resembles your life? Does he have to commute around town? Does he use his return to home as a return to sanctuary?"

I suggest that you deal with the facts that I post rather than making a sloppy attempt to disparage the sources. My financial interests have been publicly annually reported on my Form 700s for over a decade. My experience as a planning commissioner and as a long time elected official representing, among others, the taxpayers of Menlo Park are indisputable facts.

You state "those of you who have read contracts or provisions -- or frankly any outline -- know that sub points refer to antecedent points and often qualify them." We would welcome your analysis of the worst case impact of the frozen definitions in Measure M, of the arbitrary 100,000 sq ft office cap which has zero impact on any existing parcel in the Specific Plan area, of Measure M's Specific Plan boundary freeze preventing the replacement of the downtown fire station.

Democracy requires informed citizens and democracy is not a spectator sport - so add to the facts and forget about disparaging others.


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Posted by Common Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 19, 2014 at 1:23 pm

I think it's great that, through this measure, the people of Menlo Park are standing up against the politicians and developers. Go people! Yes on M!


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 19, 2014 at 1:31 pm

@MV:

No double standard.

Everyone has their incentives for financing. Lanza/Fry may have their own developer interests on the residential side -- who knows.

This goes back to my point: what matters to you as the voter and a MP resident?

That is independent of misinformation and questions around ulterior motives.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm

@Peter,

Sorry I hurt your "feewings", but it's clear I hit a chord. Too close to the truth?

I'm not interested in your financial interests. We all have those. I am interested in WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU DO and ARE YOU LIKE ME. Get it?

My analysis on the "worst case scenario"? Ridiculous.

The worst case scenario on any given day in our galaxy is a huge gamma ray burst that fries the solar system and our planet.

I believe in probabilistic scenarios. Not wild hyperbolic statements. If your argument against Measure M is predicated on the "worse case scenario", I'll file your insights right next to Massive Gamma Ray Burst ...


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 19, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I am interested in WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU DO and ARE YOU LIKE ME. Get it? "

Well let's see:
- a was a Smokejumper - is that like you?
- I served in the military including in Vietnam - is that like you?
- I worked in the Office of Management and Budget - is that like you?
- I worked in a innovative drug delivery company - - is that like you?
- I was a Palo Alto Planning Commissioner - is that like you?
- I have been elected three times by the citizens of Menlo Park as a Director of your Fire District
- is that like you?
- I have posted hundreds of facts about Measure M on this Forum - is that like you?
- I have lived in this community for 38 years - is that like you?
- my son went to Encinal and MA - is that like you?
- I have spent over 30 years of my life in public service - is that like you?

***********
"I believe in probabilistic scenarios." So do I and there is a high conditional probability that if Measure M passes that impacted property owners will optimize their development plans given the new constraints in Measure M - no large, well coordinated, well designed projects with minimized traffic impacts but rather multiple, no balconies or roof gardens,uncoordinated designs, multiple ECR access and more traffic generating projects. Of course to understand this potential outcome you have to actually read Measure M.

And why does Measure M use the otherwise unnecessary phrase "or frustrate" except to provide a Trojan Horse for a lawsuit by anybody on any project in the Specific Plan area?


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Posted by Willows Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 19, 2014 at 3:23 pm

I think the "No on M" group needs a different spokesperson. I don't really understand why an Atherton resident would want to meddle so vocally in Menlo Park's business.

I've heard it said (by the No on M folks) that a major reason we should we should all vote no is that the City Council spent 6 years working on the plan. Yes, it's unfortunate that so much work/time/resources would not be completely used. But this is a sunk cost, and in an of itself is irrelevant. Also, why did it take 6 years? Seems like a terribly long time to me.

I've also heard both sides claim that the other's plan will increase traffic. Yes, I suppose they both will. In either plan we'll have more people coming/going, and with population growth, etc., we'll have more traffic. How much more will one generate than the other? Without a costly (measured by dollars and time) study, I don't really believe either side.

Both sides also claim that ex-mayors of Menlo Park support their side. Fine. But it seems like there must be some overlap of mayors. How many are still around and haven't taken a position?

I do have a remaining question: someone mentioned "Lanza/Fry." What is that, what's its problem, and what is its relation to this situation?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 19, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I don't really understand why an Atherton resident would want to meddle so vocally in Menlo Park's business. "

Because Menlo Park is also my downtown.

Because Measure M has already cost our Fire District a lot of money and will cost it even more if Measure M passes.

Because a fellow Athertonian is the biggest contributor to Save Menlo/Measure M.

Because democracy is not a spectator sport.

**************
"someone mentioned "Lanza/Fry." What is that, what's its problem, and what is its relation to this situation?"

Lanza and Fry and an unnamed lawyer wrote Measure M - without any public hearings, without any public input and with zero impact studies. And providing answers to such questions is one of the things I do in my role as citizen.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 19, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.


@Willows Neighbor

Lanza/Fry are the two individuals along with a mysterious lawyer that wrote Measure M. They did so without any outside direction, any vetting of their idea by the public, EIR review. And that is the fundamental Problem.

With regard to the traffic. Don't take our word for it. The city's traffic department and the independent consultant hired to do the impartial analysis of Measure M's consequences. Both said that Measure M will cause increased traffic due to moving offices from "general" office to Medical Offices (which generate significantly more traffic)

The only way traffic goes down is if NOTHING gets built. Which is the REAL reason Lanza/Fry et al. are doing this. Morris Brown one of their cohorts stopped the Derry Lane project for 10 years and it cost the city over $10,000,000 in lost revenue. See the list of endorsers at Web Link

With regard to the endorsement. Forget the Mayors if you want: EVERY member of the current City Council, EVERY member of the School Board, EVERY member (save one, who is an ardent anti-development crusader) of the Fire District, EVERY member of the planning commission (save one that is running for City Council) as well as MOST of the past members of the planning commission (save Ms. Fry who wrote M) are against this horrific Measure. The No on Measure M endorsers is LONG and full of thought leaders from our community. Ms. Fry is joined by two ex-mayors removed from office by voters for opposing the Menlo Park Pension Reform Initiative (2010's Measure L, which I was the Co-Chairman of), and several ex-mayors legendary for their opposition to development in Menlo Park. They opposed the building that houses Cafe Borrone and Kepler's when it was originally proposed.

The No on L campaign has gained the endorsement of most of your neighbors because they realize how disastrous Measure M's passage would be for Menlo Park. How disastrous it would be to the vibrancy of our Downtown and community. They don't want the blight on El Camino to last another 10 years.

We don't want Menlo Parks planning process to require voter approval for the next 30 years. It is bad governance to do so.

For those reasons and MANY more we OPPOSE Measure M.

M is a Mistake
VOte NO on Measure M

Roy Thiele-Sardina


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Posted by Willows Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 19, 2014 at 3:58 pm

@Roy Thiele-Sardiña

Thank you for such a comprehensive statement. It really helps. More of similar thoughtfulness are welcome (as far as I'm concerned) from both sides. I certainly also do not want the blight to continue. That said, I can see how important this vote is, and want to be as informed as possible.

Thanks again.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 19, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Willows Neighbors

You are most welcome.

The MenloParkDeserversBetter.org website has a very comprehensive FAQ with materials backing up our position.

In addition MPCD Forum give a very good laymans impartial analysis of the Measure: Web Link

Again, we believe that The Save Menlo - Measure M Group is simply an anti-development campaign. and that they didn't get what they wanted (no growth and no council members who agreed with them) So they decided to thrust upon an unsuspecting, apathetic and uninformed electorate the notion they are protecting them from Armageddon. We MUST NOT allow this misguided and deceptive effort to succeed in our city.

M is a Mistake
Vote NO on Measure M

Roy Thiele-Sardina


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 19, 2014 at 6:05 pm

"Not really. These people and they are not happy with the direction the council has chosen. They are exercising their democratic rights."

You're right. They're not happy because they didn't "get their way." The problem is they're exercising their rights and trying to shove their opinion of what "is right" down the rest of Menlo Parks' throats.

That's not the way a representative democracy works. The DSP is something that took YEARS to come up with and these folks aren't happy with the COMPROMISE that came out of that process. These self centered folks want what they want and they don't care what impact it may have on the rest of MP citizens.

It wouldn't be so bad if they weren't flat out lying about the impacts and potential outcomes of their misguided measure. Hopefully the electorate won't be taken in by these lies and misinformation presented by the measure M folks.


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Posted by Willows Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 19, 2014 at 6:27 pm

@Menlo Voter

Thanks to you, too. This debate here has been very helpful for me. I'm voting No on Measure M.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 19, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Thank you Willows Neighbor.


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Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 20, 2014 at 11:36 am

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

That "or frustrate" language in the amendment is the giveaway. I'm all for open space, and I'm not thrilled with traffic on El Camino even as it is today. If I were a property developer (I'm not) I'd see that "or frustrate" language and think that trying to build in Menlo Park would be buying a lawsuit. And I would pass on property in Menlo Park and look elsewhere. Which is, in my understanding, the true purpose of Measure M, which is to guarantee thirty more years of barren vacant lots on El Camino and and a Santa Cruz Avenue that rolls up the sidewalks at 6pm every night after the rugs stores close.

I don't want to encase Menlo Park in amber. Measure M is a mistake.


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Posted by Wake up
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 20, 2014 at 12:42 pm

For those who believe that "blight" (actually vacant lots) will prevail on El Camino Real if Measure M passes, take a look at this article
Web Link

Looks like developers are lined up in Redwood City and its Staff is recommending that Council go beyond the City's Precise Plan's cap of 500,000 SF of office by adding another 100,000 SF. Last month Redwood City received 5 office development applications totaling 489,000 SF.

Yes, office developers know the Mid Peninsula is the hot real estate market. Greenheart and Stanford know it too. In fact they both knew it in 2011 while our council was being advised otherwise by the City's million dollar consultant Perkins & WIll. The Council got fooled and then they dug in their heels.

Today, we have a chance to correct the Council's mistake and slow down this pressure to turn Menlo Park into a city of office complexes. The total office development approved, being built or being proposed now totals 2 million SF. Vote for Measure M to reduce the office on El Camino by 200,000 SF. Residents, protect Menlo Park.
Vote Yes on Measure M


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Posted by Willows Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 20, 2014 at 1:02 pm

@Wake up: Here's something I honestly don't understand, perhaps you can help. If the Council made such a mistake (willful or otherwise) in their six years of work, why was their work allowed to proceed? Are you saying we the public and voters were duped?

It seems to me that it's a fair argument: the City Council, the rest of the town government, and the public, have been all part of the process, and its results for better or worse, represent their collective wisdom. I'm sure that I could find things that I don't like with it. But I also know that I do want to move on, and soon, to fix El Camino Real and the downtown. We've been waiting far too long.


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Posted by wake up
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 20, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Willows Neighbor:
I honestly think it took the Stanford development proposal in October of 2012 to wake up the community. Those of us who participated in the visioning process of the Specific Plan were shocked to see single use office buildings and single use apartment buildings with just a drop of retail and a plaza that had become a driveway. The sheer size was shocking and there was little resemblance to the "mixed use" projected. The last time the residents were actively involved in the creation of the Specific Plan was 2009. After that the process was handled in-house with staff, consultants and Steve Elliot from Stanford and Jeff Warmouth from what became Greenheart.

Starting in the fall of 2102 until November 2013, we pleaded with the Council to take a second look at what the Specific Plan allowed. We were concerned in spring of 2012 and specifically June 5, 2012 when the Floor Area Ratio was discussed. Council majority of Cline, Keith and Ohtaki were determined to double the F.A.R.s from .4 on Greenheart to 1.1 sand .5 on Stanford to 1.25. They did this because consultants warned them that office developers would be difficult to attract and the city needed to offer very generous development rights. That was the red flag that trouble lie ahead.

In November 2013, the Council had its annual review of the Specific Plan and other than reducing medical office to 30% for developments in the Plan area, they refused to do much more. Yes the council got duped and in turn the residents who created the 12 goals of the Specific Plan got duped. I think it's pride that stood in the way of the council admitting they got duped. At one time Cline admitted it but now that he's a candidate wanting a 3rd term, he no longer mentions his surprise of what Stanford proposed.

No city should ask of its residents the kind of attention this Specific Plan has required. Attending every council meeting, reading 300 page draft Specific Plans, lodging comments, speaking before council, writing letters and more recently collecting signatures and running a campaign for a ballot measure is not what average residents have time for. This is not a no-growth movement like the repeat posters on this blog claim. Measure M is a large and growing group of residents who truly care about Menlo Park and want to keep the city's suburban character. Thanks for asking a reasonable question.


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Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 20, 2014 at 3:00 pm

The biggest problem I have with Measure M supporters is that they continue to tell us what they DON'T want as opposed to giving the community a vision of what they DO want. They support their argue with "bogeyman" agreements, yet do not define their vision to remove the blame.

The Specific Plan was a vision for redevelopment. Obviously it wasn't everyone's vision, but it was the vision of the participants, Planning Coommission and the City Council. When the Planning Commission and City Council underwent the one year review, the Save Menlo chose not to participate in an open process and instead drafted their measure in private. That speaks volumes to me.

Save Menlo supporters are trying to create a atmosphere of fear and misinformation. They continue to make inaccurate statements and repeat old lies repackaged as "new information". I can only hope the people of Menlo Park are smarter that that.


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Posted by Willows Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 20, 2014 at 3:29 pm

@Wake up: thank you for your response and constructive tone. It really helps as I try to define my position. Let me start by saying that I share the opinion that Stanford/Palo Alto do not share the same interests in Menlo Park that we do. I may be understating that, but I only have an opinion and I'm trying to stay diplomatic. (!) But my writing below may not be so diplomatic. I really don't mean to be rude, but here goes:

- Why should we trust/believe the small group of Measure M proponents? While I don't automatically back everything done by the "authorities" I do trust that they are elected and they likely have their own constituencies and opinions that all had to be balanced (somehow) to come up with the plan. I don't see that we have the same with Measure M. Are we being asked to trust that it'll all work out?

- Just how "bad" is the current plan? It took six years to get here and I assume that a substantial portion of that was needed to do all the work needed to create such a plan. Why won't Measure M create another delay, measured in years, to improve what we already have?

@ Sam Tyler: your point about going outside the process to do it on their own seems very poignant to me. Thank you.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 20, 2014 at 4:17 pm

wake up:

sorry the democratic process and good governance is such hard work. It requires a lot of citizen involvement if they truly care about the outcome. The DSP is a large and complicated plan. It required a great deal of time and a lot of input as it was setting down what the city wants to do in lieu of development for the next 30 years. That's not a small undertaking and it would not require anything less than a great deal of time.

The problem is the measure M folks didn't do the necessary work while the DSP was on going. Because of that they're not happy with the outcome. That's what happens when you don't stay involved in the process.

Personally, I am not thrilled with Stanford's proposal, Measure M isn't the answer to my dislike of their project. Measure M is to blunt and creates too much damage to our community that I'd liken it to going after flies with a canon. While you may be addressing a problem you're going to create a hell of a lot more collateral damage.


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Posted by wake up
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 20, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Sam, the participants in the visioning process said what they wanted and Measure M supports that process and the vision that came out of the almost 2 years of meetings. Mixed use with a balance of retail, housing and non-residential of which office is a part. That's what Measure wants. Neither Stanford or Greenheart have a balance of these uses.

It is not fear but fact that Menlo Park is heading for a serious imbalance of office complexes that will be filled with employees who need housing. ABAG is the boss here, not the city or our Council. With 2 million SF of office in the pipeline, ABAG is within their power to mandate 5,000 new housing units in the city. This is not the Menlo Park that many want.

Why should we trust residents and not trust the Council? The Council has shown their preference and it is approving office development despite the community vision that came together after 2 years of visioning meetings. Residents live here, pay property taxes here, shop here and raise their children here. We are more trustworthy than developers who see Menlo Park as a way to make big money.

What are the old lies repackaged as new information? It would help if you could use specifics.

Sam, the residents did stay in the process by attending visioning meetings, speaking at council meetings, writing letters and meeting with council members. When that failed, we did exactly what the constitution allows, we gathered 3,000 signatures in a short amount of time and asked the council to put it on the ballot.

When Measure L, was led by Roy Sardenia, Henry Riggs and Menlo Future, there were no public meetings, no public vetting of their initiative language, no announcement of the attorney's name who advised them. This was their right as American citizens.

What I hear from Carpenter and other Measure M opponents is speculation but not facts. They have no idea what either Greenheart or Stanford will end up doing if Measure M passes. They do not speak for Stanford or Greenheart. Both developers have attorneys and representatives.

Please give the readers of the blog specifics about the "damage that Measure M will create." The article in todays Palo Alto daily News pointed out the robust office development boom we are now witnessing. Stanford no longer receives rent from the old car dealers and Greenheart has investors who probably want their profit and soon.

Your turn Sam and Willow neighbor.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 20, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Vince Bressler, one of the supporters of Measure M, has emailed the following statement:

"Therefore claims that measure M will:

Increase traffic
Require an election every time the council wants to act
Crowd schools
Open the door to unwanted development
Cause litigation
Impact the fire station

Are highly speculative and/or flat out wrong."

Let me take the claim with which I am most familiar - the impact on the Fire District's plan to build a new fire station serving the downtown area:

There is no doubt that section 3.1 of Measure M freezes the boundaries of the Specific Plan area

"ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the “ECR Specific Plan Area,” this initiative measure is referring to the bounded area within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I, of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo Park City Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 "

and therefore that section 4.1 requires a city wide vote to change the Specific Plan boundaries

"4.1.NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.

Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City’s ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting “YES” on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. The entire text of the proposed definition or standard to be repealed, or the amendment proposed to any such definition or standard, shall be included in the sample ballot materials mailed to registered voters prior to any such election."


The existing Fire Station 6 on OakGrove is on a parcel that is INSIDE the Specific Plan area. The adjacent parcel which fronts on Hoover is OUTSIDE the Specific Plan area. In order to build a replacement station these parcels would need to be merged into a single parcel and that cannot be done if the two existing parcels remain one inside and one outside the Specific Plan area.

Bressler is wrong on this issue - and as a sitting Planning Commissioner he must know that. And I think is wrong on his other claims of what Measure M won't do.

The supporters of Measure M continually misrepresent what would be required by Measure M.

It is very telling that the supporters of Measure M never actually quote the language which supports their claims - because the language of Measure M does not support their claims.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 21, 2014 at 10:08 am

Wake up:

yes you gathered almost 3000 signatures in a short amount of time. Of course, you had to use paid signature gatherers and tell a lot of lies and spread a bunch of misinformation to do it. But , hey, that's politics right? You personally may not have told lies, but I can guarantee you those collecting signatures that I spoke to did. This wasn't just my experience either. It was posted repeatedly on these blogs that it was going on.

So, if the measure M folks had to resort to paid signature gatherers and people telling lies why should anyone trust THEM? Those posting against the measure here have repeatedly posted facts and quoted information from the DSP, Measure M and the independent analysis. Those in support of Measure M almost never do. So why should anyone trust THEM?.

Those against measure M have looked at it and looked at all of the potential outcomes. We have posted what terrible outcomes are possible with the measure. I have yet to see anyone in support of the measure post a potential outcome, be it good or bad. If they haven't bothered to look deeply enough into the measure to provide potential outcomes beyond a bunch of platitudes about "village character" why should anyone trust THEM?

The bottom line, wake up, is the measure is extremely flawed, poorly written and full of potential unintended consequences. Should any of those likely unintended consequences come to pass and need correction it can't be done simply by the council. It requires a city wide vote. Zoning control by ballot box is stupid.

That's why I'll be voting NO.

Vote no on M.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 22, 2014 at 7:45 am

Opponents to Measure M continue to ignore the immense power city councils have to regulate and negotiate unwanted development (e.g., big box stores) and regulate (e.g., for renovated fire station) and negotiate for favorable development (e.g., senior housing). The reason Measure M is necessary is that THIS council has refused to rein in overdevelopment of offices, has refused to rest the public benefit trigger for negotiations.
As Patty Fry stated in a guest editorial, there are a number of ways to resolve issues related to the fire station development but the council and fire board, with Carpenter's pressures, refuse to even discuss those, preferring to make this a political issue rather than resolve a public safety matter. Former Fire Board Ohtaki should take the biggest blame on this one, by failing to address issues while on the Board and while on the Council.


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Posted by Willows Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 22, 2014 at 8:00 am

@fact checker: I don't doubt that the city council and government has a lot of power, and that's one of several reasons I didn't automatically support the No on M position. However, I am swayed by:

- This plan has been in development for 6 years. I don't know that terms of the city council members and do forth, but I assume that there has been turnover. So I don't see how we can lump them all into one.

- They are elected officials, by people like us. We may not get the ones we want, or may learn about them more through their actions later, sure. But to say that their power is such that we cannot have a say doesn't make sense to me.

- There were many public meetings. I didn't attend those, but I have attended others, and my assumption is that the public participated. If the city council had been not been taking that feedback into account, why wasn't there a much larger hue and cry back then?

As I stated earlier in this thread, I'm now on the No on M side of the debate. Again, I have no doubt that I would have some concerns and disagreements with the current plan. That said, I am also confident that much of it will not bother me at all, and I will like a lot of it, too. And very importantly to me, I want to get El Camino Real renovated and regain pride in Menlo Park.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 22, 2014 at 8:37 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Faceless states - "Opponents to Measure M continue to ignore the immense power city councils have to regulate and negotiate unwanted development (e.g., big box stores) and regulate (e.g., for renovated fire station) and negotiate for favorable development (e.g., senior housing). "

Measure M would permit box stores WITHOUT Council approval and would PRECLUDE the Council from negotiating for public benefits.

Without Measure M the Council would continue to have its current ability to negotiate with developers to improve the quality of their proposed projects and to negotiate to obtain public benefits from those projects - Measure M takes away those abilities.

Measure M handcuffs the elected City Council FOREVER - there is no termination date for the definitions and standards in Section 3 of Measure M or the requirement for a city wide vote to change those definitions and standards per Section 4 of Measure M:
"the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting “YES” on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. "
No expiration date, no 30 year limit, this is FOREVER.

Does anyone think that this will be a workable definition for banks in 5 years much less than in 50 years:
"3.3.3. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan’s Appendix includes the following Commercial Use Classification for “Banks and Other Financial Institutions”: “Financial institutions providing retail banking services. This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the ON-SITE CIRCULATION OF MONEY, including credit unions.” The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters."

A City Council in 2050 would still be handcuffed by poorly written 2014 definitions and standards.

Measure M is a huge Mistake.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 22, 2014 at 9:28 am

Carpenter is flat out wrong. Measure M does not take away council power to negotiate or regulate. He knows it and blusters on.

Willows Neighbor - Measure M supports what was in the Plan that the community supported. What is happening does not reflect that. In fact both huge projects are so different that they are required to undertake additional environmental study. For Greenehart, that will take at least another year. Projects were supposed to fit in the plan, not bust it


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Posted by Willows Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 22, 2014 at 9:34 am

fact checker: Thanks for your response, but I need details, please:

- I've heard from others that Measure M does change/limit city council power. I imagine we'll be hearing from them on this.

- You wrote, "Measure M supports what was in the Plan that the community supported." First, which "community?" I assume you mean the people who support Measure M?

- And, what specifically is in the Plan that you say is supported and what is not? Instead of talking in generalities, let's get specific.

And again to the point: the current Plan took 6 years to develop. How long will we have to wait for the plan in Measure M to be ready to go? I imagine that it's not instant. If it were that easy the Plan would not have taken nearly so long.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 22, 2014 at 9:42 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Faceless states - " Measure M does not take away council power to negotiate or regulate."

WRONG. The Measure M supporters refuse to accept the second order consequences of this poorly crafted and unvetted initiative. Since Measure M restricts certain things it thereby encourages other things. One of the things that Measure M restricts is the Council's ability to negotiate because they have much less to negotiate. One of the things that Measure M restricts is office space so it the Measure M cap is reached the ONLY choice for a developer is massive retail or massive office.

NO thought has been given to the second order effects of Measure M - no EIR, no traffic studies, no thoughtful analysis or dialogue.

The Measure M paradox is that they claim it will make big changes and then turn around and say it will have no effect - a logical impossibility.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 22, 2014 at 9:49 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@fact checker

The community NEVER intended for Menlo Park to become the ONLY city in the bay area with it's own narrow definition of Open Space; the community NEVER intended to have to go to the Voters to increase ratios in development for the next 100 years (or longer).

This distorted/myopic initiative is the vision of Fry, Lanza, Morris Brown, Kelly Fergusson, and Heyward Robinson. ALL of them anti development crusaders. NOT the community, and please don't present it as such.

Your anonymity prevents us from knowing whether you attended the public meetings. But I (Roy Thiele-Sardina) did, and the Specific Plan (with all it's flaws) was the consensus of the citizens of Menlo Park. We voted on it and approved it as a community. Not two people in a dark alley with a lawyer.

So YOUR comments are offensive int heir simplicity. You are not the community.

We shall see how the electorate votes. If passed Measure M will put a pallor on our fine city, as you noted the BLIGHT will remain at least 2 years longer in the case of Greenheart, and MANY years longer in the case of Stanford.

We'll be sure to thank the motley lot that gave us this initiative and the former mayors for their support of it, if that should happen. Because the TAX loss and BLIGHT will be on them.

M is a Mistake
Vote NO on Measure M
Roy Thiele-Sardina



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Posted by Willows Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 22, 2014 at 10:09 am

Friends and neighbors,

I'll use that term for everyone here and the readership. Why not? After the election we will hopefully still be that. I have an idea, why don't we have a public debate, run formally (according to the rules), maybe in the Burgess Theater? I don't know who would be the moderator, but it would need to be someone who knows how to run such things.

The goals? Let's air this in public, let the light in. I imagine there will be lots of interest in this. I know that's a meeting I'll attend!

BTW, I'm Barry Gray. Might as well come out with it at this point!

Thanks,

Barry


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 22, 2014 at 11:28 am

the development amounts in Measure M are what was studied during the Specific Plan process. The exact same numbers of office and non-residential development. The imminent excessive overdevelopment of offices was not studied at all, and still hasn't been. The city spent $165k on a consultant study this summer and still didn't study the imminent projects, their environmental or financial impacts. What is about to happen is what was never studied or discussed.

Also No one ever discussed the open space definition change. No one. It just appeared. It was not in the draft of the plan. Just because some other cities count balconies doesn't mean Menlo Park should. Sounds like kindergarten - Joey's mom says he can...


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 22, 2014 at 11:47 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Fact:

what a misnomer. Please stop lying about measure M. Measure M does not allow changes to be made to the plan without a vote. This PRECLUDES the council from doing anything about the landmines built into this thing.

You have yet again, as all other supporters of measure M, failed to quote any language in the measure or the DSP to support your position. Just more lies.

Measure M is a mess.

Vote no on M.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 22, 2014 at 11:55 am

Willows Neighbor - you asked for specifics.
The Specific Plan studied the environmental (traffic included) and financial impacts of 474,000 SF of non-residential development. Office represented 240,820 SF of that.

Measure M sets as a cap 474,000 SF of non-residential development and 240,820 SF of office (with no single project allowed to use more than 100,000 SF).
Measure M does not allow counting balconies and rooftop spaces as project open space, returning the definition to be closer to what it was in the draft Specific Plan.

What was not studied in the Plan was the 200,000 SF EACH of the Stanford and Greenheart projects or the loss of 50,000 SF of retail these and other proposed projects will cause. What was not studied was the loss of the expected hotel and senior housing at the Stanford site.

If you're worried about what could be developed, remember that the office/housing project next to Beltramo's store and the housing project on El Camino south of Safeway conform to the old rules that allow about half what is allowed now. These projects began construction as the recession lifted.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 22, 2014 at 11:58 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Willows Neighbor

The current planned debate will be recorded tomorrow afternoon (tuesday) on Public Access TV.

Katie Ferrick and Mayor Muller will represent the No on M position. Heyward Robinson & Patti Fry will represent the Yes on M group.

It will be rebroadcast throughout the election cycle.

Roy


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 22, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Correction to prior posting
What was not studied in the Plan was the 200,000 SF of office in EACH of the Stanford and Greenheart projects (total more than 400,000 SF vs 240,820 studied in the Plan process) or the loss of 50,000 SF of retail these and other proposed projects will cause. What was not studied was the loss of the expected hotel and senior housing at the Stanford site.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 22, 2014 at 12:43 pm

@Menlo Voter,

You should be offended by misinformation from both sides.

Measure M opponent signs that say "No Blight, No Traffic, No on M" are as ridiculous as they come. I'm a big believer in higher density housing along transportation corridors so people can live near where they work and decrease vehicular travel in general. I'm also an unabashed capitalist. IOW, I am not anti-development in the least.

But it should be obvious that ALL development comes with increased traffic. The operative questions are where and when -- not just volume. Simply stating that there will be more traffic in both scenarios does rank injustice to properly analyzing the specific issues.



@ Peter Carpenter,

Thank you for telling me a bit more about yourself. I am always a bit uncomfortable with people who play the "Veteran-card". I'm proud of the little service I have provided. I keep it private because it's irrelevant.

I do think you have some of the same interests I have. I am just deeply suspicious of your uncritical support of the Specific Plan. I'm also concerned that you don't seem to acknowledge how council incompetence and the ever-present reliance on (handsomely) paid "experts" has led to a suboptimal outcome. Stanford owns most of that land on ECR. It's not up to anyone but Stanford when development occurs there. The only thing we have a say in is the character of that development. ABAG will create substantial pressure on the city if the planned office space goes in. Please address this.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 22, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Listen:

I'm not a big believer in "bumper sticker politics" because it doesn't convey any nuance. The no on M sign should read LESS traffic, not NO traffic. But even that doesn't really tell the whole story does it?


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 22, 2014 at 12:54 pm

@Roy Thiele-Sardiña, the debate sounds great! Is it open to the public, is there a website with the details? If not, I assume there's a reason. I just hope that the details of how to watch it later will be published. I've not looked forward to TV this much in a long time. :-)

Barry


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Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 22, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Just checked-in to see what is happening in the Town Square re: Measure M. It's been a few weeks.

What do I find?

The same few anonymous supporters of M still attacking Peter for having the nerve to express his views and challenge their "facts", logic and unsubstantiated claims because he does not live in Menlo Park.

I bet he lives closer to downtown and El Camino than most MP residents and who would be impacted by M.

Would the complainers exclude everyone who has a real interest in Menlo Park from an open and civil debate, e.g., non-resident workers, business owners, property owners, shoppers, restaurant customers, and neighbors?

Narrow-minded attitudes and personal attacks are not only offensive but clearly a sign that one has nothing constructive to contribute.

I'll check-in again, but not soon.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 22, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@willows neighbor

The debate itself is in a small studio, we used the same one for the Measure L debate 4 years ago and it's "cozy", so no public invited.

The resulting video will be available via streaming and rebroadcast. as soon as I know when and where I will post.

Roy


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Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 22, 2014 at 1:08 pm

OK "Wake Up", I'll bite and reply to your questions.

First, you did not response to my question. Where is the vision of Save Menlo and the supports of Measure M? Negativity against the adopted Specific Plan is NOT a vision.

You said: Mixed use with a balance of retail, housing and non-residential of which office is a part. That's what Measure wants. Neither Stanford or Greenheart have a balance of these uses." That is untrue. Both projects are consistent with the Specific Plan. Both projects have a mixed of retail, residential and office space. Does Measure M specify a mix? No, it only limits the amount of office space. Are there unintended consequences to MEasure M? Yes, and they were documented by the Weiss report.

You said: "It is not fear but fact that Menlo Park is heading for a serious imbalance of office complexes that will be filled with employees who need housing. ABAG is the boss here, not the city or our Council. With 2 million SF of office in the pipeline, ABAG is within their power to mandate 5,000 new housing units in the city. This is not the Menlo Park that many want." Why should Menlo Park be so "special" as to not take its fair share of responsibility for growth. Based on the stunning rise in home values over the years, Menlo Park homeowners have certainly benefited from a housing imbalance, and are unapologetic in their opposition to take some responsibility in this area. Stop blaming ABAG and take a look in the mirror.

You said "What are the old lies repackaged as new information? It would help if you could use specifics." Where do I begin? The "secret" that Stanford somehow got the City to hire a consultant to write the plan. That was all disclosed at the time, and if you go back and look at the public record, you will see that the selection was done in a public meeting by a host of Planning Commissioners and City Council members. How many times has this been raised by Save Menlo? Plenty.

Save Menlo choose to publish old outdated renderings of the Stanford project when more recent examples were available on the City website. That is still on the Save Menlo website.

Save Menlo compared the Stanford project to four Wal-Marts, knowing full well that the amount of traffic generated by a Wal-Mart is significantly greater than a comparable amount of office space. Was that a rational argument? Not in the least. I can go on and on if you wish.

You said: " the residents did stay in the process by attending visioning meetings, speaking at council meetings, writing letters and meeting with council members. When that failed, we did exactly what the constitution allows, we gathered 3,000 signatures in a short amount of time and asked the council to put it on the ballot." I was referring to the the one year review of the Specific Plan that Save Menlo demanded, yet chose not to engage in. Check the public record. They blamed the one year review to stall the City and the projects WHILE they drafted the petition that became Measure M/

I was not then or now involved in Measure L, so I have no position on your comments except do not attribute them to me.

You said: "What I hear from Carpenter and other Measure M opponents is speculation but not facts." that is untrue. Measure M supports on this comment page continue to deny that if Measure M is adopted, that future changes to the plan will require citywide votes. The measure does, in fact, state that, opponents to Measure M have pointed that out. That is NOT speculation. Does everyone have ideas about future universes if Measure M passes or fails? Of course. But when facts ARE presented, do not dismiss them as "speculation".

The small minority behind Measure M are the equivalent of a child holding its breath and turning blue because they didn't get their way.


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 22, 2014 at 1:10 pm

I am always a bit uncomfortable with people who play the "Veteran-card". I'm proud of the little service I have provided."

If you provided little service then that is very understandable.

My service was not little by any definition. Nor is the 100% disability that I now have from that service.

Your comment is offensive.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Measure M's vision is the same as the Specific Plan - balanced mix use growth that supports a small town. Not huge office complexes that were never studied during the plan's review process and not by the $165k study the city council commissioned this summer.

M modifies 4 things in the plan, requiring voter approval when it's time to reset the development caps that were studied in the Plan. It is simply false and misleading to say or imply that other changes have to go to a vote.

If you want to read what really is in the Measure, read the impartial analysis written by the city attorney:
Web Link


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 22, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Like the Constitution if you want to understand Measure M read the actual document. And then read the Wise report.

You will find that factless has all of facts wrong. There are far more than 2 or 3 or 4 things defined and constrained by Measure M - that is why it takes 12 poorly written pages to specify all the definitions and standards, section 3, and voter control forever , section 4, and priority over all other Menlo Park ordinances.

Fact less would have you believe that Measure M is a tiny mouse - it is not.

Measure M is Monstrosity and a Mistake.


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Peter, it might help me to understand the context of Gregory W. Stepanicich's "IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE M"? Was it expected or intended to be complete? Who was the intended audience? Who asked for it? And, what did he mean by "impartial analysis?"


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 22, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is why it is important to actually read Measure M (which the supporters NEVER quote):

"Consistent with the Planning and Zoning Law and applicable case law, the City shall not adopt any other new provisions or amendments to the Policy Planning Documents that would be inconsistent with or frustrate the implementation of the voter-adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, absent voter approval of a conforming amendment to those voter-adopted provisions. "

Why were the words "or frustrate" added to Measure M since "inconsistent with" is clearly sufficient itself?

Guess what, the "or frustrate" language allows anyone, anytime to challenge anything in the Specific Plan area and that challenged could only be resolved by the courts or by a city wide vote.

The Measure M supporters do NOT want you to read the measure nor do they ever quote from it - which is very telling. They have chosen ignorance as their ally.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter, it might help me to understand the context of Gregory W. Stepanicich's "IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE M"?"

The Impartial analysis is designed for the Voter's Guide and is a Cliff Notes abbreviation of the actual Measure. There are 12 pages in Measure M and they can be read and understood by an interested voter - the Measure M supporters hope and pray that no one actually read the entire text.

The Wise Report is a much fuller independent analysis of Measure M and well work reading.

Web Link

The City also has an excellent web page at:
Web Link

Other excellent resources can be found here:
Web Link

Measure M is hoping for a low turnout election where only their zealots vote and everyone else is uninformed of the tremendous damage that Measure M WILL DO and therefore stays home - that is NOT going to happen.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 23, 2014 at 9:11 am

The Impartial Analysis is part of the actual ballot.

The full text of Measure M is long because it adopts text straight from the Specific Plan itself, so it's clear what M means by what is to be counted towards the office, non-residential, and project open space. Fully vetted text during the Plan's many reviews.
What is happening now was never studied. Not before the plan was adopted, not by the expensive city consultant because the city deliberately omitted from her scope any evaluation of the projects.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 23, 2014 at 10:19 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If you let the supporters of Measure M talk long enough they occasionally blurt out the truth:
"The full text of Measure M is long because it adopts text straight from the Specific Plan itself"

The problem with Measure M is that these portions of the Specific Plan are "hereby adopted by the voters. " And since they have been adopted by the voters they can ONLY be changed by a city wide vote:
", the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting “YES” on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election."


So instead of a carefully vetted Specific Plan which can, via open meetings, discussion and public input be continually modified by the Planning Commission and the elected City Council, ALL of the definitions and standards in Measure M which have been "adopted by the voters"
are FROZEN FOREVER.

Measure M is designed to freeze Menlo Park in the past and to prevent wisely planned and balanced growth of our community.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 23, 2014 at 10:43 am

Peter is making up a problem that does not exist. The Plan assigns city staff to be responsible to interpret uses and says how to do it. What is the need to create new definitions?
Use common sense - M just wants to count what is office or not, and what is non-residential space or not. Staff have to do this for every project anyway. What is the problem here?
This is a red herring issue.


1 person likes this
Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2014 at 11:21 am

When I originally started adding my comments to this thread I did it anonymously because I didn't know enough to know where I stood, and given the vitriol on both sides I didn't want to also have to factor this in. Since then I have opened up with my real name, and if anyone wants to throw words, fine.

For the record, I'm opposed to Measure M, but I remain open to discussion until election day.

"fact checker" and several other vocal Measure M supporters choose to be anonymous. Why? Why not stand up in the public for what you believe in?


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 23, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Peter states: "If you provided little service then that is very understandable.
My service was not little by any definition. Nor is the 100% disability that I now have from that service. Your comment is offensive."

Feel free to be offended. I respect that you served as you did, but, as I said, your military service or mine are irrelevant to the topic at hand or most topics for that matter. Now that we have that clarified. Let's move on.

Address the following:

1) What is the specific trigger in Measure M that will lead to voter review? Name it. There is only one. Stop telling everyone that every development plan will be subject to voter review. That is not true. Your pattern has been to cut and paste the portion of the provision after the trigger to then suggest that anything is subject to review.

2) If there are no office space restrictions on future developement, how will ABAG impact Menlo Park?


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Sorry been extremely busy at work recently so I am coming late to the party...

Peter says "Measure M is simply a ploy to stop development in Menlo Park and to discourage new investors in our community regardless of the outcome in November."

Where do you get "Our community" from. You live in a secluded enclave of Atherton, you are not in Menlo Park, and will not have to deal with any of the negative side affects of two monster developments.

Peter you want the developments to go through no matter what. It is obvious that you do not want to allow the residents of Menlo Park to have a direct say after being let down by the planning commission and the city council. It is a fact that enough voters in Menlo Park feel that way because the initiative is on the ballot and you can't do anything to stop that. As an elected official I would think you would champion the democratic process but I guess that only happens if and when it is to your benefit.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 23, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Listen is a coward, hypocrite and wrong.

He asked me for my background _
""I am interested in WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU DO and ARE YOU LIKE ME. Get it? "

Which I freely provided -

Well let's see:
- a was a Smokejumper - is that like you?
- I served in the military including in Vietnam - is that like you?
- I worked in the Office of Management and Budget - is that like you?
- I worked in a innovative drug delivery company - - is that like you?
- I was a Palo Alto Planning Commissioner - is that like you?
- I have been elected three times by the citizens of Menlo Park as a Director of your Fire District
- is that like you?
- I have posted hundreds of facts about Measure M on this Forum - is that like you?
- I have lived in this community for 38 years - is that like you?
- my son went to Encinal and MA - is that like you?
- I have spent over 30 years of my life in public service - is that like you?"

And then Listen answers NONE of my questions and he mocks my answer.

He claims that Measure M only has one item that would trigger a requirement for a city wide vote and yet section 3 details 9 standards and definitions -
"Section 3.
3.1.
TITLE.
This initiative measure shall be known and cited as the “El Camino Real/ Downtown Specific Plan Area Livable, Walkable Community Development Standards Act.”
PLANNING POLICY DOCUMENTS COVERED.
This initiative measure enacts certain development definitions and standards within the City of Menlo Park General Plan and the Menlo Park El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan (“ECR Specific Plan”).
In this initiative measure the above two documents are referred to collectively as the “Planning Policy Documents.”
Within 30 days of this measure’s effective date, the City shall cause the entire text of this measure to be incorporated into the electronic version of each of the Planning Policy Documents posted at the City’s website, and all subsequently distributed electronic or printed copies of the Planning Policy Documents, which incorporation shall appear immediately following the table of contents of each such document.
ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA VOTER-ADOPTED DEVELOPMENT DEFINITIONS AND STANDARDS.
ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the “ECR Specific Plan Area,” this initiative measure is referring to the bounded area within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I, of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo Park city Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 to this measure and hereby adopted by the voters as an integral part of this initiative measure.
3.2. OPEN SPACE DEFINITIONS AND STANDARDS; ABOVE GROUND LEVEL OPEN SPACE EXCLUDED FROM CALCULATIONS OF MINIMUM OPEN SPACE REQUIREMENTS FOR DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS WITHIN THE ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA.
1. 3.2.1. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan’s Appendix includes the following definition of “Open Space”: “The portion of the building site that is open, unobstructed and unoccupied, and otherwise preserved from development, and used for public or private use, including plazas, parks, walkways, landscaping, patios and balconies. It is inclusive of Common Outdoor Open Space, Private Open Space and Public Open Space as defined in this glossary. It is typically located at ground level, though it includes open space atop a podium, if provided, and upper story balconies. Open space is also land that is essentially unimproved and devoted to the conservation of natural resources.” The foregoing definition is hereby amended, restated and adopted by the voters to instead read: “The portion of the building site that is open, unobstructed and unoccupied, and otherwise preserved from development, and used for public or private use, including plazas, parks, walkways, landscaping, patios, balconies, and roof decks. It is inclusive of Common Outdoor Open Space, Private Open Space and Public Open Space as defined in this glossary. Open space up to 4 feet in height associated with ground floor level development or atop a podium up to 4 feet high, if provided, shall count toward the minimum open space requirement for proposed development. Open space greater than 4 feet in height, whether associated with upper story balconies, patios or roof decks, or atop a podium, if provided, shall not count toward the minimum open space requirement for proposed development. Open space is also land that is essentially unimproved and devoted to the conservation of natural resources.”
2. 3.2.2. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan’s Appendix includes the following definition of “Private Open Space”: “An area connected or immediately adjacent to a dwelling unit. The space can be a balcony, porch, ground or above grade patio or roof deck used exclusively by the occupants of the dwelling unit and their guests.” The foregoing definition is hereby adopted by the voters.
3. 3.2.3. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan’s Appendix includes the following definition of “Common Outdoor Open Space”: “Usable outdoor space commonly accessible to all residents and users of the building for the purpose of passive or
active recreation.” The foregoing definition is hereby adopted by the voters.
4. 3.2.4. As adopted on July 12, 2012, ECR Specific Plan Standard E.3.6.01 states: “Residential developments or Mixed Use developments with residential use shall have a minimum of 100 square feet of open space per unit created as common open space or a minimum of 80 square feet of open space per unit created as private open space, where private open space shall have a minimum dimension of 6 feet by 6 feet. In case of a mix of private and common open space, such common open space shall be provided at a ratio equal to 1.25 square feet for each one square foot of private open space that is not provided.” The foregoing standard is hereby adopted by the voters.
3.2.5. As adopted on July 12, 2012, ECR Specific Plan Standard E.3.6.02 states: “Residential open space (whether in common or private areas) and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 16 feet high shall count towards the minimum open space requirement for the development.” The foregoing Standard is hereby amended, restated and adopted by the voters to instead read: “Ground floor open space up to 4 feet high (whether in common or private areas) and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 4 feet high shall count towards the minimum open space requirement for the development. Open space exceeding 4 feet in height (regardless of whether in common or private areas or associated with podiums) shall not count towards the minimum open space requirement for the development.”
6. 3.2.6. After this measure becomes effective, Tables E6, E7, E8, E9, E10, E11, E12, E13, E14, E15, in the ECR Specific Plan, which, as adopted on July 12, 2012, state that “residential open space, whether in common or private areas, shall count toward the minimum open space requirement for the development” are each hereby amended, restated and adopted by the voters to instead read at the places where the foregoing statement appears: “only ground floor level residential open space in common or private areas up to 4 feet high and accessible open space above parking podiums up to 4 feet high shall count toward the minimum open space requirement for the development; residential open space in common or private areas exceeding 4 feet in height and open space above parking podiums exceeding 4 feet in height shall not.”
3.3. OFFICE SPACE DEFINED; MAXIMUM OFFICE SPACE ALLOWED FOR INDIVIDUAL OR PHASED DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS WITHIN THE ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA.
1. 3.3.1. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan’s Appendix includes the following Commercial Use Classification for “Offices, Business and Professional”: “Offices of firms or organizations providing professional, executive, management, or administrative services, such as accounting, advertising, architectural, computer software design, engineering, graphic design, insurance, interior design, investment, and legal offices. This classification excludes hospitals, banks, and savings and loan associations.” The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.
2. 3.3.2. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan’s Appendix includes the following Commercial Use Classification for “Offices, Medical and Dental”: “Offices for a physician, dentist, or chiropractor, including medical/dental laboratories incidental to the medical office use. This classification excludes medical marijuana dispensing facilities, as defined in the California Health and Safety Code.” The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.
3. 3.3.3. As adopted on July 12, 2012, the ECR Specific Plan’s Appendix includes the following Commercial Use Classification for “Banks and Other Financial Institutions”: “Financial institutions providing retail banking services. This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on-site circulation of money, including credit unions.” The foregoing Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.
4. 3.3.4. The foregoing, voter-adopted Commercial Use Classifications are hereby collectively referred to in this measure as “Office Space.”
5. 3.3.5. After this measure becomes effective, the maximum amount of Office Space that any individual development project proposal within the ECR Specific Plan area may contain is 100,000 square
feet. No City elected or appointed official or body, agency, staff member or officer may take, or permit to be taken, any action to permit any individual development project proposal located within the ECR Specific Plan area that would exceed the foregoing limit.
3.3.6. For purposes of this provision, all phases of a multi-phased project proposal shall be collectively considered an individual project.
4
7. 3.3.7. The foregoing limitation is in addition to applicable Floor Area Ratio (FAR) limitations, including Public Benefit Bonuses, that may apply to a proposed development project.
8. 3.3.8. Any authorization, permit, entitlement or other approval issued for a proposed development project by the City after the effective date of this measure is limited by the foregoing provisions, and any claimed “vested right” to develop under any such authorization, permit, entitlement or other approval shall be and is conditioned on the foregoing 100,000 square foot limitation on Office Space, whether or not such condition is expressly called out or stated in the authorization, permit, entitlement or other approval. "

These standards and definitions "are hereby adopted by the voters" and then section 4 of Measure M specifies that each of those standards and definitions can ONLY be changed by a city wide vote :
"NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City’s ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting “YES” on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. The entire text of the proposed definition or standard to be repealed, or the amendment proposed to any such definition or standard, shall be included in the sample ballot materials mailed to registered voters prior to any such election.
Consistent with the Planning and Zoning Law and applicable case law, the City shall not adopt any other new provisions or amendments to the Policy Planning Documents that would be inconsistent with or frustrate the implementation of the voter-adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, absent voter approval of a conforming amendment to those voter-adopted provisions."


Once again Measure M proponents make sweeping claims but dare not cite the actual measure because it would disprove their claims. These folks either have not read or do not understand Measure M or they are intentionally lying about what it says - your choice.

Measure M is a huge Mistake.


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Earlier today I challenged the Yes on M folks to remove their veils of anonymity. Didn't see any takers. So just now, I tallied up the No on M vs. Yes on M commenters on this thread:

No on M: There are 8 individuals, with 3 anonymous: 38%

Yes on M: There are 10 individuals, with 9 anonymous: 90%

(Note: I counted people using only their first name as anonymous.)

Interesting.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Peter, you keep spreadying disinformation and getting called on it. So here we go again...

"We would welcome your analysis of the worst case impact of the frozen definitions in Measure M, of the arbitrary 100,000 sq ft office cap which has zero impact on any existing parcel in the Specific Plan area, of Measure M's Specific Plan boundary freeze preventing the replacement of the downtown fire station."

Plain and simple this is a lie. No where in Measure M is the fire station prevented. Let's start with the fact that you keep blaming measure M for the Fire Station's issues. You sit on the Fire Board, correct? And it is the fire board and the city of Menlo Park that have failed for over 7 years to get that fire station replaced. SEVEN YEARS! long before the Specific Plan and long log before Measure M. That Peter is a FACT, not a suposition. Also Measure M does NOT prevent the fire station, what is does is make it harder to build but nowhere can you point to that prevents it.

The truth is the fire board and city of Menlo Park blew it when it comes to the downtown fire station. Lucky for them they have Measure M to uses as a scapegoat for their own failures.

Now Peter, MV please point out what in my above statements are not facts.

My advice to anyone reading this forum who has not decided: Don't take the lies, misinformation and worse case scenarios that Peter and MV are spreading as truth. For that matter don't take anything you read here as a hard fact, make your own decision on Measure M, read it, talk with neighbors but make an informed decision and vote for or against it.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Well Barry, what's your point? I don't sign my ballot either. I don't really feel like giving my last name and I don't require anyone else to do so. Welcome to democracy in action.

If you want to find me you can identify me by the "Yes on M" signs in front of my house our neighborhood.

Brian


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 23, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"No where in Measure M is the fire station prevented. "

How many times do I have to present the EVIDENCE?
"There is no doubt that section 3.1 of Measure M freezes the boundaries of the Specific Plan area

"ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the "ECR Specific Plan Area," this initiative measure is referring to the bounded area within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I, of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo Park City Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 "

and therefore that section 4.1 requires a city wide vote to change the Specific Plan boundaries

"4.1.NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.

Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City's ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. The entire text of the proposed definition or standard to be repealed, or the amendment proposed to any such definition or standard, shall be included in the sample ballot materials mailed to registered voters prior to any such election."


The existing Fire Station 6 on OakGrove is on a parcel that is INSIDE the Specific Plan area. The adjacent parcel which fronts on Hoover is OUTSIDE the Specific Plan area. In order to build a replacement station these parcels would need to be merged into a single parcel and that cannot be done if the two existing parcels remain one inside and one outside the Specific Plan area.
*****************

Note that the proponents of Measure M refuse to actually quote the measure and instead treat it like a poor relative that they are ashamed to introduce to their friends.

Why are the Measure M supporters so afraid of (or ignorant of) their own measure? Because the facts contradict their repeated lies.

Measure M is a horrible Mistake.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 23, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.


Here is what the supporters are sending out:
"I hope that you will consider voting for Measure M if you are a voter in Menlo Park. If you are not a voter in Menlo Park but have friends who are, please forward this message to them! "

And Brian asks - "Where do you get "Our community" from. You live in a secluded enclave of Atherton, you are not in Menlo Park,"

As noted above:

Because Menlo Park is also MY downtown.

Because Measure M has already cost our Fire District a lot of money and will cost it even more if Measure M passes.

Because a fellow Athertonian is the biggest contributor to Save Menlo/Measure M.

Because democracy is not a spectator sport.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 23, 2014 at 6:07 pm

brian:

No where in Measure M is the fire station prevented.

Wrong! The two parcels the district wants to merge to build the station cannot be done without a city wide vote if measure m passes. That's a FACT.

It matters not if it has languished for 7 years before. We are dealing with NOW. the now is that if measure m passes the fire district has to pay for an election in order to merge their parcels. That's a FACT.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 23, 2014 at 6:12 pm

brian:

one other thing. Instead of "talking to your neighbors" I would highly suggest ACTUALLY READING THE MEASURE AND THE DSP AS WELL AS THE INDEPENDENT ANALYIS.

Then think about the potential consequences of measure m.

If you do that you're likely to come to the same conclusion I have.

Measure M is a M.

Measure M is Mistake.

Vote NO on M


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 23, 2014 at 6:13 pm

*Measure M is a Mess


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2014 at 6:42 pm

@Brian: here's where I'm coming from... my gut feeling (confirmed by my tally) was that there were many more anonymous people in favor of M than opposed. And as my understanding is that M was drafted by a small group, perhaps those people are the ones who're so vocal here.

Anyway, I just ran through the numbers again (not counting people using their first name only as anonymous) and came up with the following:

No on M: 30% anonymous
Yes on M: 56% anonymous

I saw on another thread that there is at least one business owner who is concerned that if he/she is public with their opinion they may hurt their business. I certainly understand. Maybe there are others in such a boat. No hard feelings I hope.

Barry


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 23, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Barry states - "Anyway, I just ran through the numbers again (not counting people using their first name only as anonymous) and came up with the following"

Barry - why not count people using their first name only as anonymous? We have no idea who they are, who is paying them, what conflicts of interest they might have.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 23, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Barry - another interesting cut is how many pro and con posters are registered users - i.e. willing to register with the Editors. Why would posters be unwilling to register as that does not reveal their identity to other posters but does verify certain basic facts to the Editors?


1 person likes this
Posted by Helen Ingwersen
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 23, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Dear menlo voter and other anonymous writers,

I may lose business, but will stand up for what I believe. There was a 6 year study for the 30 year plan. Many of the citizens who were on the task force and made recommendations are now on the Yes on M band wagon. And for good reason. Before you vote, please compare their recommendations with the plan for the current buildings. And when did private balconies become "public open space" as the current Menlo Park Council has approved?

Never before involved in politics, but am in it now!

HELEN INGWERSEN
TRUE MENLO PARK CITIZEN


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 23, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Helen:

you need to look at the commonly accepted planning definition of open space to understand why a balcony might count. But hey, go ahead and remove that. What do you get then? Slab sided buildings with no balconies. Lovely. Please do research and read the measure, the DSP and the independent analysis. don't drink the Lanza/Fry koolaid.

Vote NO on M

ALSO A TRUE MENLO PARK CITIZEN (like it really matters)


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 23, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Helen -
You ask "when did private balconies become "public open space" as the current Menlo Park Council has approved?"

Apparently during the one-year review of the Specific Plan - and perhaps with good reason. Here's the pertinent passage from the analysis of Measure M. Read it and see if maybe considering balconies as part of the overall "open space" requirement for the whole plan may not make more sense than requiring all open space be at ground level. It makes sense to me, for reason Menlo Voter just mentioned.

"What the Specific Plan currently says about open space requirements:
The Specific Plan’s open space definition includes above ground-level elements such as balconies, decks, or other private open spaces. Questions about this definition were discussed during the one-year review of the Specific Plan in 2013. During those discussions, it was noted that the approved definition reflects best practices from other jurisdictions for moderate-intensity mixed-use development. Private open space above ground level (for example, balconies) can enhance the character of public streets and sidewalks by providing visual interest and relaying activity. Open space connected to a dwelling unit also generally provides greater utility to the residents of multifamily housing than an equivalent share of ground-level common space."

"Open space that is calculated only at ground-level would likely affect the feasibility of some, if not all, developments, and could result in unintended ripple effects (e.g., if more ground-level area is required to be dedicated to landscaping, it may effectively encourage/require taller buildings)."

and thank you Peter for providing the link.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 23, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Apparently it's pretty easy to get under Peter's skin. Amusing full personal attack mode without the slightest substantiation (see my points on anonymity in these forums below)

"Listen is a coward, hypocrite and wrong.
He asked me for my background _
""I am interested in WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU DO and ARE YOU LIKE ME. Get it?""

Peter, the question above referenced the topic of this thread and how your day-to-day life may or may not be affected by MP development. I couldn't care less what you did 40 years ago. But, let's get back on topic. There's a personal flourish for you at the end if you want to read it.

Peter, "9 standards and definitions" is not 9 triggers. The trigger is around office space, plain and simple. The rest is an outline qualifying when the trigger may get pulled. Surely someone with your extensive experience in government knows how measures, bills, contracts, and even outlines are written.

Also, please aanswer the question about ABAG. Hopefully you can spare us the digital logorrhea. I've asked you twice and you avoid it -- and for good reason.

@Barry Gray, anonymity is invoked at times because people are concerned for themselves and sometimes because they have loved ones for whom they are concerned such as spouses and young children. It's not always selfish. When you stand with the majority, it's easy to declare yourself and stand at the podium. At other times, you do it regardless of the consequences. This topic just isn't worth that damage to family. The content of the discussion is what should matter to you.

@Peter, my Libertarian leanings aside, suffice it to say that I, and most Americans, are quite suspicious of government and people who spend their entire lives in "public service". Career politicos are not at the top of my list. I am also deeply suspicious of someone who "hangs out" on community forums and repeatedly posts on a wide variety of topics in a manner that nobody I know could ever find the time to do. It invokes an image of a kid trolling the net from mom's basement. I know that's not you, but it invokes that image nonetheless. I'm pretty certain I'm not the only one who experiences you this way.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 23, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Helen -
A good example of open space not on the ground floor that definitely improves the project appearance is the new FaceBook building going up on Bayshore & Willow. I'm sure the Stanford project is nothing like this but it clearly shows how allowing flexibility in defining "open space" can lead to spectacular results.
Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Oh where to start...
Let's go with Menlo Voter who in one post proved that he and Peter twists the facts to suit their own purposes:

"No where in Measure M is the fire station prevented" and then "Wrong! The two parcels the district wants to merge to build the station cannot be done without a city wide vote if measure m passes. That's a FACT."

MV, Peter said that Measure M prevented a down town fire station but as you said it does not prevent anything. It makes it more difficult, sure but if you look up the word "Prevent" you will find that it means to stop something not to make it more difficult. Thank you for making my point that you and Peter enjoy exaggerating facts to your own benefit. As for why the 7 years matters, if you look at Peter and Your statements you try to claim that the reason there is no new station downtown is because of Measure M, you neglect the fact that after 7 years of trying, with the funding already raised and before Measure M existed we still did not have a station. Let's put blame squarely where it belongs.

In the past Peter and Menlo Voter, as well as others, have misquoted other posters, myself included, claimed that their wild conjecture was "fact", taken pot shots at proponents of Measure M and ignored anything that did not support their position and that they could not argue against. I have seen many Measure M proponents say that there are flaws but they believe as I do that Measure M passing is better for Menlo Park, and the people who live here that the two planned developments.

I am a Menlo Park resident and probably have been longer than most if not everyone here. I have been voting in every election for almost 30 years, including when I was serving my country abroad. I live and work in Menlo Park. I had nothing to do with the creation of Measure M besides putting my name down to get it on the ballot. All of these facts are irrelevant (for me or any other poster). What is relevant are the true facts about Measure M and what it is trying to do. People should get informed from impartial sources (this forum is definitely not that) and vote for or against. The fact that some people here are willing to lie, twist facts, etc. is a shame but it seems that is just a fact.

My advice to anyone reading this is to treat it as entertainment and not as a true discussion of facts or merits for or against Measure M.

For those of you who have read this and the other forums, you are probably thinking this is what it is all about.
Web Link


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 23, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I am a Menlo Park resident and probably have been longer than most if not everyone here. I have been voting in every election for almost 30 years,"

I have been here for 33 years. So what is your point?

"My advice to anyone reading this is to treat it as entertainment and not as a true discussion of facts or merits for or against Measure M."

Of course, that is the Measure M strategy - do everything possible to ensure that the voters are uninformed.

A good test of who is more fact based is to compare how many time the Measure M supporters have quoted the language of Measure M - ZERO - versus how many time the opponents of Measure M have quoted the language of Measure M - HUNDREDS.

WHAT are they hiding? The TRUTH.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 23, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is a perfect example of the Measure M supporters lying:

"Peter said that Measure M prevented a down town fire station "

And then the same Measure M supporter acknowledges that I stated :

"No where in Measure M is the fire station prevented" and then I responded :
"Wrong! The two parcels the district wants to merge to build the station cannot be done without a city wide vote if Measure M passes. That's a FACT."

The truth is clear - Measure M would prevent the replacement of the downtown fire station at its current location without a city wide vote.

Measure M supporters have no respect for the truth.


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 7:39 am

Here's a question that came to me this morning: if the Measure M had to pay people to gather the necessary 3,000 signatures (and that's still an "if" as far as I know), how much did it cost?

I got an estimate from: Web Link
Let's say it's $3.25/signature, that would equate to about $10,000.

So, who contributed to this? Who paid it? Is that in the public record?

Why do I ask? Because if it's spread among a lot of people, well fine: grassroots organization doing its thing. But if it's, say, 2-5 people, I would wonder if they have a more vested interest.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2014 at 8:08 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Barry:

an Atherton resident supplied 75% of the funding for the measure. That's right ONE person and he's not even a Menlo Park resident. Really makes on wonder why all of the measure M supporters constantly berate Peter because he's not a resident doesn't it?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2014 at 8:09 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Correction. 65%

See: Web Link


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2014 at 8:10 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"grassroots" my a**


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 8:44 am

fire station - the project can proceed. M just wants to count what is within the boundary of the Plan area. How is the council going to deal with counting space for the purposes of the plan's maximum buildout even if M doesn't pass? how would they adjust the total allowed? Same issue.
who would protest merging the parcels? Didn't M supporters offer to document that they would not? Besides, can't the project proceed without merging parcels (hint - the council can make that be ok)? What is the problem?

Ground level open space was an explicit tradeoff for height during the long Plan public process. The definition was changed without direction or discussion; just appeared in final plan without comment. Balconies are good. Ground level open space good. If the amount required on ground isn't right (too little, too much) the Council controls that amount. what is the problem?


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 8:49 am

@Menlo Voter: thanks very much for posting that link to the earlier Almanac article about Save Menlo Funding. Finally, I get it. The fundamental issue for them is that traffic will increase with growth/revitalization of ECR and the Downtown, and since our traffic congestion is already pretty annoying at times, we should first take care of the traffic problems, and then build.

I don't like traffic either. I don't like commuters cutting through my neighborhood to get to/from MP and PA. But I can just imagine how long (if ever) it would take to build out/modify ECR and surrounding traffic infrastructure to address a problem before it's so serious that it's already being addressed. This is literally putting the cart before the horse.

I have two arguments:
1. Infrastructure planning and investment is all about priorities. As the development of ECR and downtown proceeds, the traffic will increase, whether it's under the Specific Plan or Measure M. That will add priority to the need to address the traffic issues, and then they will be addressed.

2. Let's say that the Council did add traffic planning on ECR and elsewhere to the Specific Plan. I imagine that this would add years to the planning process as well as tens of thousands of dollars.

I agree with Peter and others who have written here that it seems that the Measure M proponents' main goal is to delay development, to achieve their specific goals.

Personally, I want to see ECR and the downtown revitalized, and soon. If there is development there will be increased traffic. Increased traffic will drive measures to deal with it.

Vote No on M.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 10:26 am

@Barry Gray,

*Full disclosure: I am not in the Measure M camp and will likely vote against it.*

Having said that, what you say about some Measure M proponents just wanting to delay development may be true, but I suspect it's not the majority.

If I end up voting against Measure M, I will do so with mixed feelings because I do think the Specific Plan is deeply flawed and by the time we realize it, it will be very difficult to do anything about it. Middle Ave, where I do not live, but frequently commute, will be inundated with work day cut through traffic with no real release point. On top of this, the city will then have to deal with the ABAG repercussions of having so much office space and this will seriously hamstring any future residential development. If you do not know what ABAG is, I strongly suggest you inform yourself. Notice how the anti-M crowd on this forum have consistently chosen to not address my questions about ABAG. Is it dishonesty or a lack of information? I don't know, but the reason is irrelevant. They've made up their mind. You, however, should take a close look at ABAG before you decide: Web Link.
This is the only source for the uncertainty on my vote.


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 11:47 am

@Listen_to_George,

You're right, I didn't know what they meant by "ABAG"; thank you for sending that link. I can see how this complicates matters in general. So, you're point is that since MP needs to add more residential units that we will run out of real estate to accomplish this if the Specific Plan is followed? I certainly don't know the details of ABAG and/or how this all might have to be dealt with. I assume that other communities within the ABAG jurisdiction also encounter problems and there are ways to deal with them.

To your point about Middle Avenue. I rarely drive it, so I'm not aware. But I do have to drive Willow Road a lot, and during commute times it's a mess.

To me this leads to another question. (Perhaps Gary Lauder is here anonymously or a friend can forward this to him.) Let's say that M passes, and so, according to his desires, development is on hold until the traffic problems on ECR are handled. Won't increased capacity on ECR also lead to increased traffic on Ravenswood, Willow, and Middle, among others? So, why don't we also add handling all of that to this master traffic plan? And then, hey, the 101/Willow interchange is a problem as well, isn't it? My point is that plans always must have a scope. It's a balancing act and it's not perfect. But we don't live in a perfect world.

Full disclosure for me: I plan on voting No on M at least for now. As I wrote yesterday I'm wide open to listening to M supporters and their arguments. But this morning I did read the "Wise Report" (thanks to Peter for posting the link) and found it to be very professional and, to my mind, in support of the Specific Plan.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Peter,

You also made my point. Here is what you said:
"And then the same Measure M supporter acknowledges that I stated :

"No where in Measure M is the fire station prevented" and then I responded :
"Wrong! The two parcels the district wants to merge to build the station cannot be done without a city wide vote if Measure M passes. That's a FACT."

The truth is clear - Measure M would prevent the replacement of the downtown fire station at its current location without a city wide vote.

Measure M supporters have no respect for the truth."

It is nice that you are now adding the qualified "without a city wide vote" you have never said that before, while myself and other measure M supporters have been saying that all along. You kept saying that it would prevent the downtown fire station PERIOD!. Nice to know you can back up on your false claims even if you won't acknowledge it.

Finally Peter your comment:
"Of course, that is the Measure M strategy - do everything possible to ensure that the voters are uninformed." is dead wrong, but you believe what you like. I think based on your made up "facts", exaggerations, misquotes and outright lies that one could argue that you at lease are doing everything possible to ensure that the voters are MISinformed.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm

@Barry Gray,

Absolutely. Traffic will dump onto Willow and Marsh as well as they are the main conduits to 101.

Again, there is no such thing as development without increased traffic. That is the nature of the beast. The question is where, when, and the manner of that traffic.

Ideally, we have residential development that allows people to live and work in the community. Housing will never be cheap in MP and that's fine. It is also the case that many fb employees, as an example, will deliberately choose to live in the city because they are in their, hopefully brief, hipster phase. The more attractive and updated we make our downtown, the more it becomes an option to downtown PA, the more we keep young employees with means, their money, and their commutes in our city, the better for our coffers and our traffic. A smaller proportion of the above mentioned demographic drives or own cars (well documented generational trend). They are not interested in buying non-perishables from brick and mortar stores, but interesting food, drinks, and entertainment. I don't see how the Specific Plan even comes close to achieving this. The Specific Plan is myopic and anachronistic because if reflects the generational biases of the folks who crafted and approved it and those who ardently support it. Someone with the same biases writing a report about it will just say more of the same. You don't have to be young to be forward looking -- just smart and data driven.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Barry,

You live in teh Willows as do I. Not sure if you have noticed that in the last few years cars are avoiding willow by turning onto Woodland after the market, cutting down to Gilbert, up to Laurel and then over to O'Keefe, Durram or Chester where they get back onto Willow. I have seen it happening and while it seems like not many people are doing that now it is only likely to get worse if Willow gets more backed up. I don't know about you but I have a child and I worry about people speeding through our streets to get to work in the morning and home after work.

Any anyone who attempts to argue that building out two massive business parks in the middle of the city will not increase traffic, especially during peak commutes, is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Just use common sense and anyone will see that more offices in downtown will mean more cars on Willow and Marsh (to get to 101) and Middle and Santa Cruz to get to 280. I have lived in our neighborhood over 45 years and I like that kids can set up basketball hoops on Central, Laurel, Pope, Concord, Lexington, etc. I would hate to see that go away.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 12:54 pm

To the ALMANAC: I object very strongly to the placement of a paid political ad supporting a NO vote on M being place directly alongside the start of this story above. This placement strongly suggests the Almanac's endorsement of the NO vote. Your bell has rung. What are you going to do about it?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm

To the Almanac. AHA. You've changed the ad.


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Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Peter, registering is largely a red herring. I'm registered, but I comment without signing in. More important for those who read these comments is to know who is posting, by name. I won't post anything I'm not willing to stand behind. Those who choose to use a pseudonym can post whatever they want and remain unaccountable.


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Hi Brian,

I agree that Woodland and other side streets are also seeing higher traffic for the reasons you stated, and while my kids are grown, I am often concerned as I see drivers race through, barely slowing at stop signs, etc. Heck, I use Woodland myself to get to/from 101.

I just don't agree that stopping development on ECR and downtown is the answer. The problem in our neighborhood needs to be handled. I'll be at Cafe Zoe tomorrow evening for the candidate's meeting, so perhaps this will provide a good chance to gain their perspectives on this important issue.

The development and increased traffic won't happen overnight. It seems to me there is plenty of time for the city to investigate, plan, and install whatever measures they choose. But not doing anything is not acceptable, for sure.

We're not alone with this problem. Ever try to drive east or west on University during the rush hour? It's worse than Willow as far as I can tell. And their side streets are also used as bypasses.

In the near term (like now, why not?) I'd like to see much more traffic enforcement in the Willows and on Willow. I regularly see violations and indeed, that might also provide revenue for the city.

If it matters, I've lived in the Willows for almost 30 years myself. First on O'Keefe; the sound of gunfire coming from Whiskey Gulch is a memory I'd like to forget. Back then, as now, O'Keefe was a high-speed run between EPA and MP.

I think we're on the same side on this issue except for the sequence.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 1:09 pm

The Ad is still there, at least for me "With major funding by Greenheart Land Company".


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 1:21 pm

@LT George
I think you're shooting the messenger because you don't like the message when you rail against ABAG. This organization exists because the population of the Bay Area is going to increase, not because ABAG is trying to make it increase. ABAG simply recognizes the reality of population growth and proposes best practices to deal with it. Among these best practices is to locate apartments & jobs near transit hubs to encourage commuting as much as possible. Both Stanford and Greenheart Projects accomplish this as they are located near Caltrain stations and along El Camino with it's regular bus service. To do anything less with this valuable land would be to squander a resource and contribute to the worsening of the larger Bay Area population problem.
If we're not part of the solution, we're part of the problem.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Steve,

the problem I have with your argument is that, having commuted in the past on CalTrain, it does not seem like it can currently support more riders during peak commute times. I have heard they are going to order more cars so maybe they will help take care of that issue but only for people who live on the peninsula or the south bay and likely only thos who live near CalTrain stations. What about the people from the East Bay?

Second, the feeder roads from El Camino can not handle a large influx of traffic. Take 101 for instance. Leaving these complexes drivers will have few choices. They can go to Willow, Marsh (via Middlefield), University or possibly Watkins. I believe marsh and Willow will be the primary roads. Both roads are very clogged during commute hours, especially Middlefield and Willow, which I am more familiar with. People will be driving and they will add to an already bad traffic situation. This will cause more people to take short cuts through the neighborhoods, which already happens. Not a good situation.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Brian states - "It is nice that you are now adding the qualified "without a city wide vote" you have never said that before, "

Interested and attentive readers will note that I have posted Sec 3.1 (which freezes the boundaries of the Specific Plan and therefore prevents rebuilding the downtown fire station at its current location) AND Section 4.1 (which requires a city wide vote to change the boundaries of the Specific Plan area) at least 50 times. Sadly some posters either ignore what is repeatedly posted or have poor memories.

Here is just one example of my multiple postings of Sec 3.1 AND 4.1 :
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 20, 2014 at 6:10 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
Vince Bressler, one of the supporters of Measure M, has emailed the following statement:

"Therefore claims that measure M will:

Increase traffic
Require an election every time the council wants to act
Crowd schools
Open the door to unwanted development
Cause litigation
Impact the fire station

Are highly speculative and/or flat out wrong."

Let me take the claim with which I am most familiar - the impact on the Fire District's plan to build a new fire station serving the downtown area:

There is no doubt that section 3.1 of Measure M freezes the boundaries of the Specific Plan area

"ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the "ECR Specific Plan Area," this initiative measure is referring to the bounded area within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I, of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo Park City Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 "

and therefore that section 4.1 requires a city wide vote to change the Specific Plan boundaries

"4.1.NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.

Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City's ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. The entire text of the proposed definition or standard to be repealed, or the amendment proposed to any such definition or standard, shall be included in the sample ballot materials mailed to registered voters prior to any such election."


The existing Fire Station 6 on OakGrove is on a parcel that is INSIDE the Specific Plan area. The adjacent parcel which fronts on Hoover is OUTSIDE the Specific Plan area. In order to build a replacement station these parcels would need to be merged into a single parcel and that cannot be done if the two existing parcels remain one inside and one outside the Specific Plan area.

Bressler is wrong on this issue - and as a sitting Planning Commissioner he must know that. And I think is wrong on his other claims of what Measure M won't do.

The supporters of Measure M continually misrepresent what would be required by Measure M.

It is very telling that the supporters of Measure M never actually quote the language which supports their claims - because the language of Measure M does not support their claims.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 24, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Barry,

Thank you for doing some metrics on these postings.

Other metrics you may wish to explore is what % of the time does each side provide actual language from the Specific Plan or Measure M to support their opinion.

Another possible metric is the ratio for each side between the number of questions they answered and the number of questions they asked.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Peter,

Let me quote you from above:

"Measure M has already STOPPED the Stanford, Greenheart and fire station projects - what are the costs to the community of such delays even if Measure M fails?"

That is a pretty unequavical statement, you even put the word stopped in all caps to emphasize your point. Now you have acknowledged that it has not in fact stopped the fire station (if you can call 7 years on the table as having really "started"). So I stand by my statement that you post misinformation on a regular basis.

This is a prime example of you posting incorrect information, something you accuse others of but are very guilty of yourself.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Brian - as an elected Director of the Fire District I can assure you that the uncertainty created by Measure M has STOPPED the Fire District's plans to replace Station 6 at its current location and we are instead looking for alternative locations.

"Upon motion by Director Carpenter, seconded by Director Silano, the Board hereby determines that since the City of Menlo Park is unwilling to proceed expeditiously regarding Station 6 that no additional expenditures will be made to rebuild Station 6 at its current location and the District will consider alternate locations. (Vote: 3-0-1; Abstain: Kiraly; Absent: Bernstein)"

"no additional expenditures will be made to rebuild Station 6 at its current location" - Is that clear enough for you?

Why do the Measure M supporters have such a difficult time reading and with facts???

They have chosen ignorance as their ally.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Menlo Voter of central Menlo above:

please stop using my handle. I've been using it for years and am registered with that user name.

Thanks!


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Brian -
You're right that Caltrain is getting increasingly crowded - it's why electrification is planned for 2019 which will allow an extra train in each direction each hour. That will help some.
A Dumbarton rail line would help reduce road traffic but that project seems to be on hold.
Bus service is the one commute option that seems underutilized on the Peninsula. Perhaps creating a transit-only lane on El Camino would increase ridership.
Of course there are technologies on the horizon that will help reduce the load on our highways: increased use of alternate work schedules and work-from-home options have already reduced the number of cars at peak times and should be offered by more companies. Google's development of self-driving cars will eventually bear fruit, which should reduce accidents and speed up traffic flow.
The future isn't all grim you know.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Brian - as an elected Director of the Fire District I can assure you that the uncertainty created by Measure M has STOPPED the Fire District's plans to replace Station 6 at its current location and we are instead looking for alternative locations.


Peter, It would be more accurate to say "After 7 years of an inability to make progress on a downtown fire stations the Fire District board has chosen to use Measure M as a scapegoat and has choosen not to pursue a down town fire station".

Choosing to stop and claiming that you are stopped by Measure M are two different things. Measure M does not prevent a downtown fire station, show me anywhere in Measure M that prevents that. It makes it more difficult, but since you and the rest of the board found it so difficult to do before Measure M was added to the ballot it is disingenuous to blame Measure M.

As I and others have said time and time again, the blame for the lack of a new downtown fire station lies at the feet of the Fire Distric Board and the city of Menlo Park, not on Measure M.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 24, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Brian - You seem to have trouble with logic and the truth.

"Measure M does not prevent a downtown fire station, show me anywhere in Measure M that prevents that."

I have always stated that Measure M currently create uncertainty an, if passed, would PREVENT building a new downtown fire station at the OakGrove and Hoover location. The Fire Board resolution specifically states "that no additional expenditures will be made to rebuild Station 6 AT ITS CURRENT LOCATION and the District will consider alternate locations." That is exactly what we are doing and I NEVER stated that Measure M prevents a new downtown station at some other location in the Specific Plan area. Please review the video of the June Fire Board meeting and you will see a lengthy discussion on the Fire District's commitment to a new fire station serving the downtown area - but because of Measure M NOT at the current location.

Now how many time and how many ways do you want to continue to try to twist the facts?


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Steve,

Sure Caltrain can add one more train an hour in 2019, that could help a little. Driving cars, which are in testing now and may be available in the future are still cars and are still using the roads so I am not sure how they would help. The bus situation is horrible on the peninsula. If Work from home were such a great option then why would they need office space for employees? As for the dumbarton rail line, it is unlikely we will see that in our lifetimes. It was pretty much dead before the section of tracks burned down years ago.

You have a point that there are technologies that can mitigate the traffic situation but wouldn't building those two huge office parks before they exist be putting the cart before the horse?

Brian


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Peter,

Let me keep this simple. The fire district choosing not to pursue a downtown fire station because Measure M makes it harder is not the same as measure M preventing a downtown firestation from being build. I hope you can understand that. You and the board made a decision not to pursue it, you are the ones stopping. You and the fire board wrote the resolution, you decided to stop trying to build there and to blame the specific plan. It is you who are twisting facts. Here are the facts:

After 7 years of failing to get a new downtown fire station built the Fire board stopped the process

Measure M makes building that fire station more difficult but does not prevent it, it requires a vote.

The Fire board and Peter have chosen to blame Measure M and ignore the fact that they were getting owhere after 7 years.

If the Fire board and city had done their jobs in the last 7 years this would not even be a discussion.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 24, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Finally Brian has stated a truth:
"Measure M makes building that fire station more difficult but does not prevent it, IT REQUIRE A VOTE." And that vote must be a "majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election."

At last we can move on to a serious discussion of the many other horrible consequences of Measure M.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Peter,

I have never denied that, as you well know. Another lame attempt to mis-represent what I have said.

A vote, which would surely be approved, is a long way from preventing a fire station. I am sure you want to move on to other discussions because this one is a very good example of how you want to twist the facts. I am sure you love saying Measure M prevents a downtown fire station because for you it kills two birds with one lie. You get to disparage Measure M and you get to avoid taking the blame for not doing your job for 7+ years.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 24, 2014 at 6:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"A vote, which would surely be approved, is a long way from preventing a fire station. "

Such a vote would cost the Fire District almost $100,000 - why should the District's taxpayers have to bear that cost just because a few menlo Park residents did not get their way?


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 24, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"Such a vote would cost the Fire District almost $100,000 - why should the District's taxpayers have to bear that cost just because a few menlo Park residents did not get their way?"

Why? Well, chiefly because the fire district board spun their wheels for seven years -- seven years of board inaction, a zoning flaw in the otherwise commendable DSP, and one particular fire board member willing to plumb any depth to cast a negative light on Measure M have landed us here, Peter. But thank you for your service, all the same!

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 24, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Interested readers will note that ALL the Measure M supporters acknowledge that Measure M would prevent the building of a new fire station serving the downtown at its current location unless there is a $100,000 election with the cost being borne by the taxpayers of the Fire District.

And that they all think that this is just great !!

Measure M is a Mistake.

M NO


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 24, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"And that they all think that this is just great !!"

"Great" is your characterization of the fire station issue, Peter, and yours alone, but only because your quixotic quest for "unintended consequences" coupled with seven years of fire district board inaction have led to this very low point in your campaign of FUD and misinformation, long after you'd forsaken the banks of the future, medical marijuana dispensaries, robotics design firms and other "lost opportunities" for which you no longer hold Measure M accountable. What will tomorrow's unintended consequence du jour be?

Gern


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Peter,

Back up your $100,00 figure.

And let's be honest the reason the district would need to spend any money, if indeed they would have to (not yet proven) on an election is that they couldn't do their job and build a fire station downtown in 7 years. The Fire District Board's inability or incompetence to get things done in 7 years means that with or without Measure M it is unlikely there would be a new Fire Station in downtown Menlo anytime soon.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 24, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Barry,

I remember well the Whiskey Gulch shootings, and the sound of bullets falling in our neighborhood and bouncing off the streets. We used to shop at the grocery store that was down there but stopped because of all the problems and the Willows paid for it by losing families and businesses. However that was a long time ago and the Willow's have done a lot to revitalize the area. We have more families and young children. There is a sense of community with Cafe Zoe and the block parties. Walking around the neighborhood I constantly see families riding bikes and parents pushing strollers, more so now than in the last 40+ years. That is one of the primary reasons I support Measure M. I don't want to see every street between Middlefield and Chester turned into a short cut for people trying to get too and from work. You are right, O'Keefe is a speedway but I fear that is what Woodland, Central, Laurel, Marmona, Lexington and all the other roads will become.

I know my kids can not play on O'Keefe street or Gilbert, I doubt I will even let them ride their bikes there until they are in High school because of the way people drive. Putting that much development in downtown Menlo will mean that a lot of people will be trying to get to a freeway or bridge at the same time every day. Let's face it people are impatient and don't care about our neighborhoods so they will take the opportunity to cut through and I doubt they will do it at the posted speed, they certainly don't on O'Keefe or Gilbert.

I would love to see my kids play basketball or soccer with their friends on our neighborhood streets but I don't see that happening if the traffic gets that bad.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2014 at 7:42 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Back up your $100,00 figure."

MENLO PARK FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT STAFF REPORT
TO: Board of Directors MEETING DATE: June 30, 2014

"..obtain voter approval for the Station 6 Project. This would delay the Project by at least six months to a year and cost the District approximately $95,000 in election costs."


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Posted by Joseph Baloney
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 25, 2014 at 11:11 am

Peter,

Why does the Fire Department want changes to the DSP already?
It was a very long, very expensive, very open process.
If they want to change the boundaries of the DSP area in order to merge the properties why didn't they just come to the meetings?
Didn't they participate in democracy?!?!
It's not a spectator sport, you know.
Are they just a self-centered, vocal minority?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2014 at 11:39 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"If they want to change the boundaries of the DSP area in order to merge the properties why didn't they just come to the meetings?"

They did and the formal request to include the Hoover parcel in the DSP area was made in a letter to the City Of Menlo Park dated September 15, 2011.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gerry states -"after you'd forsaken the banks of the future, medical marijuana dispensaries, robotics design firms and other "lost opportunities" for which you no longer hold Measure M accountable.

I have not forsaken or forgotten the fact that the definitions "hereby adopted by the voters" in Measure M would FOREVER define banks and offices to exactly as what is stated in Section 3 of Measure M unless and until those definitions are changed by "only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting “YES” on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election" per Section 5.

So in 2030 to redefine banks that no longer are Sec 3.3. "Financial institutions providing retail banking services. This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on-site circulation of money, including credit unions.” because they no longer engage in the on-site circulation of money would require a city wide election costing more than $250,000.

This is just one of the definitional minefields buried in this poorly worded initiative.


1 person likes this
Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 25, 2014 at 12:21 pm

@Steve,

I didn't think I was railing against ABAG at all. It was just a vehicle to point out that there are state mandated office space to residential space ratios that the Specific Plan fails to meet and, in fact, further complicates given the plan for office space dominated development. There are real monetary penalties associated with a failure to comply with the state mandate. ABAG is a just an organization.

The real question is: how did the City Council, the paid staff, and the handsomely paid consultant fail to recognize this and protect the city from the risk of such penalties when writing the Specific Plan? You tell me. I suggest that it was some mixture of rank incompetence and a lack of vision (as previously noted). This is the problem when you elect people to office who are aspiring career politicos using our city as a stepping stone to leach off the taxpayer at a higher level. Such people rarely have the required analytical skills or wherewithal required for effective governance.

Moral of the story: don't vote for aspiring career politicians. Since such ilk may be difficult to identify, you can filter the vast majority out by simply refusing to vote for lawyers when an alternative is available. It's a good rule of thumb.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Listen loves to rail against other posters who have the courage to use their real name and the courtesy to respond to his demand that they post their qualification. And now he has added the generic group "lawyers" to his list - "you can filter the vast majority out by simply refusing to vote for lawyers when an alternative is available. It's a good rule of thumb."

Who exactly is Listen? Who pays him? What are his qualifications? Has he ever stepped into the arena of public service or does he just watch from the shadows?


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 25, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Peter,

When I said back up your figure I did not mean with another random figure that you and the Fire board you chair came up with. I guess that is the kind of circular reasoning you are used to. It doesn't work and just makes yu look like you are trying to deceive people.

Back up the figure with a break down of the cost and justify why it would need to be a special election and not part of a regular election.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 25, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Peter,

You rail against people not using their real name, it is not a big deal as has been discussed before. You don't seem to mind opponent of posting anonymously so why do you care about proponents doing it. Why don't you reply to the content of their message and not their name or lack of it? As has been pointed out in the past, the name are humorous and in many cases look to be the same person posting at least for the opponents.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Brian - I am not railing against anybody - I just think if Listen wants to demand all sorts of information from me that she ought to be willing to provide the same. Fair is Fair.

"When I said back up your figure I did not mean with another random figure that you and the Fire board you chair came up with. " The figure in the staff report was provided by the city - NOT by the Fire Board Chair. The actual cost to the Fire District would probably be another $25k to prepare the ballot measure for a total of over $110k - just because the drafters of Measure M were very stupid and shortsighted.

Measure M is probably costing the taxpayer about $250k. I doubt the supporters will offer to pay that amount when it fails.

Keep the questions coming and start answering the ones posed to you. Fair is Fair.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 25, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Brian is a registered user.

You keep throwing out figures but you never back them up. I could easily make up a number and say if Measure M does not pass the traffic and other problems from these monster developments will cost tens of millions of dollars in lost property value to homeowners and millions to the city in lost property tax. So I guess since neither of us are backing up our numbers my millions trumps your $250K.

Fair enough?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 26, 2014 at 8:19 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Brian- I provided you figure from a published official source 0f $90k. That is NOT making it up.

Web Link

The City has spent $150 for the Wise Report, at least $90k for the election and many additional dollars for legal fees easily totaling $250 for Measure M.


"Making it up" is when you and other Measure M supporters constantly say what Measure M will or will not do and NEVER provide actual language from Measure M that supports your position.

"Making it up" is when you constantly state that you have answered a question and yet your answer is nowhere to be found.

Measure M's ally is ignorance.


2 people like this
Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 26, 2014 at 8:31 am

I'd like to go on record to thank Kathleen Daly, owner of Cafe Zoe, for holding a neighborhood meeting last night for six city council candidates to express their views and answer questions. Thanks also to Katherine Strehl for organizing and MC'ing the event.

For me, the meeting confirmed and solidified my position on M entirely. I'll be voting No.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 26, 2014 at 10:44 am

Peter - the fire station does not have to go to the voters! The boundary does not have to change for the sq ft to be counted.

The council has authority to do all kinds of things to resolve this. You repeatedly have ignored that. YOU and Peter Ohtaki are trying to make this long-standing project into issue about M. You and he could show some leadership to resolve any issues about it now, working with the district and the city. And you could have done that over the last several years.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 26, 2014 at 11:24 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Faceless states -"Peter - the fire station does not have to go to the voters! The boundary does not have to change for the sq ft to be counted. "

The counting of the sq ft. is NOT the issue. The issue is putting a new fire station at this location which would cover the two currently separate parcels. One of those parcels is inside the Specific Plan area and one is outside the Specific Plan area and thus in a different zone. One fire station building cannot be built on two separate parcels since each parcel has setback requirement and each parcel has different zoning.

To build a new fire station these two parcels must be merged.

To merge these two parcels would require changing the Specific Plan boundaries which section 3.1 of Measure M defines (hereby adopted by the voters):
"ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the “ECR Specific Plan Area,” this initiative measure is referring to the bounded area within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I, of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo Park city Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 to this measure and hereby adopted by the voters as an integral part of this initiative measure. "

To change this voter defined boundary a city wide vote would be required by Section 4 of Measure m:
4.1.
NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City’s ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter- adopted development standards and DEFINITIONS set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting “YES” on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election.
"

Faceless seems to think that Section 3 only involves "counting" - clearly he has not read Section 3.1 and does not understand Section 4.

Measure M is so poorly written that even its supporters do not understand what it says much less even begin to appreciate all of its unintended consequences.

Measure M supporters think that it is a Mouse when it is actually a Monster posing as a Mouse.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 26, 2014 at 11:42 am

Peter,

Yes you are making up the numbers as far as I ca tell. The city did not need to spend 150K on an independent study that came back flawed and incomplete, they chose to deo that and waste tax payer dollars, but the city council seems to be pretty good at that.

You have never explained your $95,000 figure nor have you explained why a apecial election would be necessary instead of incliding it on the ballot of an existing election. You keep restaing things that have not be backed up or explaned as "Facts". I know your interpretation of facts is loose and free when if comes to arguing against measure M so I am guessing that is the best you will provide.

Barry, I missed it do to a work engagement but would love to talk to you in person about it and hear what they had to say and why you made your decision. Let me know if you are interested.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 26, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Sorry Peter -- you're starting to look a little pathetic with your personal attacks. Address the message. Your failure to answer my questions about ABAG associated state mandates are quite telling.

My reasons for posting without my name were stated. If I told you what I did, it would be obvious who I am. Suffice it to say that I work 90-100 hours per week in the private sector, create and support jobs, have kids in the community, work in the community, and don't live in my mother's basement. That's all you need to know.

Address the questions and points.

I also find your ongoing focus on getting a new downtown fire department kind of silly. Since when have local fire departments been so heavily disenfranchised and disadvantaged? They perform an important role, are compensated handsomely for it, and have sufficient resources to perform it. Public service pensions and benefits have run rampant and the pay is quite high. I know enough about their daily work (quite literally) to know that universally characterizing all of their activities as "heroic" is a gross exaggeration of their daily activities. I'm not so ill-informed or easily duped -- just like I was equally unimpressed with your years of public sector "service". In your role on the Fire Board, maybe you contribute to the problem. It seems like your years at the OMB provided a solid financial policy for our nation. Good work.

Please play a new violin.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 26, 2014 at 12:27 pm

@Barry Gray,

I'm interested in your perspective on the candidates from the Cafe Zoe event.

Thanks in advance.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 26, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Factless - "You have never explained your $95,000 figure nor have you explained why a apecial election would be necessary instead of incliding it on the ballot of an existing election. "

I quoted from a publicly available Fire District staff report:
MENLO PARK FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT STAFF REPORT
TO: Board of Directors MEETING DATE: June 30, 2014

"..obtain voter approval for the Station 6 Project. This would delay the Project by at least six months to a year and cost the District approximately $95,000 in election costs."

Why do you have such a hard time dealing with facts?

Interested readers will note the the Measure M supporters who post here NEVER actually quote either the measure or the Specific Plan - because the facts are not on their side.

And as their only substitute for facts these Measure M supporters like faceless and listening but not responding attack me personally - good ahead as the Editors have determined that as a public figure I do not have the protection of the Forum's Terms of Use that other posters have. That lack of protection probably explains why I am the only local elected official who participates in these Forums.


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Posted by wake up
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 26, 2014 at 12:54 pm

A formal request to include the new parcel next to Fire Station 6 was made to the city Council on September 15, 2011? This is a HUGE!.
Peter Ohtaki, former Fire district Director was on the City Council and what did he do? Did he ignore or deny this request? What did Peter Carpenter do? Did he take to the Almanac blog and complain? Did he appear before the Council and explain the importance of the request. What did the city attorney do? Did he advise the Council to handle this so it wouldn't later be a problem? What did the City's consultant do? Did they earn their $1M pay and tell the Council that leaving this undone would create a problem? And finally what did our handsomely paid staff do? Anything? No, they all dropped the ball. Ohtaki, Cline and Keith, included.

And today, Carpenter and his followers in Menlo Deserves Zero want to blame a community group for the bad job of the Fire District Board, the Council, the Staff, the city attorney and the million dollar consultant.

Good grief, this is a fixable problem. The Council can fix it instead of adding it to the other dishonest statements in the developer paid campaign material being sent to every voter in the city.


1 person likes this
Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 26, 2014 at 1:16 pm

@Listen_to_George: Regarding my perspectives on the candidates...

First, I was truly impressed with all of them. Their academic and professional credentials are world class and I was very pleased that such people are so interested in serving in our city council and government.

Second, regarding my specific opinions on each candidate, I'm not comfortable with sharing that here. I don't want to stir up yet more debate and rancor which doesn't seem to be converging on anything constructive (whether you're for or against M).

Third, the above being said, from the people who have (or are) served in either the city council or other government offices, I was impressed with their candor about the challenges faced in building any plan such as the DSP. It's very complicated, there are lots of moving pieces, and so many constituencies. So here again, this adds another notch on my belt to vote against M. I'm not smart enough to know if Measure M "is truly ready to go" or if it would take a short time to do so. My gut feeling, which is also based on reading the Wise report and other documents is that there's no way Measure M could possibly be close to the same stage of readiness as the DSP. Thus and therefore, the Atherton man who funded so much of Measure M will achieve his goal of delay to (he hopes) add a comprehensive traffic plan.

Fourth, I asked the candidates what they would do now on addressing the traffic issues now, since to me it seems that we already have the problem which will only be exacerbated with M or the DSP. So why wait? One said he'd dive right into it, and I liked what he had to say. Another is trying to find a middle ground, which I frankly don't understand. I left the meeting at that point, as I needed to get home and eat! (8:30)

Thanks,

Barry


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Kudos to the moderator for allowing Peter to fight his own battles -- ones that he chooses, initiates, and cultivates.

Everyone please take note: Peter is still dodging the question.

Peter, several posters have addressed your points. Selectively copying and pasting passages from a larger document is not elevated debate. You clearly view yourself as a paragon of virtue and "democracy in action", but de Tocqueville you are not.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 26, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

listening (but not answering) states - "Peter is still dodging the question. "

Which question would you like answered?

You asked ""I am interested in WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU DO and ARE YOU LIKE ME. Get it?

I answered these questions with my background and asked you after each "Are you like me" - you declined to answer my responses and instead choose to attack the fact that I included my military service.

What other questions have I not answered?


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm


BTW Peter, I have already stated above that I am very likely voting against M. Do that little thingie people call "scrolling" to go verify.

Blatantly misrepresenting my views so brazenly just so you can play your violin is not becoming.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 26, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Listen - I am glad to know that I have not left any of your questions unanswered.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 26, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Really Peter? So much drama ...

Questions: (asked now for the 3rd -- or 4th -- time)

1) Do you think state mandates on residential to office space ratios were properly considered in drafting the Specific Plan?

2) Do you think a ball was dropped here that will hamstring future development efforts in MP? If not, why not?

Seems to me that the answers are 1) No, 2) Yes

Time for me to get back to work ...


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 26, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Listen - asks 1) Do you think state mandates on residential to office space ratios were properly considered in drafting the Specific Plan?

Here is where reading the actual documents is useful:

From The Specific Plan:
"The Planning Commission held fi ve meetings in July-
August 2011, and the City Council followed with four
meetings in August-October 2011. Concurrent with the
Planning Commission and City Council’s review, the
Housing, Transportation, and Bicycle Commissions
conducted sessions on the Draft Specifi c Plan. Each of
these Commissions recommended moving forward with
the El Camino Real/Downtown Specifi c Plan process,
subject to specifi c recommendations that were considered
by the Planning Commission and City Council. All of these
meetings benefi ted from diverse public input."

"Figure E2 and Table E2 depict a base-level maximum FAR
and density, and a public benefi t bonus-level maximum FAR
and density, for each of the Specifi c Plan Zoning Districts.
The base fi gures represent FAR and density that are
permitted under the Specifi c Plan. The difference between
the base amounts and the public benefi t bonus amounts
represent the amount of intensity that could be achieved
by a developer in exchange for MORE HOUSING or other
public benefits (explained later in this section)."

"In addition to refl ecting community input, the Specific Plan’s
increased allowable FARs and density also help achieve
several Plan goals, including: stimulating redevelopment of
underutilized parcels; activating the train station area and
increasing transit use; enhancing downtown vibrancy and
retail sales; and increasing residential opportunities. The
plan FARs and density help fi nance public improvements
(e.g., streetscape improvements) and produce more Below
Market Rate (BMR) housing."

"In general, higher intensity development and taller buildings
can enhance downtown vibrancy, support transit use,
increase housing supply and make redevelopment of
underutilized lots more attractive."

"Goal III-A
III.A.5
The City will promote development of mixed medium
or high-density residential and commercial projects
in the Central Business District and along El Camino
Real as a means of providing more housing on job
sites to help offset the impact of new employment on
the regional housing market.
The Specific Plan, through increased allowable
densities and other incentives, encourages higher
density housing in the plan area, particularly in the
station area and downtown.
III.A.8
The City will continue to require residential
developers to contribute to the provision of below
market rate housing opportunities in the city.
The City's Below Market Rate (BMR) Housing
Program will continue to apply to the Specific Plan.
III.A.9
The City will continue to require developers of
employment-generating commercial and industrial
developments to contribute to the provision of below
market rate housing opportunities in the city.
The City's Below Market Rate (BMR) Housing
Program will continue to apply to the Specific Plan.
III.A.10
The City will increase the supply of land available for
residential development by redesigning and rezoning
targeted residential and non-residential parcels for
multi-family residential use, particularly near public
transit and major transportation corridors in the city.
The Specific Plan, through increased allowable
densities and other incentives, encourages higher
density housing in the plan area, particularly in the
station area and downtown. It allows for housing
throughout the entire plan area.
III.A.11
The City will promote the distribution of new, higherdensity
residential developments throughout the city,
taking into consideration compatibility with
surrounding existing residential uses, particularly
near public transit and major transportation corridors
in the city.
The Specific Plan, through increased allowable
densities and other incentives, encourages higher
density housing in the plan area, particularly in the
station area and downtown. Design guidelines and
standards, such as for upper-story setbacks, will
provide protections to neighboring residential
properties."

So, given these excerpts from the Specific Plan my answer to the question 1) Do you think state mandates on residential to office space ratios were properly considered in drafting the Specific Plan? is Yes.
***********
2) Do you think a ball was dropped here that will hamstring future development efforts in MP? If not, why not?

No, I do not think, based on the facts, that the "ball was dropped".


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 26, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@listen to George

I'll take a stab here:

1. I think that the 680 units of housing being added in Menlo Park is HUGE. Greenhearts other housing addition on Hamilton Ave (in the M2) combined with DSP will be the most housing units added to MPK in DECADES 9Or at least a half century

I think the state mandates are way out of line and ABAG is insane in high density, fully developed communities (like menlo park). That being said we are adding housing at a NEVER seen before rate in MPK to accommodate the crazies in Sacramento.

2. NOt sure what you mean ball was dropped here? as in against state mandates? as in there is a problem with the DSP? give me a hint and i'll answer.

M is a Mistake
Vote NO on M

Roy Thiele-Sardina



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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 26, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@listen to george

This of course requires your response to the same questions.....quid pro quo.

Roy


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 26, 2014 at 3:23 pm

@Brian: sure, I'd be happy to meet. Somewhere "neutral" (!) like Cafe Zoe? I'm pretty much free tomorrow. Do you have a time that would work for you?

Everyone else: normally I'd communicate privately (and I imagine Brian would too) but I don't know how to do that here. Maybe if I was a "registered user?" Anyway, I'd prefer to just have a quiet 1:1. Thanks.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 26, 2014 at 10:24 pm

@Roy and @Peter,

The problem with the SP is that the office sq. footage has grown by almost 100,000 sq over the original estimates (from my info, 280K vs 200K). This exposed the fundamental weakness of the SP. I'm a market guy, but the asymmetry in the time horizon for ROI for a developer and revenue stream for a city with finite space creates a market distortion. This distortion leads to why granting developer rights/privileges cannot be decoupled from optimizing the composition of that development. We are not getting the housing and retail that we should have gotten. By getting predominantly more office development, we're getting most of the bad (further traffic and congestion) with less of the good (tax revenues).

Granted, something is definitely better than nothing which is why there is a reason to be suspicious of *some* elements of the pro-M constituency. But @Roy, you said it yourself, we're a pretty fully developed community. Every subsequent project consumes a precious finite resource: which is why optimization is so critical. Unlike many scenarios in life, further optimization was completely achievable given the highly constrained problem under consideration. How did we spend 6 years to get this?

As for the ABAG endorsed mandates, I'm actually in favor of dense development along major transit routes. It makes sense -- economically, environmentally, and socially.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 27, 2014 at 9:17 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"We are not getting the housing and retail that we should have gotten. By getting predominantly more office development, we're getting most of the bad (further traffic and congestion) with less of the good (tax revenues). "

Not true. The large developments proposes to date are less than 50% office space - thanks to the limits in the Specific Plan. And see Levy's analysis as to why offices are better for schools:

Web Link
and-development--background-concepts-and-data-sources

If Measure M fails, likely IF voters are well informed, the Council will be able to continue to negotiate changes in the two big projects including increasing their public benefit contributions.

If Measure M passes then the Council loses its ability to incentivize any changes and the two big property owners will optimize their outcomes by either submitting multiple projects (to avoid the poorly worded Measure M 100,000 sq ft limit) with multiple accesses to ECR and balcony -less buildings OR they well crafted, precise and careful worded project specific initiatives (which would avoid the expense of doing an EIR). But if Measure M passes the small property owners will be screwed.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 27, 2014 at 9:18 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Above link is broken - this should work

Web Link


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 2:41 pm

These projects mean a loss of retail and 50% more office than expected for 30 years. This is imbalanced growth. The balance would be more like 50% office out of the total non-residential, not of the projects. The zoning rules in the plan are just wrong; they do not support balanced growth. The Sierra Club pointed that out last fall.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 27, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"These projects mean a loss of retail"

Losing something means you had it to start with - where is the retail that has been 'lost'?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"These projects mean a loss of retail"

People unfamiliar with local planning , zoning ordinances and the free market do not appreciate that:

1 - Planning provides a conceptual structure
2 - Zoning then specifies what is allowed within a particular area
3 - The free market then determines what, if anything, is actually built.

In our society government cannot require that something be built on privately owned property. Even in a residential only zone the property owner is free not to build residential.
In an area where retail is allowed by the zoning retail facilities will only be built if the property owner determines that it would be economically viable to do so.

Retail on ECR, except adjacent to Santa Cruz Ave, has proven to be economically unviable due to the absence of significant foot traffic.


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Posted by Barry Gray
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Peter, I'm sure there will be a hue and cry about your statement and, indeed, I'm sitting in Kepler's at the moment and just enjoyed a beer at Cafe Borrone. That said, I drive right on by most retail along ECR except for pizza place on Ravenswood. I can't argue with you. I guess might aspire to a Santata Row experience but is that realistic or desired? TalI about traffic!

Barry


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 27, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Retail on ECR, except adjacent to Santa Cruz Ave, has proven to be economically unviable due to the absence of significant foot traffic."

"Peter, I'm sure there will be a hue and cry about your statement and, indeed, I'm sitting in Kepler's at the moment and just enjoyed a beer at Cafe Borrone."

You prove my point - it would be hard to get more adjacent to Santa Cruz than having a underground parking structure that connects to, guess what, Santa Cruz.


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Posted by "convoluted at best"
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 28, 2014 at 4:48 pm

The Chronicle's John King critiques Measure M and other antigrowth ballot initiatives in today's paper:

Web Link

Some highlights:

"...Menlo Park voters are being asked to change the rules to allow a procession of buildings resembling nothing so much as a row of gap teeth — by intent."

"The new tabulation system for open space is convoluted at best. In essence, it allows tall buildings along the city’s major thoroughfare but also ensures that there would be an abundance of empty land between them, including ample open spaces where passersby are not allowed."

"A cynic would say the muddled details of Measure M would make it easy for growth opponents to mount legal assaults against any large development proposal that followed its passage. More cause for cynicism: Most of the funding to gather initiative signatures was contributed by an Atherton resident, venture capitalist Gary Lauder, who explained to the news blog the Almanac that he was concerned about 'urban canyons' and 'further erosion of quality of life due to traffic congestion.'
That’s the old vision of suburbia, where five-story buildings (no more than 38 feet tall along the street, by the way) are equated with canyons. Quality of life is measured by how quickly you can drive your car through a neighboring town.
The vision emerging is more complex — and, in the long run, more compelling."

The quotes from one-term Planning Commissioner Patti Fry aren't exactly compelling rebuttal's to King's common-sense perspective.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 29, 2014 at 2:23 pm

@Peter and @Barry,

What is or isn't viable now is not what will or will not be viable given a different local environment. To be more concrete, many people expressed the same criticisms about retail viability in Santa Monica around the area where the promenade was built. By creating that enterprise zone friendly to consumers, it created an entire "local economy" that only some visionaries thought was possible. If you don't know what I am referring to, you need to research it and maybe even take a trip down there. In the worst case scenario, you enjoy a beautiful day in a beautiful town with lots of good food.

@Barry, on the Cafe Zoe event, yeah, I can't imagine why somebody would try to strike a middle ground. I mean, they would risk bringing 2 polarized factions together to create a more useful, efficient, and productive consensus. Why in the world would anyone risk that ??? ;-)


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 29, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"What is or isn't viable now is not what will or will not be viable given a different local environment. To be more concrete, many people expressed the same criticisms about retail viability in Santa Monica around the area where the promenade was built. By creating that enterprise zone friendly to consumers, it created an entire "local economy" that only some visionaries thought was possible."

I agree entirely and 10 years from now I predict people will look back on the 2012 Specific Plan and both wise and enlightened - unless Measure M passes and then we will have a much less vibrant outcome.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"What is or isn't viable now is not what will or will not be viable given a different local environment. To be more concrete, many people expressed the same criticisms about retail viability in Santa Monica around the area where the promenade was built. By creating that enterprise zone friendly to consumers, it created an entire "local economy" that only some visionaries thought was possible."

I agree entirely and 10 years from now I predict people will look back on the 2012 Specific Plan and both wise and enlightened - unless Measure M passes and then we will have a much less vibrant outcome.


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 29, 2014 at 2:42 pm

@Listen_To_George,

My earlier writing wasn't clear - thank you for calling me out on it. I completely agree that finding a middle ground would have been the right thing to do... but it should have been done long before now and I remain steadfast in my belief that we should defeat Measure M.

The issue I had with the woman running for city council is that she said something to the effect that we (voters) should not be so focused on candidate's stances on Measure M. And when she was called on to speak for its supporters (as a counterpoint to Rich Cline) she seemed equivocal to me. Maybe I didn't hear all of what she said or took some out of context. The speakers didn't have a PA and at times it was a challenge to hear what they said. If so, I apologize.

Barry


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Posted by Skip Hilton
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 29, 2014 at 11:14 pm

I am glad that we have the opportunity to debate issues like this. I appreciate that Peter C. is an avid watchdog and truth teller (with links!) on this issue. But he is not the only voice against Measure M - many many are longtime Menlo Park residents like me that are tired of watching our city decline into vacant lots and empty shops. Measure M will prolong this, not address it. And even a casual observer of this thread can see that zoning is not a simple matter - it is quite complex! Asking the voters to manage this, or even to determine caps or parameters for zoning at the ballot box is the wrong way to do it.

@Listen_to_george

I am glad you mentioned the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. I agree with you 100%. In fact, during a number of meetings for community input during the Visioning process and the Specific Plan discussions, I created a slide show to highlight many successful downtown pedestrian malls. 3rd Street Promenade was in there. Also State Street in Madison, WI. Pearl Street in Boulder, CO. This was a "future" vision that many residents agreed we should have for downtown Menlo Park - specifically Santa Cruz Avenue. But this was NEVER the vision for El Camino - you cannot remove all the cars there and make it more walkable. Have you ever gone "window shopping" along El Camino? It is not a pleasant experience. The best development there is mixed use with protected retail on the first floor, and residential and office above and behind. This is what Stanford and Greenheart represent.

We took pains during the 6 year process, after long discussions and debates, to trade-off taller buildings along El Camino (which is not pedestrian friendly), with lower, set-back development along Santa Cruz that are more "human scale". El Camino is a busy thoroughfare, and that is not changing anytime soon. The whole intent of the Specific Plan was to put the right development in the right place.

I still hold out hope for a pedestrian mall that takes over Santa Cruz, expands sidewalks, and in some way "connects" to the ONLY pedestrian friendly area on El Camino - the Kepler's/Barrone plaza. We need to think big if we are going to create a downtown that we can all be proud to call home.

Measure M is not the solution. It is a blunt instrument that will do more harm than good.

Menlo Park Deserves Better. Please vote No on Measure M.


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Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 30, 2014 at 1:29 am

@Skip Hilton, the pedestrian mall idea is an unrealistic pipe dream. The Santa Cruz Ave merchants won't support such a change. This then becomes a distraction from a real issue which is making the El Camino Corridor more vibrant.

Automobiles and pedestrian-friendly are not mutually exclusive. I worked in an office complex near Fry's in Palo Alto and would walk along El Camino over the lunch hour. Note that this section of El Camino has automobile speeds and number of lanes similar to the segment in Menlo Park.

Up to this point, the City of Menlo Park has done a terrible job of improving the vitality of the El Camino Corridor for pedestrians. Stanford's completely visionless project will merely continue this trend.


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 30, 2014 at 7:52 am

@Mike Keenly,

I agree that having a pedestrian-friendly ECR isn't impossible. And it may be moot as you say, because the Santa Cruz Ave. merchants would not support it. (I'd argue, though, that they aren't the only voters to decide on such a thing.) But let's set that aside for a moment.

I assume (and this may be a big assumption) that most everyone doesn't like the current state of ECR and would like to see downtown revitalized. We're tired of the blight and want to enjoy a vibrant downtown. But traffic can be miserable now, so we worry that new development will only increase that problem. Are you with me on this?

If so, here's what I see in the current Downtown Specific Plan: It's taken 6+ years to get to this point, and it's already over 100 pages long. It's a very complicated document, with reports, impact studies, and plans. And at this point even if Measure M fails, it will take another couple of years to get construction going. After all, we're talking about $500M in investment, so that's understandable. I saw the artists conceptions of the new projects, and heard the overall vision. I'm excited and can't wait to get started.

If Measure M passes no one knows when we'll be able to re-create a plan such as what we have with the DSP. Given its current lack of depth and inconsistencies, I'd hazard a guess that it would set us back 2-3 years. And also given its requirement for voter approval of changes this may be even longer, to wait for election cycles and all the rest. The bottom line: Measure M will stymie revitalization.

But, what about traffic? I'm pleased to see that the Council, Mayor, and all of us are not satisfied with the status quo. Work is afoot to make changes and updates. I guess that, too, will take time and effort and I'm as impatient as anyone.

Darnit, why didn't we include a traffic plan in the DSP? Then we wouldn't be in this mess! I have two thoughts on this. 1) Would we be willing to wait even longer to move on development while waiting for a traffic plan to be created? 2) Where would this traffic plan begin and end? I live in the Willows, for example, and we get all kinds of cut through traffic. Shouldn't our area be included too? Adding my neighborhood (and others) would only expand the complexity and time.

We could go on and on. In summary, I'm very exited by the vision of the downtown and ECR and look forward to it. If Measure M passes I doubt we'll see much along ECR except for annual Christmas Tree shopping experiences for at least the next decade.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 30, 2014 at 12:25 pm

@Peter, @ Skip, @Barry,

I am not convinced that ECR cannot support a vibrant pedestrian zone like a promenade -- with appropriate differences (i.e., ECR in the middle of it all). Combined with a bike underpass that dumps onto Alma and the Burgess recreational area and a pedestrian bike overpass on ECR, there is no reason, that one cannot create a urban planning vision for this.

On the topic of residential units being bad for the schools -- oh my. That's a whole different topic. If you want to pick one decision making body that operates with less vision and critical thinking than our current council, the MPCSD Board is at the top of the list. Let's leave that alone. If that's such a big issue, heck, let's put a school on ECR.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 30, 2014 at 12:33 pm

@Barry,

"The issue I had with the woman running for city council is that she said something to the effect that we (voters) should not be so focused on candidate's stances on Measure M. And when she was called on to speak for its supporters (as a counterpoint to Rich Cline) she seemed equivocal to me."

Well, did someone ask her if she is a spokesperson for M? There's nothing wrong with someone saying that I am not the spokesman for M if one did not write M or strongly support its creation. I don't know the context for the question or how it was asked, but if it was directed at me, even though I will most likely vote against M, I would take a position noting weaknesses in both plans.

The reality for M supporters is that if M does not pass, which seems very likely, they have only one recourse to a future more aligned with their preferences: get a city council that is responsive to their concerns and more interested in building consensus. Outside of Measure M related concerns, there are a lot more issues in front of a council where the quality and nature of the council person will have a huge impact.

We need a council with vision. Not a titular council that just rubber stamps staff recommendations.


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 30, 2014 at 12:59 pm

@Listen_To_George,

"Well, did someone ask her if she is a spokesperson for M?" Yes, in fact, that's exactly what happened! She stepped in to provide the Yes on M position after Rich Cline spoke for the No on M position.

To your earlier point about ECR's supporting a vibrant pedestrian zone: Sure, I agree, it could support it. It's just land (and pretty much empty and weed grown). My point is that the vision of El Camino, our downtown, and the plan, negotiations with Stanford and others, all the reports and studies... have been conducted. I'm confident that the Council and Planning Commission represented us as best they could, and they also held many community meetings to listen to inputs and feedback. So, it is what it is.

And as I said in my earlier post this morning, I'm very excited about it. I think this revitalization will be something we can all be proud of. And if M passes we will be locked into years of delays as it's all rehashed yet again. I heard last night that the auto dealerships pulled out of ECR about 2005 - nine years ago. Haven't we waited long enough?

Barry


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 30, 2014 at 1:16 pm

@Listen_To_George,

"Well, did someone ask her if she is a spokesperson for M?" Just remembered something else. When she was selected to speak for Yes on M, I yelled (from the back row, evidently not loud enough): "But, you're Switzerland! We need to hear from someone else!" As I was leaving Cafe Zoe's a reporter for the Daily Post asked if he could quote me on that and I agreed. So you may see this in print, too.

Barry


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Posted by David Roise
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 30, 2014 at 5:38 pm

@Skip
You wrote:
"The best development there is mixed use with protected retail on the first floor, and residential and office above and behind. This is what Stanford and Greenheart represent."
I totally agree with your first sentence, but I think you should take another look at least at the Stanford proposal if you think that's what this project represents. Most of the ECR frontage of the project would be 1st-floor office space, with primary access either from behind the buildings or from the parking garage below. Why in the world would anyone want to walk along that stretch of ECR with these buildings in place?
Greenheart talks a better game about vibrancy, but they haven't committed to ANY retail if there is "no market" for it.
Bottom line for me is that suburban office park structures along ECR will do absolutely nothing to enhance vibrancy there, thus defeating the opportunity of truly "mixed-use" development on ECR, as was envisioned by the DSP.
@Barry
You wrote:
"If Measure M passes no one knows when we'll be able to re-create a plan such as what we have with the DSP."
I think you are confused about what Measure M does. It simply closes two loopholes in the DSP by 1) limiting the amount of office space per project and capping the total net new office space, and 2) establishing a common-sense definition of "open space". That's it--no need to re-create the DSP. It's still there. All the noise you hear from those opposing the measure is really just speculation.
By the way, I am appreciating the tone and civility of the recent comments--let's keep it up.


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Posted by Barry Gray (Willows Neighbor)
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 30, 2014 at 6:28 pm

@David Roise,

Yes, I agree with you on the tone/civility. I am really trying to be objective, here. Which is hard because the issues, the DSP, the effects of Measure M, the reaction/change from Stanford, and heck, the developers themselves, are all complex and I assume hard to project. And, I'm not surprised that I'm at times merely spouting what I've been fed.

That said, however, I've tried to wade into this and have been pleased to find (in my opinion/judgement, yes) that the people who developed the DSP did it with, as near as I can tell, our best interests. I imagine I'll get slammed for that, but there it is.

I have thought about rolling up my sleeves and diving much deeper into the language of the DSP and Measure M. I've nibbled at the edges and, frankly, I don't think I have the bandwidth or the expertise.

My sense is that the DSP is a compromise, and heck, what isn't? Despite the naysayers, it's taken a long time to get this far, and if we were that convinced that the Council was not acting in our best interest, we should have raised a red flag earlier and voted those folks off.

And, while I hear what you're saying about what Measure M does and doesn't do, hmmm... I'm just not sure. And overall, I'm not willing to risk it. If it was as simple as you're saying: a) why would its chief Atherton contributor say that the reason for its existence is because of not including a comprehensive traffic plan? and b) why would the Measure M authors have written in language that requires voter approval of any kind? Is this transparent and open?

Darnit, I want to get off of Square One and move toward getting ECR and the downtown updated. I will probably not like everything, but I can live with that.

My best judgment (such as it is) is to vote No on M. I think that's about the best I can do.

Barry


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 30, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Barry:

I admire your looking at all sides of this issue. Obviously, I agree with your vote against measure M, but I think your approach to getting all facts and your point of view regarding the DSP are on point.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 1, 2014 at 8:08 am

This is not reassuring and is why I fault our council's oversight. Copied from another thread. I'm a little concerned that Mr. Mueller wants it both ways:

Posted by Ray Mueller
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
18 minutes ago

The recently produced Neighborhood Cut-Through Traffic Analysis Related to the Stanford 500 El Camino Real Project indicates that the current Stanford proposal will generate more than double the car trips per day on Middle Avenue than originally was anticipated as being generated by the entire Specific Plan.

The Specific Plan assumed 222 trips per day would be generated on Middle Ave by the entire Specific Plan. The Stanford 500 El Camino proposal alone is now calculated to produce 528 trips per day on Middle Ave.

As a result, I strongly believe Stanford should go back to the drawing board to create a proposal that falls in line with the impacts anticipated by the Specific Plan, to protect the quality of life of Menlo Park residents. The proposal is not yet a project, so I can't vote yet on the issue. But I believe the public has right to know my views on the matter.

All that being said, I oppose Measure M as I believe Measure M is poorly drafted and creates numerous unintended consequences that, should Measure M pass, will not be able to be cured by the City Council.


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Posted by Listen_to_George
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 1, 2014 at 12:14 pm

And BTW, that cut through traffic on Middle referred to by Ray Mueller and the recent traffic analysis report will also come along Oak Avenue, Olive, Valparaiso, Stanford Avenue, Oakdell, and, of course, Santa Cruz.

I love the highly paid consultants who performed the analysis for the SP, the staff who listened and passed on the decision (after all, has anyone been fired for hiring IBM?), and the city council that uncritically swallowed the offering.

Fail.

Great job y'all !!!


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 1, 2014 at 3:32 pm

I am still digging into the details but initially it seems that the traffic study for Middle Ave. was incorrect. The latest traffic study predicts more than double the added cars. given that the impact on Moddle Ave was incorrect are there plans to re-evaluate the impact on other roads like Willow, Marsh, etc? This pretty much falls in line with what many have been saying all along, there will be more traffic than the flawed study prodicted.

I still disagree with the notion that there is much of a difference between out of town traffic and local traffic. With GPS, smartphones, Waze, etc. even someone who does not know the area can easily find short cuts through local neighborhoods to cut off travel time.


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

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