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Almanac editorial: No on Measure M

Original post made on Oct 16, 2014

When they vote on Measure M this fall, Menlo Park residents will be participating in what may be the most consequential ballot-box decision ever made regarding the future character of their community. One of the most complicated as well.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 16, 2014, 3:13 PM

Comments (188)

3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Thank you for this thoughtful analysis.


5 people like this
Posted by Joseph Baloney
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 16, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Nice editorial. I pretty much agree with everything here, including:

"The council needs to lower the public-benefit threshold on projects, and soon, while there's still time for such a change to affect what gets built in the Stanford and Greenheart projects."

As has been pointed out here and in the Eiref editorial, Council had the chance to lower the public-benefit trigger and didn't.

What makes anyone think that they will do this now?

I'm on the fence about Measure M for the reasons stated in this and Eiref's editorial, but it seems to be the only chance to do anything before the Stanford and Greenheart projects get built. And if they get built as proposed, and their unintended consequences kick in, it will cost WAY MORE than a $100,000 election to try to fix and they will be there for longer than Measure M's 30 years.




2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 16, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Well thought out editorial. Thank you Almanac


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"longer than Measure M's 30 years."

Wrong - Measure M is forever, it has no sunset clause.

Do you really think that this definition will last forever:
"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."


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 16, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Joseph:

The council has already sent Stanford back to the drawing board due to the recent traffic study. The DSP process is working. Measure M will tie council's hands so they can do NOTHING to remedy the DSP's shortcomings.

Vote NO on M


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 16, 2014 at 6:49 pm

The DSP is for thirty years. Measure M is FOREVER.

Measure M is a huge MISTAKE.


11 people like this
Posted by Walkable Town
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 16, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. Vote YES on M if you don't want to turn El Camino over to out-of-town commuters. Who needs 400,000 sq.ft. of office space in the middle of town? The current council had the chance to amend the Specific Plan but did not do anything. Let's hope we also get three new council members.


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Don't let the horrible become the enemy of the good.

Vote No on Measure M because Measure M is horrible.


10 people like this
Posted by Go Giants
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 16, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Office tenants won't create vibrancy for Menlo Park. They go home at night and aren't here on weekends. Don't believe me? Visit Milpitas or Sunnyvale on a weekend.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Don't believe me? Visit Milpitas or Sunnyvale on a weekend."

Better yet visit Palo Alto.

In the modern world high tech offices operate 7 days a week.

Join the modern world.


2 people like this
Posted by No baloney
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 16, 2014 at 10:18 pm

@ joe baloney says:

"The council needs to lower the public-benefit threshold on projects, and soon, while there's still time for such a change to affect what gets built in the Stanford and Greenheart projects. As has been pointed out here and in the Eiref editorial, Council had the chance to lower the public-benefit trigger and didn't. What makes anyone think that they will do this now? "

Look again, they are working on this now. Check out the city council agenda:

J2. Mayor Mueller's request to set a Study Session to consider refining the public benefit process and thresholds within the Downtown Specific Plan

The process is working. The Specific Plan is a living document. Measure M is misguided measure. Vote No on M.


2 people like this
Posted by Joseph Baloney
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 16, 2014 at 11:10 pm

No Baloney-I'm not sure I'm convinced that a request to study something will get things done in time, seeing as how according to Peter they haven't even bothered to merge the fire station parcels a year or two after a formal request.

But, and I'm 100% serious here, thank you for actually answering my question.


7 people like this
Posted by M is a MUST
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 16, 2014 at 11:38 pm

The "free" upzoning of the Specific Plan created a windfall of millions of dollars for Stanford. They let those lots sit empty for a reason.
Their massive four and five story buildings will be here to stay for decades. And we will regret them very soon.
M is a MUST. Vote YES on M!


7 people like this
Posted by Fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 16, 2014 at 11:50 pm

The council cannot be trusted to modify the Plan in any significant way. They had the chance a year ago during their "one year" review. Mueller had recused himself but he's the only one who didn't already demonstrate that the council has no intention of imposing an appropriate means to gain public benefit or to limit the adverse impacts of excessive office development.
Mueller and others are I love with the greenheart project, even though it epitomizes the opposite of the community's vision

This is just election season posturing.


3 people like this
Posted by Another Paper Endorses No On M
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 17, 2014 at 1:13 am

Tonight
the San Jose Mercury News
joined
the Almanac
and the Daily Post
in endorsing No on M.

The San Jose Mercury News wrote:

"Menlo Park Measure M is a disaster...Menlo Park's Measure M is a sour-grapes anti-growth measure that will keep the city's stretch of El Camino Real -- the Royal Road -- a royal dump. Vote no."

The endorsements for No on M keep growing..




1 person likes this
Posted by No Easy Solutions
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 10:17 am

Measure M does nothing to lower the public benefit threshold required for development. Even supporters of M acknowledge this. Refer to the video debate between Boyle and Robinson, Web Link

If you don't think the current council is doing enough then vote them out. Measure M only codifies zoning that requires a city wide ballot to modify.


Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 17, 2014 at 10:25 am

@ "M is a Must"

So Stanford has intentionally perpetuated the ECR blight in order to make money? Could you please provide some factual support?

On the flip side, there is no doubt that Measure M would perpetuate the ECR blight and hamstring MP for years to come.


6 people like this
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 17, 2014 at 11:08 am

Gern is a registered user.

"So Stanford has intentionally perpetuated the ECR blight in order to make money? Could you please provide some factual support?"

It's common knowledge that Stanford was happily milking 50-year leases on its 500 ECR properties for decades, leases which only just expired within the past year or two. Stanford is solely responsible for those properties sitting largely unoccupied these past twenty or more years, for creating the "blight" which so many are railing against. But their timing couldn't have been better, what with the lease expirations coinciding so nicely with the arrival of the DSP and its loopholes and with our pliable council -- I don't think Stanford could have scripted this any better for their own benefit.

"On the flip side, there is no doubt that Measure M would perpetuate the ECR blight and hamstring MP for years to come."

A ludicrous statement with no basis in fact or reality, which jibes nicely with much of the No on M argument.

Gern


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 17, 2014 at 11:13 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Fern states "leases which only just expired within the past year or two."

And then Gern states " Stanford is solely responsible for those properties sitting largely unoccupied these past twenty or more years,"

Hopefully everybody realizes the contradictory nature of these two statements made in the same posting. It does however show the faulty logic being employed in defense of Measure M.


3 people like this
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 17, 2014 at 11:53 am

Gern is a registered user.

"Hopefully everybody realizes the contradictory nature of these two statements made in the same posting."

Do you have information demonstrating Stanford was unable to terminate the leases, say, two decades ago and thereby end the "blight" then? Stanford was unwilling, perhaps, but almost certainly able to do so. Peter Clownpainter knows this, of course, but the seasoned spin doctor never foregoes an opportunity to level Benghazi at Measure M and its supporters.

Gern (not Fern)


Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Since there seems to be no dispute that there now is blight on ECR in Menlo Park.

How, if at all, would Measure M address this unfortunate situation in a positive, realistic way?

I really would like to hear Measure M's supporters address this by pointing to the language of the initiative itself.


1 person likes this
Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Five Great Reasons To Defeat Measure M

On November 4 Menlo Park residents will vote on Measure M, a ballot initiative designed primarily to limit the future traffic impact of new commercial developments on eight vacant El Camino Real lots. While I agree traffic congestion and neighborhood “cut-thru” traffic are serious problems our city needs to rigorously address – especially due to the already large amount of nearby new construction in Palo Alto, Stanford and Redwood City, Measure M is a poor alternative to our current planning, evaluation and approval processes which are working well. Measure M proponents have declared their distrust of our city’s building regulations and council members, and claimed their initiative is needed to avoid “rush hour gridlock, massive office complexes, and the loss of REAL open space”. Fortunately, NONE of these claims are true. I do not share their sentiments or beliefs and feel confident our representatives will guard against these negative outcomes, fairly and openly evaluate developer proposals, and negotiate the most favorable possible public benefits for our entire community.

Expect ALL supporters of Measure M to vote. Will you? If others don’t vote against it, Measure M will surely win by default and all of us must live with the consequences. Please learn the facts about Measure M, understand its likely consequences, and help defeat Measure M.

Five Great Reasons To Defeat Measure M

Measure M is an unnecessary, arbitrary and unvetted initiative that would have unavoidable harmful effects on our entire community.

It would force major redesigns of two multi-use developments already stalled by this initiative and likely delay construction another two years.

The Menlo Park planning process that governs new commercial development is clearly working well.
Menlo Park already loses more than $5 million in city, fire district and school revenues EVERY YEAR the Stanford and Greenheart properties remain vacant.

An initiative campaign is a poor substitute for an open citywide planning process that actively seeks community input and feedback and includes multiple public hearings.

While many significant flaws and risks in Measure M have already been identified, the initiative ensures no changes can be made that “frustrate” its effects without additional ballot measures – for the next 30 years. It is unreasonable to restrict our city’s flexibility to more easily and quickly make appropriate adjustments as no one can reliably predict future needs.

I encourage readers to visit www.mpcdforum.com to read a more detailed version of this letter and to learn more about the Specific Plan, Measure M and the status of the Stanford and Greenheart projects.

Dana Hendrickson
30-year resident of Central Menlo Park


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 17, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Observer:

you'll never hear an M supporter quote from their own initiative. M will do nothing to stop the blight and could, in fact, cause it to continue at least two more years if not more. If Stanford decides it simply not in their best interest to develop the properties post M passage they will continue to sit vacant.

Measure M is a HUGE mistake.

Vote NO on M.


9 people like this
Posted by Perla Ni
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Developers who have spent $200,000 to fight against residents and city council incumbent's have accepted campaign donations from those developers. Despite loud and repeated concerns of residents, City Council have listened only to developers and have not fixed the El Caminio/Downtown plan, when they had numerous opportunities to do so. They were asked to lower the public benefit threshold, as this paper has noted, but did not. They were asked to reduce office to provide more balanced development, but did not. They were asked to restore a commonsense definition of open space.

Now, the massive Greenheart and Stanford's projects are poised to be built. Yes on M is the only chance for voters to have a voice to protect own town from massive office complexes that cause rush-hour traffic in the heart of our town. And also to restore our open space.

Developers and their PR folks use scare tactics threatening that if residents don't allow developers to build these massive offices, the developers will usher in something more appalling - Walmart. That is a ridiculous scare tactic.

Then, Developers and their PR folks scare people that the language of M is too ambiguous. It is not. Before the initiative was submitted, the initiative was reviewed by the City's attorney. That is the process for all local initiatives. The initiative is neither too vague nor overly restrictive. Nor does it have a "poison pill". Read the Impartial Ballot analysis yourself -Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 17, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Perla:

perhaps you could actually quote from your initiative. You and other M supporters NEVER quote the language from M because you are lying about what it will and will not do.

M is a HUGE mistake.

Vote NO on M


5 people like this
Posted by not_just_about_land_use
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm

It is a statement in fact, and not opinion, that Stanford benefited quite handsomely by leaving the lots vacant. Anybody who knows anyone who works with Stanford land management knows this. Anyone who doubts this is uninformed and doesn't know what they don't know and shouldn't be pontificating on the topic.

Furthermore, anyone who is knowledgeable about this entire debacle will also know that the various new thresholds in the DSP essentially discouraged the construction of the planned Whole Foods in Menlo Park. Post-DSP, it made much more sense to sell to developers that could construct more lucrative office space on that land. Mounds of lost tax revenue for our schools and city from that decision alone let alone the community benefit of having a Whole Foods in our city. In fact, the decision-making seems too stupid to be legitimate making me think there had to be some back-room dealing.

I will vote No on M because I think it fails to effectively address my biggest concerns with development on ECR in Menlo Park. But the current council's failures are singularly responsible for creating those issues to begin with.

The Almanac endorses the above notion, and then summarily endorses all 3 council members seeking re-election. There should be consequences for ending up with what we have $1,700,000+ and 6 years later.

Pathetic.


2 people like this
Posted by Edward Syrett
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 17, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Peter Carpenter of Atherton wrote:

>> " Don't believe me? Visit Milpitas or Sunnyvale on a weekend."
>>
>> Better yet visit Palo Alto.
>>
>> In the modern world high tech offices operate 7 days a week.
>>
>> Join the modern world.

Another flawed analogy. Palo Alto has lots of apartments close to downtown, but in my observation (of the downtown area nearest to my home in the Willows) the pedestrian crowd there is different depending on when you visit. In the daytime, yes, it's tech workers and their friends, in the 20-40 age group. In the evenings, it's bimodal. Some techies are still working late, but there's a huge influx of students, some from Stanford and some from local high schools, and quite a few retirees such as myself.

I don't spend time in Milpitas, but any evening I've visited Sunnyvale it has been pretty dead. Why? All the workers who aren't hunched over their keyboards have gone home, and there are too few students to take up the slack.


8 people like this
Posted by Edward Syrett
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm

I wish not_just_about_land_use could see his/her way clear to supporting M despite the fact that it doesn't do everything s/he'd like it to. He clearly sees that all the incumbent council members running for election are entirely bought and paid for by Stanford/Arrillaga and Greenheart, and that if even one of them gets re-elected that person will use every parliamentary trick in the book to prevent changes to the DSP (Disastrous Special-interest Plan).

If M fails and we get rid of the incumbents, there MIGHT be a chance to stop the office juggernaut, but if you think passage of M will bring on lawsuits, just wait until a newly-altered council tries to go back on the commitments made to those developers. Developers have LOTS of money for lawsuits. What would be significant costs for the city are minor investments for the developers, compared to the return they could expect should they win and create the traffic nightmare they want to inflict on us.

If M passes and the incumbents win, they'll still try to make these projects go forward but their efforts will be hobbled for long enough to put together another ballot measure that does what everyone but the developers would like to see, and get it passed to fix what's wrong with M and prevent mega-office projects forever.

If M fails and the incumbents win, it'll be time to quit driving in Menlo Park and switch to bicycling. That's tough on those of us who are in our seventies and don't have good balance anymore.


1 person likes this
Posted by Edward Syrett
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 17, 2014 at 1:09 pm

An addendum to my previous comment: if M fails and the incumbents are returned to the city council, I have an alternative to bicycling. I'll close my P.O. box in the Oak Grove station (a pain in the butt, since many correspondents have that address) and open one either at Bohannon or the Palo Alto post office on East Bayshore. And I'll do all my shopping in Palo Alto henceforth, since driving to the Santa Cruz Avenue area will no longer be feasible. I hope this doesn't happen.

[Portion removed. Please comment on the topic, not other posters.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Lee Duboc
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Mr. Syrett says, "If M fails and we get rid of the incumbents, there MIGHT be a chance to stop the office juggernaut ..."

I am wondering how this will be possible as two of the non-incumbents will, by law, have to recuse themselves from anything to do with Stanford and its property. So, those candidates who are stating that they will be the residents' voice when it comes to Stanford development, will, in reality have no voice at all.

Imagine a dais with two empty seats whenever Stanford issues are discussed and voted in. Also, two councilmembers who will never be able to join a subcommittee such as that was formed by council members Carlson and Keith.

P. S. I never enter this forum as I realize I will be personally bashed by cowardly responders who never give their names. But, the point I make never seems to enter into this forum; as it should. And, the editorial staff of this newspaper had the insight to cite this as well.


5 people like this
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Nice pivot. Sunnyvale is a closer comparison to what may happen in Menlo Park with Stanford's current proposal. Lots of office space totally dead on the weekend with a short strip of downtown retail some distance away.

Nothing even close to Palo Alto will happen in Menlo Park with Stanford's planned development. That's just wishful thinking with a serious case of denial added in for good measure.


Like this comment
Posted by Edward Syrett
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm

I just visited Dana Hendrickson's MPCD Forum website. Apart from some mockery of Andy Cohen, the last residentialist to have held a seat on the MP City Council, I didn't learn anything new there, except this: someone spent a lot of time/effort/money developing that website. What is Mr. Hendrickson's financial interest in having these projects built? Who is Mr. Hendrickson anyhow?

Fortunately, Google has helped me answer those questions. Mr. Hendrickson is a local philanthropist who founded the non-profit "Rebuild Hope", which facilitates self-directed donations to the families of severely wounded veterans through an online financial support network and helps beneficiaries develop realistic budgets.

So it is entirely credible that Mr. Hendrickson funded the development of the MPCD Forum website out of genuine altruistic concern for our city. I still think he's completely wrong about Measure M, and naive about what goes on at City Hall, but I have to respect his position and his involvement in our local political process.


4 people like this
Posted by Fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Lee some of the changes needed to make the specific plan work properly are not unique to the Stanford site.. Thus both Duriseti and Fergusson can vote on those changes They could, for example, vote to lower the public benefit trigger for all zoning districts, and this would provide real negotiating leverage with both greenheart and Stanford. But that isn't enough.

Developers and the community need higher certainty about the allowable mix of uses. The current rules allow way too much office space relative to other uses. Thus, a critical change to fulfill the Plans balance of benefits and impacts is to reduce the amount of office allowed. The current council has utterly failed to do this. There is no other way but M to accomplish what they have failed to do.

The traffic impacts of more rush hour commuters could be reduced and managed by a vote of Yes on M. The financial benefits of balanced growth - more than $2 million more annually to the city - are also only possible with a vote of Yes on M. The almanac editor is totally ignoring the loss of benefits and the new adverse impacts of excess offices. instead the editor ought to be favoring the fulfillment of the Specific Plan by supporting Yes on M.


3 people like this
Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Edward, I created my website entirely on my own without any financial asistance. I realized in April that I did not know enough about Menlo Park's planning process, the two projects being considered for the vacant lots on El Camino, and Measure M to intelligently vote on the initiative. All the hyberbolic campaign messages were simply of no value. I needed to view actual evidence and learn facts. So, I decided to study these topics and share what I learned with other residents as I knew few people could invest the time to do this well. Eventually, I formed my own position on Measure M and carefully distinguished my opinions from the other inormation on the website. While you indicated you learned nothing new, I have received lots of feedback from residents who appreciate how well-organized it is and how easily they can locate original sources of information. That's all that I can hope for - informed voters who must make their own decisions.

I intend to continue the website regardless of the outcome of Measure M beacuse I feel development and traffic will remain critical issues for our city.

You like all residents are welcome to contribute content to www.mpcdforum.com


Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Fact Checker,

I think you underestimate how hard it will be to discuss ANY part of the DSP without including 500 ECR. Unfortunately the 500 ECR portion of the project (Stanford) has higher open space requirements that the rest of the DSP, and several other "unique" requirements that the entire DSP doesn't have. And KD and KF would be excluded from changing ANYTHING in the DSP that affected 500 ECR.

So when they have a council vote on Architectural Review, they are excluded. When they have a council discussion or vote on Public Benefit that would be required, they are excluded. This of course hasn't stopped Kelly F. from proclaiming she would require those things of Stanford when speaking at the farmers market.....The ONLY way she could do that is to break the law (something she has experience doing - re: Brown Act violation in 2010).

So when she says to elect her so she can make Stanford do the right thing....what is she talking about?

Unfortunately Kelly and Heyward were on the wrong side of a measure before (they were both against Measure L pension reform in 2010) so that they are on the wrong side of Measure M is par for the course.

M is a Mistake
Vote NO on Measure M

Roy Thiele-Sardina


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 17, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Another flawed analogy. Palo Alto has lots of apartments close to downtown"

Nothing flawed in the analogy at all - half of the Stanford and Greenheart projects will be, because of the Specific Plan restrictions, RESIDENTIAL.

Please read the Specific Plan before making factually incorrect statements.


2 people like this
Posted by Oldguy
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 17, 2014 at 3:26 pm

It's really not that hard. 90% of initiatives make bad law. 8% correct bad law passed by initiative. 2% make good law.

Prop M makes bad law, difficult to amend, and is an attempt to override a process that already took way, way, way too long to come up with the new plan.

If I were a developer and I was choosing between a project in Redwood City, Palo Alto, or Meno Park, we would be last choice. If M passes we wouldn't be a choice at all.

I'm tired if the vacant lots in El Camino.

No on M.


4 people like this
Posted by not_just_about_land_use
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 5:33 pm

@Lee and @Roy,

I see your points on issues around ethical requirements, but I do not think that having an affiliation requires one to recuse themselves from a larger discussion around city policy for triggers. In specific votes on specific Stanford related proposals, that is definitely true, but not the general discussion.

I think you somewhat blithely ignore the fact that the current council brought the DSP and the subsequent plans it "encouraged". "Concessions" from Stanford thus far are not legally binding. When has Stanford ever given Menlo Park its due relative to its largesse to Palo Alto even though we are often more impacted by Stanford initiatives than Palo Alto? How come we didn't get a slightly scaled down Page-Mill-esque sports complex? Who owns that failure?

Are you suggesting that the current council has the vision and wherewithal to actually force a different approach when they have spent 6 years failing to do so while effectively scuttling a beautiful new Whole Foods in Menlo Park? How can I possibly believe that to be the case? Why should I do the same thing twice and expect a different outcome?

I try to learn from my mistakes ... not repeat them. I strongly suggest people put aside their petty, almost grade school, political allegiances and do the same.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

""Concessions" from Stanford thus far are not legally binding."

And Stanford has not and will not receive approval of its project until and unless those or better concessions become legal binding.

Or if Measure M passes then these concessions disappear.


Like this comment
Posted by undecided on M
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 17, 2014 at 6:16 pm

After really looking at the Stanford-Arillaga drawings for 500 ECR and realizing these buildings are huge (60' tall) I really have some doubts about supporting the current implementation of the DSP.

Web Link

Look at the new 4 story building that is at the corner of Alma and Lytton in Palo Alto. That's about as tall as seems appropriate - especially wth only 10' of sidewalk. Keplers is 3 stories - same as the offices across Ravenswood. Even PAMF on ECR is 3 stories tal. Greenheart looks ok to me - but the Stanford site is really inappropriately site-heavy.

Isn't there a happy medium - do we really need to double the height of the buildings on ECR?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 17, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"After really looking at the Stanford-Arillaga drawings for 500 ECR"

Those plans were REJECTED by the City Council and Stanford has been sent back to redo their plans.

The Specific Plan, the Planning Commission and the City Council are all doing their job.

Measure M would destroy the careful balance and mix in the Specific Plan and instead would encourage some really horrible outcomes because of its poor wording.


5 people like this
Posted by not_just_about_land_use
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 6:48 pm

@undecided on M and @Peter Carpenter

Looking at those plans, while rejected, there needs to be a big-ol' playing field in the mix for our kids and 1, maybe 2, pedestrian/bike bridges. The latter are traffic mitigating with some component of public benefit and former is a general public benefit in a town with crowded school campuses and minimal playing field space. I just don't see how you force Stanford's hand in this matter. Any negotiation is a give and take. If they give on those, they will take somewhere else. My concern is that that public benefits and traffic mitigating measures like the ones I describe should not have been left to negotiation ... ever.

I'm a twice over Stanford alum so I have my sentimental attachments to the University. Yet, I repeatedly find myself miffed at the way the University treats Menlo Park. We just keep letting them walk all over us.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 17, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

""After really looking at the Stanford-Arillaga drawings for 500 ECR""

One of the reasons for this poster's confusion is that Save Menlo/Measure M continues to post January 18, 2013 Stanford plans - plans that were long ago REJECTED by the City Council.

Save Menlo/Measure also falsely claims it is "Sierra Club Endorsed" when in fact neither the California Sierra Club or the National Sierra Club has endorsed Measure M.

How many false statements will Save Menlo make in order to try to fool the voters?

Do they not realize that the facts always prove them wrong?


3 people like this
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 17, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"Save Menlo/Measure also falsely claims it is "Sierra Club Endorsed" when in fact neither the California Sierra Club or the National Sierra Club has endorsed Measure M."

Measure M is, in fact, endorsed by the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club: Web Link.

There is no depth to which Peter Carpenter will not sink to mislead voters, it seems, behavior which is both abhorrent and shocking in an elected public official.

Gern


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 17, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern PROVES my point -
I stated -""Save Menlo/Measure also falsely claims it is "Sierra Club Endorsed" when in fact neither the California Sierra Club or the National Sierra Club has endorsed Measure M."

Gern responds - "Measure M is, in fact, endorsed by the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club:"

And then Gern states "There is no depth to which Peter Carpenter will not sink to mislead voters, it seems, behavior which is both abhorrent and shocking in an elected public official."
after having himself proving what I stated was CORRECT.

These folks have no concept of truth or the level of deceit that they are engaged in - they really do think that they are telling the truth!!


6 people like this
Posted by not_just_about_land_use
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 8:56 pm

@Peter and @Gern,

My take is the exact opposite of @No Easy Solutions.

Vote how you will on M. The council is what will mostly determine how the DSP-plus-M or the DSP-minus-M will be executed. You can bank on that.

What is crystal clear to me, and should be crystal clear to anyone who knows how things went down in negotiations, what Stanford actually has or has not committed to, and what could have been possible: **this council needs to go**. It's NOT about "retribution" and it's not about supporting your friends and it's not that they are bad/good people. It's about finding people who have a positive vision and will fight for Menlo Park in ways this council has not.

And for the record, it is highly distasteful when any candidate takes donations from developers who would stand to benefit in the DSP giveaway. It's legal and it's the "American way", but that doesn't make it right.


5 people like this
Posted by Fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Some important facts -

Peter c is dead wrong. The Sierra club has indeed officially endorsed Measure M. This is not just the local chapter but the official organization.

The amount of open space for Stanford site is the same as for several other el camino sites. Originally Stanford was to provide 40% open space but very late in the review process! this was lowered to 30% with no additional EIR analysis. Stanford asked, staff and consultant responded and council approved.

Roy is throwing mud not facts about the ability of both Fergusson and Duriseti to modify the plan. If the change affects the broader plan area, they can vote even if a change also affects the Stanford site, As long as the change isn't unique to the Stanford site or just its zoning district, and applies to most (for example el Camino districts ) or all districts in the plan area, they could participate in modifying the plan. Examples - they could reset the public benefit bonus trigger to the prior use permit maximum. They could eliminate office space as an allowed Bonus. They could modify open space requirements (%) The list goes on.

The real point is that the current council has refused to make any of these changes. They have had the chance to address all concerns of the save Menlo crowd but they haven't. Yes on M is the only way to prevent the middle of menlopark from becoming an office park. Stanford and greenheart projects are just the beginning. The big 5 shopping center will be next. The current council thinks this is fine. But that kind of development was not what our community requested and it's not what a residential community needs


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 17, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The Sierra club has indeed officially endorsed Measure M. This is not just the local chapter but the official organization. "

Please document that claim. I doubt that you can.


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Posted by Fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 10:07 pm

The club letter is posted on the save Menlo site under supporters


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Posted by undecided on M
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 17, 2014 at 11:10 pm

@Peter Carpenter

Ok - point taken - Menlo Park city council rejects the Stanford-Arigalla plan from 22 months ago (Jan 2013). I can't quite figure out when this plan was rejected (Oct 1, 2014 - when Ray Mueller says the traffic plan won't fly?). I can't find another set of drawings on record. Can you provide a web link?

Thanks.


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Posted by Fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 18, 2014 at 12:12 am

The council has not taken action on the Stanford project. It can't until the EIR is complete. Just the fact that an EIR is needed says that the negative impacts are worse than expected by the Plan EIR. After all, the Plan EIR was supposed to evaluate all expected development for the 30 years of the Plan, on all sites. We already know that the expected benefits won't transpire. Remember? During the plan we were told that a revenue generating hotel and senior housing would come. Even medical office provides SOME community benefit. But a project with huge general offices provides nothing of value to us residents and it brings worse rush hour traffic.

There are plans available on city website for the Stanford project as of January 2013. There are some artistic renderings of the facade of some buildings dating April 2013. It appears that the mass, build, site layout are unchanged, just potentially the exterior somewhat modified.
The only ways to fulfill the promise of the Plan process are to vote Yes on M and to elect new council members who pay attention to residents.


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Posted by undecided on M
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2014 at 12:56 am

@Fact checker

I see your point that the city council was unable to act until the EIR was complete. I'm not sure I buy the comment about hotels. As I understand it, the two biggest tax revenue generators for Menlo Park are the Stanford Park Hotel and the Rosewood Hotel. Both on a Stanford land. If you check room availability for both of these hotels for the next two months you'll see neither are full. So maybe Stanford doesn't see the point in building another hotel and wanted to diversify? Just guessing.

I can see "planning" to have hotels and retail but as Eisenhower said "... plans are useless, planning is essential". If hotels aren't attractive - you do something else. (I'm just hypothesizing). I'm not sure building offices hasn't benefited Palo Alto businesses. Regarding retail - remember the flap regarding BevMo a couple of years ago. How 'bout the rumored Whole Foods that was quashed. I'm not sue the Santa Cruz Ave merchants relish more retail on ECR.

There seem to be lots of stakeholders that influence the outcomes.

My big concern is with a Stanford building big 60' tall buildings. Do we really want huge buildings on ECR? I'm thinking the 4 story buildings on Alma and Hamilton are plenty tall enough. Especially with only a 10' sidewalk in front on ECR - and 35mph traffic.

The Stanford-Arillga plan looks like it was driven by an overly ambitious business plan - and just needs to be scaled back by 20-25%.

After all we don't want to block *all* the western sunlight into Linfield Oaks - do we?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 8:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

""The Sierra club has indeed officially endorsed Measure M. This is not just the local chapter but the official organization. ""

Yet the letter is from Sierra Club Loma Prieta CHAPTER , not the national Sierra Club.

These folks have no concept of the truth.

It would be like No on M , knowing that it has supporters in a particular section of Allied Arts, were to claim Endorsed by Allied Arts or even Menlo Park.


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Posted by undecided on M
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2014 at 8:26 am

Small correction to my last post. In the third to last paragraph I meant to refer to the 4 story building at the corner of Alma and Lytton in Palo Alto - not Alma and Hamilton.

My point is that there should be a height limitation in the DSP. I can't think of any 60' tall buildings 10' from ECR.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 8:50 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"My point is that there should be a height limitation in the DSP. I can't think of any 60' tall buildings 10' from ECR."

Neither would the Specific Plan permit such a building:
See Table E 2 of the Plan - in ECR SE the facade would be set back 30 ft and could only be 38 ft tall.

If a fourth story is included it must be setback at a 45 deg angle and the same additional setback if there is a fifth story. See Fig E 11 and E 12

This is why Measure M cries of massive office blocks are groundless.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 18, 2014 at 8:50 am

Undecided:

The DSP does not allow the Stanford buildings 10' from the curb. the required setbacks are greater than that.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 9:17 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"4 story building at the corner of Alma and Lytton in Palo Alto "

This is a great building to compare to what the Specici Plan allows.

Without setting back the entire bolding 30 feet from the street and without setting back the 4th story at a 45 deg angle and without open space this building could not be built in the ECR-SE area.

Interested citizen should look at Chapter3 of the Specific Plan to note the great amount of thought that has gone into the restrictions on height, facades, building modulation and setback - there can be no "Office Building Canyons" built under the comprehensive standards set by the Specific Plan - those office canyons are simply dreams in the closed eyes of the Measure M supporters.


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Posted by undecided on M
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2014 at 9:46 am

@Peter Carpenter

Thanks for the civil responses. I can see the 30' setback better on the last drawing. The perspective drawings on pages 160-1 show people waking in front of the building - and those figures must be 14' tall or so:-). I thin the ide was to make the building seem not so tall - but inadvertently it made the setback seem very small.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 10:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

See Figure E4. Heights, Setbacks and Building Profile

And note
"Section E.3.4 Massing and Modulation
The Specific Plan’s standards and guidelines for building
massing and modulation help to reduce the monolithic
character of a building, ensure that all new buildings
complement the existing scale and character of the area,
ensure appropriate transitions to adjacent neighborhoods
and provide variety and visual interest. The standards
and guidelines address a building’s relationship with the
street and other public spaces as well as its relationship to
adjacent buildings and uses.
Building massing and modulation consider both vertical and
horizontal modulations. The modulation of buildings refers
to change or variety across a building plane to provide
distinction in the building as well as provide visual interest.
Vertical modulation is the introduction of façade articulation
that creates a rhythm or pattern across the façade of a
building. Horizontal modulation provides visual clarity
between ground fl oors, upper stories and roofs.
The Specific Plan incorporates four sets of standards that
help to accomplish vertical and horizontal modulation with
the following four elements:
 E.3.4.1 Building Breaks
 E.3.4.2 Façade Modulation and Treatment
 E.3.4.3 Building Profile
 E.3.4.4 Upper Story Façade Length"

A LOT of thought, time, public input and effort went into these standards whereas very little thought, time, public input and effort went into drafting Measure M.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 11:15 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

""The Sierra club has indeed officially endorsed Measure M. This is not just the local chapter but the official organization. ""

Yet the letter is from Sierra Club Loma Prieta CHAPTER , not the national Sierra Club.

The Sierra Club Loma Prieta CHAPTER is only 1 of 64 Chapters of the national Sierra Club.

These folks have no concept of the truth.


3 people like this
Posted by Edward Syrett
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2014 at 11:29 am

Peter Carpenter of Atherton wrote:
>>---------------
Gern PROVES my point -
I stated -""Save Menlo/Measure also falsely claims it is "Sierra Club Endorsed" when in fact neither the California Sierra Club or the National Sierra Club has endorsed Measure M."

Gern responds - "Measure M is, in fact, endorsed by the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club:"

And then Gern states "There is no depth to which Peter Carpenter will not sink to mislead voters, it seems, behavior which is both abhorrent and shocking in an elected public official."
after having himself proving what I stated was CORRECT.

These folks have no concept of truth or the level of deceit that they are engaged in - they really do think that they are telling the truth!!
>>--------------

Hold on now. I know that what Gern stated about the Loma Prieta Chapter's endorsement is the truth. What Mr. Carpenter stated about the California Sierra Club and the National Sierra Club is probably true--those organizations have bigger fish to fry; that's why local chapters like Loma Prieta exist. But Mr. Carpenter's statement is classic sophistry, claiming to invalidate someone else's abbreviated assertion ("Sierra Club endorsed") because it doesn't agree with his straw-man definition of "Sierra Club". So it is clearly an attempt to mislead people reading this forum.

Also, his objection to my comment about the bad analogy between Palo Alto and Menlo Park was another common political trick: taking one small piece out of context and implying a different context. I never claimed that the Stanford/Arrillaga project doesn't include residences. My rejection of that analogy was based mainly on geography.

Look: the only people who have to cross ECR to get to downtown Palo Alto (the University Ave. area) are Stanford residents, and they don't face much of a barrier. Anyone not living in West Menlo Park has to fight his/her way across ECR to get to the Santa Cruz Ave. area. So anything that increases traffic on ECR or on the roads leading from Highway 101 through Menlo Park to ECR makes it that much harder to "go downtown". Why should that be so hard to understand?


3 people like this
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"Yet the letter is from Sierra Club Loma Prieta CHAPTER , not the national Sierra Club."

You are displaying a profound ignorance of the manner in which Sierra Club endorsements work, Peter. Are you a member? Given its grassroots nature, among other logistical factors, the national and state organizations typically do not weigh in on local issues such as M (see Web Link and Web Link), leaving those endorsements, correctly, to regional chapters which are better positioned to vet local candidates and measures. Candidates and measures endorsed by the Loma Prieta Chapter are "Sierra Club Endorsed" and examples of such usage are rife during election season (here's but one for Santa Clara County's Measure Q: Web Link).

Your Ahabian quest to slay Measure M is getting the better of your judgement and civility, such as it is.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Hard to see how it is easier for the residents of College Terrace, for example, to get across ECR to University Ave than it is for residents of the Willows to get to Santa Cruz.

What am I missing?

And if the Sierra Club's endorsement of Measure M is acceptable "shorthand" for the Loma Prieta Chapter's (1 of 64 such chapters) of the Sierra Club endorsement of Measure M then it would be equally valid to say that Allied Arts has endorsed No on Measure because twenty residents of Allied Arts endorsed No on M.

Playing with the Truth in public discourse has the nasty habit of coming back and biting you when someone posts the facts. The fact is that the Loma Prieta Chapter is 1 of 64 such chapters of the Sierra Club and does not and cannot speak for the undifferentiated Sierra Club.

The name of the State entity as listed in its By Laws is "The name of this organization is "Sierra Club California."

The name of the United States entity as listed in its By Laws is "1.1. The name of this corporation shall be the SIERRA CLUB."

Clearly Save Menlo is improperly using the name Sierra Club as one of its endorsers.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

In Friday's Daily Post Vince Bressler, a former Planning Commissioner who should know how to read a zoning ordinance, claims that "Measure M limits the amount of new office space that can be built downtown and removes private balconies from consideration as open space" PERIOD.

Sadly Bressler, like the other Measure M supporters, either has not read or does not understand Measure M:

Section 3 of Measure M make TEN definitions and a number of standards and makes them "hereby adopted by the voters".

Then Section 4 of Measure make says that those TEN definitions and a number of standards "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."

Measure M supporters keep claiming to their supporters that is does everything and to their opponents that is does nothing. Measure M cannot be both a Mouse and a Monster.

The truth is that Measure M is a Monster.


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Posted by undecided on M
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm

@ Peter Carpenter

Once again thanks for your civil tone The building guidelines in the DSP do seem well thought out - and this is very complicated stuff. That said, I have a couple of other comments.

First - why wasn't there at size trigger for public benefit included in the DSP - or for that matter in measure M? It seems from my contacts in Mountain View - that this type of trigger is pretty common. Any information or view points you have would be welcome.

Second - regarding traffic. I'm not as concerned about ECR traffic as I am for overall area access to 101 and 280. I think that's the one Achilles heel for the Stanford/Arillaga plan - but also a challenge for the whole area as well. There's no good way to get from ECR to 101 --- and barely a good way from ECR to 280. Even today - before hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space are built -- Middlefield and Willow Rd are basically gridlocked from 3-6:30pm. This is due to bleed over traffic from Palo Alto - that doesn't try to enter 101 from University and travels north on Middlefield. Caltrain is at capacity. We are hitting the traffic threshold.

It's not clear to me how Stanford and Greenheart perceive they will get workers to fill these offices - unless everybody can live in the ECR residences. I'm fortunate to essentially be able to work from home (gotomeeting is my friend) -- but Thursday afternoon I had to drive to downtown San Jose for a 5pm appointment. Close to a third of my 45 minute drive time was spent waiting on University Ave - trying to get to 101 southbound. Adding another couple of thousand workers - to the area makes this access even more problematic.

In my opinion - any EIR should take into account commuting from 101 and 280 as well as ECR/Middle Ave traffic.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"First - why wasn't there at size trigger for public benefit included in the DSP"

There is a such a size trigger and it works by offering a higher FAR IF the projects has an acceptable level of public benefits.

See Table e 9 on page E 64 for the public neophyte FAR if the projects has an acceptable level of public benefits.

And here is how the public benefit process works from page G 15:
"Public Benefit Bonus Negotiated Agreement
As described in more detail in Chapter E, density and
intensity standards have both Base and Public Benefit
Bonus categories for all districts, and the ECR NE and
ECR NE-R zoning districts also have Base and Public
Benefit Bonus height standards. In order to achieve
any Public Benefit Bonus standard, an applicant
would need to propose public benefit(s) for the City’s
consideration. If deemed appropriate, the benefit(s) would
be memorialized through conditions of approval or a
Development Agreement. Specifically for development
agreements, the process as outlined in Resolution No. 4159
(Regulations Establishing Procedures and Requirements
for Development Agreements) or any successor resolution"
would be followed."

The Specific Plan is a remarkably well done and thorough document - unfortunately very few people have taken the time to read it and the Measure M folks seem to have put the Specific Plan on their forbidden books list.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Forum auto correct does some very strange things - like turning Gern into Fern.

Correction:
See Table e 9 on page E 64 for the public benefit FAR if the projects has an acceptable level of public benefits.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"The Forum auto correct does some very strange things - like turning Gern into Fern."

Nice try, Peter Clownpainter, but the comment text field in this forum provides no such auto-correct feature. Perhaps that copy of IE6 running on your Windows 98 computer has a form field auto-correct extension which is responsible for your many typos. Those typos which are not intentional, that is.

More importantly, would you care to address your fallacious statements about Measure M's Sierra Club endorsement, per my previous comment? Looks like you've tried to move beyond that gaffe as quickly as possible, your favored modus operandi in this forum.

Gern


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Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2014 at 3:01 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

very simple solution. Almanac got it right, VOTE NO ON M


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - "would you care to address your fallacious statements about Measure M's Sierra Club endorsement, per my previous comment"

Answered above but here is my answer again:

Playing with the Truth in public discourse has the nasty habit of coming back and biting you when someone posts the facts. The fact is that the Loma Prieta Chapter is 1 of 64 such chapters of the Sierra Club and does not and cannot speak for the undifferentiated Sierra Club.

The name of the State entity as listed in its By Laws is "The name of this organization is "Sierra Club California."

The name of the United States entity as listed in its By Laws is "1.1. The name of this corporation shall be the SIERRA CLUB."

Clearly Save Menlo is improperly using the name "Sierra Club" as one of its endorsers.

If the Sierra Club's endorsement of Measure M is acceptable "shorthand" for the Loma Prieta Chapter's (1 of 64 such chapters) of the Sierra Club endorsement of Measure M then it would be equally valid to say that Allied Arts has endorsed No on Measure because twenty residents of Allied Arts endorsed No on M.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Note that there is an online track record of "Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club" (its correct legal name) endorsing Menlo Park's Specific Plan with several comment letters asking for further work on jobs-housing, traffic, and concerns about medical office.

They made certain proposals, most of which would be met if the projects were allowed to proceed:

Web Link

Web Link


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Gern

Peter is right. The Loma Prieta endorsements are ONLY for that Chapter. The California Sierra Club as well as the TEN local chapters all have different endorsements. The San Francisco Bay Chapter explicitly states on it's endorsement page that it is ONLY for that Chapter and points you to the California Chapter to see their endorsements. The Loma Prieta Chapter SHOULD post the same waring . Here is their link.

Web Link

Apologies accepted for your incorrect statements.....thanks

Measure M is a Mistake
Vote NO on Measure M

Roy Thiele-Sardina


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Posted by undecided on M
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2014 at 3:59 pm

@Peter Carpenter

Thanks for your detailed reply on public benefits trigger --- If I read this correctly the DSP implements more of a public benefits incentive (vs. a trigger.) And allows the developer to voluntarily choose to not address public benefits. An interesting strategy.

Agreed - I am a "public neophyte". Just trying to follow the numerous arguments on both sides.


_____________________________________________________________________________

""First - why wasn't there at size trigger for public benefit included in the DSP"

There is a such a size trigger and it works by offering a higher FAR IF the projects has an acceptable level of public benefits.

See Table e 9 on page E 64 for the public neophyte FAR if the projects has an acceptable level of public benefits.

And here is how the public benefit process works from page G 15:
"Public Benefit Bonus Negotiated Agreement
As described in more detail in Chapter E, density and
intensity standards have both Base and Public Benefit
Bonus categories for all districts, and the ECR NE and
ECR NE-R zoning districts also have Base and Public
Benefit Bonus height standards. In order to achieve
any Public Benefit Bonus standard, an applicant
would need to propose public benefit(s) for the City's
consideration. If deemed appropriate, the benefit(s) would
be memorialized through conditions of approval or a
Development Agreement. Specifically for development
agreements, the process as outlined in Resolution No. 4159
(Regulations Establishing Procedures and Requirements
for Development Agreements) or any successor resolution"
would be followed." "


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"- If I read this correctly the DSP implements more of a public benefits incentive (vs. a trigger.) And allows the developer to voluntarily choose to not address public benefits"

Correct - one person's definition of the inflection point is a "trigger" and another's is a "threshold."

People need to realize that zoning laws by their very design and nature are permissive rather than directive. In other words, what we try to do with zoning laws is to encourage the "right" kind of development. But those zoning laws cannot require a property owner to do anything. So the key is to write zoning laws which create an acceptable framework for the community as well as an acceptable incentive for the property owner - a balance.

The Menlo Park DSP is a remarkably good document in terms of the balance that it attempts to foster in the community. Unfortunately the Measure M folks simply want to take private property from its owners and turn it in parks under the guise of "public benefits" - that won't work and, by the way, is against the law.


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Posted by undecided on M
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2014 at 4:41 pm

@Peter Carpenter

Thanks again for your patience and insight. My question regarding the DSPs lack of public benefit trigger actually stemmed directly from the Almanac editiorial endorsing M - but questioning this omission as an oversight to be corrected.

I do appreciate and agree with your point about private ownership rights for the two parcels of land in question.


4 people like this
Posted by The Truth YES on M
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Absolutely vote YES on M. It will bring more income to the city and make less traffic congestion in Menlo Park. Ten former mayors and the Sierra Club endorse YES on M.

Redwood City and Sunnyvale made these type of building & growth errors, and they are paying dearly for it.

VOTE YES ON M. It helps everyone except the developers who have paid $200,000 to impose their unattractive building on the city.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Truth YES on M - please post ONE actual section from Measure M that supports your opinion.

Have you read Measure M?

Have you read the Wise report?

Have you read the Specific Plan?


1 person likes this
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 18, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"Peter is right. The Loma Prieta endorsements are ONLY for that Chapter."

Roy, you appear to have missed or ignored the previous point I made about Sierra Club endorsements, as well as the point of the endorsement message to which you refer, copied below:

"The endorsements on this page are for Bay Chapter (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Francisco Counties) elections only. For information on other chapters' endorsements, follow this link (Web Link)."

The national, state and chapter organizations all make their own endorsements and all are "Sierra Club" endorsements. Some candidates and measure supporters do indicate if a specific chapter or state organization has given the endorsement, others do not (per the Measure Q example I sent), but in my 25 years of Sierra Club membership and attendant interest in the club's political activities (some wise, some not) Peter's is the first allegation I've seen of someone misrepresenting a club endorsement.

Measure M has a Sierra Club endorsement and unless they explicitly state it's a national or state endorsement -- I don't believe they have -- then Peter's allegation is baseless. Again.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Fern states -"Measure M has a Sierra Club endorsement and unless they explicitly state it's a national or state endorsement -- I don't believe they have -- then Peter's allegation is baseless. Again."

I love it ! Gern makes it clear that they can lie about the endorsement being a local endorsement because while they used the name of the national organization they did not " explicitly state it's a national or state endorsement".

Are these the people that you want to be writing our zoning laws?

Has Measure M explicitly stated that it is really an attempt to stop anything?

Of course not, but that is OK with Gern because they did not explicitly state their real goal.


5 people like this
Posted by R. Gould
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 18, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Agree with voting yes on M. Those developers are spending over $200,000 to try to convince us we should vote no, but citizens of Menlo Park are smarter than that. Yes on M will allow growth, the proper growth. Silly opponents of M keep calling it no growth. Not true. Ten former Mayors of our city agree vote YES on M. The literature that those Yes on M people are circulating appears to be far more accurate than the developers misleading information. We do need to limit size of the massive large office complexes, That will ease the traffic gridlock and bring in more revenue for our city. I saw two near accidents of cars and children in the Allied Arts area, and when El Camino traffic increases, cars will take routes through Allied Arts.

We need more open space, and those developers have been cheating on what they call open space. Prop M helps define open space so the developers won't cheat nor deceive.

Many reasons to vote YES on M. Only if you're a developer or ill-informed would you vote no on M.


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Ten former Mayors of our city agree vote YES on M. "

And 13 former Mayors agree on NO on M.

And practically every Planning Commissioner agrees on NO on M.

And four of the five Fire Board Directors agree on NO on M.

And EVERY newspaper that has issues and endorsement agrees on NO on M.

And 166 other Menlo Park residents agree on NO on M.

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by George Strong
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Agree completely with Pearl Ni's post above. I'm voting yes yes yes on M.

Pearl wrote the following----

Developers who have spent $200,000 to fight against residents and city council incumbent's have accepted campaign donations from those developers. Despite loud and repeated concerns of residents, City Council have listened only to developers and have not fixed the El Caminio/Downtown plan, when they had numerous opportunities to do so. They were asked to lower the public benefit threshold, as this paper has noted, but did not. They were asked to reduce office to provide more balanced development, but did not. They were asked to restore a commonsense definition of open space.

Now, the massive Greenheart and Stanford's projects are poised to be built. Yes on M is the only chance for voters to have a voice to protect own town from massive office complexes that cause rush-hour traffic in the heart of our town. And also to restore our open space.

Developers and their PR folks use scare tactics threatening that if residents don't allow developers to build these massive offices, the developers will usher in something more appalling - Walmart. That is a ridiculous scare tactic.

Then, Developers and their PR folks scare people that the language of M is too ambiguous. It is not. Before the initiative was submitted, the initiative was reviewed by the City's attorney. That is the process for all local initiatives. The initiative is neither too vague nor overly restrictive. Nor does it have a "poison pill". Read the Impartial Ballot analysis yourself.


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Compare the No on Measure M to these meager Yes endorsements:

Web Link

0 City Council Members
1 Planning Commissioner
1 Fire Board Director
NO newspapers
and less than 49 named Menlo Park residents


4 people like this
Posted by John Counsel
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 18, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Carpenter states: "0 City Council"

Correct. They are so embarrassed over making such a mistake, such an error in judgement, they cannot back-track and apologize.

The Menlo city council is not impressive as not constituted. Good that there's an election on the horizon.

Carpenter has present no valid objections to proposition "m" so M has my vote of yes.


4 people like this
Posted by Buzz Simonsen
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 18, 2014 at 6:55 pm

How in the heck is El Camino going to tolerate more traffic at peak hours??????????????? Will these big developments have an automobile entrance and exit other than El Camino? It will be pathetic if ECR is the only in and out. I'll just stay home and avoid Menlo Park.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Carpenter has present no valid objections to proposition "m""

You clearly cannot or have not read what has been posted - sad.


PROCESS
1 - The Initiative was created in secret
2 - Without any opportunity for public review
3 - And hence without the opportunity to improve/clarify the initiative to reflect the concerns of those outside the small group that wrote it
4 - Once the first signatures were gathered the language could not be changed without starting the entire filing process again
5 - No effort has been or seems to be planned to ensure that voters understand the Initiative
6 - And fundamentally the Initiative is an attack on the good governance and transparent process that lead to the creation and adoption of the DSP

SUBSTANCE
1 - The initiative is lengthy and covers a number of different issues
2 - Therefore the opportunity for mistakes and conflict are significant
3 - The initiative is a 'forever' document which will, as intended, preclude some changes to the Specific Plan without another vote and will also, as an untended consequence, make it difficult to make any changes to the Specific Plan, particularly given the Priority Clause:
"PRIORITY: After this measure becomes effective, its provision shall prevail over and supersede all provisions of the municipal code, ordinances, resolutions, and administrative policies of the City of Menlo Park which are inferior to the Planning Policy Documents and in conflict with any provisions of this measure."
4 - Some of the language, as noted, does not and cannot accommodate changes in commerce such as banking and medical offices
5 - The initiative would force individuals with adjacent parcels to develop them separately thereby precluding integrated design and shared amenities
6 – The Initiative eviscerates the City Council and Planning Commission, as it requires a city wide vote for ANY changes in the DSP, no matter how small, FOREVER.

IMPACT
1 - The initiative, even if not passed, has signaled to any interested party that Menlo Park's planning process and established rules cannot be relied upon and they will make their investments elsewhere.
2 - The initiative, even if not passed, has delayed moving forward with the Specific Plan.
3 - The initiative, even if not passed, has sent a chilling message to the Planning Commissioners, the City Council and the planning staff that their efforts to have an open and inclusive process can be thwarted by a small group of disgruntled citizens.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Truth YES on M - please post ONE actual section from Measure M that supports your opinion.


Still waiting.........


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Buzz:

if measure M passes you can expect traffic to be even worse. The current project as negotiated has a single ECR entrance and no medical offices (medical offices are high traffic generators). If measure M passes the negotiation goes out the window and the likely outcome are FIVE separate entrances to ECR AND medical offices. Measure M won't allow any negotiation.


1 person likes this
Posted by John Simonsen
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 19, 2014 at 1:02 am

Just found this very helpful website Web Link

Cheers.


5 people like this
Posted by Fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 19, 2014 at 1:14 am

The Sierra club endorsement is on local chapter letterhead but the endorsement is made by the national organization.

The street setback for buildings on el Camino has a minimum and a MAXIMum! 10-20 feet. Not much for 60' tall buildings btw it wouldn't be possible for another cafe borrone plaza.


3 people like this
Posted by Mabel Kruetzig
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Oct 19, 2014 at 1:24 am

I read through the small number of changes this Measure M makes to the Plan and they all seem reasonable. Our city counsel often doesn't represent the best interests of our city. Stanford and that other developer use posturing and veiled inducements, but nothing in writing. My family will definitely vote yes on M. We don't need more medical offices either.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 19, 2014 at 7:16 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The Sierra club endorsement is on local chapter letterhead but the endorsement is made by the national organization. "

Please document that assertion - clearly there must be a paper trail of recommendations , review and approval for the national organization to have taken a position on a local issue about which the national organization would be otherwise uninformed.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 19, 2014 at 8:21 am

Mabel:

think again. If measure M passes medical offices are likely. The current project no longer has them because the city was able to negotiate them out of the plan. If M passes that goes out the window and Stanford is free to build medical offices. Measure M does nothing to stop it and in fact encourages it. One of many unintended consequences built into the measure. If you don't want medical offices VOTE NO ON M.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 19, 2014 at 8:24 am

fact checker:

not sure where you're getting your "facts" about setbacks.

This is what the DSP says:

See Table E 2 of the Plan - in ECR SE the facade would be set back 30 ft and could only be 38 ft tall.

If a fourth story is included it must be setback at a 45 deg angle and the same additional setback if there is a fifth story. See Fig E 11 and E 12


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 19, 2014 at 8:29 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"fact checker:
not sure where you're getting your "facts" about setbacks."

Note that Measure M supporters never actually quote their initiative or the Specific Plan - they are committed to being "fact free".


2 people like this
Posted by Mabel Kruetzig
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Oct 19, 2014 at 8:38 am

By yes on M, office space will be restricted at each site, so medical offices will be restricted. That's an excellent idea. Otherwise if uneducated people vote no on M the developers will add much more medical office and there will be more traffic gridlock. So yes on M. Fewer cars, more money for Menlo, safer streets, more true open space, so again, yes on M.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 19, 2014 at 8:55 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Mabel -you are not paying attention. The Keith/Carlton Subcommittee negotiated with Stanford to remove all medical offices from the Stanford project.

Tue, Aug 6, 2013, 8:03 am

Stanford drops medical offices from proposed mixed-use complex in Menlo Park
Agrees to help fund undercrossing, traffic study

Web Link

If M were to pass that agreement disappears:

Web Link

Those are the documented facts.

Measure M is a Mistake.


2 people like this
Posted by not_just_about_land_use
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 19, 2014 at 9:52 am

@Peter

"Stanford drops medical offices from proposed mixed-use complex in Menlo Park
Agrees to help fund undercrossing, traffic study"

None of this is legally binding and notice that they are have not agreed to fully fund the bike/pedestrian underpass. The wording used has been "substantial contribution". In private meetings with Stanford, they have expressed a desire to have Menlo Park to be a monetary partner for that underpass. It will be expensive by nature of the project.

This brings me to you language around the "permissive versus directive" nature of zoning laws. I think that distinction is semantic and that you are being painfully pedantic.

Permissions can be tied to requirements. Such requirements might be particular public benefits associated with a particular development. One cannot simply leave the public benefit to be defined by the developer. Offering daily lattes for life to all residents would be a public benefit of little real value. So, by the nature of a development review, a directive is inevitably required. The permissive portion would be setting the threshold value (i.e., %office space, square footage, traffic impact) that would trigger a defined and negotiated public benefit.

Just to reiterate my points in previous posts on this matter: the current council members, at least 2 of whom you funded with $900 per candidate donations per public records, were part of the egregious failure to execute on the above. You are, of course, within your rights to support them financially even if you see that as a path to purchasing compliance with future requests from the Fire Board -- while a bit unseemly, it's perfectly legal. But it's hard to take your discussion of zoning laws and "permissions versus directions" seriously when you are such a cheerleader for the current council.


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Posted by Mike Curtis
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 19, 2014 at 10:00 am

I have to admit (and I was originally "yes on M") that Peter Carpenter's comment of: "Note that Measure M supporters never actually quote their initiative or the Specific Plan - they are committed to being "fact free", is absolutely correct. There is a huge number of misstated, wrong, or otherwise just made up stuff from the "yes on M" campaign. Where did they get their information? All I keep hearing is "$200,000 was spent by Developers..." - well who cares? If the developers are right, and have a vested interest in seeing this site improved, why wouldn't they spend money to help make it possible? And the Sierra Club's local chapter endorsement has, surprise....Heyward Robinson as a Board Member, AND a big donor!?? The medical office issue, has been solved, why do they keep bringing it up? "Peter Carpenter isn't a resident of Menlo Park" - well who cares? Neither is the NATIONAL Sierra Club. Plus, Peter does have a vested interest in MP, he shops here, spends money here and the last time I checked, Atherton does not have a downtown. Lastly, my favorite quote of the "yes on M camp": "Redwood City and Sunnyvale made these type of building & growth errors, and they are paying dearly for it." - last time I checked, both of these cities did indeed have that "vibrant downtown" that most of us know we don't have, but "yes on M'ers" say we do have??(not looking, nor are many of the "no's" looking for a RWC or Sunnyvale, but let's face it, they know what vibrancy looks like!) Again, I WAS "yes on M", until I started to really pay attention, read and compare the two camps. NO on M, it makes the best sense for ALL of us, not just a select few that live within 2 blocks of the sites.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 19, 2014 at 10:11 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I posted this based on my 4 1/2 years as a Palo Alto Planning Commissioner - during which time the Planning Commission wrote an entirely new Comprehensive Plan. There is nothing pedantic about the facts of zoning ordinances.

"People need to realize that zoning laws by their very design and nature are permissive rather than directive. In other words, what we try to do with zoning laws is to encourage the "right" kind of development. But those zoning laws cannot require a property owner to do anything. So the key is to write zoning laws which create an acceptable framework for the community as well as an acceptable incentive for the property owner - a balance."

There is no way that a zoning ordinance can require a property owner to build something that the property owner does not wish to build. There is no way to require a property owner to provide "free" public benefits unless the zoning laws permit extra development rights in exchange for providing such public benefits - unless, of course like Morris, you believe that government can simply take property and property rights away from a private owner without fair compensation.


2 people like this
Posted by not_just_about_land_use
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 19, 2014 at 10:18 am

@Peter

"There is no way that a zoning ordinance can require a property owner to build something that the property owner does not wish to build. There is no way to require a property owner to provide "free" public benefits unless the zoning laws permit extra development rights in exchange for providing such public benefits"

I'm glad I can now quote you directly. You are, of course, correct. WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY THE CURRENT COUNCIL FAILED. You cannot give away what you have already given away. You give away in increments. That is how you negotiate. Any child knows this intuitively. A "smarter DSP" would have retained more negotiating power.

In this case, too much was given away from the get go. Greater gradation of triggers and a lowering of the trigger for a negotiated benefit would have been the smart approach. Who knows: a smarter DSP may have averted the loss of a Menlo Park Whole Foods.



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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 19, 2014 at 11:42 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

You state "In this case, too much was given away from the get go. Greater gradation of triggers and a lowering of the trigger for a negotiated benefit would have been the smart approach. "

Yet Measure M addresses NONE of those issues.


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Posted by Another Paper Endorses No On M
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 19, 2014 at 12:03 pm

You state "In this case, too much was given away from the get go. Greater gradation of triggers and a lowering of the trigger for a negotiated benefit would have been the smart approach. "

See the recent article in the Mercury News Online:
Web Link

ON THE DOCKET

TUESDAY, October 21, 2014

"City Council, Council Chambers, City Hall, 701 Laurel St., 6 p.m.: The council is scheduled to discuss Mayor Ray Mueller's request for a study session on possibly refining the public benefit process and thresholds within the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan. Council members are also slated to consider using a $25,000 grant from the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control to enforce alcohol-related crimes in the city."


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Posted by not_just_about_land_use
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 19, 2014 at 12:05 pm

@Peter

That is regrettable and that's why I likely won't vote for M.

However, I will vote for two of the challengers to the current council. I personally don't happen to feel that all three challengers should be seated.

If M goes down and only 2 new members are on the council, I still expect major changes to how the DSP is executed and a more desirable vision moving forward.


2 people like this
Posted by not_just_about_land_use
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm

@Another,

Yes, I heard about this. I think it's regrettable that Measure M, with the associated hullabaloo and divisiveness, and concerning results from a traffic study that was released 10 months after it was completed were required for the current council to seek change.

Leaders get to own their failures. That's what leadership implies.


1 person likes this
Posted by Proud of our Mayor
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 19, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Ray was recused due to a conflict the last time the Public Benefit threshold was discussed during the Specifc Plan Review in 2013.

There is no mistake for Ray to correct. He is working within the process and being responsive to the planning commission discussion on October 6th.

I am proud of him for doing what he thinks is right irrespective of the politics and the criticism he is likely to take for it in this political environment.


3 people like this
Posted by not_just_about_land_use
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 19, 2014 at 12:48 pm

@Proud,

For what it's worth, Ray has generally struck me as a good guy who wants to do the right thing and not some aspiring career politician.

The aspiring career politician type will always make decisions with an eye to who can fund a campaign for the cesspools of Sacramento or DC or how that decision might play in a bid for higher office. They will, for example, sidle up to wealthy developers and Facebook and throw the community under the bus if they have to. We don't need that in MP.

I didn't know about Ray's recusal from the public benefit discussion or the reasons for it.

Thanks for the info.


3 people like this
Posted by JM
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 19, 2014 at 1:24 pm

What if it is the local branch of the Sierra Club endorsing Measure M? Don't you think the members of the local chapter share the same ideals, goals, and vision of the national entity? Would they exist if they didn't? Would the national organization allow a local club that DIDN'T pursue the ideals, goals and vision of the Sierra Club as a whole to somehow pursue its own rogue agenda?

You say the that equating the local club's backing of the measure with 'actual' Sierra Club endorsement is akin to saying "Allied Arts has endorsed No on Measure because twenty residents of Allied Arts endorsed No on M."

You enjoy deriding and mocking other posters for their poor reasoning, but your own is weak here. Clearly there is something that binds the local Sierra Club to the state and national clubs - they cannot operate in philosophical or political opposition to those larger bodies, or they would not be acting as a true representative presence for the state and national entities.

What is the binding obligation that exists among "residents of Allied Arts"? What requires them to represent the same ideals, goals, and vision? Nothing. Bad analogy, and repeating it doesn't make it any better.

You're making many arguments here against Measure M - fine, you've made your position abundantly clear. But you don't help yourself with stubborn and semantic quibbling on this particular aspect of the debate.

You should concede that the LOCAL Sierra Club endorsement actually MEANS something, at least to those who believe in the mission of the Sierra Club. The local chapter, it's safe to assume, fights for the same ideals as the state and national organization. With one difference - they are more informed, and thus even MORE authoritative, about LOCAL issues.

But then let's be honest: would a state or national level endorsement of this local measure-as illogical as that would be, considering this is a LOCAL issue, best left to the LOCAL club-really make a difference to you? I suspect not. It's pretty obvious that beneath your nitpicking about jurisdiction is a larger hostility towards the entire organization.

Or should we assume you're actually a supporter, you just don't like seeing the local club overreach itself?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 19, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

JM - I believe that politicians and political entities should be held to the highest standards regarding their campaign activities.

Save Menlo/ Measure M has
1 - not complied with the disclosure laws regarding its lawn signs
2 - not complied with the disclosure laws regarding its web site
3 - improperly reported that it is a "Candidate Committee"
4 - improperly claimed that it is endorsed by The Sierra Club ( a national entity) when in fact it has only been endorsed by 1 of the 64 Sierra Club chapters.

For these reasons I do not believe that Save Menlo/Measure M deserves the public's trust.

You may wish to apply a lower standard - that is your choice.


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Posted by Perla Ni
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 19, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Hi Peter,

We have abided by all the necessary laws for 1. and 2. Please read the California statute yourself or go and bring an FPPC violation complaint against us - as you have before unsuccessfully.

3. was a clerical error that was remedied immediately.

4. read the Sierra Club endorsement yourself.





1 person likes this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 20, 2014 at 12:44 am

Perla,

There is no 'we against them'. Measure M is so poorly drafted, does not meet any of its primary objectives that even the Almanac cannot endorse it. The Almanac has historically supported preservation and takes the side of the residents, yet having thoroughly examine the Measure, found it wanting. It does more harm than good. Can you admit that since your Measure's text received no oversight or review, that it is simply a mistake? We will all be losers if this initiative passes.


1 person likes this
Posted by School board is No on M
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 20, 2014 at 12:57 am

I just want to point out one major local group that has not been mentioned yet in the list of endorsements in this thread- our Menlo Park school district board of Trustees. All 5 of the current School Board members and 3 or 4 past Board members have all endorsed NO on Measure M.

this is a smart and savvy Board and they work every day in the best interests of our children. They are not developers, or taking money from developers. If you are a parent or supporter of our schools - I strongly encourage you to vote with our elected School Board and vote NO on Measure M..

I am voting NO on Measure M - it is a huge mistake for Menlo Park.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 20, 2014 at 8:37 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Save Menlo/ Measure M has
1 - not complied with the disclosure laws regarding its lawn signs -
the signs do not contain the required disclaimer:
"A. What is the Disclaimer?
“Paid for by [committee name]” is the basic disclaimer on most campaign communications. The disclaimer is required on the following:
• Yard signs"

2 - not complied with the disclosure laws regarding its web site -
the web pages do not disclose who paid for the web site
"Electronic Media
1. Websites - Disclaimer statement must be in the same font size as majority of text and
displayed conspicuously near the ad"

3 - improperly reported that it is a "Candidate Committee" -
an "errror"that was made even after Save Menlo had been queried months ago on its exact status by the FPPC

4 - improperly claimed that it is endorsed by The Sierra Club ( a national entity) when in fact it has only been endorsed by 1 of the 64 US Sierra Club chapters - as is shown by the By Laws of the United States entity stating "1.1. The name of this corporation shall be the SIERRA CLUB vs the Loma Prieta Chapter endorsement letterhead which clearly states that the endorsement is from chapter."

Is this the quality of workmanship that should be expected from an organization that proposes to rewrite a complex zoning ordinance?

Details are important in such an endeavor and Save Menlo clearly has not mastered the details either in its campaign finance reporting or in the drafting of its poorly written initiative,


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Posted by not_just_about_land_use
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 20, 2014 at 8:57 am

@School board

One of the strangest things about this burg is how inbred the "in-crowd" is. I would call it people re-living their frat and sorority days, but that would be an insult to Greek systems around the country. It's like high school: petty, vainglorious, and conformist. This isn't about the MPCSD and the Foundation, so let's leave that discussion alone. Suffice it to say, there is nothing surprising about that.

What is worth saying is that a truly savvy school board would have strongly advocated for a Menlo Park Whole Foods. The recurring tax revenue would have been massive and, most importantly, would have pulled folks from Northern Palo Alto into the mix. If you don't know this, I suggest you read up on how that fell through. It was an unfortunate and, frankly, predictable outcome of the DSP.


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Posted by morris brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 20, 2014 at 9:13 am

Peter Carpenter, an Atherton resident, insists on writing statements, which are miss-leading and really have no basis in fact.

Here again he posts 4 points which he claims show SaveMenlo has violated campaign codes. Yet Perla Ni, a leader of the Measure M initiative, had answered his claims in a short and concise statement a few hours earlier. Carpenter had his complaining to the FPPC rejected.

The conclusion is clear. Carpenter can keep writing as much as he pleases; Menlo Park voters should just ignore all that he writes.

One issue that keeps popping out is "Just who is Greenheart"? Trying to find who are the investors in this LLC, seems impossible. These investors are hiding behind the LLC corporate veil. We don't just don't know the source of the money, and it is indeed big big money.

One would surely think, that the City would insist upon knowing the source of these funds, which may fund, perhaps, one of the largest developments along the El Camino Real corridor.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 20, 2014 at 9:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Morris - Do Save Menlo signs have the required disclosure? Yes or No
Does Save Menlo's web site have the proper disclosures? Yes or No
Did Save Menlo incorrectly file as a Candidate Committee? Yes or No
Was Measure M endorsed by the United States Sierra Club? Yes or No

The documented answers to all four questions is NO, as in NO on M.

Oh, and the other question that you seem to want to ignore:
"Would you agree to having your land permanently reassessed in order to get a building permit for a new structure?"


1 person likes this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 20, 2014 at 10:45 am

Measure M supporters: Please address Mr. Carpenter's concerns directly. Neither Ms. Ni's nor Mr. Brown's responses here do so.

Everyone reading these posts already knows Mr. Carpenter is an Atherton resident. (As was the primary funder of Measure M). Each time I see the Measure M folks attack Mr. Carpenter, it makes me think that they do not wish to address/discuss what Measure M does/does not do.

Measure M has negative implications which impact everyone in this larger community. I cannot vote against Measure M. I have to trust that a majority of MP voters will inform themselves and do so.


1 person likes this
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 20, 2014 at 11:10 am

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

Measure M is a badly drafted document that has already generated an enormous amount of debate about what it actually does. I cannot know whether it was drafted this way because of haste, or whether this is a cynical ploy on the part of the Measure M proponents. Every Measure M proponent I have spoken with tells me that they are "Smart Growth, not no growth" but looking at Measure M, and the ambiguities contained therein, if I were a developer (I am not) I would look elsewhere to pursue my projects. Investors do not like ambiguity, and developers are not interested in starting a project in places where the choices are 1) an expensive citywide election or 2) a lawsuit.

Already on the city council email log there are letters from attorneys arguing both sides of the question of whether or not Measure M would require an election to make voter adopted development standards *more* stringent. Having read both letters, and the text of Measure M, I would agree with the city's outside counsel that an election would be required. At the end of the day, it doesn't even matter who is correct-the ambiguity itself is enough to make many investors look elsewhere, and if Measure M passes we are going to see empty lots on El Camino for a very long time.


2 people like this
Posted by downtown property owner
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 20, 2014 at 11:21 am


Mr Brown Wrote :
One issue that keeps popping out is "Just who is Greenheart"? Trying to find who are the investors in this LLC, seems impossible. These investors are hiding behind the LLC corporate veil. We don't just don't know the source of the money, and it is indeed big big money.

It is completely unnecessary to cast aspersions as to who is Greenheart. Big money or not, if Greenheart Land, LLC is a legally constituted company and complies with all national, state and local laws, it is has every right to invest and contribute to our community as anyone else. Your whispering campaign to cast rumors is not worthy. This excerpt is from the August 29 issue of the “Daily Post”. It would seem to me that Mr. Hassan is the very embodiment of the American dream – a tech immigrant with a combination of sheer talent, pluck, and a little luck, makes it big here. His next task would seem to create jobs and opportunity for others. Any objections? With how closely you monitor events in our little “village”, how could you have possibly missed this news article?

<quote>

A former Google executive is the man behind a controversial project on the former Cadillac and Derry sites that looks to bring new startups to downtown Menlo Park. Scott Hassan, who was behind startup incubators Willow Garage and HelloStartups, plans to bring incubator- style office space to his new 398,000-square-foot development on El Camino Real and Oak Grove Avenue. It would also include 199,000 square feet of office space and 199, 000 square feet of apartments.

Hassan has tasked the Greenheart Land Companies to redevelop the 7.3-acre site.
"Scott has very much been an entrepreneur his whole life," said Bob Burke, a principal at Greenheart. "He's what they call a serial entrepreneur; he loves watching things grow."

Hassan got his start as an early coder for Google.

<unquote>


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Posted by not_just_about_land_use
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 20, 2014 at 11:43 am

@downtown property owner,

Great info. That sounds fantastic. Now we just need to have a downtown with retail that is in the character and quantity that would appeal to those young professionals and keep their money in MP rather than going to downtown PA. Right now, what MP has is retail geared to the over 60yo crowd or places that would qualify as kitsch if they were associated with any sense of irony.


2 people like this
Posted by downtown property owner
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 20, 2014 at 12:10 pm

@not_just_about_land_use

That's right, and none of that will happen until a new customer base, residents and office workers show, up to occupy the 17 plus acres of currently empty lots. Our downtown could really use a little TLC and that's not happening until the customers show up. Honestly, the seven second hand stores in our town now are either 'kitsch' as you put it or just flea market outlets as others might term it.

None of my tenants are over forty. School enrollment is bulging because of demographic change, i.e. new young families. Some of these long time residents simply need to let go. The future of this town belongs to the young, not to the old. It may be a bit impolitic to speak the truth, but it changes it not one bit.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 20, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"That's right, and none of that will happen until a new customer base, residents and office workers show, up to occupy the 17 plus acres of currently empty lots."

Sadly, downtown Menlo Park business and property owners are fooling themselves if they believe office workers and residents from the Stanford development will favor Menlo Park's downtown over that of Palo Alto. The latter is about the same distance from 500 ECR as Santa Cruz Avenue but also affords more options and the more pleasant walk, given one needn't cross El Camino (the rumored bike/pedestrian tunnel would make the walk even nicer, avoiding El Camino altogether).

It would be more than regrettable were Menlo Park to incur all of the traffic impacts of the Stanford project only to lose most of its shopping dollars and associated sales tax revenue to Palo Alto, but that's a very real possibility.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 20, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern states - " will favor Menlo Park's downtown over that of Palo Alto. The latter is about the same distance from 500 ECR as Santa Cruz Avenue but also affords more options "

Thus the Gern strategy is just give up and do nothing because Palo Alto will always win.

I am glad that Gern will not be on my team in any serious contest.

Menlo Park should play to win, not celebrate the empty lots on ECR as the best we can do.


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Posted by not_just_about_land_use
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 20, 2014 at 1:24 pm

@downtown property owner

No, it's not impolitic to say that ... anymore than it was impolitic for me to describe the high school level social dynamics of the "in crowd" in MP.

However, while I plan to vote No on M, I think you will find most M supporters are actually not in opposition to the things you describe. They just differ on the path to that end. Are there some "no growthers" in the M crowd? Absolutely. However, they are by no means the majority opinion.


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Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 20, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Just stopped in to see how intense the verbal combat and personal attacks had grown now that we are on the homestretch for Measure M. I also want to remind undecided residents there is a non-partisan source of factual information at www.mpcdforum.com. While I oppose M the website is devoted to informing not persuading. My opinions are expressed in only one designated area.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Perhaps some of the MP former Mayors -- who at least initially expressed support for Measure M --- have reflected on whether it was wise for them to sue Stanford, lose, appeal, and lose again, in a failed (but costly) effort to obstruct development on Stanford land, at Stanford expense, which included improvements to Sand Hill Road (e.g. removing the choke point, not having SHR end in the Stanford Shopping Center parking lot as it then did).

Perhaps if these former Mayors/Council members had worked more cooperatively/collaboratively with Stanford and Palo Alto at that time (a dozen years or so ago) we would not now have traffic from Alma in Palo Alto crossing the county line into MP onto ECR, only to make a u-turn and head back to SHR for I-280, etc. Or have SHR dead end into ECR with no direct access to Alma. Not sure where all of this traffic goes, but it surely does not disappear.

Measure M is an obstructionist's approach. In the long run, obstructionists lose out, but not before leaving a legacy of things which could have been better accomplished if everyone had actually worked together.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 20, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Morris - Do Save Menlo signs have the required disclosure? Yes or No
Does Save Menlo's web site have the proper disclosures? Yes or No
Did Save Menlo file correctly as a Candidate Committee? Yes or No
Was Measure M endorsed by the United States Sierra Club? Yes or No

The documented answers to all four questions is NO, as in NO on M.

Why do the Measure M supporters refuse to answer these and many other questions?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 21, 2014 at 10:42 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is what the Fair Political Practices Committee REQUIRES:
"Electronic Media
Websites - Disclaimer statement must be in the same font size as majority of text and
displayed conspicuously near the ad"


EVERY page on the No on M web site contains the following disclosure:

Paid for by Menlo Park Deserves Better - A General Purpose Committee
FPPC# 1370283
P.O. Box 2601, Menlo Park CA 94026
info@menloparkdeservesbetter.org

There is NOT a single such disclosure on any of Save Menlo's web pages - why?


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Posted by 3 for 3
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Oct 21, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Joining the Almanac and the Daily Post, the Merc came out swinging with their firm endorsement of NO on Menlo Park Measure M:

Web Link

They call it a "disaster", a "sour-grapes anti-growth measure", and a "poorly drafted measure" that'll "keep El Camino Real -- the Royal Road -- a royal dump".

The Merc notes that the Council "spent years, including endless hours of public meetings, drawing up a plan to create a well-designed urban area with public amenities on the ugly El Camino corridor." and recommends saying "no to Measure M's micro-planning by ballot".

Pass it along!


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Posted by No on M, but remember...
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 22, 2014 at 5:43 am

I believe that, when you boil it down, NO is the only way to vote. I say so after much thought because M is so flawed in many ways. I don't believe it was designed with a view toward a better solution, but with the intent of stopping any progress. It was written in haste and is clearly not comprehensive or respectful of the needs of serious people to get to a good solution. Look no further than the number of key future decisions that would have to be put to a public vote, essentially punting complex issues to the voters, who will then be pursued with M's sort of sound bite sales tactics. This is hard and detailed work and is just not the year round job of the voting public. That by itself is a show stopper. Then there are the other tactics that don't seem to respect the residents of MP. In a recent neighborhood blog site, there was a q and a between, apparently, a concerned resident and Mike Lanza, one if the authors of M. Residents use this site to become better informed. Sadly, a poster later revealed that thus dialogue was contrived by the two parties, with the other party being cery closely linked to SaveMenlo. Essentially, a total set up. It just struck me that if this is how interested voters are treated by Save Menlo and Mike, how little must they care about a real, honest dialogue. imagine, now,how it would be when we need to vote on all substantive changes on this project. Won't work. Unfortunate.

Now, as to next steps, after voting No to move forward, ALL parties need to make our voices heard with council and stanford as it relates to exact details of the project and our shared concerns on traffic issues. No matter your view on M, traffic is an issue for our town. No study at this stage will get it right and the issue is not the debate on which project creates the most traffic, since we just don't know. The point is that that land has zero traffic now so any project is going to ramp it up quite a bit. We need a committed dialogue on getting this right, whether you are an M opponent or supporter. While M as proposed is not an adequate solution, the defeat of M is only the beginning of a dialogue on how this project ultimately evolves. All rancor should be put aside and let's get to work. First, though, the vote. While I don't believe M is the right choice, I think all citizens need to continue to engage al the way through the project. I am optimistic that we will succeed.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 22, 2014 at 7:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

No on M, but remember... - Thank you for your very thoughtful posting.

Your challenge about being fully in this issue engaged after the election is one that we should all heed.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 22, 2014 at 8:47 am

[portion removed.]

The SaveMenlo website is not an ad. It is a website.
SaveMenlo properly modified its FPPC filing from being a general purpose committee to a "primarily formed" committee for a ballot measure once it was clear that Measure M was indeed a ballot measure and SaveMenlo's expenditures primarily would be going towards it. SaveMenlo very well may return to a general purpose committee after the election to continue lobbying for quality of life issues in Menlo Park.

The Sierra Club has a two-step process for the local chapter, Loma Prieta in this case, to make a recommendation that goes to the state for its approval. It is my understanding that the California state Sierra Club approval that was granted for Measure M is on behalf of the national organization.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 22, 2014 at 9:30 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It is my understanding that the California state Sierra Club approval that was granted for Measure M is on behalf of the national organization"

Please document that "California state Sierra Club approval".

Facts please.

"The SaveMenlo website is not an ad. It is a website. "
The FPPC rules specifically state:
""Electronic Media
Websites - Disclaimer statement must be in the same font size as majority of text and
displayed conspicuously near the ad"

Fact checker has admitted that it is a " SaveMenlo website".

Should we trust people to write laws who do not understand or follow the law?


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 22, 2014 at 9:36 am

@ fact checker - You attack Mr. Carpenter and then speculate that somehow the local Sierra Club chapter received "state Sierra Club approval" that "is on behalf of the national organization." Without some documentation or reference to substantiate this assertion, it is pure speculation. Yet you accuse Mr. Carpenter of "ignoring facts" and "making slimey (sic) claims."

I don't know Mr. Carpenter, but his statements are typically well-supported.

Measure M's proponents should strive to engage in an honest, forthright debate of the issues.


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Posted by downtown property owner
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 22, 2014 at 9:47 am


I would not argue that SaveMenlo's sloppiness with regard to keeping up with the arcane rules of election laws are a showstopper. Some of these rules seems a bit useless for the small sideshow political campaigns that we have in our little town. However, I would make the point that SaveMenlo's amateurish efforts in politics are consistent with their amateur attempts at the twelve pages of zoning text that is Measure M. They posted their campaign signs on traffic islands and nailed them to street trees. It's obvious that can't be legal.

If SaveMenlo can't get the simple things right, why would I trust them with a zoning law few can understand? Even if you can understand it and think that it is good for the present, why would you have confidence that it is adaptable for our needs indefinitely into the future? It is sure tough to change.

Look, I have watched this campaign for a few months now. It is by a long shot, the most divisive battle we have ever had. Neighbor vs. neighbor, friend vs. friend. Yellow lawn signs next door to white and green. And all this so that Stanford and Greenheart change from about 50% office to 25%? Just why is that helpful to our town? I drive by all those giant office parks on Page Mill from El Camino to Foothill, home to local hero companies like HP. Those office parks are adjacent to College Terrace, a PA neighborhood that bears some resemblance to our Allied Arts. College Terrace remains a beautiful, quiet and expensive place to live and traffic on Page Mill is just fine.

Bringing it back to the first point, I am quite skeptical of any law that purports to make things better when the law's backers can not explain why. "No" quotes transportation experts, "Yes" argues 'peak traffic' bu which I assume they mean morning and afternoon rush. Moreover, while traffic might annoy me and slow down my day, as a property owner, I also never forget that the other side of 'traffic' is that it is money coming into our town. That is no traffic, no money. For some of us, we pay rent and for food with that money.


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Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 22, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Which Do You Trust?

At the most fundamental level, Measure M is a litmus test for Menlo Park residents. They must decide who merits their trust, our city government, a transparent and participative planning process and each other, or a privately written and unvetted initiative supported by what I perceive is a minority of residents. It's really that simple.

A city planning process is by its nature complex. It must balance multiple interests and adjust to changing circumstances - problems, threats and opportunities. Few get everything they want and many will feel some disappointment. Menlo Park has adopted an open planning process that actively engages our entire community, produced a comprehensive Specific Plan that can be modified as needed, and is reviewed on a regular 2-year interval. I encourage every resident to at least read it once as I believe you will be impressed by what we created together. This "living" document is designed to advance and protect the interests of our entire community including individual neighborhoods, and all evidence suggests it is working well. A recent study of potential "worst-case" neighborhood "cut-thru" traffic has caused our city council to instruct Stanford to submit a project redesign. Our city is also considering an amendment that would reduce the amount of allowable medical office space.

Supporters of Measure M regularly express their distrust in almost every aspect of the Specific Plan. They do not trust the process that produced it, the planning department that analyzed all the major decisions, the council members who approved it, the subject-matter experts who performed traffic and legal evaluations, the developers who provided constructive feedback, nor the thousands of residents who actively participated in an excellent, open 4-year process planning. While I respect their right to put Measure M on the November ballot, I believe their fear-based claims (e.g. Save Menlo from Gridlock, prevent massive office complexes) are unfounded, and know this measure would severely limit our community's options when negotiating with property owners.

Plus, I do NOT share their distrust.

Learn more about the Specific Plan at www.mpcdforum.com. Read it!

Dana Hendrickson


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 22, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Measure M was written by a land use attorney. Most of its language comes straight from the Specific Plan, as does M's overall limits on non-residential and office development. The zoning rules of the Specific Plan that affect individual projects remain within the Council's control, with the one exception of M's limit on total office allowed per project. That limit potentially affects 4 large sites -- Stanford, Greenheart, Big 5 shopping center, Safeway shopping center.

The city's own traffic studies show that Stanford's project adds more traffic at rush hours than was assumed by the Specific Plan. Other traffic information used by Yes on M comes from traffic studies related to the Specific Plan.

Growth will bring traffic, but Yes on M helps ensure that it isn't all at going to occur at rush hour. And Yes on M helps with money to the city. According the city's own studies, excessive offices could actually result in a negative impact on the city general fund. In contrast, the Specific Plan's balanced development (with the same total non-residential and office as Measure M) could result in more than $2 million city revenue annually. See the Lisa Wise Consulting report page A3-4 Table A3-1 Web Link


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 22, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Fact checker - PLEASE provide documented facts.

"Measure M was written by a land use attorney." Not by Menlo Park residents? It is interesting that Lanza and Fry claim authorship and signed it.

Who is the attorney? What conflicts do they and their partners have? Why is this a secret?

" Most of its language comes straight from the Specific Plan, "
Yes BUT Measure M turns that language into language that is "hereby adopted by the voters" and therefore that language can NEVER be changed except ", 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". Those ten adopted definitions impact EVERY site in the Specific Plan area and significantly restrict small property owners because of such bizarre language as the ground level open space requirement that would prohibit small property owners for rebuilding to their side property lines.

Measure M is an inverted and poorly worded attempt to rewrite 6 years of effort without public input or public comment.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm

"Growth will bring traffic, but Yes on M helps ensure that it isn't all at going to occur at rush hour. "

You're right. If measure M passes Stanford will be able to build medical offices so not only will traffic increase at peak times, it will increase throughout the day. Brilliant!

Measure M is a HUGE Mistake.

Vote NO on M


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Posted by Quit_With_All_This_Nonsense
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 22, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Menlo Voter:

I have been reading your posts [portion removed.]

You just wrote:

You're right. If measure M passes Stanford will be able to build medical offices so not only will traffic increase at peak times, it will increase throughout the day. Brilliant!"

Sir, or madam, if Measure M fails, Stanford can still build medical offices? The Specific Plan allows for medical offices. It allows for even big-box retail. The Council is crowing that Stanford has agreed not to have medical offices or big box retail. What a wonderful negotiation.

The council passed the Specific Plan, allowing these items, and now exclaim, look what we have accomplished --- no medical offices -- no big box retail. All they have done, if Stanford doesn't change it position, is take back what should not have been given in the beginning. Hooray for this Council.

So, again Measure M does not allow or prohibit these uses; quit saying Measure M does.

I have voted Yes on M, and proud of my vote.



1 person likes this
Posted by Caltrain commuter
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 22, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Quit_With_All_This_Nonsense wrote, "Measure M does not allow or prohibit these uses; quit saying Measure M does."

I take Caltrain to and from work five days a week. The trains are full of people doing the same. Unless there is a Giants game, just about every person is commuting to or from work. Everyday, we pass the mall in San Mateo. I have never seen a person getting on the train carrying bags from the mall.

Sorry to call you out, but M does prohibit the one use that has any chance of reducing car trips. Office workers are more likely to use Caltrain that any other group, this fact is obvious. To reduce car trips, employers can also hand out Caltrain passes, you can't do this with any other use.

Measure M limits and prohibits the one use that has any chance of getting people out of their cars. This is also the only location in the city, right next to the tracks, where taking the train is always more convenient than driving. Unlike other proposed development sites in the M2 (right next to Highway 101), commuters to the Stanford and Greenheart projects will have the option of taking a relaxing train ride to work, or sitting in traffic on Sand Hill or Willow.

Please Vote No on Measure M.


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Posted by Patti Fry
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 22, 2014 at 4:31 pm

To set the record straight. I am an official proponent of Measure M. As a resident, I submitted it with a fellow resident. Neither of us wrote it. An experienced attorney did.

There should not be worry about measure m adopting some plan definitions. City staff has to interpret whether uses constitute "office" or "non-residential". They have to do this even now because the Specific Plan has per project office FAR limits and overall nonresidential maximum buildout for the specific plan. The plan has a defined process if there is any confusion about what to count as office and as nonresidential. If a new use arises, then staff determines if it should be considered "office" or not. No need to go to voters.

With Yes on M's limit of office development, there will be less new rush hour traffic from specific plan area development. If some of the office is medical office, even less would be at rush hours and some would be during other parts of the day. Without Measure M, there will be a lot more rush hour traffic. The city's recently released study of the Stanford project traffic shows that.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 22, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There should not be worry about measure m adopting some plan definitions."

Unfortunately when these definitions are frozen forever there is a lot of worry about this sloppy language.

Sec 3.1 freezes forever the July 15, 2008 Vision Plan Area Map:

"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. "

Thus neither the Council or the staff can make a single change to this map without a city wide vote:
"Section 4. , ...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. "

And the same applies to nine more definitions which are "hereby adopted by the voters" FOREVER.

And note that the proponents of Measure M NEVER quote the actual language of Measure M - because the actual language is indefensible.

Measure M, written by a secret lawyer not by Menlo Park residents, is a huge Mistake.


1 person likes this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 22, 2014 at 5:26 pm

@ Ms. Fry - Please tie your assertions of fact back to the actual language of Measure M. Your opinion/interpretation is not legally controlling.

And it matters not that an experienced attorney drafted Measure M. He/she was duty bound to represent your interests and Mr. Lanza's, not the broader citizenry of MP.

May I also respectfully ask: Are there no issues/implications of Measure M which have surfaced which you and Mr. Lanza did not fully anticipate when you finalized the initiative months ago? Nothing which could have been improved upon after comment and reflection?

There is a process for public input/discussion/vetting which may not always be efficient, but it is very important. With Measure M, you/Save Menlo are doing your best to preempt that process.

As noted previously, even if you -- or anyone -- found a glaring error in Measure M, there is no way to fix it, if Measure M were to pass, absent another majority YES vote.

Staff and Council would be legally obligated to comply with Measure M's language, not to merely "interpret the Plan" as you suggest.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 22, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"Measure M limits and prohibits the one use that has any chance of getting people out of their cars."

Measure M *prohibits* office space!? Not even in his wildest flights of anti-Measure M fancy -- and they are many -- has Peter Carpenter made such a claim, I think. But, yes, the measure does limit office space to 100,000 square feet per project, a limit which in practical terms may only ever affect the Stanford and Greenheart properties during the life of the DSP.

"This is also the only location in the city, right next to the tracks, where taking the train is always more convenient than driving."

Especially true if one is commuting from, say, Newark, Fremont or further afield in the East Bay. Honestly, the numbers I've seen printed here and elsewhere indicate we'll be very lucky if 30% of these office workers arrive in Menlo Park via public transit or in some way other than an automobile. The remainder, whatever larger percentage they end up being, will drive through our neighborhoods at the same time that Menlo Park parents and children are trying to get to school and work, exacerbating an already bad situation on Encinal, Glenwood, Oak Grove, Ravenswood, Laurel and Willow roads, to say nothing of El Camino Real and the neighborhood streets west of it.

Despite Ray Mueller's recent protestations our current council has shown too little interest in reigning in these large development interests or in negotiating reasonable public benefit. The obvious feint which was Stanford's initial medical office proposal and the subcommittee theatrics which forestalled it were just that, while the bike tunnel may be as ephemeral as Stanford's hotel and senior housing.

If I had any confidence -- any confidence at all -- that this council will obtain meaningful concessions from Stanford and Greenheart over the coming review cycles, especially in light of what will certainly be more bad traffic news when the Greenheart study arrives, I might rethink my Yes on M vote. As things stand I simply don't know what, if anything, this council *will* do on behalf of residents, though their actions to date certainly don't inspire confidence.

Gern, Yes on M


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 22, 2014 at 5:32 pm

@ Gern - Unfortunately, if Measure M passes, you won't be able to "rethink your Yes on M vote." You will have to wait until the next election and hope that whatever position you decide to be correct is put on the ballot and agreed to by a majority of MP voters.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 22, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"May I also respectfully ask: Are there no issues/implications of Measure M which have surfaced which you and Mr. Lanza did not fully anticipate when you finalized the initiative months ago? Nothing which could have been improved upon after comment and reflection?"

Fry appeared before the Fire District and (it is on on video) offered to enter into an agreement with the Fire District that the unintentional obstacle to replacement of the current fire station created by the sec 3.1 definition of the Specific Plan Area Map and Sec 4 city wide vote requirement would be ignored. Her offer to engage in an agreement to violate what might be the law was declined.

Measure M is full of unintended and unknown consequences and now we find it was not even written by Menlo Park residents but by a secret Sacramento lawyer with unknown conflicts of interest.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 22, 2014 at 6:32 pm

quit:

you said: " if Measure M fails, Stanford can still build medical offices?"

No, That's not what I said. If measure M fails then the agreement they have entered into with Stanford to eliminate medical offices from their project goes away. The likely outcome being Stanford builds medical offices which are all day long high traffic generators.

[portion removed.] Measure M is a HUGE Mistake filled with unintended effects and we'll be voting NO.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 24, 2014 at 9:00 am

There is inaccurate information provided about the Stanford site. The Specific Plan allows buildings there to be 60 feet tall. They need only to be setback 10 feet to a maximum of 20 feet. See page E64, table E9. www.menlopark.org/DocumentCenter/View/293

The entire Big 5 shopping center is in the same zoning district so also could have buildings that tall. Unlike Stanford's site, they are not required to retain a single square foot of retail. Stanford is providing the minimum it is required (10,000 SF), less than 4% of its entire project.
Big 5 shopping center site also does not need to provide a plaza.

The Greenheart site is in a different zoning district. Its buildings can be 48 feet tall, with similar setbacks on El Camino and smaller setbacks on Oak Grove and Garwood Way. See page E59, Table E8

I do not see how any site could be allowed to build a plaza like Cafe Boronne's. The maximum setbacks would not allow that. Yet another big flaw of the Specific Plan...


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 9:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I do not see how any site could be allowed to build a plaza like Cafe Boronne's. The maximum setbacks would not allow that. Yet another big flaw of the Specific Plan."

WRONG. If you are going to be a fact checker you need to read the entire Specific Plan

"E.3.4.1.06 In the ECR-SE zoning district, and consistent with
Table E4 the building breaks shall:
 Comply with Figure E9;
 Be a minimum of 60 feet in width, except where noted on
Figure E9;
 Be a minimum of 120 feet in width at Middle Avenue;
 Align with intersecting streets, except for the area
between Roble Avenue and Middle Avenue;
 Be provided at least every 350 feet in the area
between Roble Avenue and Middle Avenue; where
properties under different ownership coincide with this
measurement, the standard side setbacks (10 to 25 feet)
shall be applied, resulting in an effective break of between
20 to 50 feet.
 Extend through the entire building height and depth at Live
Oak Avenue, Roble Avenue, Middle Avenue, Partridge
Avenue and Harvard Avenue; and
 Include two publicly-accessible building breaks at Middle
Avenue and Roble Avenue.
E.3.4.1.07 In the ECR-SE zoning district, the Middle Avenue
break shall include vehicular access; publicly-accessible open
space with seating, landscaping and shade; retail and restaurant
uses activating the open space; and a pedestrian/bicycle
connection to Alma Street and Burgess Park. The Roble Avenue
break shall include publicly-accessible open space with seating,
landscaping and shade"

Please do your homework before making false statements.

The Specific Plan is so much better and carefully constructed than the Measure M proponents understand or state.

Stay with a well written and comprehensive Specific Plan and vote NO on M.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:01 am

Excuse me. Carpenter posted inaccurate information about building heights that I just now corrected. He is in no position to chastise others.

The Stanford plans show driveways and parking in those building breaks. Even the required plaza at Middle has a 2-3 way driveway through it. This is not at all like the large open area shown in the Specific Plan drawings.

It will be interesting to see what the "seating" at Roble turns out to be. If this also is a building break, not a real plaza. There is no requirement there to have any retail or restaurant uses. Again, I do not see that these are anything like what was provided at Menlo Center. But happy if real plazas do come.

The Cafe Boronne plaza is not in a building break. It's a very large setback area -- a true plaza. The maximum setbacks in the Plan don't appear to provide flexibility for such a wonderful kind of place.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The maximum setbacks in the Plan don't appear to provide flexibility for such a wonderful kind of place."

What?
Please reread the break dimensions which mean a break this wide from front property line to the back property line - much bigger than Boronne's plaza"
"Be a minimum of 60 feet in width, except where noted on
Figure E9;
 Be a minimum of 120 feet in width at Middle Avenue;"

What will go in those breaks has not be decided but those breaks must be there.


1 person likes this
Posted by NO on M, cmon
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm

I continue to be struck by this heading to section 4 of M

NO AMENDMENT OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.

Aside from the one basic exclusion, around adding even more residential units, this is crafted essentially to say that any other changes are strictly in the hands of voters. In my view, this is the wrong path for our town as it takes very technical and detailed work on the fundamental issues around this project away from any deliberative body, including council, and asks you and me to make those delisions. While it was intended to make a protest point when created, having this in place permanently will be bad for Menlo Park. If you think this process has been messy now imagine the process any time a reasonable change is under consideration. Time, money, divisive dialogue. Unfortunate outcome for this city, seems to me.

All of us deserve better.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

The initiative requirement for changes to go to the voters is limited to what is in the initiative. Not the vast majority of the 356 page specific plan. The zoning rules that affect individual projects are under council control, with the exception of 100K SF office limit, which affects only a couple sites.

PC - the Stanford plans show a multi-lane driveway at Middle next to an open area That is not at all like Cafe B plaza. But you know that, right?


1 person likes this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 24, 2014 at 3:15 pm

@ fact checker - Your statement suggesting that Measure M would not impact the vast majority of the 356 page Specific Plan is incorrect.

Whether one is for or against M, he/she needs to read, understand and reflect on the language of M itself. That is what will be binding, if it passes.

Please don't make these statements without citing the initiative's actual language. Most respectfully, from reading these postings, I do not believe that many of M's supporters actually realize the potential consequences here.

Here is M's actual language relevant to your assertion:

Section 4. NO AMENDMENTS OR REPEAL WITHOUT VOTER
APPROVAL.
4.1. 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.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 24, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Carpenter keeps posting the same material that supports my statement:

"4.1. 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 ..."

Please note that this refers SPECIFICALLY to ONLY the SPECIFIC changes made in section 3. NOT to the rest of the Plan.

Initiatives only enact what they say they enact. I stand fully behind my comment. Yes on M leaves the vast majority of the plan under council control.

Stanford's plans show parking and driveways in their building breaks. There are not other ways out of the site.




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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

as I stated "What will go in those breaks has not be decided but those breaks must be there."

NO plans for these sites have been submitted and therefore none have been approved.

Ironically, Measure M's foolish 100,000 sf limit per PROJECT (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) will ensure that there are NO plazas because there will only be separate buildings on each parcel and a plaza between them would violate Measure M's other foolish constraint (3.3.6. For purposes of this provision, all phases of a multi-phased project proposal shall be collectively considered an individual project. )

Measure M' s Davis, Ca environmental lawyer clearly did not evaluate the consequences of his language.


1 person likes this
Posted by no on M
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 24, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Ah, fact checker -- please. Section 3 is a full six pages of M and contains the buld of the substance of the initiative. It is exactly what is at issue in this debate and this thread of discussion. Without this material, M would not need to exist so to suggest that the vote issue is not a big deal is misleading. It is a central issue.


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 24, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Here is a section on the city website with Stanford's plans:
www.menlopark.org/173/Project-Plans

Section 3 of Measure M contains text re-adopted from the Specific Plan and some changes (e.g., to what counts as project open space). The definitions make clear what Measure M will count as Office as Open Space. Again, virtually all zoning rules of the Plan remain in council control without requiring a public vote.

Measure M exists because the Plan didn't limit office space.

I've been hating to fill up this thread with long quotes, but it's clear that some don't understand how the Plan's definitions work. Here are sections of the Specific Plan that describe how staff uses the definitions. This is exactly why I am extremely comfortable saying that even new uses do NOT need a public vote.
From page H2 of the Specific Plan: "Purpose. Use classifications describe one or more uses of land having similar characteristics, but do not list every use or activity that may appropriately be within the classification. The Specific Plan regulations rely on these defined use classifications and specify in separate schedules the land uses permitted without any discretionary review or public hearing, those uses subject to specific standards or limitations, and those uses requiring approval of an Administrative Permit or Use Permit.

and from page H3 "Classification of Uses. A. Uncertainty of Uses. When there is uncertainty [such as a new use], the Community Development Director (“Director”) shall determine whether a specific use should be considered within one or more use classifications or not within any classification in this chapter. The Director may determine that a specific use is not within a classification if its characteristics are substantially incompatible with those typical of uses named within the classification. Decisions by the Director may be appealed to the Planning Commission.
B. Accessory or Primary Use. The Director shall determine whether a use is a primary or accessory use of a building or space. For purposes of this determination, an accessory use is a use that is incidental and accessory to the principal permitted or conditionally permitted use on a site and customarily
provided or accepted with the use. Decisions by the Director may be appealed to the Planning Commission. The Director shall use the following criteria in making
his/her determination:
1. The description of the use or uses in relationship to the characteristics of each use category.
2. The relative amount of site or floor space and equipment devoted to the activity.
3. The relative amounts of sales from each use.
4. The relative number of employees in each use.
5. Building and site arrangement.
6. How the use advertises itself.
7. Whether the use would be likely found independent of the other use on the site.

C. Separate Classification of Each Establishment.
Where a single lot contains activities that resemble two or more different activity types, each of the principal activities conducted on a single lot by each individual establishment, management, or institution shall be classified and regulated separately."
Web Link

Staff utilize this process already to administer the Specific Plan's rules about office, medical office, non-residential, use permits, etc.


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Posted by Menlo Snark
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm

I love that this thread has generated so many comments, mainly because every time someone, even a Yes-on-M conspiracy theorist, posts on it, we're reminded that THE ALMANAC RECOMMENDS NO ON M! Just like the Merc, just like the Daily Post, just like all 5 democratically-elected Council members, just like most of the Planning Commission, just like the whole MP City School Board, just like the Chamber of Commerce, etc. etc. Let's see how long we can keep this the most-commented post!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Staff utilize this process already to administer the Specific Plan's rules about office, medical office, non-residential, use permits, etc."

BUT the 10 "voter adopted" definitions in Measure M would pre empt the same definitions in the Specific Plan and staff would NOT be allowed to change or even interpret those ten definitions.

Sec 4 of Measure M states - "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. "

It is so strange that the Measure M supporters claim that Measure M is needed because the Specific Plan does not do X - and then they argue that the Specific Plan pre empts Measure M.

They cannot have it both ways.


3 people like this
Posted by Maria Simonson
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 24, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Vote yes on measure m. We need less office space. I will move if el camino real gets too much more crowded. Voting yes on M because the risk is much less.


1 person likes this
Posted by To consider
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 25, 2014 at 5:41 am

Peter is correct. Anything in M that remained consistent with Specific Plan is not relevant on yes or no on M. Things unchanged in M will just stay as they are. M was written to permanently change the plan in numerous ways, and all are final forever, without further discussion or debate, except if there is a vote by people of MP. There is just one exception around additional housing not needing a vote. The rest does and every vote will feel sort of like this process has felt.

So, regardless of your side on this, you do need to consider this seriously. Even if the proponents of M think, after this vote, that something should be tweaked or changed in their conditions, it is too late. There won't be a choice -- will have to go back to voters......


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 11:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern states - "The national, state and chapter organizations all make their own endorsements and all are "Sierra Club" endorsements"

And Fact Checker states - "The Sierra club endorsement is on local chapter letterhead but the endorsement is made by the national organization. "

Funny, I am seeing ads for statewide measures that are endorsed by the "Sierra Club California" which is, per its bylaws, the legal name of the California Sierra Club.

So Gern and Fact Checker - Please document your assertions - clearly there must be a paper trail of recommendations , review and approval for the California and/or the national Sierra Club to have taken a position on a local issue about which the California and national organizations would be otherwise uninformed.


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Posted by Sierra
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 25, 2014 at 11:51 am

Not an expert here but looks like the Loma Prieta chapter is the one endorsing, not the national organization. You can google that chapter.


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Posted by Sierra Chapter
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 25, 2014 at 2:59 pm

perhaps this is part of the record already, but it does appear that the Loma Prieta chapter has an endorsement. Heyward Robinson appears to be on the Executive Committee of this chapter and was last year's chair of the conservation committee. The endorsement received from this chapter is from the current chair of that very same committee....... At a minimum, would this information not have been useful for those of us considering how to weigh this issue. Perhaps that was made known but I did not see any mention on the Save Menlo site or material.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

One of Measure M most ardent supporters Elizabeth Houck just posted:

"Nothing, not Measure M, nothing will fix this mess that Stanford has gotten us into."

Perhaps they are finally seeing the light.

Indeed Measure M will NOT solve the problem - only the Council in negotiations with Stanford can "solve the problem".


1 person likes this
Posted by John Booth
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 26, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Mr. Carpenter.... By fixing the problem she must mean complete repair. Yes on M is the better repair, but not complete.

It is ridiculous that people use those editorials as fact or a reason to vote no on M. Those are merely opinions by one or few people who happen to be in a position to publish on printed material. They are not an authority on what is best for Menlo Park.

I am voting yes on M because it is the lesser of two evils and it is a partial repair. Yes on M also allows for better public input since our present city council has difficulty representing the best interests of our city.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 26, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Mr. Carpenter.... By fixing the problem she must mean complete repair."

But that is not what she said -"Nothing, not Measure M, nothing will fix this mess that Stanford has gotten us into."

I believe that the ONLY way to get a good outcome is to work WITH the large property owners, not force them to act solely in their own narrow interests.

Measure M's 100,000 sq ft of offices per PROJECT will clearly encourage the large property owners to develop their existing multiple PARCELS as separate projects without an integrated design, each with their own ECR access and with no requirement for any public benefits. This is not wise public policy.

Measure M's Section 3.1 definition of the Specific Plan Area Map will cost the taxpayers of the Fire District over $100k. This is not wise public policy.

Measure M is full of such unintended consequences because the Davis California author who wrote it never consider the second and third order consequences of his unvetted language.

The city would not and could not change the coming ordinance without at least two public hearings; there was not as ingle public hearing on the language of Measure M before that language was frozen by the signature gathering process. This is not wise public policy.

Measure M remains a Mistake.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 26, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"t is ridiculous that people use those editorials as fact or a reason to vote no on M. Those are merely opinions by one or few people who happen to be in a position to publish on printed material. They are not an authority on what is best for Menlo Park. "

Well the people who write editorials are both well informed and have done their homework.

Have you read the Specific Plan?
Have you read the Wise Report?
Have you read the EIR?
Have you read Measure M?

"They are not an authority on what is best for Menlo Park."
These folks certainly look authoritative to me:
Menlo Park City Mayors, City Council Members

Ray Mueller, Menlo Park Mayor
Catherine Carlton, Menlo Park Vice Mayor
Rich Cline, Menlo Park City Council Member and twice former Mayor
Kirsten Keith, Menlo Park City Council Member and former Mayor
Peter Ohtaki, Menlo Park City Council Member and former Mayor
Lee Duboc, former Menlo Park City Council Member
Mickie Winkler, former Menlo Park City Council Member and former Mayor
Nicholas Jellins, former Menlo Park City Council Member and former Mayor
John Boyle, former Menlo Park City Council Member and Vice Mayor
Dee Tolles, Former Mayor
Bob McNamara, Former Mayor
Bob Stephens, Former Mayor

Local Elected Officials and Ex-Officio

Rex Ianson, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board President
Virginia Chang Kiraly, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board Vice President
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board Director and Past President
Rob Silano, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board Director
Joan Lambert, Menlo Park City School District Board of Trustees President
Terry Thygesen, Menlo Park City School District Board of Trustees
Maria Hilton, Menlo Park City School District Board of Trustees
Jeff Child, Menlo Park City School District Board of Trustees
Scott Hinshaw, Menlo Park City School District Board of Trustees
Laura Rich, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee
Mark Box, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee
Deborah Fitz, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee
Ollie Brown, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Past President
Del Krause, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Past President
Stephen Nachtscheim, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Past President
Jack Nelson, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Past Vice President
Bart Spencer, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Past President
Roy Thiele-Sardina, West Bay Sanitary District Director

Organizations:

Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce
Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG)
Silicon Valley Association of Realtors
San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA)
San Mateo County Labor Council
San Mateo County Building Trades

Menlo Park Commissioners *

Ben Eiref, Planning Commissioner Chair
John Onken, Planning Commissioner Vice Chair
Katie Ferrick, Planning Commissioner
Katherine Strehl, Planning Commissioner
Harry Bims, Former Planning Commissioner
John O'Malley, Former Planning Commissioner
Henry Riggs, Former Planning Commissioner
Lou Deziel, Former Planning Commissioner
Lori Sinnott, Former Planning Commissioner
Pei Pei Yu, Former Planning Commissioner
Adina Levin, Transportation Commissioner
Penelope Huang, Transportation Commissioner
Bianca Walser, Transportation Commissioner
Maurice Shiu, Transportation Commissioner
Josh Wetzel, Transportation Commissioner
William Kirsch, Bicycle Commission Chair
Cindy Welton, Bicycle Commission Vice Chair
Scott Lohman, Former Bicycle Commissioner
Matthew Zumstein, Bicycle Commissioner
Rich Ferrick, Former Bicycle Commissioner
Sally Cadigan, Former Housing Commissioner
Ann Moser, Former Housing Commissioner
Mary Gilles, Former Transportation Commissioner
Hank Lawrence, Former Transportation Commissioner
Patricia Watkins, Former Parks & Recreation Commissioner
Kelly Blythe, Former Parks & Recreation Commissioner



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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 26, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Measure M does not prevent city staff from doing their job to interpret uses and determine whether they should be counted as office or non-residential.
This process is consistent with and complimentary to Measure M.

Regarding Sierra Club endorsement -- it's impressive to me that Yes on M received the endorsement. The Club backed the plan initially and then became quite concerned once it was clear what the detailed rules would allow. See letter Web Link
from Sierra Club representative sent last fall when the Council was reviewing the plan. The council ignored the message.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 26, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Why don't so-called fact checkers bother to read Measure M?
Because the actual language does not support their opinions.


Measure M freezes ten definitions and NONE of those definitions can be changed except by a city wide vote.

These three definitions specifically are office related :
"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.
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. 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."

And Section 4 specifically precludes staff from changing a single word of those definitions:
"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.
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. "


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 26, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The so-called Sierra Club ( the legal name of the national organization) endorsement of Measure M was in fact simply a LOCAL endorsement by one of the Sierra Club's 64 local chapters. There is NO evidence that either the Sierra Club California or the national Sierra Club concurred in or shares that endorsement.

Save Menlo loves to play with the truth.


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Posted by Sierra Club
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 26, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Sierra Club does not appear to endorse at the national level -- only for federal or state level issues. You can see so for yourself on their website. The rest are local and this is the Loma Prieta chapter where, as noted earlier, SaveMenlo member Heyward Robinson is on the executive committee. Read the letter -- almost as if it was drafted by SM themselves

Why does SM run from these facts? it is what it is, so just treat it factually. Instead, you try to debate when the ongoing request for documentation is not being satisfied. The local chapter is just fine so why try to make it something it isn't?


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 26, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Gern is a registered user.

Peter Carpenter has stated repeatedly in this particular thread that the Sierra Club endorsement of Measure M is somehow false or a misrepresentation of some kind, a position -- a lie, really -- shared by Roy Thiele-Sardiña and one based on ignorance of the organization and the nature its political endorsements. I and others tried to clarify the issue for Peter (see above) but, as is often his tack when he is clearly wrong about something, rather than discuss the endorsement itself he attempted to confuse things by posting incorporation information for the U.S. and California Sierra Club organizations, among other deflections.

To reiterate, then, Yes on M is "Sierra Club Endorsed," something a fellow club member verified for me with John Cordes, Director of the Loma Prieta Chapter, who stated in email:

"The Sierra Club is one entity with many parts but all our endorsements are 'by the Sierra Club'. Legally we are one organization. Club Policy states we have one voice and we are not allowed to have differing positions on any topic with the public."

The ease and frequency with which Peter Carpenter, chief architect of the MenloParkDeservesBetter platform, foists intentional misstatements upon readers here and elsewhere online should give every Menlo Park voter pause.

Gern


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Posted by Endorsements
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 26, 2014 at 2:54 pm

First, the person who signed for the local chapter should just send another letter verifying that the national enterprise actually endorses M.

Regardless, one non-individual endorsement is hardly running the tables on endorsements. While it is not the sole driver of my vote, it says something when multiple local papers ask voters to vote No, with pretty strong language.

One factor among may to consider.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 26, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is what the Sierra Club California's web site states:
"2014 Endorsements
Sierra Club California's tax exemption status (501(c)(4)) allows us to make endorsements for candidates and ballot measures. Below you will find our 2014 endorsements for state legislative offices (Assembly and Senate) in California and statewide offices (Governor, Lt. Governor, etc.) for the November ballot."

Menlo Park Measure M is NOT listed.

On the Loma Prieta CHAPTER web site of endorsements Measure M is listed as a CHAPTER endorsement:

Web Link

Why is Save Menlo so misleading on this issue?

The endorsement is not a big issue but the reasons for the coverup/denial/obfuscation are important.


1 person likes this
Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 26, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Heyward Robinson is not on the Sierra Club's executive committee.
Gern posted good FACTS directly from the Sierra Club.

Why would either the state or national organizations post LOCAL measures that have nothing to do with other geographies. This seems to be a lot of fuss about nothing.


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Posted by Fact non checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 26, 2014 at 8:13 pm

In January 2013, the Loma Prieta chapter, same one from which endorsement came, announced the executive committee members, to serve a 2 year term. Heyward Robinson was on that list.

You don't seem to have any clue about how endorsements work there. I don't think it is a big deal but a bit embarrassing for you and Save Menlo to not be able to crisply respond.


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Posted by Non Fact Checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 26, 2014 at 8:19 pm

And, while it is possible that Heyward gave up his post, the point is that he appears closely associated with the organization and their consideration of this issue. So, the bigger area of clarity is whether he has been associated formally with this chapter.

Again, the issue us not Sierra Club as we can all compare their endorsement to the Almanacs thoughtful piece, Merc, etc.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 26, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Gern posted good FACTS directly from the Sierra Club."

Wrong. Gern posted information on the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club; he posted nothing on the Sierra Club which is the national organization.

Measure M supporters have a real problem providing documented facts and instead prefer to play with the truth.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 26, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Right. The larger issue for "Save" Menlo is not whether they actually have an endorsement from "state" or "national" Sierra Club -- which they do not in fact appear to have -- but that they continue to imply that they do without substantiation.

Which brings their credibility into question.

"Save" Menlo: Please, if you can substantiate your oft-repeated claims, please do so.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 26, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Gern is a registered user.

Observer and Non-Fact-Non Checker, did you read the information I posted five short hours ago? Here are the salient details:

To reiterate, then, Yes on M is "Sierra Club Endorsed," something a fellow club member verified for me with John Cordes, Director of the Loma Prieta Chapter, who stated in email:

"The Sierra Club is one entity with many parts but all our endorsements are 'by the Sierra Club'. Legally we are one organization. Club Policy states we have one voice and we are not allowed to have differing positions on any topic with the public."

The ease and frequency with which Peter Carpenter, chief architect of the MenloParkDeservesBetter No on M platform, foists intentional misstatements upon readers here and elsewhere online should give every Menlo Park voter pause.

Gern


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Posted by Non fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 26, 2014 at 8:55 pm

So, here is what I think. SaveMenlo should have been more clear on the issue and at least been ready to explain and document the endorsement, as well as have the details on Heywards role. That said, Sierra Club is a fine organization and Heyward is a good guy who spends time on public service. The tweaking at this stage does not matter that much, at least to me. I still believe that the NO endorsements are more relevant overall but that we all need to make up our own minds. Not sure the pushing and pulling on this will change much.


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Posted by Non fact Checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 26, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Gern. Yes, I did see that. May be the case but it seemed funny that this was not more clear on the actual endorsement. Even when you go to the various websites, the approach is not clear. Best I could find is that Califiornia chapter reviews the endorsements of local. I did not see where the national reviews and analyzes the details of the endorsement. I don't feel like looking any longer and, as I just posted, how about folks move on. I have.


2 people like this
Posted by Edward Syrett
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 27, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Edward Syrett is a registered user.

Another commenter posted:
"The council passed the Specific Plan, allowing these items, and now exclaim, look what we have accomplished --- no medical offices -- no big box retail. All they have done, if Stanford doesn't change it position, is take back what should not have been given in the beginning. Hooray for this Council."

Indeed. I certainly respect Dana Hendrickson and many other Menlo Park residents who've expressed their opposition to Measure M here. But how they can possibly trust a council that behaves this way is beyond me. The current council has consistently, throughout the long process which gave us the horribly flawed Downtown Specific Plan, bobbed and weaved to cover up what that plan could actually lead to, despite specific objections raised over the years by downtown merchants and other residents. Consultants were paid big bucks to write reports about what any non-housebound resident could see for himself or herself.

Am I so alone in realizing that asking for four times what you would be willing to settle for, and then letting yourself get bumped down to half that offer, is a classic negotiating technique? That's what Stanford and Greenheart, through their captive council, have done here.

If you're Stanford, Greenheart or some other developer to be named later, you can certainly trust the current council. As for those of us who must absorb the externalized costs of those profit-making developments, we might trust someone else, but not the current crew. BTW, just to forestall obvious objections, most of the costs I have in mind are, like those the Sierra Club and other environmentalists complain about, non-monetary in nature. When my time is wasted fighting rush-hour traffic which blocks my way from downtown to my home in the Willows, whom am I supposed to bill? I doubt that Greenheart Land Company would honor my invoice.


1 person likes this
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Edward Syrett

The traffic will be there no matter what. Measure M does NOT change that (see the consultants report) It just makes the ONLY two large developers do unnatural acts to get to the same endpoint (i.e. build separate buildings to stay under 100,000 sq ft., etc.) And the residential, and office ratio's will stay the same.

So at the end of the day, this is an exercise in making lawyers richer, and crippling our council (killing the representative form of government). It's simply a bad piece of law (Measure)

M is a Mistake
Vote NO on M

Roy Thiele-Sardina


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 27, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Edward Syrett asks -"Am I so alone in realizing that asking for four times what you would be willing to settle for, and then letting yourself get bumped down to half that offer, is a classic negotiating technique?"

Only if the person you are negotiating with is not very smart and doesn't hold some strong cards.

And the elected City Council has already said No three times.

If Measure M passes the strong cards are all taken away from the council and the council won't have anything to negotiate with - is that what you prefer?


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