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The Downtown Plan is a Fiasco Financially; Measure M Will Help

Original post made by Chuck Bernstein, Menlo Park: The Willows, on Oct 29, 2014

Critics of Menlo Park's Measure M are able to find fault with it because it has taken on a near-impossible task: repairing a deeply flawed Downtown Specific Plan (“DSP”). Many of the ills attributed to the initiative, however, are fabrications calculated to confuse voters. For example, as one of the directors of the fire district, I know first hand (but unofficially!) that the initiative will not have a detrimental effect on the district, contrary to critics’ allegations. The district’s plans to remodel its downtown Station 6 are proceeding normally and are approvable as is, without a change in zoning.

The DSP cannot be repaired because it is, financially, a loser, and it was from the very beginning. Stanford (of which I am a double alumnus) misled city officials into thinking the university was open to developing a large hotel on its property. That hotel generated over two-thirds of the anticipated net revenue that was attributed to the project when it was under review. Once Stanford’s true intentions became known, the downtown project was doomed. Though I spent time analyzing the DSP from a financial standpoint when it was first proposed, the source of that bleak conclusion was the city’s own financial analyst (see the city’s website, Web Link, p. 3):

The plan therefore could result in a negative impact to the General Fund without inclusion of approximately 80 hotel rooms (varying based on quality level and nightly rates). Upon build-out, proposed development under the Draft Specific Plan without any hotels could result in General Fund losses of approximately $250,000 annually (in 2009 dollars).

The large hotel (300 rooms) that was assumed in the analysis produced $1.5 million of the $2.2 million general fund net revenue, before the cost of building a parking garage. That amounted to $13.44 per sq. ft. The small hotel (80 rooms) produced $0.4 million, or an average of $9.37 per sq. ft., for a total of $1.9 million derived from the two hotels (of the $2.2 million total net revenue). Now, unless Measure M passes, no large hotel can be built because the only feasible sites for a large hotel are being utilized for the currently proposed Stanford and Greenheart office projects. There are no plans for a small hotel. That means that we residents will have to subsidize downtown development through our general fund, requiring higher taxes, as will many of our special districts.

In the original DSP plan, retail uses contributed a net of $3.63 per sq. ft. to the city’s general fund, while office space contributed less than a third of that ($1.12 per sq. ft.). The gap was even larger when the cost of the necessary parking garage was factored in ($3.02 for retail vs. $0.42 for office). Market-rate housing, incidentally, generated only $.38 per sq. ft. and subsidized housing resulted in a loss of $.18 per sq. ft. In general, office space produces substantially more income for a developer, but it generates little or nothing in the way of NET revenue for a city. Allowing developers to displace hotels and retail uses for offices costs taxpayers. (All assumptions and data are available from cbernstein@headsup.org.)

People who advocate for property development tout the economic benefits it will produce. Why else tolerate the external costs (traffic, pollution, more government) that accompany it? The planners who wrote the DSP promised economic benefits to the city of Menlo Park, but they were misled. Worse, they failed to provide mechanisms to ensure that the plan would be implemented as envisioned. So, not only is the DSP a financial disaster for the city as it was planned, its negative impacts are being exacerbated by a lack of controls on the factors that cause the losses. In short, making the DSP “less negative” is a thankless task. Still, that is what Measure M proposes to do and that is sufficient to make it worthwhile voting YES.

I am disappointed by the failure of my fellow Menlo Park pension reformers to address one of the root causes of government expansion: development that does not enhance the quality of life, but serves only to enrich the developer and government managers. Too many of them are as blinded by their advocacy of laissez-faire land use as are progressives who advocate for taxpayer-subsidized housing and social services. I expect more from the pension reformers because many have business backgrounds and are able to read fiscal impact reports and perform arithmetic calculations that show the fallacy of their blind faith in property development to make life better. How often in the debate surrounding Measure M have opponents cited the loss of downtown “revenue” resulting from the measure in lieu of looking at “NET revenue” (after subtracting the costs of serving the development)? Had they done so, it would have been obvious that Measure M may reduce gross revenues, but it will reduce taxpayers’ costs even more. The dilemma is reminiscent of the old joke about the merchant who discovered he was losing money on every sale, so he decided to make it up on volume.

Development today is so encumbered by financial obligations to “social justice” that it impoverishes communities, rather than improves them, as it did a generation ago. Jobs used to be an asset for a community; now, they are a liability because they raise the requirement for “affordable” (subsidized) housing. Current property taxes on affordable housing are lower than current taxes on existing housing, so some new residents are being subsidized by other residents. Government agencies clamor for more funding to meet the needs of growth and, because of lower average per-capita revenues, they must raise taxes, just as Menlo Park instituted a utilities tax several years ago. The only type of development that makes economic sense today must generate a second revenue stream (such as hotel tax or sales tax) in addition to property tax. Much of the growth that we hope will improve our local economies actually makes the middle class worse off.

In sum, Measure M opponents miss the point that the DSP will have to be subsidized by taxpayers. Save Menlo misses the point that Measure M will not save the DSP. It is still worth voting YES, but that is not sufficient to fix the problem. What we need are planners who are committed to improving the lives of the people they serve and council members who will pick up a pencil and read a report, rather than act like lemmings and blindly follow self-interested city officials and developers.

Comments (120)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 11:55 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Bernstein states -"as one of the directors of the fire district, I know first hand (but unofficially!) that the initiative will not have a detrimental effect on the district, contrary to critics' allegations. The district's plans to remodel its downtown Station 6 are proceeding normally and are approvable as is, without a change in zoning. "

What he does not say is that ALL the other four Fire Board Directors OPPOSE Measure M.

What he does not say is that Sec 3.1 of Measure M freezes the July 15, 2008 Specific 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. "

What he does not say is that one of the Fire District's two adjacent parcels lies inside the Section 3.1 Specific Plan Area Map and the other adjacent parcel lies outside the Specific Plan Area map and to combine those parcels would require changing the Section 3 frozen Specific Plan Area Map which would require a $100k city wide vote per Section 4 of Measure M:

", the voter- adopted development standards and definitions set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting “YES” on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election. "

A real clue to how bad Measure M is is that Bernstein and other Measure M supporters NEVER quote the actual language of Measure M to support their claims.
Why not?
Because the actual language always proves them to be wrong.

Measure M is a huge Mistake that will be very expensive for the taxpayers of the Fire District.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is what Bernstein wrote in a letter to the Daily Post:

"Peter Carpenter is wrong when he is quoted in your article that the plan area would be frozen forever if Measure M passes. THE AREA COULD BE EXPANDED BY A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE...."

How duplicitous can the Measure M supporters be?


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 29, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Chuck:

You can't force a land owner to build something that doesn't make economical sense. Stanford already owns tow hotels in town neither of which are at full occupancy consistently. What makes you think if they built another it wouldn't simply draw more people from the two hotels they already have that are being underutilized? Your argument falls flat here because if we are going to get more money from hotel taxes there has to be a larger than current demand than there currently is.

You're flat out lying about the problem with the fire station properties. You even acknowledge yourself it would require a vote. A vote that would cost the taxpayers $100,000. I guess that doesn't matter to you being that it's other people's money eh Chuck?

Given your duplicity regarding the fire station why should anyone take anything you have written seriously? I certainly don't.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 29, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Gern is a registered user.

If Mr. Bernstein's assertion is true, that "the district's plans to remodel its downtown Station 6 are proceeding normally and are approvable as is, without a change in zoning," then that fact renders Peter Carpenter a liar of monumental proportions. How many dozens or hundreds of times in this forum has Peter Carpenter insisted that Measure M has scuttled the fire station remodel!?

Peter Carpenter, as our duly elected fire district board member I would ask that you agree or disagree with the text quoted above. I do not want your opinion on the fate of the twin parcels owned by the fire district and whether or not they may be merged, clearly a flaw which began with the DSP -- I simply ask that you agree or disagree with the assertion that the fire station remodel is approvable as-is.

Gern


2 people like this
Posted by It__is_so_simple
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 29, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Here you have an outstanding analysis by Menlo Park resident, Chuck Bernstein, also a Fire Board director.

Then you have Atherton Resident, Peter Carpenter, who spends all of his life, it seems, trying to convince Menlo Park voters to vote no on Measure M, and support the existing incumbents.

Carpenter, who did not attend any of the Visioning meetings, seems to know everything. The reality is he knows nothing.

It is all so simple.

Just follow the money. Who is supporting the No on Measure M campaign? It is the developers; the developers who want to control the development in Menlo Park, and don't give a damn about the quality of life for the Menlo Park residents.

Look at the funding of the 3 incumbents, Keith, Ohtaki and Cline. The developers are just pouring funds into their coffers. David Bohannon even sponsored Keith's "kick off" party. If re-elected we surely know how she will vote don't we?

It is so simple.

Vote Yes on Measure M... keep our quality of life in Menlo Park

Do not vote for any of the incumbents.. they are all influenced greatly by all the developer funding for their campaigns.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

""the district's plans to remodel its downtown Station 6 are proceeding normally and are approvable as is, without a change in zoning," "

This is INCORRECT. It is impossible to build a new station which would sit on these two parcels without the parcels being merged.

Having been both a Planning Commissioner and a Fire Board Director I have no doubt about this and it has been confirmed by legal counsel.

The District is NOT making any new expenditures involving this site pending assurances from the City that a lot merger would or would not be required.


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Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 29, 2014 at 1:07 pm

I asked the head of Stanford Real Estate Management and he denies that Stanford ever misled Menlo Park about building a hotel on their Menlo Park property. Yes, a resident (Chuck?) requested a hotel in a meeting with MP residents and Stanford listened. But there is simply no basis - according to Stanford - that it stated or indicated that it seriously consider this use. Chuck, can you provide any factual evidence to support your claim?

Also, a hotel was shown in the Specific Plan EIR only as an example of a maximum multi-use build-out.

Supporters of Measure M might have wanted a hotel but no one promised or misled them. Perhaps, they mislead themselves.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 29, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"It is impossible to build a new station which would sit on these two parcels without the parcels being merged."

It the existing remodel plan slated for just one parcel, then? Is that why it may be approvable as-is? Something does not add up here if two of our fire district board members cannot agree on something so fundamentally simple as the state of the current station remodel plan.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I would note that Director Bernstein missed the 30 June Fire Board meeting at which it was decided 3-0-1 (Abstain: Kiraly, Absent: Bernstein):

"that no additional expenditures will be made to rebuild Station 6 at it current location and the District will consider alternative locations".

Is that clear enough?

George Fisher, Steve Schmidt and Patti Fry were in attendance and can confirm that decision.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Something does not add up here if two of our fire district board members cannot agree on something so fundamentally simple as the state of the current station remodel plan."

Correct - Bernstein in uninformed and was absent from the meeting at which the decision was made.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 29, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"Supporters of Measure M might have wanted a hotel but no one promised or misled them. Perhaps, they mislead themselves."

It isn't just Measure M supporters who were mislead, Dana. Stanford may have promised nothing during the visioning process but that process clearly broke down: Web Link

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - Thanks for the link:
"Asked on Wednesday to elaborate about his allegation that Stanford misrepresented itself, Cline said that although the university NEVER made any promises,"

Once again the FACTS proven that the Measure M supporters continue to make misleading or untruthful statements.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 29, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"... that no additional expenditures will be made to rebuild Station 6 at it current location and the District will consider alternative locations."

Peter, was there a remodel plan in place which could have been approved (on a single parcel, perhaps) before the board took the above action? If so, is that plan still "approvable"? I find it highly unlikely that Mr. Bernstein is unaware of the quoted board position, so there must be some reason for his assurance that the remodel plan remains viable.

Gern


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 29, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Gern is a registered user.

Peter, had you read the entire sentence before the link I provided you might have seen, "Stanford may have promised nothing during the visioning process but that process clearly broke down." And let's add to the selective quote you provided from the linked article:

"Asked on Wednesday to elaborate about his allegation that Stanford misrepresented itself, Cline said that although the university never made any promises, its representatives participated in meetings and discussions related to the specific plan and heard residents and city leaders declare they want to see more housing, particularly senior housing, as well as retail shops and possibly a hotel along that portion of El Camino Real."

Again, clearly, the visioning process broke down.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - You are playing with the truth. First Measure M supporters claim that Stanford promised a hotel and when the FACTS prove you wrong then you slide over to a different argument about the Visioning Plan.

Fact - There was NO Stanford promise regarding a new hotel as confirmed both by Cline and by Stanford.


It would really be helpful if Measure M supporters would provide documented facts and actually cite their beloved initiative.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter, was there a remodel plan in place which could have been approved (on a single parcel, perhaps) before the board took the above action?"
No, that is why we purchased the adjacent parcel. You cannot put a drive through station on the existing parcel.

" If so, is that plan still "approvable"? It is not so therefore the plan to use both parcels is unapprovable until the Measure M issue is resolved.

"I find it highly unlikely that Mr. Bernstein is unaware of the quoted board position, so there must be some reason for his assurance that the remodel plan remains viable."

There is a difference between being educating and being properly informed.

I provided Bernstein with the my draft motion BEFORE the meeting (by email on June 26, 2014 at 4:19:21 PM PDT) and he in turn provided my draft motion to Save Menlo - which is why Schmidt, Fisher and Fry all showed up at the meeting.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 29, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"Fact - There was NO Stanford promise regarding a new hotel as confirmed both by Cline and by Stanford."

I see no mention of a Stanford *promise* to build a hotel in Mr. Bernstein's original post or in my comments -- oddly, the only two posters in this forum who assert anything about such a promise are you and Dana, when casting your limp aspersions at Measure M supporters.

But more germane to this thread, Peter, it appears you are dodging a very straightforward question, one I'll put you a third time: Was there a remodel plan in place which could have been approved (on a single parcel, perhaps) before the board took the action you quoted above? If so, is that plan still "approvable"? I find it highly unlikely that Mr. Bernstein is unaware of the quoted board position, so there must be some reason for his assurance that the remodel plan remains viable.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - "one I'll put you a third time: Was there a remodel plan in place which could have been approved (on a single parcel, perhaps) before the board took the action you quoted above? "

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
6 minutes ago
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
"Peter, was there a remodel plan in place which could have been approved (on a single parcel, perhaps) before the board took the above action?"
No, that is why we purchased the adjacent parcel. You cannot put a drive through station on the existing parcel.
**************

Please read what is posted before repeating questions which have been asked and answered.

And I note that you never answer questions that are asked of you.


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Posted by Vote NO on M
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 29, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Mr. Bernstein's comment are just off point and the debate has moved well past this kind of speculative angle. Too much "what was said or might have been" to be useful. Purely political, it would appear. No on M is the correct answer for the long term health of Menlo Park.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is how Gern and others play with the truth - "I see no mention of a Stanford *promise* to build a hotel in Mr. Bernstein's original post"

When here is what Bernstein said "Stanford (of which I am a double alumnus) misled city officials into thinking the university was open to developing a large hotel on its property."

As with the language of Measure M itself there is a real reading comprehension problem with the Measure M supporters.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 29, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Ms. Fry: Once again... will you please substantiate your assertion that: "Yes on M leaves nearly all the [specific] plan's rules in council hands."

And confirm -- in writing -- that you and Measure M's supporters are willing to abide by this "interpretation" in the event that Measure M passes?


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Posted by George C. Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 29, 2014 at 3:43 pm

The Illustrative Plan in the Specific Plan, included a 300 room hotel on the Stanford property, and this Illustrative Plan (Specific Plan, page A3) was the express basis used for analysis of the Specific Plan EIR, both draft and final (page 3-11), the Transportation Impact analysis of April 2, 2010, (pages ii, Table ES-1, page 37), the Specific Plan Fiscal Impact Analysis (FIA) amended August 31, 2011 (p. 4,5). The EIR stated it was the “development that is the most reasonably foreseeable” based upon various factors including the Specific Plan Guiding Principles.

On November 7, 2012, less than four months after adaption of the Specific Plan in July, Stanford filed an application with the planning department, including a complete set of plans for a development with no hotel, and other than the token required 10,000 square feet of retail, no non residential development other than office space for over 200,000 square feet. The Specific Plan was adapted after years of study and more than two years after the Transportation Impact analysis.

What due diligence or reasonable disclosure did the following do at any time to protect the residents of Menlo Park with respect anticipated traffic or other impacts and loss of anticipated revenues, or from a Stanford all non-residential space office space, no hotel development proposed almost immediately after adoption of their Specific Plan.


I. Menlo Park Staff or City Council
a. What due diligence investigation, if any, did staff or Council do with respect to Stanford’s intended development on its property?
b. What due diligence, if any, did Staff or Council do to seek a commitment from Stanford for a hotel on its property?
c. What due diligence investigation, if any, did staff or council do with respect to Menlo Park’s Consultant’s conflict of interest in seeking entitlements on 35 acres in Redwood city for Stanford and how that conflict might relate to Stanford’s intended development on its 8 acres in Palo Alto.
d. What if any due diligence investigation was made with respect to Stanford’s intended use of its property, specifically including, but not limited to a hotel?
e. What due diligence if any was done asking of Stanford about its intended development on its site, at any time, including Stanford’s requests for removals of bike lanes, removals of public access at the Cambridge extension, and other requests, including any requests by anyone for car access adjacent to bike route and plaza on Middle Extension, all of which were approved by Staff or council?
f. If Stanford’s current position is Caveat Emptor, what responsibility does Council have to residents, property owners and tax payers for failure to adequately protect them from failures of Specific Plan process and lack of due diligence. Is Council responsible for Caveat Emptor in this situation and why weren’t residents, taxpayers and property owners protected?

II. Consultant
a. What did it know about Stanford’s intended development in Menlo Park at any time, either in its role as consultant to Menlo Park, or as entitlement agent for Stanford in Redwood City, and what disclosure if any did it make to Menlo Park?
b. What participation did it have with Stanford about any of the Stanford requests for design changes benefitting Stanford Property made by Stanford.

III. City Council Keith-Carlton sub committee and City Council one year specific Plan review process:
a. What due diligence was done on the above questions, specifically with regard to the brief four-month period between acceptance of the Specific Plan in July 2012 and Stanford’s submittal of development plans and drawings in connection with Stanford application.
b. What due diligence investigation was done on such a complete change within such a short time?
c. What internal due diligence investigation was made of staff on what knowledge it had about Stanford proposed development?
d. What internal due diligence, if any, was done on the difference between the EIR and FIA basis of study and the Stanford Application?
e. What due diligence, if any, did Staff or Council do to seek a commitment from Stanford for a hotel on its property?

IV. Stanford (member of both Specific Plan and Vision oversight committees, and proponent of specific plan design changes benefitting its property, and primary beneficiary of Specific Plan benefits)
a. When was any intent not to develop a hotel on its property formed and what disclosure, if any, was made?
b. Was there ever any consideration made of a hotel on its site, and if so what were the results of that consideration?
c. If no consideration was ever given to a hotel on its site, and knowing the basis of study of the EIR and Fiscal plan, and as a member of the Specific Plan oversight committee, why was no disclosure made?
d. When in relationship to application on November 7, 2012 was an intent formed to seek development on its site without any hotel?
e. What disclosures, if any, were made to City Council, Staff or Consultant with respect to development on Stanford property?

V. Local Press
a. What investigation or due diligence did any of them or their representatives pursue regarding the above obvious questions?


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Sounds like George Fisher should have presented these carefully thought through questions during the EIR and Specific Plan approval process.

Another Rip Van Winkle wanting a redo.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 29, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Gern is a registered user.

Mr. Bernstein's statement that "the university was open to developing a large hotel on its property" accords perfectly with my assertion at a "Stanford *promise* to build a hotel" was completely lacking from the original post and from my comments -- most would agree that being open to something entails no promise. It is also abundantly clear, Peter, that rhetoric wasn't the focus of your Harvard undergraduate experience.

Gern

Peter Carpenter: the second-best reason to vote Yes on M!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I love it - Gern agrees "hat being open to something entails no promise."


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 29, 2014 at 3:55 pm

@ Mr. Fisher - Respectfully, whom do you anticipate providing answers to this set of rhetorical interrogatories?

Would Measure M's passage somehow provide you with "answers?"


3 people like this
Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 29, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Gern and others of full of themselves if they think a major university, whose mission is education, would "commit" to building a THIRD hotel on their land. That simply defines logic.

I have read these posts for months, and I can't believe how people like Gern and Chuck Bernstein have the gall to continue shovel their mistruths in the face of hard facts. These two people seem to think that listening to someone is the same as agreeing to them. If the hotel was CRITICAL to the specific plan, then City staff and their consultants would have made it mandatory and not allowed any other use. If the hotel was CRITICAL to the specific plan, then the Planning Commission and City Council would have REQUIRED it. They didn't. Even a two-faced commissioner like Vince Bressler (who voted for the Specific Plan and then turned around and opposed it) didn't argue to make the hotel a requirement. Folks, that is how zoning works, and that is how specific plans work.

This is yet another example of the Measure M supporters says anything and everything to confuse the general community. Nothing in this world, including Gern, Mr. Bernstein, or myself are perfect. The Specific Plan is a good document, and not flawed. It is comparable to any other planning document adopted in the Bay Area. And that, my friends, is the problem. The supporters of Measure M do not want ANYTHING to be built in our community. They lie in the weeds while the community tries to move out of the 1950s, and once the community finishes, they rise up to tear down any chance of seeing our community move forward.


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Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Let me respond to Mr. Fisher's interrogation:

First, Mr. Fisher has not quoted the ENTIRE specific plan. On page C20, the Specific Plan states (in bold print no less) the following:

"It is important to emphasize that the Illustrative Plan indicates only one potential development concept and that the actual build-out will likely vary from the initial projection over 20 to 30 years."

With all due respect to Mr. Fisher, everything else in his list of legal phrases is moot.

Mr. Fisher is probably a fine lawyer, but his flawed reasoning shows he is not a land use attorney.


1 person likes this
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 29, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"It is important to emphasize that the Illustrative Plan indicates only one potential development concept and that the actual build-out will likely vary from the initial projection over 20 to 30 years."

Sheriff Sam Tyler is back in town, slingin' verbal lead and definin' logic! But with the above comment you've inadvertently hit at the root of the problem, Sheriff -- we're seeing that "actual build-out" maximized and foisted on us with two large projects now, and not over "20 to 30 years" as the vision, the plan and our planners had hoped (we'll gift our planners credit for hoping that, at least).

I and other Measure M supporters are eager to see the Stanford and Greenheart properties developed, just with less office space and less ambiguous open space than you and a few others might like.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"not over "20 to 30 years" as the vision, the plan and our planners had hoped"

There is NOTHING in the Specific Plan which stipulates the the planned development be stretched out over 30 years. Why postpone the huge increase in revenues that will come from develop vacant land? Unless you want that land turned into a free park.

And Measure M proponents keep yelling for hotels, hotels hotels.

Guess what - the EIR was based on 380 rooms. More than a third of those rooms have already been built in first 3 years. Guess that means no more hotels should be allowed using the Save Menlo standard until ten years from now.


1 person likes this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 29, 2014 at 5:19 pm

@ Gern:

"I and other Measure M supporters are eager to see the Stanford and Greenheart properties developed, just with less office space and less ambiguous open space than you and a few others might like."

How does Measure M demonstrate your "eagerness" to see the vacant ECR properties developed?


1 person likes this
Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 29, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Gern:

"Stanford (of which I am a double alumnus) misled city officials into thinking the university was open to developing a large hotel on its property. That hotel generated over two-thirds of the anticipated net revenue that was attributed to the project when it was under review." (Chuck)

"I see no mention of a Stanford *promise* to build a hotel in Mr. Bernstein's original post or in my comments -- oddly, the only two posters in this forum who assert anything about such a promise are you and Dana, when casting your limp aspersions at Measure M supporters. (Gern)

I stand by my original post. The intent of Chuck's statement was clear. If you had read my statement carefully you would know that I never said Chuck alleged Stanford promised a hotel.

"Supporters of Measure M might have wanted a hotel but no one promised or misled them. Perhaps, they mislead themselves." (Dana)

Gern, this is simply another example of your knack for "spin" which is a form of deceit.

It undermined your credibility long ago.

I bet your "attack dog" comments have generated many more "no" votes than "yes"!

Please keep it up until Nov 4?

Thank you!






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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 29, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"Why postpone the huge increase in revenues that will come from develop vacant land?"

Because, as the projects currently stand, of the huge increase in rush hour traffic which will flow through Encinal, Glenwood, Oak Grove, Ravenswood, Laurel, and Willow Roads in Menlo Park, to say nothing of neighborhood streets west of El Camino, at *exactly* the same time that our parents and children are trying to get to and from work and school, [PORTION REMOVED. Comment on the topic, not other posters.]

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - Please keep posting.

The more you say the clearer it is that Save Menlo's agenda is NO, NO, NO.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Interested citizens should note that Save Menlo got everything they asked for in their 2013 Petition to City Council, Stanford and Arrillaga.

Their response was:
1 - Start the Measure M initiative
2 - Remove their petition from their web site

It is clear that Save Menlo will not stop until it Destroys Menlo.


4 people like this
Posted by Voted YES on M
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 29, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Measure M changes only four specific items in the 2012 specific plan. All else is left entirely under council control. A public vote is required only for those four changes, nothing else. For proof, voters need only read the impartial summary of M in the voters' handbook, which every voter has just received in the mail. Its author is the Menlo Park city attorney.

M's four changes are:

• No single office project may exceed 100,000 square feet.

• Total net new office space may not exceed 240,820 square feet.

• Total net new commercial space may not exceed the amount stated by the council itself in the specific plan (were they not truthful?).

• A commonsense definition of open space, which excludes upper floor balconies and rooftops.

The first three items can be increased if voters approve. That is it. Confirmed in the impartial summary by the city attorney. See the voters' handbook.

Palo Alto passed such an initiative in 1965 to protect its parks. For 49 years it has done the job, neither confusing nor too restrictive, with only one contested election.

Unable to win by defending their aggressive pro-development policies, anti-M spends obscene amounts of money to deceive the voters. Voters should not be deceived.

Traffic can get much worse. If we allow development that doesn't respect our community, how can we protect and enhance the good things about Menlo Park. I have come to love our town, my town. Let's develop it with some heart sense and common sense.

Support Measure M.

Here are some facts the developers and their followers don't want you to know: In approving the 2012 specific plan, the City Council more than doubled the amount of allowed development along El Camino. The council gave landowners a $744 million windfall while residents get stuck with rush-hour gridlock, neighborhood cut-through traffic and no public benefits.

Protect our neighborhoods and the city we love. Vote yes on M.

Measure M has no provision that allows a Walmart in town. Its very goal is to protect the small-town character of Menlo Park. Council candidates Drew Combs, Kris Duriseti and Kelly Fergusson are challenging the incumbents and are firmly against this absurd threat.

There is nothing new in Greenheart's attempt to buy a city council. What's different now is this is the first time in the history of Menlo Park that all five of our city council members have joined a developer allowing the use of their mug shots and quotes in material that is false.

Measure M is a classic David and Goliath contest: big developer Greenheart Land Co. and even bigger Stanford on one side, pitted against ordinary Menlo Park residents who want to preserve the livability and character of their suburban town on the other.

All Measure M essentially does is limit office—not retail or housing—yet the developers are foaming at the mouth over citizens daring to suggest this bit of moderation. Apparently, nothing less than virtually unlimited high-density office parks in the narrow strip of El Camino in our downtown can satisfy them.

But residents of our city have the power stop the onslaught of multi-story office parks in our suburban community by voting Yes on M.

The vision which was supposed to guide the Specific Plan allowed for higher density in exchange for more public open space. Instead, the council-approved Specific Plan allows developers to count private rooftops and balconies as open space. Yes-on-M closes this loophole and ensures that "open space" is public space. Vote YES on M for a walkable, livable Menlo Park.

The issue is simply: What do you want Menlo Park to be and look like in years to come? Will it retain its small-town character — as in the specific plan's original vision — with a balanced growth of offices, shops, housing, offices and services? Or will it become a massive office park, dark at night, but filling our streets with gridlock by day.

VOTE YES ON M FOR THE GOOD OF MENLO PARK AND OUR CHILDREN

Thank you for reading. Oh, did I say YES ON M !!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"All Measure M essentially does is limit office"

One more person who clearly has not taken the time to actually READ Measure M.

It is sad that uninformed people vote anyway.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 29, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

voted yes clearly didn't read the measure or didn't understand what she read. She repeats the same lies that Patty Fry has been putting out there but is unable to quote the language of the measure that supports that. That would be because IT IS A LIE.

Vote NO on M


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 29, 2014 at 7:52 pm

@ Gern:

I see you have posted again without responding to this question:

"I and other Measure M supporters are eager to see the Stanford and Greenheart properties developed, just with less office space and less ambiguous open space than you and a few others might like."

How does Measure M demonstrate your "eagerness" to see the vacant ECR properties developed?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

There is no recorded posting on this Forum where Gern ANSWERED a question.

It is also the Save Menlo strategy:
Peter Carpenter 28 Oct
Patti Fry states - "It is not necessary to go to court or to a ballot for "any project or any DSP change"."

What will the staff do if someone claims that a proposed action or project "frustrates" Measure M? Certainly they would not be able to decide such a matter on their own. It would seem that only the courts or a city wide election could resolve such a conflict.

NO ANSWER


Peter Carpenter 23h ago
Patti Fry - Why did the Davis, California environmental lawyer who wrote Measure M include the phrase "or frustrate" in Section 4?

NO ANSWER


5 people like this
Posted by John Monitore
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 29, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Why is anyone from Atherton posting here? The people residing in Menlo Park are the ones adversely affected by this massive train wreck project. Why does anyone for, for example, Lindenwood, care about these projects? Absent a good explanation, there must be a hidden agenda.

We Menlo Park residents are stuck with El Camino Real, whereas Lindenwood has Middlefield Road access.

I remember when the car dealerships went in, traffic and parking was a problem. Menlo Park had to issue permits in an attempt to control parking in Allied Arts.

This Measure M could have been better written, and traffic problems should be handled before any massive projects, but it's better to have Measure M in place than to keep it the way it is now.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Absent a good explanation, there must be a hidden agenda."

No hidden agenda.

Menlo Park is MY downtown.

Menlo Park is part of MY community.

I have been ELECTED three times by the voters of Menlo Park as a Director of their Fire District.

Democracy is not a spectator sport.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 29, 2014 at 8:21 pm

@ John

Measure M does not just impact Menlo Park. Does it not make sense to consider ideas/comments with merit, whether from residents of MP or elsewhere? Should it matter, if it is fair debate and a worthwhile idea?

We used to live in Menlo Park. We moved, in part, because of the dogged philosophy of those then governing (and now supporting M) to pretend to "study the issues," while knowing full well that they would vote for "no change" after spending lots of MP taxpayer money on the pretense of due consideration.


4 people like this
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 29, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Chuck, thanks for sharing your thoughts. This is the most convincing piece yet written on Measure M.


5 people like this
Posted by John Monitore
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 29, 2014 at 9:34 pm

How is Lindenwood impacted? Because there will be such a massive traffic jam on El Camino, Middlefield will become overcrowded and grid-locked also?

Traffic should be solved before any project goes in, whether or not Measure M passes.

I'm in Allied Arts, and really concerned about the impact of what's about to happen on El Camino. My children walk and play on the streets (there are no sidewalks). I love most of Measure M and plan on voting in favor of M.


6 people like this
Posted by Mary DeGuzman
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 29, 2014 at 9:41 pm

Thank you, Chuck Bernstein. Very well set forth. You got my vote in favor of this Measure M.


1 person likes this
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 29, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Gern is a registered user.

"How does Measure M demonstrate your "eagerness" to see the vacant ECR properties developed?"

@Observer, Measure M limits office space development for (in practical terms) two large proposals in our downtown, as well as redefines office space within the DSP area -- it has no bearing on my professed interest to see the Stanford and Greenheart properties developed, and developed soon. Nor have I ever claimed that Measure M is proof of my interest in new development within the DSP area -- the two issues are largely distinct. My *hope* is that Measure M will constrain development to more closely match what Menlo Park residents were shown during the visioning process, is all.

@Observer further states, "We used to live in Menlo Park. We moved, in part, because of the dogged philosophy of those then governing (and now supporting M) to pretend to "study the issues," while knowing full well that they would vote for "no change" ..."

So, you left sleepy little Menlo Park with its no-growth throwbacks for the pro-change bastion of vibrancy, smart growth and urban leaning that is Portola Valley!? What is it you do (or did) for a living, if I may ask?

Peter Carpenter states, "There is no recorded posting on this Forum where Gern ANSWERED a question."

Not true, Peter. When you questioned the veracity of the Measure M Sierra Club endorsement I provided you with several factual replies, including a direct quote from the director of the local club chapter, but as those replies didn't jibe with your position you summarily dismissed them -- you continued to lie about the Sierra Club endorsement, and unabashedly so.

Gern


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 29, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Gern is a registered user.

My previous comment should read, "as well as redefines open space within the DSP area," of course.

Gern


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 29, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Yes, that's right Gern. We used to live in MP. Is what I do for a living important to this debate? To the issues at stake?

Your statement: "Measure M limits office space development for (in practical terms) two large proposals in our downtown, as well as redefines office space within the DSP area."

Is that what Measure M really does? It's sole purpose? No unintended consequences? And please cite its actual language.

And again, how does Measure M promote your "professed interest to see the Stanford and Greenheart properties developed, and developed soon."

"Professed interest" is distinguishable from actual interest. Which do you mean?


4 people like this
Posted by The Truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 29, 2014 at 10:52 pm

It is all so simple.

Just follow the money. Who is supporting the No on Measure M campaign? It is the developers; the developers who want to control the development in Menlo Park, and don't give a damn about the quality of life for the Menlo Park residents.

Look at the funding of the 3 incumbents, Keith, Ohtaki and Cline. The developers are just pouring funds into their coffers. David Bohannon even sponsored Keith's "kick off" party. If re-elected we surely know how she will vote don't we?

It is so simple.

Vote Yes on Measure M... keep our quality of life in Menlo Park

Do not vote for any of the incumbents.. they are all influenced greatly by all the developer funding for their campaigns.


1 person likes this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 29, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Measure M proponents oft stated:

"It is so simple"

No it is not. These are complicated issues with important consequences for all.


6 people like this
Posted by Proper Menlo Voting
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 30, 2014 at 12:18 am

Do not vote for the three incumbents Keith, Ohtaki and Cline. They have been purchased and unduly influenced by Greenheart.

VOTE NO on Keith, Ohtaki, and Cline.

VOTE YES for Combs, Duriseti, and Fergusson.

Let's improve our City Council so they can control the damage which will occur if Measure M doesn't win.


3 people like this
Posted by Mickie Winkler
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 30, 2014 at 12:47 pm

I would like to address chuck Bernstein’s discussion of the downtown hotel issue. He cites the lack of a new hotel and its revenues as one reason to vote for Measure M. He does not mention that since the downtown plan was passed, 146 of the 380 projected new hotel rooms are actually being built—at the Marriott Residence and the Mermaid Inn. Not exactly off track.

But, it is important to note that these hotels were built in anticipation of the downtown plan being fulfilled-- before Measure M reared its head.

Measure M will surely discourage any hotel going forward. Given the lack of offices, the lack of downtown foot traffic and hence the lack of incentive to upgrade our sorry downtown, given the inability to combine parcels for a hotel on the west side of El Camino Real, and given the legal issues that will ensue, don't expect to see a new hotel here any time soon.

If measure m fails, however, and we do get offices, and the resistance to change abates, more hotel rooms are very possible.


1 person likes this
Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 30, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Mickie Winkler is not providing accurate information.
"given the inability to combine parcels for a hotel on the west side of El Camino Real"
Measure M does not prevent combining parcels on El Camino.

She says "But, it is important to note that these hotels were built in anticipation of the downtown plan being fulfilled." Measure M helps FULFILL the downtown plan, with the EXACT SAME amount of office space assumed in the plan. She neglects to point out where remaining hotels could be built if not on the two largest sites.

Although Stanford never "promised" hotel or senior housing on their site, they never said they were not interested. As George Fisher points out, the city's EIR and financial impact analysis assumes a hotel on the Stanford site. Why would those analyses have included those assumptions if they were incorrect or unlikely. The work was done with consultants and city staff working together and Stanford was working with staff on the oversight committee, and probably with them regarding their project proposed fall 2012?





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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Faceless claims "Measure M helps FULFILL the downtown plan, with the EXACT SAME amount of office space assumed in the plan."

WRONG.

Here is exactly what the Specific Plan states"
"Maximum Allowable Development
The Specific Plan establishes the maximum allowable net
new development as follows:
• Residential uses: 680 units; and
• Non-residential uses, including retail, office and
hotel: 474,000 Square Feet.
The Specific Plan divides the maximum allowable
development between residential and non-residential
uses as shown, recognizing the particular impacts from
residential development (e.g., on schools and parks) while
otherwise allowing market forces to determine the final
combination of development types over time."
p G 16 DSP

Measure M supporters tru;y believe that if they repeat a lie enough times then the lie will become true - that won't happen as long as they cannot document their claims. The problem is that THEY believe their own lies.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 30, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Although Stanford never "promised" hotel or senior housing on their site, they never said they were not interested."

And they never said that they were not interested in a zoo or a prison - so what exactly does factless mean????


1 person likes this
Posted by Beth Martin
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 30, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Mr Carpenter says:
"There is NOTHING in the Specific Plan which stipulates the the planned development be stretched out over 30 years."

On page 4/356 (not counting the appendix):
"…And the thousands of community members who did
the real work of the Specific Plan by providing direction
for their community for the next 20 to 30 years."

Page B30 "However, given trends in occupancy rates, room rates, and
overnight visits in the market area, there is demand for only
one conference hotel by 2015, and a smaller boutique hotel
in the mid- to long-term, from 20 to 30 years."

C.6 "...depict how the plan area could potentially
build out over the next 20 to 30 years in conformance with
the Guiding Principles, Urban Design Framework and
the land use and development regulations and design
guidelines of the Specific Plan."

The main arguments I hear against M are red herrings, mis-information, and straight up lies.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 30, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Beth - good Word search but you did not contradict my statement:

"There is NOTHING in the Specific Plan which stipulates the the planned development be STRETCHED OUT over 30 years."

Please try again.


1 person likes this
Posted by Beth Martin
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Oh, you are correct, the Specific Plan does not say "STRETCHED OUT." So you think they envisioned the Plan to direct development of 474,00 of commercial space and 680 residences over a couple of years and mostly in two projects? What do you suppose they meant by "...depict how the plan area could potentially build out over the next 20 to 30 years..." and "...providing direction for their community for the next 20 to 30 years."?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 30, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Specific Plan clearly states:
"El Camino Real also contains a number of key redevelopment opportunities on vacant and underutilized sites"

"In addition, the Specifi c
Plan establishes standards and guidelines that encourage
development of underutilized and vacant land on El Camino
Real while ensuring a building character that is modulated
and in keeping with Menlo Park’s small-town character"

"Also, limiting total square footage of
a particular use could result in vacant space during
periods of economic downturn."

"A public benefi t bonus is the additional development
permitted beyond the base intensity (and/or height, if
applicable) for a project in exchange for extra public
benefi t, above and beyond the inherent positive attributes
of a project (such as increasing vibrancy and redeveloping
vacant and underutilized parcels)."

Nowhere does the Specific Plan suggest any reason to delay taking advantage of the development of those vacant parcels.

One third of the hotel rooms envisaged in the Specific Plan are already approved and being built. Does that mean that the next one third should not be approved until 2024?


1 person likes this
Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 30, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Nowhere in Measure M does it say that development needs to be stretched out. It says that the community ought to weigh in, not just 3 councilmembers, when the development limits are to be exceeded.

Beth Martin gets it right -- the Plan was supposed to be a 30-year Plan. Even if it's "off" a couple years, that would not be surprising. But if the Plan's development predictions are met within a few years, then the Plan isn't worth the $millions and time invested in it. It would be a fraud.


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 30, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

fraud checker:

You haven't a clue. The DSP was a plan for the next 20 to 30 years. That doesn't mean a lot of it doesn't get done now. There's nowhere in the plan that says development will be spread over 30 years. Would YOU take 30 years to remodel your home? Didn't think so. Let's get real and yes, let's get factual. Unlike the garbage you put out as supposed "facts."


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Posted by LWR Reader
a resident of another community
on Oct 30, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Chuck is basically right. The City spent nearly $165k to perform a Measure M impact Report called the "Lisa Wise Report, and almost no-on has read it.

"The ECR/D Specific Plan revenue is heavily dependent upon transient-occupancy tax (“TOT”). Without adequate nonresidential square foot space to accommodate hotels/motels (i.e. office space consumes much of the development cap), the lack of TOT revenue would most likely result in negative fiscal impacts to the General Fund." (LWR p xii)

"Conclusion: This analysis [LWR] confirms the original SE FIA 2011 findings: The ECR/D Specific Plan is heavily dependent upon transient-occupancy tax; and to a lesser degree, retail sales tax. As a result, the ECR/D Specific Plan could result in a negative impact to the General Fund without the inclusion of a hotel and/or a large amount of retail development. The Ballot Measure’s constraint on Office Space development could hedge the possibility of negative fiscal impacts to the General Fund by limiting the Office Development" LWR pp 5-6

Worse, the Lisa Wise Report finds a fatal flaw in the City's SP square footage calculations. When converting the 380 hotel rooms, retail space, and office space analyzed in the Fiscal Impact Analysis to non-residential square footage it made a 48,620 sf error.

"The hotel room sizes and corresponding total hotel square footage modeled [in the FIA] do not equal the non-residential square footage set aside for Hotel development in the ECR/D Specific Plan. Assuming full build out of Office and Retail square footage as provided in the ECR/D Specific Plan, there would not be enough non-residential square footage available to build 380 hotel rooms. (LWR p A3-22)"

"Accounting for the modeled hotel square footage would increase the total non-residential square footage provided for in the ECR/D Specific Plan beyond the non-residential cap by 48,620 sq. ft." (LWC A3-22)

The amount of office proposed by Greenheart and Stanford take up too much of the non-residential space to allow for 380 hotel rooms. Along with the 48,620 sf error, they eliminate the possibility of a large hotel both on the Stanford site or anywhere along with some retail sales tax, enough to insure that the remaining non-residential buildout will lack the TOT required and produce a net drain on the General Fund.




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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 30, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"finds a fatal flaw in the City's SP square footage calculations. When converting the 380 hotel rooms, retail space, and office space analyzed in the Fiscal Impact Analysis to non-residential square footage it made a 48,620 sf error. "

And Measure M not only ignores that error and but Measure M makes it impossible to correct that error without another $100k vote.

So why vote for Measure M?

Instead work with the Council to correct that error.


1 person likes this
Posted by Henry Riggs
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 30, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Henry Riggs is a registered user.

LWR:
You're a little behind. The first hotel rooms are already under construction by Marriott Residence and Mermaid. The net news TOT rooms is 168, more than a third of the projected 30 year build out.
By the way, the debit side in the Lisa Wise report (and the original Fiscal Impact Analysis) is for two huge parking structures. But not only is council looking to start w a small structure (96 net new spaces, 2 levels on lot 2) but to date zero money has been spent (more on that after the election).
We are, in fact, fiscally ahead of the curve.
If in the future you want to check facts before you write (seriously, not dissing you) you can email planning staff - they will fill in what you don't know.


3 people like this
Posted by Flood Triangle Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 31, 2014 at 12:58 am

It occurred to me yesterday that the largest building on El Camino in Menlo Park is the Schwab building and I understand it's about 40,000 SF.

I don't think anyone would say Menlo Park's atmosphere, walkability or social life are improved by that building. So although I am not at all against development, somehow the idea of office buildings on both the north and south ends of El Camino in Menlo park that are each 5x the Schwab building's size (even factoring in that the parcels are bigger than the Schwab parcel) seems pretty frightening.

I understand Measure M may be flawed but the no on M campaign has only offered more or less 'don't worry it will be fine' as an alternative. I'm actually very worried about the possibility of two massive office buildings bookending Menlo Park on the north and south.


3 people like this
Posted by 20 year resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 31, 2014 at 1:42 am

In response to previous post, it is important to remember that the "two massive office buildings" are not 100% office. In fact, the Stanford proposal is about 50/50 office and residential, as well as ground level retail. I believe the Greenheart project is similar. Instead of Schwab, you should think of the building at Cafe Barrone, with retail on ground floor, offices above, and then add residential behind and above. The Stanford plan for 500 ECR also includes a plaza that is bigger than Cafe Barrone (yes, is also a driveway entrance on Middle to help with traffic flow). It also includes a bicycle/pedestrian tunnel under Caltrain to connect Middle avenue with Burgess Park - creating the first safe east-west crossing point on ECR for bikes and pedestrians (one of the 12 points of our Vision Plan, by the way).

Unfortunately, if Measure M passes, the current Stanford plans and benefits for 500 ECR will likely go away. Worse, it may make more economic sense to build all retail, or medical offices at 500 ECR based on restrictions forced by Measure M. Neither of these outcomes are what the neighborhoods nearby want, nor will they will provide the most benefit to our city.

Mr. Bernstein's argument above is flawed because it is largely based on (1) a Hotel which is not required in the Specific Plan, nor promised by Stanford, and (2) the cost of parking garages downtown which have not been approved or funded. I would also humbly ask Mr. Bernstein, a long time resident, if he participated in the 6+ year Visioning process and Specific Plan development. I did. If he did, then why not raise his concerns then?

I am truly concerned that Measure M - which was drafted in a couple months by a small group of people - will fundamentally change a Specific Plan that was developed over 6+ years with 1,000s of hours of public input over 90+ meetings and events. And if anything in Measure M turns out to be not quite right, we will need a full city-wide vote to make any changes, at a cost to taxpayers about $90k each time. That does not seem fiscally responsible in any way, shape or form.

I am going to vote no on Measure M, elect the City Council Members that I believe can best lead our City, and then provide them with lots of feedback and input on the Specific Plan as well as the projects that come before the City for consideration. That is how representative democracy is supposed to work.


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Posted by Headline
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 31, 2014 at 4:34 am

Almanac: Mr. Bernstein had but one goal with his post -- to have this bold headline appear on your site, front and center. This is a tactic of the SaveMenlo team, of which he is a supporter. I believe that you should not allow such political soundbites (for either side) to appear on your home page. Each poster can state their view in their own post, but to allow them to leverage your home page is not appropriate. The only alternative is to have an equally bold statement for the other side. Note the pattern of the SaveMenlo posters -- get the headline up and then disappear. It is a sales tactic.


1 person likes this
Posted by Headline
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 31, 2014 at 5:06 am

Almanac: Sorry, I should add that I don't think it is intentional on your part -- not at all. I commend your attempt to foster an active dialogue on this subject. I do think that you have been balanced and I felt that your own endorsement was balanced. But, I just feel that your generosity with space can have its downside and ken be levered by both sides to some degree. Thanks for being a great resource for our community.


6 people like this
Posted by Dr. Bernstein is CORRECT
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 31, 2014 at 10:59 am

October 26, 2014

Dear Willows Neighbors:

I would like to share with you some facts regarding Measure
M, the ballot initiative that proposes to limit the amount
of office space developed under the Downtown Specific Plan
(“DSP”). I am urging you to vote YES.

In 1968, I moved to the Willows and earned both a Ph.D. and
an MBA at Stanford. A business consultant, I was appointed
by Governor Brown to the California Special Education
Commission for seven years and I qualified as a financial
expert in a variety of legal cases. I have been active in
local issues for many years and, a year ago, I was elected
to a seat on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board.
Critics of Measure M are able to find fault with it because
it has taken on a near-impossible task: repairing a deeply
flawed DSP. Many of the ills attributed to the initiative,
however, are fabrications calculated to confuse voters.
For example, as one of the directors of the fire district,
I know first hand (but unofficially!) that the initiative
will not have a detrimental effect on the district,
contrary to critics’ allegations. The district’s plans to
remodel its downtown Station 6 are proceeding normally and
are approvable as is, without a change in zoning.
Similarly, critics have argued that Measure M would hurt
our schools. That might be true if DSP housing generates
only one student or less for every seven units. More
likely, the units will result in more students, causing a
financial loss for our schools. In any case, the point is
irrelevant because Measure M does not address housing.
In general, the DSP is a financial loser and will result in
massive negative impacts to the city’s finances. We
residents will have to subsidize it through our general
fund, as will most of our special districts. Though I
spent time analyzing the DSP from a financial standpoint
when it was first proposed, the conclusion cited is that of
the city’s own financial analyst (see the city’s website,
Web Link, p. 3):
The plan therefore could result in a negative impact
to the General Fund without inclusion of approximately
80 hotel rooms (varying based on quality level and
nightly rates). Upon build-out, proposed development
under the Draft Specific Plan without any hotels could
result in General Fund losses of approximately
$250,000 annually (in 2009 dollars).

The large hotel (300 rooms) that was assumed in the
original analysis produced $1.5 million of the $2.2 million
Letter to Willows Neighbors re YES on Measure M, 10/28/14, p. 2
Cost of Letter Contributed by Charles D. Bernstein as In-Kind Donation to SaveMenlo, FPC #1357780
general fund net revenue (before the cost of building a
parking garage). That amounts to $13.44 per sq. ft. The
small hotel (80 rooms) produced $0.4 million, or a average
of $9.37, for a total of $1.9 million derived from the two
hotels. Now, unless Measure M passes, no large hotel can
be built because the only feasible sites for a large hotel
are being utilized for the currently proposed Stanford and
Greenheart office projects. There are no plans for a small
hotel.

In the plan, retail uses contributed a net of $3.63 per sq.
ft. to the city’s general fund, while office space
contributed less than a third of that ($1.12 per sq. ft.).
The gap was even larger when the cost of the parking garage
was factored in ($3.02 vs. $0.42). Office space generates
substantially more income for a developer, but allowing
developers to displace hotels and retail uses for office
uses costs taxpayers. Market-rate housing, incidentally,
generated only $.38 per sq. ft. and subsidized housing
resulted in a loss of $.18 per sq. ft. (All calculations
and data are available from cbernstein@headsup.org.)
The planners who wrote the DSP promised economic benefits
to the city, but failed to provide mechanisms to ensure
that the plan would be implemented as envisioned. That is
what Measure M proposes to remedy.
Development today is so encumbered by obligations to
“social justice” that it impoverishes communities, rather
than improves them, as it did a generation ago. Jobs used
to be an asset for a community; now, they are a liability
because they raise the requirement for “affordable”
(subsidized) housing, which means that new tax revenues are
lower than the per-capita average and new residents are
being subsidized by existing residents. Government
agencies clamor for more funding to meet the needs of
growth and, because of lower per-capita revenues, they must
raise taxes, just as Menlo Park instituted a utilities tax
several years ago. The only type of development that makes
economic sense today must generate a second revenue stream
(such as hotel tax or sales tax) in addition to property
tax. In sum, much of the growth that we hope will improve
our local economies makes the middle class worse off.
Measure M will mitigate the losses generated by the DSP.

Please join me in voting YES on Measure M. If you would
like to assist the campaign, contact WWW.SAVEMENLO.ORG.


5 people like this
Posted by 35 year Menlo Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 31, 2014 at 11:11 am

Dr. Charles Bernstein writes very well, and makes excellent points. This seals the deal. Voting YES on M.


8 people like this
Posted by Legal Counsel
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 31, 2014 at 11:29 am

Twenty year resident alleges: "Unfortunately, if Measure M passes, the current Stanford plans and benefits for 500 ECR will likely go away."

You have no basis for this guess. Characteristic of the no-sayers on M is to guess and threaten what the developers "might" do in retaliation if Measure M passes. The developers or supporters of these developers toss around worries and fears and speculations.

Hoping Measure M will prevail.


1 person likes this
Posted by fact checker
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 31, 2014 at 11:48 am

Regarding the fire station boundary. Is there any reason, other than a fervent desire to defeat Measure M, that neither fire board member Carpenter nor former fire board member and current council member Ohtaki did not push to put a boundary change on the ballot? I believe Bernstein and Fry that this isn't necessary, but if Carpenter believes so, why didn't he push to get it approved in this election?

Measure M allows for another ballot measure's provisions to prevail:
7.1. In the event that any other ballot measure is proposed for voter approval
on the same election ballot as this initiative measure, and that other
measure contains provisions which deal with the same or similar subjects,
it is the intent of the voters in adopting this measure that this measure shall
prevail over any such other ballot measure in its entirety to the extent that
this measure is approved and receives a greater number of votes for
approval than the other measure. In such case, the other measure is null
and void and no provision of the other measure shall become effective.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 31, 2014 at 11:48 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Unfortunately, if Measure M passes, the current Stanford plans and benefits for 500 ECR will likely go away."
"You have no basis for this guess"

As posted MANY times here is the basis for this fact:

Web Link

Pretty clear that "the current Stanford plans and benefits for 500 ECR will likely go away."

Document facts are important .


4 people like this
Posted by formerly undecided on M
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 31, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Let me start by saying I signed the petition to put Measure M on the ballot - but as I have done more research and reading - I have come to regret my signature. For what it's worth, I'll explain why I have switched viewpoints ...

First - I did not relish the idea of 60' tall five story buildings on ECR both aesthetically and also fearing the potential traffic. Much later I realized that the 60' tall buildings were in the DSP as far back as April 2010 - when Kelly Ferguson was mayor. Web Link quoting...

"Zoning guidelines would allow for tall mixed-use buildings, with an emphasis on retail and housing, on both sides of the street between downtown Menlo Park and the train station. Fanning out both north and south along El Camino, zoning would transition from resi- dential mixed-use (retail topped by apartments, for instance) to general mixed-use (retail topped by office, for instance). Housing would cluster around the down- town and station areas to create more of a sense of “vibrancy” in the city’s core, and to encourage people to use public transit.

Buildings could reach 60 feet high (up to five stories) on both sides of the street between Oak Grove and Menlo avenues, and on Stanford-owned land along the east side of El Camino Real, from Ravenswood Avenue south to San Francisquito Creek. Those buildings would be broken up by frequent stretches of open space, including major gaps accessible to the public at Middle and Cam- bridge avenues. They would have to be set back from the street by at least 15 feet, and in some cases more, opening up a generous side- walk — a major improvement from current conditions, where the sidewalk is often occluded by poles and other impediments, and sometimes vanishes altogether.

Strict architectural guidelines would require varied building mass- ing, with upper stories stepped back from the facade. The regulations would prevent a sort of contiguous, imposing wall from forming along El Camino in either the vertical or horizontal direction, according to city planners.

..."

I've been walking on streets with 5 story buildings (Park Boulevard, Lytton in Palo Alto) -- it's not that bad. I accept five story buildings.

Second, I know that the original vision was for hotel space on ECR. But philosophically, is it legal for a city to tell a landowner (i.e. Stanford) what to do with their land. The city can zone residential or mixed or commercial - but I don't think that it's reasonable for the city to demand a specific type of business be built. Who assumes the risk.

I note that there are currently two hotels on Stanford land that contribute 60-70% of revenues to Menlo Park (Stanford Park and Rosewood) - but does it make business sense for Stanford to build yet another hotel? I don't know - but it seems logical to me that Stanford would want to mitigate risks by diversifying what kind of commercial buildings they are involved in.

I'm glad to see the Marriott Residences project up for approval - and hope it goes smoothly.

Third - flexibility and timeliness moving forward. Eisenhower said "I find plans to be useless - but planning is indispensable." My experience doing almost four decades of product development square with Eisenhower's aphorism. Plans are a work in progress - they evolve and you need flexibility and speed to address issues.

Measure M's language regarding needing voter approval for any changes that "frustrate" - is wrong. Elect the council people that represent your viewpoint -- and let them push process. Do I want every resident of Menlo Park to become an urban planner/building inspector.

We've invested $1.8M into the DSP and Vision - with professional planners. I don't want to see every zoning ordinance put to a vote by the general population. I don't envision every resident o Menlo Park becoming an urban planner/building inspector.

Regarding "It all so simple". I don't think so. This is very complicated stuff. Greenheart invested close to $50M just for their 7 acres of land -- they'll probably go through another $70M or so to buildout. Am I surprised they spent $200k to try to win this election. No.

In the words of H L Mencken "For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong."

I'm voting no on M


8 people like this
Posted by Jay Mayer
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 31, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Mr. Carpenter, that letter does not preclude anything. It's simply posturing my Stanford, like a hurt child. The word "likely" even if true, actually could be 50.1% chance.

If Menlo Park gets three better council members voted in next month, by replacing Keith, Ohtaki, and Cline with the good candidates Combs, Duriseti, and Fergusson, things will improve.


5 people like this
Posted by Considerate Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 31, 2014 at 12:57 pm

I also very reluctantly signed the petition to get this M thing on the ballot.

Now after reading through all this mess of back and forth messages, and the well-reasoned letter by Chuck Bernstein, I will vote for measure M. Glad the measure M did get on the ballot. Decisions by the majority of citizens here is better than a substandard biased city council. Yes, elections cost money, but it's better than the council making a mistake and better than the council being purchased. So, yes on M.


5 people like this
Posted by No on M, and this helped!
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 31, 2014 at 3:44 pm

One of the challenges I have had with the M supporters is presuming a pre-defined outcome from the vote and then speculating on implications. That is all that Mr. Bernstein is doing. No one is ready to break ground either way on M so to base an M opinion on this being a certainty is a mistake. The key issue to me is this: The final outcome will still be one involving additional discussions, consideration of issues, and compromise, and I am fine if the process takes us there. Measure M essentially prohibits any such compromise as its sole purpose was to modify certain conditions of the Plan and all but one of those conditions can ONLY be modified with a vote of the citizens of Menlo Park. Even if one wanted to get to a great solution by tweaking office limitations proposed in M, it cannot happen without a vote, and a vote that will be filled with every bit as much rancor as this. SaveMenlo can't go to City Hall and change it with a wand. Their conditions become the law of the land and we'll likely wind up with gridlock for a long period of time, which some may suggest was the mission of SM. So we might have a good solution in our grasp and M will stop it cold. I prefer to vote in favor of the civic process, which of course has its own flaws, but it is participatory. I'd like to participate and avoid years of this sort of back and forth among residents.


2 people like this
Posted by No Easy Solutions
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 31, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Here is a balanced and alternative view to Mr. Bernstein's position as expressed by downtown merchants, Mr. Flegel and Mr. Draeger. It got buried in all these heated discussions about M.

Measure M raises concerns, Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Joan Thallenberger
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 31, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Measure M does indeed have concerns "No Easy Solution" but since our present Menlo City Council is not adequate, and doesn't represent the good of those citizens impacted by these projects, it is better to force matters to a vote. So again, my family and I favor Yes of Measure M.

There are many more concerns if M fails to pass.

Thanks.


6 people like this
Posted by A. Komersky
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 31, 2014 at 11:49 pm

Flegel and Draeger's text was not well-balanced. It said very little. It just expressed concern. and had baseless assertions. "The biggest concern is that if Measure M passes, we'll likely see continued empty parcels along El Camino, possibly for many more years". They have no idea! Why "likely"? Why "years"?


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 1, 2014 at 6:24 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Komersky ask Why "likely"? Why "years"?

Because the multiple signers of the Flegel and Draeger letter represent over a century of investment in and business in Menlo Park. They are experts in what it takes for a business to succeed in Menlo Park. And we should all be thankful for both their investments and their sound advice.


3 people like this
Posted by It is so simple
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 1, 2014 at 6:37 am

It is all so simple.

Just follow the money. Who is supporting the No on Measure M campaign? It is the developers; the developers who want to control the development in Menlo Park, and don't give a damn about the quality of life for the Menlo Park residents.

Look at the funding of the 3 incumbents, Keith, Ohtaki and Cline. The developers are just pouring funds into their coffers. David Bohannon even sponsored Keith's "kick off" party. If re-elected we surely know how she will vote don't we?

It is so simple.

Vote Yes on Measure M... keep our quality of life in Menlo Park

Do not vote for any of the incumbents.. they are all influenced greatly by all the developer funding for their campaigns.

(one should note that Dreager's and Flegel represent a major force in town. How else could these two people manage to keep BevMO from locating on Santa Cruz -- I quit shopping at Draegers after that event)


Again it is so Simple

Vote Yes on Measure M

Do not vote for any incumbent... they are responsible for this mess



Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 1, 2014 at 8:34 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

simple:

what an apt moniker for you.

It's not "simple"

Measure M is all so stupid. It's a stupid, simplistic response to a very complex problem.

Vote NO on M


4 people like this
Posted by B.J. Bailey
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 1, 2014 at 9:11 am

Flegel and Draeger are plain business owners, and that far from qualifies them as "experts". They are not experts, nor are they experts on El Camino Real, pedestrian safety, bike management, Allied Arts, open space determinations. You will call them experts only if they agree with you. They are not experts and buy Aunt Mabel qualifies to write a better article.


4 people like this
Posted by B.J. Bailey
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 1, 2014 at 9:40 am

"….and this helped" posted a message "which of course has its own flaws, but it is participatory. I'd like to participate and avoid years of this sort of back and forth among residents.' Measure M is the participation you want.

Your participation does NOT avoid going back and forth among residents. Our present city council is not a voting booth and cannot truly represent both the voting majority, nor what's in the best interests of Menlo Park. You people act like a simple election is the worst thing in the world. It is not. Having runaway inappropriately designed projects which clog up El Camino and produce safety hazards to pedestrians and cars is a disaster. A few City Council members are being purchased and cannot get themselves of being stuck in Greenhearts mud. Follow the money. The voting majority should decide. We've waited this long, so let's get it right by guiding the council and having Measure M in place so the council is not persuaded and overruled by corporate money.

YES on measure M.


1 person likes this
Posted by and this helped
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2014 at 10:17 am

B.J. -- First -- you refer to "you people" -- to whom exactly is that addressed? The rest of your post probably does not even merit a response but seems you support a process where a ballot initiative can be written in secret by an unnamed Sacramento attorney without any request for input (from you or me). Do you think see that this attorney is the "voting majority", to use your phrase? Further, it would seem that you were ok with the scare tactics used by SaveMenlo to get busy people to sign the ballot (note those who are now expressing regret at having done so, in addition to those now saying that SM misled voters about them being supporters). You also must really enjoy all the sales tactics and fact bending of this pre-election process. You seem to be saying that this is exactly how you would like Menlo Park to be managed going forward for all of us because that process is how we get to the right outcome for Menlo Park. Thanks for representing the view of SaveMenlo so eloquently.


4 people like this
Posted by B.J. Bailey
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 1, 2014 at 11:31 am

Who in the HELL cares who authored a Measure if the Measure is needed and has merit? Measure M is needed and has merit. Input from you or me? Just how many Measures or Propositions have had input from you? NONE.

The San Jose Mercury News doesn't check with you before publication. You either agree with what is written and vote appropriately.

If you wanted a better Measure M, then you should have authored it.

The Measure M people did NOT use scare tactics, and it is so wonderful that a group of citizens cares about Menlo Park and our children, and this save menlo group sees that these developers have convinced a partially weak city council to allow imposition of projects not best suited for Menlo Park. Unless M passes, there will be more excessive uncontrolled traffic. Web Link

It is the group unwisely opposed to M who used deceitful language, gave mistruths, and in essence accepted money from the developers. A few members on the council have a conflict of interest, and need to be replaced with Combs, Fergusson, and Duriseti.

YES ON M.


1 person likes this
Posted by and this REALLY helps
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2014 at 11:48 am

B.J. -- Keep it coming! Money cannot buy all the votes you and your profane rants are steering toward a NO vote or reminding why NO is the only way to vote.


1 person likes this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Nov 1, 2014 at 11:50 am

The Measure M advocate who approached to ask me to sign grossly misrepresented what M actually says. How many who signed or may vote, have not actually read M?

And the fact that M was finalized without public review/opportunity for comment is really problematic.

If it passes, nothing can be changed - even if everyone agrees that something needs to be corrected -- absent another election with a majority yes vote. M supporters; please step out of attack mode for a moment and reflect on these implications.

If you don't like the council; then vote against them. But the negative implications of M are far-reaching and long-lasting.


4 people like this
Posted by B.J. Bailey
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 1, 2014 at 12:11 pm

So Observer misinterpreted the text Measure M and wanted it on the Ballot. Blame yourself, but you made the right decision.

Really Helps calls honesty "profane". There was no profanity in my message. You meant to post "profound".

So typical of the no on m B.S. is alleging "nothing can be changed". Not true. There is latitude for the Council, but if they make a mistake, then there is a remedy. This remedy takes into account the wishes of all of Menlo Park. Our present Council has a difficult time with true representation.

All of you should be delighted that we have a chance to vote on M. Worst case scenario = M fails to pass. Worst case scenario = our Council stays with the present members.


Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Nov 1, 2014 at 12:20 pm

"BJ" Of course I did NOT sign Measure M.

But it troubles me that if I had, it's a "gottcha" from the perspective of a Measure M supporter. (I'm no longer a resident of MP, so would not have signed in any event - the gross misrepresentation by the M supporter shilling for signatures was my key point of concern).

Do you really think it is appropriate to try to fool MP residents into getting M on the ballot and voting for it?


Like this comment
Posted by Really Helps
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Profane yes and hardly profound. It is actually sad how little it appears you know about this measure and the details. Observer is exactly correct. If you had done any work at all BJ you would know that the council has no lattitude at all for modifying even a single word of all but one of the provisions that M brings to the table. Zero lattitude for Council, you, me, SaveMenlo, anyone!!! Any change requires a FULL VOTE of the citizens of Menlo Park. How long do you think that restrictions lasts BJ? It lasts forever.

Pls re-read Observer's note. It is spot on. The fact that you suuport the tactics of misrepresentation in the ballot process also speaks volumes for your point of view.

I suggest you study the details and then engage in a meaningful dialogue.


4 people like this
Posted by Nancy B.
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 1, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Anyone thought that these new big projects will take business away from Santa Cruz Avenue ? Many of the store there are hurting for business. That Pendleton sweater place on El Camino Real was never busy and now closed.


Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Nov 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Nancy B - Can you please articulate how the "new big projects" to which you refer would actually take business away from Santa Cruz Ave? Isn't it possible that the projects possible/consistent with the Specific Plan would actually bring more customers with money to spend?

I am all for appropriate balance. That's why I am opposed to Measure M and blighted vacant lots.


4 people like this
Posted by B.J. Bailey
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm

You failed to do diligence Mr. Observer, so you have sour grapes. Understandable. Irrespective of you letting yourself down, you did the right thing by helping Measure M get on the ballot. You afraid of knowing what the majority of citizens want? Now Menlo Park has a chance to VOTE on Measure M.


And as per the measure M, if the council exceeds its authority, a new vote will be a much better representation of what Menlo wants. If Measure M then needs modification later, so be it. The Council can make a mistake which costs our city much more than the cost of a new election.


4 people like this
Posted by Art Greenfield
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 1, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Let's turn those vacant lots into beautiful parks. This probably won't produce heavy traffic on El Camino. I'd like parks instead of big buildings and heavy traffic.


Like this comment
Posted by Voting No
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Nancy: That is a fair question but I think that a more vibrant area generally will lift the entire area through more demand and traffic, including making landlords on Santa Cruz more reasonable on rents. In fact, many merchants seemed to have banded together to voice their support to a NO vote for that reason. Thank you for bringing a reasonable point to the table!

as to my experience with the petition, as someone who knew many of he details of M, I was fairly appalled at the way it was pitched -- clearly intended to not include balance or details, it was pure fright tactics, along with encouragements to not worry about the details since signing "just gets it on the ballot"


Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Nov 1, 2014 at 12:50 pm

"BJ" I am concerned that you can misread short, clear statements and reach the wrong conclusion twice. For the third time: I did not sign Measure M.

Respectfully, how do you expect to establish credibility? Convince us that you have actually read and understand Measure M?

The standard set forth in Measure M which would require a vote is not "if the council exceeds its authority..." as you assert. Please do read the Measure itself.


Like this comment
Posted by one more time
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 1, 2014 at 1:00 pm

BJ -- just to try to help one more time. There will not be any chance for the council to "exceed its authority" on any of the meaningful matters. It is important for you to understand that. The council has zero authority in those matters since M was drafted to require that those matters go to a vote. This delays and stalls for years any progress, which many believe was exactly the intent of this language drafted in isolation by one person.



4 people like this
Posted by Nancy B.
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 1, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Strange that downtown struggling businesses on Santa Cruz would think that competition nearby in the same city would possibly increase their business. Newer stores with good parking will detract from the older stores. No matter how this M thing got on the ballot, it's good that it did so that voters get the chance to decide. After all, this is the reason we vote, so everyone go and vote on everything.


1 person likes this
Posted by Downtown
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 1, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Nancy: perhaps you take a look at the merchants who signed on to that letter and stop in and ask them. I think they believe that they have quality oferings but not enough traffic and that the blight on ECR detracts from further investment by anyone, which may be right. But I suggest going to the source and ask them directly.


Like this comment
Posted by formerly undecided on M
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 1, 2014 at 3:20 pm

@Art Greenfield

I like open space as much as the next guy - but the reason that Stanford and Greenheart are not being bought out by POST or the city of Menlo Park is cost.

Greenheart invested $46.5M for their 7 acres. Stanford's 8.4 acres is probably worth north of $60M.

Menlo Park isn't going to cough up $100M for non revenue producing opens space.

So Greenheart is into this for almost $50M. Close to $$1M per year in property taxes on the land alone. If the bud out 200k sq ft of offices and 200k sq ft of residential - at $300/sq ft - that's another $120M.

So Greenheart will invest close to $200M in this project.

This is deep pocket and risky business.


4 people like this
Posted by Land Use Attorney
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 1, 2014 at 6:42 pm

From The Almanac - Web Link


Re Measure M: I am a retired land use attorney who has worked in this area since the 1960s. I have worked with several land use initiatives.

The anti-M claim that M is confusing and too restrictive is dishonest. It is neither.

In truth M changes only four specific items in the 2012 specific plan. All else is left entirely under council control. A public vote is required only for those four changes, nothing else. For proof, voters need only read the impartial summary of M in the voters' handbook, which every voter has just received in the mail. Its author is the Menlo Park city attorney.

M's four changes are:

• No single office project may exceed 100,000 square feet.
• Total net new office space may not exceed 240,820 square feet.
• Total net new commercial space may not exceed the amount stated by the council itself in the specific plan (were they not truthful?).
• A commonsense definition of open space, which excludes upper floor balconies and rooftops.

The first three items can be increased if voters approve.
That is it. Confirmed in the impartial summary by the city attorney. See the voters' handbook.

Palo Alto passed such an initiative in 1965 to protect its parks. For 49 years it has done the job, neither confusing nor too restrictive, with only one contested election.
Unable to win by defending their aggressive pro-development policies, anti-M spends obscene amounts of money to deceive the voters. Voters should not be deceived.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 1, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

land use attorney:

you clearly aren't a land use attorney as you clearly don't understand the constraints of Measure M. With on exception, Measure M requires ANY change to go to the voters. That's hardly four little things. Have you actually read the measure? Or, are you the one who wrote it that hasn't the courage to post under your own name?

Nice try.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 2, 2014 at 7:26 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Interested readers should note that the Impartial Analysis (which is legally limited to 500 words) OMITS any mention of the following sections of Measure M:

Sec 3.1 defines the Specific Plan Area as the 15 July 2008 Vision Plan Map which includes all of the parcels shown on that map and is “hereby adopted by the voters”.

3.2 .1 amends the Specific Plan definition of open space map and the amended language is “hereby adopted by the voters”.

3.2.2 adopts the Specific Plan definition of private open space and is “hereby adopted by the voters”.

3.2.3 adopts the Specific Plan definition of common outdoor open space and is “hereby adopted by the voters”.

3.2.4 adopts a Specific Plan standard regarding open space requirements and is “hereby adopted by the voters.”

3.2.6 amends a revised Specific Plan standard re qualifying open space and the amended language is “hereby adopted by the voters”.

3.3.1 A Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.

Plus the four items listed above by"land lawyer"

and a 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.

To say Measure M only covers four things is simply false. And a false statement on a zoming ordinance by a "land lawyer" who knows better is a lie.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 2, 2014 at 8:21 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Land use attorney:

[portion removed. Make it about the topic, not another poster.]

I've read Measure M, the DSP and the Wise report. Have you? I'm not at all confused. You clearly are. [Portion removed. Please point out your differences without attacking the other poster.]

I will vote NO on M.


4 people like this
Posted by Land Use Attorney
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 2, 2014 at 9:26 am

The reasons to VOTE YES on M keep accumulating.

Web Link

• Consultants proposal: Web Link

My assessment remains correct, and all citizens are strongly advised to vote YES on M.


4 people like this
Posted by Nancy B.
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 2, 2014 at 9:40 am

City with a bad agenda. This seals the deal for me. I will definitely vote YES ON M.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 2, 2014 at 9:43 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Nancy B - don't be swayed by allegations that have yet to be proved.
This is a common election eve ploy.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 2, 2014 at 9:44 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

land use:

your assessment is incorrect.

Citizens are strongly encouraged to vote NO on M.

Don't let 11th hour politics sway your good judgment about a deeply flawed measure.


3 people like this
Posted by Land Use Attorney
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 2, 2014 at 10:18 am

Menlo Voter, your assessment is incorrect and invalid, typical of those adverse to the best interests of Menlo Park.

We encourage all Menlo Park citizens to VOTE YES ON M.


4 people like this
Posted by Nancy B.
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 2, 2014 at 10:23 am

Peter Carpentir----- I am very much swayed by those foul allegations and some other information got in an e-mail and is quite credible or believable or whatever.

Leaves no choice than to say yes on measure M. Off to church now. Bye.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 2, 2014 at 10:27 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Allegations are just that allegations.

In politics this is called the October Surprise Maneuver - this one came just one day late.

Should I believe that you committed a crime just because someone said that you did?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 2, 2014 at 11:01 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

landuse:

please point out how my assessment is "invalid". Peter has posted the language of the measure which clearly shows your statements to be false. Repeating a lie isn't going to make it truth.

Who is "we" that encourages me to vote for a measure that is deeply flawed? Is that the royal "we" or do you represent someone?

Measure M is a simplistic, misguided, poorly written attempt to lock Menlo Park into no growth. You know it and I know, yet you continue to lie about it and say it isn't so.

Measure M is a Mistake.

Vote NO on M.


5 people like this
Posted by News Flash YES ON M
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 2, 2014 at 1:04 pm

“A fundamental precept of this nation’s democratic electoral process is that the government may not ‘take sides’ in election contests or bestow an unfair advantage on one of several competing factions. A principal danger feared by our country’s founders lay in the possibility that the holders of governmental authority would use official power improperly to perpetuate themselves, or their allies, in office....”
California Supreme Court, Stanson v. Mott, 1976


Appears that Menlo Park didn't follow this ruling and Menlo took sides.


Recently released email records indicates that Menlo Park likely hired a consultant to coordinate a PR campaign against Measure M.

His scope of work includes


• Developing key messages against Measure M and countering positive messages that favor Measure M
• Ghostwriting letters to the editor and op-eds
• Fostering “friendlies” to speak at Council meetings and post on Nextdoor and other social media sites
• Developing talking points for Council members and “friendlies”
• Cultivating personal contacts at newspapers to achieve positive editorials
• Preparing Council members and staff for “editorial board meetings, one-on-one reporter meetings, and Chamber/school district presentations
• Creation of an “informational/educational” web page on the Initiative
• The campaign may have begun as early as March of this year
• The campaign has been secret from the public until now

The City has yet to respond to questions about the campaign

For More info go to Save Menlo:
Web Link

Consultants proposal is here at: Web Link
Excerpts from the proposal are on the reverse side

Bet the City Council is trying to cover up their mistakes by encouraging measure m to not pass.

Now it's even more important to VOTE YES ON M


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 2, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Go ahead, vote yes on m. Cut your nose off to spite your face over an allegation. An 11th hour one at that. Brilliant.


5 people like this
Posted by Sue Robertson
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Nov 2, 2014 at 2:20 pm

I really like this impartial analysis at shape the future. Glad I read this before voting.

Web Link

Yes on this Measure M looks like the best solution.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Sue:

read the Wise report. THAT was a thorough and impartial analysis. I think you'll find it is in our best interests not to vote for M.

M is a HUGE Mistake.

Vote NO on M


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 2, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I really like this impartial analysis at shape the future."

You probably prefer Clift Notes to the real book and comic books to books with words but that is not the way to be a responsible voter.

Interested readers should note that the Impartial Analysis (which is legally limited to 500 words) omits any mention of the following sections of Measure M:

Sec 3.1 defines the Specific Plan Area as the 15 July 2008 Vision Plan Map which includes all of the parcels shown on that map and is “hereby adopted by the voters”.

3.2 .1 amends the Specific Plan definition of open space map and the amended language is “hereby adopted by the voters”.

3.2.2 adopts the Specific Plan definition of private open space and is “hereby adopted by the voters”.

3.2.3 adopts the Specific Plan definition of common outdoor open space and is “hereby adopted by the voters”.

3.2.4 adopts a Specific Plan standard regarding open space requirements and is “hereby adopted by the voters.”

3.2.6 amends a revised Specific Plan standard re qualifying open space and the amended language is “hereby adopted by the voters”.

3.3.1 A Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.

3.3.2 Another Commercial Use Classification is hereby adopted by the voters.

3.3.3 Another Commercial Use Classification which includes “Financial institutions providing retail banking services. This classification includes only those institutions engaged in the on-site circulation of money” is hereby adopted by the voters.

3.3.4 The foregoing, voter-adopted Commercial Use Classifications are hereby collectively referred to in this measure as “Office Space” and this language is “hereby adopted by the voters”

3.3.6. For purposes of this provision, all phases of a multi-phased project proposal shall be collectively considered an individual project.

Do you really want to rely on a comic book version to inform your vote?


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