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Menlo Park mayor postpones discussion of controversial lobbying firm

Original post made on Nov 8, 2017

Whether Menlo Park will hire a lobbyist to represent the city in Washington, D.C., and whether the City Council will approve recommendations to hire a lobbying firm that's sparked a widespread local outcry, remains to be seen.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 11:19 AM

Comments (7)

2 people like this
Posted by In other news
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 8, 2017 at 11:31 am

Last night a Menlo Park City Councilmember announced they will have a continuing conflict in deciding matters related to Facebook development in the City of Menlo Park.

City Councilmember Catherine Carlton recused herself from the Facebook project on the City Council agenda, explaining she now performs consulting work for a company doing business with the Facebook. She did not provide any greater detail as to the conflict.

3 people like this
Posted by Nanc
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 8, 2017 at 1:52 pm

Another tidbit from last nights meeting was the introduction of 'Interim' Community Services Direct Derek Schweigart. Community Services Director Cherise Brandell no longer works for the City as of last week... [part removed.]

9 people like this
Posted by Jen Wolosin
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Nov 8, 2017 at 6:14 pm

Jen Wolosin is a registered user.

While my original alarm about this item was a spur-of-the-moment knee-jerk reaction after just having read the Staff Report and seeing "Mercury Public Affairs" and "Bryan Lanza", I have since calmed down a bit and come to better understand the complexities around this issue. While the thought of this particular consultant/firm remains deeply troubling, for many reasons, the greater issue that has surfaced for me is the strategy itself of MP planning to hire a lobbyist on its own with the hopes that a mere $96k would be sufficient to influence an administration that dislikes California, and especially hates sanctuary cities (Menlo Park is one).

While it's great that the public stopped the hiring of Mercury Public Affairs/Bryan Lanza (at least for the time being), it is incumbent on us, the citizens of Menlo Park, to let the City Council, and through them, the Staff, know what we want. It seems clear that most don't want Mercury/Bryan Lanza. However, we all want infrastructure dollars and traffic relief. I think many of us would like to better understand the regional/multi-jurisdictional efforts taking place, or that should take place around these issues. How does Menlo Park fit into those? And what is the timeline of these projects/funding? As the article above states, Adina Levin in her email to City Council has very well-articulated thoughts on these aspects of the issue (Web Link).

My "ask" to City Council is to indeed conduct a study session/public hearing/whatever it's called, in order to educate the public and itself about these bigger issues. Perhaps the City Council and Staff already's clear most of the public don't.

At this stage, I would encourage others to consider channeling their efforts towards telling our elected officials what we want, rather than just telling them what we don't want (though it was very useful in getting the item off last night's agenda). That way, we can all be most effective and our city can truly reflect the will of the people.

2 people like this
Posted by Clunge
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 9, 2017 at 8:36 am

How about a lobbyist to get someone to clear out the creek to prevent flooding at the chaucer bridge and university bridge? or is that not sexy enough?
same thing, multiple agencies needed, but at least it's an easier fix.
in terms of road fixes, we could slow down on the large developments that are making our city more congested - any 'fix' we get started on now wont be worth a damn in 10 - 15 yrs.

3 people like this
Posted by James Collins
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 12, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Hiring the Mercury firm as lobbyist is a ridiculous idea. Hiring people close to the Trump administration or people
who worked on his campaign is a reflection on our city and its leaders. Mr Trump has been a discrace to the Presidency and our country. He is not a man of integrity,honor or morality. As such, our city leaders should not lower themselves to the Trump lobby level by selecting the Murcury firm.

5 people like this
Posted by Interesting
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 13, 2017 at 11:29 am

Why did Kirsten Keith approve the agenda with the Mercury lobbyist on it if she was only going to pull the item after the public discovered it?

4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 13, 2017 at 6:48 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"Why did Kirsten Keith approve the agenda with the Mercury lobbyist on it if she was only going to pull the item after the public discovered it?"

Because she hoped it would go unnoticed?

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