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Councilwoman's trip to Ireland coincided with Facebook executives' presence

Original post made on Sep 28, 2018

Amid false rumors that Menlo Park Councilwoman Kirsten Keith traveled to Galway, Ireland, last year with Facebook executives, The Almanac spoke with various people involved to find out what happened.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 28, 2018, 1:23 PM

Comments (15)

Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 28, 2018 at 3:53 pm

"Happy coincidence." Just one big happy family Facebook and MP city officials.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 28, 2018 at 8:07 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Yeah. Sure. BS. Keith needs to go.

Posted by national pride
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 29, 2018 at 3:32 pm

Padraic O Conaire's works were primarily written in the Irish language. He is regarded by many as the first professional Gaelic prose writer. The unveiling of this statue by President Michael D. Higgins was a moment of national pride.

Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 29, 2018 at 6:21 pm

national pride - "The unveiling of this statue by President Michael D. Higgins was a moment of national pride."

And an excuse for MP official to meet surreptitiously with Facebook execs.

Posted by OK
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 29, 2018 at 8:07 pm

Correct, but there was no meeting between MP officials and FB execs. Both parties came to meet the President of Ireland separately.

I don't know if Keith was ever on a Facebook subcommitte, but why not just setup a meeting in Menlo Park?

Posted by henry fox
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 29, 2018 at 8:39 pm

henry fox is a registered user.

The president didn't change his suit or tie for the "two supposedly different days" these photos were taken. hmmmmm.

Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 30, 2018 at 12:32 pm

Skeptical is a registered user.

We need more evidence than Jim Cogan's statement to convince. Henry fox has pointed out an obvious disparity in the story. Without real evidence we are asked to believe Cogan's statement that Keith's trip was "postponed because the Galway government was working on its budget." Instead, the Almanac should have included confirmation from the Galway government that they 1) were working on the city's budget and 2) that Keith did in fact postpone her visit for that reason. Even then, I probably would not buy it as I no longer trust Keith. She has too many excuses when someone questions her actions. Unfortunately, once trust is lost it's almost impossible to regain.

Posted by Kate Bradshaw - Almanac Reporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 30, 2018 at 1:24 pm

Kate Bradshaw - Almanac Reporter is a registered user.

Hi Skeptical -- as it mentions in the story, I actually spoke with two of the three people who were there, in addition to Cogan. While I appreciate the criticism, as you probably know, The Almanac has limited resources and, especially during election season, it is very challenging and excessively time-consuming to chase down every rumor posted on Town Square. Could you please provide compelling evidence, with a name attached, describing why you believe this demands further reporting, or what specifically I may have gotten wrong? My email address is

Posted by I'm just saying...
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 30, 2018 at 1:24 pm

In other news....

"Facebook Ordered to Comply With U.S. Tax Probe of Irish Unit"

Web Link

Offshoring of money-earning assets to Ireland is a tactic used by many tech companies.

This skedoodle may have already been settled.

There are many articles on the topic.

Posted by misinformed
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 30, 2018 at 2:36 pm

Kate, the problem with your story is that you have the dates wrong. Based on news articles and the time stamp on this similar tweet (Web Link posted right after the event, we know the event was on Nov 23, not the 24th or 25th. Once a tweet is posted, there is no way to edit the content of the date. Keith composed her tweet the morning of the 25th. Tweets from the Galway locals will have more accurate time stamps because tourists don't always have internet access while traveling.

We appreciate that you have limited resources, but Facebook conflict is the only issue of this election. The rumor you referenced here is that Keith has some conflict but Combs may not. You can follow up by asking Schmidt what he's been telling people, and ask him about how many homes he's visited to share his ideas. You could then pass Schmidt's concerns past the city attorney to determine the validity. As the self-described "integrity" candidate, we expect Combs will set the record straight if the voters have been misinformed.

Posted by ethics
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2018 at 5:20 pm

The Fail Political Practices Commission can look into this. Drew Combs could be fined by the FPPC if he is telling voters that Keith has a conflict voting on Facebook issues. If you have heard this false rumor from Combs or his supporters, you can make an anonymous complaint.

FPPC Hotline: 1-866-275-3772 *2
Mondays & Tuesdays: 9am - 12pm
Wednesdays & Thursdays: 1pm - 4pm

Posted by FPPC Complaints
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2018 at 9:15 am

@ethics, are you sure you want to encourage FPPC complaints?

Please review the posting by @Representation for D2, asserting that Combs won’t be able to vote on the Mid Pen residential project.

The City Attorney has opinined otherwise.

@D2’’s post can be found at this link: Web Link

@ethics, under your logic can Keith be held responsible for this post with a call to the FPPC?

Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 1, 2018 at 9:32 am

Brian is a registered user.


Can we also assume that Keith will set the record straight on the misinformation that has been spread, mainly by a person who refuses to deny they are affiliated with he campaign, on the issue of Facebook recusal? Rumors that Combs would be forced to recuse himself on any development within 500 feet of a Facebook building? And other false and misleading information.

Posted by Kate Bradshaw - Almanac Reporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 1, 2018 at 10:31 am

Kate Bradshaw - Almanac Reporter is a registered user.

This story doesn't address potential conflicts for Combs, because that's a separate matter. (Stay tuned for more reporting on that, though.) I added clarification that the date the event occurred was Nov. 23. Thanks for the suggestion.

Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 1, 2018 at 1:11 pm

Skeptical is a registered user.

Hello Kate. The headline of this story makes it seem as though it was just a happy coincidence that Keith and Facebook executives were present at the meeting. Your article also starts by dismissing the "false rumors" about Keith traveling with Facebook executives. This gives the overall article a slant that dismisses the public's concerns. Given the misleading posts that we've already seen on Town Square, I would be doubly careful in any reporting that pertains to Keith.

While Keith may not have formally traveled with Facebook executives, she was in the same place at the same time. In short, I would have asked her tougher questions and drilled-in more. I also would have double-checked her statements more. I realize that you are busy, but pressing would help. Keith asserts that her presence along with the Facebook executives was merely a coincidence. You appear to accept her statements at face value. I consider it more likely that she learned that Facebook executives were going and she re-arranged her trip to be present at the same time. She's very tapped in so she could easily have found out that Facebook executives were going. For example, I heard from a very solid source that when at Cafe Zoe Keith likes to look over the Cafe's calendar to see who is meeting with whom. That's an example of how she finds out information.

Your article states, "Keith told The Almanac that the ceremony was open to the public, and there were no meetings held with Facebook officials there." First, meetings might have occurred outside of Galway. Then, I would have pressed on the definition of "meeting" as Keith could have had informal meetings or social interactions between Facebook executives and Keith. When Keith stated that no "meetings" occurred, she might have been referring to formal scheduled meetings.

I would also have double-checked Keith's statement with the Facebook executives who attended. I would have asked them if they had any private interaction with Keith. If so, I would have drilled on what they discussed. I would not allow Keith any wiggle room. The Nov 14 Council meeting had a Facebook Development topic that passed 4-0 with Carlton abstaining. Web Link Given human nature and how these types of events go, I find it very hard to believe that Keith and the Facebook executives didn't find some time to discuss city business.

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