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Menlo Park school board declines to oppose city's Measure V ballot measure

Original post made on Sep 9, 2022

In a divided decision, the Menlo Park City School District Board of Trustees will not take a stand against Measure V in the upcoming November election, steering clear of taking a strong position on the divisive initiative.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 9, 2022, 11:37 AM

Comments (95)

Posted by Michael Levinson
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 9, 2022 at 1:00 pm

Michael Levinson is a registered user.

This is a superb article, Angela. Thoroughly researched and presented in a thoughtful, balanced way. Thank you. I am extremely disappointed that the school board declined to adopt the excellent resolution opposing Measure V. Kudos to trustees Segrè and Ackerman for fighting the good fight. Measure V is bad for our city and bad for our schools, and I am aghast at the amount of misinformation going around about it.


Posted by MenloMom
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 9, 2022 at 1:17 pm

MenloMom is a registered user.

NO on Measure V. I would like to thank Members Ackerman and Segre for reminding the public about how zoning has been a tool to create and perpetuate inequalities in our communities.

The City's independent review of this measure is clear and unequivocal.
"To the extent that the Ballot Measure discourages, delays and/or prevents affordable housing to be provided in or near existing single-family areas throughout the entire city, it will function as a continuation of this historic use of strict land use controls to perpetuate unequal and unfair governmental aims by enforcing and “locking in” residential racial and economic segregation."

Menlo Park, we can do better! This is not who we are, or who we want to be. I recognize that the good citizens of Suburban Park are wanting to keep the character of the neighborhood. I like my neighborhood too! But a poorly designed measure like this can have broad impacts and repercussions, even if written with the best of intentions.

There is a proposed development at the end of my street that I had concern was outside of the scope of my neighborhood's infrastructure. I attended the Planning Commission meetings, and I was so impressed by the thoughtful, well researched citizens who served on those committees. There are channels to improve projects, scale them up/down, and work on transportation solutions. This measure, with no sunset date, is a dangerous alternative.

I hope my fellow citizens of Menlo Park will come together to vote NO on V. We are better than this.


Posted by Dawn1234
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 9, 2022 at 6:01 pm

Dawn1234 is a registered user.

I also wish the board would have decided to oppose Measure V formally. Also, I am glad that the opportunity for a public discussion of this issue were had. I'm glad that the historical use of zoning laws as tools of exclusion were brought up. That can't be decoupled from today's debate - regardless of whether you were here then or not. Caveat emptor. Those property value increases are the result of development. Greater housing needs are the consequence of development. To try to exempt a neighborhood from taking on this responsibility is, given history, wrong. Every time they Measure V says "safe neighborhood streets" they are suggesting that neighborhoods with multi-family/multi level income housing is less safe. High rents are a result of scarcity. Reducing locations for housing will increase scarcity.


Posted by Mary Gilles
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 9, 2022 at 8:37 pm

Mary Gilles is a registered user.

Measure V is not about housing. It is not about discrimination. It is not about racism though many would try to spin it that way. Measure V is about single family zoning and the school board was seriously overreaching to have it their agenda. Measure V is a wake up call to the homeowners of Menlo Park on 2 fronts: 1) Our well established and current rules of single family zoning can now be ignored due to the recent passage by our governor of SB 9 and SB 10. In the case of Menlo Park, single family zoning rules can now manipulated and controlled locally by a minimum of 3 votes on our city council. Parcels can be split and density increased on any single family zoned parcel in any neighborhood. That means ANY single family parcel. So the next time your neighbor sells their home, the new buyer could be a someone who will split the parcel and build more than one home; 2) Since Menlo Park was sued a few years ago and decided to avoid the suit by creating districts which allowed one council person per district, this meant every 4 years, a resident could only vote for one council member for their district. There are no more city-wide elections for council members. The unintended consequence is that a majority vote of council members could dictate something in your district even if your own district council member does not believe that is the right thing to do. So, 3 of our 5 council members (as in the current case of Suburban Park which has created Measure V) who are from other districts in Menlo Park can decide the fate of a district whose residents cannot vote them out in the next election. This is quite scary and Menlo Park residents have no recourse than to vote YES and pass Measure V to regain control over their properties. Thankfully, there are legal challenges to the state legislation of SB 9 and SB 10. Thankfully, Betsy Nash is up for re-election and challenged by Peter Ohtaki. VOTE YES on Measure V and Yes for Peter Ohtaki for District 4.


Posted by Running hard to stay in place
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 9, 2022 at 8:45 pm

Running hard to stay in place is a registered user.

Measure V requires a vote of the public for zoning changes to residential single family zones.

Nothing the planning commission does will be affected by this.

This would prevent the city council from doing some pretty extreme things and given the current council, that has become a concern.

Zoning changes are rare. The downtown specific plan had a lot of them and the Bohannon Gateway development created a whole new district. The developer spent years and millions of dollars personally lobbying and working with the planning staff to make sure that happened. It was presented to planning commission as a fait accompli.

Having been around this process for a long time, I find the points made by some others here offensively off topic, naive, disingenuous and/or virtue signaling.

Measure V is entirely appropriate.

Zoning changes to residential single family zones are a big deal and deserve a vote.

The city council has been too permissive of commercial over-development.

In fact, I strongly support the idea of another initiative to prohibit the city council from approving any projects which create a net housing deficit.


Posted by Dawn1234
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 9, 2022 at 8:49 pm

Dawn1234 is a registered user.

After reading the Color of Law, and attending the great presentation of more localized history, our zoning is solidly rooted in segregation efforts. That just is. This current effort may not find its motivation there, but they are fighting to preserve zoning tainted by racial segregation efforts.

Google the fight to prevent the bike/ped bridge from being rebuilt. It isn't the first time these neighborhoods have tried to push away Belle Haven. And ask why the town was threatened with a lawsuit that forced it to create districts.


Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 9, 2022 at 9:13 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Well said Mary,

Several of those opposed to Measure V seem to be afraid of giving any direct power to the voters and would rather have 3 people make unpopular decisions that bind communities that they do not represent. I find it sad that the opposition results to calling people names like NIMBY or worse racist for wanting to preserve the neighborhoods that they have helped build and maintain. Neighborhoods that are culturally and ethnically diverse.


Posted by MP_Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 9, 2022 at 11:01 pm

MP_Resident is a registered user.

Listen closely to the public comments and you’ll hear the real reason the board opted to not stake a position..money. With just a few more weeks of fundraising to go, OCC fundraising efforts are only at 20%. As public commenter Kim Yaeger (?) stated, she’s spoken to many parents who will not donate to the OCC this year if the board comes out against Measure V. Therein lies the rub.

Regardless of whether the school
Board should weigh in, this measure puts us decades behind in the progress of our city infrastructure and community relations. Freezing ourselves in time is not a vision. Putting the development of a gas station, an apartment building, a fire station, a restaurant etc..to a citizen vote each and every time someone wants to build something is laborious, costly, and asinine. Don’t slow the progress of our already waylaid city down with even more inefficiency. You’re draining valuable time and money that needs to be spent on revitalizing our downtown, filling important vacant positions in city government, offering competitive salaries, making our streets more safe for bikers and pedestrians…the list goes on and on.

As an aside…if Superintendent Burmeister doesn’t have a gig lined up post 12/22, let’s create one for him within the City of Menlo Park! He basically taught a Masterclass in strategic planning, resourcefulness and communication during the pandemic and I don’t see any of that coming out of our own salaried city positions these days. This measure has made it this far as a direct result of lack of vision and communication from the city of Menlo Park. Vote NO on Measure V this November and encourage our city administrators to start running this city proactively instead of reactively.


Posted by Menlo Lifestyle
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 10, 2022 at 7:56 am

Menlo Lifestyle is a registered user.

It’s no surprise that parents are withholding donations from an activist school board that supports massive changes to neighborhoods they love. No one wants rich funders and activists from outside Menlo telling them how they have to change. Measure V will pass easily.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 10, 2022 at 8:39 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Brian:

Yes, I'm opposed to giving direct power to the voters, especially on an issue as complicated as zoning regulations. Most people can't be bothered to pay attention and be involved in what is going on in the city, let alone inform themselves in the nuances of planning. And you think it is ok to have those same uninvolved and uniformed people voting on something complicated?

What happened after the DSP was passed is a perfect example. The process of putting together the DSP took SIX years. It was done in public, there were no "secret" meetings. The public had plenty of opportunity to be involved or at least inform themselves as to what the DSP was. Did they? NO! After it passed then suddenly everyone is an "expert" and they come up with Measure M. Thankfully, in that case, common sense prevailed and it was soundly defeated. If it had passed, we'd still be looking at abandoned car lots on ECR.

The voters of this city have repeatedly shown themselves to be unwilling to be informed or involved in city processes. I don't want those same people voting on something this complicated. Managing a city by initiative is a recipe for disaster. It is a blunt tool and ripe for unintended consequences. Our state is a perfect example.

I think SB9 and SB10 are bad law, poorly written, and will do nothing to "solve the problem", but Measure V does nothing to address the flaws inherent in those laws. If anything, Measure V will exacerbate the problems with those laws.

Vote NO on Measure V. It is poorly written and WILL have unintended consequences.


Posted by Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 10, 2022 at 9:22 am

Rob Silano is a registered user.

Thank you Menlo Park City School Board not taking a “ Board Position” on Measure V. No other elected board or council has taken such a stand in San Mateo County. I would prefer an individual stand by each member, keeping politics out of the school board’s exposure.


Your School Superintendent has taken a “ No on Measure V”, signing the ballot measure voting booklet augment and appearing in a media publication.

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief has taken a neutral stand. No other appointed government employee administrator has taken such a stand except the Ravenwood School District Superintendent. A School Superintendent taking such a stand, using his title and position. His unprofessional representation could affect future approvals of bond measures or contributions to the school foundation. I do not want to see this happen to our community, since our current board has done such a fine job in representing us.

Taken a position for or against should be on an individual basis as a resident or voter, not using his title as public government administrator.

Again, School Board, thank you. I will, my family, and friends will continue to support your students, parents, and your employees as in the past.


Posted by Mary Gilles
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 10, 2022 at 9:54 am

Mary Gilles is a registered user.

I agree with Mr. Silano's excellent comment. Local boards and district governance has always been non-partisan which enables them to focus on their core mission, leaving politics aside. The issue we have here is the state has stepped in and taken control of local zoning through its adoption of SB9 and SB10, which is an overreach of its constitutional powers.
The impact of Measure V will be to return the decision making power to voters who will be directly affected by zoning decisions that a non-responsive city council may wish to impose. The argument that voters are not to be trusted to make decisions flies in the face of the initiative process which is an important part of our state governance in California.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 10, 2022 at 10:18 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

“ Taken a position for or against should be on an individual basis as a resident or voter, not using his title as public government administrator.”

Why then has Director Silano and the rest of the Fire Board not censured the Fire Board President for signing the Argument for Measure V using his Fire Board title - particularly when Measure V would be very costly to the Fire District?


Posted by Menlo Lifestyle
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 10, 2022 at 10:27 am

Menlo Lifestyle is a registered user.

I’m appalled that our educational leaders would use their offices to wade into a political scum. If I’m a supporter of Measure V how do I deal with my children’s school? If it’s known that I’m a supporter do my children get less favorable treatment? I get it if there was a school bond measure on the ballot that the board and staff would advocate for that. But this zoning measure?

Why invite political tribalism to the local level? This is severely unprofessional and I hope the board will act to replace Superintendent Burmeister with a professional who will advocate for ALL of the parents of Menlo Park and not use his official position to create divisions. I can’t support the schools as long as he’s in charge, and I know many fellow parents who are disappointed in the same way.


Posted by kbehroozi
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 10, 2022 at 10:28 am

kbehroozi is a registered user.

Are people forgetting Measure M? The entire MPCSD school board aligned behind the No on M campaign in 2014, with board members signing the ballot argument + rebuttal.

Also aligned behind Measure M? Henry Riggs, John Boyle, and the city council. Web Link

Among the reasons cited:
Flawed signature gathering
Misrepresentations to the public
Support driven mostly from a single neighborhood
Costly litigation and taxpayer expense
Unintended and unexpected consequences

I found the quotes from the article about Measure M's defeat to be illuminating:

"The issue itself was complicated, and it wasn't made any easier by some of the campaign rhetoric that would have people believe that it was as simple as 'residents vs developers' or that 'you can't trust city hall,'" Mr. Boyle said. "Neither of those statements, of course, is true. The reality is that land use policy is complicated."

"Former planning commissioner Henry Riggs...noted that fewer people appear to have voted in favor of Measure M than signed the petition that qualified it for the ballot. "Save Menlo's aggressive style may have worked against them -- an emotional pitch works in politics, but voters also had access to facts that just didn't support M," he said."

Web Link

Measure V has no impact on either SB9 or SB10. There's no historical precedent for MP city councils rezoning R1 neighborhoods and the current council's approach to the housing element has not deviated from that tradition (no upzoning of single-family homes-just Flood School and some parking lots). I do not believe our single-family neighborhoods are in any danger of radical change, but I do find that Measure V needlessly complicates future land-use decisions and unfairly stymies a school district's current efforts to use their land for housing. It was bad policy in 2014 and it's bad policy now.


Posted by kbehroozi
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 10, 2022 at 11:43 am

kbehroozi is a registered user.

PS: despite the number of MPCSD families who supported Measure M in 2014, the MPAEF doesn't appear to have taken a noticeable hit during that era. Web Link

I understand from talking with friends that most residents in Suburban Park are worried about the impact of construction and additional traffic on their neighborhood while *still* supporting the concept of affordable housing for teachers or anyone else. That's totally understandable. I hope this experience also gives people more empathy for the Belle Haven neighborhood, which is now surrounded by much larger developments than what is proposed for Flood School.

I do think people can and should acknowledge the rational concerns of Menlo Park residents vis-a-vis development impacts to their neighborhoods and work to predict/mitigate those consequences as best we can by adding traffic calming, sidewalks and bike lanes, community-serving amenities and green space, ensuring multiple access points, etc.

But I don't believe that empathy and consideration for residents whose neighborhoods will evolve (as other neighborhoods in our city have done and will no doubt continue to do) should preclude taking a sensible stance on a bad measure with long-ranging consequences.

I will put a No on V sign in front of my house today
--because I believe our current flawed process will not be improved by ballot-box zoning,
--because I think that churches, schools, and the fire district should have the right to develop (comparatively) affordable workforce housing on their land without additional hurdles,
--and because I fervently believe that we have options to mitigate the impact of necessary housing development on existing neighborhoods and should *use* them.

My No on V stance is not personal, and as a Complete Streets Commissioner I will work hard to improve safety for our kids throughout the city–including Suburban Park, Belle Haven, and every other neighborhood. I know our city council will, too.


Posted by Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 10, 2022 at 4:19 pm

Rob Silano is a registered user.

Peter:

Chuck Bernstein and Marc Berman are both elected officials: on a different side on Measure V. Yet, MPCSD Superintendent is not. How many elected officials endorse candidates during an election, too many to count.


Posted by Stuart Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 13, 2022 at 4:01 pm

Stuart Soffer is a registered user.

Menlo Voter: Where's you get your expertise? When were you on the planning Commission? How many meetings did you attend?


Posted by Stuart Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 13, 2022 at 4:03 pm

Stuart Soffer is a registered user.

In other SB9 consequences, my neighbor (who never spoke with me) chopped down bushes and trees providing shade over our house.




Posted by Stuart Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 13, 2022 at 4:20 pm

Stuart Soffer is a registered user.

Oh wait!
Mary Gilles and I agree on something! This calls for a cold beverage.


Posted by Mary Gilles
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 13, 2022 at 4:59 pm

Mary Gilles is a registered user.

LOL Stu! As the world turns!


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 13, 2022 at 7:02 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Stuart:

What difference does it make how many meetings I attended. I can read and I do.


Posted by Stuart Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 14, 2022 at 12:43 pm

Stuart Soffer is a registered user.

Menlo Voter asks me, "What difference does it make how many meetings I attended. I can read and I do."

In the old days neighbors would attend council and planning commission meetings for the issues that concerned them. hearing the comments, and conversing with neighbors about the issues at hand. This was a casualty of Covid upon civil discourse. Online just doesn't cut it.

But I attended many, not only in commissioner roles.

There are city planner conference you could attend. Ask Justin Murphy.


Posted by Dawn1234
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 15, 2022 at 8:33 am

Dawn1234 is a registered user.

No on V prevents our city from being saddled with the requirement to hold a citywide vote every time a property owner wants to upzone a parcel in the 43% of town with the identified neighborhoods V claims to protect.

No on V does not prevent the conversation about the parcels in question. It just pushes those conversations into the public light instead of secret money funding ballot box rezoning. Who is funding the arguments today?

The reason that conversation hasn't happened yet is because THERE IS NO PROPOSAL SUBMITTED to talk about. The rezoning is needed in order to begin this work. Well-designed proposals cost money and the Ravenswood district isn't going to spend the money on a proposal without the permission to build something. There are people supporting this measure who know that process, but are silent in the face of this misplaced outrage.

Also, this town seemed fine with votes for neighborhood changes coming from councilmembers not of that neighborhood when the excluded neighborhood was Belle Haven. Under threat of lawsuit, the town instituted district elections. Measure V is an end run around this new rule - to fight multi-family housing from being even a possibility without another citywide election for it.

Vote no on V. Stop pushing decisions that are currently made in the public eye into the deep pockets of the election machine.


Posted by Dawn1234
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 15, 2022 at 8:37 am

Dawn1234 is a registered user.

Just because a person doesn't have time to attend all these meetings (and that time crunch is very real) does not mean they are done secretly. They are recorded and can be accessed when convenient.


Posted by Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 15, 2022 at 9:08 am

Rob Silano is a registered user.

Dawn:

Closed session meetings are not recorded. Which our current MP Council majority loves to do. A costly endeavor; bought on my the majority of the council not listening to a great number of residents for a fair, reasonable housing solution for all. Let’s see what the voters want now. Thanks Drew and Ray for trying…


Posted by Stuart Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 15, 2022 at 11:00 am

Stuart Soffer is a registered user.



We in Linfield Oaks have been through this zoning / housing / chicken dance / circle pleasuring before - when AT&T HQ moved out between Linfield and Willow. By raising and focussing our concerned voices we had accommodations added into the improvement: A traffic light at Linfield and Willow; Speed tables (instead of humps) around our streets to control cut through speed. And we can do so again.

How much housing is Atherton adding? Where are additional classrooms for the added demand?

Dawn1234 you forget the private meeting held a couple of years ago by a couple of current council members.


Menlo Park mayor blasts councilwoman for setting up mystery meeting

Web Link

Menlo Park: Mysterious closed City Council meeting violates protocols and raises questions
Web Link


Posted by Stuart Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 15, 2022 at 11:09 am

Stuart Soffer is a registered user.

And... serial conversations could also be Brown Act violations.



Posted by Stuart Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 15, 2022 at 12:05 pm

Stuart Soffer is a registered user.

Dawn1234 - You really don't get it.

As a consequence of a 5 member council, and 'district' elections representing 5 distinct geographic districts - not at large- just 3 council members can rezone regardless of where they live. They can build and push traffic to others.


Posted by Dawn1234
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 15, 2022 at 2:26 pm

Dawn1234 is a registered user.

Stuart-

I think I do get it. Our council has been rezoning regardless of where they live for years. How do you think Belle Haven got all the development? Measure V is a delay tactic to suppress rezoning now that all the neighborhoods have a say.

I have found many councilmembers to be the kind of people who go out to see what conditions look like, and who will be most affected by changes, both good and bad. Councilmember Wolosin did that last night with Middle Ave. Many people may disagree with the choice, but it won't be because it was made with a disregard to non-constituents.

Some council members have a vision of what our town could be with better access to housing in more neighborhoods. And they can apply their thoughtful perspective to the problem. Just because you don't like the outcome does not mean you weren't heard. Sometimes the issues are larger than your neighborhood and should in fact be balanced among all the neighborhoods. Work to mitigate, not eliminate.


Posted by Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 16, 2022 at 7:00 pm

Rob Silano is a registered user.

Here’s the “ Yes on Measure V “ Video.

Web Link


Posted by Tecsi
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2022 at 8:44 pm

Tecsi is a registered user.

Kudos to Almanac News for creating this public forum.

Encouraging to hear thoughtful, respectiveful comments about this issue, on both sides.

I’m pleased to hear from so many engaged residents.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 21, 2022 at 8:06 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Please watch the Measure V video and ask yourself:

1 - Isn't this just blatant self interest - keep them out of my neighborhood?

2 - How exactly is Measure V pro-housing except to protect the status quo? Measure V does nothing to increase Menlo Park's housing stock.

3 - How exactly is Measure V pro-teacher? Measure V does nothing to make housing more available for Menlo Park Teachers.

The best arguments against Measure V are to read and watch what its proponents themselves say - "protect our neighborhoods from 'them'"


Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 21, 2022 at 10:24 am

MP Resident is a registered user.

No on V yard signs say "Protect Teacher Housing"

Has the Ravenswood school board guaranteed that the new housing will be dedicated to teachers? How many of the units? Are they guaranteed to be affordable? For how long? If any of the units are not dedicated to school employees, who will be able to rent them, and at what price? What guarantees are the school board making that initial rental practices will continue in the future? In other words, what teacher housing is being protected, at least at the Flood site?

Peter sees hyperbole on one side. I see it on both.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 21, 2022 at 10:44 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

There is no hyperbole in Measure V opponents saying vote No on Measure V in order to protect teacher housing.

Measure V was written by some Suburban Park residents in a (futile) attempt to prevent the Ravenswood School District from building housing on its vacant property. In the normal course of project review and approval the details will be worked out BUT the proponents of Measure V have made it clear that they will oppose this project.


Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 21, 2022 at 12:33 pm

MP Resident is a registered user.

"Measure V was written by some Suburban Park residents in a (futile) attempt to prevent the Ravenswood School District from building housing on its vacant property. In the normal course of project review and approval the details will be worked out BUT the proponents of Measure V have made it clear that they will oppose this project."

Peter, you appear to be a stickler for word choice. Do you really think the residents want to prevent ANY housing from being build there?

Given the contentious nature of the current proposal, is it not unreasonable for residents to not want to wait for the normal course of project approval for the details to be worked out?

By your reasoning, the long term plan for teacher housing won't be known until approvals are completed. So how are the No yard signs not unsubstantiated hype?

I'm not saying that I support V. It is flawed in my view. My point is that each side is looking to persuade and the No side is not exempt from making dramatic, unsubstantiated claims. You included.


Posted by Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 21, 2022 at 12:46 pm

Rob Silano is a registered user.

Peter:

Looks like many neighborhoods don’t want large developments next to their homes? Remember this? I totally agree with your comment too.

Web Link


I agree with you and your neighbors. Your neighborhood were lucky to be heard by the MP Planning Commission.

Oh well, Suburban Park was unlucky:

1) A council majority that would not listen.

2) A property owner RWCSD that would not compromise. Very costly to the taxpayer in MP too.

Now to the voters. Too bad and $$$$ to us.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 21, 2022 at 2:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Rob - Simple. We did our homework and actually appeared at the Planning Commission rather than trying to preempt the process by a bogus measure calling for a city wide vote.

Whether Measure V passes or not you will not be able to stop this development because you neither understand or respect the process or our elected and appointed officials.


Posted by Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 21, 2022 at 3:28 pm

Rob Silano is a registered user.

Peter:

Ok… I enjoyed working with you for many years. Thank you for your many years of public service.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 21, 2022 at 8:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Hampton Inn proposed development is a superb example of how the system works and how to use the system to protect the community - no luck was involved.

AFTER the developer submitted his proposal to the city the neighbors in Park Forest carefully reviewed his proposal. We determined that the proposal would not be financial viable unless the developer was able to get a Public Benefit enhancement that would permit a bigger hotel. That claim for a Public Benefit enhancement was based on the developer's assertion that he would be paying the legal required Hotel Occupancy Taxes. We were able to successfully challenge the claim of a Public Benefit based on paying taxes which were already required by law and the Planing Commission denied the request for a Public Benefit enhancement thereby killing the proposed project. The developer is now doing extensive and welcomed renovations to the existing Red Cottage Inn.

What the concerned Suburban Park residents should have done was to wait until an actual development proposal and any associated rezoning was on the table and then attack that proposal on its merits before the Planning Commission and the City Council.

The process works - as we proved with the Hampton Inn proposal - but only if you understand and use the process to defend your interests.

Again, there was no luck involved just hard work and understanding and respecting the process.


Posted by Dawn1234
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 22, 2022 at 9:42 am

Dawn1234 is a registered user.

Thank you, Peter. I feel like it's so misleading to complain of being left out of the process, but fighting to stop the process from even starting. I'm also certain that many of the folks behind this measure are smart enough to know about the process but stay silent because the misplaced outrage machine works to their advantage in not having to share in the responsibility to make space for much needed housing.


Posted by Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 22, 2022 at 10:03 am

Rob Silano is a registered user.

Peter:

You saw a fair and unbiased process. “Good for you and your neighborhood”.

Let me be clear: I am resident of Suburban Park. I’ve lived here since 1988. This is my community as well as yours.

We have family members that are teachers, in public safety and tech companies. Myself a retired federal employee and now serving our community on the fire district on my 3rd term. I’m aware of San Mateo County and Menlo Park politics.

Menlo Balance and myself read the majority of the council. 3-2 was not in their favor, and all three coming out for the Ravenwood Project. Menlo Balance ready to compromise… not the RWCSD.

Council Member Taylor speaking at an event held at a Ravenwood Elem. School. Also, Jen Woolsen came out at a council meeting “ for the RWCSD project.

People are not stupid.

Common on, many of us “did not fall off the turnip truck”, they saw the “ Fix was in” between the council and the RWCSD.

A joint meeting with your fire district and the MP Council was scheduled at the end of September. Measure V was on the agenda for discussion.

By a coincidence : ( HA HA) now is Scheduled for the end of October, after voter ballots are to be mailed! Another Perceived trick by your MP council. Mayor Nash… is this the truth? Prove me wrong and Re- Schedule before the ballots are mailed out.

It’s not Menlo Balance that caused this problem: it’s “ behind the door politics” plain and simple. Blame the majority of the MP Council and RWCSD causing us taxpayers to go down this road of costly expenses.

The end… now the voters will decide on Measure V.




Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2022 at 10:13 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Rob - Thank you acknowledging that Menlo Balance elected not to follow the process and instead assumed that what might be proposed was both unacceptable and would not be subject to the normal give and take that every other project in the city goes through.

Why in the world would any council member or planning commissioner promise you a specific outcome on a project that has not yet been submitted to the city for review and comment?


Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 22, 2022 at 12:05 pm

MP Resident is a registered user.

An outsider's view: I doubt neighbors expected a promise of support. I think they were skeptical they would get a fair hearing after at least two council members publicly supported the district. It is understandable why they decided to take matters into their own hands.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2022 at 12:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It is understandable why they decided to take matters into their own hands."

That is a great description of this attempt to preempt the well established planning process that in fact works well and responds to intelligent and timely citizen input.

"taking matters into their own hands" is not a healthy description of representative democracy.


Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 22, 2022 at 3:02 pm

MP Resident is a registered user.

Many people don't believe district elections promote a healthy representative democracy.

Three council members tied to one agenda on housing doesn't make it more representative.

A ballot initiative gives representation to voters.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2022 at 3:38 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Many people don't believe district elections promote a healthy representative democracy."

1 - Tell that to the formerly unrepresented residents of Belle Haven.

2 - Where is the data to support your assertion?

Just because you don't get your own way doesn't mean that the political process is not working.


Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 22, 2022 at 4:24 pm

MP Resident is a registered user.

Very true. Belle Haven was not represented, and was burdened with too much development.

But that does not negate my point about representative democracy.




Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

MP resident - Where is the data to support your assertion?


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The Federal Voting Rights Act (FVRA) was adopted in 1965 and is intended to protect the rights of
all citizens to participate in the voting process. The CVRA was passed in the California State
Legislature in 2001, based on the Legislature’s belief that minorities and other members of protected classes were being denied the opportunity to have representation of their choosing at the local level because of a number of issues associated with at-large elections. Upon a finding of a violation of the CVRA, the act requires that “the court shall implement appropriate remedies, including the imposition of district-based elections that are tailored to remedy the violation.” As such, the default remedy and the clearly identified remedy by the Legislature is district-based elections."

Web Link


Posted by Mary Gilles
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:22 pm

Mary Gilles is a registered user.

I need to pipe in here. The initiative process in California is there for a reason. When people do not feel they are being represented or "listened to" (as is the case of District 2 - Suburban Park where 3 council members who are not accountable to those residents and are dictating what happens there), those residents have the right to pursue the initiative process. And, this is Measure V. Do not forget that Drew Combs who actually represents District 2/Suburban Park and Ray Mueller who represents District 5 had worked out a compromise with District 2 but the other 3 council members, Betsy Nash (District 4), Jen Wolosin (District 3) and Cecilia Taylor (District 1) would not agree to it. The way our city government is set up now with districts really puts every single district at risk for decisions that may negatively impact them with no recourse to vote out those council members who made those decisions. It is hugely problematic in my mind.


Posted by Mary Gilles
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:25 pm

Mary Gilles is a registered user.

I need to pipe in here. The initiative process in California is there for a reason. When people do not feel they are being represented or "listened to" (as is the case of District 2 - Suburban Park where 3 council members who are not accountable to those residents and are dictating what happens there), those residents have the right to pursue the initiative process. And, this is Measure V. Do not forget that Drew Combs who actually represents District 2/Suburban Park and Ray Mueller who represents District 5 had worked out a compromise with District 2 but the other 3 council members, Betsy Nash (District 4), Jen Wolosin (District 3) and Cecilia Taylor (District 1) would not agree to it. The way our city government is set up now with districts really puts every single district at risk for decisions that may negatively impact them with no recourse to vote out those council members who made those decisions. It is hugely problematic in my mind.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2022 at 5:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Do not forget that Drew Combs who actually represents District 2/Suburban Park and Ray Mueller who represents District 5 had worked out a compromise with District 2 but the other 3 council members, Betsy Nash (District 4), Jen Wolosin (District 3) and Cecilia Taylor (District 1) would not agree to it"

Once the initiative was filed with the required number of signatures the Council only had two choices - adopt the Measure by Council vote or put the Measure on the ballot. The Council did not have the legal authority to negotiate a compromise because all of the signatories would have had to approve such a compromise.

In my opinion the Council erred in agendizing this issue in a closed session as discussing it allegedly under the pending litigation exemption was inappropriate - there was no pending litigation.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2022 at 6:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" The litigation exception under the Brown Act is narrowly construed and does not permit activities beyond a legislative body’s conferring with its own legal counsel. For example, it is not permissible to hold a closed session in which settlement negotiations take place between a legislative body and an adverse party or to hold a closed session for the purpose of participation in a mediation."

Web Link

So what is not clear about that guidance???


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 23, 2022 at 7:23 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Mary Gilles:

California is a perfect example of why the initiative process is a disaster. People vote for initiatives without knowledge of what they're voting for. They vote for initiatives that they are purposely misinformed about. And they ultimately result in many unintended consequences. Prop 47 is perfect example. It gets passed and surprise!, the crime rate soars. Who would of thought that would happen? There are many other examples throughout history. Did you know many initiatives are placed on the ballot by the legislature? They do it when they don't have the intestinal fortitude to pass a law, so they throw it on the voters. Then when it goes badly, they can throw up their hands and say "it wasn't us, it was the voters".


Posted by Private citizen
a resident of Laurel School
on Sep 23, 2022 at 1:41 pm

Private citizen is a registered user.

Peter, you’ve not been this vociferous since Connect Menlo, measure M and the overbuilding of district 1 for Facebook.


Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 23, 2022 at 3:42 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Menlo Voter,

Democracy is not perfect as evidenced by the last 5 years of our countries political dysfunction. We try to make the imperfect work as best as we can. In this case having council members, that were not elected by the people being affected, making decisions contrary to the wishes of residents have forced a grassroots effort to have a say in their neighborhood.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 23, 2022 at 3:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

".. have forced a grassroots effort to have a say in their neighborhood."

Sadly the way Measure V is written they may well have a say but they will invariably lose the city wide vote on a upzoning in their neighborhood and then, because of Measure V, neither the Planning Commission or the City Council will be able to change the outcome.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2022 at 10:05 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Brian:

They already have a say in their neighborhoods. But, they have to actually participate in the process to have that say. They want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to have a say, but don't want to actually do what's necessary to have it. Measure V won't get them what they actually want. Wait until the voters vote for a change in THEIR neighborhoods after V passes. I predict a move to rescind Measure V if that happens.

Bottom line, Measure V isn't about "having a say", they already do, but are too lazy to use it. It's about "I got mine, screw you getting yours".

Measure V is a blunt instrument that will have untold unintended consequences.

Vote NO.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:19 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Planning Commissioners and City Council members are required by law not to commit to a certain outcome until they have heard public comment on a project.

Why then do Some Southern Suburban Park (S3P) residents feel that they should have received a commitment on this contemplated (not yet even submitted) project from the City Council BEFORE any public hearings were even held?


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:24 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Measure V is a blunt instrument that will have untold unintended consequences."

Indeed ! Here is what may well happen if Measure V passes:

1 – Measure V passes
2 – RWCSD immediately submits a rezoning application to city and demands that it be placed on next general election ballot. Per Measure V no project specific information is required to accompany the petition and no public hearings or studies are required.
3 – The city-wide vote (at a cost of $30-50K) overwhelming approves the RWCSD up zoning as it will have zero negative impact on the rest of the city and will increase the potential housing stock.
4 – RWCSD submits a development proposal which maxes out the site under the new zoning but which does not include any variances or exceptions.
5 – The city’s only control, given that the proposal conforms with the new zoning, is architectural review.
6 - The city therefore must approve the project as submitted
7 - RWCSD then claims property tax exemption for entire development as an educational facility


Posted by JR
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 27, 2022 at 4:39 pm

JR is a registered user.

While I’ll review the available information before making a decision, as everyone should, I believe that the “Yes” camp hurt their credibility with the recent shift to suggesting that their proposal “protects teacher housing”. It doesn’t and their own argument in favor of V made no such assertion, yet it is now their primary campaign poster point.
To many, it seems like a rushed attempt to visually counter the “No” camp, where protecting housing for teachers was and is the central theme. Not a great look.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 27, 2022 at 4:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.


Posted by Mary Gilles
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 28, 2022 at 10:00 am

Mary Gilles is a registered user.

Peter, you are prolifically outspoken against Measure V and I am wondering what it is that you would say is the solution? What should the residents of Suburban Park done other than availed themselves of the last resort of an initiative?




Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 28, 2022 at 10:08 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"what it is that you would say is the solution? What should the residents of Suburban Park done other than availed themselves of the last resort of an initiative?"

As I have said many times before - USE THE Existing Process!!

The Measure V folks did not even wait for RWCSD to submit a proposal.

The Measure V folks did not even wait for the opportunity to participate in a Planning Commission review of the project.

The Measure V folks did not even wait for the opportunity to participate in the City Council review of the project.

The Measure V folks did not even wait for the public to comment on this project.

The Measure V folks wanted an answer before anybody else was given the chance to participate.

Appointed and elected officials are prohibited by law from making a decision regarding a project before that project comes before them in a properly agendized meeting with the opportunity for everybody to comment.

This is like a child that did not get its way throwing a tantrum - and it will turn out very poorly for the Measure V supporters.


Posted by Mary Gilles
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 28, 2022 at 10:10 am

Mary Gilles is a registered user.

Also, JR, the residents in favor of Measure V want to make it clear that they NEVER opposed the developer constructing dedicated teacher housing. They are absolutely not opposed to teacher housing. And, because the opponents made the assertion that this is all about the proponents being against teacher housing (which is absolutely false), the proponents had to answer that false assertion. The opponents have created that spin to tug at the city voter's heart strings. It's a political game. The unfortunate aspect of spinning such a false assertion is the divisiveness it causes. If people would just stick to the facts, political discourse would actually be elevated and respectful.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 28, 2022 at 10:14 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Let me try to connect the dots for you.

This all started because the RWCSD let it be known that it was considering how to repurpose the now vacant Flood School site. One of the options is to build multifamily housing which would both generate revenue for the district and potentially provide housing for teachers.

Some South Suburban Park (SSSP)residents, who had knowingly moved into a neighborhood adjacent to a school which was later torn down, felt threatened by the thought that this land would be developed more densely than their single family neighborhood and they attempted to get RWCSD and Menlo Park to agree (even before there was a proposal on the table) to limit what might be in that proposal. As public entities neither RWCSD or Menlo Park could make any such agreement prior to a proposal being submitted and the entire public had an opportunity to comment on said proposal.

Because the SSSP did not get the preferential treatment they wanted they then crafted Measure V for the sole purpose of stopping this project and attempted to disguise their efforts as ensuring local control.

If the Measure V proponents have their way they would clearly block this project - or why else would they be spending so much effort in their campaign?

Therefore, voting No on Measure V preserves the possibility that this site in whole or in part might be used for teacher housing.


Posted by Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 28, 2022 at 11:03 am

Rob Silano is a registered user.

Peter and Mary:

I’m a process guy. With my 3 terms on the fire district I’m aware of “ The System” in place as Peter and you speak about.

People saw the “ fix was in” by the MP Council.

They are exercising their right to bring the vote to the community. The spin from the “ Against Measure V” is as Mary said.

There are teachers and school employees that reside in MP that was for a compromise; yet, RCSD, did not want to go down this road. Many are for the measure, as I’m sure there are some that are not.

This will be costly to the taxpayer;

1) putting on a ballot
2) not using the “ fair, review, evaluation, of each project.
3) not using the Planning Commission and City Council for their input and vote.

The MP Council and the RCSD caused this added expense to the taxpayer and developers. Follow the money… developers and special interest groups would rather deal with 5 Council members than a voter group. Against V
used every outside of MP “Housing Special interest group” in their emails and solicitations. Some of these organizations get Federal, State, County, and City funding to operate. Is that fair to the entire taxpayer base that maybe for the Measure V. No it is not!

Now: the voter will decide. A huge investment for developers and special interest groups, yet pocket change for them. Did they raise their $ 400,000 target amount? Compared to a few thousand by the for V group ?

Our community is not stupid.

Let the people decide now:


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 28, 2022 at 11:08 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The MP Council and the RCSD caused this added expense to the taxpayer and developers. "

Absolutely wrong !


The Measure V folks wanted an answer before anybody else was given the chance to participate.

Appointed and elected officials are prohibited by law from making a decision regarding a project before that project comes before them in a properly agendized meeting with the opportunity for everybody to comment.

ALL of the expense of Measure V comes from the tantrum of some residents because they did not get preferential treatment with a premature and illegal commitment by appointed and elected officials.


Posted by Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 28, 2022 at 11:42 am

Rob Silano is a registered user.

Peter:

I’m not wrong: just using over my 40 years background of public safety- investigative skills, on the federal, state, and local level.

Come on, I respect you more than that write up? Sad.

Do you really belief what you wrote?

I feel you just want to argue with those Pro-Measure V people. You have been in politics as myself for a long time here.

FACTS:

Taylor: when invited; not speaking in front the Suburban Park Neighborhood. I thank all 4 Council members that did speak to the neighborhood.

Taylor’s Mom attending “ Against Measure V Rally’s.

Taylor speaking at Ravenwood Elem. School at a rally “ Against Measure V.

2 other MP Council members coming out against Measure V.

That’s 3… a majority of the council.

All MP Council Members voted to place it on the ballot. They could have gone in another direction and agreed to it, and at a later date, use the process to review, evaluate, and modify to provisions. Using the citizens that reside in MP, the Planning Commission, their elected council to arrive at a reasonable, less costly alternative. Let’s not forget the developers too.

Please: these MP residents are smart and understand when the fix was in.

SUMMARY:

I’m not scared of the voter, are you and your Against Measure V Group. Against Measure V has the professional political group, big money, and a mission to build more, so developers can make more money.

The RCSD Developer is headquartered in Southern California, and a “ For Profit” organization. Not even a local business or even in the Bay Area.

Web Link


There are many developers that are non profit that could develop many parcels here in MP.

Thank you


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 28, 2022 at 11:48 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"All MP Council Members voted to place it on the ballot. They could have gone in another direction and agreed to it, and at a later date, use the process to review, evaluate, and modify to provisions."

Wrong. Once Measure V had the required number of signatures the Council had only two choces - adopt the measure by a vote of the council or place it on the ballot. The council did NOT have the ability to revise the measure or to engage in "compromise" talks with anybody.

The Measure V folks did not even wait for RWCSD to submit a proposal.

The Measure V folks did not even wait for the opportunity to participate in a Planning Commission review of the project.

It is tragic that the Measure V supporters are so ignorant of the law - or worse knew the law and then choose to ignore it.

The Measure V folks did not even wait for the opportunity to participate in the City Council review of the project.

The Measure V folks did not even wait for the public to comment on this project.

The Measure V folks wanted an answer before anybody else was given the chance to participate.

Appointed and elected officials are prohibited by law from making a decision regarding a project before that project comes before them in a properly agendized meeting with the opportunity for everybody to comment.


Posted by Mary Gilles
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 28, 2022 at 12:16 pm

Mary Gilles is a registered user.

Peter and Readers:

The residents went through 8 months of process with the planning commission and the city council asking them not to re-zone the property for high density. They were ignored and the block of Nash/Wolosin/Taylor were bent on moving ahead to re-zone to enable the low income developer to move ahead. Once the property would be re-zoned, the city council would have had no power to make conditions on the development. Let’s be clear: the initiative is the process to stop the council from re-zoning the property.

The developer for Ravenswood School District won't submit a proposal until the property is re-zoned.

There will be no input on “the project” because a low income project is protected by the state. Once re-zoned for higher density and low income designation, the planning commission and the city council have no power to make any changes or conditions on how the project should be built – including ingress and egress through the neighborhood being negatively impacted.

This is about the timing of the re-zoning process, not the project. The residents worked for 8 months to get a compromise before the city council would approve the re-zoning. And, the city council will really have little to no say in the project once it is re-zoned to a higher density/low income project. The state protects the developer and will override any power the city has over low income projects.

Peter - you mentioned a"properly agendized meeting with the opportunity for everybody to comment." Interesting that you brought this up. The city council actually met in private about Measure V: Web Link So, there WAS NO opportunity for public input.





Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 28, 2022 at 12:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Let’s be clear: the initiative is the process to stop the council from re-zoning the property."

Thank you for being so clear.

Why then did the initiative not speak only to the rezoning of this property?


Posted by Mary Gilles
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 28, 2022 at 2:04 pm

Mary Gilles is a registered user.

Peter, we have to be thankful to these Suburban Park residents who have raised our awareness of what can happen throughout Menlo Park. I am sure you can imagine what would happen in your neighborhood of narrow streets where many children ride their bikes, etc. if there was only one road in and out and at the end of the cul-de-sac, and where someone wanted to build a 90+ unit low income housing development on a parcel that was not zoned for high density. And, your council representative was in the minority on the council AND 3 members of the council decided to up-zone that property despite discussions with the neighborhood and never have to worry they would be voted out in the next election. There are other locations in Menlo Park that are being considered for up-zoning. I know the council at one point was looking at Sharon Park to build a high density, low income development. I'm not sure where that stands now. The point is, the Suburban Park residents aren't just all about themselves and their little slice of Menlo Park. They are getting involved in pure civics to fight the injustice and imbalance of power that this majority council (Betsy Nash/Jen Wolsoin/Cecilia Taylor) has over our entire city. I am absolutely grateful that they have made this a city wide initiative and the residents of Menlo Park should also be grateful and vote YES on Measure V to protect their neighborhoods. Hopefully, the residents of West Menlo vote in Peter Ohtaki and Betsy Nash is voted out. This will break up the current majority voting block which seems to be bent on disregarding the impacts of high density in single family zoned neighborhoods.


Posted by kbehroozi
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 28, 2022 at 2:19 pm

kbehroozi is a registered user.

"There are other locations in Menlo Park that are being considered for up-zoning." This is true. And it's not a secret where they are, because they've been discussed over an 18-month process in a series of public meetings as the city prepared the draft housing element that we sent to the state

You can read about it here: Web Link

Or, if 700 pp. are daunting, watch Vice Mayor Wolosin's video: Web Link

Contained within the housing element draft is a long list of council's proposed "opportunity sites" for upzoning. That's how we know what our council (not just three members) is intending to do vis-a-vis housing.

This document reveals that council isn't planning to authorize high-density development in low-density neighborhoods, with the exception of the Flood School site (which is flanked by a low-density neighborhood, a large park, a freeway, and some apartments, and which never should have been zoned R1 to begin with).

The misinformation shared by Menlo Balance canvassers certainly didn't acknowledge these facts. Maybe they didn't know? There was a lot of talk about 10-story apartment buildings and big box stores in low-density residential neighborhoods. It's not surprising that a lot of people signed their petition, including a fair number who now regret that choice.


Posted by Mary Gilles
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 28, 2022 at 2:55 pm

Mary Gilles is a registered user.

Thank you for sharing the weblinks. What is incredibly astounding is the goal of Menlo Park to create 3379 housing units. So, let's think dig down on this. And, frankly, this is a much broader discussion because Menlo Park did not join the 240 cities in California under the League of Cities to oppose the Governor's signing of SB 9 and SB 10 which overreaching state laws are the entire reason our city is adopting this outlandish housing policy. And hopefully, those laws will be constitutionally challenged. But, again, this is another topic. Let's just assume these 3379 units will be an average of 2 bedroom 2 bath units. Roughly, that would be an increase in a MINIMUM of 2 adults per unit. That would be an increase of 6,758 people to our small town of 32,475 (per July 2021 census). So, are city leaders are marching down the path of increasing the city's adult population by 20%. Seriously?! What in the world is happening here?


Posted by Mary Gilles
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 28, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Mary Gilles is a registered user.

Thank you for sharing the weblinks. What is incredibly astounding is the goal of Menlo Park to create 3379 housing units. So, let's think dig down on this. And, frankly, this is a much broader discussion because Menlo Park did not join the 240 cities in California under the League of Cities to oppose the Governor's signing of SB 9 and SB 10 which overreaching state laws are the entire reason our city is adopting this outlandish housing policy. And hopefully, those laws will be constitutionally challenged. But, again, this is another topic. Let's just assume these 3379 units will be an average of 2 bedroom 2 bath units. Roughly, that would be an increase in a MINIMUM of 2 adults per unit. That would be an increase of 6,758 people to our small town of 32,475 (per July 2021 census). So, our city leaders are marching down the path of increasing the city's adult population by 20%. Seriously?! What in the world is happening here?


Posted by kbehroozi
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 28, 2022 at 3:04 pm

kbehroozi is a registered user.

Mary, it's a state mandate. You can read more about how the council members approached the task in this article from a year ago: Web Link

This part of the article was particularly relevant:
(cut-and-pasted)

"Where to Add Housing"

For downtown, “I don’t see a scenario where there would be lots of community support for raising caps on office space. Where I could see community support is allowing for more housing. I do see that as something that will likely happen. We haven’t reached the cap for housing units for those specific plans yet. We’re discussing what could we do within current plan to try to hit that cap for housing,” Combs said.

Councilmember Betsy Nash said she finds attitudes are changing. “I’m encouraged that residents are embracing at least some increased density and see the need for more housing around transit. There is concern with redevelopment and inevitable growth that we don’t displace current residents, and also that we can house our local workers including teachers, city employees, and retail staff.”

Like many California cities, Menlo Park has the state looking over its shoulder. The latest update of the state-mandated Housing Element requires planning 3,000 new residential units between 2023 and 2031, a big swallow for a suburb with a slow-growing population around 35,000.

Mueller said the period when the City Council was divided between pro-growth and residentialist factions has ended. “That sort of distinction has really been eviscerated by the state. At the end of the day, you have to find a place to zone for 3,000 units and owners of properties have to express desire to legally qualify.”


Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 28, 2022 at 3:10 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

As I've said before the MAJOR reason to vote Yes is that Nash and her Kabal are against it. that alone is reason enough.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


Posted by PH
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 28, 2022 at 3:19 pm

PH is a registered user.

@Mary Gilles "What in the world is happening here?"

What went around came has finally come around.

In part, "we" brought it on ourselves. The State is now (correctly) forcing cities to build (zone for) housing proportionate to jobs. Menlo Park approved a dense "jobs center" with Menlo Connect and let Facebook (and others) in the door.

Office development is happening up the Peninsula from EPA to Belmont as Silicon Valley expands north.

New projects proposed under the "pro-housing" council at SRI and Willow Village make the deficit worse since they don't provide adequate housing to mitigate their respective jobs densities.

State pressure will grow worse. The Measure V report hints at the possibility that for the 2031 Housing ELement Menlo Park may have to begin rezoning some neighborhoods for denser housing.

The trickier part is the State uses "fair housing" and "affordable housing" mandates as a pretext to make cities zone for dense housing that gets built as luxury housing instead.

Silicon Valley is using housing advocates as a tool to break into neighborhoods.


Posted by Mary Gilles
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 28, 2022 at 3:19 pm

Mary Gilles is a registered user.

There is an effort afoot to challenge the overreach of the state to require these absurd numbers. Also, the state auditor questioned the verity of the governor's numbers Web Link
The auditor believes the housing numbers being touted were not based on good data. So, the cities should not be rushing to create these absurd numbers of housing. Sometimes it makes sense to stop and question things that seem absurd.


Posted by PH
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 28, 2022 at 3:32 pm

PH is a registered user.

@kbehroozi "Mueller said the period when the City Council was divided between pro-growth and residentialist factions has ended. “That sort of distinction has really been eviscerated by the state."

Not quite. It never ends.

You can never change the past, but you can always choose different futures. If Menlo Park continues to build jobs it will be forced to build housing in proportion.

Palo Alto has soft caps on office and has managed its office development for quite a long time. The fights are toned down, but they still exist.

MP and PA had large jobs/housing deficits when the State got tough, so there is karma to pay off, but you are not forced to swallow huge new office projects like SRI.

That is a choice. Menlo Park could also place soft caps on office development in Bayfront, just like the downtown office caps.

That will take courage, and with, district elections its hard for a district member to get elected with city-wide permissions.

If Menlo Park does not do this, and I doubt it will, and Menlo Park wants to preserve its neighborhoods, and I think it does, then Measure V is your last, best hope.

Council will fold to the State. Voters might resist a bit more.


Posted by PH
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 28, 2022 at 3:37 pm

PH is a registered user.

@MaryGilles "There is an effort afoot to challenge the overreach of the state to require these absurd numbers"

It doesn't matter. Housing cycles happen every eight years. The venture capitalists have taken root in downtown. They want to make more money. Here. Not Texas. They want to build here. Not Texas.

It's never going to stop.

There was a statewide Initiative like Measure V that failed to make it on the ballot.

The one and only thing that will likely protect most single family neighborhoods in Menlo Park is that parcels/homes are very expensive to acquire and parcel aggregation is difficult.

But, in Belle Haven and places in the Willows and Flood and Suburban park, etc parcels are cheaper and parcel aggregation will be possible.


Posted by PH
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 28, 2022 at 3:39 pm

PH is a registered user.

The irony of Measure V is that in the long run it will genuinely protect Belle Haven more than any other neighborhood.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 28, 2022 at 6:11 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"The irony of Measure V is that in the long run it will genuinely protect Belle Haven more than any other neighborhood."

Actually, it will have exactly the opposite effect. Where do you think the majority of MP voters are going to be ok stuffing more housing? It won't be in West Menlo that's for sure. The voters in West Menlo are going to vote to protect their interests every time and they outnumber BH voters.


Posted by Frozen
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 28, 2022 at 7:34 pm

Frozen is a registered user.

Measure V protects Belle Haven neighborhoods just as it protects all Menlo Park neighborhoods. Developers will no longer be able to stuff housing on the east side. If Measure V loses, developers can do whatever they want, and since land is cheaper in Belle Haven, that's where high density will "pencil out" for them.

Housing developers aren't offering charity. They don't care if members of traditionally underserved communities can afford to live in west Menlo. They just want to make money.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 28, 2022 at 7:48 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Frozen:

BH is where it will always pencil out. Measure V will allow them to get up zoning whenever they want because the rest of MP will vote for it to protect their neighborhood. They outnumber BH voters.


Posted by Frozen
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 28, 2022 at 8:36 pm

Frozen is a registered user.

MV: seems that in your view of the world, people who live in this city are selfish. I don't see it that way at all. I have friends and know people all over town, and I would not support overdevelopment in any neighborhood.

Districts were established to ensure representation. Not to pit neighborhoods against each other. We need to work together, not engage in turf wars. V protects all of us.


Posted by Westbrook
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 28, 2022 at 10:18 pm

Westbrook is a registered user.

Personally, I sympathize with your cause. I would not want 90 high-density units being built away from transit hubs, with one way in and out of a sleepy little neighborhood like Suburban Park. And I would support you in fighting this at the submission and appeals stages of the current process.

I may be wrong but I just believe you are not thinking this through.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 29, 2022 at 7:43 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Frozen:

we'll have to agree to disagree. I've lived in this city since 1994 and I have all of that experience to rely on as to how people in this town think and vote. You may not think they are selfish, but they will vote to protect their home values every time.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 29, 2022 at 8:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Districts were established to ensure representation. Not to pit neighborhoods against each other. We need to work together, not engage in turf wars."

I agree but given the State mandate for more housing Measure V will "pit neighborhoods against each other".

Measure V is, sadly, a poorly conceived solution to an important problem.


Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 29, 2022 at 8:54 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

The largest housing development in 75 years in Menlo Park was the current 500+ housing units along El Camino Real (high Density, near resources, near commuter systems), in case you are wondering....not in BH

the 1000+ units going in next to Facebook when finished will be the largest.

Roy


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 29, 2022 at 11:25 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Roy:

You're right. The ECR project was because it is Stanford property and they needed/wanted it for employee housing.

And the 1000+ next to Meta is where?


Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 30, 2022 at 9:27 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Menlo Voter,

It is all NOT Stanford. The housing element was 55% Stanford and 45% Greenheart.

It is being built EXACTLY where we want it, next to transit, and ECR.

Roy


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 30, 2022 at 9:58 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Roy:

And the 1000+ next to Meta is where?


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