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Should council candidates accept donations from developers with projects before the city?

Original post made by Richard Hine, editor of The Almanac, on Nov 1, 2006

All of the candidates in the Menlo Park City Council election have accepted monetary contributions from developers that have projects before the city or who plan to. Here are links to related stories:

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Comments (8)

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Posted by AgainstOutsideMoney
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Nov 2, 2006 at 8:09 am

It is quite unseemly to me for Councilmembers to accept donations from developers with projects scheduled for review. The integrity of those who do so is questionable.
Mr. Bohannon's donation is unique in that it appears he made it clear when he gave money that he wasn't taking sides and that each of the six candidates would receive the same amount.
I would like to see all corporate and PAC donations banned in Menlo Park campaigns, not just from developers. In this election, particularly, the sheer amount of money could swing the election against those whose funding comes from residents, close friends, and family members.

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Posted by MenloParkforSale
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 2, 2006 at 8:39 am

The incumbent slate has received tens of thousands of dollars from developers, and they claim that these developers support them because the challengers plan to shut down all development. Not only is this a lie, it obfuscates the fact that the incumbents have been inordinately weak in negotiating with developers, and have essentially opened the city for strip mining with no concern for the general plan or existing zoning.

Bohannon is in a somewhat different category as he is a resident rather than a carpetbagger as well as a contributor who offered money to all six candidates. I find his comments about the incumbents particularly insightful. He evidently does not believe the incumbent slate's propaganda about the challengers bringing a halt to growth, but then, the incumbents hardly have a praiseworthy track record when it comes to progress.

As for his pending projects, I hope that no one on the next council is willing to sell out the city for $2,000, and I believe David Bohannon has enough integrity to agree with that.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Oak Knoll School
on Nov 2, 2006 at 5:02 pm

Political giving is a reality, and legal. Full and complete disclosure are required so that we as voters have the information we need to make a decision. Unfortunately, spin and negative campaigning are also a reality and completely legal. Good luck to all voters trying to discern the truth.

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Posted by Ethically minded
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 2, 2006 at 6:42 pm

Campaign donations from builders whose projects are scheduled to be voted on by the council is outrageous!

That a sitting council member does not see this behavior as outrageous is astounding. Are we to believe that this contribution will be forgotten when the time comes to consider changing the project's parameters at a cost to the builder? Rrrrright!

One of the mantras used to derail true campaign finance reform is that openness about contributions constitutes reform. It doesn't. To a brazen politician -- such as are in the council majority now -- and to their apparently equally brazen pals in the local building community, knowing that the public knows of their largesse doesn't cost them even a wink of sleep.

Throw the bums out!!!

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Posted by GC Knowlton
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2006 at 3:53 pm

Be very careful what election or other types of donations you allow your council members to accept. I can tell you from experience that once the "camel gets it's nose under the tent", you are all in big trouble. Here in Scottsdale AZ, we were finally able to get a strong ethics code passed in March '06 which disallows these types of unethical displays of power to have any effect. I'd be happy to send a copy of that Ethics Code to anyone who cares to look at it. Send your request to

We watch very closely to make sure that any elected or appointed city person connected to or working for any developer recuses themselves from any votes or does not not help in any manner through city staff.

Due to the power brokers who have seemingly "owned" our city for a number of years prior to the new ethics code, we are still on the hook for up to $300 million in taxpayer subsidies to "friendly" developers unless our constant pressure on the mayor and council to refuse these subsidies causes them to be reconsidered.

Save your city by stopping this nonsense in it's infancy if possible!

Good Luck,
GC Knowlton

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Posted by GC Knowlton
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2006 at 3:56 pm

The ethics code can be sent to you from the scottsdaleactivist website.

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Posted by MAParent
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 3, 2006 at 8:28 pm

Did you notice that Howard Crittendon gave Boyle Duboc Winkler $1000 each the day before they voted for the Derry project which contained a provision from the developer for $100,000 to study the part of El Camino that includes Crittendon's Park Theater?

Legal or not, the appearance is clear.

We need leaders in this town with better highe standards of behavior for our kids. We need variety on the council for a better council debate.

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Posted by DeepThroat
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 4, 2006 at 12:34 am

Richard Hine actually presumed that because Bohannon reported donating the money, that all six candidates accepted and used it. At this time, I believe there is extensive debate among some candidates about whether or not they should accept the funds.

Readers shouldn't make the presumption that because Bohannon reported, as he is legally required to do, that all candidates will actually accept it.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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