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Lasensky nasty letter -- attacks Councilman Cohen and Almanac

Original post made by an old timer, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park, on Aug 4, 2009

In the August 5th, 2009 Almanac is a letter from Elizabeth Lasensky, ex-chair, but current mamber of the MP housing commission. It is a nasty, personal attack on councilman Judge Cohen and also attacks reporting of the Almanac.

What has caused this outburst I have no idea. I don't care. It is totally un-warranted. She owes him and the Almanac a written apology. She should be censored, at least, by the MP Housing committee for such writings.

She certainly is not going to win any friends with a letter like this.

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Page 17.

Comments (19)

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2009 at 8:12 am

I don't live in MP. But after reading the original post above, I read Ms. Lasensky's letter. Other than characterizing Mr. Cohen's abstention as "cowardly" (and that isn't an outrageous assertion), I didn't read any personal attacks.

The original poster above may have another agenda. Censoring dissenting opinion is certainly not the way to go.

Just one person's opinion.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 5, 2009 at 8:29 am

Andy Cohen has been a failure as a City Council member and mayor. His only achievement is that listening to Tivo portions of his soporific ramblings at City Council Meetings provides a great cure for insomnia.

Elizabeth Lasensky is expressing righteous outrage at the abysmal performance of Andy Cohen.

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Posted by End times
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 5, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Good heavens, did Hank Lawrence just come to the defense of Elizabeth Lasensky? What is this world coming to?

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Posted by happy days
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 5, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Hank and, there's a match waiting to happen! Together they could elevate the art of public snark to a new level of incoherent and unproductive rambling! Brilliant!

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Posted by A Grateful Letter Reader
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 5, 2009 at 7:05 pm

This is a great letter by Ms. Lasensky.She points out that Council Member Cohen has a responsibility to explain his votes and abstentions! Cohen is following in the footsteps of former council member Nick Jellins. What is the point of abstaining? It's one way to create a non record. No Vote? Nothing sticks. Makes running for another office much easier. And Cohen's bid for the Coastal Commission is another office.

Or maybe Cohen's abstention is because he hadn't cleared his vote with his advisors, the people he refers to as his kitchen cabinet.

I don't believe the Almanac is giving Cohen too much coverage but instead the paper is holding Cohen's feet to the fire. It's too bad, however, that the only way to learn why Cohen voted the way he did is to read about it in an article in the Almanac. Lasensky is right, council members owe the public some insight as to their positions on city issues, spending and projects.

Thank you Ms. Lasensky for taking your time to attend these meetings and scolding Cohen for his lack of candor. Thank you, Sean Howell for following up with Cohen and getting something from him.

A good job all the way around.

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Posted by observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 5, 2009 at 8:05 pm

How anyone can say Lasensky's letter was not personal and not be disgusted with it and her, is really beyond me. There must be some motive behind her attack -- does she really think she is gong again try to run for council and get support? She was discarded once by the anti-Jellins/DuBoc/Winkler group. She has no support group. [Portion removed; off topic] Can you see her getting the endorsement of DuBoc and Winkler?

Why Hank and the others are attacking Andy is a bit hard to understand. He won re-election by a wide margin. He won't run again. He has tree more years to serve. He is obviously going to call them the way he sees it.

We elected him -- I'm happy with him.

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Posted by happy days
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 5, 2009 at 8:49 pm

I agree with you, observer. Lasensky wrote a spiteful little self-serving hit piece that was probably drafted in company with her pals Steve and Brielle. Their shared objective appears to be to alienate everyone else in town.

Grateful is probably the same person who posted another venomous anti-Andy attack on a completely unrelated thread under a different alias at approximately the same time. What exactly is the point of carrying on a vendetta against a dedicated public servant?

Maybe people need to be reminded again that our council members are volunteers who contribute 20+ hours a week on behalf of our city. I especially appreciate that Andy has always been open to listening to residents' concerns and to helping out the little guy. We are lucky to have him.

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Posted by Lasensky is half right
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 5, 2009 at 9:31 pm

I second "Grateful" on both points: 1. Cohen should have participated in the discussion -- vigorously -- and explained his vote and position to the public at the council meeting, and 2. Sean Howell did the public a service by pressing Cohen on his behavior and vote. I'm not out to trash Andy Cohen. I often agree with his positions. But he owes us more than silence, followed by a nonposition for the record.

As for Elizabeth Lasensky, I have no problem with her calling Cohen on how he handled this. But I'm mystified about her criticism of Howell, who was only trying to get Cohen to explain himself.

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Posted by stanford shill
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 5, 2009 at 9:34 pm

[Post removed; off topic]

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Posted by Jimmy Sigona
a resident of another community
on Aug 6, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Although I don't keep up with Menlo Park politics, I would say that to censor public opinion on any political matter is a quick road to the destruction of the free world and democracy. Who better to be the watchdogs of our public servants than other involved community members?

And I believe the newspapers and press should only support such open discussion, with no apologies necessary; in fact that is an important role of the media. Also, this was in the letters from the community section, which are often a good place to start a discussion. If there are facts to debate or discuss then bring it on, but accusations of slander and threats of 'not winning friends' sound defensive and reactionary to me.

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Posted by EPM
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 6, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Mr. Cohen is repeating his performance when it came time to vote on the construction of the Rosewood Hotel. He could see the vote was not going his way and another member of the Council had to plead with him to return to the Council Chambers so the voting could proceed. It's ironic that this project is now hoisted as one of the revenue streams that will allow Menlo Park to balance its budget.

Now Mr. Cohen is sulking about another vote that did not go his way. This is not a healthy sign.

Most adults learn over time that we don't always get our way. Life deals us good days and bad days. It's not AYSO where eeryone gets a trophy. The important thing is to persevere and participate. Taking our marbles and going home was what we did in our childhood.

One writer points out that Mr. Cohen was recently re-elected. All the more reason for Mr. Cohen to record his vote and do what he was elected to do. I took that as the point of Ms. Lasensky's letter. For goodness sake, take a stand and vote.

The point of Mr. Howell's story was to ask "why". Since Mr. Cohen was not willing to represent his views to the public in the forum of the Council meeting, then that's what the press is for; to keep asking "why".

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Posted by happy days
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 6, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Can we get past the Rosewood Hotel? If that's the only negative incident you can raise (and you raise it over and over again on these boards) then I'd say Andy is doing a bang-up job, far superior to that of some members of the prior council. That vote was taken years ago; the hotel was built and it's open and operating! (File under: dead horse, beating.)

It's no surprise to anyone who has met Andy that he was elected by such a huge majority. His work ethic, sincerity, and integrity are beyond reproach. If you want to know why he voted a certain way, I'm sure he will be glad to tell you. I have always found him very responsive to emails, and his contact info is readily available on the city site.

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Posted by happy days
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 6, 2009 at 4:28 pm

By the way, it's pretty clear that the original poster intended to say "censure" not "censor." The difference is significant.

I personally don't think Elizabeth should be censured or censored. I'm in favor of free speech and an advocate of giving people enough rope. She is proving that she is her own worst enemy.

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Posted by goober
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 7, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Frankly, all council members and commissioners should articulate the reasoning behind 'no' votes and abstentions. So she's right regarding Andy, but there is a historical record of others doing the same, which haven't drawn the venom.

Other than that, I thought her note was uncharacterically nasty. And veered from the real point.

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Posted by And There You Have It
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 7, 2009 at 12:32 pm

And there you have it, the major reason why people don't get involved, or run for local offices. I do not agree with Andy on most issues. I've always found him to be far too one sided with his "I'm looking out for the little guy" type demeanor. However, Andy is not paid for this job, he volunteers many, many painful hours of listening to squeaky wheels and blowhards all day long, about their own personal beef about city issues. The job is not just a one night a week job, he deals with this every day. Most people say, "well that's the job, he shouldn't have run for reelection then!" I disagree. There has to be a point in which everyone brings any of our local issues BACK into context. Seriously, to be treated the way Ms. Lasensky treated Andy, in an open forum in which his friends, neighbors etc., can read about Andy, I think is nuts. If I were Andy I would demand an apology, and if that doesn't happen, let it go Andy. That would say a lot about Ms. Lasensky's character, and perhaps we can stop the crazy trash talking of our elected volunteers.

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Posted by hot council gig
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 7, 2009 at 4:18 pm

We should indeed respect Council members and others active in our community and give them the benefit of a doubt on motive until the evidence collects otherwise. Let's note however that, unlike commissioners, Council members are paid - it's not much, but it includes healthcare, and if you get re-elected it includes healthcare as a "retirement" benefit.

Mr. Cohen is not a "volunteer", and like other Council members is answerable to his constituents, not just his unfortunate "kitchen cabinet".

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Posted by Crystal
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 7, 2009 at 4:30 pm

As members of the self appointed attack squad, Elizabeth, and Hank Lawrence, have little to
offer MP except insults and fomenting hate .[Portion removed; off topic]

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Posted by old timer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 7, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Happy days notes:

"By the way, it's pretty clear that the original poster intended to say "censured" not "censored."

I am the original poster --- I apologize -- I certainly did not mean censor --- I did mean censure. Thank you Happy Days for calling my attention to this.

The meaning meant to convey:

(from the Dictionary)
To pronounce an adverse judgement on, express disapproval of, criticize unfavourably; to find fault with, blame, condemn. (The current sense.)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 10, 2009 at 6:31 am

Those who anonymously (a very unfortunate and unwise feature of the Almanac Town Square forum) criticize elected public officials should think carefully about the consequences of their actions. Andy, whom I know and respect although we have very different political philosophies, and I have both chosen to step into the arena of elected public service. It is disconcerting, to say the least, to be cowardly attacked by others who both choose anonymity and have also declined to themselves to stand for election by their fellow citizens for the privilege of undertaking the challenge and commitment of public service.

For example, there are three seats on the Fire Board that become open this November. After more than a quarter of a century of public service, I have decided not to stand for re-election to the Fire Board - in no small part because of the total lack of real support by the citizens whom I have served and the cowardly attacks by those 'citizens' who choose to speak out anonymously. It seems likely that there will not be an election to fill the three open seats on the Fire Board simply because only three citizens out of the more than approximately 40,000 citizens who are eligible to serve have filed as candidates for these three seats. If even one more person does not file for this election then these three individuals will automatically be seated without an election and without any public scrutiny of their qualifications. And yet those very same eligible citizens, and I use the title of 'citizen' for them with great reservation, who anonymously attack those who have accepted the burdens and responsibility of elected public service do not themselves have the courage to step into the arena of public service.

In a democracy we do indeed get exactly the type of government that we deserve.

Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park Fire Protection District

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