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The rotten apples living in Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Atherton

Original post made by morris brown, Menlo Park: Park Forest, on Nov 9, 2009

Please view:

Diridon's Rotten Apples comment from the Nov 5th board meeting on YouTube

Web Link

Not a single other board member of the High Speed Rail Authority, objected to his dictates.

morris brown
stone pine lane


The full text is:

(Diridon dictating to Ogilvy PR firm (hired for $9 million / $1.5 / year) what he wants done and done now)

Second is, and I’ll use as an example again one area, but I have an idea that its occurring in other areas too, miss-information is causing serious media relations problems in the mid-peninsula – Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto area especially. That miss information coming sometimes from in-advertently our own staff, but then again its being presented by opponents, blatantly providing false information to the media and then having no correction. No information being provided that would counter that miss-information and I think you related to that earlier.

So would you relate to those two examples, not those two specific cases but those examples as kind of in the weeds detail, that you really need to be on immediately, so that it doesn’t , the kind of thing are like a sore that festers, or the rotten apple in the barrel , if you would like to use another example. And you got to get that apple out of the barrel immediately and please figure out a way and let us know at some time in the future and call us individually or give us a report on how you would be creating kind of flying squads of emergency response to nip those problems in the bud. You want to avoid them if you can but if you can’t avoid them you need to have a way of countering them immediately so that , miss-information isn’t allow to float around, its corrected . So please consider that as early tasks.

Comments (13)

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Posted by Bianca
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 10, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Morris, you've posted this in at least three different places on the net. Diridon didn't call you out by name. It seems to me you're trying to stir the pot here.

The reality is that there *is* a lot of misinformation about HSR floating around the Peninsula. I've heard nonsense about 75 foot high walls, the ROW being expanded to 6 tracks, I've heard people claim to know someone who got an eminent domain notice from the High Speed Rail Authority. And all of that is misinformation, to put it politely.

So Diridon wants the new PR firm to make sure the public has accurate information. Why is that a problem? People have a right to accurate information, and when they don't have it that makes the Authority's work a lot more difficult.

In fact, yesterday Rod Diridon told another paper this:

"That official, Rod Diridon, however, told the Post yesterday he was't talking about people, but rather the lies that have spread about the massive $80 billion project.

"What I referred to was that one piece of misinformation will be repeated and repeated and therefore cause a lot of confusion," said Diridon, a former Santa Clara County Supervisor who now sits on the rail authority's board of directors."

It seems to me that by spreading around his first comment repeatedly, and ignoring his clarification, you're kind of proving Diridon's point.

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Posted by taxpayer
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Nov 10, 2009 at 3:26 pm

And how many places are you posting your response, Bianca?

It was pretty clear, if you listen to Diridon's speech (on youtube now) that he was in fact referring to specific people. His comment to the Post was not clarification but a CYA maneuver.

Maybe the CHRSA does need to spend $9 million (that's a big chunk of the cost of the project--or at least the cost we voters have been told about) on PR, but that doesn't mean that Diridon should be dictating how to spend that money. Sounds as though he wants a big fat sledgehammer to wield against a lot of us who live in mid-peninsula cities. And there's something downright unsavory about the fact that our tax dollars are being used to shut us up, don't you think?

Thank you, Morris, for your efforts to derail this nightmare of a boondoggle.

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Posted by Bianca
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 10, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Taxpayer, I'll post my response wherever I find Morris Brown has made his initial post. I don't know why you would expect me to do anything different- he's has a position and an agenda and as a resident of Menlo Park I think it's fair to set the record straight.

And just to be clear, $9 million isn't a "a big chunk of the cost of the project"- the projected cost is $45 billion, and $9 million is 0.02% of the projected cost.

I don't view it as using tax dollars to shut people up. I view it as making sure that taxpayers get correct information. But you're free to disagree with me, I won't take it personally.

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Posted by Oh Come On
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Nov 11, 2009 at 10:13 am

I watched the utube piece and it is clear that the rotten apple comment is used to describe misinformation. In a bowl of apples, one rotten one will infect the other good apples.

Mr. Brown, get a hold of yourself. While you have asked some good questions and raised some good points to this HSR issue, you have also contributed a level of fear that is not helping your credibility or the quality of the public discussion. That you live so close to the Caltrain right of way must be of great concern to you. However, if you are going to continue to be a player in this issue, it would be better that you stick to the real issues of funding, unbelievable ridership projections, and the questionable need for so many trains between San Jose and San Francisco.

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Posted by Gern Blanston
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 11, 2009 at 10:40 am

I would posit that the entire HSR "business plan" is a rotten apple in need of plucking, but that's not what Bianca and other Diridon apologists (or is that apostles?) wish to hear.


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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 11, 2009 at 10:54 am

Bianca is Ogilvy.

Don't waste your time. This is the beginning of a long list of opposition strategies to be undertaken by the authority. Get into the community forums, get into the community dialogue and essentially sit and post and saturate.

To give you a taste of this, let's look at some track records of major PR firms/advertising conglomerates and what they achieve.

Fleishman-Hillard (a twin of Ogilvy) had to pay a $7M fine for faking bills and overcharging its client The Los Angeles Port Authority. Think taxpayers are safe...?

Another firm Edelman hired fake bloggers to pretend they were customers of WalMart. They denied it until the industry forced them to apologize and admit it.

These two I found all on my own on a search of PR firms and scandals.

Web Link

This is what communities are up against now. Biancas for hire.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 11, 2009 at 1:15 pm

1. Right of ways cost too much
2. It costs to much to build
3. It costs to much to operate
4. The State's Bonds' ratings have junk bond status
5. The taxpayers will pay far more money for the bonds since they are riskier
6. It is a huge disruption to people's lives in the peninsula
7. How about using the money to put in place a better education system. The children are our future.

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Posted by Bianca
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 11, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Despite what you may think, truth, I have no affiliation with Ogilvy or with the High Speed Rail Authority. I am a resident of Menlo Park and I support High Speed Rail. No one is paying me a dime to say so.

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Posted by Gern Blanston
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 11, 2009 at 3:02 pm

But what do you think of the HSR business plan, Bianca? You have read it, I'm sure, given your ardent support for the project. Will you, personally, frequent this train to Los Angeles? Will any of your friends or neighbors ride it once per year, even? If you can answer those questions in the affirmative with any conviction then you're the first person I've met, online or otherwise, who is able to do so.


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Posted by Bianca
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Absolutely I will ride this train. We have family in Burbank and travel to see each other frequently- my mother in law comes up from Burbank every other month to see her grandchild, and she'd much prefer a comfortable train ride than to fly. Burbank to Palo Alto on HSR will be much faster for her than flying from Burbank to San Jose with all the extra delays that flying entails. My husband flies to LA every few months, sometimes more often, for a one-day business trip; the flight is short but the travel time is longer, and he can't get much work done while traveling, but on a train he'd be much more productive.

And I'm not alone. Remember a majority of Californians approved Prop 1A, despite the state's current fiscal difficulties. Not only that, a majority of voters in *Menlo Park* voted for Prop 1A. The discussion of HSR has been a bit lopsided but there's a lot more support for it out there than you might think.

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Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Nov 12, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Well, Bianca, I agree with you. Many of my colleagues believe that a large number of California voters who supported the train, were misinformed and now that there is much more attention focused on this project, they will have changed their minds. I am not that sanguine. For that matter, I urge you to revisit the bond issue language on the ballot, so that it is clear now, with the wisdom of hindsight, what the voters believed they were voting for. It's quite revealing.

I think that far too few Californians have done any homework at all. Far too few have read any of the many related documents and asked hard questions. Can this be really true? Aren't all these claims just too good to be true? How can these numbers make any sense? Why are they saying one thing today and a totally different thing the next day? How can, for example, every recent meta-infrastructure project multiply it's costs twice, three time and five times the original estimate (see Bay Bridge), but this one won't?

And, by the way, the "state's current fiscal difficulties" looked a lot different last November than they came to be by this Spring and Summer and what they are now. But, what the hell, this train is so essential for some people that it will be worth whatever it costs and whatever other investments won't therefore be met. Right, Bianca?

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Posted by kent
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 13, 2009 at 10:34 am

[Post removed; personal attacks violate terms of use]

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Posted by Helen
a resident of another community
on Nov 24, 2009 at 12:18 pm

I agree that the "rotten apples" flap is greatly overblown. I saw the video and read the transcript, and noplace did Diridon mention specific people or imply that he was referring to specific people. We all know that one piece of misinformation (whether intended or not) can affect what people believe. That's clearly what he was referring to.

I consider myself an informed voter, and I want to get facts. If people (whether the rail board OR the opponents) are muddying the waters with distortions or lies, I want to know about it. I'm smart enough to make decisions based on facts... not on manipulation by EITHER side.

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

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