Two Menlo Park City Council members recently removed themselves from voting on the city's spectacularly unpopular Willows Traffic Plan, since they live within 2,500 feet of some of the plan's traffic-diversion features. The resulting potential impact on their property values caused them to have financial interests in the project, leading appropriately to their recusals.
Too bad that one of them, council member Kelly Fergusson, didn't exhibit similar reservations in 2008, when she enthusiastically voted for the city to spend $120,000 on the plan that produced this conflict of interest for her. She even voted to include in the plan, contrary to established city policy, exactly the kinds of street features that created the conflict.
The potential impact on Willows properties, including hers, was certainly predictable, since a 2,500-foot radius from her home includes almost the entire Willows neighborhood. No doubt, she will argue that her 2008 actions were technically legal, but that will miss the point of the questionable ethics of her behavior.
You see, in 2008, when Fergusson was running for re-election to council, traffic activists in the Willows needed to be appeased with an expensive study. By 2011, the topic had become a political hot potato to be avoided.
Ms. Fergusson's Houdini-like appearance and subsequent disappearance in this drama make perfect sense ... for a political opportunist.
Frank Tucker, Politzer Drive, Menlo Park