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Menlo Park: Specific plan initiative goes to ballot

Original post made on Jul 16, 2014

Voters will have a chance to determine the fate of a grassroots group's proposed changes to Menlo Park's downtown/El Camino Real specific plan in the November election, the council decided on Tuesday night with a 5-0 vote.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 9:37 AM

Comments (50)

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Posted by Sue Kayton
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 12:39 pm

All five council members were strongly opposed to this initiative. Here are some quotes.

Mayor Ray Mueller: "This initiative would lock the city in a time capsule."

Rich Cline: "This is no way to run a city.... It locks you in...." The Downtown Specific Plan is a living document that gets reviewed every two years. The DSP doesn't need a $100,000 election to make changes. "We need this flexibility."

Mayor Pro Tem Catherine Carlton said that some of the authors of the ballot measure opposed the Café Borrone project when it was proposed decades ago due to fear of change.

The reason that the consultant didn't address the alleged "errors" in their report is that these "errors" exist in the minds of the readers. If you want to talk about errors, the Save Menlo website is riddled with them. Starting with the picture at the top which has nothing to do with the proposed Stanford building.


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2014 at 1:36 pm

JulieToo is a registered user.


Maybe City Councils everywhere should allow for adequate amounts of time for people to voice their concerns or make suggestions at council meetings.

Then such extraordinary responses as creating initiatives would not be necessary.

Look at all of the time and energy and expense and frustration this issue has generated.


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Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

"Maybe City Councils everywhere should allow for adequate amounts of time for people to voice their concerns or make suggestions at council meetings."

For those who don't know, anyone can email our city council at "city.council@menlopark.org" and all city council members will read your email. Then you can take as much time as you need to express your thoughts.

I don't think that allowing more time for public comment would have changed anything with regards to this initiative.


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Posted by Russell Dember
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 16, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Regarding the above comment about the perspective drawing of the outline of the 500 El Camino Real project shown on the Save Menlo website. This drawing was used to avoid any copy right issues with actual drawings done by the architect. As you can imagine the owners of this project would not be happy having their own drawings used to oppose it.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 16, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"This drawing was used to avoid any copy right issues with actual drawings done by the architect."

The REAL drawing which have been submitted to the City are in the public domain - persons interested in the truth should feel free to use those drawings.


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Posted by Concerned citizen of MP
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I was pleased to read that the Council members were strongly opposed to the Initiative and that a ballot argument against the ballot measure will be produced. The citizens of MP need to understand more clearly that the Specific Plan promotes a healthy mix of uses and that it can be changed, when needed. Whereas, the Initiative requires an expensive, time consuming election process to make any changes. This hinders the ability of the City to make changes, in a timely fashion, and this is not a recommendable way for any City to do business. We must not forget that the Specific Plan took 7 years to complete and has been fully vetted. It should also be pointed out that here are numerous unintended consequences to the grass roots Referendum. Additionally, many of their assumptions and facts are incorrect! Please get informed and support the work of Menlo Park Deserves Better, a group that seeks to spread the word about the dangers of the Referendum and the need to support the Specific Plan.


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Posted by fwiw
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 16, 2014 at 2:50 pm

> The REAL drawing which have been submitted to the City are in the public domain - persons interested in the truth should feel free to use those drawings.

Are you quite certain about this? I find it surprising that submission for public review would necessitate surrendering copyright privileges.

I note that the city's web page for the plans does note, "Plans are subject to architectural copyright restrictions, and reproduction may not be possible without the consent of the applicant."


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Posted by Bruce Adornato
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jul 16, 2014 at 3:59 pm

in my opinion the issue is traffic and I think the voters will do anything they can to reduce the amount of increased traffic caused by overdevelopment of the El Camino Corridor
sensible development like that at Barrones would be welcome but a mega complex with multiple hourly traffic visits is not


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Copyright protects the commercial use of a product. The Fair Use doctrine clearly provides for public documents to be reproduced for non commercial purposes.

"What Is Fair Use?

In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and "transformative" purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an illegal infringement.

So what is a "transformative" use? If this definition seems ambiguous or vague, be aware that millions of dollars in legal fees have been spent attempting to define what qualifies as a fair use. There are no hard-and-fast rules, only general rules and varied court decisions, because the judges and lawmakers who created the fair use exception did not want to limit its definition. Like free speech, they wanted it to have an expansive meaning that could be open to interpretation.

Most fair use analysis falls into two categories: (1) commentary and criticism, or (2) parody.

Commentary and Criticism

If you are commenting upon or critiquing a copyrighted work — for instance, writing a book review — fair use principles allow you to reproduce some of the work to achieve your purposes. Some examples of commentary and criticism include:

quoting a few lines from a Bob Dylan song in a music review
summarizing and quoting from a medical article on prostate cancer in a news report
copying a few paragraphs from a news article for use by a teacher or student in a lesson, or
copying a portion of a Sports Illustrated magazine article for use in a related court case.

The underlying rationale of this rule is that the public reaps benefits from your review, which is enhanced by including some of the copyrighted material."

Of course Save Menlo may well feel that the public would not benefit from the dissemination of the truth.


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Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Anyone who thought anything other than the result would be the Council sending the Initiative to the ballot is really naive.

Accepting the Initiative you be an admission that the Council has made a huge mistake in approving the Specific in the first place.

Councilman Cline, who is the Father of this Specific Plan, certainly would take no other stance other than throwing out Political Baloney like:

"This is no way to run a city.... It locks you in...." The Downtown Specific Plan is a living document that gets reviewed every two years. The DSP doesn't need a $100,000 election to make changes. "We need this flexibility."

One should really recall that Cline, rode the coattails of the Derry Referendum to get elected 8 years ago. At that time he claimed to be a "residentialist" and that he was dis-disillusioned with having first being allied with the pro-development crowd, headed by Duboc, Winkler and Jellins.

Since gaining office, however, he has pretty much sided with pro-development groups on all issues, including the Bohannon project and others.

He lead the effort to create the Specific Plan, and when as Mayor he refused to hold further public meetings before the Consultant went off to create the EIR as a totally "off the charts" "give away" to the Stanford and the developers and builders.

So now we have the Specific Plan being in a very moderate way being challenged by the Initiative. Cline's Plan should be really known as Cline's folly... it will be interesting to see if he will try for a third term... he really didn't do that well in the last election.

One thing we do know, is that 2300 or so Menlo Park voters signed the Initiative. Hopefully they will with other voters, vote to make the Inititiave into Law, regardless of forthcoming opposition from Council, Stanford, Greenheart etc.



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Posted by Sam Tyler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 5:14 pm

I am not sure if Mr. Dember is naive or flippant. The Save Menlo website did, in fact, post the original project drawings on their website. Everything put up on the Save Menlo website has been carefully selected to make the Stanford proposal look as bad as possible, including crafting that ugly stick frame picture.

The link is(Web Link)


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Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 16, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Actions by the City Council a long time ago could have stopped even the idea of the Initiative from occurring. As @oldtimer mentioned, the Council can now only allow the Initiative to go to the ballot, otherwise they would be admitting their mistake.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 16, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"As @oldtimer mentioned, the Council can now only allow the Initiative to go to the ballot, otherwise they would be admitting their mistake."

This is a totally illogical comment. The initiative is an assault on representative government and the very open process of the Specific Plan. The Council made no mistake in approving the Specific Plan and the Council will continue to review and improve the Specific Plan - unless this poorly crafted initiative passes in which case Menlo Park will be frozen in time. Which is exactly what Freeze Menlo wants.


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Posted by Stats
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jul 16, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Thanks for posting the plans - they look great ! Better than I expected.


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Posted by Time Capsule
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 16, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Mayor Mueller nailed it with his time capsule comment. I can't count the number of time I have had a great time in neighboring communities like Los Altos and San Carlos and then come home to Menlo Park thinking we have become the Land of the Lost.


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Posted by skip hilton
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 17, 2014 at 1:08 am

Sorry oldtimer. I need to take issue with your comments here.

Not sure who you are, so feel free to respond to my comments under your true identity as I have done. It is difficult to have an open and honest dialogue when people hide behind pseudonyms -- a real weakness of internet discussions.

Let the games begin...

Oldtimer says: "Anyone who thought anything other than the result would be the Council sending the Initiative to the ballot is really naive."

This is the real problem with ballot box politics. (1) Anyone can get 2300 signatures, particularly when you PAY people to BADGER folks at Trader Joes and the farmers market. People will sign just about anything to get to you out of their way and go shopping. (2) Elected officials are never going to prevent an initiative from going to a vote unless it is either illegal or very dangerous - if they did they would be vilified for subverting democracy. But what they can do is to allow the democratic process to proceed -- but go on the record that this is a BAD IDEA and should not be supported. And they did.

Oldtimer says: "One should really recall that Cline, rode the coattails of the Derry Referendum to get elected 8 years ago. At that time he claimed to be a "residentialist" and that he was dis-disillusioned with having first being allied with the pro-development crowd, headed by Duboc, Winkler and Jellins. Since gaining office, however, he has pretty much sided with pro-development groups on all issues, including the Bohannon project and others."

There is some truth to this statement. When Rich Cline was up for re-election (for his 2nd term), a group of 50+ residents asked him to discuss his stance on the downtown specific plan, among other issues. It was an old-fashioned grass roots town hall style meeting. We challenged him about his stance, on the Plan, why it was taking so long, and why he was not more forceful in his defense of the Plan that was his pet project during his first term, and why he had not encouraged more development consistent with the Plan in our City. He committed to us that night that he would fight to get the Plan approved and defend it if re-elected. We endorsed him, and he was re-elected. And he has defended the Plan, and reasonable development consistent with that Plan, ever since.

Oldtimer says: "So now we have the Specific Plan being in a very moderate way being challenged by the Initiative."

Moderate? This is the wrong adjective here, truly. This initiative (drafted in secret by a small group) dictates new restrictions on development across a vast number of areas, AND restricts our City Council from revisiting this new Plan to make any changes (while the current Plan requires review every two years.)

Lets break that down. So we are all agreed that a group of 12 or so people get to rewrite the Plan to suit their needs -- a Specific Plan that experts, consultants, the City Council and Planning Commission, and hundreds of residents spent 6 years to develop -- just because they could BADGER enough shoppers to sign a petition that was misleading and misguided. AND as a bonus, they get to lock out any public input , review or debate of their new Plan EVER – a plan that they slapped together over a few months time? That is far from moderate. That is an outrageous miscarriage of justice, and an offence to the system of representative government and community input that Menlo Park should and will defend.

Sorry Oldtimer, but I think the voters will see beyond this NIMBY effort, and reject the restrictive Initiative in favor of a vibrant and forward-looking Menlo Park. No more vacant car lots, no more empty retail space on Santa Cruz, no more locals spending their time and money in neighboring towns because we refuse to embrace change.

MENLO PARK DESERVES BETTER.


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Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 8:39 am

A short response to Skip Hilton: You have been a solid supporter of pro development candidates and their policies (Keith, Meuller, Carleton, Ohtaki and Cline(who changed sides after first achieving office)

We need a new council. Any council that endorses policies that lead a citizen's groups to mount a major effort, such as the initiative entailed, should consider its policies very much suspect.

The "white wash", $150,000 Wise report represents the City's effort to defeat the initiative at the ballot box. Under law, the City will be unable to spend money to oppose the Initiative at the ballot this November. So the council, took this last opportunity to spend tax payer dollars for this report,($1000 per page), which is clearly meant to have Menlo Park voters vote no this November.

No doubt Stanford and Greenheart will open up their purses and fund opposition pieces throughout the campaign. David Bohannon spent a huge sum (over $250,000), to promote his development for fear the voters might reject it.

The key here is Menlo Park voters should approve the Initiative. Menlo Park voters should remove Keith, Ohtaki and Cline from office.






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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 17, 2014 at 8:53 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Any council that endorses policies that lead a citizen's groups to mount a major effort, such as the initiative entailed, should consider its policies very much suspect."

Save Menlo is a rather small percentage of the population of the city and while they are passionate about protecting their narrow self interests they do not in any way represent the "will of the people". The elected city council quite properly represents all of the citizens not just a small group claiming special privileges and protection.


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Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 9:27 am

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

I never did sign the petition but Skip Hilton is right about them badgering people. Not only did they badger, they were sometimes kind of nasty about it when I said no, telling me, "oh, you are pro-developer."

There is a middle ground between not supporting Save Menlo and being John Arrillaga, but the Save Menlo supporters really didn't serve their cause well by being snide to people who refused to sign their petition.


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Posted by interesting
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:19 am

The Derry project was negotiated behind closed doors with folks like Patti and Morris Brown (oldtimer's friend) and the project ended up dying on the vine because the window for financing closed. The folks driving the referendum if I recall are the very same people here today (they got the votes back then too). Patti, Morris, David Speer, Chuck Bernstein and so on. This is the same game that has been going on for years by the SAME people.

They act open, honest and as if they want "moderate" development. But there is not one project they have supported. Gateway? Against. Facebook? Against, unless we hijacked FB for $10M. Even the gymnasium, a gift from Arrilaga (check the records, these same guys/gals opposed it). Derry took the turn they wanted and went away. They hope to delay this plan long enough to kill the window of financing again.

Same people. Same game.

I just think our council sees the folks for what they are. Cline has the longest tenure so he has seen it more than any of them.

Reject, complain, yell, obstruct…anything they can do to stop MP from moving ahead.

Stanford reduces its project three times and still offers a tunnel under the tracks, and these same people reject it? And then they use the first proposed project to scare people to sign the petition.

Same people and same game.

Expect insults, condemnation and a complete lack of respect for anyone who opposes them.

MP needs to stand against these folks one last time. You would think they would learn from Gateway.

Sad.


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Posted by Henry Riggs
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:44 am

The bitterness of old-timer is unfortunate. The community FINALLY reached a hard-won consensus on what to allow on El Camino, but we still hear from some of those whose opinion did not carry the day. Community doesn't work that way.

As for the "look" of the Stanford project, their most recent design was REJECTED by the planning commission because it didn't fit w Menlo Park. Thats what was supposed to happen.

On traffic, the EIR required improvements of El Camino and related streets to handle the new traffic. To quote Gary Lauder "the road infrastructure [improvements] should PRECEDE the development" - and indeed the most critical improvement - three full lanes all the way through town - has begun. Again, thats what was supposed to happen.

If we can get past the hand wringing of old-timers, we can yet renew the sorry face of our town. Menlo Park deserves bettter.


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Posted by John Boyle
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 11:40 am

As many postings have pointed out, the Lanza/Fry Initiative would be bad for our city for many reasons: bad policy, bad process, and bad results. This initiative, drafted in secret by a handful of people and not subject to any public review process (not even CEQA environmental impacts), goes by the misleading name of "Save Menlo." A more honest name would be: "We-Know-Better-than-Everyone-Else in Menlo."

And the reality is that they don't. The current Downtown Specific Area Plan (DTSP) was the result of a lengthy (nearly six years), open, inclusive public process involving nearly 100 public meetings, email blasts going to nearly 1000 people, postal mailings, city displays and presentations, information booths at city block parties, personal visits to downtown merchants, committees and subcommittees, professional consultants and staff, non-professional residential input, and an investment of nearly $2M of our limited tax dollars. The process itself was designed and overseen by a city council (which included me for part of it) whose majority was generally skeptical of over-development. Many of the "Save Menlo" organizers were, in fact, key supporters of the Council majority and had direct access to the Council(s) who designed, managed, and eventually approved and re-approved the existing DTSP. The reality is that the core "Save Menlo" advocates knew about and participated in the process. In fact, virtually all of their Initiative ideas (along with many others) were floated at various times during the process. Some of their ideas became part of the DTSP, and some were rejected. This isn't a matter of "new ideas." Nor is it a matter of "Council wasn't listening." The ideas were heard, debated, and considered. Just because you didn't get your way, it doesn't mean no one was listening.

The worst part of the Initiative, though, is that it really doesn't guarantee the results that the Lanza/Fry "Save Menlo" team are promising. If it passes, we may well have more traffic, both on El Camino and cutting through our side streets. We may well end up with just as much office space. Stanford, for example, could simply opt to leave their contiguously located parcels separate. Instead of merging them and getting the mixed use project currently proposed (52% housing, 46% office, 2% retail), we could end up with 4-5 separate projects, each built to the maximum office/density cap.

Or we may end up with nothing at all. The delays and uncertainty could easily cause us to miss the current positive economic cycle (again) and we might see the empty, blighted lots in Menlo Park stay that way for ANOTHER decade or longer. At best, designs will have to go back to the drawing board, resulting in delays of at least two years or more. The city's independent fiscal analysis shows that a completely built-out DTSP will result in a NET impact (after expenses) to the city's general fund of over $2M per year.

Millions of dollars per year are similarly at risk for our schools, fire district and other special districts in our community FOR EVERY YEAR that the build-out of our downtown and El Camino are delayed. Those are millions of dollars that can be used to hire more teachers and police or to provide more resources for community services or to assist those in need in our community.

A vote for the Initiative is a vote for further delay. It is a vote for secretive process vs public process. It is a vote to lock in uncertainty and to kill the existing, vetted projects. It is a vote to keep our downtown and El Camino behind the times and at a disadvantage relative to our neighbors.

Menlo Park Deserves Better.


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Posted by George C. Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Henry Riggs, who I believe was chairman of the planning commission at the time of adaption of the specific plan states; "To quote Gary Lauder "the road infrastructure [improvements] should PRECEDE the development" - and indeed the most critical improvement - three full lanes all the way through town - has begun. Again, thats what was supposed to happen."

Gee, why didn't I, or perhaps any community members, know the Specific plan intended three full lanes all the way through town. I didn't even know that that 3 full lanes was the most critical improvement to the specific plan, I didn't know that critical improvement had begun. What disclosures were made.

Three full lanes all the way through town violates the Vision and Guiding principles of the Plan. What provisions did the specific plan install to get kids to MA or Hill View across three full lanes of Traffic. What does three full lanes do to E/W connectivity. Will Middle have an overpass over El camino Real??How do the three full lanes get implemented and paid for? What study of three full lanes was done by the EIR? What changes are necessary to allow three full lanes to parking. Why is the City only now doing a study of ECR. The study purports to say it is studying all problems of ECR. If the specific plan intends three full lanes, why do a study? How does Stanford all office non residential development, which is mostly AM and PM peak hour traffic going to be handed by three lanes and how will access be allowed to its sole ECR Access.

What other changes to infrastructure were intended? What changes to infrastructure were disclosed?

What else was known and non disclosed by planning commission members, city council members or staff. We weren't told that all non residential space was intended to be used for office space, we , weren't told that traffic from specific plan was 13,000 cars per day, we Weren't rn't told that the illustrative plan was totally inaccurate, We weren't told that without the expected hotel, the Specific Plan generated no profit, and in many cases were told the opposite. Were these indented as well. If so, what disclosure was made? What did city insiders know of Stanford's plans or intent prior to adaption of the Specific Plan in July of 2012. Was Stanford's intent to construct all office space for non residential and not to construct a hotel per the illustrative plan intended? and if so by whom?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 17, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

All one had to do is read the final DSP. The illustrative plan was just that, "illustrative."


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 17, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Fisher states - "How does Stanford all office non residential development, which is mostly AM and PM peak hour traffic going to be handed by three lanes and how will access be allowed to its sole ECR Access. "

What the initiative would REQUIRE is that Stanford
a) build 3 or 4 separate buildings to avoid the initiative's 100,000 sq ft/per project limit
b) each of which could also include medical offices which are not restricted by the initiative
c) which would, as 3 or 4 separate buildings, need to have 3 or 4 individual accesses to ECR, d) and none of which could be required to contribute to a pedestrian underpass.

The unintended consequences of this initiative just continue to grow.


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Posted by Skip Hilton
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 18, 2014 at 12:29 am

Oldtimer -- Yes I endorsed, supported and voted for all of the candidates you mention. And how do you know that I did? Because I disclosed my identity here.

I am not ashamed of who I endorsed or voted for. In fact I am quite proud that I have been part of a local residential group (much larger than Save Menlo as it happens) that sat down with ALL of the candidates in the last few CIty Council elections to hear their views. As a group we then endorsed candidates based on their desire to move our City forward -- a public endorsement with full disclosure of who we are -- and as it turns out the rest of the City must agree with us because ALL of the candidates we have EVER endorsed have been elected.

And since you know me you also know that I am not a developer, real estate professional, downtown business person, or that I have any vested interest in the proposed projects or the Specific Plan. What I am is a resident of this City that is tired of looking at empty car lots and chain link fences. According to Tunbridge Wells, the paid signature gatherers for the Initiative outside of Trader Joe's would label me "pro-developer". If you do not agree with Save Menlo you must be a developer. Extremists and the small-minded are only able to see black or white, one side or the other, and nothing in between.

The only thing the Save Menlo initiative will save is: (1) abandoned car lots along El Camino, (2) vacant retail space in a sleepy downtown, and (3) local businesses bankruptcies as our residents go elsewhere to spend their money.

If you want to Save these things, then vote YES on their Initiative in November. I am voting NO.

MENLO PARK DESERVES BETTER.









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Posted by Ron
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jul 18, 2014 at 1:52 am

Councilmembers and developers are against limits set by a voter initiative. Is that a surprise? Hardly.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2014 at 6:57 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Ron:

I am neither a developer nor a council person. I'm a citizen of this city and I am against limits set by this voter initiative. This is a poorly written initiative filled with unintended land mines that, if passed, will lock the city into NO growth for the next 30 years. You're for that? If the initiative passes all I can say is enjoy the view.

Menlo Park Deserves Better


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Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 7:24 am

Menlo Voter and others.

What a load of CRAP you are writing with the "will lock the city into NO growth for the next 30 years".

The Specific Plan is simply a disaster --- 30 years of growth to take place in a few (less than 5 years). The greedy developers (and I cast Stanford fully into that group)scheming to make $ millions (possibly up to $ billions)by the "give aways" the our hopeless planning department and City Manager(s) have agreed to behind closed doors. Its all becoming more and more obvious.

City forced into NO Growth ---- really! Look at the new Beltramo project just completed under old rules. Look at 1706 and 1906 El Camino, all built under old rules.

Those willing to learn, take notice of posts by George Fisher, as written above. Ignore anything Peter Carpenter writes (an Atherton resident with obvious motives to preach for all things Stanford)

Greenheart with comments that its project is of the same height as the project across the street, previously built. Maybe so, but Greenheart has virtually no commercial and is about 3 times the density of that project.

The "white wash" Wise report was doomed from the start, since the scope of work for their report failed to include work to examine what the Specific Plan would produce versus what the Original Visioning process,( conducted under a different consultant) (a consultant pretty much unbiased in terms of un-limited growth), which had the endorsement of the voters of Menlo Park, and not necessarily the endorsement of Stanford, Menlo Park staff etc.

We need a new Council --- that is for sure. We don't need Menlo Park being transformed by a a "business park on El Camino" into a Sunnyvale, Mt. View or Redwood City.

Support the Initiative in the November election.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2014 at 7:34 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Oldie states "Those willing to learn, take notice of posts by George Fisher, as written above. Ignore anything Peter Carpenter writes (an Atherton resident with obvious motives to preach for all things Stanford)"

Interesting that oldie wants you not to listen to the person who posts actually extracts from source documents to make his points while Fisher just offers his undocumented opinion. What oldie actually means is listen to people who support his anonymous views regardless of the facts.

Oh, oldie - what are my "obvious motives" that you speak of" Facts please.

Oh, and while you are being forced to deal with facts please document " the "give aways" the our hopeless planning department and City Manager(s) have agreed to behind closed doors." with specifics. Which specific items are in the Specific Plan that were not fully disclosed before the Plan was unanimously adopted by the City Council?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2014 at 7:47 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Old timer:

YOU are the one that is "full of crap." You make my point, the Beltramo project went in UNDER THE OLD RULES. They didn't have this poorly written initiative to contend with.

You again bring out the same old lie - deals were made behind closed doors. I challenge you as I have challenged everyone else that makes that assertion, do you have one shred of EVIDENCE that it occurred? Of course you don't.

If you don't like the fact that Peter isn't a resident of Menlo Park and his comments should therefor be ignored then you must do the same for the Lanza/Fry savemenlo group as most of their funding came from an Atherton resident. You can't have it both ways oldy.

Menlo Park Deserves Better

Vote NO on the initiative.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2014 at 9:38 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

We have had two of our grandsons with us this week and they have been going to baseball came at Gunn High School. So I have been up and down ECR between 8 and 9 each morning - what a surprise. I never had to wait for more than one light change and there were never more than 3 cars in front of me at any light.

Where oh where is all of George's ECR traffic?


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Posted by traffic watcher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 9:55 am

Mr. Carpenter, you might want to wait til school begins this fall. You want traffic? You'll see/sit in traffic.


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Posted by Menlo Park Deserves Better Still
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Menlo Park deserves better than a few political hacks in a group self-named "Menlo Park Deserves Better." And Peter Carpenter should stick to promoting more office space and congestion in his own town of Atherton.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Thanks for the unsolicited advice but I'll stay in the debate - someone has to hold the harsh light of reality on the false claims of Save Menlo and on the deeply flawed Fry/Lanza initiative. And as a former planning commission, a three time local elected official and a strong economic supporter of Menlo Park I have both the expertise and the right to remain in this debate. This flawed initiative has already cost the taxpayers, whom I represent, tens of thousands of dollars because of the uncertainty that it has created. Of course Fry and Lanza could pledge to indemnify the Fire District for all of the costs incurred because of their initiative.

And why don't any of the Save Menlo folks ever answer the many questions that have been posed to them? Perhaps they have no answers. Or perhaps they know that their answers would simply convince people to vote against the initiative.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Menlo park deserves:

you're a hypocrite. It's ok for Lanza/Fry to take most of their money from an Atherton resident, but an Atherton resident can't make comments regarding the poorly written Lanza/Fry initiative? Hypocrite.

No, I'm not a "political hack." Just a Menlo Park resident that doesn't want to see our town destroyed by a few no growthers.

Menlo Park Deserves Better


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Jul 18, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Simple question (once again): Who really is "Save Menlo" besides Lanza and Fry? If you are proud of what you are trying to do, please do say who you are.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2014 at 7:37 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

from savemenlo's web page:

Volunteers and Supporters

9 Formers mayors - Jack Morris, Gail Slocum, Steve Schmidt, Mary Jo Borak,Paul Collacchi, Chuck Kinney, Heyward Robinson, Kelly Fergusson, and Andy Cohen

Menlo Park residents: Perla Ni, David Roise, Chuck Bernstein, Stu Soffer, Charlie Bourne, Elizabeth Houk, Lynore Banchoff, Lynn Mickleburgh, David Bingham, Naama Barnea-Goraly, Paul Podesta, Peter Cook, Erin Craig, Robert Hamilton, Kate Ague, Kevin Vincent-Sheehan, Stefan Petry, Peter Hart, Diane Hart, Bruce Adornato, Kristen Swanson, Tom Sullivan, Jenny Sullivan, Eric and Sonali Fain, Don Barnby, Veneta Kanelakos, Amy Klein, Eleni Linos, Peter Li, Sally Finkle, Katie Wilson, Jane Garratt, Debbie Gerow, Mark Gerow, Robert Ekedahl, Scott Herscher, Gail Sredanovic, Holly Nash, Krist Roginski, Kathy Schoendorf, Nancy Borgeson and many more.

They claim 600 people being involved and these are the only ones willing to put their names out there? One has to wonder, if they really have 600 people involved why was it necessary to use paid signature collectors to get their initiative on the ballot?


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Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 19, 2014 at 8:49 am

Hilarious that "Menlo Voter" wants people to reveal their names. Is "Menlo Voter" what your parents listed on your birth certificate?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 19, 2014 at 8:53 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Enough - note that Menlo Voter has not placed an initiative on the ballot and he is also a Registered User of the Forum so the editors have "know" who he is.


so who are you?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2014 at 9:07 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

enough:

I haven't asked for anyone to reveal who they are. I simply question savemenlo's claim that they have 600 people involved when they only list 51 people on their web site. That's less than 10% of their claim of 600 people involved. Again, if they had that many people involved, why did they have to hire people to collect signatures for their initiative?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 19, 2014 at 10:08 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Now that their initiative has been placed on the November ballot why are Lanza/Fry and Save Menlo so silent? Why do they refuse to answer questions about their fatally flawed challenge to good governance?

Clearly in their signature campaign they misled the signatories with false claims like "No Vacant Lots" when that is in fact very probable result of their efforts.

Why have they chosen ignorance as their ally?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Ignorance is bliss.


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Posted by Mano Punk
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 20, 2014 at 8:14 am

Peter, I have often wondered the same thing myself regarding the radio silence exhibited by save menlo.

Glad I am not a politician, because I keep waffling for and against. Want to see the city grow, but responsibly. I am not certain yet the 3 parties involved, dtsp, save menlo and menlo deserves better, have it right yet.

I do realize I have not offered an alternative however.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 20, 2014 at 8:18 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Mano - Thanks for continuing to contribute to this thoughtful discussion. My concern is not wether or not we agree but rather that you be fully informed so that you can cast a responsible vote.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 20, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is an excellent article on this issue with some good graphics:

Web Link


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Posted by thanks for the link
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Jul 21, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Thanks Peter, great article, on STREETS BLOG SF (Web Link). I especially enjoy that real people are having a discussion, and responses are nested below the comment they refer to. This is much better than what we have here.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 21, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Yes,there is a good discussion on that web site but also a lot of untruths like this one:
Avatar
PJC aslevin • 2 days ago
Let me also address the mistaken notion that
all of these rules and definitions would need a vote of the people to change" since many versions of this claim have surfaced and none have been shown to be true.



petercarp PJC • a few seconds ago
"Let me also address the mistaken notion that all of these rules and definitions would need a vote of the people to change" since many versions of this claim have surfaced and none have been shown to be true."

But it is TRUE. In section 3 of the initiative there are 12 separate definitions and in section 4.1 it staes:

"4.1. Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City's ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to
accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter adopted
development standards AND DEFINITIONS set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election."

What is not clear about that???


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 21, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Another untruth posted on the referenced web site:

"The city of Menlo Park is free to change the map of the plan area if it wants, to rezone parcels into and out of the area, and its free to allow or disallow whatever uses it wants in whatever zones it wants, but if cannot change which parcels are counted toward the Initiative cap and it cannot change which uses are counted toward the Initiative cap."

NOT TRUE. Sec 3.1 defines the Specific Plan area:

3.1. ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the "ECR Specific Plan Area," this initiative measure is referring to the bounded area within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I, of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo Park city Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 to this measure and hereby adopted by the voters as an integral part of this
initiative measure."

And Section section 4.1 it states:

"4.1. Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City's ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to
accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter adopted
development standards AND DEFINITIONS set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting "YES" on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election."

What is not clear about that?


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 22, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Brian is a registered user.

What ever your opinions, and there are certainly some strong ones on both sides. The bottom line is that the voters are going to decide for themselves which way they want to go. I expect there will be lots of petty bickering and name calling in this forum over the next few months, not to mention more of the ranting and ravings we have seen over the past several months. I am happy the voters will get a chance to decide.


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