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Duncan's plan for Park Theater rejected by council members

Original post made on Nov 5, 2007

A plan by Menlo Park resident Andy Duncan to have the city buy the Park Theatre building on El Camino Real and lease it back to him for a private dance studio has been rejected by two councilmen who were negotiating with Mr. Duncan.
With their opposition, the plan lacks support from at least four of the five council members.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, November 5, 2007, 12:13 PM

Comments (48)

Posted by just gotta know, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 5, 2007 at 12:41 pm

so is the mayor going to banish the almanac reporter from council chambers because the paper has an online forum?

Posted by new guy, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 5, 2007 at 1:21 pm

So in what way was the coverage of this story wrong mayor? please tell?

or was it that it was covered? you wanted a secret deal maybe?

This was never a good business deal, it was all about emotion, and wanting a sweetheart deal because everyone voting for it was "in on it."

Simply put, Duncan wanted it for his mother's dance business (not to save it for the city of Menlo Park.)

Then the whole argument that "we" don't understand operating budget vs. capital budget? Come on now, when checks get written, they come from the city of Menlo Park.

Oh well, please, please, please be the last time I hear about this type of "investment" from my city.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 5, 2007 at 1:30 pm

The Almanac deserves great praise for delivering the news. That is what a newspaper does.

If there is a backroom deal with highly questionable terms (which is what this was), and no one knows about it until it is too late, then that would be a failure.

According to the Palo Alto Daily, this thing isn't over until Duncan gives up. There is support from FRC to go forward if the terms aren't as ridiculous (see below). FRC aren't heros. They just realized that their deal would be PUBLIC INFORMATION.

Duncan wanted a ridiculous package. FRC wanted to go for the ridiculous package. People learn about ridiculous deal. Deal end.

Note that FRC were so willing to take it this far. Maybe FRC gave up because Duncan wanted to control 30 years instead of 29 (or something to that effect). Still ridiculous!!

The Mayor and R&C are upset for bringing out the truth? That is all the fuel we need to recall them. Early termination of their duties.

Don't forget - Deal isn't "dead", FRC is mad that public is aware, what else can we expect.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 5, 2007 at 1:31 pm

newguy, one word: recall

There is NO other way to prevent this circus in the future!

Posted by FormerKFSupporter, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 5, 2007 at 1:46 pm

Kelly is living in a cloud. She lacks the experience and sophistication to intuitively grasp the world of Menlo park.

Posted by disappointed, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 5, 2007 at 1:54 pm

The Almanac ran an editorial opposing the theater. That's what newspapers do: editorialize. And unless you're Steve Schmidt, it's unlikely the Almanac's editorials are going to echo your political sentiments.

I am particularly saddened that Rich got dragged into this morass. As a business owner and long-time commissioner, he should know better. People aren't criticizing the negotiation because it was "too bold" but because it made no financial sense. Sound financial principles are not "some ideology;" rather, they should serve as the bedrock of his stewardship as a member of the council.

And just to exacerbate the confusion, there are rumors that the Park majority have decided that the Park is a litmus test for the future of El Camino. The fact that the public doesn't like the Park dealings proves, they say, that the public will resist any efforts to clean up El Camino. This council needs to get the message that we do want a revitalized El Camino--without sweetheart backroom deals.

Posted by cool threads, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 5, 2007 at 1:55 pm

To prevent a major council power shift next November, maybe it's time for Bressler to declare early council candidacy, since he lost out to Boyle last time by only about a hundred votes. Name recognition, now on the planning commission, former parks commission, maybe a few campaign signs still left in the garage? How can Fergie get the Almanac endorsement for anything now? Cohen needs a strong running mate, and if he gets the nod for Mayor next year that will be a springboard as an incumbent, unlike Kelly.

Posted by go bears, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 5, 2007 at 2:02 pm

The city's hands are tied on the stanford owned car dealerships, those leases go till 2011-13, no one is going to lease them for only a few years and then be kicked off. Fergie can't participate, not sure if Heyward's wife still is employed by Stanford. Shepard Cadillac will have a mixed use project soon and north El Camino, (Beltramo's and such) will bide their time until they think they can get the best deal from a council. The south end (vacated car dealerships) is a non-starter.

Posted by el camino, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 5, 2007 at 8:46 pm

If you want a revitalized El Camino, I cannot think of a worst choice for council than Bressler. Everything that guy has ever said is in defense of the status quo, i.e. NO new housing, NO new businesses, NO new office, NO traffic, NO and NO and NO. He and his wife, Goldberg, have decided that the city is as it should be and it suits them, therefore NO to all change and above all, every KEEP out of Menlo Park.

Posted by go bears, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 5, 2007 at 8:58 pm

might be refreshing to have a No man, instead of a Yes man on the council for a change. Even, Yes, but with conditions, sounds better than, sure thing boss, absolutely Yes, you've got the 3 votes.
We need more watchdogs on the council or we'll end up looking like Redwood City. Driven down ECR in RWC lately?

Posted by so goes El Camino, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 5, 2007 at 10:25 pm

Is there really anyone in town who wants to keep El Camino as is? That's news to me. `

The El Camino task force gears up for business this week. If you have something to say, your opportunity is coming up soon. If you choose not to speak up, then don't complain about what you get.

Posted by You Gotta Be Kidding, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 6, 2007 at 4:54 pm

Bressler? I don't think so. This city needs a leader with a vision, a positive attitude and an understanding that the city does not begin and end with Linfield Oaks. Having lived in this neighborhood for close to 35 years, I can say that there has been something rotten growing in Linfield for the past 10 years. A small group of people has organized and made a lot of noise, in its attempt to fool the rest of the city that the neighborhood is falling to pieces and big bad developers are bringing down property values.
You gotta wonder if "Cool Threads" and Bressler have the same address? Who else would suggest Bressler run again? You lose once, you're a loser.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 7, 2007 at 3:10 pm

The Duncan handout deal is done for now. Look at the subcommittee report by Robbinson and Cline. You can find it on Web Link along with other documents.
In the report, there is an interesting little nugget. Fergie and friends have kept the option of "helping" or "partnering" with Duncan again in the near future.

Like I feared, their train doesn't want to stop. We can't rest until they are unseated. What's next... Menlo Park, with our funds, investing in another business??

Web Link

Posted by can't wait for next year, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 7, 2007 at 6:13 pm

Thanks Steve. I will look out for your fake fliers in the future for more information. I will also keep an eye out for you and your screaming friends lying about the pool giveaway and any other BS deals you and your last council did. You are one and the same -- the old party who lost by thousands of votes. You are also shady and you lie to the people with an ease that is frightening.

I say we recall "Steve" and "Joanna" and the rest of the con artists from the Mickie, Lee and Nikkie brigade.

Oh wait, we did last November by a land slide...

I look forward to getting the truth out about you all again for next year's election. Believe it. We know who you are and we are ready for you. You cannot lie or extory or intimidate your way through smart and capable residents of Menlo Park.

Posted by candle singed moth, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 7, 2007 at 9:41 pm

Okay, they have vetted this thing, suffered the contrition that politicians learn by doing questionable deeds. It's not life threatening to us, so just let them get back to their families and let's get back to city business. Steve/Joanna, power down your hard drives for the holidays and let's start the new year working constructively for a better Menlo park. We will probably have AC as mayor so let's be positive on our outlook. He brings a wealth of wisdom and experience to the dais every week. Let's give him the support that he needs and the input he seeks to make us believe that this really is a council of the people.

Posted by el camino, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 7, 2007 at 11:33 pm

Do we need more people to say NO in this town? Really?

NO to tearing down broken down old buildings, NO to business revitalization, NO to basic property rights, NO to families building the homes they want, NO to keeping this community vibrant... etc.

Look, like it or not, this community is evolving from a solidly middle class place to an unabashedly upscale community. The change is happening right now. It sure the hell beats going in the other direction. Who votes for the other direction?

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 8, 2007 at 10:20 am

Hi el camino, I agree with some of what you are saying. I also disagree with other things.

While this whole building the homes they want thing warrants another topic indeed, the direction Menlo Park is going is changing.

I think we all have to remember is that saying "no" to business and government in the same sentence, where the government is a REAL business partner, is different than saying "no" to business development or zone development.

There are ways to make changes, but I believe that going into business with a private business should not and will not fly.

Posted by John Scelso, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 8, 2007 at 10:46 am

Essentially, the Park Theater was just another privatization deal.

According to the Almanac, " the city would have bought the 60-year-old theater building for $2.2 million and leased it for 55 years to a development entity "

Those of us savvy to Menlo Park's partisan system get a good laugh knowing that the loudest and bitterest critics of Park Theater privatization are MLN insiders, those who were once the loudest advocates of privatizing other public facilities including the swimming pool, the Bayfront Park Golf Course, and the Child Care Center.

The list includes some members of Parks & Rec, those conducting an anonymous recall, and anonymous recall types stalking this forum, which is why "Steve" and "Joanna" and recall organizers dare not identify themselves.

By being conspicuously anti-privatization, recallers may think they're stealing a page from the 2006 election book, but the issue with MLN wasn't privatization per se, it was incompetence, worse it was about UNCONSCIOUS incompetence, of which the bad and bungled privatization efforts were simply the most conspicuous and relevant examples.

An anonymous recall is doomed to fail, not because its just plain dumb, but because basically Cline and Robinson are smarter than MLN. They figured it out in one try. MLN never figured it out. Even after they got routed in the 2004 "mid-term" election they never figured it out.

Posted by Reality Check, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Nov 8, 2007 at 11:19 am

What wisdom will Council Member Cohen bring to this picture? Like the silence he showed last Tuesday when it was definitely within his power and responsibility to reprimand Fergusson and allow the parks and recreation commissioner to share her commission's report? He told the Almanac that he didn't want to get involved in a "Cat fight." This guy is living in 1954. One term is enough for Mr. Cohen. He should be encouraged to step down and let someone else with a more of a vision run for council.

If anyone has noticed, Cohen usually sits on the dais silently. When he does speak, it's to parrot his kitchen cabinet's opinions. Most of his contribution is to say, "No" to every positive change proposed.

I do not believe Cohen is up to the job. Boyle could give the council the leadership it needs now. After a year of the whirling dervish Fergusson, we don't need a mayor who will be asleep at the wheel. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. We can do better.

And this is someone who didn't vote for Boyle but, is impressed with his intelligence and common sense.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 8, 2007 at 12:11 pm

I too didn't vote for Boyle. That's because I didn't vote for anyone. I was turned off by getting into anything long ago because there were lots of games and it seemed that it just didn't matter.

Throughout this entire fiasco however, it seems Boyle has kept his head above the fray and kept cool while there were lots of emotions running around. Even at the end on Tuesday, he thanked Robinson for his report. Before that, he wanted to hear opposing motions and comments. Isn't that what a representative should do? Or should they push dreams regardless of what you think? I watched part of the meeting live and saw it. Don't know why it isn't on the recallfergie site, but I recommend giving it a view (if you have 4 hours!!). Why do we need a level-headed leader in charge now? Cause the deal ain't dead. The dance studio could come back when we all are too busy too tired to say anything about it.

On a side note, this is the first and last time I'll address the one or two people who group me with others, saying I'm this party, or that party, or friends with that person... in a word... Wrong! I'm too old to play games so the previous sentence is all I'll dedicate to it. I decided to address it because I think it is important for others to know that while there might be political games being played all the time, normal citizens, who aren't in "the circle" can have opinions too. If something doesn't sound right, like giving money to your neighbor for their business, then chime in.

My co-workers didn't care about this politics stuff before, but when I told them what was going on, they suddenly took it to heart.

Back to reality check, yes, the council seems to need some level-headed leadership.

Posted by Cassandra, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 8, 2007 at 1:15 pm

I think the Almanac was pretty petty in criticizing Boyle and Cohen for not reprimanding Kelly on the spot. Paula can take care of herself, and to have intervened at that point would have merely prolonged the agony and embarrassment. Better to let Kelly hang herself. The restraint that Andy and John showed was prudent and commendable.

John may be too laissez faire for MP in many ways, but he is a star when it comes to running the numbers. And why wouldn't he be? Too bad that the mayor can't put aside her political perspective and accept his wisdom in his areas of expertise.

As for Andy: he is going to be a terrific mayor. He is smart, principled, open to public input, and without his own personal agenda. He is looking at what is best for the overall community, and is willing to take an unpopular (with the other council members) stance. This doesn't mean he won't make mistakes, but they will be honest ones, not mistakes made because he's self-serving or an ideologue.

Boyle has yet to prove that he's interested in the welfare of all Menlo Parkers, not just the rich west side residents. I have seen him grow on the job already; if he continues in this manner, he may well become mayor in 2008.

By the way, remember that the council set priorities earlier this year, yet week-by-week seems to overlook those priorities in favor of fighting whatever fire happens to be burning that day. Coming up with an overall plan for El Camino is still high on the list; the council should not be wasting time on piecemeal projects until the big picture has been drafted.

Posted by Reality Check, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Nov 8, 2007 at 1:28 pm

Andy Cohen as Mayor? Well, at least it might be fun to watch. Such a low energy guy. After he tries his hand at running the meetings, my guess is that he won't want to run for office again. He'll finally know what it takes to be prepared, knowledgeable on the issues and truly present at the meetings. After 7 months of that kind of responsibility, he probably decide it's time to go back to the pool. Mr. Cohen is not an energetic, up beat guy. This is why his supporters have such an easy time telling him how to vote. The perfect puppet.

Posted by Cassandra, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 8, 2007 at 2:10 pm

Fine, Reality. Maybe you can recruit Nicholas to run again. Miss those snores? Just because someone isn't hogging the conversation and making the meeting twice as long as it should be doesn't mean he/she isn't paying attention.

Last week, Cohen was the only council member to argue in favor of holding the business development department accountable. The rest supported it in theory, but in practice they were fine with throwing public money at the problem without trying to determine if they were getting any value for our $$$. Those are some costly "no"s.

Posted by NotExactlyAFan, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 8, 2007 at 3:09 pm

I don't think you'll be able to coax the esteemed Mr. Jellins back - he's off curing cancer (or something similar) now, isn't he?

Posted by watcher, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 8, 2007 at 4:23 pm

3 terms preening as mayor and what did Jellins accomplish? Walk out of meetings to prevent a quorum. He never apologized to anyone when he offended them.

Posted by boyle's your boy, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 8, 2007 at 6:23 pm

he's done your bidding from day one. track the votes not the thanks you's for reports. sheesh, do you really think we buy your crap? he voted for 75 willow and the rest of those crammed winkler deals. he voted for every single big home development. hr voted for medical offices regardless of implications of traffic.

boyle is your boy he votes pro dev every time and against homeowners every time and just because he does it with a smile does not make it ok. he is bought and sold like you are joanna and the rest of the "i never voted for boyle" cartel. you keep lying and we will be waiting to catch you.

Posted by Not his dime, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 8, 2007 at 6:47 pm

I don't trust Boyle one iota, but give the devil his due--he voted against one of his $upporter$ when he nixed the Park. Possibly because the guy has some integrity, or because a few thousand more or less in the campaign kitty doesn't make a difference, or because he doesn't really want the current council to be able to point to any successes.

The worse El Camino looks next November, the more likely the naive voter will be to vote for Boyle's cronies "because we will fix Menlo Park." No doubt said voters will have forgotten Nick & co, and the fact that Boyle campaigned by saying that he saw Nicholas as his role model for the kind of council member he aspired to be.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 8, 2007 at 9:05 pm

not his dime,

Gosh, I really hope it isn't all that complicated. Can't anyone vote because he/she sees something wrong?

To say there is nothing wrong with the Duncan deal is to live in an alternate reality.

I'm sure no one likes looking at boarded up buildings. But if you blindly go for bad deals just to see the end product, then you've messed up with shortsightedness. Should the Park be restored? Who knows... but I know I don't want to pay for it only to be shut out of it and to make a private citizen and business richer because of it. No way.

I'm pretty certain there were no games. It is just a matter of right and wrong. Fergie and friends got it wrong because they just didn't see anything wrong with this special partnership.

Posted by truth will set you free, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 9, 2007 at 9:53 am

where is the bad deal joanna? from what i know there is no deal now. please at least try to live in the honest reality. there is nothing to subsantiate your claims of a future deal. your "information" is a classic fallacy in that it relies on false sources. please finally once and for all prove your theory with something more than opinion and heresay.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 9, 2007 at 10:59 am


1) READ the committee report... especially the last paragraph
2) Watch the council meeting video for this Tuesday

With all due respect, think first, fact check, THEN write.

To everyone else... Duncan might come back with a proposal for a $400k grant instead of the $500k. It isn't dead until we stop caring.

Posted by Common sense, not ideology, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 9, 2007 at 11:16 am

Joanna is absolutely right. This Park deal is far from dead. Crittenden came too close to success to give up.

The most incredible aspect of the report is the level of delusion expressed. The two members of the subcommittee somehow convinced themselves that an unappealing post-war eyesore with limited parking has the potential to become the centerpiece of downtown. Somehow, they don't seem to realize that the Park is not the Redwood City Fox or even the Palo Alto Stanford but an ugly little box that its owner can't unload.

I have no problem with the city considering financial incentives to help revitalize El Camino, but those incentives must be structured in a global way so that they encompass all property owners/renters on the strip, so they show a clear public benefit, and so the risk/cost to the city is minimal.

Posted by not true, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 9, 2007 at 11:50 am

Again, there is nothing in the docs that backs up what Mickie and Lee and the gang claim through Joanna and her buddies. There is not a single reference to public fund investments at all.

The hilarious part of the post by common sense and his girl joanna is that they have no facts. Just assumptions and then just childish comments about council members being under delusion that property is worth money in Menlo Park.

I do have a problm with public funds going to revitalize anything frankly, so I disagree with you so called common sense.

But if you want people to listen to you and trust you, even though you guys are all the same people looking for a campaign slogan, then stop name calling and start putting down facts.

That property is worth a lot of money and it will prove out over time. Betting against land value shows your ignorance. I watch all council meetings and I read everyting they put put -- I learned this from your winkler, duboc debacle. Never turn away from government.

But your premise is wrong. You pretend to know some insider info and then say "watch the council video" over and over. You have nothing to back up your claims now that the deal is over. So you are making noise.

And we are too smart for that. Get real. Get respectful of our knowledge. Or go away.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 9, 2007 at 1:26 pm

I cannot let you hijack the thread. You are now being ignored.

For everyone else, I'm trying to find a place where you can watch the video without waiting 4-5 hours. While Robbinson reads parts of the committee report, there are some little gems in there. I'm looking in the mean time.

Anyway, check out the report. It pretty much speaks for itself. It is on the front page of the Menlo Park site. I'm writing down the URL below

Web Link

Have a good weekend everyone. :-)

Posted by another weak attempt, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 9, 2007 at 1:46 pm

See yet another referral to the video with some insult and no facts. This has been going on for weeks. Joanna aka major supporter of old school hang em high politics from the winkler duboc era can't let a day go without insulting one of the council members.

She offers no facts and no proof of a so called "deal coming" or anything except insults and derision. This is the same formula used by the three incumbents when they put out the false fliers and put out the huge signs.

The same lies they told when they gave away the pool to a private business without any RFP. Joanna was there supporting those past council members when they did all this. Now she is trying to find a campaign theme to get them back in.

But she is going with false information.

Yes, listen to the video and then download the letter. There is no evidence of a future deal. Joanna is trying to con you. This should close the book on "joanna" and the rest of her cohorts.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 9, 2007 at 1:50 pm

I am ignoring you. You are telling the truth and you are right, I am spreading false information but it worked so well in high school for me. I love false rumors it makes me feel like I am worthy of something. I don't care for facts or truth. That stuff is boring and only limits my ability to fool people who may just be looking for real information.

I am smarter than all of you. And everyone who disagrees with me is worthy of ignoring.

Posted by common sense, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 9, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Read the report. It corroborates what Joanna is saying.

I was a dedicated campaigner in last year's election on behalf of Cline, Robinson, and Bressler. I have no idea who Joanna is, but I have talked to other people who supported CRB who are similarly disappointed in what they have seen so far. I will take Heyward and Rich over Mickie and Lee any day, but that doesn't mean I'm thrilled with their positions on many issues.

The only point worth making about the Park is that the old deal is dead, but the Park as an issue is not gone. When it comes up the next time--I'm betting we'll see it back on the council agenda before spring--I'll post a bookmark to this thread along with an "I told you so!"

Posted by common, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 9, 2007 at 2:26 pm

Oh, and not true, I don't believe in public handouts either. I used the word "incentives." The city used financial incentives, for example, in the GM deal, offering GM a break on sales tax revenues. I happen to think those incentives were far too generous, but that's not the point. The point is that you can provide incentives that don't cost the city a cent. They may diminish the amount of revenue the city could potentially receive, but better to accept reduced revenue than no revenue, ne c'est pas?

P.S. I am not a boy, so male pronouns are not correct

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 9, 2007 at 3:15 pm

Obviously, I did not write the above.

common sense, the terms certainly won't be the same. I'm on the lookout for sure. To go off what you said about not being happy about Robbinson and Cline, yes, no politician will ever make the "right" decisions 100% of the time. However, I do think that every council member NEEDS to listen to the residents. Our input MUST factor into their decisions. We are an intelligent community and can understand what Robbinson said we can't (refer to Oct 30 video).

As a public figure you have to answer to somebody, no?

If the Park comes up again with the same cast, they'd better not try to pull a stunt like that again. That's all I ask as a person.

Posted by again not true, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 9, 2007 at 3:24 pm

Common Sense, I am not about to pretend like I care if you are a guy or a girl.

This is about correcting the distribution of false information. You now say the report corroborates Joanna's point? What point is that exactly? Where in this video or report did Robinson say the city would revisit the topic of public funds for the park theater? It does not exist.

This is the point you all have been hammering to which I say you are all liars.

Don't give me that garbage now about "when it comes up the next time--I'm betting we'll see it back on the council agenda before spring--I'll post a bookmark to this thread along with an "I told you so!"

That is nonsense. The fact that the park theater restoration now is so public will definitely bring developers out to review the opportunities. And if they want to -- who cares what you think about that idea? It is their choice and their business. The park theater needs to be resolved. And it should come back without a public fund model.

This is what I am saying to all of the readers out there who want to know what is going on.

These same few folks Joanna and her cronies, have been posting here for weeks threatening referendums and revolt. They have insulted people and spouses (who have had nothing to do with this stuff) with no regret.

They said they were against public funds for a private facility. That is off the table now. But now they complain about something else. They say the council is preparing another run for public money into the theater with not a single piece of fact to support it.

So if another developer picks up the ball for the theater, they want to create room to blame council again no matter what the deal is or what the developer asks for.

This is classic swift-boating stuff.

I do take issue with council when they try to use my tax money to buy private business infrastructure and I disagree with trying to please everyone the way these guys do on council.

But Robinson's note says the city's consideration to fund the theater is over. And that is as clear as day.

Don't let Joanna and the fake posts that all "agree with Joanna" fool you. They are one and the same.

I cannot allow such a transparent manipulation of this forum by the supporters of the last council to spread garbage and false information.

And, just because someone can write they supported robinson or cline or fergusson, does not mean they did. Don't trust it. It all smells like a desperate plea.

Posted by common, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 9, 2007 at 5:20 pm

The last two lines of the report:

"The city will be very involved in any plans that are put forward. Finally, we remain open to listening to any proposal for restoring the theater and prepared to help Mr. Crittenden, Mr. Duncan, or others as appropriate."

I sure don't read that as saying that they're through with the Park.

I admire and respect the time and energy that our council members invest in our city. No matter what the results, I believe they are doing the best they can do. However, this Park proposal was misguided, and when I read the report, I feel very concerned that the council majority still does not comprehend the folly of giving public money to private businesses.

I'm not sure how anything I have said constitutes a "desperate plea." I remain hopeful that our council will begin to focus on the priorities they have established for the city and will stop allowing themselves to become diverted by pigs in pokes. Three of the council members have been in office only since December; maybe once they are past their freshman year, we will start to see progress.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 9, 2007 at 6:05 pm

Common, same here. In the report, Robbinson and Cline say the numbers didn't work out. Fergusson says in a couple of places, when combined IN context, that the Almanac didn't report the "right" facts. Not one of those excuses addresses lack of public support. Not one of those excuses addresses, in fact, the strong opposition to the problem of marrying public and private financing for a joint venture.

In the commission report, there is, if you will, what amounts to an open ended clause. They're open to anything.

Lots of us are concerned because being open to anything means being open to another "fast one." Why is there concern? It goes back to the beginning... not one of them cited the problem we all had with the handout deal in the first place... No Marrying of Entities. No ignoring Menlo Park residents. Scary!!!

It's veeeeeeerrryyy important to realize that point.


"they have insulted people and spouses (who have had nothing to do with this stuff) with no regret"

Interesting. Biiiiig clue as if anyone needed a clue. (shrug) Anyway, I don't know about anyone else, but I assure concerned parties (ahem) that I meant to insult no one. It is *never* my intention to insult anyone. To anyone who was insulted by **my** statements, which are careful to only include cited facts and inherent reasonable possibilities, I offer my apologies. Seriously.

Now, **I** don't have a vested interest (believe it or don't... doesn't matter to me) in the handout scheme. I can understand that emotions may run high when people with vested interests write. That's understandable. With reason, one cannot expect that those people address points with equal counter points. With reason, one cannot expect those people to play nice. While this is addressed to one person, I hope others take all comments (not just the handout scheme topics) for what they are worth. One can infer that those who have a vested interest may or may not answer with verifiable information. Moving conversations off track with nonconstructive comments, false guises and a variety of methods from the old bag of...

I think it is obvious, but some may not, but I really want to hear why someone (who doesn't have a vested interest) believes that our elected Council was correct to move along with this deal for so long. If someone can make a case of why this scheme is good for Menlo Park, I'd love to hear it. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to hear it in fact. That way, maybe we'd get SOME idea why the Council (well, those three anyway) chose to and openly did ignore public outcry. As of yet, there is nothing.

Us MP tax paying folks, unlike what Robinson thinks, are a smart bunch. The only way to pull the wool over our eyes is to do it secretly and quickly. MP'ers are a diverse bunch and all of us have different backgrounds, but one thing is for sure, once we find out that we're being "had" then we can't ignore it.

On my comments on the commission report, all statements are based on written record or equivalent. For those who are able to read and understand the open endedness of the spirit of the document and the inherent implications it leads to, coupled with the inability (on paper at least) to grasp, ponder and cite the true problem, you can see we may have another problem on our hands.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 9, 2007 at 7:11 pm

Hello everyone. I'll have the latest video up sometime this weekend.

Web Link

Posted by let's continue, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 9, 2007 at 7:22 pm

Ridiculous to reason with you here. You accuse council of corruption. You accuse me of not being able to read the report.

I have a vested interest in the theater and so do you. OUR TAX MONEY!

But now that the deal is gone, I can't see where you find the connection to say this council wants to spend my money on the theater. The report does not say anything to that point and you know I am correct.

I think you have a very silly basis for your suspicion given this council is a year old and there is little to no reason for the suspicion since this public funding deal is off the table.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 9, 2007 at 9:13 pm

Well, at least we can agree with your first sentence! Yay! :-)

But what the heck? This will help someone who visits this site.

1) by vested, I mean "in" the deal somehow. You know ;-) (don't get caught up at this part... leave it be)
2) The report is important not only because of what it says, but what it doesn't say.

a) doesn't cite what Menlo Park residents objected to
b) because it doesn't cite "it" as a problem or the reason for failure, we infer that "it" is acceptable to the council and therefore free game in the future.

3) Suspicion? I would call it something else. I think that a group of councilpersons who find nothing wrong with the spirit of the old deal will have no problem considering the spirit of the old deal in the future.

4) Age of council is irrelevant in this case. The age of the council might play into procedural tasks, but does not come into play with the Duncan deal. From day one, council members are to prudently care for Menlo Park fiscally. This means trying to achieve goals while holding certain principles paramount. No exceptions.

That Robert Redford flick comes out tomorrow. I think I'll check it out.

Posted by odd geezer, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 9, 2007 at 9:40 pm

this is so like one of those zero sum Jellins v. Collachi cat fights.
For all you conspiracy theorists, how about "All the President's men"?
or "3 days of the Condor"?
You could stay up past midnite watching any of the above.
I'm just going to put it to bed! The family says, Enough Already.
Pack it in till next August to see if the re runs can make it thru Novemburrr.

Posted by daily snewze, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Nov 9, 2007 at 10:05 pm

timely response not mandated nor desired. These latter day Edisons of Menlo Park fail to shed the light on the real problems in this town, like neglected infrastructure, bloated administration (wow, 4 day weeks every other week, which Friday is it?), directionless council,
unnecessary, overpaid consultants to fill the gap for the supposed "overworked" staff.
Too damn many turkeys showing their tail feathers around here.
Maybe we'll just have chicken or lamb, because there just ain't any beef worth wasting our dollars on.
Care to comment?
Don't waste your tactile senses.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 10, 2007 at 12:41 pm

Daily snewze, right on!

Posted by odd geezer, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 10, 2007 at 1:15 pm

snewzer, you said it all!
'cause once you cut through all the BS around town, there is no beef there, just more of the same old pork.
Things never change, just the players.

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