Congrats to the new Housing Commissioner ... Menlo Park, posted by Marianne Quarre Dean, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Jan 24, 2007 at 2:57 pm
Dear Don Brawner,
I am writing to congratulate you on being the newest member of the Housing Commission. I applaud you for your many years of service to the city and your commitment to speaking up. I think one of the best signs of a healthy community is when there is good hearty debate!
I do not consider myself pro-growth or anti-growth ... I am for thoughtful growth. I am distressed that the debate about Menlo Park's housing seems to have become polarized ... when in truth, both sides have good points that are getting lost in the noise. Our housing decisions will have a major impact on the quality of life in MP for the next two generations or more. With thought and compromise I firmly believe we can come up with a win-win we are all proud of. I think the first step was Mayor Kelly Ferguson's Saturday open forum when all were invited to talk the issues.
Menlo Park's future looks bright and I am eager to hear more about upcoming initiatives from the Housing Commission!
Marianne Quarre Dean, Menlo Park resident, Realtor, other candidate for the Housing Commission opening
Posted by Chris, a resident of the Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park neighborhood, on Jan 25, 2007 at 8:18 am
I don't know Marianne Dean, and I certainly don't hang out with realtors, but I think her letter to Don Brawner was gracious and right on target. Her desire for moving the housing debate beyond a polarized conflict is admirable, and I hope that she doesn't give up on trying to participate in it as a commissioner. If her sentiments are genuine -- and I have no reason to believe they're not -- I think Menlo Park can use more reasonable, open-minded people like her. It can also use a de-tox clinic for the bilious and bellicose among us, who would rather devote their energy to bickering than to engaging in constructive efforts in behalf of the community.
Posted by Marianne Quarre Dean, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Jan 25, 2007 at 10:41 am
Thanks Chris. My sentiments are genuine. I first moved to the area in 1971, attended a local high school and am now raising my kids here. My mother spent her youth riding horses through the "sand hills" to our west and now as she is turning 80 she still rides her horse several times a week in those same hills. My interest in the area goes far beyond the "Realtor" label.
It was refreshing to have your postive response! THX
Posted by Elizabeth Lasensky, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Jan 25, 2007 at 1:41 pm
I appreciate your gracious letter to Mr. Brawner and your desire to move the dialog beyond the two extremes. I too hope you will consider reapplying to the Housing Commission again. Yours is just the voice we need to hear more of on the Commission and in our community.
We have pressing housing issues in Menlo Park that will only be addressed when the malicious labeling stops and the real discussions begin. Your experience as a realtor should prove valuable in those decisions.
Posted by Steve Schmidt, a resident of the Menlo Park: The Willows neighborhood, on Jan 26, 2007 at 10:02 am
What were they thinking? Why would Mssrs. Robinson, Cline and Cohen install on the Housing Commission someone who is suing the City of Menlo Park over an approved resiential project and who has a long history of strident opposition to nearly every development project, good or bad, to come before the City. Help!
Posted by termedout, a resident of the Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks neighborhood, on Jan 26, 2007 at 8:39 pm
They must have been thinking, here's a long time resident/apartment owner who sticks his neck out to challenge the status quo, that's part of healthy dissent in a democracy. "Trojan Horse" Schmidt, on the other hand, burned a lot of bridges with neighborhoods, couldn't get nominated to run again for council and chastises those who seek legitimate legal means to protect their own neighborhoods from overdevelopment/excessive traffic, because Schmidt turned his back on his past supporters and sold out to developers, including Stanford. It's so easy to criticize when you're not personally impacted by your past actions on the council.
Posted by Not a Fan, a resident of the Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks neighborhood, on Jan 27, 2007 at 10:53 am
I appreciate Marianne's comments and would also like to congratulate Don on his appointment. My understand, however, is that the housing commission has only a tiny charter: to determine whether BMR units are of the same quality as regular units. So when you hear that the commission has approved a project, it does not mean that they think the project is a good idea, but rather that the BMRs pass muster. I hope Mr. Brawner will be proactive in extending the commission's scope so that it carries out the functions that would be more appropriate for a housing commission (evaluating prospective sites, for example, rather than letting developers decide where to build projects).
Please note that Don does not stand to achieve any personal gain with his legal action. He filed his suit solely on behalf of the community. Conversely, it is well known that our former mayor is still feeling vindictive over the fact that his multi-million dollar bicycle tunnel was not approved, partly because of opposition from Linfield Oaks neighbors, whom he blew off as NIMBYs, and partly because Stanford, which owns the property on the other side of the tunnel, would not have granted him an easement. After that project was defeated, he began encouraging developers to build extremely high density developments in Linfield Oaks. He can accept the blame for alienating so many members of his core constituency that the candidates he supported in 2002 were defeated at the polls, primarily because of their association with him and his policies.