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State of the city? Things are good, Menlo Park mayor says

 
Menlo Park's State of the City event filled the house at the British Bankers Club restaurant on Oct. 12. (Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac.)

Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith presented an upbeat take on where things stand in Menlo Park during her "State of the City" address Oct. 12 at the renovated British Bankers Club restaurant downtown.

The event drew a sizable crowd, including regional and city elected officials and leaders who crammed together, literally rubbing shoulders.

Free beer, wine and appetizers were provided to attendees.

"This is an exciting time for Menlo Park," Ms. Keith said in her remarks. "This is a red hot real estate market. Things are booming right now. Let's be thankful we have each other. It's an amazing time to be here, it really is."

"Our concern must extend beyond the city's boundaries," she said. That includes working on crafting regional solutions to deal with traffic congestion and the housing shortage, she argued.

Ms. Keith presented a couple of notable bragging points for the city.

Menlo Park, she said, added three-fourths of the new housing built in San Mateo County in the past year.

She quoted Jeff Bellisario, vice president of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, who, in another publication in May, was cited as the source of that statistic.

When the Almanac checked with him, he said the number is closer to two-thirds, according to the California Department of Finance. According to his data, 738 of the 1,118 new housing units built in San Mateo County in 2016 were in Menlo Park.

(Still, that's far more units than any other city in the county by a wide margin. According to Mr. Bellisario's data, the city of San Mateo came in second place with 149 units. Other cities in the county were in double or single digits.)

Menlo Park is the first city in the country to have its entire police force go through mindfulness training, Mayor Keith said.

(Menlo Park Police Chief Bob Jonsen confirmed later that he believed this will be the case, once its third cohort of staff goes through a training program in Oregon, scheduled at the beginning of next year.)

Ms. Keith also pointed to accomplishments in the past year of the council, staff and commissions. Among them:

• Launching a pilot program to test out bike lanes on Oak Grove Avenue.

• Building and opening new outdoor street cafes on Santa Cruz Avenue.

• Eliminating the use of herbicides in city parks.

• Working with other cities on the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority to improve flood protections in areas near the creek closest to the Bay.

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Comments

16 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2017 at 7:09 am

Maybe it's me, but a status of the city address and free beer and wine -- this seems inappropriate.

Typically, a governor delivers one at the state capital and the president in the Capitol. What was wrong with the city council chambers?

Additionally, I wouldn't call the bike lane on Oak Grove an accomplishment -- it completely reconfigured driving, eliminated parking and added confusion for drivers.


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