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Time to elect a new Council

Original post made by we need a new council, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park, on Aug 23, 2014

The candidates for the Council election in Nov have now been listed and their ballot statements can be read at:

Web Link

Looking at the 3 incumbents, it is pretty amazing what they write and, of course what they don’t write.

Kirsten Keith wants you to vote for her, since her deep involvement with the Democrat party Central Committee along with her husband John Woodell has gained her endorsements. She doesn’t mention that she really wants to move on to higher political office, as shown by her running for Supervisor after only being on Council for less then 2 years. She doesn’t mention being the wife of John Woodell, who was the party of interest in the now infamous "Campaign stealing incident."

Rich Cline, now seeking a 3rd term, was the father of the Specific Plan, which he seems to still admire. He writes the plan will encourage moderate development along El Camino. When a group like SaveMenlo goes out and gathers 2500 signatures to at least try and contain the development of El Camino from becoming a business park, you know something is amiss. Cline originally ran almost 8 years ago supporting the Derry Referendum and supporting the "residentialist" movement in the City. My how his actions have shown him to really support development at any cost.

Peter Ohtaki writes:

"Using my financial skills as a former CFO, I balanced our budget after years of deficits and saved taxpayers $3.6 million in interest expense by paying down a pension liability”.

What I remember Ohtaki being responsible for is granting an un-warranted raise to the present City manager, with his explanation being, he would leave if the raise want not granted. Ohtaki is another of the development is good at any cost variety.

Clearly none of the incumbents should be re-elected. We need a new council.

Comments (19)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 23, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Why has the author chosen to be both anonymous and unregistered?
Who is he/she representing?
What does he/she fear from being identified with these statements?
What other names has she/he posted under?
Why should anyone give him/her any credibility?

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Posted by elephant's memory...
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 23, 2014 at 3:05 pm

I know who I can NEVER vote for - Kelly Fergusson.
While on council, she supported the Bohannon project just
cause the developer added about half million in extra
landscaping to the proposal. That's a drop in the bucket
for a project of that size. She was and always has been
about latching to whatever trend has the voter's attention,
the future consequences be dammed. Yet she forgets, some
of us do have memory. Fergusson has more baggage on
her than a traveling heiress...

Like this comment
Posted by more old memory
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 23, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Going back even further with memories of Kelly Fergusson, she was the key supporter of giving Staff the increase in pension benefits from 2.3 to 2.7%. All of this to endear herself and maintain support of the labor Unions. This eventually led to the Pension reform initiative, which tries with feeble attempts to keep costs of staff under control.

Then more recently was her Brown Act violation, as her personal ambitions tried in vain to get her appointed again as Mayor. (BTW, we never did find out who was the "third party" involved in that fiasco).

Like this comment
Posted by Council Watcher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 24, 2014 at 8:25 am

Stay the course with the incumbents. The nine former mayors who endorsed Measure M (for Miasma) are old tired leftist hacks who are way beyond their prime in terms of usefulness but desperately miss being in the game which they were never very good at in the first place. They had their chance and all they accomplished was being able to fool the voters long enough so they could get elected and then accomplish nothing of any importance. These are the people (Jack Morris and Gail Slocum) who opposed that beautiful building where Keplers and Cafe Barrone are located and where local residents now love to congregate.

If these mayors or their cronies had been in control of the City Council between 2002-2006 there would be no Rosewood Hotel. These people are reactionary anachronisms and the 3 challengers are their stooges they have stood up to bring Menlo Park to a grinding halt. I find it ironic that these people call themselves progressives when all they want to do is impede progress.

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Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 24, 2014 at 10:05 am

@Council Watcher

So you are a supporter of the worst council ever elected in Menlo Park, that of DuBoc, Winkler and Jellins. They were hopeless and they only survived 1 term before the voter arose and pushed them out.

The present council is rapidly trying to push the Winker,DuBoc,Jellins council out of first place for being the worst ever. Right now present council is only second worst and that is why a new council is needed.

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Posted by Council Watcher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 24, 2014 at 11:09 am

The only bad part of the 2002-2006 City Council was the two members who came on board in 2004. They are Kelly Fergusson and Andy Cohen. Nicholas Jellins served 8 years and was not turned out. He observed the custom of two terms that so far, in recent history, has only been broken by Jack Morris.

So you truly don't know what you are talking about when it comes to Jellins. John Boyle ran as a moderate council member and was elected in 2006. He chose not to run in 2010, in part, because of the egregious behavior of Heyward Robinson who was turned out after one term in 2010 and Kelly Fergusson who was turned out after two terms in 2012. And this is with the San Mateo Labor Council pulling out all stops for those two feckless City Council members.

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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 24, 2014 at 11:27 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.


I think the editor of this Paper/Blog really needs to re-evaluate who can 'start" a blog post. I get the anonymity argument (although I believe it to be the highest form of COWARDICE) in commenting. But to START a vitriol laced blog without being a registered member is simply bad (no HORRIBLE) journalism.

With respect to former councilmen Heyward Robinson & Kelly Fergusson, while they both have an impressive list of embarrassing things they did while executing their duties as elected officials. None were more EGREGIOUS and ill thought out than their opposition to Measure L (Pension Reform)in the 2010 election. It cost Heyward his council seat in 2010, and coupled with her Brown Act violation, cost Kelly her seat in 2012. Their alliance with Labor Unions to the detriment of Menlo Park's financial well being should disqualify them from holding ANY office for life. It was simply shameless.

What I now find totally ironic is that one of the arguments that Heyward used in that race was that taking "rights" away from the city council via the ballot box was wrong. As in ALL things Heyward, he has endorsed Measure M, which does EXACTLY that, because it's politically expedient to do so. I guess he was just kidding (or perhaps untruthful) when he said that in 2010. At any rate, his credibility is lacking and Kelly his right hand girl is even more politically motivated.

So i think that the current city council in UNANIMOUSLY saying NO to Measure M, has shown unique courage that Menlo Park's city councils have lacked for YEARS. They deserve to continue their service to our fine city.

Please re-elect Cline, Keith and Ohtaki, and vote NO ON MEASURE M to save our city.

Roy Thiele-Sardina
Chairman - Measure L (Pension Reform)
Direct - West Bay Sanitation District

Like this comment
Posted by you are confused
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 25, 2014 at 2:08 am

The poster is confusing Kirsten and Kelly. Kirsten Keith has never run from the Democratic Central Committee, but Kelly Fergusson was an elected member of the Democratic Central Committee from 2004 Web Link through 2010 Web Link. More importantly, Kelly Fergussion has always earned the endorsement of the Democratic Central Committee (in 2004, 2008 and 2012). Kirsten Keith, on the other hand, did not get the endorsement of the Democratic Central Committee in 2012. that endorsement went to Shelly Masur, who was also endorsed by local elected officials Virginia Chang Kiraly and Heyward Robinson Web Link (Fergusson also endorsed Masur in the November election, but even Shelly Masur has standards for whom she will list). Clearly, Kelly Fergusson is the one with "deep involvement" in the Democrat Central Committee, but still has NO endorsements for 2014, choosing instead to mislead voters with her endorsements from two years ago Web Link. I'm not familiar with the "campaign stealing incident". Only to most unethical individual would accuse anyone of stealing lawn signs, but accusing your opponent's campaign has been proven to bump you in the polls Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by you are confused
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 25, 2014 at 2:22 am

Kelly Fergusson also wanted to move on to higher political office Web Link but was not able to make it happen, even with her "deep involvement with the Democrat party Central Committee", and "golden child" status with labor.

Campaign Committee: Fergusson for Supervisor Exploratory Committee ID# 1301883

Like this comment
Posted by we need a new council
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2014 at 7:15 am

"you are confused" wrote above:

"The poster is confusing Kirsten and Kelly. Kirsten Keith has never run from the Democratic Central Committee"

Sir or madam, it is not I who is confused, but you are either confused or more likely trying to muddy the issue.

Keith and husband, Woodell, both involved in the Democrat Central committee. Just look at:

Web Link

2000-2004 : San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee, Alternate for Assemblymember Simitian .

How in the world do you think she got endorsements from Rich Gordon, Anna Eshoo, Jackie Speier, Jerry Hill and Joe Simitian?

And you Sir or Madam, stating you are not familiar with the "campaign stealing incident", are just showing how ignorant of the local situation you are.

Like this comment
Posted by Council Watcher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2014 at 8:52 am

Kirsten Keith's involvement with the San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee is not relevant. The only standard Ms. Keith should be judged by is her performance on the Menlo Park City Council of which she has done an outstanding job.

To compare Ms. Keith to Ms. Fergusson is the Theater of the Absurd. Ms. Fergusson is a radical leftist who is beholden to the Unions and will always put the Unions interests ahead of the residents. Kirsten, on the other hand, while being a Democrat, has always put the people she serves ahead of any other interests and has worked assiduously on behalf of all Menlo Park residents without regard to their political affiliation. She just wants to work for the people of Menlo Park and she has done so in a nonpartisan way.

There is no question that Keith, Ohtaki, and Cline deserve another term.

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Posted by public service
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 25, 2014 at 10:27 am

The poster asks, "How in the world do you think she got endorsements?" If you look at her bio a bit closer you will see another entry:

1996-2004 : San Mateo County Commission on the Status of Women, Commissioner, President 2000-2002

Rich Gordon and Jerry hill were both on the board of Supervisors when Keith served on the County Commission on the Status of Women, a commission founded by Supervisors Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier, so Keith has clearly known these people for a long time, and may have simply earned their respect. Keith's public service was also the focus of the Almanac article in 2002 Web Link

"Ms. Keith is president of the Commission on the Status of Women for San Mateo County, a body appointed by the county Board of Supervisors. A resident of Menlo Park since 1996, she is one of seven residents who make up the city's Community Mediation Service. She also has applied for a seat on the city's Planning Commission in the past."

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Posted by old timer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2014 at 10:59 am

Keith and her husband very active in the Democrat Central committee.

Keith did more than apply for a seat on the Menlo Park Planning commission, she served on the commission for 8 years, during which time I don't believe she ever voted against a project. She clearly believes in more, higher and denser development for Menlo Park.

If this is what you want at the expense of our "quality of life" vote for her. I certainly will not.

We need a new Council.

Like this comment
Posted by Grateful
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 25, 2014 at 3:12 pm

I am grateful that only one of the infamous 9 former mayors lacked judgment by running again. I wish to thank the following for not running again:
1) Jack Morris,
2) Gail Slocum,
3) Chuck Kinney,
4) Paul Collacchi,
5) Mary Jo Borak,
6) Steve Schmidt,
7) Andy Cohen, and
8) Heyward Robinson

I also request that Kelly Fergusson reconsider her candidacy to save herself from further embarrassment

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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@old timer

[Portion removed. Please comment without characterizing posters in a negative way.]

Ms. Keith was an outstanding member of the Planning Commission and voted NO regularly along with other members of the commission. Your GROSS misrepresentation should certainly be accompanied by an apology to the forum and Ms Keith.

She received bi-partisan support in her 2010 campaign (from several members of the Republican Central Committee) and in her 2014 campaign.

Roy Thiele-Sardina

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Posted by old timer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2014 at 4:26 pm

to: Roy-Thiele-Sardina:

You do the research on Keith. Please show this forum where Keith on the PC, or for the matter on the Council she ever voted no on a major development project.

She supported the Specific Plan in all regards. She supported the Bohannon project. She voted for the original Derry Project.

As I keep writing, we need a new council.

We don't need more of throwing away 80K on Logos. Spending $165K on the Wise report, which is nothing more than a PR piece to attempt to get MP voters to vote no on the Initiative.

Those who live here and want MP to become another of the Cities like Redwood City or Sunnyvale with their no restraint to development at any cost, can just vote to keep this council in power.

Those who want MP to preserve its "quality of life" should vote no to the incumbents in November and vote YES on Measure M (the Initiative). It is really all that simple.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 25, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

old timer:

just what "quality of life" are you referring to? Vacant fenced off lots? A "dead" downtown that sends business to PA and RWC at the expense of our own businesses and the loss of sales tax revenue? Potential hotels replaced by residential developments that increase demand for city services and result in the loss of hotel taxes? Is that the "quality of life" you refer to? If it is you can keep it.

I'd like to see a vibrant downtown with lots of restaurant and shopping choices. that comes from DEMAND. Until there is increased demand business will continue to struggle downtown. Thanks but no thanks.

I probably haven't lived here as long as you have, only 21 years, but to my recollection downtown hasn't changed much in that time. Maybe that's ok by you but it's not by me and many others that live in this town, especially younger people that don't want Menlo Park to continue on as "God's waiting room."

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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Old Timer

You said she never voted NO whilst a planning commissioner. Is that true or a lie? if it is a lie, please apologize to this forum and Ms. Keith for the false accusation.

The editor has deemed it inappropriate to surmise the reason for your untruthful and disrespectful outburst.....

The Wise Report was the required response to the NIMBY Fry/Lanza petition. So not only did she vote yes, so did EVERY other council member because it is the right thing to do.

What, pray tell, did she ever do to you to deserve this anonymous beating (a practice I find to be the height of cowardice, mind you)

Roy Thiele-Sardina
Vote No on M
M is a Mistake

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Posted by Jym Clendenin
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2014 at 6:05 pm

The rebuttal arguments both in favor of and against Measure M have just been released by the City. These are presumably well thought-out arguments. TheArgument in Favor of Measure M includes the following:
“Two massive projects recently submitted to the City revealed unanticipated flaws in the 2012 Specific Plan. They call for:
“Building huge office complexes that will bring in thousands of out-of-town commuters.”

I suppose "huge office complexes" is in the eyes of the beholder. But for comparison, I note that the 2 multi-story office buildings (at 800 and 1000 ECR) located between the 500 ECR Project area and Ravenswood Ave are together about 209,000 sf, i.e., about the size presently proposed for offices in 500 ECR Project. (I derived this footage by scaling from the foot prints shown on Google Maps. Try it yourself.)

And if you have a 3-story residential structure with the foot print of Menlo Station, that's another 150,000 sf.

And finally note that these existing structures occupy about 7.2 acres compared to 8.4 acres for the 500 ECR Project.

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