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East Menlo Park

Original post made by Just me, Menlo Park: Belle Haven, on Feb 1, 2007

Im so tired of hearing about how Vanessa Johnson needs to be saved. Ya shes been around a long time. So what. I have seen the way parents that arent "in" with the program are treated. Try gettign a call back? Try gettign a favor done? No you just git attitude. Move her or dont but Im tired of hearing how great she is because its not true for everyone! And for the Perez woman stop trying to act like you speak for everyone. You dont. You dont speak for me and for most of the people in East Menlo. You as a representitive is wrong. I wouldnt let me kids listen to you go on and on.

Comments (14)

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Posted by Baffled
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 1, 2007 at 10:32 pm

Can you imagine the situation in reverse? The comments that would be made if a Burgess teacher refused to move to Belle Haven? This whole Vanessa Johnson contretemps reflects the racism/xenophobia with which some of the Belle Haven and EPA residents view the people on the other side of that big concrete divide.

How many of the complainers are aware that Community Services employees and managers regularly switch back and forth between the city's two facilities? What's the big deal? If your company has headquarters in Mountain View and management wants you to work out of the Redwood City office for a while, do you refuse because you have a lot of friends in Mountain View? Burgess needs teachers, and the city shouldn't have to spend more money--our money--hiring them when there's a teacher available in the city's other childcare facility.

Some people need to grow up. You wouldn't let your kids get away with the kind of whining you do yourselves.

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Posted by Chris
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 2, 2007 at 7:18 am

I'm not part of the Belle Haven community so I can't speak to the "racism/xenophobia" comment, but I feel very strongly that comparing the needs of Belle Haven families to those of the "other side" of town doesn't work. The city should be more sensitive to those needs, and shouldn't undermine -- intentionally or inadvertently -- a program that appears to be working for Belle Haven families.

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Posted by MPworkingMom
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 2, 2007 at 12:10 pm

When it comes to childcare, the provider's personality and his/her relationship with the community are a very big deal. It matters to the kids, it matters to the other teachers, it matters to the parents.

Finding a good childcare situation is tough on the parents, and any changes to a daycare are tough on the whole family. If you don't want to rile people up, don't mess around with a good daycare.

You'd think they city would have learned something from the Menlo Children's Center outsourcing fiasco, but apparently the learning curve of certain officials is a flat line.

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Posted by Obviously an Alien
a resident of another community
on Feb 2, 2007 at 3:57 pm

What should the city learn from the Children's Center "fiasco?" To cater to the whims of a few vocal parents at the expense of every single taxpayer in the city?

Menlo Park got into the child care business--at least the Burgess part of it--by accident. And although I think the two Burgess-based centers should have been outsourced long ago for many, many reasons, I'll accept that the city is going to stay in the business.

Given that, can we at least try to run the business in a business-like fashion? There are too many teachers at one school, not enough at the other. The obvious solution is to move a teacher. The public schools do it all the time, and sure, it's sad for the kids and parents when that happens but we get over it. I'm really tired of the Belle Haven crybabies and the west side ultra-PC faux humanitarians who are trying to prevent the city from taking a reasonable course of action.

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Posted by Just me
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 3, 2007 at 8:25 am

Everyone makes sence but I think good childcare is needed everywhere. Every child is going to suffer if they dont live and get taught in a good place. Im mad about the way they are pushing this. Look on the city counsel page and see the messages there. How can an adult post that? The way she is going about this is wrong. You dont call people names and be so confrentational. What does it show our kids? Thats why I dont want Marcia Perez to say she represents me. She doesnt. If I say this at a meeting I think I will only have her doing it to me.

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Posted by smith
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Feb 3, 2007 at 1:52 pm

Regarding: Vanessa Johnson. Lost in the issue is that an employee of 27 years will be considering retiring soon. For BelleHaven folks who think she should be there forever, it's possible that she would leave in a few years anyway, whether she's at Burgess or BelleHaven.

Allocation of staff shouldn't be a council issue; it's the city manager's responsibility to take such issues into consideration.

I understand that Marcia Perez neither lives nor works in Menlo Park, but uses the BelleHaven childcare for her kids. I welcome advocacy for programs in the city, but she doesn't run this city.

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Posted by Roxie
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Feb 3, 2007 at 6:42 pm

The City Manager reports to the City Council. Usually the City Council can leave personnel decisions to the city management, however, if a truly poor decision is being made by the city management, the only body that can step in and fix the problem is the city council. The City Manager has no other boss than the city council.

For example, if the city of Menlo Park is sued because of practices put in place or policies enacted by the a manager, it is the city itself that will pay the costs--the City Manager is not personally liable. The buck does not really stop with the City Manager--it stops with the citizens of Menlo Park who elect a City Council to decisions which are enacted by the City Manager. In effect, the City Council are ( not well paid, but altruistic individuals :-) our employees. In most cases, because of the, high level of professionalism required of people who are hired as city managers, the bulk of city management decisions are made major controversy, and the city manager does ask for guidance from the council for those decisions requiring their guidance. But even the best managers in the world can make a mistake, and I think in those cases it is appropriate for the City Council to step in and add some guidance to the process to make sure the correct decision is made.

A mistake is a mistake, a miscue is a miscue, I think in the case of Vanessa Carlisle, from the reaction of all the citizens who spoke on Tuseday night the decision to reallocate a precious resource to another area was a simple mistake, but one that can easily be fixed if there is a will to do so.

A city is not a business enterprise, a city is the people who live in and around it as well as property owners and business owners.

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Posted by Wayne
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 4, 2007 at 8:34 am

I say let her go. How many of those speakers live in Menlo Park? How many have kids in the program? I dont know why there was this uproar but it is taking up too much time. The council will back down like they always do. I think she just won over a vocal crowd.

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Posted by Alien
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 4, 2007 at 10:57 am

"A city is not a business enterprise, a city is the people who live in and around it as well as property owners and business owners."

Sorry, Roxie. I admire you as much as I loathe our departing CM, but have to disagree with you on this. A *community* comprises people, property owners, business owners, etc. A *city* is a legal, political, and business entity. We happen to live in a city that has been poorly managed for decades, and this latest absurdity just underscores the endemic and systemic problems. Our city should be making rational decisions for the benefit of the community as a whole, not emotional kneejerk decisions that only serve the interests of a small handful, be they residents or non-residents.

Any parent should be able to accept that finding decent child care is always a huge challenge, and nothing is ever permanent. Your beloved babysitter decides to move back home or your favorite nursery school teacher quits to attend school full time, and you and your kids deal with it. Grow up, folks.

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Posted by ElectionWatcher
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 4, 2007 at 5:06 pm

Alien: Your cold, indifferent comments reflect the libertarian views of the now gladly-departed Mickie Winkler. And as reflected in the election outcome, such views are (happily) not held by the majority of MP citizens.

I am wondering - do you feel similarly about the senior citizens program - after all, it is "highly subsidized" by the city. Should that program be run "as a business" as well (or should the city be out of that "business" and let seniors fend for themselves?)

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Posted by Aliens
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 4, 2007 at 11:06 pm

Uh, excuse me Election Watcher, please explain why it is cold and indifferent to ask that our city spend our money prudently? The demands of the consumers of public services need to be balanced with the greater interests of the community at large. Note that our city does not have an infinite supply of resources, and that a fairly limited budget must be stretched to accommodate a wide range of services.

Fortunately, parents have many child care options other than those offered by the city. If they don't like Belle Haven policies, they can take their business elsewhere. Of course, then they wouldn't have any excuse to grandstand during council meetings or post long emails to the city, and you can bet that most private care providers would be far less tolerant of misbehaving parents than the city seems to be.

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Posted by ElectionWatcher
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 5, 2007 at 3:02 pm

We're not talking about the swimming pool here - we're talking about our most precious community resource here - small children. All you seem to see are $$ signs, no matter what. THAT'S cold and indifferent.

As far as a limited budget, that's seems to be just an accounting sleight-of-hand, the way that supposed deficits have turned to surpluses, particularly this past year.

And your comment: "Fortunately, parents have many child care options other than those offered by the city."
Shows just how little you know. Belle Haven is a gov't-subsidized program as the parents who participate CAN'T afford the private options out there.

And lastly, you failed to answer my question:
"Do you feel similarly about the senior citizens program - after all, it is "highly subsidized" by the city. Should that program be run "as a business" as well (or should the city be out of that "business" and let seniors fend for themselves?)"

What say you on that?

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Posted by Knock-Knock
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 13, 2007 at 2:32 pm

The city is doing the right thing in moving Vanessa Johnson, she and her click have gotten to comfortable with having things their way!

The majority of the individuals who got up to speak on her behalf do not, I repeat DO NOT live in Menlo Park. Why should they have a voice is Menlo Park's taxpayers business? In addition, as far as the young men who went on to college my hat is off to you, but that was over 10-15 years ago - what have they done lately?

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Posted by SLM
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 13, 2007 at 9:12 pm

Enough already. The City needs to move Vanessa Johnson and not bow to self-rightous indignant rhetoric. Rabble rousers like marcia perez are entitled to their opinions but should not be allowed to pretend to make those opinions the opinions of all. Spreading lies and false accusations is not how our City should be prompted to act. Moving Vanessa is the right thing to do. Move on!

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