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Council member receives donation from project

Original post made by Suspicious, Menlo Park: Belle Haven, on Feb 13, 2007

As reported in tomorrow's newspaper: Web Link

John Boyle received a $750 donation from 75 Willow Road, a property owned by developer Duncan Matteson. The prior council, over objections from many residents, granted an amendment to the General Plan and massively rezoned that property so that it could be converted from commercial to high density housing. The new council--of which Boyle is a member--also considered the project at one of their first meetings. Litigation regarding the project is pending.

Do you think it's ethical for a council member to accept a donation from a project on which he's voting? And if so, should we just acknowledge that our city is for sale and try to get the best price possible?

Comments (6)

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Posted by Gern Blanston
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 14, 2007 at 12:16 pm

Boyle is bought and paid for, in the same manner that the previous council majority members were the Three Stooges of development. From yesterday's Almanac article titled "Boyle leads pack in MP council race spending" there is:

"Mr. Boyle spent more than he raised, according to his spending statement. He received $45,966 in contributions -- $6,000 of which was received on Jan. 15 from Duncan Matteson of Menlo Park and entities and individuals involved with the Redwood City-based Matteson Companies.

"The Matteson Companies comprises a group of affiliated entities involved in real estate investment, development and management, according to its Web site.

"The Matteson Companies' list of commercial properties includes 75 Willow Road, a commercial site that is set to be converted to residential, with 33 detached single-family homes. The residential project was given the green light in late November in a controversial decision by the lame-duck council."

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Posted by Fair Play
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 16, 2007 at 12:16 am

If we are going to do something about conflicts of interest, lets be sure to also address the union influences.

The same Almanac article reported that the San Mateo Labor Council (parent of the SEIU) spent $22 THOUSAND to get Robinson and Cline elected. This week, both expressed support for speedy passage of a new $1.3 MILLION per year pay and benefit package for members of the SEIU.

If we truly want independent council members, we need to take away the labor influence as well. Alternatively, perhaps we should put these new pay packages on the ballot every two years and let the voters decide what is fair.

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Posted by But...
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 16, 2007 at 11:27 pm

There was only one candidate who didn't solicit or accept donations from developers or the unions, and he didn't win. Sounds to me as though the voters don't mind letting special interest groups sway their votes.

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Posted by Correction
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Feb 17, 2007 at 11:52 am

The labor council *spent* money on the campaign. SEIU did not donate that money to the candidates. Big difference between spending money expressing their viewpoint and Matteson giving money TO the candidate.

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Posted by PS to Correction
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Feb 17, 2007 at 11:53 am

Besides, Boyle also supports the new union contract. If it were a bad deal for the city, wouldn't he be opposed? Hard to argue that the union money influenced Cline and Robinson, whereas it's much easier to see that the developers do have an impact on Boyle.

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Posted by Scott
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Feb 28, 2007 at 9:57 pm

It is very obvious where the political slant is with these comments. John Boyle has been in office for less than 3 months, and some individuals have already formed an opinion. Unfair, to say the least. There hasn't been an important council vote yet that involved any of the developer's interest. What I have seen so far, is that Boyle tends to be the only objective voice on this council. I could be wrong, again it's been less than 3 months. He IS the ONE that wanted to repeal the Utility Tax, sounds like an independant, fiscally responsible individual.

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