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DEVELOPMENT IN DISTRICT 1 of MENLO PARK - We must temporarily ground the plane

From: domainremoved <Sheryl>
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2019 13:33:44 -0700

March 26, 2019


Mayor Ray Mueller

Mayor Pro Tem Cecilia Taylor

Councilmember Catherine Carlton

Councilmember Drew Combs

Councilmember Betsy Nash



When considering the governance of the City of Menlo Park, it can be useful to draw analogies. Such analogies help reveal and explain what is occurring in our city. Depending upon where one falls in the situation, the analogy can help ease or amplify the pain endured by residents who continue to advocate for things such as safety, fair and equitable treatment, and at times something as fundamental as being treated and valued as a human being. As a resident of Menlo Park, I remain hopeful that things will get better, however we absolutely must address how recent, current and proposed development projects in District 1 are adversely impacting the residents.

For the purpose of this analogy, development in District 1 of Menlo Park is like the new Boeing 737 MAX in March of 2019. In other words, development must be grounded while stakeholders, experts and independent third parties evaluate and fix what is not working properly. The analogy is not meant to minimize the tragic loss of life that has recently occurred. Instead it is meant to demonstrate what can happen when clear indicators are ignored or not addressed in a timely manner. We will also work under the assumption that people matter more than profits, all participants are held accountable and we want everyone to arrive at the final destination safely. The fact that the City is hosting a study session tonight may be a sign that we will take the necessary actions to ensure the safety of everyone moving forward.


When problems are not handled properly, the collateral damage can be unbearable. Successful development of a city does not mean that some parties reap all of the benefits while others suffer all the impacts. The residents of District 1 have watched millions of square feet of development be constructed in the District and have yet to see the corresponding benefits from the development. Basic services that make a community livable still have not materialized, unmitigated traffic has multiplied to untold levels and the quality of life for residents has been sacrificed. Common improvements and maintenance that are standard fare in most cities of our size and financial capacity continue to evade the District. Our city on the other hand enjoys and celebrates the benefit of budget surpluses resulting from the development fees and increased tax revenues. It’s probably safe to say that the developers are also pleased with the benefits they are enjoying whether in the form of increased profits and/or asset values.


Initially Boeing maintained that the new planes were safe. However, as airlines and nations grounded the planes, investigations were opened, subpoenas were issued, market cap was lost, and orders for planes were cancelled, Boeing was forced to address the situation and work toward a solution. This development process in District 1 of Menlo Park needs attention immediately. What might it look like if Menlo Park is forced to halt development indefinitely? How might such an action affect the developers and publicly traded companies that reside in the District? Is it possible that Menlo Park’s budget surpluses could become budget deficits?


Of course we know that all residents and corporations are free to move at anytime, but that fact is not the issue. The issue is whether we are going to handle the development process properly meaning that all parties share in the impacts and the benefits from development in an equitable manner. The current trend of building extreme levels of commercial office space and high-density rental apartments in District 1 of Menlo Park is out of control and has created an unsustainable mess. The call is now going out to Air Traffic Control (City Council) “We are declaring an emergency!” I pray that this plane lands safely and remains grounded until we are able to address multiple issues. We must restore transparency, integrity and equity to the process. We must employ effective systems of checks and balances

Sometimes the safest thing to do is objectively evaluate a situation after the first accident or failure. When you continue to ignore or hide the evidence, you may find that the very things you protect - the people, the profits, the reputations and the secrets - are the things very things you lose. Please consider the best interest of all residents as you determine how to proceed. Although the emergency is in District 1, all districts of Menlo Park will be adversely impacted if we do not truly assess and address these issues. The first step is admitting we have a problem so that we can work together toward finding a solution.


Sheryl Bims
Received on Tue Mar 26 2019 - 13:29:18 PDT

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