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Re: Dangerous Direction

From: domainremoved <SSoffer>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2019 12:46:49 -0700

Well said.

Onwards and upwards.


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> On Sep 24, 2019, at 11:25, Steve Schmidt <menloparksteve_at_(domainremoved)
>
> Council:
>
> I am concerned about the direction being proposed by the Council regarding large project approvals.
>
> It is time to instate a policy where by each Council Member must be in their seat at the dais in order to vote. There has been an increase of absences by Council Members with some calling in to participate and vote. The last call in from Burning Man made Menlo Park look like a joke. This kind of participation lacks authenticity, integrity and an insult to the voters. Too often, calls are cut off or the audible quality is poor. Serving as a Council Member should require that attendance at Council Meetings is part of the job.
>
> There should to be a full Council present to vote when issues that have grave and far reaching impacts to the city are on the agenda. The city is currently grappling with an updated General Plan that was approved with only 3 Council Members voting. The Plan was rendered obsolete within 18 months of its approval. There has yet to be a solution identified to correct the estimate of projected growth and actual numbers of office buildings exceeding the General Plan’s office caps.
>
> The Council Should have the final say as to how Menlo Park grows. Each Council Member was elected to represent Menlo Park residents living in one of the 5 Electoral Districts. The expectation has been that the Council has the authority to hear development applications and process Environmental Impact Reports, especially on projects that are required to undergo EIR reviews. It is irresponsible to give this job to an appointed volunteer group of residents who don’t have to answer to voters who cannot retain or remove Planning Commissioners. Land use decisions facing Menlo Park today deserve the full and close attention of those elected to the Council. The city is transforming from a suburban town to an urban jobs center town and it is only right that those elected sign off on and take full responsibility for these changes.
>
> The similarity of these three concerns is that streamlining how land use decisions are made by the Council has become a high priority.
>
> In 2002 when I was Mayor, Dave Bohannon had an office project before the Council for final approval. Because Council Member and proud project opponent Paul Collacchi was absent I moved the decision to the next meeting. At that meeting Council Member and proud project proponent Chuck Kinney was absent and again I moved the decision to the next meeting. By delaying the agenda item I risked the anger of project proponents, opponents and certainly Mr. Bohannon. However, both times I felt that the project had far reaching impacts to the City and I wanted a full Council to weigh in and vote. It was important to have full participation. Calling in a vote was not allowed. It was a matter of principle: show up, take part in a discussion and vote.
>
> By willing to serve as Council Members, you have taken on a serious responsibility; embrace this responsibility with full dedication.
>
> Steve Schmidt
Received on Tue Sep 24 2019 - 12:39:01 PDT

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