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Menlo Park City Council: 10 Issues, 5 Candidates

It's very helpful to know where Menlo Park City Council Candidates stand on specific actions that the Council has taken and/or will take. Heyward Robinson, Menlo Park resident, asked the candidates to answer 10 questions. Here are their responses

 

1) Do you support the City Council's resolution to oppose Cargill's plans to develop a 160-acre former saltpond?

Mueller: Yes
Carlton: Yes
Clarke: Yes
Fergusson: Yes
Bragg: Yes

2) Do you believe that the science of Climate Change is settled? (In other words, is the climate changing/getting warmer, and are human activities the root cause?)

Mueller: Yes
Carlton: Yes
Clarke: Yes
Fergusson: Yes
Bragg: Yes

3) Do you support the City Council decision to sue the High Speed Rail authority over the results of their Environmental Impact Report?

Mueller: Yes
Carlton: Yes
Clarke: Yes
Fergusson: Yes
Bragg: Yes

4) Do you support revisiting the issue of banning leaf blowers in Menlo Park?

Mueller: Yes
Carlton: Yes
Clarke: No
Fergusson: Yes
Bragg: No

5) Do you support the 2010 revisions to the City's smoking ordinance prohibiting smoking in the common areas of multi-unit housing and other public spaces?

Mueller: For the most part, yes.
Fergusson: Yes

6) Do you believe that Menlo Park needs to revise its residential zoning ordinance?  Specifically, do you support the development of design guidelines for residential development?

Mueller: In theory, Yes. But this is not a one size fits all proposition as different neighborhoods in Menlo Park have different size lots, and character.  Thus creating residential zoning guidelines may take a very long time incorporating resident input.  But it is certainly worth trying to create task forces in various neighborhoods.

Fergusson: Yes

7) All of the candidates have expressed support for streamlining the city's permitting process, particularly in regard to the M2.  In 2010, the City Council gave direction to staff to begin a phased revision of the planning in the M2 area. 

Do you support this approach and will you make this a priority of the next Council?

Mueller: In theory, yes, but I don't support how the present approach has been been implemented in reality. The present process you are referring to actually began 3 years prior in 2007. The process has taken far too long, and keeps getting shelved in the Planning Department for other high priority projects. The Staff report you cite unfortunately was not the beginning of the project. 

Fergusson: Yes

8) Do you support increasing gas taxes, implementing "cap and trade", or other market based approaches to incorporating the cost of emitting GHG's into the price of fuel and other GHG sources?


Mueller: There is no way I can do the appropriate amount of  research required to determine whether or not I would want to raise taxes on fuel locally, in enough time to answer this question.  I think it is very important to research unintended consequences.  That being said I am an ardent supporter of decreasing GHG sources and believe the City must encourage the development of an infrastructure to support electric cars. Cap and Trade is a huge subject to cover with many nuances. Some I like, some I believe need major improvement to be effective.  In short, I believe it is important the government is proactive in encouraging the curbing GHG emissions, with the caveat that it must be certain to research and balance unintended consequences that may worsen the problem and/or ignore it under the guise of effectivity.

Fergusson: Yes

9) Do you support or oppose Propositions 30 and 38?

Mueller: I am still researching both propositions as to which is most likely to effectively support public education effectively. More than likely I will support one or both. I can't envision not supporting either. I have been a bit preoccupied with the City Council election to focus on distinguishing the Propositions. 

Fergusson: Support both

10) Do you support changes to proposition 13 to remove the commercial property re-assessment provision?

Mueller:  As I mentioned above, I think it is very important to research unintended consequences.  The California economy is already hurting, and this would be tantamount to raising taxes on commercial property. In theory the idea makes sense to me, but I hate shooting from the hip on complex issues.

Fergusson: Yes



Editors note:  To learn more about each individual candidate, peruse the Patch Candidate Guide.

Heyward Robinson November 04, 2012 at 02:22 AM
My reply: Thanks for you reply. No one is suggesting raising gas taxes in just Menlo Park (and I'm not sure that we could even if we wanted to). At minimum, its a regional tax, although better dealt with at the state or national level. Through the League of California Cities, United States Council of Mayors, Association of Bay Area Governments, etc., council members have a great deal of influence on regional/state/national issues. With the Federal government being so ineffective on climate change, its critical that other levels of government continue to advocate for real solutions and policies. Improved public transit has to be part of the solution to climate change. Creating a transit system that can really get people out of their cars will require a lot more money than is currently available. Taxing carbon emissions (or cap and trade) is the most straightforward and equitable way to generate this revenue .
Heyward Robinson November 04, 2012 at 02:23 AM
comment number 2: This is a question? Really? 2) Do you believe that the science of Climate Change is settled? (In other words, is the climate changing/getting warmer, and are human activities the root cause?) Were the candidates aware of the clarification in parentheses, or was that added afterwards in summing this up for the results of this survey? I won’t argue that the study of climate change is a science, nor will I argue that the climate is constantly changing (in both directions). But I have to ask – what’s the purpose of asking such a question to potential council members, and how does your personal view that human activities are the root cause, or their views for that matter on this, make any difference to running this city effectively?
Heyward Robinson November 04, 2012 at 02:23 AM
my reply: This question was asked at the GRCC forum (all of the candidates were in attendance except for Dave Bragg). And yes, the clarifying statement was included, both verbally and in what was sent to Mr. Bragg. Climate Change is very much a local issue. Menlo Park, with its large Bay shoreline, is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise. Cities all over the Bay Area are taking steps to mitigate the effects of Climate Change and to reduce their GHG emissions. The best and most effective efforts are regional, where local governments band together to share best practices and plans. Its important that Menlo Park be a knowledgeable and active participant in these activities. In 2007, the City began a process of evaluating its GHG footprint and creating a Climate Action Plan. As one of the Council Members who helped initiate these efforts, I hope that future Councils will continue to make this a priority.
Happy in Menlo November 05, 2012 at 05:13 PM
I say this with all do respect, But it appears that Mr. Robinson is more than a "Menlo Park resident". It looks like even though he was not re-elected he wants to have a hand in City Council.... Gee, I wonder who he endorsed? Please keep in mind I did say, " With all do respect"
Heyward Robinson November 05, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I've endorsed Kelly Fergusson and Ray Mueller for City Council. That is not a secret. As a former City Council Member and Mayor, I do have some insights into issues that others may appreciate. If you want to continue this conversation, log in with your real name. Otherwise, we can only speculate about who your are and who you've endorsed.

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