Menlo Park CA, May 12 – Today, Menlo Park residents submitted substantially more signatures than required to put the Initiative for Livable and Walkable Menlo Park on the November Ballot. The purpose of the initiative is to reinforce the community’s vision for Menlo Park by promoting a balance of uses and open space.
SaveMenlo (www.savemenlo.org) exceeded its signatures goal by 43%. Signatures were gathered in every Menlo Park neighborhood from Hamilton Avenue to Sand Hill Circle, and from residents of every age group from 80-year olds to 18-year olds and grandparents to young mothers with newborns.
“We are so proud of Menlo Park today and all the volunteers and supporters who really rallied to make this happen,” said Mike Lanza, an initiative proponent. “So many Menlo Park residents worked hard to get these signatures. The good people of Menlo Park want to have a voice in their town and are willing to do what it takes.”
“We heard very clearly from the residents of Menlo Park that they want to maintain the high quality of life in their town. They want to be able to drive, walk, or bike safely and easily. They want a vibrant mix of neighborhood retail and housing. They want fiscally responsible development. And they want to enhance public open space.”
Concerned residents launched the Initiative after a year and a half of meetings, emails and petitions to City Council went unheeded. Bright yellow lawn signs dotted Menlo Park front yards supporting the initiative. Enormous signs went up on top of family mini-vans. Kids volunteered and put out flyers on doorsteps. And scores of volunteers went door to door and collected signatures from neighbors.
The residents’ initiative was endorsed by an unprecedented number of former Menlo Park mayors. Nine mayors - Jack Morris, Gail Slocum, Steve Schmidt, Mary Jo Borak, Paul Collacchi, Chuck Kinney, Heyward Robinson, Kelly Fergusson & Andy Cohen – strongly urged Menlo Park voters to sign the initiative.
“As a long-term resident encouraging residential quality of life and sound planning to support it, I am gratified that an entire new generation of residents support the initiative,” said Patti Fry, former Chair of the Planning Commission. “A large number of the volunteers have never engaged before in local politics and a large number of supporters are first-time voters in Menlo Park. All share a concern about how their quality of life will be affected by what the Specific Plan’s rules currently allow. They are shocked by proposals for large office buildings where they expected senior housing, a revenue-producing hotel, and more community-serving retail. They like the vision of a livable, walkable and revitalized downtown, and the balanced development portrayed in the Plan. They are hopeful this grassroots effort will prompt city officials to adjust the Plan’s rules by adopting the initiative. If not, they are ready to get out the vote in November.”