Menlo Park's Future


El Camino Real:  New Economic Approach

Fellow Residents,

Many of you wrote in response to my e mail newsletter #3 that you would much prefer to increase City revenues from growing our business base rather than from growing our taxes.  So let’s do it.

Some Facts:

·         The El Camino Visioning process is on its second year.

o        Made a Priority by Council in Dec. 2006.

o        January 2007 to summer 2008 (to plan the process and get to the present point.)            

·         Cost to Taxpayer to date-- $200,000 –including cost of consultant and City staff time, as estimated by staff.

·         Involved around 2,000 people, including those who have filled out surveys and attended workshops.  (There may be some double or triple counting, but, none-the-less, these are impressive numbers.)

Now it is time to draw the process to a conclusion and articulate and IMPLEMENT the vision.

My hope is that this process does not go the way many other visioning projects have, including The Center City Design Guidelines (1996-1998) and Smart Growth (1999), both involving huge numbers of citizen participants. It is up to this council to make sure this study does not become another “file cabinet filler.”

 From my experience on the City Council, I can tell you that the most politically challenging aspect of this entire process will be the implementation.  Here’s why.

In order to revitalize El Camino into an income-generating and attractive “gateway,”   development and zoning decisions will have to be made, which will please some and alienate others.

 It is always politically safer to do NOTHING rather than SOMETHING, especially close to election time.  It is too easy to keep studying and “tweaking” a plan, rather than make a decision.  But, our City’s gateway – El Camino Real – is crumbling around us and it is time to make ECR work for us.

Thanks.   Send your comments to

Lee Duboc