Menlo Park's Future


 Hometown Newspaper Once Again Doesn’t Tell You The Entire Story:

Fellow Residents,

I began this ongoing “conversation” with you in May to give you a unique perspective on local issues.  One of the issues that keeps coming up is how our hometown newspaper continues to under-report or not report at all on certain issues.

In the October 22, 2008 edition, a news reporter wrote a story entitled, “E-mail questions Cohen, Fergusson intentions on operation of city pool.”  Here’s a synopsis of events you could not know from our local newspaper’s reportage:

1.       Mr. Sinnot, a long-time Menlo Park resident sent an email out to a group of swimmers that use the Burgess Pool -- presently being run and operated by Tim Sheeper at an estimated savings to the City of $500,000 per year.

2.       Mr. Sinnot’s communication copied my email missive titled “The Cost of Union Endorsements.” Among other points, my email mentioned that a Union City Council Candidate Questionnaire specifically asked the candidates for Menlo Park City Council whether they “supported returning the operation of the Burgess Pool to the City.”

3.       Both incumbents (Cohen and Fergusson) have been endorsed by the Unions and have taken campaign funding from them as well.

Bet you didn’t learn THAT important part of the issue from the local newspaper did you?  No, it was not reported on.  In fact, union endorsements and/or candidate questionnaires were never mentioned.

It was also not reported that when I was a council member, determining whether to enter into a public/private partnership with Mr. Sheeper, it was learned that –

·         Public pools NEVER make a profit for those who operate them.

·         Council was being asked to make a time-sensitive decision, in light of projected budget deficits, whether we should or should not delay opening of the rebuilt pool facility since the cost per year to the city was estimated to be $500,000.

·         Delaying the opening would jeopardize the warranty the City had with the pool’s contractor.

·         Thus, a decision had to be made quickly and decisively.  Even so, we had multiple public hearings on this issue including one by the Parks and Recreation commission.

In light of this information, how can the reporter and/or the reader believe one of the incumbents when he is quoted as saying that “he will support a competitive bidding process when the lease expires in 2011?”  We already know that if the City runs the program it will cost the taxpayer around $500,000 a year, and now it is costing the City nothing.   And, intuitively, we can surmise that the Union endorsement was earned by promising something quite different.

Picking and choosing what part of a news story to report is almost as bad as choosing NOT to report on certain subjects.  The residents and taxpayers of Menlo Park deserve the whole story, when they are fortunate enough to get any story at all.

As always, I encourage you to write me at

If you would like to read my past emails please link to


Lee Duboc