Guest opinion: Measure V returns power to the residents

Tim Yaeger, a leader of the Yes-on-Measure V campaign

October 14, 2022



With all the talk of Measure V and false narratives circling, Gov Gavin Newsom’s recent signing of AB2295 can finally stop the misinformation that Measure V will prevent teacher housing because school districts can build affordable teacher housing by right no matter the zoning of their parcel.

The added benefit of AB2295 is that teachers from surrounding school districts will also have priority over the general public for housing being built on school property.

Measure V was inspired by Councilmen Ray Mueller’s and Drew Combs’ May 2021 votes to exclude R-1 (single-family home) zoned parcels as a potential areas for the housing element to plan for new high-density housing units. They knew it would not produce measurable new housing stock and would receive a large amount of focus. They were right. Had Councilwomen Betsy Nash, Jen Wolosin and Cecilia Taylor listened to them (and to affected residents) there would be no need for Measure V. But when City Council isn’t responsive or accountable to voters, change is needed.

A conflict of interest

We have council members in Menlo Park such as Betsy Nash, an owner of a large number of single-family homes in the city, with two adjacent R-1 zoned properties for a combined total of over 1 acre, who voted against protecting R-1 zoned residential parcels from up zoning for high density development.

Interestingly her half-acre West Menlo Park parcel next to her primary residence didn’t end up in the housing element, when it could have been a key site to affirmatively further fair housing.

Backroom meetings

We need leaders in Menlo Park whose words are supported by their actions. As Dave Price has documented in his recent articles, Menlo Park City Council has taken to backroom meetings.

Nash had an off-the-record call with a developer with a “strong relationship with the city” purportedly resulting an offer from the developer to voluntarily give the city up to $300,000.

Another council member referred to this as “unethical,” “inappropriate,” and like a “Let’s Make a Deal” situation — what’s behind door number 3?

The council member said “that’s not the way city government should work.” It’s time for residents to demand transparency and take back control of their city, so we can grow in an intelligent, thoughtful way, with a seat at the table.


Measure V is important because it returns a limited amount of power to the residents for a very specific set of zoning parameters affecting where they live. You can label this any way you would like, but at its essence, this is democracy in practice.

Tim Yaeger is a leader of the Measure V campaign. He’s the owner of two construction businesses and does real estate sales.


  1. “Had Councilwomen Betsy Nash, Jen Wolosin and Cecilia Taylor listened to them (and to affected residents) there would be no need for Measure V.”

    Yaeger seems to be confusing early conversations about how to approach the housing element with the end result. The draft housing element that went to the state this summer had almost no R1 sites, with the meaningful exception of Flood School, and the entire council seemed pretty committed to including Flood School as an opportunity site – not just the three council members mentioned here. Sounds like council heard residents loud and clear.

    Every council member has non-public meetings, and some are more open about them than others. Rumor has it the Menlo Balance group was trying (in various back-room meetings with subsets of council) to get council to change the draft housing element so that Ravenswood couldn’t build more than 60 units, and maybe buy land for an additional access point. But that stuff didn’t get reported by the council members in a public meeting – it just got leaked to the press.

    I’m okay with the mayor calling a developer to ask if they’d be willing to fund a traffic safety mitigation for our city, especially since she did it after talking to staff who had tried and failed to secure that deal. She then reported it to the public within 24 hours. Short of calling the developer from the dais, I’m not sure how she could have been more transparent. (And since this is a politician who doesn’t take developer dollars and has been less encouraging of the large-scale developments over by the Bay, this doesn’t feel in any way like a pay-to-play.)

    Menlo Balance can’t seem to make up its mind – do they want council to make the streets safer and ensure that development impacts are mitigated – or don’t they? Do they want council to rezone R1 land (e.g. Mayor Nash’s house), or don’t they? Do they want all business to be conducted publicly, or don’t they? In each case, the answer seems to depend on what they believe benefits them.

    • Your questions don’t seem to make any sense. Of course they want the council to make streets safer, just like every other Menlo resident. Do they want deveopment’s impacts mitigated? Again, of course, just like every other Menlo resident. The organizers of Measure V have no issues with rezoning R-1 land, as long as it’s done in conjunction with the neighbors, just like every other Menlo resident. Nobody wants a city council to just run roughshod over their neighborhood. Measure V organizers in Suburban Park offered a conpromise, but the RCSD already had 3 council members in their pocket and the home owners were ignored. None of Measure V was needed, if the city council had only listened to the voters of Menlo Park.

      And now they’re going to lose that power. Thousands of Menlo Park homeowners are outraged at this situation, and they’ll be voting Measure V in and Betsy Nash out.

      • Great, so the fact that the mayor persuaded a developer (whose project had already been approved) to pay for additional traffic mitigations shouldn’t be a problem for you. You should also be pretty happy with the housing element that our council submitted to the state, because (in response to community input) it contains almost zero changes to single-family neighborhoods. (Upzoning one vacant lot that used to be a school; two church parking lots doesn’t exactly constitute “running roughshod” over neighborhoods.) It’s not clear why you’re so obsessed with three council members in particular, when all five council members agreed to upzone the Flood School site – nor do I understand why you rejected Ray Mueller’s sensible compromise for a split development with a second exit (the one that Ravenswood would have accepted). Finally, it should be clear to everyone by now why Ravenswood wouldn’t agree to a 60-unit project, given that the state was about to pass a law giving them 78 units by-right. Should’ve taken the 90/2 compromise when it was on the table, Buck. Because – newsflash – you’re not the only voters in Menlo Park.

  2. AB 2295 killed teacher housing at the Flood Site better than Measure V ever could. It limits the number of units to no more than 78 (at 78 the units are small in square feet, and the actual number will be lower if they want to attract families), a number that the RCSD chief business officer has already said is not financially viable. But the best part are the eligibility requirements. They are legally obligated to offer the units at below market rate to their own faculty and staff, followed by the faculty and staff of surrounding districts, and finally to government workers that work where those districts serve. They will NEVER get to the profitable market rate units. Not only will the RCSD be in the red on this project but they’ll do it subsidizing other districts! I’m waiting for a sudden “reevaluation” from the RCSD business officer.

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