Council snubs Measure V leader


Daily Post Staff Writer

The battle over Measure V in Menlo Park played out with the city council’s latest appointment to its planning commission. 

A council majority of Betsy Nash, Jen Wolosin and Cecilia Taylor voted Tuesday to appoint Jennifer Schindler to the single open seat on the commission over Nicole Chessari, one of the leaders of the Measure V campaign. Schindler is a member of the No on V campaign. 

Most of the council opposes Measure V, which would make it difficult for apartments to be built in single-family neighborhoods. It would require residents to go to the ballot box to change any zoning in town from single family to anything else. 

A departure from past practice

Former Mayor Paul Collachi addressed the council before it voted on its appointments and said when he was on council, the council would try to appoint people from varying sides of an issue. 

Councilman Ray Mueller suggested the council follow the vein of Collachi’s comments and appoint Chessari to the planning commission. 

Mueller said appointing Chessari could be a way at starting to heal the city that has been fractured by the politics at play with Measure V.

Mueller also pointed to Councilman Drew Combs’ re-appointment to the planning commission after he was on the opposite side of Measure M, a similarly controversial development-related measure in 2014. The two councilmen noted Combs’ was re-appointed with a 3-2 margin as he did not agree with the majority of the council on Measure M. 

In the end, no one else on council expressed interest in appointing Chessari. Combs voted for her while Mueller voted for another candidate, Michael Meyer. 

Mayor Betsy Nash said she thinks it’s important that the planning commission have members from every council district. Currently, the planning commission only has members who live east of El Camino Real. Schindler was the only applicant who does not live in District 2, which is largely encompassed by the Willows, Suburban Park and Flood Park neighborhoods. She lives in District 5, which is represented by Mueller and consists of the part of town west of Hillview Middle School. 

Mueller said he thinks it’s more important the city come together. Combs also balked at the idea. 

But in the end, Nash along with Wolosin and Taylor voted for Schindler. 

Appointee is working on the “no” campaign

Schindler lists on her application submitted with the city what she is an organizing team member of the No on Measure V campaign. She lists her responsibilities as “canvassing and community discussions — outreach to hundreds of residents about the details and impacts of Measure V.” 

Schindler recently retired from Google, according to her interview with the city council. 

At the council’s Tuesday night meeting, two people — Collachi and resident Kim Yeager, told the council they ought to vote for Chessari because she takes deep dives into topics and has the skills needed for the planning commission. 

But two speakers — someone who only identified herself as Caroline and Jenny Michel — told the council not to appoint Chessari. Both questioned whether Chessari would be unbiased on the commission, which makes land use decisions. 

Chessari said yesterday that the council majority intended to use districts “as an excuse to install someone on the planning commission who would push their ideological agendas, rather than making a decision based on qualifications.” 


  1. Of course they’re going to put a “No on V” promoter on the commission. They don’t want a little thing like homeowner opinion get in the way of their agenda. If they lose the ability to destoy our neighborhoods by themselves they’ll do it through other means. They know better than us. I can’t wait for Peter Ohtaki to make them irrelevant.

  2. Wolosin is one of the ravers that the white homeowners of Menlo Park are all racists because everyone on the planet can’t afford to buy here. Oppose anything she favors.

    • Jen is right! You’re racists for keeping lower income people out of your lily white hoods. When V fails she will show you. She will show all of you.

      • Just a nit. If we’re keeping “lower income” people out we only qualify as “elitists” not full-blown racists. Steph lives in Atherton.

        And actually the census shows steady declines of non-hispanic whites in both Menlo Park and Palo Alto and large increases in Asians, who are both a different race, and, in the case of Indians, people of color.

        In other words, the emerging evidence suggests its much easier to integrate by race than by income, and that racial integration has been happening, apace, for the last four decades to the point that non-Hispanic whites are half of what they were and no longer a majority.

        There’s no evidence that Jen has “added value” in any way to the production of affordable housing in Menlo Park. She will simply rubberstamp those development projects being brought to her, by developers, without modification. Theses include massive amounts of office, not enough housing, most of which is luxury housing.

        One of those projects, Willows Village, will increase housing deficits by 800 units and displace 1100 lower income families according to its Housing Needs Assessment.

        The 800 unit deficit is staggering. It exceeds the entire housing production of the Downtown Specific Plan and is almost as large as the entire deficit for which Menlo Park was successfully sued in 2012 by housing advocates.

        In other words, ten years after Menlo Park was sued over a deficit of about 1000 units, its approving a single project that nearly replicates that deficit.

        The displacement of 1100 lower income families should, to you, constitute a political crime, yet your love for Jen knows no bounds.

        Basically, Jen is making it worse. But you don’t seem to understand that, Dawn, no matter how many times I chase you across online forums and re-state these facts.

  3. Last chance for Menlo Park homeowners to keep a voice. If you think Measure V is about the Flood Site you’re mistaken. Even if the YIMBYs get their way that’s only 90 units. The state is calling for thousands and the cabal on the council has to put them somewhere. Menlo will get flooded with cheaply built apartments, and reap everything that goes with them.

    • It will more likely be flooded with expensively built apartments and reap everything that goes with that, including high rents and further gentrification.

      New downtown apartments are among the most expensive on Earth. Those proposed for SRI will be similarly expensive.

      There is nothing cheaply built in California, especially in Menlo Park. That is another reason income segregation is getting worse.

      I don’t mean to break your hearts housing advocates, but you are in a rowboat trying to swallow the ocean. Before you can possibly swallow the ocean you will sink the boat.

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