We’re watching you look around, Stanford

A little bird tells us that someone has commissioned a phone survey of Menlo Park residents to ask their opinions of Stanford, of increased development by Stanford, and their opinion of the Committee for Green Foothills.

The callers aren’t saying who they’re working for, but we know they aren’t working for us, and that leaves a pretty short list of suspects.

So whoever requested the survey (let’s call him Stan) wants to know what people think about development in the foothills, about Stanford’s proposed hotel on Highway 280, about potential expansion of Stanford hospitals, about increased housing, and about moving car dealerships from El Camino to Highway 101. And of course, about attitudes towards the Committee for Green Foothills, the only environmental group they specifically mentioned.

So what’s this survey all about? Is my alma mater up to something besides the proposed hotel? We’ve long maintained that Stanford’s aggressively pro-development, no-restrictions-on-foothills-sprawl attitude has harmed their relationship to the community. If Stan is trying to figure out whether that’s true, we’re glad they’re investigating.

Alternatively, Stanford has a new person in charge of community relations, David Demarest. David was hired from outside Stanford, and previously worked in Washington D.C. Commissioning a poll about local attitudes is something I’d expect from an outsider and from someone who comes from Washington D.C. Again, nothing worrying in that.

But there’s also the possibility of new development proposals. The question about hospitals is unsurprising. The question about car dealers is puzzling unless some complicated land swap is under discussion.

The Committee’s main charge is open space and natural resource protection, so we would have to consider how relevant any development proposal is to our work. The Highway 280 Hotel is, and the question about development in the foothills is relevant too, so we’ll keep watching for Stan’s questions.

-Brian

P.S. If anyone else gets surveyed outside of Menlo Park, we’d be very interested to hear about it. Thanks!

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