Archive of Jym Clendenin

Jym Clendenin has lived in Menlo Park for 35 years and thinks the town’s best attributes are its attractive housing, friendly residents, and just-right downtown, not to mention the near perfect weather. He worked nearby at SLAC for 33 years as an experimental and accelerator physicist, retiring in 2008. Now he enjoys running, biking, backpacking, cooking and reading as well as unearthing facts about Menlo Park’s little known corners and hidden past.

Jym has written 54 article(s) for InMenlo.


Post image for Former Menlo Park City Attorney Jack Jorgeson talks about the 60s and 70s at Menlo Park Historical Association annual meeting

At the annual meeting of the Menlo Park Historical Association an audience of about 50 were taken back to the City of the 1960s and 70s by Jack Jorgenson, the Menlo Park City Attorney from 1961 to 1985.

In 1960, Jorgenson was assistant to City Attorney James O’Keefe, Jr. when O’Keefe left to take an elective office. That same year Jorgenson founded the firm that is now Jorgenson, Siegel, McClure & Flegel, LLP, located in Menlo Park. In 1961 he assumed the part-time position of City Attorney.

In his talk, Jorgenson described the main task of the City Attorney was to make everyone (Councilmembers, City Manager, etc) look good. In the 1960s, the City was still run by the good old boys: Bill Lawson was continuously Mayor for 12 years (1957-69). John Johnson was the City Manager to be followed in 1961 by his young assistant Mike Bedwell, who was to hold that position for the following 27 years.

Perhaps the most exciting event during Jorgenson’s tenure was when he was accused of violating the Brown Act, California’s sunshine law. The City wanted to buy some individually-owned, run-down apartment buildings along Willow Road in the Belle Haven area in order to upgrade them and put them under a unified management and create a more orderly life for the tenants.

Historical Association tourTo get a good price, the City decided to make the purchases through a third party. Eventually one Menlo Park Councilperson went to the District Attorney with the accusation that this violated the Brown Act. Jorgenson successfully argued that what the City was doing came under a specific exception written into the Brown Act. The matter was eventually dropped, but Jorgenson related at a later social event, he did not violate the Brown act, and he would never do it again.

Additional projects Jorgenson mentioned were the purchase of the Fremont School property from the Menlo Park School District to create a park, the creation of Bedwell Bayfront Park from a former dump site.

But without question the hottest issue in Menlo Park was the proposal for the Willow Expressway that would have continued NE from today’s Sand Hill Road toward 101. This proposal was voted down by Menlo Park’s residents, but perhaps just as important, the issue energized the population with respect to local politics, giving rise to a residentialists movement that continues to this day.

Earlier in the meeting, a new Historic Tour of Menlo Park fold-out was introduced. The touring map includes 28 historic sites in Menlo Park. It is pre-folded into a 3×8.5-inch size that easily fits into a pocket or purse. Free copies can be obtained at the Library’s Reference Desk or in the entryway of the City Administration Building or go to the store page on the Association web site.

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Italian stone pine in Fremont Park gives birth to art & play structure – with new trees to come

Thumbnail image for Italian stone pine in Fremont Park gives birth to art & play structure – with new trees to come

From disaster and death can come the birth of something good (myth of the phoenix). The big Italian stone pine that guarded the eastern side of Fremont Park had to be taken down in September, a disturbing event for many in our community. From the collective brainstorming of residents and city of Menlo Park staff, […]

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City of Menlo Park honors the Menlo Park Historical Association

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At last Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, Mayor Ray Mueller presented the Menlo Park Historical Association with a proclamation recognizing its accomplishments since 1971 in preserving the history of Menlo Park and in making its archived materials available to the public, including through its website Most recently the Association was instrumental in the creation of the […]

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New planting boxes bring extra burst of Spring to downtown Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for New planting boxes bring extra burst of Spring to downtown Menlo Park

In early 2013, the Menlo Park City Council decided to invest in an upgrade of the street plantings and furniture on downtown Santa Cruz Avenue (SCA). The project was completed in early 2014. The following is a reconstruction of an interview on April 24th with the project leader, Ruben Niño, Assistant Director of Public Works. […]

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One thing leads to another – and end result is one of Menlo Park’s most enchanting home & garden

Thumbnail image for One thing leads to another – and end result is one of Menlo Park’s most enchanting home & garden

In the Bay Area it’s not unusual for a house to be painted a non-traditional color or colors. But here in Menlo Park, there is a house that has gone beyond just color: It’s a house plus garden that together presents an enchanting picture for the passer-by. A typical reaction is “it makes me feel […]

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The tale of Two Menlos on display at the Menlo Park Library through February

Thumbnail image for The tale of Two Menlos on display at the Menlo Park Library through February

During the month of February, a display at the Menlo Park Library entrance will feature the recently signed Friendship Agreement between the City of Menlo Park and Galway City, Ireland. As many are aware, Menlo Park is named for the very old Gaelic village of Mionloch (anglicized to Menlough and usually shortened to Menlo), which […]

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Friendship with Galway City results in visit to Menlo Park from Senator Cáit Keane

Thumbnail image for Friendship with Galway City results in visit to Menlo Park from Senator Cáit Keane

Senator Cáit Keane, who grew up in Galway City and represents South-West Dublin in the Seanad Éireann, the upper house of the Oireachtas (legislature) of Ireland, visited Menlo Park last Tuesday, Jan. 7th. She met  with Menlo Park Council Member and last year’s Mayor, Peter Ohtaki, at City Hall. She was here on holiday to visit […]

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Friendship agreement signed between Menlo Park and Galway City, Ireland

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Almost exactly one-year ago Gerry Hanley came from his hometown of Menlo (or Menlough, the anglicized version of the Irish Gaelic Mionloch, which means “small lake”), now a section of Galway City, Ireland, to Menlo Park with a personal mission to establish a friendship relationship between the two cities. His point of contact here was […]

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Festivities celebrating Caltrain’s 150th anniversary set for Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Menlo Park train station

Thumbnail image for Festivities celebrating Caltrain’s 150th anniversary set for Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Menlo Park train station

On October 17, 1863, the construction of the rail line for the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad was completed from San Francisco to Mayfield. A festive train brought 400 dignitaries, including Gov. Leland Stanford and Gov. A. C. Gibbs (Oregon), to a grand picnic just north of the San Francisquito Creek in today’s Menlo […]

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Summer adventures: Kibbie to Many Island Lakes backpack trip takes unexpected twists and turns

Thumbnail image for Summer adventures: Kibbie to Many Island Lakes backpack trip takes unexpected twists and turns

My backpacking trip this summer was one of the most difficult I’ve ever experienced. Seven of us set out to conquer the wilderness between Kibbie and Many Island Lakes in the southwest corner of Yosemite National Park, but we failed. The distance between these lakes is only about two miles as the crow flies, and the […]

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The Jewel of Santa Cruz Avenue grows up — beautifully

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In the 1930s, the brothers Bert and John Bartolome, while engaged in construction work at Stanford University, began building what turned out to be a rather whimsical house — completed in the early 1940s — on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park. The Jewel of Santa Cruz Avenue was first described in a March 4, […]

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