Besides deciding whether to renew the parcel tax Atherton residents will select one of three City Council candidates to replace Jerry Carlson, who resigned in July.
Of the three candidates running, our choice is Rick DeGolia, vice chair of the Civic Center Advisory Committee and a high-tech business executive and lawyer who has some fresh ideas that we believe could improve the council's relations with the community. His opponents are Greg Conlon, a former state Public Utilities Commission member who now serves as chair of the town's finance committee, and Diane Sandhu, who is now that committee's vice chair.
In our opinion, Mr. DeGolia stands out in this race due to his insights as a longtime business executive and corporate board member and his willingness to listen, respectfully, to all ideas and try to come up with creative solutions to problems before the council and of concern to residents. His decision to get involved in town government was sparked in the last election, when he was dismayed that the proposal to build a library in Holbrook-Palmer Park was pushed "from the top down" by a slim council majority, he said.
Mr. DeGolia notes that the town was recently able to pay $2 million toward its long-term pension obligation, which he says is due in part to the influx of many young families who are moving to Atherton and paying higher property taxes. Mr. DeGolia says these families will want playing fields, bike lanes and a safe way for pedestrians to cross El Camino Real, where several fatal accidents have occurred recently.
Mr. DeGolia did not accept support from the police union, and said he believes there is almost no possibility that the town will outsource police services. He did say that police costs and pensions, which take up more than half the town's budget, are worthy of discussion.
Mr. DeGolia is a candidate who will make sensible decisions as a council member. He vows to listen to residents and says he will try to make the council's decisions as transparent as possible. He is not endorsed by any current council members, who split 2-2 on many issues, so Mr. DeGolia could be a swing vote. We urge voters to elect Rick DeGolia to the Atherton City Council.
(Clarification: The editorial above notes that Mr. DeGolia was not endorsed by any members of the City Council. That is correct: His publicized endorsement list does not include any current council members. Some residents contend that Mayor Elizabeth Lewis did endorse Mr. DeGolia when she, along with 19 other residents, signed his nomination papers. We do not agree, and we stand by our statement and our endorsement of Mr. DeGolia for the Atherton City Council.)