Town Square

Post a New Topic

Atherton police association tactics under fire

Original post made on Oct 4, 2012

A number of residents and City Council members are criticizing a pre-election mail and telephone campaign by the Atherton Police Officers Association that they say is spreading false and misleading information to residents.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 4, 2012, 8:07 AM

Comments (33)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 4, 2012 at 9:11 am

I am sick of hearing that this inappropriate, aggressive and offensive behavior of these police officers are protected by their freedom of speech and cannot be curtailed by the Town of Atherton.

This would be true if David Metzger called Atherton residents as David Metzger, human being. But he's making the call on behalf of the police. This is not protected speech. And I know the argument about it being the APOA rather than the APD – the problem is the residents cannot reasonably differentiate between them. Most seriously, the messages can be interpreted as threats.

Point #1 – The council (and, let me be crystal clear, by council, I'm including Elizabeth Lewis) should unanimously vote to do its own phone call to residents repudiating the behavior of the police department, citing it as inappropriate, and informing residents it is their sense that the police department should not be telling Atherton residents for whom to vote. The police work for the residents, and are not the bosses of the residents.

Point #2 – This has happened before, in 2008, at least. It wasn't nearly this bad. It did not happen during the election in 2010. That's because Kathy McKeithen was the mayor and the cops knew that they would not get away with these antics when she was. There would have been disciplinary action taken with a strong leader in charge. There still can be.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A Look Back
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 4, 2012 at 11:16 am

Uploaded: Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 7:16 AM

Atherton residents get nervous over outsourcing

by Renee Batti
Almanac Staff


In what could be a sign of things to come if Atherton's elected officials decide to outsource police services, a number of Atherton residents attended an early morning meeting of the City Council and town's Finance Committee on Nov. 18 to hear a presentation on another city's experiences in turning over police operations to the county Sheriff's Office.

In spite of the 8 a.m. start time, about 15 residents attended the session, Councilman Jerry Carlson estimated. A number of them spoke, he said, and to his recollection, they all were against farming out police services.

The council has not actively explored outsourcing police services, but it has been struggling to find ways to fix the town budget's $1 million structural deficit, and had directed the Finance Committee to look at options that include outsourcing a number of town services.

The committee had scheduled a presentation by Jeff Maltbie, interim city manager of San Carlos, who was to talk about his city's outsourcing of police services to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office. When Councilman Carlson learned of the presentation, scheduled for the committee's Nov. 18 meeting, he requested that the meeting be held jointly with the City Council, he said.

The meeting's turnout by residents may have been the result, in large part, of an e-mail sent out by former police chief Glenn Nielsen, alerting residents to the meeting and encouraging them to attend, according to people who saw the message.

Councilman Jim Dobbie said the e-mail from Mr. Nielsen "stirred things up. ... It just generated a lot of concern that was totally inappropriate." To the best of his knowledge, he added, "no council member wants to outsource the (police) department. ... We love our police department, but we'd be irresponsible not to look at all options for fixing the financial situation."

Councilman Dobbie said if the council ever decided it wanted to turn over police operations to another agency, he would push for putting the question on the ballot. Bill Widmer, who will take a seat on the council in December, also said voters should be the ultimate decision-makers on outsourcing.

Councilman Carlson said he would want the public to be heavily involved in making a decision of such consequence, but he wasn't certain the question would have to go to a vote. "People need to tell us what services are important to them, and what they're willing to pay for," he said.

Mr. Maltbie's presentation included an overview of San Carlos' move from its own police force to its outsourcing to the Sheriff's Office, a transition that became effective Nov. 1. The process, Mr. Carlson said, included a paring down of services over a number of years in an attempt to reduce costs and retain the department; but after a time, only core services were available and financial problems remained.

Mr. Carlson noted, though, that "San Carlos had a different situation from what we have, at least for now."

Employee costs in Atherton account for nearly 80 percent of the town's budget, with police costs representing just over 50 percent, Councilman Dobbie said. The police department has already been trimmed down to 17 employees, from 22, he said, but costs are still a problem.

The town must "come up with some more revenue or more savings" to restore the town's fiscal health, he added.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lack of Transparency
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 4, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I disagree with Reality Check and hope Carlson and Lewis stand firm and vote against Widmer, McKeithen, and Dobbie's efforts to block Freedom of Speech by the APOA.

This reminds me of WMD's efforts to shut down the Athertonians' blog, when it was informing residents that the three of them had voted to put in a county library in the park against the wishes of a large percentage of Athertonians.

Atherton has few issues facing it, yet some council candidates refuse to inform the public of their positions.
In 2010 none of the candidates campaigned nor made the public aware of two important issues that the council would be addressing.

Shortly after the 2010 election the council voted to outsource several departments and by a 3-2 vote to place the library in the park. As we now know, at least Council Members McKeithen and Dobbie were aware of the Library Committee's desire to place a library in the park, as the committee was formed in the Spring of 2010. Since their supporters were helping Widmer, perhaps he knew as well.Yet no one's campaign mentioned their support of the library in the park.

As a candidate Cary Wiest may have won two years ago, if the public had known he opposed the library in the park and Widmer and Dobbie favored a library in the park. At least it should have been a campaign issue, instead it was hidden from the public.

In several previous Almanac blogs some have posted to outsource the police; three members of the council could vote to do so. Three members of the council could vote to reduce pay to the police to a point that the contract offer is unacceptabl and start a battle with APOA. Athertonians have begun to realize how powerful three votes can be.

To your point #2. In 2008 The APOA, the Daily Post, and the Palo Alto Daily endorsed David Henig over McKeithen for various reasons. As Mayor in 2010 McKeithen would not have any special powers over the APOA. She could have done the same as Widmer is doing now, partner with Dobbie to have the full council discuss the issue.

Most residents are not aware that WMD are looking into changing Atherton into a Charter City to find other ways to tax residents. For the last thirty years Atherton has promoted the Parcel Tax as a way to raise the extra money to support Police.

What reason do WMD have for changing to a Charter City? No more Parcel Tax? No more obligation to use the Parcel Tax to support Police? What is the position of the four candidates on this issue? We should be grateful the APOA are bringing these topics to our attention as the candidates would probably not inform us of their positions.

All of the four candidates are good people, however they have different opinions as to what is best for Atherton.

As the gets time to vote, residents should decide what they want for the future of Atherton. A utility tax? Construction taxes? Sheriff or Police? County Library in the Park? A council majority that attempts to limit public information and implement dramatic changes opposed by large percentages of the public?









 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 4, 2012 at 12:35 pm

"Mayor Bill Widmer said he has heard from "a number of residents who have said they're afraid to put out signs (for candidates Kupperman or Conlon) for fear there could be retribution."

Honestly folks, is this the kind of police department you want? One you have to fear? Seriously? You need to either outsource or fire everyone and start over. The well has been poisoned and no amount of new supervision (police chief) or new blood is going to change that. Once that happens any new blood that comes in gets poisoned as well.

Think about it. I live in Menlo Park and would have absolutley no fear of our officers were I to put a sign up that was counter to something our officers wanted. None. I can't beleive your town wants to continue to live in fear of the very people that are supposed to be protecting you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm

So let reality come true. Outsource the police department and let all of them have a wonderful job with another agency. I am sure that the citizen of Atherton will get as good if not better in law enforcement than they do now. Ask San Carlos and Millbrae


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Former Resident
a resident of another community
on Oct 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Bring back Kip Rolle.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lack of Tranparency
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm

The story could be titled: "Mayor's tactics to influence council election, library in the park, and police services."

Lewis and Wiest oppose the library in the park and favor police services. Widmer favors the library in the park.

Is this being done to hurt Lewis and Wiest's campaign?

Judging from the yard signs supporting Lewis and Wiest and opposing the library in the park; and the list of names nf the web site www.saveourpark.info-- opposing the library in the park, the question to be asked is how many involved residents are left to put up yard signs?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A Look Back
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 4, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Rene Batti has been at this for some time and her stories while generally accurate are meant to excite,divide and inflame passions. As in her first sentence she states, "A number of residents and City Council members are criticizing a pre-election mail and telephone campaign by the Atherton Police Officers Association that they say is spreading false and misleading information to residents." She does not identify the number or residents or who they are so this is a straw man technique worthy of high school journalism Neither does she identify the number and identity of City Council Members other than quote Widmer and Dobbie later in the article. The implication is all the Council Members.
The statement, "Although the APOA traditionally endorses candidates in council races, the double-punch approach this campaign season has made some residents nervous. Mayor Bill Widmer said he has heard from "a number of residents who have said they're afraid to put out signs (for candidates Kupperman or Conlon) for fear there could be retribution."
Again this statement is not backed by sources and is just hearsay and it meant to inflame.
If the Country Almanac is to be trusted in their reporting it has to go beyond creating and repeating gossip and expressing opinion in a news article. However nice hit piece Rene.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

These phone calls by the Atherton police union are simply irresponsible. Weist and Lewis should publicly repudiate the union for this behavior and should stop listing the union as one of their endorsers.

We lok to our elected officials to represent US not the the police union.

And we should appreciate that while we have a lot of good police officers in Atherton those police officers have chosen lousy, irresponsible union leadership.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lack of Transparency
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 4, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Is it a correct use of tax dollars to allow the Mayor to put this on the agenda? The Mayor, Dobbie, and McKeithen do not support Lewis and Wiest. Is putting this on the agenda and getting headlines a political campaign act?

Lewis and Wiest still represent the residents of Atherton. Residents might want to know that the council is researching Outsourcing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Is it a correct use of tax dollars to allow the Mayor to put this on the agenda? "

YES - and hopefully Lewis and Wiest will use the opportunity of a public discussion of this issue to repudiate the unions irresponsible behavior.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Confused
a resident of another community
on Oct 4, 2012 at 6:38 pm

I thought Conlon was running for the senate? Wait he's just like Virginia Kiraly, runs for everything. At least she won an elective seat. I wonder what's her next elective seat or after Conlon's loss, what's his?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ranch Gal
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 4, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Judging by what the APD has done to me over the last 15 years and several of my neighbors (stalking, tazing, etc) I am all for OUT SOURCING! They are not the APD I remember growing up with here as a child of the 1950's! Back then they were our friends and vowed to protect and serve! These ones are gestapo! Bring on the San Mateo County Sheriff Dept! Clean this town up!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A Look Back
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is absolutely correct in his post
"Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, 3 hours ago
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

These phone calls by the Atherton police union are simply irresponsible. Weist and Lewis should publicly repudiate the union for this behavior and should stop listing the union as one of their endorsers.

We lok to our elected officials to represent US not the the police union.

And we should appreciate that while we have a lot of good police officers in Atherton those police officers have chosen lousy, irresponsible union leadership.

So I will use his format and send this off to Gov Brown right now.

These phone calls by the California Teachers Association union are simply irresponsible. Gov Brown should publicly repudiate the union for this behavior and should stop listing the union as one of his endorsers.

We look to our elected officials to represent US not the teachers union.

And we should appreciate that while we have a lot of good teachers in California those teachers have chosen lousy, irresponsible union leadership."

Thanks Peter


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lack of Tranparency
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Reading the above comments, this looks like the history on this item. Almost two years ago, just after the 2010 election, Council Member Dobbie created an agenda item for the Finance committee to discuss Outsourcing Police Services. Council member Carlson asked that the full council hear the presentation, but that never happened.

Recently the APOA sent out a letter to residents that members of the council are considering outsourcing. Mayor Widmer and Council Member Dobbie will create an agenda item to discuss the APOA's letter and/or their endorsement, but will it allow discussion of outsourcing?

It took over a year and finally a petition of 250 residents for Mayor Widmer to put the library in the park vote on an agenda.

It has taken over two years and a letter and phone call from the APOA for the Police Outsourcing for council to place the item on the agenda.

Hopefully the agenda item will be broad enough so that residents can comment on outsourcing, the letter, endorsements, the phone call, concessions the council is asking from the police, etc. This will allow residents the opportunity to comment on all items regarding the police.








 +   Like this comment
Posted by Skyfall
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2012 at 6:08 am

The meeting where the Council considered outsourcing occurred on 11-18-10 . It was a Special Meeting, announced to the public with short notice. It was held at 8AM on a Thursday morning.
Web Link

The minutes describe the meeting as, "JOINT MEETING OF THE CITY COUNCIL & FINANCE COMMITTEE". The attendees were: Kathy McKeithen, Jim Dobbie, Jerry Carlson, Elizabeth Lewis, Charles Marsala, Greg Conlon, Jeff Wise, Alain Enthoven

It was changed to a joint Finance / Council meeting to allow the Council member to attend and ask questions without violating the Brown Act.

Bill Widmer was elected into office on 11-2-10, sixteen days prior to this meeting. He had not yet been sworn into office. If he attended, he was not there as a public official.

Agenda Item 5.
PRESENTATION OF SERVICE DELIVERY OPTIONS BY JEFF MALTBIE (INTERIM CITY MANAGER) OF CITY OF SAN CARLOS

Received presentation by Jeff Maltbie on San Carlos financial condition and their process of outsourcing services.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lack of Transparency
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 5, 2012 at 7:45 am

The minutes of the meeting do not contain any comments made by the council or residents. The Almanac story has some details:

"In what could be a sign of things to come if Atherton's elected officials decide to outsource police services, a number of Atherton residents attended an early morning meeting of the City Council and town's Finance Committee on Nov. 18 to hear a presentation on another city's experiences in turning over police operations to the county Sheriff's Office.

In spite of the 8 a.m. start time, about 15 residents attended the session, Councilman Jerry Carlson estimated. A number of them spoke, he said, and to his recollection, they all were against farming out police services....

"Councilman Dobbie said if the council ever decided it wanted to turn over police operations to another agency, he would push for putting the question on the ballot. Bill Widmer, who will take a seat on the council in December, also said voters should be the ultimate decision-makers on outsourcing."

Since Dobbie and Widmer wanted the residents to vote on outsourcing two years ago, why didn't they put it on the Nov ballot?

This month's agenda item should also allow for discussion on placing outsourcing and pension reform on the ballott


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Almanac = All McKeithen
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 5, 2012 at 8:00 am

As a Look Back notes, the Almanac and Renee Batti have been running hit pieces on the Atherton PD for some years. Kathy McKeithen and her cronies have been able to run down the police department unfairly in these slander pieces. The Almanac is fast losing its credibility and perhaps its advertising because of this. It just doesn't seem to understand that aside from McKeithen and her tiny band of wrongdoers, Atherton residents want our own police department, support it, and don't want to see benefit, pension or salary reductions under any circumstances. We can afford to pay these officers the best wage. It's just mean spirited not to, and the residents of Atherton will decide this despite the Almanac interfering and losing its business. Just like the library in the park will be defeated, outsourcing and taking police salaries away will be.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lack of Transparency
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 5, 2012 at 8:35 am

Hopefully this month's agenda item will be written so that residents can express opinions on outsourcing and several other topics and not just limited to if the APOA has a right to send out a letter to residents.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 5, 2012 at 10:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Atherton residents want our own police department, support it, and don't want to see benefit, pension or salary reductions under any circumstances."

There is no data to support this assertion.

Anyone with an ounce of management skills knows that for Atherton to pay twice as much per capita for police services as does any of our neighboring communities just does not make sense.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lack of Transparency
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 5, 2012 at 11:00 am



Why are Atherton's Police costs twice the average?

Where is the waste in Atherton Police expenses and why hasn't the council addressed it? Do we have too many officers working shifts? Are the officers paid twice that of officers in other cities?

Outsourcing the Police should be on the next ballot and then that debate can end. In way it is. It is called the Parcel Tax, with 2/3rds needed to pass.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A Look Back
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 5, 2012 at 11:37 am

Peter Carpenter has been advocating police outsourcing for Atherton (and Menlo Park...see his July post below) for a long time. His argument is reduced to just numbers and fails to take into account the different nature of policing in neighboring communities compared with Atherton. Looking at cost per capita he fails to account that Atherton more than doubles in population size when the ten schools located in the town are in session. He also fails to take into account the land area and density of population. A comparable sized town and socio-economic base is Hillsborough and you can see it costs more there per capital than Atherton. It would appear Hillsborough has the same demand for services and has more officers than Atherton.
Anyway the argument can go on and on, and it is appropiate the voters decide as Lack Of Transparency points out by passing the Parcel Tax next year when it comes up for renewal.
To save Peter the time to post his usual figures here is a post he wrote suggesting Menlo Park outsource their police department along with his usual numbers. It appears there is not a bit of interest in doing this in Menlo Park.

Time for Menlo Park to outsource police services
Menlo Park, posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jul 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm


With the Police Chief's departure It is time to stop the bleeding - Menlo Park should outsource its police services to the Sheriff. This will substantially reduce the total cost, remove any future unfunded pension liability and, increase leadership stability. With the much large force the Sheriff's department can more easily promote leaders from within ensuring community knowledge and avoiding relocation costs.

The change over costs would be quites small. San Carlos went through the process last year:

From The Millbrae Patch -

"Before contracting out services, San Carlos employed 32 sworn officers, and the city spent about $8.9 million per year on its police department. After outsourcing, there are now 19 sworn officers, and its annual costs are about $2 million less.

The Sheriff's Office hired all San Carlos police department employees – many of them work in the county jail now. Nine original officers remain patrolling San Carlos.

Although there are fewer officers in San Carlos, the level of service has remained about the same, according to a Sept. 12 City of San Carlos study.

Rothaus said it is because the city does not need to hire extra cops to cover shifts for those sick or on-leave.

The average emergency response time has not changed, and Part 1 crimes, such as rapes, murders, aggravated assault and robbery, have decreased slightly.

The San Carlos Police Department had a better property crime solving rate, while the Sheriff's Office is more effective with violent crimes, according to the study.

Felony arrests increased about 35 percent since the transition, in part due to more regular checks of probationers and parolees conducted by the Sheriff's Office, Rothaus said.

San Carlos conducted two surveys measuring resident's satisfaction with the Sheriff's Office. Out of the 102 surveys completed, citizens were 98 percent satisfied with services. "

**********

The County already operates a county wide dispatch system that serves both the Sheriff and ALL of the fire agencies in the county including MPFPD (which started the county wide fire dispatch consolidation movement) so there would be zero cost of adding MP police dispatch.

Some of the existing MP Police Department space would probably be needed by the Sheriff for a substation but at least part of the existing space would be surplus and hence available for other uses.

And however 'thin' the Sheriff's service may be in the unincorporated areas in the contract areas each contracting city gets to choose its own level of service. Woodside contracts for more officers and pays more, but still far less than Menlo Park. And the same officers are assigned to Woodside on a continuing basis.

Here are the comparative costs:

Agencies which have their own Police Department:

Atherton

As of the census of 2000, there were

7,194 people

4.9 square miles (12.8 kmē)

Police budget $4.9 M

$681 per capita

Redwood City

As of the census[1] of 2008, there were

75,508 people

34.6 sq miles

Police budget $31.7 M

$419 per capita

Palo Alto

As of the census of 2000, there were 58,598

people

23.7 sq miles

Police budget $29M

$494 per capita

Foster City

As of the census of 2000, there are 28,803

people

The city has a total area of 19.9 square

miles (51.6 kmē), of which 3.8 square miles

(9.7 kmē) is land and 16.2 square miles

(41.9 kmē) is water.

Police budget $9.6 M

$333 per capita

Burlingame

As of the census of 2000, there were 28,158

people

The city has a total area of 15.6 kmē (6.0 miē).

11.2 kmē (4.3 miē) of it is land and 4.4 kmē

(1.7 miē) of it (28.19%) is water.

Police budget $9.5M

$337 per capita

Hillsborough

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were

10,825 people

The town has a total area of 6.2 square miles

(16.1 kmē), all of it land.

Police budget $8M

$739 per capita

Los Altos

The population was 27,693 according to the

2000 census.

6.3 square miles (16.4 kmē).

Police dept budget $13.46 M

$485 per capita

Menlo Park

As of the census of 2000, there were 30,785

people

17.4 square miles (45 km2), of which

10.1 square miles (26 km2) is land

and 7.3 square miles (19 km2) is water. Police services budget $14.69 M

$477.148 per capita

East Palo Alto

As of the census of 2009, there were 35,791 people,

2.6 square miles (6.7 kmē), of which 2.5 square miles (6.6 kmē) are land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 kmē) of it (0.78%) are water.

Police budget $10,262,651

$287 per capita

Agencies which contract out their police services:

Saratoga

The population was 30,318 at the 2007 census.

The city has a total area of 21.1 square miles

(31.4 kmē)

Police costs via County Sheriff $4.34 M

$143 per capita

Woodside

11.8 square miles (30.5 kmē)

As of the census of 2000, there were

5,352 people

Police services via County Sheriff $1.3 M

$242 per capita

new contract 2012/13

The Woodside Town Council approved a budget that included ■ Sheriff's contract: A council majority approved a three-year $1.45 million law enforcement contract with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office. Unlike the annual jumps of 10 percent in previous contracts, this one rises by 4 percent for the first year and 3 percent after that.

The population of Woodside is 5287 as of the 2010 census or a cost of $274 per capita.

Portola Valley

The population was 4,462 at the 2000 census

9.2 square miles (23.7 kmē)

Police services via Sheriff $498,601

$111 per capita

San Carlos

The population was 27.238 in 2008

5.93 square miles

Police services via proposed Sheriff's contract

$6.8 M

$248.62 per capita


Arguments against outsourcing? Fear of change.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 5, 2012 at 11:59 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Using the latest census data and the latest Town budget Atherton now spends $801 per capita for police services - more than ANY other city on the peninsula.

Do we really get three times the quality of police services as do Woodside, Portola Valley and Saratoga?

Do we really get almost twice the quality of police services as does Palo Alto which has a huge daytime influx of workers and five times the number of square miles?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 5, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Correction - the current cost per capita for police services in Atherton is $810 not $801.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A Look Back
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Correction

2010 census 6,914 people
police budget 2012-13 $5,463,061
$790.14 per person

Atherton is #2 in the country Forbes most expensive zipcodes. Time to test demand for service with a the Parcel Tax ballot.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lack of Transparency
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm

County Sheriff or City Police is a debate that will go on forever.

Those in favor of the Sheriff can point to Woodside, Los Altos Hills, and Portola Valley.

Those in favor of city police can point to Hillsborough. Hillsborough costs more and does not have El Camino Real, Menlo College, and 3 high schools.

For decades, a majority of Atherton residents have wanted their own police. As politicans run for city council, they should be clear to the public what would cause them to favor using the sheriff. They should not avoid the issue during their campaigns.

Right now it appears a large majority 70-90% of residents want the police dept to stay and are willing to pay extra for it.

Dobbie and Widmer were elected in November 2010, requested an agenda item right after the election to review outsourcing. Yet neither campaigned that they had an interest to save Atherton money on Police Services by reviewing the sheriff option.

When the council places items like this,(fee increases, library issues, etc) on special agendas at 8am, it appears that they want to restrict the public's ability to express disapprovement with the council intentions; a Lack of Transparency.

A topic all the candidates should address is if elected will they move to stop council meetings during mid-day so that more people can attend. Will there be Tranparency going forward?

Another part of the problem. What happens if three council members do not favor having the police, yet 90% of the town does. The town would be relying on council members opposed to the extra cost of police services working to pass the parcel tax, which is renewed every four years.

Four years ago the Parcel Tax passed on the efforts of Elizabeth Lewis and Jerry Carlson. Which of the four candidates running will put out the effort to lead a successful Parcel Tax Campaign?

Back in 1999 and 2000 McKeithen ran campaigns to defeat the Parcel Tax, she was successful. It did pass in 2001. Yet in 2004 when she was Mayor it was defeated. It needs 2/3rds vote approval to pass.
















 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lack of Transparency
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm

What cuts would anyone make in the Atherton Police Budget? There does not appear to be a surplus of officers nor equiptment.

Is the Atherton budget prepared the same way as other budgets?
The Atherton budget assigns costs to the police for the the City Manager, Finance director, etc. Atherton only adopted this method a few years back. Have other cities adopted this method?

Paying off unfunded pensions. Is that part of the Atherton Police budget? Is it part of other cities' budgets?





 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"What cuts would anyone make in the Atherton Police Budget? There does not appear to be a surplus of officers nor equiptment."

The issue is economy of scale. A small department incurs substantially more per officer cost for such things as overhead, supervision and training. Having a local dispatch for a 7000 citizens is much less cost effective than the fire agencies which have one central dispatch that serves the entire county.

A small department has few opportunities for personal advancement and cannot afford specialists for fraud or homicides, etc.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Do the Math
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm

A Look Back: "Looking at cost per capita he fails to account that Atherton more than doubles in population size when the ten schools located in the town are in session."

Seems like good homework, but then you realize it's been turned in by a "C" student. The other towns have businesses with employees and customers (and also have schools). This makes Atherton's per capita costs even more egregious.

A Lack of Transparency: "What cuts would anyone make in the Atherton Police Budget? There does not appear to be a surplus of officers nor equipment."

Assumes the salaries and benefits of the police in Atherton must be fixed at the 70th percentile of neighboring communities. Other than the greed of the police (and I don't quarrel that they have a right to feel that way, and I would in their shoes), there's just no good reason for this. If anything, since Atherton doesn't expose officers to as dangerous situations as some of the other communities, Atherton officers should be paid less, not more, than officers in those situations.

Peter Carpenter: "A small department has few opportunities for personal advancement and cannot afford specialists for fraud or homicides, etc."

This brings up the $64 million dollar question: if all the other communities that outsourced had their cops get jobs with the sheriff's department (at a 100% retention rate), and there are greater opportunities for advancement and promotion that way, why are the Atherton cops so gung-ho about not getting outsourced? Why are they spending their own money to influence an election to prevent it?

Inquiring minds what to know. Peter, do you understand the rationale behind this?



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter, do you understand the rationale behind this?"

Generally small police and fire departments prefer the autonomy and freedom from scrutiny that they usually enjoy.

Also not all of the current Atherton officers would be offered positions by the Sheriff.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Peter said,
"Also not all of the current Atherton officers would be offered positions by the Sheriff." That would be interesting to know how many they would take.

I'm pretty sure ALL of San Carlos Officers were offered jobs with the Sheriff's Office and none were paid less.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lack of Transparency
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 5, 2012 at 7:54 pm

If there would be no reduction in services then why wouldn't someone run on the campaign platform to eliminate the Parcel Tax and save everyone $1000.00 per year? Or why hasn't a council member refused to endorse the Parcel Tax and stated that the town could save $2M a year in expenses and not need the Parcel Tax.

So the APOA feels a need to bring attention directly to the residents of the town. We know that three council members can eliminate the police force. Is the first step to require reductions in compensation?

Everyone should be grateful, this action by the APOA has resulted in the council making an agenda item.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve R
a resident of another community
on Oct 12, 2012 at 11:45 am

[Post removed. Please refrain from personal attacks.]


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

WUE makes out-of-state tuition more affordable
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 2 comments | 2,557 views

Local picks on 2015 Michelin Bib Gourmand list
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 2,241 views

Ode to Brussels Sprout
By Laura Stec | 13 comments | 2,146 views

Charter School Proposal Steeped In Unintended Consequences
By Erin Glanville | 33 comments | 1,327 views

Measure M-- I am not drinking Greenheart’s expensive potion
By Martin Lamarque | 3 comments | 123 views