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Atherton council may try again to appoint a colleague on July 17 and avoid election

Original post made on Jul 12, 2013

==B Update:== Is there a City Council election in the near future for Atherton voters? A November election seemed certain after the council on July 11 failed to agree on one candidate out of seven who wanted to be appointed to a vacant council seat, but now it appears that the council will consider trying again to appoint a new colleague at its July 17 meeting.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 11, 2013, 10:37 PM

Comments (15)

Posted by old timer, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 12, 2013 at 10:45 am

Sounds like Cary Weist has already become tired of doing what ever Lewis tells him to do, at least for a brief moment, in that first vote described above.
I wasn't at last nights meeting, but I find it unfortunate for all of us that the Council could not settle this matter by simply choosing one of the long term residents with the most experience and participation on town committees and council meeting attendance. I believe Mr. Roggerio has been to every meeting for the past 25 years.......thats got to be enough proof of commitment for anyone to see.

Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2013 at 11:25 am

It will be interesting to see how many of the 7 willing to serve if appointed will be willing to file for the election, and then it will be even more interesting to see which candidate gets the APOA endorsement and money to win the seat.

Posted by Agreed, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I agree with WhoRUPeople. This is just another opportunity for the APOA to buy another seat.

It is inexcusable that John Ruggeiro was not elected. He is by far the most experienced candidate and has been to every meeting for the past 25 years, as noted.

To Greg Conlon: if you've been on the finance committee for three of four years and still don't understand whether police benefits should or should not be rolled back, you're not qualified to be dog catcher, let alone council member. Taking my tongue out of my cheek, I do think you know the answer, but are now in league with the APOA.

Posted by Michael G. Stogner , a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I just received an email from the Town of Atherton.
If I read it right this appointment process is on the agenda for the July 17, 2013 meeting, which means there is a chance it could be solved at that time.

Posted by Renee Batti, news editor of The Almanac
on Jul 12, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Renee Batti is a registered user.

Michael, you did read it right. I'll be updating the story soon, but in a nutshell: The council can still legally appoint a council member, and City Manager George Rodericks put the item on the July 17 agenda to allow the council the chance to try, again, to agree on a candidate, if council members decide they want to.

Posted by Michael G. Stogner , a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm

This would be a great time for all Atherton residents to get involved and let the 4 council members know what YOU want.

Posted by Agreed, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 13, 2013 at 12:41 am

Although John Ruggeiro is obviously highly qualified, Michael Stogner would be a great compromise candidate for Atherton. Like Ruggeiro, Stogner is not affiliated with any special interests and just wants to serve the RESIDENTS of Atherton. He has been working with victims in Atherton for a number of years and was instrumental in achieving a regime change in the Atherton police department that improved police services for all residents.

Posted by Weist is Right, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 13, 2013 at 6:45 am

Vote- There is no compromise to this situation.

Dobbie and Widmer will either be running with or against whoever is chosen.

The Police and Parcel Tax issues currently split the council and both sides want the third vote. The residents should decide that vote.

Or give it to Conlon and start a policy that the runner-up in any election is first option for any open seat.

Posted by Atherton resident, a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Jul 13, 2013 at 7:27 am

Conlon should get the appointment. He is the only applicant who actually ran for council and put himself in front of the voters of Atherton. He came in third not that far behind Lewis and Wiest. He was not supported by APOA. And he is not beholden to any of the existing council members which any of the other appointees will be. If there had been a third seat open at the time of the election, he would have been elected.

Posted by Agreed, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 13, 2013 at 7:51 am

"The Police and Parcel Tax issues currently split the council"

Finally someone admits that Lewis and Wiest are beholden to the police union and increasing police compensation.

Lieutenant John Ruggeiro supports having an Atherton police department, but wants to make sure we are not overpaying.

If Lewis and Wiest are against Ruggeiro –†and they have decided to blackball his candidacy – this is because they must pay back their APOA benefactors with no compensation decreases.

As I said above, Conlon is laughable. From the Almanac:

"Mr. Ruggeiro and Mr. DeGolia noted, however, that the town needs to look at ways to adjust pension and health benefit packages to reduce the town's contributions to them and address a massive unfunded liability — estimated at between $12 million and $30 million. Mr. Conlon said he needs more data to determine whether benefit adjustments should be made in the next police contract."

Conlon has been on the finance committee for years. What more data does he need?? [Portion deleted. If you have evidence for this statement, email it to] Look for Lewis and Wiest to push for Conlon at the July meeting. Conlon won't answer the question on police compensation since he can't say police compensation can't be decreased with a straight face, yet cannot say it should be decreased without betraying his benefactors at the APOA.

[Portion deleted. Please avoid speculation involving behavior of people who are named.]

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 13, 2013 at 9:17 am

It's going to be interesting to see what happens in the coming years in a town where the police officers' association runs things.

Posted by Michael G Stogner, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 13, 2013 at 11:27 am

What is the cost to the Town of Atherton for an election?

Posted by SteveC, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Good point, what is the cost?

Posted by Election Time, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 13, 2013 at 8:20 pm

What price for democracy? Yes, an election might cost the Town some money. Yes, the candidates must actually campaign. This commitment is going to "thin the heard" of seven, but don't we really want someone who is so driven that they are willing to do more than be appointed?

Don't we want to vet their positions on issues?

Most importantly, don't incumbents have a huge advantage in elections? If I'm not mistaken, Jerry Carlson began his tenure on the Council serving a partial first term. We may very well be stuck with whomever the Council might hold their nose and appoint.

An election is the right way to go. Wiest got this right. He should have stuck to his guns and abstained for the balance of the votes.

Posted by Michael G. Stogner , a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 13, 2013 at 8:33 pm

That's exactly why I promised if appointed to not run for the seat in 2014. That way the residents are not stuck with an incumbent at election time.

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