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Atherton Council Reorganization

Original post made by Love Atherton on Dec 21, 2011

As a long time resident I will be watching tonight's council reorganization with keen interest.

I for one as well as many of my fellow residents cannot fathom Elizabeth Lewis or Jerry Carlson holding any leadership positions because of the destructive path they are putting this Town on.

This path is one of recalls and expensive special elections when they don't get their way.

Atherton is a community of class and dignity. We want our elected officials to behave in this manner.

We also want the deep experience of Kathy McKeithen to be involved in helping this Town wherever and whenever possible.

Comments (8)

Posted by Love Atherton Two, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Dec 21, 2011 at 9:31 am

There is no need for a special election. If 400 Atherton signatures request that McKeithen, Dobbie, and Widmer change their position, they could change their position and save the town the cost of the election.


Posted by Love Atherton, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Sure, this issue could be solved by either the majority of the council changing their vote, or the minority, for that matter. 400 signatures were never provided. A flimsy internet ballot that could have had many duplicate votes was conducted. I don't see Peter Carpenter calling for a special election any time the council has voted 3-2 on an issue. Inasmuch as he calls for people to attend meetings, he hasn't been to many, since the votes are quite often 3-2.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Special elections are neither necessary or appropriate on every 3-2 but a special election is necessary and appropriate when there is a deadlock on a critical policy issue.

The library location is a long term decision that involves potential use of the Town's only park and hence this is a critical policy issue. I would have much preferred that the council had worked this out themselves or, failing agreement on the issue, had crafted the initiative language for the citizens to consider.

When the Fire Board reached its ONLY split vote on a major policy issue in my 9 years of service we moved to reconsider the issue and kept talking and revising the resolution until it received an unanimous vote. Those of us on the 'winning' side realized that a split vote was not a win and did what we had to do to get a unanimous decision - that it what the citizens expect.


Posted by DISTRAUGHT RESIDENT, a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Dear Love Atherton,

Amazing how you can talk about love in a time of crisis. You, Love, are alone in the company of a handful of your Lindenwood cronies who are pushing the Library into the Park, probably to abandon the town center so nothing can thrive there, who can't fathom anyone holding a leadership position except yourself, so that your committee can run roughshod over Atherton.

MOST ALL OF THE REST OF ATHERTON KNOWS THAT A LIKELY ETHICS VIOLATION OCCURRED WHEN ELIZABETH LEWIS WAS PASSED OVER LAST YEAR (SHE HAD 3 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE, WIDMER HAD 2 MINUTES ON THE COUNCIL) TO BE VICE MAYOR A YEAR AGO, PROBABLY ORCHESTRATED BY VINDICTIVE SENIOR COUNCIL MEMBERS.

THE COUNCIL SHOULD MAKE ELIZABETH MAYOR, AND BECAUSE WIDMER IS DISQUALIFIED, JERRY CARLSON SHOULD BE VICE MAYOR, SO WE CAN BRING SOME SANITY BACK TO TOWN GOVERNANCE, AS THERE IS CLEARLY NONE THERE. SEE THE MESSAGE JUST SENT TO THE TOWN, COPIED BELOW.

Dear Atherton Residents,

Almanac reporter, Barbara Woods, has it right with this little description of tonight's council meeting at 7:00 pm:

Tonight: Atherton has lots on its plate
By Barbara Wood
Special to the Almanac

Whether the town should resume booking events in Holbrook-Palmer Park is among the items on the agenda when Atherton's City Council meets Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 94 Ashfield Road in Atherton.

The council will also discuss some of the details of the plan for a new library in the park, including the footprint of the proposed building, the reuse of the existing library building, and changes in the master plan for the park.

Also on the agenda: Whether the town's Environmental Programs Committee should be disbanded; extending the contract of Interim City Manager John Danielson; a contract with interim finance director Debra Auker, who was hired Dec. 9 and will be paid $112 per hour; the selection of a new mayor and vice mayor; and final approval of new garbage and recycling rates.

From the Athertonian Moderator: Please also note the following interesting aspects for tonight's meeting, not highlighted by Barbara:

Item 11 includes Recommendations from the new Finance Director, Debra Auker to approve:

1. FY 2010-2011 Basic Financial Statements,
2. A Compliance Report for Measure A Funds
3. A Compliance Report for Prop 111 Appropriations Limits
4. A Memorandum on Internal Control and Required Communications

This would all be ordinary town business, except that Louise Ho, the Town's Finance Director from the past few years is no longer with the town. Ms. Auker seems to have been selected in a rush sometime in December and the City Council has not yet authorized her being offered a contract by the Interim City Manager, who himself has been out on sick leave since before the last City Council Meeting. The council does not even approve the Interim City Manager giving Ms. Auker a contract until Item 17 on the agenda, where they hold out a month-by-month contract at $112 per hour, for this position. However, even before the council approves the Interim City Manager or the Acting Interim City Manager (Chief Flint) to make this questionable deal, Ms. Auker is put in the ethically-untenable position of having to make these recommendations with less than a month of time to have reviewed the information and prior to having the council even approve her contract. Yikes!

Item 20 is also confusing but appears to be requesting clarification to the specific understanding and constraints mentioned and required by Council member Bill Widmer that the proposed Library footprint not exceed the footprint of the Main House. This item, as placed, will allow the council majority, should they wish, to recommend exceeding the footprint of the Library beyond the footprint of the Main House (as it appears from the map attachment in the Addendum Items). Plus, it appears that the brand new Interim Public Works Director (listed on the Agenda as "Community Services Director," who replaced the recently departed Duncan Jones on the Library Committee) has put a placeholder for the council to simply make amendments to the Holbrook Palmer Park Master Plan (without any community notices or outreach) and to ordain new uses for the Atherton Library Building, which the Library wants to abandon without paying for the $300,000 in seismic upgrades that it needs.

Atherton Residents need to question whose watching the fort: Interim City Manager John Danielson has been out for a month. Acting Interim City Manager Ed Flint has been holding down two jobs. Duncan Jones and Louise Ho are both no longer employed by the town. People not even legally hired yet are recommending approval of important documents, and there no one with any experience left in town who is capable of even recognizing the problem signs. And this is all being orchestrated by our council majority right when much of the town is otherwise trying to celebrate or get ready for the holidays!

Good luck, Atherton!


Posted by Love Atherton, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Elizabeth Lewis and Jerry Carlson are completely disqualified from holding either the vice mayor or mayor positions by threatening to recall council members who vote in ways they disagree with, and hiring lawyers to litigate referendums against the town. You are dreaming. For most of us, it's more appropriate to call it a nightmare.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" hiring lawyers to litigate referendums against the town."

Evidence please, or is this just a wild accusation being made from the safety of anonymity?


Posted by DISTRAUGHT RESIDENT, a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Love Atherton,

Your fears are unfounded. Your accusations fail on the facts. Elizabeth and Jerry are fighting every day as council members right in public against the fictions being foisted on Atherton residents by McKeithen and Dobbie—and foisting them on Widmer as well.

It is actually dozens (or hundreds?) of regular, very distraught residents who are fed up with the polarizing politics of the last years and the fraudulent tactics of the McKeithen/Dobbie Library Committee who are legally organizing, as is their right, to try to protect the rights of Atherton residents to have a say in how their park is being over-developed on behalf of the Library JPA. Most of these people, however, don't even read this forum, which is, as we all know, over-run with those with an interest in swaying popular sentiments and distorting truths, like you.


Posted by Time, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 22, 2011 at 12:30 am

Love Atherton,

What made you post at 4am about the vice-mayor election?


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