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Guest opinion: Misuse of social media by 'Athertonians' blog

Original post made on Jul 31, 2012

In connection with the Atherton Library controversy the moderators of the Yahoo blog "Athertonians," which was set up a number of years ago for the benefit of all residents in the community, have misused the blog.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 1, 2012, 12:00 AM

Comments (40)

Posted by Charles Marsala, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Walter,

You, Council Member McKeithen and I had numerous emails between us in June. At that time I said I was not a moderator of the Athertonians. I am not and never have been. You write: "I believe... Mr. Marsala is.."

I also informed you and Council Member McKeithen that your opinion of why the Library in the park is a good idea was posted on the Athertonian blog on June 5th- a link is listed below.


Since I am not a modertor I did not know about individuals being removed until I read the letter.

Since I have been to your house through Art in Action and have much respect for you and Judy, and that we are friends. I responded to your emails. I did a cut and paste from answers to accusations on the Athertonians blog to provide you with answers to your questions.


June 16, 2012 Web Link

Response to a letter from the city attorney posted on the web site:

"1.Does Athertonians censor opposing views?

Answer: No we don't. We seek to support open communication between residents. However, after a message from Ginny Niles, a member of the ALBSC, was posted last fall containing highly inaccurate and misleading representations about the Library project, we got complaints about approving propaganda that does a disservice to the residents of the town. We elected at that time to reserve the right to not approve messages deemed misleading or untruthful, no matter who they are from.


" 2. Does Athertonians refuse membership to certain residents?

Ordinarily, no. However, we do reserve the right to only approve those residents whose interest in being members are in conformance with our purpose for being, which is open and factual communication between residents. When individuals seek membership for the purpose of attacking us or undermining the functioning of the group, we will refuse their memberships."


And the email exchange you and I had in June regarding the pros and cons on building a 10,000 square foot or larger library in the park without letting the town vote on it.

June 6, 2012 Web Link


Regards,

Charles Marsala


























Posted by Charles Marsala , a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 31, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Walter,

I went back to the Athertonian site: Here is the Link:
Web Link

Here is a post from a moderator:

"5. Did Athertonians unsubscribe some members because they hold different opinions?

Answer: Yes, we unsubscribed ten members but not because they hold different opinions. After Ms. Larson sent us a message threatening possible legal action, we recognized that our group was under legal attack by Councilmember McKeithen and her ALBSC committee (who were the same folks who claimed name "confusion" above)...."

My suggestion is why not start your own email list. There are several lists in town: Lindenwood Homeowners, Awristachatz, etc. invite people to join. Many of those people are probably the same as the Athertonians. Athertonians at Google Groups has been started.

I did start a Facebook Group which has 14 members called "Atherton Park Vote". You and any member of the ALBSC is welcome to join as well as any other Atherton resident.


Posted by lipsick on a pig, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Oh come on Charles--everyone already knows that the genesis for this group was your 2004 effort to get a petition signed for McKiethen's recall, along with the Salzmans and Valarie Gardener et all.


Posted by Public Scrunity, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 31, 2012 at 7:20 pm

With respect to Mr. Sleeth's support for Public Scrunity of the Actions of the Athertonian Moderators, the next step is for Ms. Ginny Niles and any other member of the ALBSC who sent emails or made posts on the Athertonians web site to be posted on here on this blog of the Almanac Site so that the public can comment if the statements are "rational" as Mr. Sleeth claims or "highly inaccurate and misleading" as the Moderators of the Athertonians claim.

We know from a previous story in the Almanac:
Web Link
"Editorial: Critique of Athertonians blog is off base

The disagreement between the anonymous bloggers and the town has reached a boiling point. But the majority of council members, and the city's lawyer, insist that the effort "...to go ahead and get started in shutting it down," as Councilman Jim Dobbie put it a few weeks ago is not about the blog's content but about the confusion caused by the similiary of names "Athertonians" and "The Athertonian". Town officials say they have had numerous residents question whether the Athertonians, a Yahoo group, was an official publication of the town."

It appears that the Moderators of the Athertonian web site claim that after council members Widmer, McKeithen, and Dobbie told the city attorney to "go ahead and get started shutting it (down)" because of confusion; members of the Library task force started claming confusion of the Web Site and the Town's newsletter.

Once we see the emails those members of the Library task force wrote, we can determine if the Moderators would be justified in their claim that members of the Library Task force were seeking to build a case for the city attorney and three council members to shut the Athertonians down.

Or did the moderators act inappropriately by removing people who were posting ideas on the benefits of a library in the park?
















Posted by Charles Marsala, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 31, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Lipstick,

The talk of a recall was in July 2006. I was Mayor at the time, with my focus working on an plan to meet the Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement, my own re-election, the statewide elections, etc. helping the numerous organizations in town, ending the MA PAC Lawsuit, working out a solution to allow Pop Warner to be able to practice, working with the newly formed Emergency Preparedness Committee, getting my parents in New Orleans restored so they could move out of their FEMA trailer, etc.

I advised those I knew that a recall was a bad idea for several reasons:

1. I believed council member McKeithen was doing a good job on numerous committees: Drainage, Emergency, Finance, etc allowing me to focus on those projects I was interested in.
2. A recall would distract from getting anything positive done during my term as mayor. The town does not need recalls. No one runs for council to be involved with a recall.
3. A recall is impossible and a waste of time. A large number of signatures is needed and a replacement candidate.


The recall talk began after two neighbors were given Off-Haul fees of $60,000 and $90,000.00 and challenged if the fees were legal. Perhaps since three of us were going to be ending our term in a few months, we were not targets of the recall. In general residents were frustrated with all council members for the high off-haul fees.

The recall might have been an attempt to show how strongly and quickly they wanted the Off-Haul fee removed. Once it was removed the recall talk stopped. I do not think the recall "group" was ever more than a handful of people; it takes 700 or maybe 1200 signatures to qualify for a recall.








Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 31, 2012 at 8:24 pm

"...not about the blog's content but about the confusion caused by the similiary of names "Athertonians" and "The Athertonian". Town officials say they have had numerous residents question whether the Athertonians, a Yahoo group, was an official publication of the town."

BS! You have a town fully of highly educated and succesful people. You Honestly think they're "confused?" Give me a break. The effort to shut down the blog was and is nothing more than first amendment attack. People are confused! Spare me! I suspect most Athertonians are insulted by your questioning of their intellectual capabilities. A 12 year old could tell the difference!


Posted by Don't get distracted, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 31, 2012 at 10:01 pm

The moderator is Valerie Gardner, not Charles Marsala.

She kicked out ten people because they supported the library in the park.

Menlo Voter - your quote does not come from Sleeth's letter. He criticizes the ethics of Gardner and the group. He does not state it should be shut down due to any confusion.

Marsala saying he didn't want McKeithen recalled ... Rrrriiiiigght.

The real "ethics" question here is how Gardner can continue to anonymously attack Kathy McKeithen, her late father, any anyone who gets in her way, and label herself as a victim. The counterattack by McKeithen and Dobbie has, as usual, been ineffective and inartful. Ge substance of their position, though not articulated well, as usual, has merit. The group stinks. Don't shut it down, but shun it and the people involved with it.


Posted by View Point, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Aug 1, 2012 at 10:31 am

A survey of the Athertonians list with 200 responding showed that 25% want the library in the park. 50 people were not removed.

The reality is that WMD (Widmer, McKeithen, Dobbie) told the City Attorney to Shut down the site because of confusion and those 10 individuals were claiming they were confused which would justify WMD's case.

Previously McKeithen wrote:


Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 2:15 PM
Subject: Fw: [Athertonians] There is an Atherton Council Meeting tonight (at HPP)!

Bill,

It has now been over a week since I put you and John Danielson on notice that the EPC was illegally operating its Town website and its part "ownership" of the Athertonians e-mail list.

Seeing that nothing has been done despite by requests (and insistence) I am lettign you know that I intend to go to the Grand Jury next week to investigate these matters."

McKeithen was on the EPC at the time. Why not just simply ask that the EPC website be put on an EPC agenda?

To date WMD have not advised the City Attorney to stop efforts to "Shut Down" the Athertonians due to confusion.

Per Sleeth's letter will any of those ten that were removed produce their emails to this blog that lead to their being removed? Let's have Public Scrunity of those emials.

But we probably will not, because as Menlo Voter wrote there is no "confusion" regarding the site. Those 10 were seeking to build a case to help Shut Down the site.

Citizen's must rely on Fair Ethics by Government. Has it been ethical for the council to seek to Prevent Freedom of Speech of a group that has been organizing residents and pressuring the Council for the right to vote?







Posted by Then and Now, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Aug 1, 2012 at 11:42 am

Today the Athertonians Blog lets residents express their views on council decisions. Many have posted on the Athertonians disapproving of Council decisions regarding builing a 10-15,000 square foot library in the park.

There are questions, which have not been answered. How will the council fill the library? Will it be a White Elephant? Would there be less impact to simply do a seismic upgrade on the existing facility?

Years ago a different method was used:

Web Link

"Town critic Kathy McKeithen, who had planned to testify on the manager selection, was furious when she and others arrived for the 7 p.m. meeting and found that the manager selection was a "fait accompli" and that any testimony she would give would be a moot point. She was so furious, in fact, that she has taken the issue to the district attorney, who launched an investigation into whether Atherton violated the Brown Act, the state law which governs public meetings."


Posted by Don't get distracted, a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm

The moderator is Valerie Gardner, not Charles Marsala.

She kicked out ten people because they supported the library in the park.


Posted by View Point, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Aug 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Would you post here a copy of the email advising any one of them they were removed?


Posted by June 5, 2012, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Mr. Sleeth sent an approximate 1000 word email to the Moderator of the Athertonians blog on June 5, 2012. It contains his reasons why a library should be built in the park and why there should be no town wide vote on the issue. It has been posted ever since.

Web Link









Posted by Don't get distracted, a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 1, 2012 at 9:58 pm

The moderator is Valerie Gardner, not Charles Marsala.

She kicked out ten people because they supported the library in the park.

...this cannot be refuted, and I dare Ms. Gardner to take off her mask and explain her action of summarily removing ten people with contrary viewpoints from this "wonderful" group. She has been attacking council members, their long deceased fathers, and supporters of the library in the park, is (I believe) the creator/author of the very ugly blog devoted to attacking Kathy McKeithen, and thus her ethics and the ethics of how she manages the group at the center of this controversy are fair game.


Posted by Athertonians, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Aug 4, 2012 at 8:08 am

This was sent out recently to the Awristachatz email list by their moderator Colleen Anderson.

Where the ten people that were removed part of McKeithen's threat of legal action on the Athertonians.


Defense of Free Speech by the Athertonians Email List and Group Moderators

Athertonians is a an electronic (email) message group started in 2004 to facilitate communication by and between residents of Atherton. We send residents email on important or time-sensitive matters and events pertaining to our town neighborhoods and community. We are not affiliated with or controlled by any specific town group or Atherton town staff and have always been clear about that. As a resident-run email list that is privately organized and managed by Atherton residents, we owe the existence of this group to the volunteer efforts of its Moderators.

While this email list is moderated to be non-partisan with respect to town issues, we are aware that the town's political climate is extremely unhealthy. Rather than a town council that listens to and openly addresses concerns raised by residents, the council majority (Widmer, McKeithen and Dobbie) has ignored expressions of concerns from both fellow council members (Carlson, Lewis) and residents and suppressed requests by residents and council for opportunities to vet these concerns. This is particularly acute regarding the rather broad-based unhappiness with the proposed Library Project, which is being pushed through, despite much opposition, by council member McKeithen, who is also an author of the plan.

There have been a number of surprisingly aggressive actions taken recently to attack individual residents, council members and even town committees, related to the Library Project. Unfortunately, the lack of a permanent Town Manager, the revolving door of City Attorneys, and a staff that is comprised of nearly all contract temporary consultants, provides little ballast against inappropriate actions taken by entrenched council members.

With this as the backdrop, Athertonians has begun to embrace an additional mission—which is to serve the important rights of Atherton residents to have a channel of truthful and reliable information, to balance town-supported sources deemed unreliable, and to allow residents to air concerns and points of view that are dismissed by their elected representatives. We reserve the right to not send messages deemed misleading or disrespectful, no matter who they are from. Currently, in what seems like a direct effort to counter Athertonians' efforts to inform Atherton residents about what their leadership is doing, council member McKeithen has now threatened the Athertonians group directly with legal action from the town.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court stands behind our right to Freedom of Speech and our ability to use a name reserved for the denizens of a locale, in our case Athertonians, which is distinct from the name used by the town for its infrequent newsletter, "The Athertonian." As such, we have no hesitation in assuring you that we are not discontinuing our use of a name we have held for over 8 years. Furthermore, we will gladly assist those who are discomforted with the type of information that we provide and remove them from the list.

We value informed civil discourse and its benefits to good governance, which this town is currently not enjoying. When facts and opinions get freely shared, this enables people to discuss such information amongst themselves. Thus, we welcome messages from residents towards that aim and we occasionally send alerts ourselves. If we send out information and members have corrections to suggest, we would happily consider such points and issue corrections. We do not claim either to be infallible or to have no opinions.



Posted by Don't get distracted, a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 4, 2012 at 8:27 am

The moderator is Valerie Gardner, not Charles Marsala.

She kicked out ten people because they supported the library in the park.

As many long missives as Ms. Gardner wishes to write under her multiple pseudonyms, she still has not responded to my dare (as she cannot) to explain why she summarily removed the ten people on her group who disagreed with her position on library in the park.

Who is Valerie Gardner? What about her family? These questions will get answered shortly.


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 4, 2012 at 7:03 pm

May I remind everyone the Athertonian is a privilege. I am happy to be part of something that I have to do NO work on. We do not, or did not do the work on the Athertonian. So those that choose to judge you try doing what the Athertonian is doing for this town. DON'T JUDGE IF YOUR NOT GOING TO DO THE WORK. Some of the people writing less then kind things about the Athertonian I wouldn't want you in my group. We need to turn the park into a community center Library, baseball, off leash doggie play hours, classes....... Like Little House in Menlo Park or leave it as is. I have been very clear that I am pro community center in the park and haven't been kicked out of the Athertonian. Your allowed to have an opinion in that group, but I am sure like any group your not allowed to back stab or be a trouble maker. At the end of the day anyone in that group should be grateful to be part of something that people/person works hard on. Does it even matter who runs the group. If it's not your group, and you haven't taken the time to create your own group you can be removed at anytime. The group is free. If people paid to be in the group it would be different.


Posted by Don't get distracted, a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 4, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Colleen, unlike others, I do not think there is any basis for shutting down the group.

My point is very simple. Valerie Gardner has been attacking people who disagree with her mercilessly, mostly Kathy McKeithen. There is a blog about Kathy McKeithen in which someone, I believe Ms. Gardner, actually goes so far as to cast aspersions on her deceased father. This is going too far, and is way out of line.

When someone enters the political limelight, as Valerie Gardner has, their own behavior gets called into question. It's just the way the world works. If she kicked out ten people from her group for expressing a contrary opinion, it's fair game to explore that in the context of her going on an attack rampage against others.

I'm still waiting for Valerie to explain why these ten were kicked out. I have a feeling I'll be waiting for a long time.


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 4, 2012 at 7:19 pm

May I remind everyone the Athertonian is a privilege. I am happy to be part of something that I have to do NO work on. We do not, or did not do the work on the Athertonian. So those that choose to judge you try doing what the Athertonian is doing for this town. DON'T JUDGE IF YOUR NOT GOING TO DO THE WORK. Some of the people writing less then kind things about the Athertonian I wouldn't want you in my group. We need to turn the park into a community center Library, baseball, off leash doggie play hours, classes....... Like Little House in Menlo Park or leave it as is. I have been very clear that I am pro community center in the park and haven't been kicked out of the Athertonian. Your allowed to have an opinion in that group, but I am sure like any group your not allowed to back stab or be a trouble maker. At the end of the day anyone in that group should be grateful to be part of something that people/person works hard on. Does it even matter who runs the group. If it's not your group, and you haven't taken the time to create your own group you can be removed at anytime. The group is free. If people paid to be in the group it would be different.
I MUST add I am not pro library only. I want to know what ever happened to all the tennis money over 100,000 to redo the courts years ago. I full community area/center or no library at all.
"Don't get distracted" I do not know if you know this but everyone in the Awrisachatz knows about it Kathy has even attacked me because our group didn't believe in the trash issue. After being attacked by Kathy I am finding the door swings both ways. Would you like me to find that email and post it to this blog. I will do that if you come forward and stop hiding behind a fake name on the blogs. I know a number of things that go on in this town running a large social group. Trust me it isn't pretty.


Posted by Don't get distracted, a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 4, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Colleen, thanks (from Valerie Gardner) for trying to turn attention away from Valerie Gardner's behavior back to Kathy McKeithen. But, there are already plenty of accusations about Kathy out there, including the blog Valerie created. Unlike Valerie, Kathy has responded (whether you agree/disagree with her) to these accusations.

Now it's Valerie Gardner's turn.

The more you try to change the subject, the more you prove my point that Valerie Gardner is hiding. She doesn't want to explain herself.

There are tons of blog entries on the Almanac criticizing Kathy McKeithen, but this is the only one calling Valerie Gardner's behavior into question.

It's time for Valerie Gardner to explain herself.


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 4, 2012 at 10:04 pm

There are tons of blog entries on the Almanac criticizing Kathy McKeithen, but this is the only one calling Valerie Gardner's behavior into question.

What does that say about Kathy & what does that say about Valerie. What you just said makes me wonder besides attacking me what else has Kathy done. Now I must say before Kathy attacked me we were friends. I was surprised when I got blindsided by her. Your comment makes Kathy look really bad like a number of people don't like her. I will have to check it out when I'm bored, and not out doing something positive with my life.


Posted by Don't get distracted, a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 4, 2012 at 10:10 pm

The more you try to change the subject, the more you prove my point that Valerie Gardner is hiding. She doesn't want to explain herself.

Is the positive thing you're doing it's your life remodeling your home after Kathy supported the war you waged to get the right to build an addition to it? I didn't see you criticizing her much then.

But this blog is about Valerie Gardner. You're a good friend to defend her, but I still haven't heard an answer from you or Valerie Gardner as to why the ten people were kicked out. I'll keep questioning things until I do.

Where is Valerie Gardner? Why won't she explain herself, admit she runs this group, or explain why it'd okay for her to hide and send people like Colleen in to fight her battles for her?


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 4, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Thanks for the laugh Don't get distracted who is hiding? I would say one thing for sure looks like you are to me. Don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out your parents didn't name you "Don't get distracted". If they did name you that we would be telling jokes for years. Now I know First name- Don't Middle- Get last- Distracted. Anyone who is reading this I hope you got the same smile I did. They should have named you Pot Calling Kettle.


Posted by colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 4, 2012 at 10:49 pm

It doesn't surprise me you ask a lot of questions you don't even know your real name. For the record Valerie, and I are not friends. I had her over once maybe 10 years ago, seen her at council meetings, and a few other things. I have never defended Valerie. I have defended a group called The Athertonian. I like what the Athertonian has done for this town. I like what the Awristachatz have done for this town. This has nothing to do with Valerie. Your more messed up then not knowing your name. I have only spoken about the groups in this town I like. I have defended no one.


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 4, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Isn't it funny how you bring up my home. Kathy told me she was doing it because it was the right thing to do. She also came up with one of the best ideas on the issue. Elizabeth Lewis got it right from day one. That however is a real problem in this town that when someone does the right thing they then own you and your vote. That wouldn't be right. That is one of the reasons I voted for Cary Weist. he isn't a favors kind of guy. Again you are making Kathy look bad with your posts. That isn't OK to do. I have not criticized Kathy only stated fact. You made her look bad by saying how many TONS I think were your words "There are tons of blog entries on the Almanac criticizing Kathy McKeithen" that makes her look bad.
Now lets turn the tables don't get distracted "Don't get distracted". If I had written "There are tons of blog entries on the Almanac criticizing Kathy McKeithen, but this is the only one calling Valerie Gardner's behavior into question." I feel you would be attacking me correct.
If Kathy feels I owe her for doing the right thing then I think that is wrong. Doing the right thing is the right thing to do. What a concept.
At the end of the day what you should have gotten from my posts is that you may want to rethink your point of view. I belong to the Athertonians, and am an Athertionian I am in favor of building in the park only if it is like what I drive to Menlo Park for "Little House type thing" and last I checked I am still an Athertonian in the Athertonian.
Heading up the Awristachatz I can flat out tell you everyone I talked to wanted it to go to vote in fair wording, and the group on a high average does not want the library in the park. They want to donate the money to other libraries for the schools, and retrofit the current location.
When your saying the Athertonian removed people 1) It is there right 2) I am still in the group. That just blew your entire argument out of the water in my mind.
Saying Valerie and I are friends. I couldn't even tell you her children's names. I couldn't even tell you her husbands name. Maybe it's in my data base. Then again I have a large data base. I sure she maybe a very nice person I just don't know her that well.
I have an idea now focus please don't get distracted. Find your parents if they really did name you Don't Get Distracted" slap them. I do not think a single juror would find you guilty for doing that. Then get your facts straight come back with your real name, and post how you fell. Can you do that without getting distracted please. Night. This is to funny I think I am sending this to the group.
Thanks for the smiles had fun.


Posted by Leave it, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 5, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Hey "Don't get distracted" I thought my name was "Leave it" til I was 2.
Signed the family dog.


Posted by Leave children out, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Hey "don't get distracted," I cannot believe you are bringing children's names into your fight. As a mother of two, I am extremely offended you mention children by name. Did these children do you wrong in some way?

How dare you hide behind your fake name and yet bring someone's children into the mix.

It is because of people like you that many, hard working Athertonians do not run for public office.

Dear moderator of this list (who often removes stuff), why aren't you blocking this person from attacking children?

- A member of Athertonians and Awristchatz





Posted by Go potty outside, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Don't get distracted & Leave it you should feel lucky at least your name wasn't Go Potty Outside. As far as bringing children into this shame on you. Maybe Leave it can teach you something. Maybe you missed that lesson when you were distracted form learning how to be a straight forward, honest individual. Leave children out of your shameless name calling hiding behind a fake name yourself.
FYI I loved it when you said: I know it did.

"When your saying the Athertonian removed people 1) It is there right 2) I am still in the group. That just blew your entire argument out of the water in my mind."
I know it did. But most people can probably still figure it out.

Most people can figure what out. That blew your entire argument out of the water.


Posted by Don't get distracted, a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Before I go, I'd like to mention I really like Norm Gardner's sculpture art. But there's some other stuff about Norm I don't like so well.

Yup, best to take this discussion off to unmoderated blogs like Wordpress or blogspot, just like Valerie did with the blog about Kathy McKeithen and her family. You can really learn a lot from Valerie.


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Ah don't go Don't get distracted. This was fun except when you brought children into it. That was not OK. I question your upbringing. A number of people in town are getting a hugh kick out of this blog. Up until you brought up children a large group of us were laughing so hard. It is sad to think your leaving. Thanks for the laughs. I just wish we were laughing with you vs at you. All the same it was fun. Take care go with Dorthy down the yellow brick road and find a heart. Maybe a brain, or maybe the great wizard can tell you your name. NO I HAVE IT Courage. That's it COURAGE to speak your mind without having to hide.
You may want to rethink what you are doing and be proud of who you are, and what you believe in. All kidding aside I feel a little sorry for you. Please follow your path with love. I will say a prayer for you to find courage & honesty.


Posted by Don't get distracted, a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm

I was ready to let this go, but do to popular demand, I'm back.

The friends and supporters of Valerie Gardner seem to have an identity crisis.

They accuse me of having attacked her children, even though the posts above demonstrate I have done no such thing.

They object to anonymous postings, yet (aside from Colleen, to her credit), all post anonymously to defend a woman, Valerie Gardner, who has been consistently making anonymous attacks against others, started an anonymous blog to attack Kathy McKeithen, and to this day refuses to identify herself as the moderator of the Athertonians.

They object to mentioning the names of Valerie Gardner's family members, yet stood by silent (or, as Colleen pointed out, laughing) when Valerie has attacked Kathy McKeithen's family. Even a deceased member who can no longer defend himself.

These tactics may work in a group think type of way, but, as Mr. Sleeth pointed out, garner disdain amongst disinterested individuals.

Per Colleen's request, I will rethink what I am doing, but I must suggest you collectively do the same. Especially Valerie Gardner.


Posted by Chesterfield, a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Distracted, your thinking is flawed.

First, there's a big difference between a living juvenile child and a deceased adult. Dead people have no privacy interest; they can not be defamed. On the other hand, society generally looks at children as requiring additional protections. They are more easily harmed. In fact, the US Congress passed a law creating a host of protections for children on the Internet. I think your effort to discover and publish Gardner's children's names shocks most readers. I don't think they are as bothered about the information about Gardner or her husband; it's the children's personal information that crossed the line.

Second, your motive for posting this information is suspect. You claim it's because someone said bad things about McKeithen's family. It's tit for tat. But, I rather believe your motive is intimidation. By disclosing the children's personal information, you are putting Gardner on notice that you can strike out at her family, perhaps in person. It think you want Gardner to consider that continued discourse about McKeithen may result in her family being stalked and harmed.

Third, McKeithen is a public official, not a private party. You compare Gardner and McKeithen as equals, but they are not. Public criticism, even distasteful and anonymous, is part of holding a public seat. McKeithen won office (several times). Public criticism is one of the hazards. Our Constitution guarantees people on US soil the right to criticize its Government, including small Town Council Members. Gardner is not a public official. She holds no elected office. She's entitled to greater protections from defamation and privacy invasions than is McKeithen.

Finally, you speak as if you are certain that Gardner is the creator of the critical blog and moderator of the Athertonians email list. The fact is you are speculating; you don't know. You couldn't know unless you somehow got that information from Wordpress, Yahoo, or Gardner herself. You make no effort to state that you are expressing opinion; you state it as fact. That is generally how defamation lawsuits get started. Normally people avoid these suits as they are costly and difficult to win. But the subject of your accusations is a very tenacious attorney. You might be flirting with trouble, particularly if she's not the blogger and list moderator.


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 5, 2012 at 9:48 pm

I think I made myself perfectly clear. Come back under your real name not Don't get distracted., You look like a fool with little to no credit. Thank you for the compliments, but it would hold a lot more creditability if your name wasn't a shield as to your true insecurities on what you backed. I think you have the wrong person. Nice try wrong name just like yours.


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 5, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I have to thank the Holbrook Palmer Park for some of the most fragrant & beautiful roses I have ever had. Plans were drawn up for new landscaping in the park. We spent the day ripping out a number of amazing plants planting new ones. I asked if I could take the rose bushes home that were left to die, and was told sure but chances of them living were not good. I brought them home planted them. Holbrook Palmer loss my gain. They are so nice to smell when I walk by. Old style roses that smell from feet away .It is hard to find roses like that anymore. What was the park thinking? What was the town thinking? Moral to the story think thing through in the park before you decide to do anything.


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I think a number of of feel that it could be a threat to the Gardner's children. Like I know where you live, and you children's names. I am going to make Atherton PD aware of this blog, and have them look into it. Anyone that feels it crossed the line please call Atherton PD, and lets make this a case. Joe Wade (650) 752-0506 Atherton PD. Maybe they will get to the bottom of who is making claims on the children.
" your motive for posting this information is suspect. You claim it's because someone said bad things about McKeithen's family. It's tit for tat. But, I rather believe your motive is intimidation. By disclosing the children's personal information, you are putting Gardner on notice that you can strike out at her family, perhaps in person. It think you want Gardner to consider that continued discourse about McKeithen may result in her family being stalked and harmed."
Please call SGT Wade to look into this matter. I know if I had children I would be worried for their safety.


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Her is Joe Wades email. Please voice your concerns about the Garner children on this blog. Joe Wade <jwade@ci.atherton.ca.us>


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 5, 2012 at 11:20 pm

I have contacted the police to get involved in this blog due to the children's names being brought into it. I urge anyone else that isn't OK to contact the police. Feel free to contact me. I am not sure with the blogs I have read how stable an individual this is. Was it a personnel threat to the family, and their children. Lets work together on finding out. Hopefully the police will look into this and make sure the family is safe. If this was your family and a person not even using their real name said these things how safe would you feel. Something isn't stable or right. Get involved.
Colleen


Posted by Don't get distracted, a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 6, 2012 at 6:14 am

"By disclosing the children's personal information, you are putting Gardner on notice that you can strike out at her family, perhaps in person."

No...I never meant that and no one should take it as such. I apologize if my actions caused anyone to believe I was making threats to strike out at anyone. I never stated this or even hinted at it. The children's names are disclosed on her own website, but the Almanac can delete them from here if any discomfort was caused.


Posted by Ethics, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Fair Ethics from citizens and government is desired by all. A quick check of the Athertonians web site shows that three letters from Walter Sleeth favoring the library in the park were posted in June.

Web Link

In May after the Council majority instructed the City Attorney to shut down the site, a letter was sent to the moderators who responded on the web site with answers to Mr. Sleeth's questions:

Web Link

Marsala was not the person who wrote the response and is not a moderator.

The Atherton Council needs to practice Fair Ethics and accept the First Admenment rights of the residents.






Posted by get your facts straight, a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 7, 2012 at 5:16 pm

The council majority did NOT instruct the attorney to shut down the site. They directed him to try to locate the anonymous moderators (who still refuse to be identified) and try to work with them to find a solution to what the council saw as name confusion. Were they being reasonable? That's another question. But get your facts straight. Dobbie was the only one of the "majority" who said anything about shutting it down.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Guess what? If the ten who were removed from the Athertonians want to start their own blog they are free to do so. The only right to free speach guaranteed in this country is freedom from oppression of same by the GOVERNMENT. The constitution says nothing about private parties. Newspapers are not forced to publish all letters to the editor. the Almanac routinely deletes posts to this blog it finds "violates its terms." It is within their right to do so just as it is within the rights of the moderators of the Athertonian. If the moderators don't choose to identify themselves who are you to complain? Given the things that have happened in your lovely town to those that point out that the emperor has no clothes are you really surprised people wish to remain anonymous? Especially when going up against the power structure of the town. It's not brain surgery folks.

Those that don't like what's going on with the Athertonian should start their own blog. They can come post its existence here and they can start collecting subscribers. It's really not that difficult.


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