Posted by Is it Plausible?, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Oct 10, 2012 at 9:15 am
What have the Police done wrong? I no not see anything.
McKeithen, Widmer, Dobbie have discussed Outsourcing the Police. The Police have informed the public that discussion is taking place. It should have been taking place in public per the Brown Act.
As McKeithen writes in her Guess Opinion; "As part of this directive, we looked at every conceivable means of lowering general and employee costs, including outsourcing any and every possible function then being delivered by the town."
Last year to make ends meet McKeithen writes: "We believed that was part of being thorough. In the end, the building and public works departments were selected to be outsourced by then Interim City Manager John Danielson and we ultimately ended with a balanced budget."
Note Danielson may have made the selection but council approved the decision and council would have given him direction to research outsourcing prior to his making the decision.
Next year Atherton has to make a decision if to have and probably raise the Parcel Tax to fund police services or to use the Sheriff. If 85% of the population would prefer to pay more to fund the police -even though to some that is not the best use of money- it is the right of the 85% to vote to maintain police.
The police know the details of what has been going on the last few years with Atherton Government and McKeithen has been telling the public a different picture. In 2008 Lewis had the courage to tell the residents the truth and in return McKeithen attempted to discredit her. The Almanac could do a story on McKeithen's tactics over the last 14 years.
As she writes above McKeithen was on the Atherton Finance Committee for a number years- maybe five. During those years surpluses from the Building Deptartment were placed in Atherton General fund- which is illegal. Employee Pensions were not being funded. Illegal increases in the Business Liscense Tax and Road Impact Fees added to those surpluses going into the General Fund.
Hence the reserve grew and the council did not see a need to ask the public for an increase in the Parcel Tax. There was even enough money to fund a lawsuits to stop the MA PAC, a couple from moving two urns across town, and three stop three construction projects. Everybody was happy.
McKeithen campaigned in 2008 on how she had improved Atherton's Financial Picture through her position on the town's Finance Committee.
Lewis however had esearched the town's finances for her 2007 and 2008 campaigns and told the town a different picture. She turned out to be right.
There is a good chance most of this information is on the internet- through old campaign sites and Almanac stories.
Before the 2008 campaign had started Finance Director Louise Ho brought to the council recommendations to make Atherton comply with state laws.
But with the election at stake, Ho's recommendations were tabled. Eventaully the council had to abide by the law and fix the problem. The General Reserves shrank and budget shortfall that was going on for years hit the council.
In 2010 Management became frustrated at the council and the City Manager, Asst City Manager, and Finance Director either retired of took jobs elsewhere.
By 2011 the Crisis lead to the Public Works and Building Depts being Outsourced.
In 2008 Atherton Staff knew the Atherton Financial Crisis was comning and the council was not advising the public. So in 2008 the Police did something they had never done before. They made endorsements and did not endorsement McKeithen.
If the APOA is to be held accountable, it should be thanked for having the guts to tactfully tell the residents it is time to end the power and agenda control that Widmer, McKeithen, and Dobbie have exercised.
Kupperman and Conlon are good people who have vollunteered for the town. The APOA statement was not designed to intimidate anyone. It is time for a change in power.