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Atherton City Council: Colleagues question mayor's call for more collaborative spirit

Original post made on Jan 29, 2013

Two City Council colleagues have called into question the sincerity of Atherton Mayor Elizabeth Lewis' statement last month sounding the call for a more collaborative council after Ms. Lewis bypassed them for all committee appointments they had requested.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 8:51 AM

Comments (11)

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Posted by Walter Sleeth
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 29, 2013 at 4:14 pm

The new Mayor wasted a golden opportunity to heal wounds left from the last couple years Council sessions by failing to wisely appoint her colleagues to Committees and Liaison posts that her colleagues were best suited. It is particularly sad in that both Councilman Widmer and Dobbie are experienced in the areas that they sought to contribute. Clearly, Council positions require Council people to learn new areas that they may not have experience in, but to purposely weaken the capability of the overall Council by not using players in the positions they can best contribute does not speak well for the Coach.

Ms. Lewis’ defense to what occurred seems particularly weak in that there is not a Rule that requires the Mayor and Vice-Mayor to sit on particular committees. In particular, Mr. Widmer’s actual workday employment is focused on financial analysis; no other Councilperson can claim such.

It must also be noted that while last year’s meetings quite regularly saw some ‘elbows’, the January meeting demonstrated ‘knees’ as well. The Mayor gave Mr. Widmer, who had prepared a serious analysis of the salary and benefits issue on the Council’s 1/17/13 agenda, little or no courtesy, when he tried to show his Power Point presentation to the Council and the residents attending the meeting. The Mayor was also less than fully attentive to several residents who spoke on issues during the meeting.

Hopefully, Ms. Lewis will reflect on the January meeting and realize that there is merit in the reactions of her colleagues, and the concerns of a number of residents. This community needs to have a talented and well functioning set of Council members. And, at least as of the January meeting the Town does not yet have a well functioning Council.

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Posted by Geez
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 29, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Really? A well functioning Council doesn't take swipes at each other by professing that they run a "more successful" business they anyone else on the Council; nor would they say that service on a regional committee is meaningless.

These comments reflect more on the lack of commitment to collaborative efforts than anything else. Geez. Get on board and be a part of the team. Cut the crap.

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Posted by videofan
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 29, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Talk about sour grapes. You didnt hear elizabeth whinnig like these two when they royally passed her over for mayor a few years back. Do you see what class was shown when she was verbally attaked at the the last council meeting by that horrible past council member?

No, I would say this council appears far superior in class and emotion than that of the past. The skill part will show when the first poster above and the rest of the failure library group cut the whinning, cheap shots and other bad behavior and start working for atherton, and not their next campaigns.

Lets build atherton a new town center council, how about that? Now thats something you can be proud of thats way beter bragging rights than the deeds youve performed in the name of fiscal responsibly.

Rule #1 in the sandbox is to play nice with others.

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Posted by enough already
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 30, 2013 at 6:30 am

I guess it was too much to expect there would be a sudden change in the council's behavior. The WMD cast is still at it with McKeithen like a jack in the box heckling from the audience at every opportunity. Widmer and Dobbie in their ego driven and self promoting statements continue to tear Atherton apart destroying the character and morale of the town. It is all about themselves and not about Atherton. The time has come to demand they be responsible and behave like adults. As far as McKeithen is concerned it is just best ignore her.

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Posted by Heckling meetings
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 30, 2013 at 8:09 am

Ms. Mckeithen's heckling of the meeting became very disruptive, and Mayor Lewis showed tremendous restraint. WMD is all about themselves, and lack of respect for residents, employees, and Police Officers. I suggest that if Ms. Mckeithen plans on heckling future meetings, she gets to experience a rendezvous with the Police Officers she has been so fond of attacking over the years.

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Posted by What?
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 30, 2013 at 10:09 am

Heckling meetings, I was at the meeting, and I heard no heckling. What are you talking about?

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Posted by enough already
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 30, 2013 at 11:40 am

What? So you may recognize it. From a dictionary


1. To try to embarrass and annoy (someone speaking or performing in public) by questions, gibes, or objections; badger.

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Posted by Class
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Video Fan is right. As Mayor, McKiethen put herself and Dobbie on Finance, claiming the Mayor and Vice-Mayor should be on finance to understand the town's finances. The next year WDM skipped over Lewis for Vice-Mayor. Lewis was professional; no story was written.

So now Lewis follows "McKeithen's Rule for Appointments" and gets challenged by McKeithen.

Since both Widmer and Dobbie want to sunset the Parcel Tax and the other council members do not. Why put W-D in charge of the town's finances.

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Posted by Right the Ship
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jan 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm

"In his written statement, Mr. Dobbie said: "In the last two years Bill Widmer and myself have been key players in changing this town from a financially irresponsibly run administration gradually descending into bankruptcy into an administration which is now running on normal business principles and is close to breakeven financially." Mr. Widmer, too, argued that he and Mr. Dobbie have the strongest financial backgrounds, and should have been allowed to continue their work on the committee."

Carlson was a finance executive at HP and Lewis owns a nice size business. Time to let them work on the financial problems of Atherton.

In 2007 when Lewis ran against Dobbie and 2008 against McKeithen, they claimed Atherton's finances were sound. Lewis was campaigning that Atherton was headed for trouble. Dobbie and McKiethen said everything was going great.

Lewis was right.

Building Department surpluses were being used to illegally finance the town. Dobbie and McKeithen did not want that known until after they were elected. Millions in the General Fund had to be moved to the right accounts, revealing a financial shortfall that had been going on for years. And as Dobbie now states Atherton was "gradually descending into bankruptcy."

McKeithen was on Finance all those years.

Having a fresh set of eyes on the books is smart.

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Posted by Colleen Anderson
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I will always have trust issues when It comes to Bill Widmer after he stabbed Elizabeth Lewis in the back. [Portion removed; comments on a person's religious beliefs are inappropriate.] He acted like that was OK. I would prefer he showed more ethics, and waited his turn. We are still talking about it to this day. Bill if you are reading this I hope you realize how disappointed we were that you would act this way, and we are all still talking about it. [Portion removed; see above.]

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Posted by Class
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 30, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Besides Finance and Transportation what other committees are there?

It is time to share. Time for Lewis to be Mayor and Carlson to be Vice-Mayor and with that goes positions on the Finance Committee.

Dobbie responds by not having the "collaborative spirit" when he continued the trend of the council "which for years had been marked by public bickering and the exchange of accusations of bad faith."

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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