In 2006, the Atherton City Council passed a broad ordinance regulating events within the town, from weddings and fundraisers to youth sports practices, partly in response to Lindenwood neighborhood complaints about Pop Warner football practices held at M-A. In trying to regulate private, non-school-related events on public school campuses, the town overreached, according to the grand jury.
"The Town of Atherton should not impose restrictions on school groups using facilities at Menlo-Atherton High School," the report says. "The Sequoia Union High School District and Menlo-Atherton Vikings Pop Warner Football League have both demonstrated good faith in dealing with Lindenwood residents. Difficulties and differences should be settled directly between the impacted parties whenever possible."
Atherton Mayor Jerry Carlson said he was "a little disappointed" that the grand jury chose to focus on the topic. "I was led to believe that closure is near between town residents and the school on whatever issues remained," Mr. Carlson said.
He declined to comment further, saying he'll wait until the City Council has a chance to meet with its new city attorney on the issue.
The full Grand Jury report is available online by going to www.SanMateoCourt.org and clicking on Grand Jury, then clicking on 2008-2009 Final Reports.