Almanac

Viewpoint - June 2, 2010

Letter: Jailed reporter elaborates on story

Editor's Note: The following letter, written from the San Mateo County Jail, was delivered to The Almanac by Mr. Bothun's attorney.

I would like to expand on a statement in the recent story about my decision to choose jail over probation. (Former editor chooses jail over probation, Almanac, May 11.)

The story states I "once wrote a story that cast a former chief in a negative light."

In fact, I wrote a series of articles over several years that exposed problems at the Atherton Police Department and highlighted wrongdoing on the part of then-Chief Steve Cader.

On two different occasions my stories prompted District Attorney Jim Fox to launch his own investigations of Chief Cader. One of those investigations resulted in the chief being arrested and charged with two counts of voter fraud.

Sadly, it appears Chief Cader was just the tip of the iceberg.

From the Atherton officer convicted of stealing a resident's golf clubs to the department's handling of the Buckheit case, problems continue at the once-proud department.

District Attorney Fox and new Chief Mike Guerra owe the citizens of Atherton an explanation to why officers in the Buckheit case remain on duty and have not been charged with any crime.

I have a great deal of respect for Chief Guerra, but it is time for him to take corrective action to rid the Atherton Police Department of all sub-standard officers.

If Chief Guerra is unable or unwilling to make the tough decisions and clean up the department, then the City Council must dismantle the police department and instead contract with a professional law enforcement agency people can trust.

The citizens of Atherton deserve no less.

Brian Bothun, DeBell Drive, Atherton

Comments

Posted by Really?, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jun 1, 2010 at 6:42 pm

A big thank you to Mr. Bothun for having the courage to write this letter.

Are the officers who falsified the Buckheit report still on active duty? That would be shocking.


Posted by ....blue in the face, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 1, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Come on Chief Guerra--are you really going to make Johns, Buckheit and Bothan do your spring cleaning for you? Is it your plan to "suddenly" retire in less than a year like Neilson did, and leave us stuck with the same old bad apples to rot though the rest again in the next barrel rotation?
The pension factory is one thing.......but couldn't you please earn it for us before you go?

Good for the Almanac for printing Bothan's letter.
Maybe a stronger press will help make up for the preferred cop outs...


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 2, 2010 at 12:19 am

"Really?" – The answer is NO. Despite multiple written requests, the Town of Atherton and San Mateo District Attorney have refused to identify the officer(s) who were engaged in the criminal acts of falsifying the reports (as admitted on the witness stand by their colleague under oath).

My commitment to the community is to out these rotten apples and bring them to justice. It will obviously involve pulling teeth, and this is unfortunate, but must be done.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 2, 2010 at 12:21 am

(I meant to say YES, presumably, the officer(s) are still on active duty, and NO, Atherton and Wagstaffe have refused to identify him/her/them).


Posted by You gotta love it, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 2, 2010 at 1:25 am

Where I come from a guy like Mr. Buckheit is called a hero. Too bad for Gruber and Guerra that they won't do the right thing, and John, know that many people are standing behind you and silently cheering.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 2, 2010 at 7:37 am

Instead of "silently cheering," truly concerned citizens should be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Buckheit and Johns.

They're doing the heavy lifting. Standing with them - not silently - is the least we can do.

Go to Town Council meetings. Go to the microphone. Voice your discontent.

And join the Atherton Committee of One Hundred!


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2010 at 9:28 am

Jon,

(I meant to say YES, presumably, the officer(s) are still on active duty, and NO, Atherton and Wagstaffe have refused to identify him/her/them).

There is at least one other possibility of who the Atherton Officer is/was. That is the Ex Police Chief Glenn Neilson.

It is such a shame that this has not been solved by now.

Atherton can thank Steve Wagstaffe for this.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 2, 2010 at 9:29 am

Vocal support is better than silent cheering, I agree, but many residents are simply afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation by the police. I have been told this over and over again, including by some very prominent people, and I understand. As Mr. Bothun aptly pointed out, none of us can feel safe while one or more officers who falsified a report and/or knew about it are still on active duty instead of behind bars.


Posted by bob, a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline
on Jun 2, 2010 at 1:20 pm

This is a guy who faced child porn charges and drug paraphenlia charges and he his the "Hero" of Atherton. Great city and I noticed he used the time honored defense of someone else put it on my computer for the porn charges.


Posted by Duh, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 2, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Yeah Bob...if they admitted to making up charges against Buckheit why do you find it so hard to believe they would do it to Bothun? My guess is at the time of Buckheit's false arrest, they figured he was too young to be that rich, but there was a far bigger score to settle with Bothun.


Posted by bob, a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline
on Jun 2, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Do you see shadows lurking behind every corner or just in Atherton. This guy Buckheit was oringinally arrested on domestic assault, even though he was cleared, I have a question who called the police his wife or did they just show up out of the blue?


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 2, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Bob -

Get your facts straight before you so obviously put your foot in your mouth.

1. In fact, it was Mr. Buckheit who called the police and it was Mr. Buckheit who made the domestic violence claim.

2. The police erroneously and intentionally arrested Mr. Buckheit and then falsified their arrest report.

3. In an extraordinary decision (based on the falsified report), a San Mateo County judge provided Mr. Buckheit with a declaration of factual innocence.

4. Planting things on a computer is now a favorite ploy of the police to "get back" at people that they can otherwise not touch. The police know quite well that everyone in the community finds child pornography totally despicable and indefensible. Putting a few hundred objectionable photos on a laptop takes a flash card and about 5 seconds. They can do this literally while they are carrying your computer to their police car. Furthermore, this same Atherton police force has planted things on laptops before (with Mr. Johns) and that act was discovered and discredited. I don't know for certain if they planted this with Mr. Bothun, but he has no prior history of anything like this.

I don't know any of these people personally but I do know the corruption that exists within the Atherton police department. It's like we have our own little Bull Connor right here in River City. I'll side with Bothun, Buckheit and Johns anytime.

Instead of criticizing these gentlemen, you should thank them for taking a stand to this incredible corruption and abuse of power.


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Bob,

That is the beauty of this case Child Porn charges but the photos were of adults. Another adult admitted accessing the website and downloading the photos, Steve Wagstaffe didn't seem to care.

Lesson here: Don't let anyone use your computer especially if you are a reporter, editor, or blogger.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Bob, as POGO pointed out, I called 911 after I was bitten by my girlfriend. If you feel the only time the police can misbehave is when they show up unannounced, that happened twice now as well (them coming to my house, claiming they wanted to check it after an alarm, but no alarm was sounding; I was home).


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2010 at 7:14 am

On my last visit to Brian Bothun he mentioned it seemed strange that he was not allowed access daily to news papers.

This could be the perfect job for Service League of San Mateo County a little non profit organization that receives about $1,700,000 per year from San Mateo County. Helping rebuild the lives of inmates, and prayer meetings.

Maybe just supplying daily access to the local news would help this inmate rebuild his own life.

Short List of members. Sheriff Greg Munks, Don Horsley, jim Fox, Jerry Hill, Mark Church, Rose Gibson, Adreinne Tissier, Carole Groom, Jackie Speier, Anna Eschoo. Ex member Robert Brennan.

Web Link


Posted by John P Johns, CPA, a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2010 at 11:06 pm

I have documentary evidence that the Atherton Police falsified records associated with its raid on my office on August 27th, 2007 (the day I was suspended on Bob Brennan's charge of harassment against me).

I filed a citizen's complaint over this incident to Chief Guerra. The Chief has not returned my telephone calls or my e-mails inquiring about the status of my complaint.

I have attempted to investigate this crime by way of numerous public record requests to the Town. These requests have so far been denied.

I will continue with my research until those who have violated the public trust are held accountable.


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