Almanac

News - June 9, 2010

Marsala won't seek third term on Atherton council

by Renee Batti

Atherton City Councilman Charles Marsala announced on June 2 that he will not seek re-election in November.

The two-term councilman, who earlier this year was embroiled in a controversy surrounding his asking a resident who planned to sue the town for a loan, said he wanted to announce his decision "in time for prospective candidates to have time to spend researching and organizing their campaigns," he said in an e-mail.

He said his decision "was actually made in 2000, when I supported term limits during my campaign" as a candidate for a City Council seat.

Mr. Marsala lost that election, but was appointed to a seat in 2002, when he was one of three candidates filing election papers for three open seats. He was appointed again in 2006 when there were no challengers running against him and the other two incumbents.

"I have enjoyed my time serving on the Atherton Council and various committees," he wrote. Highlights include "working with the League of California Cities to pass Measure 1A in 2004 to limit the amount of funds the state can withhold from cities, working with fellow council members and citizens to improve Atherton emergency preparedness, Atherton environmental programs, and Atherton arts and philanthropy," he said.

He speaks proudly of being one of three council members in the state to receive the California League of Cities' Leadership in Action certificate in 2009.

In March, resident Jon Buckheit challenged a decision by Mr. Marsala during a public meeting, and revealed that the councilman had asked him for a $500,000 loan last summer. Mr. Buckheit had already filed a legal claim against the town, and filed a lawsuit in federal court in December.

Atherton's city attorney reviewed the matter and determined that Councilman Marsala broke no law by requesting the loan.

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