Almanac

News - September 22, 2010

Atherton City Council candidate forum set for Sept. 30

Voters will have a chance to hear from Atherton City Council candidates, and contribute to a pool of questions the contestants will field, during a forum set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, at Holbrook-Palmer Park in Atherton.

Candidates will make opening statements, then respond to questions submitted by attendees during the forum, sponsored by the Atherton Civic Interest League (ACIL) and the League of Women Voters.

Three of the four candidates, who are running for three seats in the Nov. 2 election, have said they will attend, with candidate Cary Wiest saying he has a scheduling conflict that may prevent him from participating. In addition to Mr. Wiest, the candidates are incumbents Jerry Carlson and Jim Dobbie, and Bill Widmer.

Each candidate has been asked by the ACIL to submit a 500-word statement and answer several questions prior to the forum. ACIL president Peter Carpenter said the statements and responses will be posted online before the event, although the website has yet to be established.

The forum will be held in the Pavilion at the park, off Watkins Avenue just east of El Camino Real.

Comments

Posted by Ed, a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 21, 2010 at 6:09 pm

If brand new Atherton resident and city council candidate Cary Wiest is not even serious enough to show up at the ACIL candidates forum (see article above) to face the public, then why did he bother to run?
The town could have saved the very sizable expense of ever needing to hold an official election at all, if he had stayed out of the race entirely. It would have been three seats available, three candidates, no public expense for an election.
Not a big plus for the town's budget problems even before he ever shows up.
There are more cost effective ways to meet your new neighbors with out charging it to their account.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm

The candidate's statements are being posted here as they are received:

Web Link


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm

"candidate Cary Wiest saying he has a scheduling conflict that may prevent him from participating."

All four candidates were sent a Save the Date message about the 30 Sept Candidates Forum on 26 August 2010.


Posted by Barb, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 21, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Cary Wiest is a stand up guy. Call him and find out were he stands. He is a breath of fresh air.


Posted by Like him, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 21, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Meet him this weekend at a party. He is great.


Posted by Thomas, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 21, 2010 at 10:27 pm

I do feel that Mr.Carpenter needs to be commended on taking the initiative in putting together a very important opportunity for the residents of Atherton to meet the prospective new council members.

I am assuming that Mr.Carpenter drafted the pre-posed questions asked to each of the candidates and was disappointed as to the rather benign six questions they were asked to answer. I can't imagine any candidate would answer "no" to any of the questions nor expect any earthshaking comments in their 500 word statements.

While I am not a resident of Atherton nor will be in attendance,I would hope those residents that are in attendance could gain a better perspective on the candidates by asking more pointed questions such as their position about the confrontational video put on you tube by two disgruntled residents and an ex-Atherton employee.
Their position on how the city attorney has performed as well as the performance of the current mayor and current council members. How they feel about police outsourcing as well as their position on former mayor and council member Malcolm Dudley's post on letting the residents of Atherton decide the level of services they are willing to pay for. Whether for or against any of the issues, I would be more interested in their response and knowing if they have a clear position or just pandering for votes because of some other agenda.

Clearly there have been some mistakes made and clearly there are still individuals associated with the town that have their own agendas as evidenced by the quick dismissal of Malcolm Dudley's sound advice but were I a resident,I would be tuned into how they answer impromptu questions rather than their statements and answers to the six questions that were pre-posed by the ACIL.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Sep 21, 2010 at 11:16 pm

I actually find myself agreeing with Thomas this time on at least one part of his statement. I think the questions have to include some more controversial topics in order to differentiate amongst the candidates. He has come up with some good questions to ask.

On the Malcolm Dudley editorial, Mr. Dudley has assumed (in my view, thoroughly incorrectly) that the Town of Atherton is operating at maximum efficiency and therefore any further cutting of expenditures must entail a reduction in services. At the last council meeting, the roster of expenses included over $16,000 for environmental tee shirts and caps, $1,000 per month for police dog training, $154 for a police officer's dinner at a training (listed as one dinner, though the chief said it was a few), and $250 for pizzas for police officers at the Meg Whitman protest (and others I can't remember). Basically, the philosophy of the council candidates on whether the Town is operating at maximum financial efficiency (and therefore any reduction in expenses must entail a reduction in services) is a critical question.


Posted by Thomas, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 22, 2010 at 12:51 am

While Mr.Buckheit does not reveal the source of his data on the expenditures of pizzas, baseball caps and T-shirts,I would be more concerned with the nearly $20,000 expense paid to the city attorney to redact personal information on the more than 50 public records requests by John Johns...an ex-employee of Atherton and a non-resident. Unnecessary expenditures are matter of perspective.

As a former mayor and council member for 20 years, Mr.Dudley provides exceptional counsel through both good and tough times. When times were tough, he had the forsight to survey the residents of Atherton rather than have the town council unilaterally make important decisions. There will always be individuals within local government with personal agendas but I think Mr Dudley's suggestion to survey the residents on what they're willing to pay for municipal services as well as my suggestion that residents ask important questions of the candidates at the September 30th forum are instrumental first steps to resolving questions and providing some initial solutions.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Sep 22, 2010 at 1:14 am

I share your concern over the $20,000. Paying Wynne Furth that kind of money to attempt to obufscate access to legally public records is an outrage. The source of my information on the pizzas et al. is the council packet that is on the web in advance of the meetings.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 22, 2010 at 7:27 am

Thomas states:"was disappointed as to the rather benign six questions they were asked to answer. "

The statement and questions which the candidates were asked to provide in advance were designed to establish a public baseline for each candidate so that attendees at the forum could spend their time asking tougher questions. Hopefully that will prevent the forum from being simply background questions.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 22, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Bill Widemer and Jerry Carlson's statements and answers have been received and are posted at:

Web Link


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Sep 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I called Cary Wiest, because I would have loved to hear all four candidates speak. He already had something booked for this date. I get when you make a commitment to someone you need to stick to it. It shows he is a man of his word.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 23, 2010 at 7:52 am

James Dobbie's statement and answers have been received and are posted at:

Web Link


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