We believe the mailing to be a misuse of taxpayer dollars for political purposes. If the mayor does not like the people (Elizabeth Lewis and Cary Wiest) the APOA endorsed for council, he should have to use his own campaign funds to promulgate his beliefs just as the Atherton Police Officers Association did. The mayor needs to be a statesman. Referring to our police as people who issue unspecified "misleading statements" is not statesmanship.
What is his agenda? Is it to go into negotiations with the police union next year in hostility so that he can walk from the talks and justify outsourcing? Is it to get his candidates elected?
Among other questions my wife and I would like to see answered publicly:
• The letter was unsigned. Is the mayor representing the entire council? Did the whole council approve his message?
• How about informal or sub-committee discussions on local policing? I just do not believe there have been no communications with APOA.
• Incomplete budget information was given regarding our police force — how about comparing staffing and response rates to last year, not to half a decade ago?
We moved here several years ago after 30-plus years in Palo Alto. In Palo Alto I served on the school board for eight years. I believed then, and I believe today, that honesty and transparency are absolute requisites of community leaders, and I am troubled that the Atherton council may not be living up to these essential attributes of effective representatives. I have a strong position on the Atherton Police Department — keep it.
However, it is true that funding for defined benefit retirement plans is an issue for all employers, especially public ones, and it is an issue that must be faced and addressed in a reasoned, public, and cooperative fashion. It seems to me, without being privy to all the communications, formal and informal, that the APOA has been willing to do this but has been stonewalled by the current council majority, which is one reason why we have contributed to the APOA-PAC.
A two-tier police retirement plan would be a good first step although the devil always is in the details. Of course we should have a school resource officer. Of course we should support renewal of the parcel tax; it's not like our friends and neighbors cannot afford it. As for placing items on the council agenda, I had no idea it apparently takes a majority; that's nonsense. Any one elected council member should have that right.
Here in Atherton we all have our own little private enclaves, and we like it that way. Unfortunately, that leads to a disregard for — and disinterest in — local governance. Our council does not represent the talent that resides in this town because most of us do not care enough to be involved. We need more who do.