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Resident embarrassed by Atherton lawsuit

Original post made by Renee Batti, news editor of The Almanac, on Dec 14, 2006

This letter was published in the Dec. 13 issue of the Almanac.

Editor:
The following letter was addressed to Atherton Mayor Charles Marsala:
I am a longtime, second-generation Atherton resident and my children are second-generation Menlo-Atherton High School students. I attended the informational meeting held recently at the M-A library.
I wanted you to know that I totally agree with the young woman (and Atherton resident) who told you she was embarrassed by your decision to file a lawsuit to stop construction of the new theater at M-A unless the Sequoia Union High School District and Menlo Park agree to abide by Atherton's restrictions over its use.
Perhaps if Atherton's restrictions were just a little bit more reasonable, you wouldn't be in this pickle.
To try to dictate to Menlo Park (our neighbors and the town where all we Athertonians shop) that they can't plan an event that would go beyond 9 p.m. on a weekend is ridiculous. When was the last time you went to the theater for an evening and left before 9? How reasonable is that?
And by the way, how are you and the Town Council paying for this lawsuit? What fund are you using to pay the attorneys' fees? It seems to me we have far more important things to spend our ever-shrinking dollars on than frivolous lawsuits. Like maybe repairing the long-standing (and now very expensive to fix) problem with drainage in front of the high school.
It seems to me that there must have been a more fiscally responsible way to work out the problems you all saw with the school district and Menlo Park.
I know you have been pressured by some of those Atherton residents who live adjacent to the high school near the sports fields, not the proposed theater. The residents who live closest to the theater are in Menlo Park! I am sure it will be hard for them to deal with the noise on the weekends.
Actually, that is why I, for one, would never consider buying a home near a school. Schools and noise pretty much go hand in hand. And M-A has been here since the 1950s. Those residents cannot exactly say they have been blindsided by the location of the high school in their backyards.
At any rate, I am sure if you and the Town Council tried being reasonable with the district and Menlo Park you would be able to reach an agreement. The legal precedents are not on your side, you are wasting our money, and last, but not least, you are setting a really bad example for all of the students in this area who will be hearing about this lawsuit.
Our kids need to believe that we as a community support their success in school and in life (after all, we will all benefit), and this lawsuit of yours simply does not send that message.
Please withdraw the lawsuit!
Anne Peterson
Encino Road, Atherton


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