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Atherton wants councilman dropped from lawsuit

Original post made on Nov 16, 2010

The attorney defending Atherton and City Councilman Jerry Carlson in a federal lawsuit filed by Jon Buckheit is attempting to get a judge to rule, before the trial begins next year, that the plaintiff has no legal basis for his claim against Mr. Carlson.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, November 15, 2010, 11:15 PM

Comments (71)

Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2010 at 7:00 am

I cannot understand why Carlson is included in this lawsuit. Mr. Buckheit has no "civil right" to be appointed to a committee. If Mr. Carlson felt it inappropriate to have a person who was suing the Town serve on a Town committee, surely that's not just his right, its also his responsibility to vote no. If the residents disagree they do not have to vote for Mr. Carlson.

Unless there is something more to this, I cannot understand why Mr. Carlson's decision should be subject to a lawsuit.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 16, 2010 at 7:05 am

Retaliating against a citizen who has filed charges against the Town offends our right as citizens to speak out - I prefer to leave it to an impartial judge to determine the facts of this charge.


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2010 at 7:31 am

"Although a court hearing on the motion had been set for Dec. 3, it was recently pulled from the court calendar, City Attorney Wynne Furth confirmed, although she said she couldn't provide more information because she is not handling the case."

Town of Atherton Attorney Wynne Furth might not be handling the case, but she certainly knows why the court hearing was pulled from the court calendar.

What has Jerry Carlson or Wynne Furth done to help a resident of Atherton identify an Atherton Police Officer who has committed a Felony against him, after they received knowledge of that FACT?


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2010 at 7:31 am

Peter. Are you sure Mr. Carlson "retaliated" against Mr. Buckheit. Is it possible that Mr. Carlson actually felt that it was in the Town's best interest not to appoint Mr. Buckheit?

My questions are not rhetorical. From what I have read of this matter, I could certainly understand Mr. Carlsons determination. However as a former public official yourself, you can understand more than most that Mr. Carlsons vote was his to make. I have read nothing to suggest that Mr. Carlson made his determination and cast his vote for any other reason than what he believed to be the best interests of the Town.

If I have missed something, please enlighten me.


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2010 at 7:37 am

Interested, you asked the same question again after Peter already answered you.

"Peter. Are you sure Mr. Carlson "retaliated" against Mr. Buckheit. Is it possible that Mr. Carlson actually felt that it was in the Town's best interest not to appoint Mr. Buckheit?"

Peter said, " I prefer to leave it to an impartial judge to determine the facts of this charge."

I agree with Peter, let an impartial judge handle this.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2010 at 7:53 am

Micheal. The point I was trying (unsuccessfully) to make is that if every decision by a local official is to be litigated. Nothing will get done. Without evidence that Mr. Carlson acted in "retaliation" I do not understand how Mr. Buckheit can possibly prevail.

Again, I am seeking answers, not argument.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 16, 2010 at 8:29 am

Interested is correct: "Without evidence that Mr. Carlson acted in "retaliation" I do not understand how Mr. Buckheit can possibly prevail." I am not sure why he assumes I have no evidence. I do, and intend to present it to the jury in this lawsuit.

I also wonder if Interested believes it is inappropriate to sue high speed rail, since if every decision by a government (such as the state of California) gets challenged in court, how can anything get done?

Jerry Carlson was the prime mover behind the high speed rail lawsuit. I actually agree with him (though not that he was the appropriate person to be the prime mover). He apparently has no issue (as he should not) with the concept of using the courts to protect rights when he feels the rights are important.

I imagine many, including perhaps Mr. Carlson, would be aggrieved if the response to that lawsuit was "you no longer can participate in this process...how dare you sue the government? Your seat at the table is pulled."

My own litigation involves very important protected rights, ones (that unlike the right to be free of high speed rail) are written in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. It was already verified by an impartial judge that these rights were trampled on. I hope Interested would agree that if I do have evidence of what I am claiming, that such retaliation would be wrong.

Do you?


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 16, 2010 at 8:42 am

I firmly believe that Mr. Buckheit's treatment by the Atherton Police Department was deplorable (even criminal) and I support Mr. Buckheit in his efforts to find justice.

That said, I'm not sure that excluding someone from consideration for an appointment to a town committee because they are a plaintiff in a lawsuit against that town violates their civil rights.

Fortunately, I'm not a judge and don't have to decide. That's why we have courts.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2010 at 9:47 am

Mr. Buckheit, please be assured that I fully support your action against the Town and I too would like to see the people responsible for falsifying your police report brought to justice. They must be held accountable.

I am sure you can appreciate that the story written by the Almanac would make it appear that Mr. Carlson's only involvement in this matter is that he chose not to vote for you to join the Finance Committee.

To me that does not warrant a lawsuit against Mr. Carlson for "retaliation". I fully appreciate that you have far more knowledge about what has happened than I ever will, and perhaps that is the problem. Had Mr. Carlson been originally named in your lawsuit, I would agree that Mr. Carlson may be guilty of retaliation, but according to the story Mr. Carlson was only added to your lawsuit after he refused to vote to appoint you.

Based on the story , it certainly appears the only person to have "retaliated" is you.

It is time these issues were laid on the table, apologies and restitution made, criminals fired and a new start made. Part of the problem is that the facts of these matters are contained in a report that only you can authorize to be released, which you are only willing to do under your conditions.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 16, 2010 at 10:11 am

Interested, Mr. Carlson was not named in the original lawsuit because the finance committee situation happened after it was filed. My conditions for releasing the report for investigation amount to simply not releasing it for investigation to a party also in the lawsuit.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2010 at 10:29 am

Yes Mr. Buckheit. Exactly my point. Mr. Carlson was only added to the lawsuit because he allegedly refused to vote for you to join the finance committee as the result of your multi million dollar lawsuit against the Town.

Frankly, even if that was the only reason Mr. Carlson chose not to vote for you, I can understand Mr. Carlson's reasoning.

Again, please enlighten me if I am missing something.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 16, 2010 at 10:51 am

Interested, the code section I am suing under is U.S.C. 1983 (the Civil Rights Act).


Posted by bob, a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 16, 2010 at 1:36 pm

My guess is if the Judge does not rule in Buckheit's favor Buckheit will try to take it all the way to the Supreme Court, a true waste of time. It amazes me that someone with multi-million dollar lawsuit against a city feels he has the right to serve on the finance comittee. My guess is his first act would be to vote to settle his lawsuit, no conflict there.


Posted by Thelma, a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 16, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Bob Here is some context. The very first appointment selection for the finance committee that the council made that day was for Jeff Wise, who is a resident developer and recipient of refunds in three different lawsuits (one pending) with the town. Mr. Carlson's objection to Buckheit is directly tied to his "obligations" to the police dept. and lack of commitment to representing residents.


Posted by bob, a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Jeff Wise is not suing the city on a civil rights basis once again tell me how someone on the finance committee would be unbiased with a multi million dollar lawsuit against the city. My guess is the numbers in Jeff's lawsuits are a little smaller. Would Mr. Buckheit vote to spend more on fire protection or we he be worried that the money to pay him wouldn't be there, should he win his suit.


Posted by Fact Checker, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 16, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Bob you are wrong because Buckheit's suit is covered by insurance whereas the Jeff Wise lawsuits were not. Those refund payments are coming right out of Atherton's own money. There was clearly a much larger "conflict of interest" in the Wise appointment. I do agree with you one one point though. Buckheit definitely would have tried to cut spending on public safety salaries and pensions, though not for the reason you allege and perhaps this is why Carlson found his participation so objectionable.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 16, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Bob in Woodside -

This isn't going to the Supreme Court because there isn't a constitutional issue (even as a civil rights claim).

If it goes to trial, my bet is a jury finds for Mr. Buckheit with a large award. I can't speak for Mr. Buckheit, but it is not unusual for a prevailing plaintiff to eventually settle for a lesser monetary award provided the defendant (Atherton) gives in to some intangible demand (an appointment, an apology, etc.). We'll see.

I have little doubt that Mr. Buckheit will prevail and receive a very large (multi-million dollar) judgement against the town. What happened to him was outrageous.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 16, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Fact Checker -

Don't be so sure that Atherton is indemnified by an insurance company.

Liability insurance usually covers negligence, not intentional, willful acts.


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Pogo, I am with you 100% on this one.

"I have little doubt that Mr. Buckheit will prevail and receive a very large (multi-million dollar) judgement against the town. What happened to him was outrageous."

As soon as 12 jurors of Mr. Buckheit's peers hear and see the evidence, of what happened to him by the Atherton Police Department, condoned by the Town of Atherton, and the San Mateo County District Attorney....The Game will be OVER.

Hang on Mr. Buckheit you are getting close to the Finish Line.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 16, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I don't know if the game will be over, but it will be incredibly expensive.


Posted by Results are results, a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 16, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Jerry Carlson has been an incredible leader for Atherton. He won the last election with far more votes than Jim Dobbie, who has been allied with Kathy McKeithen.

If it weren't for Buckheit and McKeithen this town would not be having any of the problems it's having right now. We have no city manager or assistant city manager, and they are also trying to get rid of the city attorney.

Atherton residents want Jerry Carlson to run this town, not for Jon Buckheit, Kathy McKeithen, john Johns, Michael Stogner, Peter Carpenter, Melinda Tevis, or POGO to be running their mouths.

If this lawsuit gets in the way of Jerry running the town, of course it must be dismissed as a vendetta.

You have to wonder if Buckheit has done something as unreasonable as sue Jerry Carlson, the police officers were probably right all along. Too bad Kathy McKeithen has joined Jon Buckheit in his mission to destroy the police department.


Posted by Thelma, a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Results of the coolaid acid test: I have to agree with you that it was entirely unreasonable for Buckheit to expect what might be considered "special treatment" from Jerry Carlson. Fair and reasonable treatment have been off his agenda since he was appointed to fill Conwell's seat on the council.
However, you've lost me with the concept that you present to excuse the PD's behavior: that multiple wrongs can make a right, or that the ends justify the means-- but Jerry might well agree with you.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Results:

all I can say is that you are a fool if you think McKeithen and Buckheit are the problem with your town. You need to look to Carlson, Marsala and Lewis if you want to know who the problems are in your town. [portion deleted.]


Posted by Fed up, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 16, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Menlo Voter...you don't have a clue as to the problems McKeithen has caused the town of Atherton. Buckheit is causing problems but that is what happens when a young person has too much money and too much time on his hands. And why would anybody pay a bit of attention to what Michael Stogner has to say. He is a flunky for Buckheit and does not live in the town.

Why do you think we have had so many town managers, police chiefs, building officials, assistant town managers, etc quit. Ask any of them what they think of Mckeithen...except for John Johns of course.


Posted by stanford law, a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2010 at 9:22 pm

What part of the word "retaliation" is it you people don't understand?


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 16, 2010 at 10:04 pm

To Fed up: I do not have so much money, nor am so young, that I don't know the difference between right and wrong. Maybe you don't. I haven't caused any problems. I experienced quite a few.


Posted by still hungry, a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Nov 16, 2010 at 10:34 pm

What Buckheit has acheived is amazing. He's rid us of Marsala, he has Jerry Carlson on the run, and the Finance Committee has a joint meeting with the City Council to discuss alternative service delivery options. Have you updated your resume Chief Guerra?

Instead of carping at the guy, let's give him a standing ovation. He's put his time, money and energy to good use.

Lets hope he dosen't quit.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 17, 2010 at 6:45 am

Results are results -

You said, "the police officers were probably right all along."

There's only one way to find out and that's precisely what Mr. Buckheit is doing.

You have nothing to fear other than a very large parcel tax.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 17, 2010 at 7:15 am

Fed Up:

it is not Mr. Buckheit that is causing problems. It is a corrupt cop (or more) and a spineless police chief that won't do anything about it. Had the chief taken action immediately when it became known that a police report was falsified I seriously doubt Mr. Buckheit would have felt it necessary to file suit. But that's not what happened. No fed up, you need to direct your anger where it belongs at your police department.


Posted by betting man, a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Nov 17, 2010 at 7:46 am

My money is on Buckheit.

Jerry Carlson will be given a choice: lie under oath or admit he didn't want Buckheit on the Finance Committee because Jon was exercising his right to due process to seek redress of his grievance against the Town in Court.

This has been a long, nasty ugly fight for Buckheit. This is a fight that could have been avoided.

Atherton could have saved itself considerable anguish and money if only it decided to do the right. Instead, Atherton decided to shirk responsibility for the misconduct of its police force.


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2010 at 8:16 am

Menlo Voter, said

"Had the chief taken action immediately when it became known that a police report was falsified I seriously doubt Mr. Buckheit would have felt it necessary to file suit. But that's not what happened. No fed up, you need to direct your anger where it belongs at your police department."

We also need to add San Mateo County District Attorney James P. Fox and DDA Steve Wagstaffe into this case because they both had knowledge of the Police Report being falsified by an Atherton Police Officer and being covered up by others.

Just imagine had they done their job when they first received this information, The Town of Atherton and Jon Buckheit would not be suffering today, and the public would have more confidence that the system works.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2010 at 8:23 am

Please help me out, I must be missing something here. Mr. Carlson does not have to lie. He certainly was not denying Mr. Buckheit any "due process" by declining to vote for him for the Finance Committee. Mr. Carlson can simply say he did not believe it would be appropriate to have a person involved in a multi million dollar lawsuit against the Town serving on the committee. That is Mr. Carlson's right.If you do not agree with him, do not elect him.

Do not misunderstand me, I fully support Mr. Buckheits lawsuit against the Town. What was done to him was wrong and should be rectified, but I fail to see how Mr. Carlson decision not to vote to appoint him to the Finance Committee warrants a lawsuit. On the contrary it seems like a wise decision.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 17, 2010 at 8:32 am

The Council refusal to appoint Buckheit, who is obviously well qualified, to the Finance Committee certainly smacks of retaliation.

The law states:"(c) The legislative body of a local agency shall not prohibit public criticism of the policies, procedures, programs, or services of the agency, or of the acts or omissions of the legislative body."


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2010 at 8:36 am

[This and subsequent posts removed. Please refrain from personal attacks.]


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 17, 2010 at 8:46 am

[Post removed.]


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2010 at 8:58 am

[Post removed.]


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2010 at 9:00 am

[Post removed.]


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 17, 2010 at 9:04 am

[Post removed.]


Posted by Carlson's side of the story, a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2010 at 11:43 am

If a real estate developer with lawsuits against Atherton was picked for the committee, Buckheit's lawsuit cannot be used as an excuse, Interested.

What is Mr. Carlson's side of the story? Did the Almanac even ask him?

Could it be that Mr. Buckheit does not have the necessary qualifications to be on the committee? What qualifications are required?


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Well lets see if this can get past the censors at the Almanac.

My questioning Mr. Carpenters stance (although perhaps not well put) on this issue is NOT a personal attack.

Mr. Carpenter wrote "The law states:"(c) The legislative body of a local agency shall not prohibit public criticism of the policies, procedures, programs, or services of the agency, or of the acts or omissions of the legislative body."

I will ask the question again, and perhaps this time the Almanac will allow the question. How exactly has Mr. Buckheits ability to express public criticism of the Town been "prohibited" by Mr. Carlson's refusal to vote him onto the Finance Committee.

The only "prohibition" of speech on this issue is being conducted by the Almanac. Not Jerry Carlson.


Posted by Thelma, a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 17, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Interested: apparently you are not aware that at the special council meeting this last Monday to discuss the five finalists for the city manager position--Mr. Buckheit was the only citizen to even bother to attend, and therefore the only resident to attempt to speak in the public comment portion of the meeting. Jerry Carlson had a tantrum in front of both the press and the applicants waiting to be interviewed. He kept calling "point of order" and insisting that Buckheit not be allowed to speak. Now do you understand any better? We all need to get the message that residents are now openly discouraged from any participation in the process of their own governance unless the leadership wants to hear what might be said. The other message you should get from this, is how urgently Mr. Carlson is trying to protect Furth so she can continue to cover for him.
Before you come up with an excuse to possibly accept this behavior--Mr Buckheit's comment was related to city attorney Furth's handling the candidate vetting process, and therefore completely on topic for the agenda and appropriate. Because it was "special meeting" the public comments were limited to only items on the agenda--unlike a regular meeting where you may only address items in public comments that are not already listed. on the agenda.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 17, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I tend to agree with Interested.

A public official does not usually need a reason to select or deny someone an appointment. A public official may just disagree with the candidate's politics or philosophy. It happens all the time.

These decisions are rarely made on merit or qualification alone.

That said, the comments from Thelma about Mr. Buckheit being the only citizen at the last council meeting and Mr. Carlson's having a "tantrum" and trying to deny Mr. Buckheit the right to speak are extraordinarily troubling.

If you believe in karma, Mr. Carlson has a rough road ahead of him. Mr. Carlson would do well to work on his civility.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 17, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Interested states: "Mr. Carlson can simply say he did not believe it would be appropriate to have a person involved in a multi million dollar lawsuit against the Town serving on the committee. "

But it was OK to appoint someone that was involved in a multi thousands of dollars lawsuit with the city? Give me a break.


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Please don't forget Jon Buckheit never wanted to sue anybody, Had the Town of Atherton simply helped him get a copy of his own Police Report at the start of this mess things would have been different. Then after the discovery that at least one of Atherton Police Officers committed a felony against him it would have been nice if the Town helped him to identify the criminal, but as we know they choose not to for some reason.

I will never forget the night when the council was to make it's final decision on the Citizen Review Committee for Oversight of the Police Department. Mr. Carlson said he saw no reason for it......I couldn't believe what I heard.

Here we are today.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Thelma. I was not aware of Mr. Carlson's behavior at the meeting as you describe it. Nor, I can assure you, would I attempt to excuse it, if it was as you describe.

Let me also assure you that I do not have a "dog in this fight".

My only point is that Mr. Carlson's decision not to vote to appoint Mr. Buckheit was entirely his to make. That is why you elect local officials. If you do not agree with them you do not vote for them, but you certainly do not sue them.

Lets try to remember the point of this news story. The fact is that Mr. Buckheit has no "Civil Right" to be appointed to the Finance Committee and Mr. Carlson can deny his vote for any reason he chooses. Assuming for a moment that Mr. Buckheit is correct and Mr. Carlson denied his vote on the reason Mr. Buckheit believes, albeit hearsay, so what. That is Mr. Carlson's right.

The fact is that this lawsuit against Carlson will be defended at the taxpayers cost. Mr. Carlson has every right to be defended for actions taken while acting as a official of the Town. I have no doubt that he will be so defended. THAT MEANS WE PAY.

I will state again that I fully appreciate Mr. Buckheits lawsuit against the Town, but to add Carlson to the lawsuit because Carlson did not vote to appoint him to the FC is aa big a mistake as what the Town did to Mr. Buckheit.

Just my opinion. But as valid as anyone elses.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 17, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Interested, I provided a reference to the United States code section I'm suing under. I'm not sure you've read it, but I have a question for you that might stimulate some thought about these issues:

If (and this is just hypothetical; I am not saying Jerry Carlson ever did this), Mr. Carlson stated he would not vote for someone who was black/green/Jewish/etc. (or did not vote for someone for a committee appointment because that person was a member of that group), would you think that is totally within his rights and the only remedy is voters could choose not to vote for him at the next election?


Posted by Thelma, a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 17, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Interested: The original finance committee selection meeting referenced here, was improperly conducted from the get go.
There was no opportunity provided for public comments, I believe so that no attendee could point out that Mr Wise was head of the refund litigation group and recipient of that money and was not an appropriate choice due to conflicts of interest. This is what should upset everyone and may partially explain the context of what was so upsetting to Mr.Buckheit on his rather flippant rejection.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Mr. Buckheit.. No Sir.

Had Mr. Carlson rejected you because you were Black/Green?Jewish, etc, I would certainly share your view. IF however Mr. Carlson rejected you because you were a current LITIGANT in a multi million dollar lawsuit against the Town (again based on hearsay), THAT I can understand.

Buts lets assume for the moment that Mr. Carlson just plain does not care for you and therefore did not vote for you. That is his right. You have no "right" to be appointed to the Finance Committee.

I understand that we do not agree on this matter. You clearly believe that Carlson should have voted to appoint you, hence your lawsuit. I believe that suing a Public Official because you do not agree with his "discretionary" determination is a waste of time and public money.

I will state again that I fully support your lawsuit against the Town. I do not support the addition of Carlson to your lawsuit because you did not get your own way. I do not believe that a Court will either.

Thelma, are you planning on suing the Town for appointing Mr. Wise? After all it makes as much sense as suing Carlson for not voting for Mr. Buckheit..(actually it probably would get further in a court of law)....No, I thought not.......

It is my opinion (which is worth what I am charging you for it... that of course would be nothing) that adding Carlson to the lawsuit, diminishes your original argument.

Again just my opinion which should not be construed to suggest that I do not believe you should, and will, prevail in your suit against the Town.




Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 17, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Interested, good. The same Civil Rights Act that would prohibit Mr. Carlson from rejecting a minority applicant prohibits him from taking action to retaliate against someone who has sought redress of grievances from government. I do not intend to litigate the facts of this case on this forum. Suffice it to say, I believe I have substantial evidence that this was not a legislative act, and that his only reason for rejecting me was because of my lawsuit against the Town of Atherton. I am not doing this because "I did not get my way". I believe there are important principles at stake. I do not believe someone who was wronged, and acknowledged as such by a court, should be retaliated against for simply not taking it in the chin.

The Civil Rights Act prohibits any public official acting under "color of state law" to interfere with rights guaranteed to us in the U.S. Constitution. Among those rights are freedom from retaliation for seeking redress of grievances. It was adopted after the Civil War during reconstruction and has an interesting history that I encourage you to investigate.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Mr. Buckheit. You are correct, Mr. Carlsons determination was not a "Legislative" act. It was a "Discretionary" one. And there Sir, is your problem in a nutshell.

In order for your rights to have been violated, you need to have those rights in the first place. You have no "right" for Carlson to appoint you to anything.

Sorry, we obviously disagree.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 17, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Nope, we actually don't disagree if you stop to think about it. A black person doesn't have the right to be appointed to a committee, but he does have the right not to be excluded because he's black under the Civil Rights Act. I think you agree with that. Please look at the law section I've asked you to and I think you can convince yourself it still applies if you substitute "black" with "someone who has sought redress of grievances". I'll end it with that, since I suspect even if you could convince yourself that is the case, you would still believe it should't be.


Posted by Thelma, a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 18, 2010 at 12:02 am

Interested:
I have always opted never to sue the town and have even turned down opportunities to "intervene" to support the town on the very rare occasion when they considered the concept of enforcing their own ordinances. It would likely have been a mercy to them if I had done either. Mr. Buckheit has been a far more generous person than myself by using the legal system to force the correction that the leadership is too fearful and dysfunctional to provide on their own. If I were Mike Guerra or Steve Wagstaffe I would be secretly thrilled that Buckheit was going to clean my house for me and that I wasn't going to be confronted by any Blue Line issues by having to do it myself.
I am cruel enough to expect the town leadership to want to do the right thing without being forced to by a judge, just all by themselves. Constancy is the only help the town will ever get out of me. Maybe Buckheit will add on Wise.
Does anyone know how tonight council meeting went?


Posted by Results are results, a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 18, 2010 at 12:15 am

Thelma you don't know what you're talking about. Jerry Carlson has never tried to stop anyone from speaking. Perhaps Buckheit got unruly and of course his dear old Aunt Kathy wasn't about to stop him from dishing up the hatred and invective she thrives on. It's outrageous for him to be suing Jerry Carlson and also outrageous he would be suing police officers. They are just doing their jobs. The only service Buckheit could do would be to leave along with Kathy McKeithen and any of the other stooges for Buckheit and McKeithen who have haunted this town and this computer forum like Michael Stogner who doesn't even live here and Melinda Tevis and POGO, Peter Carpenter, John Johns, and Menlo Voter who I guess also doesn't live here.

Remember, more votes went to Jerry Carlson than anyone else. That's all that needs to be said. If the town were being run properly, anyone who was trying to disrupt a council meeting like Buckheit obviously was would be escorted out by police, not praised by Kathy McKeithen. Jerry Carlson was just trying to diplomatically do what she was supposed to do in the first place. Buckheit deserved far worse. Jerry Carlson has important business to deal with like stopping high speed rail. He has no time and Atherton has no time for the petty vendettas that Buckheit and McKeithen have been terrorizing us all with, especially police officers.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 18, 2010 at 3:49 am

Facts are important - I have lived in Atherton for almost 30 years and have been an elected official for 8 years. I remain committed to helping the Town achieve the highest standards of performance, accountability and transparency


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 18, 2010 at 7:01 am

Results:

you are a fool if you believe police officers falsifying reports and covering it up are "just doing their jobs."


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 18, 2010 at 7:08 am

Results needs to do a much better job of fact checking - Widmer received more votes than either Carlson or Dobbie.

Facts are important.


Posted by Dignity !!, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 18, 2010 at 8:05 am

"Results" is the one using hatred and invective !!

Mr Buckheit has done a great service for this town. In fact, one police officer even admitted to me, in confidence, that he greatly respected his actions. He cannot admit this to his fellow officers.

Jerry Carlson does not like challenge and conflict, and does not understand that sometimes, these are necessary tools for making progress. This is the reason he denied Mr Buckheit's application to the committee.

I do not know whether it is illegal or not, but obviously experts in the legal professional will figure that out. I do know that the results of Mr Carlson's decision hurt Atherton residents far more than Mr Buckheit himself. I'm sure Mr Buckheit has other productive uses of his time than providing free service to Atherton. Mr Carlson denied Atherton the opportunity to have a very brilliant young man use some of his time and energy to make this town better, and that is a shame. A very bad decision indeed.


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 18, 2010 at 2:45 pm

These are the facts as I know them. I spoke with Jon and he told me that Jim Dobbie told him exactly what Jon told the paper. "Mr. Buckheit was told by someone he trusts that Mr. Carlson said he wouldn't appoint him because of his litigation against the town, Mr. Buckheit told The Almanac. " That is my understanding of why Jon is suing Mr. Carlson. So I went to Mr. Carlson and asked him if he said that. He said absolutely not. He pick who he felt had the best qualifications for the job. I asked him if he had even said that even in closed session he said no. I have not asked Mr. Dobbie his side of the story. I would think this is all public record for those of you that would like to check.
I do feel Jon would have been a great asset to the finance comity.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 18, 2010 at 3:08 pm

The selection to a committee of the town council is a political appointment. Of course, Mr. Carlson is going to say he selected the best qualified candidate. Duh.

Provided the elected official does not discriminate (based on the usual criteria), they can choose whoever they want for any reason or no reason at all.


Posted by John P Johns, a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2010 at 7:14 pm

During my tenure as Atherton's Finance Director I had extensive contact with Mr. Carlson. He was on the Audit Committee and the Finance Committee.

Knowing Mr. Carlson as well as I do, I find it highly probable that he would refuse to appoint Jon Buckheit to the Finance Committe in retaliation for Buckheit's efforts to seek redress in a court of law.

I also find it very likely that Jerry Carlson lied about his reason for refusing to appoint Mr. Buckheit to the Finance Committee.

The notion that Mr. Buckheit is not qualified to serve on the Finance Committee is ludicrous. The idea that Carlson can hide behind subjectivity is equally ridiculous.

Somewhere along the way Mr. Carlson seems to have lost his moral compass. I do not know whether he lost the ability to distinguish right from wrong or to take responsibility for his actions before or after he got on the Council.

All I know is that if one wants to learn who the real Jerry Carlson is, one must pay more attention to Jerry Carlson's actions than his words.


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 18, 2010 at 10:00 pm

How many people voted on the issue total. Who voted for and who voted against? Are the other resumes public record. [Portion removed; please stick to facts, not hearsay.] I don't know the truth, but would like to see the facts. Transparency is very important on this issue. If the public/Atherton is going to be sued over this matter we need to stress transparency. Maybe the town being more transparent could start on this issue. Jon has always stressed transparency At least that would be a step in the right direction in letting everyone know all the facts to decide.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 18, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Colleen, I do appreciate your enthusiasm for the truth, but the truth is I have never stated to you or anyone else that there is one and only one reason for my conclusion that Mr. Carlson acted the way he did. This forum is not the appropriate venue to air out the detailed facts of a lawsuit that is in progress. I do not wish for anyone to speak for me or to state what I am doing, as I am capable of doing that (or choosing not to) by myself. Thank you in advance for your understanding.


Posted by John P Johns, a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2010 at 9:10 am

Colleen

As Peter Carpenter has said, albeit slightly differently: just the facts ma'm.

The fact of the matter as I understand them to be is that a motion was made either to expand the finance committee so that Jon would have the opportunity to serve on the committee or that a seat was vacant and left unfilled. I am not certain exactly what took place. However the minutes are readily available to ascertain whether the former or the later is what transpired.

Jon has a PHD in Mathematics. He founded and sold a profitable company for an untold fortune.

Mr. Carlson voted against giving Jon Buckheit the opportnity to serve on the finance committee.

Mr. Carlson should have to account for his actions, not in casual conversations where Mr. Carlson is free to lie, but under the penalty of perjury, where Mr. Carlson will risk criminal prosecution for failing to speak the truth.

It has been said that lying is a politician's stock in trade. Unfortunately Mr. Carlson seems to have taken this motto to heart.


Posted by Thomas, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 19, 2010 at 9:46 am

Mr. Buckheit's pedigree should not be the sole basis for thinking he's qualified to sit on the finance committee. Ted Kaczynski also had a PHD in mathematics and definitely had a problem with government and getting along with others.

Once again Mr. John's talks out of both sides of his mouth on this forum, first about Mayor McKeithen and now Mr. Carlson. Reference Mr. Johns "Open Letter to Mayor McKeithen" on this forum dated June 12th at 9:27 A.M. and closing statements in which he considers Jerry both a "friend" and "mentor". I'm all for due process but don't expect a place at the table when you also come with unclean hands.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 19, 2010 at 10:26 am

Thomas, let's save the "unclean hands" accusations for those who were either called out in censure by an impartial judge for wrongdoing and everyone who refused to do anything about that. It seems to me that is a more fair attribution of the term than using it against anyone who has spoken out about that incident, either in public or through the courts. Note that all such "unclean hands" people, at least by my definition, still have a seat at their table (aside from those who have left Atherton on their own volition).


Posted by Thomas, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 19, 2010 at 11:17 am

Mr. Buckheit, [Portion removed; unsupported innuendo]
My definition of "unclean hands" has more to with your posting the video on you tube and your subsequent desire to then sit at the finance committee's "table". If that action is any indication as to how you solve problems, then I think Mr. Carlson has a valid objection.


Posted by John P Johns, a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2010 at 11:24 am

Dear Thomas

Your citation of what I wrote in my open letter to Mayor McKeithen was not accurate.

Here is the exact verbiage from the passage you refer to:

"When I was the Finance Director, it was frowned upon to have direct contact with City Council members by staff without the prior approval of the City Manager. Such conduct was frowned upon because it was seen as a possible undermining of the City Manager. Nonetheless Jerry and I had many private discussions pertaining to Town business. I therefore considered him to be both a friend and a mentor. I would very much look forward to re-establishing that friendship."

As indicated above, I spoke of my friendship with Jerry Carlson in the past tense, not the present tense.

If you want to know the real Jerry Carlson, ask him whether or not he had several private lunches with me during 2006 and 2007 when he sat on the City Council. Ask him whether or not these confidential chats were inconsistent with the rules of conduct for members of the City Council.

Ask Jerry Carlson whether or not he sought to obtain information from me about the investigation of Mike Hood that was ongoing at the time, an investigation that I was actively participating in. Ask him whether or not his questioning me about the nature and scope of the investigation were in violation of Mike Hood's right to privacy.

Ask Jerry Carlson whether he wrote an e-mail to Wende Protzman inquiring whether or not the Police Department had probable cause (he knew full well the Police Department did not) when I was detained on the morning of August 29th 2007 at the Atherton Town Hall.

I'll bet you Jerry will deny all of the above.

This is why I spoke of my "friendship" with Jerry Carlson in the past tense, rather than the present tense.

Mr. Carlson is not a man who is worthy of my respect or trust I am sad to say. Mr. Carlson is a man who has deeply disapointed me with his conduct. Mr. Carlson's actions have not lived up to his words.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 19, 2010 at 11:35 am

Thomas, I do not see the connection between service on the finance committee and advocacy of the public records process. Fortunately, we don't need to argue about it since your timeline is incorrect. The committee rejection came some five months prior to the YouTube/public records incident.

Responding to your other insinuations, is hinting that Judge Forcum's decision after an officer admitted a report was falsified had to involve collusion/bribery between him and my lawyer something you would only do anonymously? Could anyone really say that using their own name and with a straight face? It really sounds silly, and offends the intelligence level your posts have suggested.


Posted by Thomas, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 19, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Fortunately, this ongoing story is not all consuming for me so I appreciate Mr. Buckheit's correction on the time line. Having said this, Mr. Carlson's reasons for not considering Mr. Buckheit as appropriate for the finance committee becomes foresight rather than hindsight which, in my opinion, only bolsters his position. I do not share the same view regarding Mr. Buckheit's methods used for obtaining public records or as he refers to as an "advocacy of public records" and I find it hard to believe his counsel approved. I am familiar with both Bob Carey and his father, Judge Robert Carey (Ret).

As for my statements regarding the disposition of the domestic violence case, while in fact Judge Mark Forcum decided there was a falsified police report, he also determined that injuries had been sustained in the incident but could not determine who was responsible for those injuries. My post was not meant to insinuate or make any implications other than the circumstances regarding the incident remain suspicious and seem to have taken a back seat to the falsified police report as well as public records that indicate this is not the first such incident Mr.Buckheit has had to deal with.

Regarding Mr.Buckheit's comment regarding my decision not to use my real name, I recall another poster replying to the same question posed to him and replying in an August 31st post which I concur with: "I would not be afraid of using my own name other than concerned about offending your crowd as you play very rough". This became evident to me in a response (or rather a rant) from a friend of Mr. Buckheit's, "Telling It Like It Is" Portola Valley posted September 9th at 11:05 P.M. and an earlier more composed post at 10:33 A.M. I'm very much in favor of spirited debate on this forum but clearly some posters cross the line with regards to being respectful and become unrestrained with their emotions. After reading "Jon B's friend" 11:05 post which I felt was quite virulent, I feel it more than validates my reasons.

Lastly let me say that I fully support anyone's desire to absolve themselves of any wrongdoing and hold those accountable that were responsible for wrongly assigning guilt. I don't have a dog in this fight but as it has played out on this forum, it is my sense there are personal issues that have taken precedence over what should be a more mature attitude amongst intelligent people to try and resolve the issues without having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on attorneys just to prove a point. I have a real problem supporting Mr.Buckheit's position on many levels but certainly when his employee has implied on this forum that were he to regain a position with the Town of Atherton, he would have the influence to convince Mr Buckheit to drop his lawsuit, Mr. Buckheit's mission for truth is compromised and in my opinion his cause really becomes meaningless.


Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 19, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Thomas, your post came through just as I was reading these responses. Thank you for your insights and I fully understand that this is an emotionally charged issue. For whatever it is worth, and I do know you have a very negative view of me, I made considerable efforts to resolve these issues prior to any litigation, including over eight months of trying to obtain the report.

I also respect your decision not to use your real name. However, let's face it, it becomes easier to attack others when not doing so, and of course you don't have to worry about being attacked yourself. You don't need to simply rely on forum posts and what you read to make a determination about me. If you'd like to discuss any of this, I'd be happy to do so with you in person or over the phone, and you can of course continue to maintain your anonymity. I guess you could arrange that through the Almanac. At such time I could show you the transcripts that indicate you are misquoting Judge Forcum, though I understand you have probably done so from Mr. Wagstaffe's similar comments in the paper.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 19, 2010 at 11:06 pm

I fully support Mr. Buckheit's efforts to seek redress. He was treated horribly and deserves justice.

But appointees to the finance committee are not made on qualifications alone and it's meaningless to recite anyone's pedigree. If a council member such as Mr. Carlson does not agree with a candidate's philosophy, they do not get appointed. Just because you are qualified doesn't mean you get a job.

While I wish Mr. Buckheit success, as far as I know, "litigants" are not a protected class under any current civil rights laws.


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