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Atherton voters to choose council member, decide on parcel tax renewal in November

Original post made on Jul 18, 2013

Atherton voters will choose their new council member after all: The City Council reaffirmed on Wednesday night (July 17) an earlier vote to call an election rather than appoint someone to the vacant seat. At the same time, they will be asked to renew the parcel tax that generates some $1.86 million annually for another four years.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 18, 2013, 11:51 AM

Comments (39)

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"to increase the Menlo Circus Club's annual rate from $10,000 to $25,000."

How interesting - target one property for a huge increase thinking that there is no way that one property owner's vote could impact the outcome.

Guess what - there are a lot of Atherton voters who belong to the Menlo Circus Club (me not included) and this huge overreaching may well change the outcome of the vote. The parcel tax vote is a yes or a no and those who find one part of the proposed tax objectionable would therefore simply vote no to the whole tax.


Posted by Michael G Stogner, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 18, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Putting an end to the appointment uncertainty was a good move. The council had made no forward motion on choosing one of the 7 applicants, no questions asked etc. John Ruggiero made the public statement that if he was appointed he would not run for election in 2014. That was a change since the last meeting.

Parcel Tax Issue: Menlo Circus Club from $10,000 to $25,000 Wow the only property to be increased and taxed at 150% of last year, How is this any way near FAIR?


Posted by MCC Atherton voter, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I agree with Peter Carpenter. I think the council has not thought this clever scheme out. There are 260 Circus Club households in Atherton which based on double occupancy represents 520 Atherton voters. Likely most of these members are not going to be happy about this arbitrary 250 percent increase. I know I am not an will not as a result vote for the parcel tax this time. Let them come back in spring without this totally outrageous increase for the Circus Club.
Last time the parcel tax (measure S) came for a vote there were 1,829 voters and it passed with 1,426 YES votes and 403 NO votes. It required 2/3rds to pass or a total of 1,207 votes. This was not a huge margin and think of the difference of 520 NO votes would have made.
Good going council!


Posted by MCC Atherton voter, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Correction in the percentage increase....it is 150%.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Actually in a parcel tax election each no vote requires 2 yes votes plus one for the parcel tax to pass so if only half of the Menlo Circus Club members, 260 , voted against the parcel tax in an election in which 1,829 vote were cast the parcel tax would fail.

Parcel tax elections in Atherton are controlled by absentee voting and absentee voting is easily influenced by direct appeals - the Menlo Circus Club has a very good and well read mailing list of its members.

The unfair increase in the parcel tax rate for the MMC also gives non-MMC voters a justification for voting no that they would not otherwise have.

Lesson to be learned the hard way - over reaching in public matters is very risky.


Posted by Circus Club and Cops, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm

This is all about giving Atherton cops raises they don't deserve and not behaving responsibility regarding Atherton's finances. Not surprising since Lewis and Wiest were purchased by the APOA.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm

As I said in another post, it's going to be very interesting to watch what happens when the APOA is running the town. Appears to be starting already. And it's entertaining.


Posted by MCC Atherton voter, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I would hope City Attorney Conners has approved the pricing structure for different sizes of parcels. Particularly the Menlo Circus Club arbitrary and outrageous new parcel tax liability created out of thin air. I would think Mr Conners would have trouble doing do in light of the recent decision by the California Supreme Court in the case of the Alameda parcel tax appeal . It might be that Mr Dobbie is correct in that one amount fits all.

Web Link


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is not clear that the parcel tax ordinance adopted last night can be changed in time -it was effective immediately upon passage by the Council.

A revised ordinance would have to be developed and then put on the agenda for another council meeting. Whatever is put on the Nov.5 ballot must be submitted to the county Elections Officer by 9 Aug.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is interesting to note that none of the three parcel tax fee schedules included in the council packet had a $25k tax for the MMC - all three included fee schedules listed the Private Club fee at $10k. As a result no one who might have been able to raise the objections noted above had any idea that a $25k fee for Private Cubs would have been approved for the parcel tax election. But then it is not clear that any of the council members had such an idea before last night. This is what happens when issues are not properly noticed and the public is not given the opportunity to comment.

This MMC issue may well doom the parcel tax vote in November.


Posted by Michael G Stogner, a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Jul 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Peter,

That is an excellent point, where did the $25,000 figure come from, When was it first brought up and by who?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I do not know whose bright idea this was and I certainly don't blame Conners for not raising an objection as he has his hands full just putting all the toys back into the crib.


Posted by MCC Atherton voter, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 18, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Based on the recent Supreme Court decision on the inequality issue of Alamada School District deciding who gets to pay more and who less (called taxing authority) they are now preparing to refund excess taxes paid since 2008. Also Davis School District has a similar issue and problem:
Web Link

Based on these events described in the linked article it would seem the Town of Atherton owes a refund to the Menlo Circus Club for excessive taxes paid since the 2010-2011 fiscal year. That would be the difference between $10,000 and $750 per year.
How does that work for you Mr Widmer?


Posted by think again, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 18, 2013 at 5:24 pm

MCC Atherton voter, you may be comparing apples and oranges with the Alameda case. Atherton's tax has always been based on the size of parcel, with rates corresponding to that. If there were a flat rate, but the town decided to charge the circus club a disproportionate amount, that might be a different matter.

Peter's point is interesting, though. Because none of the staff's options included raising the club's current rate, who would have known they needed to show up and argue against an increase?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Atherton's tax has always been based on the size of parcel, with rates corresponding to that."

Actually Atherton's rates are linked to parcel size EXCEPT for those charged for a private club which are unrelated to parcel size - hardly the 'uniformity' required by law.

The Alameda case may well be applicable.

I suspect the council didn't think before it kicked this hornet's nest.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here are excerpts from the Alameda case:

"THE ALAMEDA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT;
all persons interested in the matter of the imposition of a qualified special tax for
the benefit of the Alameda Unified School District from July 1, 2008, for a period
of four years, ending June 20, 2012, levied (A) on each taxable, residential parcel
at the rate of $120 per year and (B) on each taxable commercial or industrial
property at the rate of $0.15 per square foot per year (but commercial or industrial
property of 2,000 square feet or smaller paying $120 per year and commercial or
industrial property larger than 2,000 square feet paying $0.15 per square foot per
year with a maximum tax of $9,500 per year) with exceptions for: (1) owners of
single family residential units in which they reside who will attain the age of 65
years during the assessment year, who owns a beneficial interest in the parcel and
who uses that parcel as his or her principal place of residence and (2) owners of
single family residential units receiving supplemental security income for a
disability, regardless of age, and proceedings and matters related to the above"

Appeal Court decision:
"According to the appellate court's decision, "The issue before us is whether the tax violates Government Code section 50079, which authorizes school districts to levy 'qualified special taxes.'...Such taxes are statutorily defined as 'taxes that apply uniformly to all taxpayers or all real property within the school district'...We...conclude Measure H‟s property classifications and differential tax burdens exceed the District‟s taxing authority under section 50079 and the judgment entered in favor of the District must, in part, be reversed."[2]"

The California Supreme Court this week affirmed the Appeals Court decision:
"In a unanimous decision, the court let stand a lower court ruling that struck down several aspects of the district's Measure H, a school parcel tax approved by voters there in 2008."

Sounds like trouble for Atherton.


Posted by here are the facts, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 8:13 pm

The circus club has an~30 acre parcel. If broken into acre plots it is worth ~25K. The adjustment was approved 4-0.


Posted by Circus Club Member, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 18, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Wait a second. They have 30 acres, but are all of them developed? What about the private schools? Don't they have large DEVELOPED properties? Why not jack up their taxes without the opportunity for public comment?

More importantly, what does the Circus Club contribute to the Town? They certainly have sales, so they must be one of the few properties in Town that pays sales tax? In a Town that has no commercial / retail businesses, this must count for something.

This decision was very short sighted by the Council. Not only was the public not afforded the ability to comment on this tax, the Council did a bait and switch on what they advertised in their "survey".

This debacle encapsulates everything that is wrong with this Town's Council. Watch the Council video. Dobbie put this notion before his colleagues and still withheld his vote.


Posted by Circus Club and Cops, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 19, 2013 at 12:19 am

Isn't it interesting that the Circus Club, which was rallied by Didi Fisher to get behind Elizabeth Lewis and Cary Wiest to support the APOA in last year's election, is now grimacing when they have to pay for the outrageous police salaries and benefits. Looks like Lewis and Wiest have their allegiances to cops, not Circus Club members. Ah well. Menlo Voter's comment above is right on the money.

Kind of reminds me of Bill Clinton's diatribe against Barack Obama while his wife was losing the primary. Even though both Clinton's had been championing affirmative action for years, they never thought it was supposed to work against them.


Posted by MCC Atherton voter, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 19, 2013 at 5:15 am

The Menlo Circus Club has never been classified based on acreage but just as a "Private Club" since the beginning of a series of parcel taxes started in 1999.

Resolution 10-33 Exhibit "A" adopted June 16, 2010 details the schedule for assessment of the Special Municipal Tax.

1. For each dwelling on parcel with an area of less than 1/4 acre $430
2. For each unimproved parcel with an acre of less than 1/4 acre. $225
3.For each dwelling on parcel with an area of 1/4 acre but less than 1/2 acre $570
4. For each unimproved parcel with an area of 1/4 acre but less than 1/2 acre $285
5.For a dwelling on parcel with an area of 1/2 acre but less than 2 acres $750
6. For each unimproved parcel with an area of 1/2 acre but less than 2 acres $375
7.For each dwelling on parcel with an area of 2 acres or more $960
8. For each unimproved parcel with an area of 2 acres or more $480
9.For each private club $10,000
10. For each parcel available for tax owned by a utility which serves the Atherton area $450
11. For each parcel available for tax owned by a utility which does not directly serve the Atherton community $750

Basically Atherton's parcel tax apportionment is based on lot size, improved or unimproved with the exception of the private club classification and utility lot ownership. This structure obviously will not fly in the face of the Alameda Supreme Court decision and is especially egregious in the Private Club classification. I would think the Circus Club would have a strong case for recovery of money paid for the excessive charge based on their one off amount.

The council paid I believe about $10,000 to $15,000 to have a survey done to test the waters for a renewal of the parcel tax. The recommendation came back to go ahead but best leave amount as they were. Even Mr Conners commented this was the safest route in the event of redesigning the fee schedule. As we have have learned yesterday the
council changed the Circus Club assessment and this has wrecked the parcel tax for the November ballot as it will have little chance of passage without the Circus Club membership vote. Widmer and Dobbie have obviously been against the parcel tax from the beginning and must be delighted in this outcome. In any event the council has put the future of the Atherton Police Department at risk as well as needed capital expenditures. The parcel tax will have to be redesigned and offered again this Spring. Whether or not they are up to this task will depend on the candidate the voters choose this November.


Posted by MCC Atherton voter, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 19, 2013 at 11:28 am

In reviewing the video of the parcel tax vote at the council meeting on July 17th it is amazing in that there was no discussion on increasing the Menlo Circus Club "taxing fee" from $10,000 per year to $25,000 per year.

This item as offered as an amendment by Bill Widmer, and it took exactly one minute 26 seconds (1:26) for him to offer, Dobbie to second and the four members of the council to approve. Mr Dobbie had grabbed his microphone and immediately was poised to second as if it had been rehearsed. During this time he was waving at and smiling at someone in the audience and that behavior seemed unseemly and certainly not serious demeanor at the moment of taxing about 450 Atherton residents an additional $15,000 on their private club.

Given the fact that almost everything gets some discussion at council meetings it leaves the impression that the fix was in and that the council might have agreed on this before. Maybe during the study or in closed session? Aside from being against the rules by not having it on the agenda the Circus Club was totally unaware that this was coming and members had no opportunity for public comment. Apparently the council did know it was coming. Certainly no one objected to the process.
The video can be found on tape 4 starting at 21:34


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 19, 2013 at 11:51 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is the Appeals Court response which was upheld by the State Supreme Court:
"qualified special taxes' means special taxes that
apply uniformly to all taxpayers or all real property within the school
district.,." The District's parcel tax, Measure H, created multiple classifications, The District illegally differentiated first between residential
and commercial parcels, then between commercial parCels of varying sizes.
This second differentiation levied a flat tax on smaller commercial parcels and
a per square foot tax on larger commercial parcels. These distinctions, the
Court of Appeal correctly held, were not 'uniform" within the meaning of that
word as used in $ 50079."

The Atherton current and proposed parcel tax levy for the MCC would seem to fail the uniformity test and the speedy adoption of this $25k tax for the MCC ("This item as offered as an amendment by Bill Widmer, and it took exactly one minute 26 seconds (1:26) for him to offer, Dobbie to second and the four members of the council to approve.") would seem to preclude any arguments that is was reasonable.

I suspect the council didn't think before it kicked this hornet's nest.


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Clearly grounds to suspect yet another violation of the Brown Act as it is highly likely at least some of the CC memers discussed this ahead of the public meeting. Not saying it is so, just saying it is suspicious. But, only yet another instance where if anyone were to take it to the SM DA, nothing would be done.


Posted by Michael G Stogner, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm

If anyone wanted to try the DA's office here is Steve Wagstaffe's
e-mail....swagstaffe@co.sanmateo.ca.us

You could just forward this thread, Don't hold your breath.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The postings above provide no evidence of a Brown Act violation.
Even with 4 members on the council any two of them, less than a majority, could have legally discussed this matter before the meeting. A Brown Act violation would have occurred only if 3 or more council members discussed this matter outside of a properly agendized meeting.

It is a much more difficult call regarding the lack of notice of the change in the assessment for the MMC. I doubt that there is a strong case that this is a Brown Act violation - being stupid is not a violation of the Brown Act.


Posted by MCC Atherton voter, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 19, 2013 at 3:47 pm

It seems the recent action by the council in the case of the Menlo Circus Club is reflective of the lack of standards to be developed by the Town to be fair to all taxpaying members of the community. Overreaching council members have provided a illustration of the arbitrary use of their power either to punish or get additional revenue from entities that appear to be helpless or perhaps deserving for their ability to pay more. The fact is that it is a free for all in many communities and taxing districts in California and only now are courts stepping in to provide fairness in the process. It seems the State Legislature has gone missing in providing rules leaving local agencies free to do what they think will work (as in the case of Atherton).
An excellent discussion of the Parcel Tax in California can be found in this link. It is not a pretty picture.

Web Link


Posted by here are the facts, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 19, 2013 at 6:25 pm

the discussion on raising the tax on the circus club was discussed in an open Council study session 3 July. This was a publically noticed meeting.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

A study session is NOT a decision making session AND the MMC parcel tax issue was NOT noticed on the agenda for that meeting. There was NO opportunity for public comment on this issue.

This decision will come back to bite the council and may well doom the parcel tax vote.


Posted by Circus Club Member, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 19, 2013 at 8:07 pm

So, the fix WAS in. The Council discussed it at the study session (widely attended and viewed, I'm sure). In their arrogance, they assumed everyone must have known that they were going to bend the Circus Club members over at the next Council meeting.

It's time for the Circus Club membership to organize and get one of their members on the Council. Perhaps it even needs to be done with a recall election. Widmer and Dobbie originated this idea. They need to go.

What is the Town going to do with the extra $15,000? This year, they have the second consecutive 9% increase in property tax revenue. I mean, really ... it's almost as if the Council doesn't want the parcel tax to pass. Do they really want to alienate 500 residents?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2013 at 8:20 pm

"Do they really want to alienate 500 residents?"

They don't care. They only care about what the APOA wants.


Posted by question mark, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 20, 2013 at 5:45 pm

With an ex Atherton Mayor who happens to be the APD's biggest fan, at least one currently serving APD officer, an ex Chief of Police always hanging around, and the current County Sheriff all as standing members of the Circus Club--Why would anyone think this group could not rally support from the rest of the membership's deep pockets?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" rally support from the rest of the membership's deep pockets?"

Because most people with deep pockets don't like having their pockets picked.


Posted by Circus Club Member, a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Jul 20, 2013 at 6:21 pm

At the direction of a knowledgeable contributor and possible council member "here are the facts, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood", I watched the study session video.

Isn't interesting that Widmer was the one who brought this idea up. Most of the discussion centered on whether they could put a parcel tax on the private schools. The answer seemed to be that they were non-profit or religious organizations. So, they moved on to private clubs -- the Circus Club.

If I'm not mistaken, the Circus Club is also a non-profit organization. So, apparently that is not the appropriate criteria, as they ended up attacking a community organization that contributes sales tax and counts numerous residents as members.

Brilliant move.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:18 pm

"Brilliant move."

You get the government you vote into office. You all going to let the APOA push you into voting in another council member they've bought and paid for?


Posted by Blame yourselves, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 20, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Perhaps the members of the Circus Club should use those deep pockets to buy a subscription to the San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, or even the Almanac. If they had, and browsed occasional issues, they would know the issue of public safety benefits and pensions is crippling municipal budgets across the United States, in particular in California (because of the singularly high public safety benefits and pensions in California), and in particular in Atherton (because Atherton is singularly high within California).

Simply put, neither California nor Atherton within it can afford to pay 90% of six-figure salaries (plus truly glorious medical benefits) for the rest of a cop's life when he or she reaches age 50 without very large tax increases.

When this has been pointed out in Atherton, the commentators have been written off as malcontents who don't like the police department.

Atherton residents (and Circus Club members) apparently don't want to pay those very large tax increases, but when faced with proxies for this issue in elections that are heavily financed by the police unions, vote for just that outcome. In the last election, Cary Wiest's tagline was Atherton should not "shortsightedly look at costs" when considering the police department. Of course, he was endorsed and financed by the APOA.

Therefore, the need for this tax increase should come as no surprise to anyone. Nor should Bill Widmer be blamed! The council was unanimous on this issue, and it is the only responsible decision they could have made GIVEN THE ASSUMPTION that either (1) the police department won't be outsourced or (2) the police salaries and benefits won't be sharply contained.

Peter Carpenter knows all of this well. Therefore, his protests seem incongruous.

Where the Circus Club members do have a legitimate gripe is why are they being singled out. A better description would be why are they going first, since all residents will have to endure SIGNIFICANT parcel tax increases to continue to afford the police department at the current compensation levels.

My best reckoning of the answer to this is that the council understands that a general parcel tax increase at this juncture would be unsellable, and will be held back for the next cycle.

By the way, this is the issue that Greg Conlon, finance committee member and CPA, says he really doesn't know anything about and needs to study.

Don't blame Widmer. Don't blame Lewis and Wiest. Don't even blame the cops.

Blame yourselves.


Posted by MCC Atherton voter, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 21, 2013 at 6:02 am

"Blame yourselves" makes some interesting points but much of it is short on facts and a blend of conjecture and lumping Atherton into some of the basket cases one reads about all the time (i.e. San Jose, Oakland, Stockton). This thread started out as the unfairness of the Circus Club assessment proposal by Widmer and council abrupt approval. That should remain the topic as it has materially changed the future of the parcel tax. Anyone who has studied the finances of the town knows that Atherton cannot fund a police department without the parcel tax. Never mind pensions or medical....it is for the basic costs like gas and salaries etc. Not withstanding the vocal few that repeat their usual hate mantras about the police department it is very clear Atherton residents want their own police department and the type of service they provide. The following is a recent article from the Almanac that honestly presents the facts on the financial outlook by George Rodericks. Since that was posted we have learned Atherton has increased their revenue from the secured property tax rolls for the second year in a row by 9% plus. Calpers just announced their annual return in investment is over 12% for the past year in spite of a council members recent claim that Calpers projection of 7% is wildly optimistic and it was realistically like 4%.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 7:49 AM

Atherton council passes 'healthy outlook' budget

Higher-than-expected property tax revenue and the effects of whittling down spending over the last few years have led to a "healthy outlook" on Atherton's finances, according to City Manager George Rodericks' report to the City Council, which on June 19 unanimously approved a $10.4 million operating budget for the next fiscal year.

The 2013-14 budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 also shows revenues totaling $10.8 million -- a 5 percent increase over last year's revenue -- and a single-year revenue surplus of nearly $364,000.

The spending figure represents a slight increase over the $10.28 million budget for the current fiscal year.

Well over half of the town's spending will be for police services, which has been allocated $5.58 million. The town's parcel tax revenues account for 20 percent of that budget, according to the report.

Because the town has no sales tax revenue, which largely supports services in many other cities, it is dependent on parcel tax and property tax revenues. "Significant negative changes in either of these two revenue sources would have a significant effect on the town's ability to provide services to the community and would create an ongoing structural deficit," Mr. Rodericks wrote in the report.

The parcel tax will expire in June 2014, and the town is preparing to ask voters to renew the tax in November. Sixty percent of the tax revenue is designated for police services, and the remainder goes to public works projects.

In the new budget, three reserve funds total $4,069,641, including a $1.6 million contingency to cover emergencies and a $2.1 million "unassigned reserve."

The council and the town's Finance Committee have also been reviewing a five-year financial forecast, and have discussed strategies to pay down the town's long-term liabilities for employee pensions and post-employment health care costs. The five-year forecast suggests that the town, in addition to paying the budgeted amounts for the annual required contributions, also contribute to a side fund to whittle down the long-term debt.

Although the council approved the budget as presented last week, some tweaking is expected in the coming months. In future meetings, the council and staff will discuss options including increasing the town's code-enforcement budget, adding more funds to emergency-preparedness efforts, and allocating funds for the Town Center master plan.

In the coming months, the council is also expected to look at other revenue sources that would supplement parcel and property tax revenues.


Posted by Blame yourselves, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 21, 2013 at 6:22 am

My comment got cut off. Again, here's the issue, black and white:

"Simply put, neither California nor Atherton within it can afford to pay 90% of six-figure salaries (plus truly glorious medical benefits) for the rest of a cop's life when he or she reaches age 50 without very large tax increases."

It's got nothing to do with "WMD".


Posted by longtimeobserver, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 23, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Why not call this tax what it really is a police tax, not a parcel tax. Basically the rich can cough up the coins to pay the piper or in this case the APOA. You bought yourself a police state Athertonians, enjoy it.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 24, 2013 at 10:56 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter Carpenter knows all of this well. Therefore, his protests seem incongruous.""

The poster obviously does not understand my position on the MMC parcel tax issue - the proposed rate was set without public notice or public comment and it is such an over reach that the MMC rate could be the swing issue on the parcel tax vote.

On the separate issue of police services I believe the town should follow the example of Woodside, Portola Valley and Saratoga and contract with the sheriff to provide exactly the level of police services that are desired . This would cost 50% of the current cost and eliminate the need for a parcel tax. The town could then start living within its revenue means.


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