Atherton Conflict of, er, Civic Interest League Atherton, posted by Fact Checker, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2009 at 12:51 am
In all of the pressure being brought by the Atherton Civi Interest League (ACIL) to support the parcel tax, no one has realized that Sharyn Vucinich, officer in the ACIL, has a good reason to want the parcel tax to go through. You see, continued litigation by the Town of Atherton is very important for the well-being of her and her family, as her husband's law firm is now representing the Town of Atherton in lawsuits.
Can anyone really take this endorsement seriously?
Posted by Cat Mikkelsen, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2009 at 10:43 am
I'm on the ACIL board too, and I'm not ecstatic about it, but since I'm fond of having an infrastructure in my town I'll vote for the parcel tax also.
On another topic, I just heard on Monday that there will be 3 million dollars missing from the Menlo Park School District budget this coming year -- and unless we want 30 kids in our classes and no art, etc., the parents have to pony up and pay the difference. This type of thing is happening all over our country right now as our towns and schools struggle to stay afloat and provide services. From what I can tell, Atherton is not drastically raising the amount of the parcel tax - making it unusual for right now!
Here's more information on the parcel tax and Atherton:
Posted by Jeff, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2009 at 12:58 pm
Is the money we're being asked to provide (the parcel tax) in some sort of lock box as the only source of funding for Atherton's infrastructure and emergency services, or is it co-mingled with the money we're forced to provide (property taxes)? If not, could redirection of how funds are spent from the property tax pool (for example, drastically cutting back on the litigation budget) be used to eliminate or reduce the parcel tax?
I suspect the answer is there is no lockbox, and therefore it's a bit disingenous to equate the parcel tax with the presence or absence of emergency services. Perhaps a compromise position would be passing a reduced parcel tax ($500 per household) and force the council to choose between lawsuits and emergency services.
Why is our parcel tax triple that of Portola Valley? (honest question, not rhetorical)
Posted by Right on, a resident of the Atherton: West of Alameda neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2009 at 3:29 pm
Jeff's comment is the best I've seen on the parcel tax and as far as I can see, all the supporters on the council and ACIL seem to be involved with special interests: lawyers reveling in the bonanza of litigation, real estate developers supporting the taxes and high raises and bonuses for Gruber (maybe their development projects are scrutinized as much as yours and mine, maybe not, you be the judge), police officers who up till now have been immunized from discussion about curtailing public pensions and consolidating departments.
I know how the taxes affect them. How about the rest of us? A smaller tax is a very smart idea and will force us to live within our means.
Posted by Carol Smith, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2009 at 4:20 pm
I voted absentee for S&T parcel tax because it's the ONLY source of income to maintain Atherton's infrastructure. This money goes to pay for our police services, maintenance of our roads, Holbrook Palmer Park, and more.
For full disclosure, my family does not benefit from this tax beyond that of a resident, I am on the General Plan, Lindenwood Homes Association, and San Mateo County Parks Foundation. I am not currently a member of the ACIL although I have a lot of respect for anyone willing to volunteer their time to help make our communities better.
Our community needs money to run effectively. I hope you'll consider voting for S&T, and donating to the San Mateo County Parks Foundation. Our parks really need your help.
Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2009 at 4:39 pm
The Awristachatz is a wonderful group, with mixed review regarding this town issue.
The City Council has made it hard for me to be pro on this issue because of some of the poor chooses the city has made. It's sad to see the town in so many legal actions. At times, City Council can be so unfair they leave people no other choice but to sue the town. However, I love this town, and would be happy to contribute if I knew exactly where the money was going -- that is if I believed in where the money was going. I live on a smaller lot (less than 1/5 ac) zoned in with the larger lots. If you look at a plot map I look like a postage stamp on a letter. Three members from City Council decided not to send our issue to the planning committee, even though there was a recommendation to look at how the R1A zoning was effecting the smaller lots. Most small lots in this town are R1B and I find Atherton to be very unfair. Maybe we should take more items to a town vote. I believe it takes only 750 signatures to put an issue on the ballot (about 10,000.00?) vs all the legal fees we are paying. For example, I heard the“urns” is costing the town $180,000.00 and they lost the case.
I would be very interested in forming a ballot group and help get the people of Atherton heard.
As far as Jenny goes she is an amazing person who truly cares about this town. "And Her Awristachatz Friends" They stand mixed on this issue. Please try to change the town not throw stones. Jenny and her Awristachatz friends are not fooling anyone. That was a uncalled for dig. Please be nice.
Now hopefully you will change your mind knowing all the facts. I would love to work with you (anyone) on changing the town.
Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2009 at 5:11 pm
If anyone out there feels .18ac (less than 1/5 ac) zoned in R1A (larger lots) doesn't effect you think again. If the City Counsil refuses to send us back to planning you taxpayers dollars maybe paying. I would like to take this issue to public vote. We have the same setbacks as the 1ac lots.
The little girl next door Atherton made her pregnant mother take down her swing set. Yet if you drive up our street you will truly see how wrong that was. I miss coming home and not seeing little Ashley play. Ashley cried when the man from Craigs List came and took her birthday present away. SAD
Please does anyone want to help me change the town. I know your out there. Lets form a group of like minded people. FAIR
Posted by Jon B., a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2009 at 5:32 pm
Carol, with all due respect, your statement that the parcel tax is the ONLY source of funding for Atherton's infrastructure, is incorrect. We all pay property taxes (I pay a lot, at least in my view). As Jeff pointed out, that source of revenue could be used for infrastructure (at least a good portion of it), and the parcel tax could be viewed as the source of revenue for what some of us believe are ill advised uses of taxpayer money (lawsuits, unreasonable raises, etc.).
Of course, slogans like "C and L for better Compensation and Lawsuits" just wouldn't play as well as "S and T for Safety". Let's all realize that the designation of parcel tax money for infrastructure and safety is a political designation, not an arithmetic or accounting designation.