Editorial: Clearing the air in Atherton Atherton, posted by Editor, The Almanac Online, on Feb 18, 2010 at 10:38 am
The Atherton Police Department has had its problems of late, so it is welcome news that City Manager Jerry Gruber and Police Chief Mike Guerra have scheduled a meeting next Monday to meet the public and begin a new policy of public outreach for the department. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Holbrook-Palmer Park pavilion, 150 Watkins Ave. in Atherton.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 17, 2010, 12:00 AM
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2010 at 10:38 am
Agree 100% with this insightful editorial. Please note the important distinction in my case that the police report being altered was not an allegation made by me (e.g., the report did not comport with my own recollection of the incident), but rather an *admission* by the arresting officer on the witness stand. These are qualitatively enormously different things. Any member of the Almanac may contact me for corroborating transcripts and documentation that I have legal access to.
City Manager Gruber must take a stand on the police review board.
Posted by ED, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Feb 18, 2010 at 11:37 am
You are correct Michael--but this officer has been (in complete defiance)- PROMOTED TO DETECTIVE just last Month!!!
Another point missing from the editorial is the fact that Mr. Buckheit had to sue the town (which took eight months)in order to obtain a copy of his own arrest warrant. He needed a copy in order to attempt to defend himself--What ever happened to the concept that government exist to protect our civil rights...
Posted by Thin Blue Line, a resident of another community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:33 am
Where I come from they call these "high class problems". For those of you who are going to show up on Monday night and criticize your police department, what's going to happen when you need them? I guess you'd better make sure you have as much money as Buckheit so you can buy your law. Funny thing is, police remember who supports us.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:13 am
I have now seen several comments on these boards that somehow the amount of money I have earned had to do with the judicial verdict I received of factual innocence. I have also heard (through other sources) that other police officers in Atherton think the D.A. did a lousy job opposing my motion.
First, the truth is there was no better advocate for my factual innocence than the police themselves, through their own actions in this case. The judge specifically commented on these actions in a very disapproving way. I can think of no better reason for the civillian police oversight board to be established in Atherton than the fact that - to this day - none of the Atherton police, not even Chief Guerra, will accept and act on that admonishment (but instead generate and rationalize other excuses for why the verdict was granted, and continue to refuse to accept responsibility).
Second, in regards to how much money I have (and have earned), I have worked hard for all of it and am not ashamed that I earned it. It was costly to pay attorney's fees for this motion, and it is money that should never have been spent.
Finally, if Thin Blue Line (or cohorts) wish to meet me in person at the meeting on Monday night, if you have the courage, I will be there, and am not afraid of your threats.
Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm
There is very little chance that Thin Blue Line will present himself/herself in public. After all he/she can't even write under real name. That has to do with honesty.
I have noticed the jealously and resentment in these threads also regarding the income or wealth of the Atherton residents. This should be addressed in the hiring process. Find Police officers that are OK with the people they have an oath/duty to protect being worth more then they are.
I will be at the meeting and would love to meet the Police Officer who threatens the Atherton Residents
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:45 pm Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
I am confident that the anonymous poster using the name Thin Blue Line is NOT an Atherton Police Officer; I suspect that he/she is not even a sworn peace officer but simply a wanabee.
I am also certain that the Town Manager and the Police Chief would both take immediate action if it were ever shown that one of our officers ever made the kind of threat that Thin Blue Line did in the above posting - something that I seriously doubt would ever occur.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:18 pm
Peter, why are you so confident about the actions of the Town Manager and Police Chief? I agree that they will SAY they won't tolerate any improper behavior, etc., but actions speak louder than words. I have shown both of them transcripts of an Atherton police officer testifying in court that my police report was altered after the fact (to make it look like I did something quite bad). They know about the judge's comments during that hearing. They've done nothing about it, and this is where the rubber meets the road. This is much more serious than the sophomoric remarks made by Thin Blue Line (perhaps a cop, perhaps a buddy, perhaps someone else, who knows?). I'm also confident that they'll refuse to speak about any of this on Monday night. The truth is, you are being a very supportive constituent and trying to use positive reinforcement to get them to do the right things, but I'm not sure they're deserving of such support.
Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 2:18 pm
I agree with Jon Buckheit on this issue. Nothing has been done by the people who should have done something.
Jerry Gruber, Mike Guerra, Steve Wagstaffe know that an Atherton Police Officer has committed a Felony in the Buckheit case specifically falsifying a Police Report. This was testified to under oath in court by a Atherton Police Officer. This is a FACT not an allegation.
City Manager, Police Chief, and San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney are silent.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
I am confident because I believe that both the Town leaders and citizens are working to establish a higher level of performance and trust. During such a process of building I consider it counterproductive to engage in negative attacks and presumptions of poor behavior. It is hard for both 'sides' to change and it would be even more difficult if we spend our time recounting how bad is the other side's behavior.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 4:26 pm
Your sentence beginning with "It is hard for both 'sides'" totally lost me since it assumes that residents of Atherton may need to change in order to expect proper behavior from town leaders and police officers, and that there is potentially some venting that can take place from town leaders and police officers about the bad behavior of town residents. The only behavior that has taken place by town residents that I know of is constitutionally protected speech about government. Concepts from couples' therapy are not the antidote to a serious crime committed by a resident nor a police officer or officers still employed by this town. It's really not a scab that shouldn't be picked on, but rather an issue that must be dealt with.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 7:09 am Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
As is often the case when there is controversy and disagreement the people on the different sides, and there are more than two sides, have different perspectives and different opinions on who is right and who is wrong. In the case of citizens of Atherton and the Atherton Police Department there are many sides and many perspectives. Many Athertonian thinks the PD is doing a fine job while some specific individuals feel that the PD is corrupt and beyond redemption. At least one Athertonian has had an independent judge affirm that his rights were violated by the PD. Many within the PD feel that there are an honest, professional department doing an excellent job. And I am sure that there are even other perspectives including the most common Athertonian perspective of 'I don't know and I don't care'.
Each of these parties is quite sure that their perspective is the only accurate perspective yet they can't all be right. Reconciling all these different perceptions requires that each of the parties begin with an appreciation of the other varied perspectives and be willing to suspend their judgment in order to begin bringing the community together.
Change is hard but it cannot happen unless people are willing to change, including changing their own heart felt beliefs if necessary.
Posted by Interested, a resident of another community, on Feb 21, 2010 at 8:32 am
I don't believe there is any controversy or different perspective when a Judge makes the determination that an Atherton Police Officer falsified a police report...IT IS A CRIMINAL ACT. Jon Buckheit has every right to question why that officer has not been terminated and has in fact been promoted.
To suggest he should now be willing to hold hands with the people responsible for the oversight of the Atherton Ploice Department and sing Kumbaya is patently ridiculous.
Posted by Interested, a resident of another community, on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:37 am
I can assure you I am neither sad or confused and it is unfortunate you chose to respond to my comments in such a manner. However that was not unexpected.
While it is commendable that the City Manager and Police Chief are "willing" to meet with residents and discuss the manner in which the police department is run, I don't see it as the doing us a favor. We pay their salary.
Nor did I state that the purpose of the meeting was to adjudicate the Buckheit Case. However Mr Bucheit was the first to respond to the editorial, and I for one appreciate his willingness to participate.
Atherton has a problem, a serious problem, a police dept and city management that has seen far too many lawsuits. Something is wrong, and being told by political sycophants that "we should all just kiss and make up" is idiotic.
Posted by Outsider, a resident of another community, on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:53 am
It seems Peter and Interested are talking past each other. Both are making legitimate points that are not contradictory. The community needs open communication with the police and management, and police are answerable for evidence that an officer falsified a police report. It's a legitimate question to raise at the meeting.
Calling each other names, such as "sadly confused" or "political sycophants" continues the war and the thread, but to no real purpose other than to jab at each other. I guess that's entertaining to some.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 11:11 am
Peter, I have always said that the police department is not all bad, and most likely the great majority of officers are fine people and doing a fine job. There are a few who do not fit into this category, and the current management regime will not hold them to answer for misdeeds (crimes, actually). If I were a good officer in that department, I would be most disappointed in my own management (not the bad officers, actually, and certainly not the members of the public speaking about this) as it is their responsibility to correct the problem, and the failure to do so has the collateral damage of other, innocent, people getting associated with the misdeeds of these few.
The meeting on Monday night is not the place to adjudicate my case. It was already done so by a judge. As both Insider and Outsider said, police management need to answer for rulings by a judge about their department as well as admissions during legal proceedings that crimes were committed by members of their department. I'm sure it will be brought up on Monday night. If and when they answer and take corrective action, that's when the "healing process" you refer to can begin as far as I'm concerned. (Though at least in my book, it may not be able to include them, depending on how and when they take that corrective action and give those answers).
Regarding the 97% survey satisfaction, I already offered the council my services for free to design a proper survey. Aside from the fact that enough time and controversy has passed since the first one to take a different measurement now, the question that needs to be asked is: for those residents who have had significant interaction (and we can define that) with the police department, are you satisfied? That is the measure of the police department's success, particularly when probably only 3% or so of residents have that significant interaction, and without asking this question we fall into the trap of one of the "Lies of statistics" (assuming ambivalence is support).
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 11:19 am Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
John, given your sad personal experience with the Atherton Police Department I think that your position as stated above is commendable.
For others who have had either very positive experiences or little contact with the Atherton Police Department I would hope that they will approach Monday night's meeting with open minds and a willingness to listen to many different perspectives.
Posted by TRue BLUE, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm
PROGRESS :(prog/res -ras; esp. Brit. pro/gres; v. pra gres/), n. 1.advancement toward a goal or to a higher stage. 2. continuous improvement. 3. forward or onward movement.--v.i. prog*ress 4. to go forward or onward in space or time. 5. to grow or develop.
Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community, on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm
As long as we're examining the meaning of words in dictionary's, lets take a look at this word:
the state of being involved with others in an illegal activity or wrongdoing : they were accused of complicity in the attempt to overthrow the government.
Regarding the criminal conduct by an Atherton Police Officer, a fact which has been established in a Court of Law, through the sworn testimony of a fellow Atherton Police Officer, I would like to ask this question: Is the Town of Atherton and the County of San Mateo complicit in this felonious action by failing to either investigate the incident, or even identify the perpetrator. If so, are these entities now guilty of committing a felony themselves?
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 3:16 pm Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
Michael asks:"I would like to ask this question: Is the Town of Atherton and the County of San Mateo complicit in this felonious action by failing to either investigate the incident, or even identify the perpetrator. If so, are these entities now guilty of committing a felony themselves?"
Great question for Monday's meeting - send it to the Town Manager and Police Chief now so that they will be prepared with the answer.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 1:06 am
For whatever it's worth, if anyone has any questions of me tomorrow night, I don't need them in advance. I can just answer right then and there.
Violation of the law in California about police officers making false police reports can be charged as a felony with a maximum jail time of three years and is quoted below. Ordinary citizens making a false police report are merely guilty of a misdemeanor under Penal Code Sec. 148.5. Police officers are supposed to be held to a higher standard.
Penal Code Sec. 118.1: Every peace officer who files any report with the agency which employs him or her regarding the commission of any crime or any investigation of any crime, if he or she knowingly and intentionally makes any statement regarding any material matter in the report which the officer knows to be false, whether or not the statement is certified or otherwise expressly reported as true, is guilty of filing a false report punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, or in the state prison for one, two, or three years. This section shall not apply to the contents of any statement which the peace officer attributes in the report to any other person.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:19 am
Jon Buckheit -
You exhibit incredible courage by taking on the police department and I congratulate you. Our community should embrace and support you.
I don't know what happened that night and it's not particularly relevant. I do know that when an officer of the court, who is entrusted to tell the truth, be accurate and unbiased, falsifies a report and puts one of our citizens unnecessarily in jeopardy, it is an incredible and intolerable abuse of power. The offending officer should pay a high price for that abuse, not promoted.
Posted by ranch gal, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm
Pardon me for butting in on this thread, but I read now with interest the back and forth, and as an Atherton resident since 1955, I don't understand quite why Michael, or Outsider, or Interested can even involve themselves in an internal Atherton dispute and one of them even said "We pay their salaries" but I think not if they don't live in Atherton or? I say Butt out on an Atherton PD issue unless you are a resident of Atherton.
Posted by Wrong, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm
If Atherton police only had contact with Atherton residents, you might have a point, but they don't. They can arrest and ticket anyone physically in Atherton (actually, anyone physically within California). Sorry, you are wrong and should not be attempting to exclude others from this discussion.
Posted by somethingsmells, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm
The invitation to the interactive meeting is addressed to all "interested Atherton residents" to ask questions and allow the City Manager and Police Chief to answer questions and concerns regarding Police Services and the Town. It is not about giving Jon Buckheit, Michael Stogner or Peter Carpenter or other gadflies an opportunity to dump on the Town and police department. You have said enough, and we know how you feel. Jon if you feel so wronged then go and arrest the Chief and any other officer who committed a crime against you.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm
somethingsmells: (1) I'm an interested Atherton resident, (2) I have a concern, (3) who determines what are legitimate concerns vs. giving gadflies opportunities to dump? you? (4) how do I go about arresting a police chief and police officers? Your comment is foolish.
Posted by somethingsmells, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 4:04 pm
Peter, of course I read all the threads and you are totally involved stirring these people up and acting as the director and head of the oversight movement. You are championing "trust" but all you are doing is creating mistrust. I would point out that you are President of the ACIL and like to point out that your comments are made not acting in that capacity. That of course does not work except maybe for you. You are all over other topics on Atherton and other communities embolded by the Almanac and you are a gadfly. No apologies forthcoming. I really have had enough of you.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 4:22 pm Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
I NEVER speak on these forums on behalf of ACIL or any other organization with which I am involved and I ALWAYS use my real name.
It would be really nice if somethinsmells actually had something to contribute to this and other forms of public discourse rather than just crying about people who care enough to carry on and to encourage dialogue and discussion.
I seldom get mad on these forums but somethingsmells should exercise her right of simply not reading these discussions in order to avoid upsetting her fragile and shallow temperament.
Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community, on Feb 22, 2010 at 4:31 pm
Dear Ranch Gal,
This is not an internal Atherton dispute. This is an Atherton Police Officer has committed a felony against an Atherton Resident. Now if you are OK with that, as is your City Manager, Police Chief, and San Mateo County Deputy District Attorney are that is your choice.
It is not OK with me that a Police Officer commits a crime.
By the way this is not an alleged crime, this is factual, a crime has been committed.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 6:43 pm
This thread is devolving into nonsensical argument about archane definitions and innane name calling. One poster has even suggested we should be performing citizen's arrests on police officers. Good luck with that, pal - unless you want the imprint of a baton on your skull. That isn't realistic and you know it.
But imagine for a moment that you have been arrested and the arresting police officer has falsified the facts about your behavior. Given the court's predisposition to believe the police, it is extremely unlikely that you would prevail in your defense. If the cop says you did something, courts generally believe you did it. It would be a very helpless feeling and most of us would buckle under the weight of that accusation and seek the least oppressive punishment.
For that reason, this is a very serious matter.
I congratulate Mr. Buckheit for having the guts to challenge that falsehood and even more so for prevailing.
Posted by Well Said By Others, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:40 pm
Dear Somethingsmell, there are a number of us in town that back Peter, Jon & Michael. Because they are so good when they write thing I feel they are speaking my thought exactly so I do not post. It's kind of like having the same speech, but they did such a good job you feel heard even if you didn't write it. I just hope we see results from tonight's meeting. Results in the end are all that matters. I have heard first hand some officers speak of Atherton residents, and I was shocked at how they felt about us. It was not only shocking, but it was sad. I wanted to think that they had the same amount of resect for us as I had for them. That evening changed everything. It's as if you think someone is your friend and you hear them say bad things behind your back. Things are never the same. Granted it was only 2 officers I heard talking, but that was 2 two many. My contact with a number of other officers is the reason I hold police officers in such high regard. I just wish Atherton would weed out the bad seeds, or plant them somewhere else. They don't like us and don't belong here. I want ALL our police officers to like us and have respect for us. In return we should do the same. Changing a police report, falsely arresting a resident, and the way 2 of the officers I heard talk about us is NOT ok. I went to a bible study the other day and found one of the women in the groups son had a demeaning incident happen with an officer I really like. The officer had to call and apologize. I am very proud of that kid for coming forward there are a number of people in town that are to afraid for fear they will be targeted.
Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community, on Feb 23, 2010 at 8:37 am
Jon Buckheit does it again, proves the Chief of Police of Atherton is not being honest.
A lifelong resident said she had stopped calling the police because she knew that the police department had put her on a "do not respond list," a charge Chief Guerra denied. "We do not have a do not respond list," he said.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, 6 hours ago
(1) In defense of Ms. Tevis, I received the following e-mail from an individual who obtained it through a public records request from the Town of Atherton. It was sent by Chief Bob Brennan to Marc Hynes, Wende Protzman, with cc: to Tim Lynch and Glenn Nielsen on 10/1/07 at 7:13 a.m.:
"Mrs. [NAME REDACTED FOR PRIVACY; NOT TEVIS] is taking up too much of our time for these types false report incidents. I would like to put her on a do not respond.
Michael Stogner, a San Carlos resident who is running for Rich Gordon’s county supervisor seat, stood up to support Buckheit. “I urge you to solve (the investigation) quickly,” Stogner said. “What you have is police officers in Atherton committing crimes against your own residents.”
Guerra said he wanted to investigate but no longer has access to the police report and is otherwise constrained because of the active litigation.
To be clear (the investigation) I am referring to is at least one APD Officer committing a felony fabrication of a police report against Jon Bucheit. Jerry Gruber and Mike Gurerra and Steve Wagstaffe are aware of this crime.
Posted by Shivering, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Feb 23, 2010 at 8:58 am
I was curious as to who this Michael Stogner is who, admittedly from San Carlos, gets up to speak about a criminal matter in an Atherton meeting. He is not an attorney nor does he hold any official or unofficial office. He says he is running for Supervisor but continues to interfere in matters around the county. Talk about Gadfly.
Chief Guerra and Manager Gruber did a good job without losing their cool to some very intemperate remarks from a very few citizens. Of course those are the people the Almanac interviews for the articles. The vast majority of people at the meeting were supportive of the police department and their concerns were mostly regarding traffic enforcement and safety issues. Please, Almanac, try to write somethng good about the town.
And Peter Carpenter, spend a little less time stirring the pot on the Almanac site and go get a haircut.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Feb 23, 2010 at 9:32 am Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
Shivering - my wife agrees about the haircut.
And perhaps take a moment to reflect that if citizens like myself did not take the time to 'stir the pot', to organize meetings and to propose changes that nothing would happen. The real question is not why am I speaking out so much but why are others, like yourself, speaking out so little. This is our community and what happens here is our collective responsibility. I would welcome more voices and more perspectives in these debates. Do you have any substantive things to say - if so, then please speak up.
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Feb 23, 2010 at 9:51 am
Shivering, the Almanac writing about problems in the town is good for the town. Problems should be solved, and the expression of problems should not be viewed as intemperate behavior. The vast majority of people have not had an interaction with the police department and are rightfully supportive of the police department since Atherton is a safe community. This does not mean there are not problems, or that expressing a view on issues that can be improved is unhealthy. The police department needs to be measured on how the people feel about it who have had an issue, and I think Chief Guerra actually acknowledged this at the start of the meeting. I would like to thank Chief Guerra for holding the meeting and keeping his cool during some tough remarks by me. It took courage, and these interactions are useful. Thanks also to Peter Carpenter for spearheading this. I look forward to more productive meetings.
Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community, on Feb 23, 2010 at 10:28 am
Shivering, I don't know if you remember that I Thanked Chief Mike Guerra and Jerry Gruber before I spoke, for allowing me to make comment at the meeting. The reason I did so was they knew what subject matter I would be talking about. I have had this conversation with them before.
Criminal conduct by law enforcement officers against residents/citizens.
This category was not included in the slide presentation.
From Daily News
Stogner said. “What you have is police officers in Atherton committing crimes against your own residents.” this is a fact not an allegation.
I said I live in San Carlos, because I do. I wanted the audience to know who I was and where I lived period.
I also would like to say Thank You to Jerry, Mike, and Peter and any others involved for causing that meeting.
Posted by Shivering, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Feb 23, 2010 at 11:33 am
Mr. Stogner. We still don't know why you are interferring in our town's affairs. Why don't you stick to problems in San Carlos where you say you live. Have they run you out of town? You say you are running for supervisor...you won't get my vote. Atherton is capable of handling its own problems without your help/meddling.
Posted by True Blue, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Feb 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm
Thank you Mr. Stogner for exhibiting the interest you have in Atherton's affairs.
A candidate for County Supervisor who shows broad interest in all the cities with in the district is exactly who we need to represent us. I very gratefully except the concern you offer and will reciprocate with my vote.
Posted by interloperwatch, a resident of the Atherton: West of Alameda neighborhood, on Feb 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm
I guess you consider yourself lucky you don't live in Atherton and have to deal with the continual police criminal activity. If you are really serious about cleaning up it up you might consider getting a good day job and make enough money to buy a house in Atherton. That way you get to be taken seriously. Meanwhile please stay in San Carlos.