Town Square

Post a New Topic

UPDATE: Councilman's 'improper' conduct on agenda for special Atherton meeting April 7

Original post made on Apr 6, 2010

(This is an expanded version of a previously posted story.)
A second special Atherton City Council meeting to discuss "alleged improper official conduct and allegations that council member (Charles) Marsala is not a resident of the town" is set for Wednesday, April 7, at 6 p.m. in the council chambers, 94 Ashfield Road in Atherton.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 5, 2010, 6:04 PM

Comments (27)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 6, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Here we go again! Lots of claims and venom to appear below, I suspect, but little in the way of facts.

Shall we withhold the invective until after the hearing?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 6, 2010 at 4:15 pm

One undisputed fact is that Council Member Marsala asked a private citizen, John Buckheit, for a $500,000 loan. Mr. Buckheit is not a bank and doesn't lend money for a living.

I fail to understand why a citizen wouldn't be offended by this.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 6, 2010 at 9:05 pm

"Mr. Buckheit is not a bank and doesn't lend money for a living. I fail to understand why a citizen wouldn't be offended by this."

Because every citizen in local hamlets such as Atherton, Hillsborough and Woodside has to use a bank for a loan?

And they NEVER lend to anyone because they are not a licensed institution?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2010 at 7:18 am

R.GORDON is a registered user.

All of you MUST be kidding.
The entire population of the gilded villages which the ALMANAC serves is filled with people who do business the old fashioned BOSS TWEED way...
Just how dumb do you think readers are?
I have two properties in the County and have been told where to find money if I wanted to avoid banks..Give me a break.
This ain't Utopia and angels certainly do fear to tread in this little plot of worldly corruption.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by music to my ears
a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2010 at 8:07 am

R. GORDON

You brief comment is spot on. The only difference between between Atherton and Marsala in 2010 and Boss Tweed and New York in the mid 1800's is that Marsala is a republican whereas New York was run by a democrtic machine.

One must wonder how much of the $1.6 million in Road Impact Fees to be refunded to the developer friends of Marsala will find is way into Marsala's own pockets.

Perhaps the Council's failure to act with haste in refunding the road impact fees is what contributed to Marsala's cash flow problems.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 7, 2010 at 9:13 am

"One must wonder how much of the $1.6 million in Road Impact Fees to be refunded to the developer friends of Marsala will find is way into Marsala's own pockets."

Wow.

Keep throwing "mud" on the wall and see what sticks?

How about a fact or two instead of "one wonders" (code for "what can I say to smear him".)

Seriously: Let's present a case if any, or all of them are crooked, but just anonymous internet smearing?

That's the best ya got?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a member of the Jury
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Apr 7, 2010 at 10:15 am

Willy

You are upset over the allegations raised against Marsala. These are serious allegations. As such if you are a friend or an ally of Marsala you have good reason to be upset.

The question posed by the poster going by music to my ears is, in my view, a legitimate one. I do not see this post as a smear as you claim. I do not see this as mudslinging. No accusation has been made against Marsala.

Marsala has championed the repeal of the road impact fee. Marsala has experienced financial difficulty as of late. Marsala has exercised poor judgment and a lack of restraint in seeking a loan from one who was involved in litigation with the Town at the time of his request (his mandamus) and another more serious lawsuit (on civil rights violations).

Marsala is also a public figure. He is held to a higher standard of conduct in view of the power that has been vested in him. As such he is to a higher level of scrutiny.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 7, 2010 at 10:51 am

"One must wonder how much of the $1.6 million in Road Impact Fees to be refunded to the developer friends of Marsala will find is way into Marsala's own pockets."

And the best you have to defend that mud is the unrelated loan request?

Because the following: "Marsala has championed the repeal of the road impact fee. Marsala has experienced financial difficulty as of late..." is REALLY weak!

The first part may be fact, the latter is your claim (seeking a loan is not always a sign of distress, otherwise who would loan anything to anyone, if all in distress?) And even if true, how do those claims, tho music to you ears, substantiate that wild smear?

Agree that elected officials and such should be held to a high standard. But to what standard should we hold anonymous internet smears, unsubstantiated by fact?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by eyes wide shut
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 7, 2010 at 11:45 am

Willy is angry. Willy seems to be blinded by his anger.

The statement of Marsala being in financial distress came from Wynne Furth's report.

Marsala could not get a loan for his business because banks weren't lending back in 2009. It is online, just go to www.ci.atherton.ca.us, look under council minutes/agendas. Go to the staff report link for April 7th.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 7, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Angry? Hah, hardly. You're just trying another spurious mud-flinging, and you seem to uses different names each time. Most curious.

But thanks for being concerned about me. ;-)

So I will ask again, let's see what smoke you will create this time to avoid answering.

How is "financial distress" a fact that substantiates your claim of "Road Impact Fees to be refunded to the developer friends of Marsala will find is way into Marsala's own pockets."??

Crooks can only be crooks if they're in distress? All people in distress are crooks? Is that how it works in that fear-ridden mind of yours?

Dang, you must suspect a lot of folks of wrong doing in this economy!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 7, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Willy -

You have a knack for conveniently changing the subject. No one said an individual can't lend to another individual. That's not the point at all (and I suspect you know that).

The issue is that Marsala SOLICITED the loan from a private individual. That is a fact that is not even in dispute. In this case, a person in power (Marsala), who happens to be an elected official, hit up a private citizen for 500 large. This is a bit more than asking someone to meet you at Starbucks and allowing them to get the tab.

If you are truly not offended by an elected official soliciting money from a private citizen in the midst of serious dispute with his governing body, then I'll assume you wouldn't be offended if a judge asks you for loan before he decides your case.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 7, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Now you are back to the name "Pogo"?

Since you are now back to the loan, I assume we are done with the SLANDER you had earlier about kickbacks from:
"...in Road Impact Fees to be refunded to the developer friends of Marsala will find is way into Marsala's own pockets." ???

You need to re-read the thread, I don't think I addressed the loan issue until it was coupled in as some sort of "proof" about the kickback slander.

But glad you concede the issue about flinging mud. ;-)

re: the loan? I don't know. I personally don't think it's worth discussing until you posters get more facts. Then: Is it illegal? Does it violate Atherton's established ethics policy? If so, arrest him. If not, since you detest him, run against him.

Mr Marsala vs Mr Pogo "the Pogo, of many internet names"

re: "If you are truly not offended by an elected official..." - well, yes, from what I read especially here on these threads, there is much offensive in their town hall. It doesn't appear that Mr Marsala is alone, just that he has a special "fan club."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 7, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Oh, and the judge you mentioned? I'll take the jury, thank you.

I have greater faith in 12 folks in the jury box than, say, anonymous internet postings....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 7, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I've only posted as POGO. Perhaps you are posting under other pseudonyms, I have no need to. My posts on this issue have been consistent from the day this story broke.

I have no idea what you're talking about regarding me conceding "flinging mud" (I've never commented on that subject). But once again, Willy, you change the subject - albeit sans deft.

Solicitation of a bribe by a public official is actually against several laws including California Penal Code 518 and 519. Just look it up, Willy. You apparently have a computer. Does the name Duke Cunningham ring any bells for you?

And I'm still waiting for your answer about a judge hitting you up for a loan before rendering his verdict on you. It's a pretty much what happened to Mr. Buckheit (and Mr. Buckheit didn't get to change the subject as you have).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by what?
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 7, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Insane! Marsala asked someone for a loan and now he is accused of stealing road impact fees from the Town? Wow. Next thing you'll say he stole your car, slept with your wife, and kidnaped your baby. Crazy.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 7, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Pogo:

If it's against the law why hasn't someone arrested him from the town, the county or the state AG? A Dem AG should be pretty interested in a Republican case of alleged malfeasance.

Although if memory serves, the Dukester was brought in by a US attorney.

I thought My Buckheit was in front of a judge (and got his factual innocence,) wasn't he? How has the town council replaced, or acted as judge?

Again, frankly, I was only commenting on how the loan was used as "evidence" of the road impact slander. But keep coming back to this, since you refuse to read the thread as it relates to the (likely) slander about the road fee.

I conflated (related?) you with the other three anonymous postings on the road impact fee because you followed in their tracks and along the same lines. If you didn't post under other names, which obviously I have no way of knowing, mea culpa.

But AGAIN, my issue with is with "...in Road Impact Fees to be refunded to the developer friends of Marsala will find is way into Marsala's own pockets." And that poster raised the issue of the loan.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by just a thought
a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Two points:

1) The only proven and relevant issue is that it is clearly improper for a person in elected office to be soliciting funds from any of his constituents. If he need funds and solicited from someone outside the town, no one would be raising these issues. The possibility of influence peddling is so obvious as to be absurd.

2) People in denial use two primary techniques to maintain their rational denial systems. First, they attack the person who threatens their system of rational denial thought; Second, they change the subject.

Sorry, too many years of dealing with narcissists, and my having one of those learning curve things.

JAT


 +   Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 8, 2010 at 9:11 am

JAT -

You took the words right out of my mouth. This controversy has nothing to do with road impact fees, slander or any other issue, no matter how hard others may change the subject.

It has everything to do with an elected official soliciting money - in this case A LOT of money - from someone with active and quite serious business with his town. I see it as nothing less than a blatant shakedown.

If Athertonians wish to ignore it, they have the government they deserve.

Willy - again, a not-so-subtle change of subject. I'm still waiting for your answer whether or not you'd be offended if a judge asked your for a loan before rendering his verdict for/against you. If you'd give this question as much thought as you have trying to avoid it, perhaps you'd understand how Mr. Buckheit felt when he was solicited.

And, as for Mr. Marsala not being arrested, he hasn't been arrested... YET. Just because Atherton's town attorney (who works at the pleasure of the majority of the Town Counsel) doesn't think there's anything wrong (but conveniently ignores the "solicitation" issue in her decision), doesn't mean that the San Mateo County District Attorney or criminal grand jury hasn't noticed.

Finally, I do not know Mr. Marsala or any of the other players in this local drama. I do know that I am troubled by an elected official soliciting money from a litigant with their town. I am, however, more troubled when others seem to think this is no big deal.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by conflicted
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 8, 2010 at 9:31 am

Jon Buckheit made a point that seemed to go unnoticed during his presentation.

It was inconceivable that Wynn Furth, who reports to the City Council could do a proper investigation of this conflict of interest charge leveled against Marsala.

Another speaker also pointed out that Wynne Furth did not even do an investigation. By her own admission Wynne Furth did an analysis based upon stipulated facts. In other words she took what Marsala had to say at face value, without question.

Wynne Furth did not examine whether any federal laws related to conflict of interest, such as racketeering or public corruption.

Wynne Furth was understandably nervous [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]during pointed questioning by McKeithen.

Wynne Furth has good reason to be nervous she will be out on the street soon, having been tossed out of town in disgrace once her role in this conspiracy is unmasked.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 8, 2010 at 10:08 am

Geez guys, at least we agree now that the post with the slander from "member of the Jury" was bull.

And you recognize that his using the loan request as "evidence" was spurious, or unrelated.

The loan request: How was the meeting last night? Pitchforks and torches? Or reasoned questions and answers?

I'll await the Almanac report this afternoon, since I got my (sorry butt) dragged into this.

;-)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sorry charlie
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Apr 8, 2010 at 12:41 pm

In response to Willy's post. I was at last night's council meeting.

Conflict of interest charges, including allegations that his vote on road impact fee refunds was purchased by special interests continue to hang over his head like the sword of Damacles.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 8, 2010 at 3:28 pm

"Conflict of interest charges, including allegations that his vote on road impact fee refunds was purchased by special interests continue to hang over his head like the sword of Damacles."

You say.

But who has the evidence, as opposed to anonymous internet posting?

What has the town attorney said?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by not in service
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 8, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Willy missed last night's meeting.

He seems to be out of touch.

I tried to look him up on the phone book but couldn't find his number.

It would be nice if someone could give him a call to update him on Marsala's connection with developers and the conflict of interest in the $1.6 million road impact fee refund.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 8, 2010 at 10:11 pm

"...on Marsala's connection with developers and the conflict of interest..."

What connection?

Please, please, please spit it out. You all have allegations, mention connections, implied kickbacks and more relating to the road impact fee, specifically above and from post:
"music to my ears, a resident of another community, on Apr 7, 2010 at 8:07 am"

And yet every time I ask, you lovely folks go back and rant about the loan request.

And I'm the one that changes the subject? Eh, Pogo?

So again, I will conclude with all the mudslinging about the road impact fee is just that; baseless, anonymous internet smearing.

Unless you have something, which lord knows you haven't shared thus far.

"It would be nice if someone could give him a call ..."

"not in service" please feel free to enlighten me on your allegations of "connections" here on this forum. Or I shall conclude that it is YOU who is "not in service" to truth or our community.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by answering machine
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 8, 2010 at 11:25 pm

All Willy has to do is follow the money.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by What?
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 8, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Willy, I was there. I saw the pitch forks... the same ones that have been brought to Atherton town meetings for years. They are mostly held by 40+ year residents who are proud to announce thier status. They feel entitled to be the authority on everything in town, and if you are under 70, hey, put a lid on it.

What stuck me the most, is the mayor's unveiled hatred of Marsala. In a flurry of accusations, she even stated that we can't be sure Marsala is paying market rent for his new place, and that maybe his rental is a form of bribary. I guess if he is standing outside a building, how do we know he's not planning on breaking in, or setting it on fire?

The other issue that people are failing to focus on is the fact the police department is corrupt. Hello? At least one officer has admitted in court that a police report was falsified. Shouldn't we all be nervous about calling the police now? Where is the town outrage? If we should be angry with the council, it should be over their 4-1 vote against the citizen's police oversight comittee and their unwillingness to clean house at police headquarters.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 9, 2010 at 8:25 am

Geez, "answering machine" (yet another pseudonym for the guy on the road impact fee witch-hunt,) all you can come up with after I ask for some evidence is a quote from a movie in the 70's?

State your evidence. Let's get it on. If what you say has any merit, this guy is toast, and should be arrested.

"follow the money", okay, if it's that easy, I'll use another movie quote: "show me the money"




Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Local picks on 2015 Michelin Bib Gourmand list
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 3,198 views

Ode to Brussels Sprout
By Laura Stec | 20 comments | 2,477 views

Go Giants! Next Stop: World Series!
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,861 views

Charter School Proposal Steeped In Unintended Consequences
By Erin Glanville | 38 comments | 1,698 views

Measure M-- I am not drinking Greenheartís expensive potion
By Martin Lamarque | 8 comments | 440 views