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Funeral March for a Marionette

Original post made by Civic Interest, Atherton: other, on Jun 5, 2010

The Marionette: Jerry Carlson

The Puppeteer: Elizabeth Lewis

The Funeral: The end of Carlson's political career in Atherton.

Charles Marsala announced he's not running for council again. Jerry Carlson should also announce he's not running this year (I won't say "again" since Carlson never did actually run in the first place).

With Marsala, at least you know what you're dealing with. Carlson has no spine, no political opinions of his own, and no ability to come to his own conclusions on things. He's just a chameleon.

Now that he's been shunned in his reelection efforts and no town leader will help him run a campaign, he's turned to the only person who will help him: Elizabeth Lewis.

Do we really need another council member Elizabeth Lewis controls?

Comments (27)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by insider
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 5, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Jon Buckheit should be appointed conservator on that sick old man, the Town of Atherton


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Posted by disgusted
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 5, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Politics does make strange bedfellows.

Just four years ago, Jerry Carlson was the champion of transparency. He called for an audit of the Building Department. Now, he turns to a major beneficiary of Mike Hood\'s and Mike Wassman\'s munificence Elizabeth Lewis as his sponsor in his quest for re-election.

There can be little doubt how Jerry Carlson will vote when Wynn Furth issues her whitewash of what went on at 1 Emilie.

The thought of Jerry Carlson and Elizabeth Lewis in bed with one another (figuratively speaking of course) is, well, disgusting.

Jerry Carlson is not the man he made himself out to be, nor is he the man we hoped he would be.

Vote no on Jerry Carlson this November.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by former friend
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jun 6, 2010 at 8:38 am

Jerry Carlson fell in with the wrong crowd.

He can no longer be trusted.

This is very unfortunate.

We must rid ourselves of Carlson.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2010 at 9:18 am

This is a sad discussion. The Town Council consists of five talented, intelligent and dedicated people who have chosen to serve our community.

Each of these individuals has their strengths and weakness and has made their share of mistakes - as have we all. The problem is not these five individuals but the simple fact that they do not work well together to serve the needs of the community.

We will have the opportunity to elect three Council members this November. Marsala has already indicated that he will not run for re-election. We should thank him for his service. And we should reach out to the bright young members of our community to encourage them to run in the November election. Nothing will improve the Town Council more than a truly competitive election.

And in the mean time I urge everyone involved to stop the trash talk represented in this thread. If you don't like one of the individuals currently serving then make sure that there is a candidate whom you can enthusiastically support BOTH before and after the election. And if you have never stepped into the arena of elected office think twice about taking anonymous cheap shots at those who have had the courage to do so.


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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 6, 2010 at 10:44 am

Peter, inasmuch as Jerry Carlson and Elizabeth Lewis tried to publicly humiliate me by blacklisting me from the finance committee (even preferring a seat go unfilled), I refrain from doing the same in these forums as I agree with you that there are other, more productive, solutions than stooping to their level.

However, regarding your other comment that the problem is all council members do not work well together, I could not disagree with you more. When I began coming to the meetings a year ago, I did so with an open mind, to try to figure out what is going so wrong with the way things are done that my own problem took place and was permitted to fester. I was even on friendly terms with one council member, so you could even say, if anything, I should have had a predisposition against what I am now going to say: there are big problems, Kathy McKeithen is trying to fix them, Jim Dobbie is trying to help her for the most part, and others are trying to prevent her from fixing them because of special interests and/or misguided efforts to fit in.

It's not a "working together" problem. It's a "special interests" problem.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2010 at 11:30 am

Jon states:", Kathy McKeithen is trying to fix them, Jim Dobbie is trying to help her for the most part, and others are trying to prevent her from fixing them because of special interests and/or misguided efforts to fit in. "

Peter says:"The problem is not these five individuals but the simple fact that they do not work well TOGETHER to serve the needs of the community."

I think that we agree.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by gumbie
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2010 at 11:38 am

Jerry reminds me of my favorite childhood toy, Gunbie.

You can bend him in any direction and he retains his form.


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Posted by existentiakist
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 6, 2010 at 11:47 am

There times when working well together is not the solution. There are times when one must be destroyed for the benefit of all. Sadly, this is one of those times.

If you think that what is going in town isn't criminal then you are hopelessly naive.


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Posted by existentiakist
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jun 6, 2010 at 11:48 am

There times when working well together is not the solution. There are times when one must be destroyed for the benefit of all. Sadly, this is one of those times.

If you think that what is going in town isn't criminal then you are hopelessly naive.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 6, 2010 at 11:54 am

Peter you seem to be saying people can't work together and it's everybody's fault, or nobody's fault. Jon Buckheit is saying he's done his homework and the fault lies with Carlson, Lewis and Marsala. Do you agree with this or not? I put credence into what Buckheit has determined because he does has homework and he's been right so far.


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Posted by middleman
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 6, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Peter:

Join one camp or the other. It is time to break the impasse. End this bitter fued by joining forces with that side you believe in.

If you think everything is fine then get with Carlson and Lewis. If you there is something that need fixing then join with Dobbie and McKeithen.

Do something, anything but utter platitudes about harmony.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 6, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Bob asks:"Jon Buckheit is saying he's done his homework and the fault lies with Carlson, Lewis and Marsala. Do you agree with this or not?"

I disagree - a great deal could be accomplished if the five elected officials worked together in the best interests of the Town - they do not.

On any given issue fault could be found with the position of any member of the council and I do not believe that any two or three of the members are more or less at fault than are all of them collectively.

And I think I have a pretty good track record on assessing this council and its behavior on a broad range of issue over the years.

However, whatever Jon or I think is irrelevant - the issue is what do those few people who are willing to take the time and effort to vote in November think? And will anyone stand up to seek the vote of those citizens to serve on the council? Those are the important issues, not endless finger pointing.


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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 6, 2010 at 2:03 pm

While I agree with Peter's notion that more could be accomplished if the council members worked well together, I think lurking inherently in his analysis is that they all know what the right thing to do is, but just can't interact well enough to implement correct decisions. I say they have remarkably different notions of right versus wrong.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John P. Johns, CPA
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I spent six years attending City Council meetings. I was involved in litigation with the City Council for another two years after that.

I know this Council as well as anybody.

I agree with Mr. Carpenter that the Council consists of five intelligent, talent and dedicated people. I also agree with Mr. Carpenter when he says each has their own strengths and weaknesses.

My read on the crux of the problem is that the dedication displayed by the five members of the Council vary widely. This is why they do not play well together.

Unfortunately, Mr. Jerry Carlson has shown a dedication to preserving his influence as the swing vote. He has put his desire for influence above his principles.

Mr. Marsala has shown a dedication towards giving back to that very special interest called developers who would like to have some other part of Atherton's constituency pay for the damage that they do to the roads as they transport their heavy loads of building material to their job sites.

Ms. Lewis has shown a dedication towards having things her own way, regardless of what the rules might say.

In short my problem with the current council is that a majority is using its talent, smarts and dedication to ends that are self-serving and detrimental to the interests of community it is supposed to be serving.

This is an utter disgrace.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Jon, I agree with you on this one,

"I say they have remarkably different notions of right versus wrong."

This has got to be solved and not by some class or home study course, this will require new people.

Example is it OK for Atherton Police to commit a felony against a resident/citizen? Yes or No


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sad but true
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Jun 7, 2010 at 7:36 am

If one is looking to the likes of Peter Carpenter or the Atherton Civil Interest League to lead us out of the current mess, one will surely be disappointed.

Peter Carpenter can't seem to bring himself to admit that there are dishonest politicians and corrupt public officials who are running the show here in town.

Until Mr. Carpenter is willing to take a stand, we owe it to ourselves to look for leadership elsewhere, such as Mr. Buckheit.

I could not disagree more with Mr. Carpenter's suggestion that it does not matter what he or Mr. Buckheit think. Mr. Carpenter himself has prided himself of being a very visible public servant. For Peter Carpenter to claim that he has no influence and that he should not be called upon to offer more than "just try and get along" as advice is just plain nonsense.

Mr. Carpenter, either take charge or get out of the way.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 8:28 am

Sad but true - you are so very wrong.

I continue to provide my opinions and advice and to contribute to the welfare of my community.

I am unwilling to pronounce others as GUILTY without them having had the benefit of a fair trial. I believe that it does not serve our community well to make unproven accusations, as opposed to asking questions, about our elected leaders - particularly when we are trying hard to encourage others to enter into public office.

I stand on my record and my continuing contributions to our community.

What have you ever done for our community - whoever you are? And who in the hell are you to tell me to get out of the way?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 9:12 am

I repeat:

We will have the opportunity to elect three Council members this November. Marsala has already indicated that he will not run for re-election. We should thank him for his service. And we should reach out to the bright young members of our community to encourage them to run in the November election. Nothing will improve the Town Council more than a truly competitive election.

And in the mean time I urge everyone involved to stop the trash talk represented in this thread. If you don't like one of the individuals currently serving then make sure that there is a candidate whom you can enthusiastically support BOTH before and after the election. And if you have never stepped into the arena of elected office think twice about taking anonymous cheap shots at those who have had the courage to do so.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by David Henig
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Jun 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Peter, et al.
Who in there right mind would volunteer for this? The council, I believe, very accurately represents the varied interests of the community. Those in the community who want to hold on to what they believe Atherton has and should be have their advocates on the Council. Others in the community who have different goals and desires find their interests are shared by different members of Council.

Plenty of elected bodies have members who disagree but manage to come together to benefit their constituents. But when a community says things like "pick a side" or "get out of the way" there is not much hope for a coming together for the greater good.

I for one can not see how someone who would honestly want to bring the Council together would throw their hat into this ring; at this point I am afraid that the only people who will run will be partisans from either side of the divide- not a recipe for reconciliation.


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Posted by Pablum
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 7, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Your comments are pure pablum, Mr.Hennig. Sometimes it's as simple as right versus wrong: (1) is it right or wrong to declare $1.6M of road impact fees "illegal" (when Los Altos does it) and give back to the fat cat developers who own and run this town? (2) is it right or wrong for a cop enjoying high salaries and pension benefits we can't afford, to declare that's not enough for him, and to falsify a police report against a tax paying resident? (3) were Hitler and Mussolini "wrong" or was it simply a problem of England and France not being able to work with them for the greater good?

Sometimes there really is right versus wrong. I say it has more of a place in local politics than elsewhere because the negative effects of being "wrong" affect us in a far greater way.

And, since I know you may want to run for council as a "reconciliation" candidate, we've already seen how well Jerry Carlson has done with that approach. A total failure.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Pablum - how strong you speak from the silent anonymous shadows.

For example, do you have facts to back up your wild assertion about the Council's decision on the road impact fees given the court cases that supported the Council's decision? How much should the Council have spent on court costs to find out if the road impact fees were legal given that other cities had had their road impact fees turned over by the courts. Where is your simple right or wrong in this case?
How much homework have you done to find out the facts and have you discovered the unsettled nature of the law on this issue?

I get very tired of all of this moralistic whining from people who don't participate in local government, probably vote only when it is convenient (if ever) and then blame everything on somebody else.

What, pray tell, have YOU done to make things 'right'? And exactly where have you found the "truth" about which you speak with such anonymous passion.

Pablum = Mush


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Posted by WhoRupeople
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Not being a resident, nor having any "skin in the game", I have stayed clear of commenting on all of the problems that have come out in Atherton over the past several months. While I have my opinions about who should or should not be facing criminal charges, I will still keep those to myself. But, this interchange prompts me to say something to readers who live in the town--please consider it just advice from someone who is trying to be helpful--It doesn't matter whether or not you change City Manager, elect three new people to the Council, or leave everything as it is, until the town cancels its contract with the law firm that employs the City attorney and finds a new one, no one in authority is going to get the sound, unbiased legal advice needed to govern effectively and rid your town of the special interest influences that are plaguing it.


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Posted by get off your high horse
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jun 7, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Peter

If you do not like my anonymous posts. Well that is just too bad. I have seen what happens to people like Buckheit who stand up. They get woken up by the Police claiming that they are responding to an alarm. Then once they are invited in who knows what they will "find".

As far as your speaking out about unproven allegations. I have seen the evidence that Mr. Johns has assembled against Ms. Lewis. Rather than respond to this overwhelming evidence, Ms. Lewis would prefer to complain of a witch hunt.

Good old Marsala, when questioned about his inability to handle his personal finances and his breach of ethics in soliciting a loan has the nerve to challenge Kathy McKeithen to find a solution to bigger problems such as the Town's failing finances. This is truly remarkable when one considers it was his gift to his developer friends that contributed to this $1.6 million problem by decimating our streets.

Then there is our good friend Jerry Carlson who votes to sue the High Speed Rail Authority to protect his own property values.

What amazes me Mr. Carpenter is that you a self described champion of transparency and accountability pass all of this off as an inability of the City Council to just get along.

Mr. Carpenter. You can be part of the problem or you can be part of the solution. In my view until such time as you actually do something more than urge the City Council to "kiss and make up" and for our fellow citizens to "get out and vote". Unless you work towards helping the honest minority on the City Council to seize power, rather than let this opportunity slip away, you will have failed. That is if you ever tried to make this town a better place.

If you find these words too harsh to bear, then go read another post.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Get off your high horse - you not only hide behind anonymity but you also violate this Forum's Terms Of Use by using multiple (fake) names - where is YOUR sense of right and wrong. Oh, that only applies to people with real names.

"You agree not to post comments under multiple names. Postings within a single topic from the same IP address made under different names will be deleted."

Feel free to trash me from the shadows - I have a solid track record of community work, much of it done quietly and in more productive places than this increasingly vapid Forum. You and your other alter egos want to 'seize power' and have lynch mobs - sorry, I prefer a democracy composed of civic minded and civil citizens.


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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 7, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I'd like to respond to Peter's questions above, and I will use my real name:

>>> Do you have facts to back up your wild assertion about the Council's decision on the road impact fees given the court cases that supported the Council's decision

The court cases relied on were from the Southern California District Court and are not binding on the Northern California District Court. Presumably this is why well-managed communities like Los Altos Hills continue to have road impact fees.

>>> How much should the Council have spent on court costs to find out if the road impact fees were legal given that other cities had had their road impact fees turned over by the courts.

At least as much as they spent on the Johns litigation, since (unlike the Johns case), the Town has something to gain by winning.

This is part of the pattern I see of "ego" litigation in the Town of Atherton (fight an ex-employee to prop up the egos of his accusers, fight a resident [me] to prop up the egos of cops). When legitimate issues actually come up that are worth litigating (road impact, not being afraid to stand up to unions because we're afraid they might sue) because of the economic swings involved, Atherton backs away.

On the issue of a police officer falsifying a police report, that seems to me to be a clear right versus wrong. I agree with "Pablum" on this one. Assuming you think it's wrong, has the council done anything about it?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Jon - you have provided your well thought out opinion on this issues.
Pablum or Mush or whatever is his name simply puts them in two big boxes - Right and Wrong. I don't buy the hang 'em first and get the facts later approach to decision making or lynching. I prefer to get the facts, make sure that all sides have been heard and then have a responsible accountable person make a public judgment. If Pablum has evidence of criminal wrong doing then he should take it to the DA or Attorney General. Frankly, I don't think Pablum knows anything or has ever lifted a finger to make a civic contribution.

I have tried to get 100 people to put items like the police record falsification on the Council's agenda and so far only 8 people have signed up - and there is no one named pablum or Mush. I doubt that we could get 8 people to sign a recall petition. So the answer is the November election but then who is going to run? Not Pablum or Mush I am sure.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 7, 2010 at 6:01 pm

As another "out of towner," I would simply like to encourage the good people to Atherton to think about running for their town council. None of the people serving on the current council are professional politicians and they came to the party with that same lack of experience that you have.

Good people have to step forward first. Without you, there will be no choice.

Don't think about the many the reasons you can't do this (we know, everyone is very busy...), think about the one reason YOU CAN. Your friends and neighbors will support you and thank you.

It's YOUR town.


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