Councilman says he hasn't left Atherton Atherton, posted by Editor, The Almanac Online, on Jan 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm
Atherton Councilman Charles Marsala says he hasn't moved out of Atherton. Responding to a complaint from a neighbor who thought he'd left town, Mr. Marsala said that he is leasing his home for a couple of months to a Stanford Hospital patient and her family.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 21, 2010, 10:18 AM
Posted by Tricia 59, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm
Typical Atherton busy bodies trying to tattle on a neighbor. Having lived here since 1955, it seems to me there are more and more lethargic Athertonians in recent years with nothing better to do but peek out of their curtains to spy on other residents. It is one thing to keep our town safe, observing suspicious activities, but to those Town Snoops, GET A LIFE! Charles Marsala is doing a noble deed! How many of YOU would do the same for a person or family in need?
Posted by Tree Fan, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 12:23 pm
I agree. I had this huge but dangerous eucalyptus tree in my front yard, and it needed trimming about 40 feet on the top. I hired tree trimmers, and sure enough, THE POLICE came to my door. A neighbor had called them, instead of doing the normal neighborly thing, coming over, ringing my bell and simply inquiring about our tree trimming since they were SO CURIOUS. The police asked if I was tearing my tree down. I said no, not at all, just trimming it because the neighbor on my right asked me to for safety since much of it leaned towards HIS yard. The OTHER neighbor on my left, I discovered later, was the one who called to "save the tree". So in Communist fashion, I called them both and gave them each other's phone #'s to discuss what they wanted to happen WITH MY TREE. Poor Mr. Marsala having nosey neighbors. Sad. And how much did we townspeople have to pay for the city attorney to render his opinion?
Posted by Atherton Neighbor, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 12:25 pm
Amazing. This is the type of press once again that Atherton doesn't need. I agree with Tricia on all fronts. It sounds like this was started by another council member "hearing rumors" given the friction and bad blood on this town council. Another self inflicted poke in the eye for Atherton politics.
Good work Charles, given your recent family loss. The family leasing your home is fortunate to have someone like you who is helping them during a tremendously difficult time.
PS. Andrea, you have better things to write about don't you??? How about high speed rail and some of the other pressing issues?
Posted by Witch Doctor, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm
It seems that Mayor McKeithen is [portion removed; disrespectful language]on yet another WITCH HUNT against Marsala. Previously she went after her fellow councilmembers Nan Chapman, Malcolm Dudley, Didi Fisher, Alan Carlson, Jim Janz, and Elizabeth Lewis. Yes, a WITCH HUNT; and trust me Kathy IS NOT a hunter.
Posted by Massachusetts Miracle, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm
After reading the story and the reactions in the comments above, I have only one observation. Kathy McKeithen and Charles Marsala are Atherton's own local version of Martha Coakley and Scott Brown. Time to concede Kathy.
Posted by swan song, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm
Glad to see you back in such fine form, enjoying this last taste of power and popularity.
In these few weeks before you finally flame out forever, there is still some last minute damage for you to inflict on this town, just to insure your that your legacy prevails as the absolute worst catalyst for ruination living memory.
Maybe if you look up Rodney Bogonovich in Chicago he will take you in.
Posted by sun dried tomatoe, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 9:56 pm
Gee I was under the impression that Marsala was staying in Steve Ackley's pool house - the one Marsala helped keep from getting torn down after Ackley was caught red handed building it without a permit.
With all the developer friends Marsala made he should be able live for decades in Atherton rent free.
Posted by Not Necessary, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Jan 23, 2010 at 12:47 am
I am enjoying the transparency of the Atherton City Council and SOME of it's residents for the following reasons; it allows one to see the lack of compassion by others in your community, and your council. It helps us to see why the business of Atherton City Council can't get done, because you're too busy minding other peoples's business.
To the nosey one, and you know who you are, GET A LIFE! If you had as much compassion for another human being as you have time to peer through your windows at your neighbors and gossip, you could be considered respectable. Imagine what good you could do for your community with all that time. Shame on you!
Posted by So Sad, a resident of the Atherton: Lloyden Park neighborhood, on Jan 23, 2010 at 7:34 am
This story is a diversion to what is really happening in Atherton. After giving Pilar Buckly $230,000.00, Mayor McKeithen is helping Former Finance director John Johns get money from the town. She requested town documents and gave them to Johns to use in his lawsuit against the town and gave him a declaration to use as well. Johns gave a statement under penalty of perjury that she violated the Brown Act and gave him privileged information that the criminal investigation against him wasn't going anywhere.
She responded with a statement under penalty of perjury that Johns committed perjury with his statement. But Johns statement was correct, the investigation did not result in prosecution.
She has been chair of the Town's Finance Committee for six years and directed Johns to investigate those she had issues with. The first retaliation investigation was Mike Hood. She wanted Hood to prosecute her neighbor for letting the nanny stay in the guest cottage more than 30 days. Hood sent it to the Planning Commission.
After the Atherton Police and San Mateo Sheriff searched her home, she directed Johns to investigate the Atherton Police.
When she was the subject of the recall campaign in 2006, she directed Johns to spend more than $12,000.00 of our town money to have forensics done on the Building Department computers for information on her recall. A politician cannot use public funds for campaigning!
If she can replace Marsala with another one of her friends like Dobbie, she has the votes to cover-up the John Johns favors...so much for transparency!
Posted by same old tricks, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Jan 23, 2010 at 10:38 am
Dear Sad Sack: Great spin! If you can successfully hijack this thread back to the old "tried and true?" spin about McKeithen, then maybe it will work again to take everyones eye off the ball--after all--it has worked repeatedly to confuse the public for years.
Maybe no one will notice yet again.
If it does not happen to work as well this time you can always try the" porn discovered on the computer" method at which you have become so adept.
Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community, on Jan 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm
Dear Steve, I mean SoSad
Everyone knew the criminal Investigation against John Johns wasn't going anywhere. The question is why did you open it in the first place, Of course he had authority to purchase things, and then after determining no crime (ipod purchase) was committed, why did you allow the investigation to remain open if not for the sole purpose to interfere with his civil rights. You allowed Investigator I.G. to remain involved and attend J.J. court appearance to put pressure (forcing him to invoke the 5th) on him to drop his civil suit.
Please feel free to double check your facts before you attempt to spin this. It is my understanding the Kathy McKeithen has personal knowledge of being followed by black APD car, before she was a council member.
Posted by Candle Lighter, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Jan 23, 2010 at 1:24 pm
The ongoing (and really, personal) "war" between the factions of two members of the town council is doing tremendous damage to this town. Because of this ongoing "war" there is not a united council and Jerry Gruber thus believes he can operate in a manner far more autonomous than is appropriate. Because of this ongoing "war" the police department also feels there can never be any consequences for any of its misdeeds. I think it is important to realize this, and then to stop it, because everyone loses.
Posted by peace-nik, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Jan 23, 2010 at 2:48 pm
Well I not sure it does damage everyone. In fact it lets Charles conveniently right off the hook actually, to drop the issue. Do you need him for something?? Think of this all, as a proxy war of attrition between "special interests". Choose a side if you want it over with. Apparently we just can't have it both ways without an endless struggle.
Posted by Candle Lighter, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Jan 23, 2010 at 4:09 pm
Peace-nik, I don't need anyone for anything. I just have the ability to prioritize the issues going on with Atherton now. In a way I wish this could be near the top of the list, but the sad truth is, it isn't even close.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
Not taking sides states:
"It is clear there is animosity amongst two members of the Council. It is also clear that this animosity has degenerated into emnity.
The only one who can benefit from the Council's inability to play nice is the City Manager. With a divided council a power vacum is created. The Council-Manager form of government ceases to exist.
It is replaced by a City Manager form of government.
If we want accountability in this town, we need a City Council that can actually function.
I say stop the recriminations and start the deliberations."
Ok, then start a NEW thread on that issue and quit using this thread for that issue. If we, as an electronic community, cannot regulate our behavior then this Forum will become the forum for the disgruntled and everyone else will, appropriately, leave this forum.
Posted by wicked witch of the west, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Jan 23, 2010 at 7:23 pm
Dear Playing Both Ends Against the Middle:
This effort to protect Charles by pretending it will save the town from Gruber is your most brilliant yet. All of your argument is exactly true enough to to disguise the question "should Charles remain on the council at all??
If he's gone and replaced by anyone or no one, the council dynamic/city manager/vacum all self corrects. I agree that Gruber has abdicated-- thrown his lot in with the police to stay out of the whole council thing and to all of our peril---but Charles was never the answer to solve this problem.
Does Charles have your lawnmower or some thing?? Better get it back quick.
Posted by Playing Both Ends Against the Middle, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 23, 2010 at 8:01 pm
The biggest problem the Town of Atherton currently has is the police department which: (1) we cannot afford, (2) we can afford even less than we think we can afford due to the pension costs that are not being reported, (3) we can afford even less that even that based on the litigation dollars that are being spent on the various fiascos having to do with the police department. The reason for these fiascos is the police department is a self-governing body that has no accountability or oversight by citizens. Charles Marsala did not create this problem, as it existed prior to his joining the council (Steve Cader fiascos). If he can help to fix it, that's great. If he won't, I agree, he shouldn't be on the council.
Posted by wicked witch of the west, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Jan 23, 2010 at 8:37 pm
Charles can not support your cause and also survive in Atherton--he will not have to choose as you believe--he will pretend to take both sides, while feeling suddenly important and then dump you both for a better offer.
Your idealism is mildly refreshing--You can not have lived here for very long
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 24, 2010 at 5:40 am Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
The subject of the Almanac article and, therefore, of this thread is the legal residency of one of the Council members.
If the Forum is to be a valuable place for citizen dialogue then we all need to exercise some self discipline.
If we, as an electronic community, cannot regulate our behavior then this Forum will become the forum for the disgruntled and everyone else will, appropriately, leave this forum.
Disgruntled - PLEASE start a NEW thread on your personal issue and quit using this thread for that issue. Starting a new thread is easy; of course you have to define your issue so that other people know what your particular discussion is about.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 24, 2010 at 10:28 am Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
• If a person has more than one residence and that person maintains a homeowner's property tax exemption on the dwelling of one of the residences pursuant to Section 218 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the residence subject to the homeowner's property tax exemption is that person's domicile. However, this presumption shall not apply in the event any other residence is listed as the person's current residence address on any driver's license, identification card or vehicle registration issued to that person by, and on file with, the Department of Motor Vehicles.
If a person has more than one residence and that person claims a renter's tax credit for one of the residences pursuant to Section 17053.5 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the residence subject to the renter's tax credit is that person's domicile. However, this presumption shall not apply in the event any other residence is listed as the person's current residence address on any driver's license, identification card, or vehicle registration issued to that person by, and on file with, the Department of Motor Vehicles.
2032. Except as provided in this article, if a person has more than one residence and that person has not physically resided at any one of the residences within the immediate preceding year, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that those residences in which he or she has not so resided within the immediate preceding year are merely residences as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 349 and not his or her domicile. 2031 California.
• A person does not gain or lose a domicile solely by reason of his or her presence or absence from a place while employed in the service of the United States or of this state, nor while engaged in navigation, nor while a student of any institution of learning, nor while kept in an almshouse, asylum or prison. § 2025 (California).
• If a person has a family fixed in one place, and he or she does business in another, the former is his or her place of domicile, but any person having a family, who has taken up an abode with the intention of remaining and whose family does not so reside with him or her, is a domiciliary where he or she has so taken up the abode. § 2028 (California).
Posted by point counterpoint, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Jan 24, 2010 at 10:49 am
Thank you Mr. Carpenter for bringing this thread back to where it belongs.
The issue of Mr. Marsala's residency is of significant public interest. We should remain focused upon this issue. We should not allow ourselves to be distracted by tangentials.
Regarding the homeowner's exemption. This exemption is not allowed for those who rent or lease their property as I understand it.
Regarding the operation of a business. Mr. Marsala does have a home occupation permit. However Mr. Marsala also claims a Menlo Park Post Office box as his business address. Therefore Mr. Marsala may have deliberately misrepresented the true location of his business in order to escape the financial reporting requirements of the Fair Political Practices Commission.
The issue of whether Mr. Marsala should continue to have the privilege of sitting on the Council is a complex one. It is an issue that should not be dismissed so glibly by the City Attorney.
This is an issue that isn't going to go away.
This is an issue I call upon you, in ernest, Mr. Carpenter to take on as President of the ACIL.
I ask that you in your capacity as president to ask the Attorney General to examine this issue and to give us an independent rendering.
Thank you in advance for considering this requet Mr. Carpenter
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 24, 2010 at 11:35 am Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
Any citizen may ask the District Attorney to examine this issue.
Personally, I do not think the law (as have have been able to research it and have posted above) is clear on the residence requirement. And I do not feel that I have a factual basis (certainly this thread has not contributed any evidence on this matter) to either challenge Marsala's residency myself or to recommend that ACIL consider the issue.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 24, 2010 at 12:40 pm Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
Loophole states:"but I do know you will feel bad about all this when you finally do get your eyes opened"
My eyes are wide opened and I am ready to be persuaded by facts, but all this thread has provided is a series of childish diatribes.
It is fascinating to see so many people feel so passionate about something about which they have no facts. Perhaps attacking elected leaders is like a religious cult that simply requires belief and does not require evidence.
Would anyone like to present facts?
Or run for office?
Or file a Form 700?
Or make a case to the State Attorney General if you feel that the San Mateo District Attorney has a conflict of interest?
Or does everybody just want to sit on the fence and throw stones?
Posted by naming names, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Jan 24, 2010 at 4:54 pm
Perhaps you would like to disclose the names of those whom you claim to know would would represent good company for three blind mice, disgruntled, loophole, etc.
As far as I am concerned there are those who have presented information that suggests Mr. Marsala has violated the very laws you cite.
As far as I am concerned the posts complaining about the divisiveness of the current council are on point here.
As far as I am concerned, you are are neither worthy of the role nor is is appropriate for you to claim the role of moderator of this discussion board.
There are many postings some of which border on the hysterical in their defense of Marsala combined with an attack on McKeithen.
I respect those postings more than I do yours Mr. Carpenter because those posters have taken ownership of a position, while you ever so slyly take a stance all the while claiming those postings to which you do not agree as being irrelevant.
Mr. Carpenter, you remind me of those who went to Canada in the late '60s and early '70s, to avoid the draft only to return to enjoy the fruits of liberty after amnesty had been declared.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 24, 2010 at 5:20 pm Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
Stated by naming names: "Mr. Carpenter, you remind me of those who went to Canada in the late '60s and early '70s, to avoid the draft only to return to enjoy the fruits of liberty after amnesty had been declared."
As a decorated and disabled Vietnam veteran I reject that cowardly personal attack as being a misguided as the rest your our post. I have and will always continue to fight, literally AND figuratively, for the liberties which we all enjoy - including truth.
My position in this thread is clear and repeated - IF there are facts which are consistent with a violation of the law THEN action is warranted. Reread all of my postings. Mindless name calling does not constitute either facts or a recitation of the law.
I am not moderating anything, and obviously not the behavior of most of the posters, but simply ask people to present facts or desist in their personal and hysterical attacks.
Posted by Candle Lighter, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Jan 25, 2010 at 12:52 am
Where in the Atherton Municipal Code is the residency requirements for council members specified? I couldn't find it. To honor Peter Carpenter's request, it seems there are two primary issues: (1) what is the legal requirement for residency in order to be an Atherton council member, and is that legal requirement being violated or not?; and (2) if the legal requirement is not being violated, should the legal requirement be refined to apply more stringent criteria (e.g., if the ordinance merely states "s/he must be a resident", it would seem to fall back on the tax definition of living somewhere more than half the year, and most would probably agree six months and a day should not be enough to be on the council)?
I think Peter would agree (2) is a legitimate issue for discussion on this particular topic, and where he and I might differ is my view that discussion of (2) (or even the interpretation of (1), if that is not black and white) will inevitably lead to discussion of motivational factors. At some point, those become too far removed from the original point of the discussion, but I think it's fair game to consider underlying motivations in issues of "justice".
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Jan 25, 2010 at 6:39 am Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
Candle Lighter has stated the issues well.
I agree that the definition of residency in the local, county and state codes leaves a lot of ambiguity, with the tax code being the most definitive. In my opinion this thread is about the residency of a Council member and that should be addressed given the current, albeit, ambiguous definition of residency.
Changing the definition of residency is, in my opinion, a different issue - and since I think that staying on topic is a useful attribute of a healthy and productive discussion I have started a new topic with that heading.