Atherton: Special meeting on Marsala allegations set for April 7 Atherton, posted by Editor, The Almanac Online, on Apr 1, 2010 at 12:23 pm
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 Thursday, April 1, 2010, 11:28 AM
Posted by Pam, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm
Many of us are very concerned about the many allegations made against Council member Marsala. This will be the third meeting where residents can come to share their concerns and hear what Marsala has to say for himself.
Marsala is innocent until proven guilty which is more than he has shown others such as John Johns and Jon Buckheit.
Posted by plain speeking, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 12:57 pm
There will be no pitchforks. There will be no torches. There will only be people seeking answers.
The allegations against Marsala are serious. Marsala will have the opportunity to present his version of events.
It is my sincere hope that Marsala explains his loan request of Mr. Buckheit.
I hope that Marsala presents a case for his remaining on the City Council even though taking up residence in an accessory structure is against the law.
I hope Marsala explains his role in the Johns investigation and termination, an apparent violation of the separation of powers inherent in the Council manager form of governmnet.
I hope Marsala explains his motive for encouraging a reporter from the Post to visit Ms. Carol Smith at her home in Los Altos,apparently to investigate allegations that Ms. Smith had acted improperly somehow after her longstanding public service to Atherton.
I hope Marsala answers truthfully as to whether he had any role in disclosing confidential attorney client communications related to Atherton's road impact fee and business license tax, thereby costing the Town nearly $2.4 million in refunds. I hope Marsala fully and truthfully discloses any financial arrangements he had with those benefiting from the $2.4 million in refunds.
I hope Marsala explains why he did not alert the City Manager to a $10,000 loan request by an Atherton police officer from a resident (an episode similar to Marsala's own alleged misconduct). I hope he makes a case for not having acted on this promptly in view of the fact that this same officer received a $260,000 wrongful termination settlement from the Town.
Some posters have complained that Marsala is being unfairly targeted, that he is being smeared because of his plans to run for office in the fall. Let us hope that Marsala does not duck the meeting on April 7th. Let us hope he speaks plainly, that he speaks the truth.
If Marsala speaks the truth and if the truth vindicates him, he will be treated just as former Finance Director Mr. Johns has been treated, he will be commended for his honest, faithful and capable service to the Town.
If Marsala lies. If Marsala's accusers are right, Marsala should be and will be held accountable.
Posted by Interested, a resident of another community, on Apr 1, 2010 at 1:11 pm
I would be interested to know if the claim filed by Mr Buckheit in April was still pending before the Town Council or had been rejected at the time Mr. Marsala sought a loan from Mr. Buckheit. The status of the claim would reflect greatly on Mr. Marsala's actions at the time.
Posted by ridiculous is right, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 1:11 pm
It is obvious that the Town should not be bothered with allegations that Marsala is living in a pool house in violation of the Town's zoning ordinance. This a relatively minor offense.
It does appear that Marsala has exercised poor judgment in seeking a loan from one involved in litigation with the Town, especially by making the request in the form of an e-mail. Better that these things be handled discretely. To run Marsala out of town because he has difficulty in managing his own finances would seem to be overkill.
That said, I agree with the poster who uses the pen name, ridiculous. There are far more pressing matters facing the Town. There are other allegations against Marsala that have surfaced. These allegations are serious. It is arguable that in their totality the allegations that have most recently surfaced constitute criminal conduct.
I love my Town. I bear no emnity to Marsala. I would see no joy in seeing Councilman Marsala share the fate of Spiro Agnew.
Posted by Andre Driscoll, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm
Thanks R. Gordon for that personal comment on our boring lives. Better we just ignore this petty and insignificant issues, and let the town run itself, huh? Except that little problems unchecked tend to grow into big problems.
As to Ridiculous's comment that the city attorney determined no laws were broken, I believe that determination was made because Marsala didn't actually GET the loan. That seems a pretty flimsy distinction to me. His INTENT was to do something that would have broken the law, and that is definitely something we should address.
Posted by Truth will hurt, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 5:14 pm
Perhaps when he answers to his accusers, city money will saved on hiring a private detective to stock Mr. Marsala, and instead used to hire a public relations firm to help Atherton get back its reputation, which as it stands looks like a community of heartless people, thank you Ms. Mayor. Of all the things to be concerned about, this is the best you could come up with, a councilman's residence? This is why Atherton needs someone with real leadership, which you do not have. Real leaders are supposed to be above the fray, instead you have led people to the fray with your obvious vendetta against Mr. Marsala, in which you are using public time and money to stoke a fire, while ruining Atherton's reputation in the process.
The decent people of the community do not thank you.
Posted by Tiredofitall, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 5:22 pm
Please stop the witch hunts. The town was pretty quitet until a certain Kathy M was elected to the council and started attacking the police department, other council members, etc. There is no need to hold a hearing for Mr. Marsala if it has already been determined that he broke no laws.
Posted by Laws Broken?, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm
Marsala did break the law by asking for that loan, since he was suborning a bribe. Ask Furth to analyze that. Also, the people and the council have a right and obligation to examine the ethics of their officials, not just whether they obey the law.
Posted by Laws Broken?, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm
Yup, they sure do. Also I live in Atherton, pay plenty of property taxes (and a parcel tax), so unlike you have a real interest in whether my elected officials are serving me, or themselves and the people who scratch their backs. It is outrageous that you and a bunch of his friends continue to try to intimidate anyone who feels this way. Absolutely no one across America would feel that an elected official asking a constituent for a "loan" amounts to nothing, and questioning it is a "witch hunt". Maybe you think that's okay for Menlo Park; I DO NOT think it is okay for Atherton. Our mayor is doing the right thing by examining it.
By the way, when the politicians really do ask for a bribe, is it couched in terms of "pay me this money", or a little bit more subtly?
Posted by hunted, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 6:44 pm
Ask ex finance director john johns what it feels like to be the subject of a witch hunt. It is now an established fact that the accusations against him were false.
Marsala would like us all to forget that he was a front runner in the crusade against Mr Johns. Now Marsala, after 2 years, $400,000 in legal fees and a $225,000 payout to Johns, Marsala claims he is the victim of a witchunt all the while avoiding any mention of his role in the Johns debacle.
Sorry Charlie, that's the world works. What goes around comes around.
Posted by Truth will hurt, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 6:49 pm
You may live in Atherton, and none of us over here in Menlo care how much you pay for anything. You are NOT privy to anyone's personal business, especially when it is business having nothing to do with the city. So mind your business. In Menlo Park we don't have these problems and thanks to a great city council, we're not ashamed of where we live, then again we don't have a mayor or a pathetic group of uncivilized people trying to shame the town. As it stands right now, your city is the laughing stock of the peninsula.
Oh on the issue of serving you, in the words of Kennedy "ask not what your government can do for you" translation, no one owes you anything.
Posted by Witch Hunts, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 6:51 pm
Hunted, great point but the analogy doesn't measure up. Even if Marsala loses his council seat based on this (and he should), it would fall way short of what he did to Johns. That guy lost his job and his ability to earn a living. But, you're right in the sense that when Marsala kept hounding the guy, long after he left, Marsala nor his friends considerd that a witch hunt!
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 7:06 pm
Try to focus. This isn't about John Johns or anything that happened years ago.
It's about an elected official soliciting $500,000 from a constitutent. Mr. Marsala admits that he asked for loan and apparently there are emails that back it up. I don't understand whether the money was requested before or after Mr. Buckheit thought he could settle the matter amicably is particularly relevant. A solicitation is a solicitation.
If this episode doesn't upset you, you deserve the folly that passes for Atherton governance.
Posted by mason, a resident of the Atherton: Lloyden Park neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 8:05 pm
JJJCancer cancer speaks with a hatred that is both unseemly and out of place.
It is unfortunate that this poster would use the very same tactics he or she decries.
If JJJCancer has evidence of a plot against Councilman Marsala by in his or her words, Johnny John Johns and Mayor McCheese, perhaps he or she will provide evidence of such allegations on the evening of April 7th.
Posted by Marsala <--> Johns, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 9:48 pm
You're mentioning Johns in the same breath as accusing Charles to be a victim of a witch hunt?
This Town could have settled with Johns for TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS and because Marsala wanted a witch hunt, it's now paying him $225,000 (after spending $400,000 on attorney's fees). That's $625,000 of OUR money that Marsala WASTED for his witch hunt.
And now you (and he) have the nerve to claim he's the victim of a witch hunt himself, for residents being rightfully outraged that he hit up someone for a half million dollar loan?
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 3:28 pm
The people who simply can't stop invoking memories of Johnny Johns are like the people who keep questioning whether Obama was born in the United States. It doesn't serve your objective and you just sound petty (and kinda obsessively weird).
You don't need to dredge up old issues. The recent solicitation of a $500,000 loan from a private citizen is a serious enough matter.
Let the Johnny Johns stuff go. Everyone is well aware of it.
Posted by Journalism or censorship?, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 11:16 am
Interesting... the editor's left all kinds of insults and jeers but took down the comment that simply asks where the photo is of the villagers with pitchforks. Is that comment being interpreted as criticism of their coverage? Because otherwise I don't see it as any more disrespectful than most of the other angry posts on here. It was the best comment to date. Gave me a chuckle.
Posted by Willy, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm
Journalism or censorship:
Thanks. Found it odd also, but s/he took it down when I commented on another post that went over the line about violence, so I can see how they thought pitchfork comments were related. It will be the last time I paste someone else's comments, that's why mine was pulled, and then the pitchfork comment.
Funny, the pitchfork comment was left up on another thread.
Posted by journalism or censorship, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 3:37 pm
Funny, I think we should be focusing on the police department, that's where this all started. Marsala shouldn't have asked for a loan. People do stupid things sometimes. Perhaps, in a few short months, he will not be re-elected. Fine with me. But the police department is a very powerful entity that is totally corrupt, as edified by the judge's ruling and comments in open court.
If the residents of Atherton really want to talk about something that actually has consequences for every person living and passing though the Town, we should be focusing on pushing for an oversight comittee. It's too bad that the loan issue has overshadowed what is really important and frankly, scary: the police have unchecked and unilateral power until someone with a lot of time and money and courage steps up to fight them. Most people can't or won't do that.
This side circus is distracting. People can't see the forrest through the trees, or through their baggage.
Posted by thetruthshallsetyoufree, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm
tiredofitall--When you pull your head out of the sand, please do a little research into the town's corruption history. We finally have a mayor who's not afraid to hold accountable the bullies & crooks who've cost this town way too much. Getting to the truth out is not a which hunt.
Posted by Joan, a resident of the Atherton: West of Alameda neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2010 at 3:21 pm
Does anyone else see the similarity between San Jose's DA Carr, and Marsala? Check out the SJ Mercury News Editorial today, ....no ethics, no moral compass...sound familiar?
Problem Solved has it right, the Council should pass a resolution asking Marsala to resign. But, Carlson would probably not show up to that either. As a tax payer, I'd like Marsala to reimberse the town residents for the $600K.
Posted by Bill, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2010 at 8:43 pm
My Name is Bill
I have met Marsala on many occasions. I have seen him bring discredit upon Atherton. I have seen him singlehandedly make this proud community the laughing stock of the Peninsula and beyond.
Marsala is a scourge, I would like to see Marsala bounce back about as much as I would like to see the return of leaporsy. He's done here as far as I am concerned. Let him pack his bags and take up residence in a community that has no shame.
We have seen his vision for Atherton it is the good ole boy network where politicians scratch the backs of developers in exchange for having their pockets lined.
His antics have nearly bankrupted this Town both financially and morally.