Public Trust or Private Security Atherton, posted by Secret Santa, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Dec 15, 2010 at 1:30 am
There were already three different council meetings scheduled for tonight Wednesday
12-15-10. A Special meeting, a Closed Session, and the Regular council meeting.
Today at the last minute, a fourth and separate meeting has been added to the list.
In the spirit of Christmas and reciprocity, the Police Department wants a special forum to acknowledge yet another lavishly inappropriate gift from a grateful resident--this time it's a check for 60,000$ worth of updated computers for our two patrol cars. Last month it was another Police Dog, I believe a new vehicle before that, and then of course there is the "scholarship" program...
I don't know if any of this is legal or not but it can't possibly be healthy in a democratic society.
The town doesn't need to even bother to schedule Council meetings at all if we are just signing off on oligarchy.
The Police Department should not be undermining democratic process or the elected council by soliciting gifts from wealthy residents. A park or a Library maybe but not the Police--it's wrong!
Posted by Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Dec 15, 2010 at 10:48 am
I think the gesture of making this gift was an enormously benevolent act on the part of the donors and they should only be praised and not be criticized for it.
But, It is INCREDIBLY POOR GOVERNANCE for the Town of Atherton to accept directed donations to individual departments that service residents.
The council should have the courage to respectfully decline this donation and ask that it be instead submitted to the Town of Atherton so the council can decide how to allocate it.
Is this any different than an individual donation being made to the building department? Would that be accepted? What would happen if that homeowner started a remodel the following year?
I think the Town of Atherton is or should be moving toward more transparency and governance for its police department, not less.
I don't buy any argument that this gift is for the department and not for individual officers. We all know the department is under enormous financial pressure, and that the individual officers fear outsourcing and other cutbacks. This takes that pressure off so Guerra doesn't have to go to the council asking for more money for equipment, which would just underscore the financial problems.
This type of individual directed donation would not be tolerated in any well-run city in the United States, including New York City.
Posted by Secret Santa, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Dec 15, 2010 at 1:23 pm
This is Santa again, I am the only one who should be keeping a Naughty or Nice list.
If I found out that any of my elves were receiving gifts instead of making them, I would cancel Christmas.
The legacy of the Buckheit case should not be that for a donation of 60,000$, residents can hope for due process when they call the APD for assistance. This is not an auction--the value is a set price of 10,000,000 with the check made payable only to me.
Posted by deal maker, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Dec 15, 2010 at 4:43 pm
Will someone please give Jon Buckheit the $10 million he's demanding in his federal civil rights case so we don't have to receive near daily reminders of how corrupt and inefficient our police department is?
Posted by tolerance, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Dec 15, 2010 at 5:04 pm
Jon: here is program that tolerates individual directed contributions in a neighboring community of Los Gatos/Monte Serreno. It is a common practice across the country for citizens to do who care about their police agency. Get used to it here in Atherton. Perhaps you could just add this compalint to your lawsuit if you think you rights have been violated.
Posted by Secret Santa, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Dec 16, 2010 at 4:27 pm
The difference in giving money for a public park or library or even to a university ,
and giving money to armed public safety officers, is in the potential for influence and abuse of discretionary authority.
A gift to your local library would not likely influence your place on a waiting list for a popular book. A gift of a clock or fountain to a local park would not effect the time displayed to the donor, or who got splashed by the water's spray.
Writing a speeding ticket for a driver who paid for the pencil and pad could get awkward.
Deciding wether or not to cite donor or non donor residents is something no one should ever have to consider, especially the police.
Residents might keep an attorney on retainer if they choose but not public safety officers.
Posted by court jester, a resident of the Atherton: West of Alameda neighborhood, on Dec 16, 2010 at 6:33 pm
The ironic and sarcastic comment by deal maker sums it up nicely.
Far too many of my nieighbors wish Jon Buckheit would just go away. Apparently a significant majority of those living in Atherton would rather wrap themselves in a blanket of ignorance and feel a sense of false security than they would see our department for what it is, an ugly corrupt beast that cannot be tamed, that must be destroyed.
I'm not a radical. I just believe in law and order.
Guerra probably thinks he did the Town a favor by getting a $60,000 donation. I think not. Guerra just shows how cheaply he can be bought.