The other side of the Atherton election's profit/loss
Original post made by CPA on Oct 24, 2012
The police contract is the biggest part of Atherton's expenses. It's a huge issue.
But what about Atherton's revenues?
Since Atherton doesn't have businesses in town generating sales tax, it is severely hampered in terms of generating revenues to offset its expenses.
Atherton tried using a road impact fee. Real estate development is Atherton's largest industry, and a multi-billion dollar one. The developer on the finance committee makes millions on each house he develops (and continued doing so while on the finance committee).
But Elizabeth Lewis, who is in the commercial real estate business, and has been endorsed and received campaign contributions from real estate developers in addition to cops, made sure that road impact fee was rescinded.
She claimed it was illegal. She had help. At the time, Charles Marsala, also a darling of the Atherton developer community (and his garage cabinet company undoubtedly the recipient of work orders from them), was instrumental in defeating the road impact fee as well.
But if that's the case, that it's illegal, why does Los Altos Hills have it?
Guess what. Cary Wiest is also in the real estate industry.
These two candidates want to make sure Atherton taxpayers foot the largest possible bill they can, both in terms of giving the most to the cops (the largest expense), and favoring their real estate colleagues in terms of taking the least from them to offset these huge expenses.
on Oct 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm
Didn't McKeithen also vote to refund the Road Impact Fee. Dobbie opposed- right? What was McKeithe's motive?
Wasn't her motive the same as all the others-- the fee was excessive, not justified, and the town was caught doing an illegal activity of overcharging?
And with three votes WMD could have reinstated the fee in the last to years, why not?
It is probably illegal.
Or WMD could have even put it on the ballot for next month. Why didn't they?
Yes Los Altos Hills has one, but probably less than 30 cities in the state have them. Why not more?
LAH gets away with it because it charges much less than Atherton was charging. No one wants to spend the money challenging the smaller fee.
What we have is WMD don't want to work to renew Parcel Tax or get a Road Impact Fee tax passed by a full vote of the residents, but they do want to build a county Library in the park and they want the ability to raise other taxes without town votes.
on Oct 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm
Did McKeithen cost Atherton a solid revenue source with the loss of the Road Impact Fee?
McKeithen voted to refund and terminate the Road Impact Fee, she has not tried to get in re-instated in the last two years, even though she has the votes of the WMD team.
What happened to the Road Impact Fee, Atherton had it for years and no-one complained. Around 2007 the Finance Committee, which McKeithen was senior member, recommended the council approve a 40% increase. By a 3-2 vote the council approved the increase.
At that point people complained. Suddenly the council gets rid of the whole thing and never tries to bring it back.
Maybe if the council voted no by a 3-2 vote, Atherton would still have the Road Impact fee.
on Oct 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm
I guess you don't recall the 3-2 vote in which Carlson, Lewis and Marsala wanted to give a 100% refund to their developer friends, but McKeithen and Dobbie blocked that since a 2/3 vote was required. The city attorney, Wynne Furth, who was in the pocket of CLM, even said CLM could undo that 2/3rd requirement. But, before they could, an outcry of town residents developed, led by Mike McPherson, against CLM, and a reduced refund was granted.
This proves my point.