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Town Square

Atherton Parcel Tax

Original post made by History Repeats, Atherton: other, on Apr 21, 2013

Once again the issue of renewing the Parcel Tax in Atherton is coming in the November election. History does repeat itself and the same discussions will take place as in the last three or four parcel elections. Several failures of the parcel tax have happened for various reasons but in the end it has passed for four year periods.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 21, 2013 at 9:14 am

And the APOA is heard from yet again.


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Posted by History Repeats
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 21, 2013 at 9:41 am

Menlo Voter states "And the APOA is heard from yet again"

Menlo Voter is incorrect. I am a resident of Atherton and have nothing to do with the APOA.


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Posted by History shouldn't repeat
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 22, 2013 at 7:31 am

"It is clear that...the police are understaffed"

Why? Just because John Mattes said so in his letter? The facts are two officers for 7,000 residents is far more than San Francisco uses, which is about two officers for 50,000 residents.

"It is clear that...the Town is faced with the need to be competitive for officer retention in a very competitive marketplace."

Atherton is already uber competitive. It pays at the 70th percentile of surrounding communities. Unlike San Francisco, in which officers pay over 10% of their take home for their pension plan, San Jose, where officers pay about the same, and Santa Cruz, where officers pay over 20%, Atherton officers pay ZERO since their existing sweetheart deal with Atherton specifies Atherton make their retirement contribution (both Atherton's part, and the officers' part) for them.

What private company not only matches a 401(k), but pays your portion also?

I think it is galling for the APOA to send that letter out when their compensation is already so high.

I think it's going to be an incredibly hard sell to convince residents to pay a parcel tax, and, as you allude to, an increased parcel tax, when the APOA buys candidates who give them raises in an environment in which smart, well-read, residents know from the newspapers that public workers statewide and nation-wide are taking compensation hits after fifteen to twenty long years of dizzying compensation escalations.

I think it's going to be an incredibly hard sell because Mattes and the APOA won't be able to tell just one side of the story this time. There is organized opposition, and it will inform residents just how rich the existing compensation package is.

I think residents have to ask themselves the question, which will be posed to them, how did Atherton maintain its own police department for over 70 years in the absence of a parcel tax. There were no sales taxes back then either, since there were no businesses. The answer is clear. The insanely high pension and compensation increases started getting rolled in about twenty years ago.

The APOA wants residents to think it has to continue, since other cities are continuing it also. I'm sure the police unions in the other cities are saying the same thing. It has to stop somewhere. People are just too smart for this. They've worked too hard for their money.


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Posted by Right on
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 22, 2013 at 7:42 am

Remember, only one third of voting residents need to wake up to stop this insanity.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 22, 2013 at 6:52 pm

History shouldn't repeat:

I'd love to agree with you that giving the Atherton Police a raise and raising the parcel tax will not happen because of a well educated and well read electorate. From what I have witnessed, this is unlikely. I have constantly been amazed at the total apathy of Atherton voters when it came to issues surrounding their police department. Even when some officers were clearly violating the rights of some of their citizens.

Don't hold your breath expecting a change. For some unknown reason Atherton residents are addicted to having their own police department. Even when they could contract with the county for police services and private security for the nonsense duties they ask of their police officers and save a couple million dollars a year.


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Posted by History shouldn't repeat
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 23, 2013 at 8:11 am

It's pretty simple to figure out. If Atherton cops didn't know they were getting a much better deal in Atherton than they could get anywhere else, they wouldn't be spending their own money to fight outsourcing the department.


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Posted by Council Candidates
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 23, 2013 at 8:41 am

Why does the APOA need to spend the money to fight outsourcing? Did any of last year's candidates favor outsourcing? Does anyone on the council favor outsourcing?


Posted by Greg Conlon, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, 16 hours ago

This is my first posting on this response to Jerry Carlson's indicating retirement. I want to say that Jerry's hard work on the Rail Committee has been devoted to what he believes are the right answers for the Town. He also served on the Peninsula Community Coalition in an outstanding manner to represent Atherton with five other cities re High Speed Rail challenges.




Regarding Legacy's comments about my response to the Police Department's endorsement of the Lewis and Wiest, I did not change my mind on any point. The issue was whether I supported out sourcing the Police. I explained to all of Atherton with a voice mail that made clear I did not support outsourcing the Police unless the Town was up against an unexpected bankruptcy. It had nothing to do with the Police wage negotiations.


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Posted by History shouldn't repeat
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 23, 2013 at 9:35 am

Any responsible council member or candidate should always keep outsourcing on the table, even though it may not be the preferred choice. The responsible position is to say I'm in favor of keeping the police department IF we can get a reasonable and affordable contract in place. If not, of course we need to outsource.

There's nothing about that notion that doesn't make sense. If you take outsourcing off the table, the APOA has way too much leverage in negotiations.

The fact remains, the APOA vehemently opposes outsourcing since they can't get their sweetheart deal that exists in Atherton anywhere else. And, they complain about being underpaid at the same time! You've got to admire the audacity, at least.