Atherton: Carol Smith's residency questioned


A member of Atherton's General Plan Committee said she has resigned her post after moving out of town earlier this month. Atherton Councilman Charles Marsala raised questions about Carol Smith's eligibility to serve on the advisory body.

According to Ms. Smith, she sold her home in Atherton's Lindenwood neighborhood in December, but rented it back for a time, and then stayed with neighbors while some work was being done on her new home in Los Altos Hills. During that time, she still served on the General Plan Committee and attended its Feb. 3 meeting.

Ms. Smith said someone she thought was from The Almanac showed up at her new house on Sunday, March 21, and asked where she was living and whether she was still on the town's General Plan Committee. It turned out to be a reporter from another newspaper, and not a member of The Almanac's staff.

"I said, 'Get out!'" Ms. Smith told The Almanac. "I was so furious. He's been calling here day after day -- it's not unusual for me to get three calls a day -- and then he has the audacity to show up."

Ms. Smith blamed Councilman Charles Marsala for the interest in her living arrangements. "I'm sending an e-mail to the city. I need him to cease and desist slandering, harassing and stalking me," she said.

Mr. Marsala said he has never harassed Ms. Smith, and that he merely passed along to City Manager Jerry Gruber a constituent's concern about Ms. Smith serving on a town committee when she was no longer a resident of Atherton.

Mr. Marsala said he had a great deal of communication with Ms. Smith in 2006, when he served as the town's mayor. He said he was trying to find a compromise between neighbors of Menlo-Atherton High School and the local Pop Warner youth football representatives, as well as end the town's lawsuit over the environmental review of the school's Performing Arts Center. He exchanged a number of e-mails with her as he sought to understand neighborhood concerns, Mr. Marsala said.

The General Plan Committee is an appointed body that reviews zoning issues and advises the Planning Commission and City Council.

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Posted by Question
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 23, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Why is anyone even thinking about this non issue? There are plenty of real problems to ponder!
The resident has moved away----there have been no meetings since she left.
Mr.Gruber knows this and has since she began looking at realestate. Is this the thanks she gets for having volunteered her time to the town?
The next meeting is scheduled for May which you would hope would give him enough time to figure out his paper work.
How far away does one have to relocate to get away from Charles Marsala?- is the only pertinent question attached to this thread..

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Posted by Answer
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Mar 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Question would like to know how far away one has to relocate to get away from Charles Marsala.

I know former Finance Director John Johns moved 103 miles from his home in Palo Alto to Davis. That wasn't far enough.

Marsala was still hounding him.

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Posted by Upbeat
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 23, 2010 at 8:23 pm

If the Almanac's Andrea Gemmet would write something positive about Atherton, it would be appreciated. I've seen her at meetings and she always makes a beeline to the person who has a gripe or complaint. Never seeks out people who have positive things to say. Some of the people who feed her "information" have their own political agendas. Right Kathy M?

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Posted by newsbeat
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Here are the stories that Andrea Gemmet didn\'t break:

The house sitting arrangement between a terminated police officer and a standing member of the City Council who voted on that individual\'s settlement.

A member of the City Council receiving campaign contributions from those who benefited from the refund of $1.6 million in Road Impact Fees

A former Chief of Police verbally assaulting a resident and having been instructed to receive anger management training

The call for an investigation by the Atherton PD for a council member violating the Brown Act.

A former Mayor who\'s home was in excess of the height limitations.

A member of the City Council who lives in an accessory structure beyond the legal limits imposed by the Atherton zoning ordinance.

Had Ms. Gemmet listened to every malcontent and written about their grievances, then there would be quite bit more dirt strewn about the pages.

If anything one should criticize the Almanac for being overly restrained, rather than not showing enough restraint.

I can think about a news article I would love to see, that being the expulsion of a Council member if the allegation having sought a loan from a party to litigation with the Town is founded.

Perhaps I\'m being a bit too upbeat at the moment. Then again, time will tell.

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Posted by Upbeat?
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Upbeat, what positive information about Atherton is currently newsworthy? What's the good news? That we're almost out of money? That we're out of money based on police costs, and the police department falsified a police report and wrongfully arrestred a resident? A council member asked for a huge loan from the guy whose police report was falsified?

The fact is, the Almanac didn't report on the loan story until they got scooped by the Daily News. The Almanac didn't report on the Carol Smith story until they got scooped by the Daily Post. They are not showing a bias either way, as far as I can discern.

And, please also answer: what is Kathy McKeithen's "agenda" or ulterior motive? Does she want a political job in the California Republican party? Does she want money from residents? Free housing from residents? Looking to marry a rich resident? Or, maybe she's just doing what she thinks is right. I understand you may not agree with it, but I really haven't seen her do anything for personal self interest.

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Posted by Fred
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 24, 2010 at 1:27 pm

True. There is no good news about Atherton. The whole city council is incompetent. The staff is almost as bad. The constant infighting and backstabbing is disgusting. Serious discussions should begin about turning the town over to the County or putting it into a receivership of some sort.

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Posted by Pam
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 25, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Atherton's problem is not the Council it's developers who according to many reports are the driving force behind council people Marsala and Lewis. And where is Carlson? Still on the fence trying to avoid controversy?

Almanac - time to write a story about the newest committee which is comprised $5,000 or greater donors to Lewis's campaign. Lindenwood isn't represented and neither are the people.

Here is your headline: "$5,000 Lewis Campaign Donation Required for Atherton's Town Hall Committee"

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Posted by Louise
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 25, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Thank you for this added context Pam
So Elizabeth's rate for service is only $5,000 ??--but Charles' is $500,000??
Is this because she just opened shop and hasn't scaled up her fees yet as a junior partner or is it an attempt to lure business away from Charles before he goes down in flames so that the new "channels" are well established.

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Posted by mtn View resident
a resident of another community
on Jan 6, 2012 at 11:24 am

It is hilarious reading all these comments about Atherton's dirty laundry, get a grimp you live in Atherton, look at how the other 99% live and stop complaining!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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