Marsala says he won't run again for Atherton council


Atherton City Councilman Charles Marsala announced yesterday (June 2) that he will not seek re-election in November.

The two-term councilman, who was recently embroiled in a controversy surrounding his request for a loan from a resident who planned to sue the town, said he wanted to announce his decision "in time for prospective candidates to have time to spend researching and organizing their campaigns," he said in an e-mail.

"I have enjoyed my time serving on the Atherton Council and various committees," he wrote. Highlights include "working with the League of California Cities to pass Measure 1A in 2004 to limit the amount of funds the state can withhold from cities, working with fellow council members and citizens to improve Atherton emergency preparedness, Atherton environmental programs, and Atherton arts and philanthropy," he said.

In 2009, he was one of three council members in the state to receive the California League of Cities' Leadership in Action certificate.

In March, resident Jon Buckheit challenged a decision by Mr. Marsala during a public meeting, and revealed that the councilman had asked him for a $500,000 loan last summer. Mr. Buckheit had already filed a legal claim against the town, and filed a lawsuit in federal court in December.

Atherton's city attorney reviewed the matter and determined that Councilman Marsala broke no law by requesting the loan.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Thank you Charles for your service to our community. I only hope that others will now be willing to step up to the challenge of local elected office.

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Posted by THANK YOU
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 3, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Thank you, Jon Buckheit.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

You're the best.

Like this comment
Posted by scorekeepe
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jun 3, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Jon Buckheit is a champion. All of us who wish to see more honest and transparent government in Atherton owe him a debt of gratitude for this opportunity.

Let's take advantage of this opportunity by selecting someone who is fit for the job.

Like this comment
Posted by Furth Report Leaked???
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm

This may be Atherton's biggest contribution to California's history ever!--to have seen the beginning and now thankfully THE END of Charles Marsala's political aspirations before they could become further inflicted on larger and larger communities of people farther up the food chain. Containment at least!
A perfectly likable guy who does not have the hardware to distinguished between right and wrong is already in abundant supply though out local governments.
Charles' talents would be much better utilized as manager of any one of the better country clubs, where there are only private, and no public interest to be represented.
P.R. for the teamsters might be a possible alternative suggestion.
Thank God this is over--I just hope that whatever shill that the development community runs for council is less accommodating or less desperate to please than Charles has been.

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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 3, 2010 at 6:29 pm

I think Peter said it best. Charles has put many years of service to the town, and I think anyone who has done this – whether you agree with their ideas or not – deserves to depart in a dignified way.

Let's now turn our focus onto the candidates to succeed Charles as well as the two other council seats that are open this November.

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Posted by Furth Report Leaked???
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 3, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Will you throw your hat in the ring Mr.Buckheit? Jerry Carlson was insane not to let you on to the finance committee, but another way to get on finance would be to run for council office and then to be one the two council representatives that sit in on finance. There would be the added benefit of having beaten Carlson at his own game.
I sure hope that you are at least thinking about this--Atherton urgently needs you on that Finance committee one way or another.

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Posted by a neighbor
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 3, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Charles, thank you for your service. Hopefully Mr Widmer or Mr McPherson will file and will fill your role and help progress things on the council following the elections in November. I understand they are considering.

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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 3, 2010 at 9:48 pm

"Furth Report Leaked???" – Sorry, I am not throwing my hat into the ring. I do appreciate the many people who have asked me to, however, and their frustration with the current Atherton council. I believe strongly in the leadership of Mayor Kathy McKeithen and think if the right council members surround her, the necessary reforms can take place. I also believe that Atherton cannot afford to turn away qualified volunteers to help with the town's financial crisis (as I was), but this is the decision that was made by Jerry Carlson and Elizabeth Lewis. I do not think the remedy is for me to become a council member, but thanks for asking.

Like this comment
Posted by John P. Johns, CPA
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2010 at 10:00 am

Charles Marsala once told me over lunch that what motivated to seek public office was the opportunity to be of service to his community.

Councilman Marsala will leave his office under the cloud of an unfortunate ethical lapse. It is with sincerity that I wish Marsala all the best.

As tempting as it may be to his detractors (I being one of his more vocal detractors) to kick a man while he is down. However, doing so would be both undignified and ungrateful.

Despite the ethical lapses of Mr. Marsala (I dare say that there were more than one), we owe it to him and to all who take the time and without pay to serve on the Town Council and on the various boards and commissions to thank him for his efforts.

I think it is fair to say that we would all prefer to be rembered moreso for our accomplishments, rather than for our transgressions.

For the benefit of the Town that I served for six years I do hope that one who is motivated by what Mr. Marsala was motivated by seeks and attains a position on the City Council and that he or she stay true to his or her values upon being elected.

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Posted by I Don't Know
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jun 4, 2010 at 11:06 am

I don't know John P. Johns, it sounds like you are the only one "kicking a man while he's down" with comments like "unfortunate ethical lapse" - that's your interpretation, not the judge's, and "I dare say that there were more than one", and "...our transgressions". I guess in kind of a backhanded way, you made sure this blog had those comments amongst positive statements, and future looking statements. Thanks for your "dignified" response.

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Posted by Furth report Leaked???
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 4, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Mr. Johns has PLENTY of justification for having any (or lots of) difficulty in mustering up something dignified to say about Charles.
Please remember that Charles spent considerable time (years), note worthy effort (full time), and please lets remember-hundreds of thousands of our tax payer's dollars in order to concoct the ruination of John's entire professional and personal life--all in the name of public service for the benefit a few wealthy developers (private interests), who made Charles feel useful and valued.
Is the whole situation sad and wasteful and misguided--absolutely!
Does Mr. Johns have to feel great about any of it--Probably not ever--dont think I ever could.
The desire to be involved in Public service should never be confused with needing to feel popular.

Like this comment
Posted by John P. Johns, CPA
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Dear "I don't know".

When I suffered the humiliation of an involuntary termination, followed by the disgrace of a widely publicized criminal investigation, there were many who cheered this unfortunate experience of mine, including Charles Marsala.

In December 2007, one month after my firing from my job as Finance Director, Charles Marsala held a press conference to report upon what he called a "dirty dozen" of allegations against me and of my stewardship of the Finance Department.

It appeared to me that Charles Marsala wanted as many people as possible to know that he was responsible for my having been run out of town and that he was most proud of this accomplishment.

In essence, Charles Marsala kicked me while I was down and made no secret of taking pleasure in doing so.

Now, it is Charles Marsala who suffers humiliation. I do not believe the saying that "misery loves company". I take no pleasure at the misfortune of another, not even the misfortune of one whom I once considered to be an enemy of mine.

Instead I have learned that the most honorable of men and women are those who are gracious at a time of triumph. I sincerely believe that it is those who are generous and who are forgiving those who leave a lasting and favorable legacy.

It for that reason I wish Marsala well in whatever endeavor he chooses and to urge all of Atherton to forgive (not overlook, but to forgive and to correct) his mistakes and to seek out and remember what was positive about his tenure.

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Posted by Johns Takes the HIGH ROAD
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 5, 2010 at 1:21 am

"I don't know", as various people have stated, your comment is nonsense. Marsala did his best to ruin Johns' life long after the Town wrongfully fired him. I guess that was okay by you. Now that Johns has been totally vindicated through the payment of a quarter of a million dollars of back wages and a letter of commendation, he is in a position to kick Marsala when he's down (and, clearly, Marsala is DOWN, big time). But, class act that he is, he's taken the HIGH ROAD, and merely pointed out the obvious. No one can expect Johns to gush compliments about Marsala, but you have to admit, Johns' conduct now is far better than Marsala's was even two months ago, when Marsala refused to vote for the settlement and commendation. These are the kind of qualities we need in our next city manager.

Like this comment
Posted by John P Johns, CPA
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2010 at 4:58 am

I would come back to work for Atherton.

However under no circumstances would I consider or accept the position on City Manager. That job belongs to one of the distinguished, capable and successful businesspeople who have the time, energy and calling to correct the reckless and pernicious course upon which the town has embarked and stubbornly refuses to correct.

I will come to work for the town as an assistant city manager if called upon. In that capacity I would help recruit a new management team, streamline and consolidate the administration and restructure if not outsource the Police Department. I would negotiate with the unions to roll back the overly generous compensation paid to town employees.

It is time for a successful businessperson and Atherton homeowner to become city manager. Atherton town government can and should be run like a business. Don't let the entrenched bureaucrats tell you otherwise.

If one of Atherton's own is ready to take the helm from Jerry Gruber, I stand ready to lend my skills and experience to help bring Athertonians the kind of government that they deserve and can be proud of.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on Jun 5, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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