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Atherton's bills for presidential visit subject of WikiLeaks emails

 

When President Barack Obama visited Atherton for a fundraiser in February, the town had a chance to put its new special events ordinance into effect and asked the hosts, Steve Westly and Anita Yu, to repay the costs the town incurred for the visit.

It appears the matter now has achieved a sort of internet fame. That's because a trove of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and posted on the WikiLeaks website include a chain of emails about the bill Atherton sent to Mr. Westly.

The emails, with the subject line "Bill for POTUS", show DNC staffers trying to figure out what to do about the bill.

The first email, sent to the DNC's Northern California finance director, Robert Erik Stowe, on April 26 from Mr. Westly says: "Thank you again for allowing us to host the President in October. ... We just received this bill from the town of Atherton and I wanted to ask how you would like us to handle this. I will do whatever you would like here including paying the bill. We are very loyal to you and the president. Thank you. Steve Westly."

The next day Mr. Stowe wrote back: "Sorry this keeps coming up Steve. Our CFO and lawyers are working on this issue and I should hear back from them sometime today. If all else fails and you want to take care of the bill to get them off your back, the DNC will most definitely reimburse you. Erik Stowe"

Mr. Westly's question apparently was passed from staffer to staffer. An email from the DNC's events director Ellen Thrower on April 26 shows the bill was a matter of contention. " Lordy be ... I figured it was too good to be true, us hearing nothing from Atherton about charges, but here it is. ... Can we let him pay it, as a homeowner, and we pay him back? His standing in the community is important to him so there is no question that he will pay it if push comes to shove. Let me know what you think. Ugh. Thank you!! Ellen Thrower"

Mr. Westly later told one of the staffers that he was fine with waiting. "Let's wait a week or two and see what your lawyers come up with. We can figure out repayment later," he wrote to Mr. Stowe. This prompted Ms. Thrower to gush about Mr. Westly: "Copy. He's just too fab :-) So calm. Ellen Thrower."

The chain of emails does not say what the DNC finally decided to do about Atherton's bill, but Mr. Westly's office says he was reimbursed. The town says Mr. Westly paid the $5,909.79 bill in full in early June.

The emails can be found on the WikiLeaks.org website.

Comments

27 people like this
Posted by None of our business
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 1, 2016 at 12:20 pm

This is really none of our business.


16 people like this
Posted by Transparency wins
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 1, 2016 at 12:38 pm

This is everyone's business, as it involves public funds. Looking forward to hearing about the next wave of leaked data. The DNC is filthy and it's about time they are exposed.


20 people like this
Posted by Toby tHanks
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 1, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Wikileaks is in bed with Putin in trying to rig a Trump victory. Putins former KGB ties, under his orders, hacked these and gave them to wikileaks.

Trump has a couple Putin lobbyists running his campaign (campaign manager Manafort took Russian money to lobby for Putin's invasion of Georgia and the Ukraine; Russia "expert" and lobbyist Carter took Putin money lobbying for Gazprom.)

Trump said he loves Putin and wants to deal with him, at the same time Trump told us he would abandon our allies in NATO.

Nice to know the far right fringe posters around here are ALL-IN in supporting Putin's puppet (Trump) and against our allies in NATO.

Trump - soooooo strong! So in the tank for Putin!




18 people like this
Posted by Umm...
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 1, 2016 at 1:00 pm

I'm not sure that I see the "news" value that Atherton submitted a bill and it was paid. One would hope that people pay their bills, and I am at loss as to how this shows "filthy" conduct by the DNC. I understand that Trump doesn't pay his bills, but I don't think that is a good thing and not something to emulate.


8 people like this
Posted by Jbcham
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 1, 2016 at 2:47 pm

Toby tHanks,
I do not understand how your comment relates to the Town of Atherton sending an invoice for expenses incurred by the town in hosting the President.


2 people like this
Posted by My take
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 1, 2016 at 2:58 pm

I'm conservative/libertarian, and yet I think it was wrong for the Town of Atherton to ask for this reimbursement. Why? A lot of government expenditures can be traced to the actions of a private citizen, but we don't ask the private citizen to reimburse. Police calls are a good example. I'm not following the consistency or logic of some of the politicos saying (in effect), "stop being so cheap about [over]paying the police...we can afford it" but then authorizing this bill to be sent. I don't care if the president in question is Obama, Bernie Sanders, George W. Bush, or Donald Trump...it's a public expense, and it was shameful for the town to ask the resident for the money (in this case, Steve Westly).


9 people like this
Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 1, 2016 at 4:30 pm

@My Take
The key distinction is whether the politician is coming to Atherton for a public event or private event. A public event is open to the public. Anyone can attend without an entrance fee or an invitation. If it's public, then police costs should be borne by the town.

If it's a private event in which you can attend only through a contribution, then police services should be borne by the event host. It would not be fair for town residents to foot the bill for an event they can't attend.


1 person likes this
Posted by My take
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 1, 2016 at 5:16 pm

So all town service expenditures (e.g., police calls) to the Circus Club should also be directly reimbursed to Atherton? I'm not a member.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 1, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

my take:

the circus club pays more taxes than you.


5 people like this
Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 1, 2016 at 8:31 pm

@My Take
If the Circus Club has private events that require police to provide traffic control and security, it should have to pay for this privilege. My guess is that the Circus Club has its own employees perform these services.

No one pays a fee to report a crime to the police, not even non-residents.


Like this comment
Posted by Dave the db
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 1, 2016 at 9:09 pm

@transparency was talking about Wikileaks and the Russian hacks in support of Trump, wasn't she?

Seemed like a reasonable response. To a fringe poster.


13 people like this
Posted by Pearly whites
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 1, 2016 at 9:36 pm



There's two distinct aspects of this thread - Atherton, and the Wikileaks/Russian attack on the American political system.


2 people like this
Posted by JBCHam
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 1, 2016 at 9:47 pm

Toby tHanks, Are you at liberty to tell the rest of us what security briefings you have received that have led you to your conclusion?


19 people like this
Posted by Wilbur
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Aug 1, 2016 at 10:02 pm

The news here is that this was in WikiLeaks. Arguing about if the bill was paid or not is missing the point.


12 people like this
Posted by Toby tHanks
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 2, 2016 at 7:32 am

JBCHam: not my conclusions - it's the conclusion of many on the left and right. Public knowledge. You do read about Russia and Putin, don't you?

Last night's Glenn Beck show: Glenn outlined the 3 main players on Trumps campaign that have been taking money directly from former FSB/KGB spymaster Putin (through GazProm, pro-Russian front groups in the Ukraine, etc..)

Glenn also tied Julian Assange to Putin:
- Assange worked for RT
- Assange arranged FSB protection for Edward Snowden, also the trip to and time at the Moscow airport, asylum, etc..
- a couple other Putin/Assange connections that I can't quite recall (go listen to the show or read the transcripts)
- check out Glenn's take on ALexander Duggan

Many on the left have been working on the same connections, wondering why Manafort insisted on the Crimea/Ukraine plank in the RNC platform (Manafort denies, but like Trump's multiple claims about knowing/meeting Putin, the campaign lies freely.)

On the left, read Josh Marshall's work at TPM. He's a bit behind Glenn on this one, but certainly has great work.

Putin is making a world class play. It's admirable. Timing is great. Historic. Can't blame the guy. Spy gotta spy. Putin has a unique opportunity with an idiot like Trump, an idiot willing to hire stooges with so many obvious Russian ties.

So no blame here on Putin and his play. Dude's ex-KGB. The only rule he broke was the first rule of spy - never get caught.

It's Trump's lunatic, narcissism and inability to see who he hired, and where their loyalties lie - Manafort and crew's lobbyist's loyalties lie with the almighty dollar over country, even if it is dollars from Putin.

And the blame lies ultimately on us.

We have to kill this. Putin. Wikileaks being used by Putin. Trump's Russian/Ukrainian lobbyists in his campaign.

We have to kill Trump's candidacy. He has to be humiliated by 20+ points (and of course, he deserves to be.) No Green votes. No Libertarian votes. Whether CA or swing state. He has to be *embarrassed*. And the GOP needs to rebuild. Good heavens do they have to rebuild. It will have to be on Clinton's coattails, but rebuild will be impossible without exorcising Trump through annihilation.

Let Trump rail about a rigged election after he gets clobbered, and his talk about a coup afterwards.

I'll stick with America and the Constitution.

But, yeah, I'll enjoy the schadenfreude of seeing Trump get absolutely get cremated. Assigned to the same ash-heap as Palin.

Idiots. Complete ******* idiots.

Just an uniformed opinion, though.



2 people like this
Posted by Toby tHanks
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 2, 2016 at 7:36 am

geeeez, didn't even mention the two-fer that Putin gets with Trump.

Trump is going to destroy NATO (see Trump's own words).

It's amazing that Putin can even walk around these days whenever he thinks about what Trump does for him and Russia.

(sorry for the picture)


Like this comment
Posted by My take
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 2, 2016 at 9:07 am

Apple,Menlo Voter, the parcel tax pays for the police. The Circus Club on 20 acres pays about 10X what a 1-acre property does, with hundreds times the number of people there every day. They threw a fit when the council tried to increase the tax by $15K a few years ago. My point is, if you do the math, the services they receive are obviously out of proportion with the taxes they pay, and I am using this analogy not to start a debate about this club, but to illustrate the inconsistent positions regarding this Obama visit (an isolated event: the Citcus Club is going on every day).


2 people like this
Posted by JBCHam
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 2, 2016 at 9:39 am

Toby tHanks, I like both your comments and I also like that you said they were your own opinion. I do not, however, believe Trump is Putin's puppet. Frankly, I do not think Trump is smart enough. I am by no means a Hillary Clinton supporter. In my opinion she is a liar and someone who should have been indicted and had her day in court for the mishandling of classified material, but I am not an attorney/prosecutor. Trump is his own worse enemy and in my opinion will lose the election in a landslide.


2 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 2, 2016 at 9:58 am

I believe the ordinance applies to large private events that exceed normal business operations. This would include parties, fundraisers, weddings, etc. Most small cities have a limited number of officers on duty at any one time. Large scale events have the potential of impacting these normal operations.

It seems reasonable that the city not foot the bill regardless of what the event was.


4 people like this
Posted by Roberto
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 2, 2016 at 10:00 am

Roberto is a registered user.

@ My take: The circus club along with many residents pay for events through the Town they call "special Services" For that, a permit is required and then you select the number of officers you wish to attend. Weddings as an example, many times they will have uniformed officers and plain clothes to keep an eye on gifts, etc.
Tally-Ho they hire 24x7 police and that is all paid to the Town using an overtime rule so the Town actually makes money and the officers make Over Time if they wish to sign up.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 2, 2016 at 10:03 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

my take:

The Circus Club also pays sales tax, a portion of which the city collects. No one else in Atherton pays sales tax.


Like this comment
Posted by My take
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 2, 2016 at 11:31 pm

Menlo Voter, I understand your points, and probably have not been very articulate about expressing mine. Or maybe very few people see it the way I do; I hope not. I don't trust government officials (or people in general) to decide which citizens get to pay more for extenuating circumstances. It's too fertile an area for all kinds of abuses. Anyway, my final word on the topic.


Like this comment
Posted by Toby tHanks
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 7, 2016 at 6:06 pm

Nice picture released this weekend of a dinner in Moscow with Putin.

And Trump's military adviser.

And Jill Stein.

Celebrating RT, the Russian owned and run state media. Putin's propaganda mmachine. Web Link

Nice!

What? Was Jillian Assange unavailable that night?!?!?!? Would have been the perfect meeting!


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

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