News

Menlo Park councilwoman held Facebook shares through most of 2017

Amended state-mandated documents reveal that it took Menlo Park City Council member Catherine Carlton six months to sell Facebook shares after learning her husband owned company stock.

Last month, The Almanac reported that Carlton owned, through her husband's investment portfolio, Facebook shares when she voted on two major projects that bolstered the tech giant's development prospects in November 2016, which may be a political ethics violation.

She told The Almanac she didn't know the shares had been purchased for her husband's investment portfolio, and learned of the matter only in late March 2017. She said the shares were sold shortly thereafter.

According to documents Carlton filed with the California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), she owned between $10,001 and $100,000 in Facebook shares, purchased Sept. 14, 2016. She reported finding that she owned the shares just prior to filing a mandatory form disclosing her economic interests April 3, 2017.

But according to a recently amended version of that form, filed April 30, 2018, Carlton's shares were not sold until six months afterward, on Oct. 2, 2017.

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Carlton told The Almanac that an independent financial adviser had purchased the stock for her husband's retirement fund, and she learned she was a shareholder only when she went to file her Form 700, a mandatory document elected officials and government workers fill out to lay out their economic ties and potential sources for conflicts of interest.

In a written statement she sent to The Almanac, Carlton said, "My husband and I gave clear instructions to his financial adviser not to buy any stock related to Menlo Park and he assured us that he knew the rules and would act accordingly. I had no reason to think that he would act differently, and am upset that he made this mistake."

She said that when she learned the investment manager had bought the stocks, which were held under her husband's name in a separate account, she asked the shares to be sold "in March or soon thereafter."

Later, in July, she said, she followed up with the investment manager's office, and asked for the date that the shares had been sold. She reported that the office staff told her they'd look into it.

After additional attempts to get that information, she said, she was informed in September that the request to sell the shares had been ignored, because the investment manager "does not typically carry out investment directions from one spouse when an account is held in the other spouse's name."

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Carlton said her husband then demanded the shares be sold, and they were on Oct. 2, 2017.

During the time her household owned the stock, Facebook's share value rose by 32.6 percent. From the time she says she was aware of the stocks (April 3, 2017) and the time they were sold, Facebook's share value rose by 19 percent. She reported that her household earned $5,500 from the shares.

She added in the statement to The Almanac: "I have been careful to recuse myself from participating in any decisions that I knew would have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect on Facebook."

She said she has self-reported the issue to the FPPC and is "working with them through the process to resolve it all."

Facebook entanglements

While the period between April and October 2017 involved little direct council discussion about Facebook, the company's ties to the city have become so entangled there are some matters that raise questions about whether there is a conflict or not. During the six months Carlton knew about the shares but had not sold them, a number of Facebook-tied projects were brought before the council that she did not recuse herself from.

One of those matters was the creation of a new police unit, which Facebook offered to fund as part of a development agreement with the city for its expansion along Bayfront Expressway. She voted on Sept. 26 to accept Facebook funding for the initiative of about $11.2 million over five years on Sept. 26.

Another was a discussion in September of the findings of a Facebook-funded study by SamTrans looking at ways to ease congestion along the Dumbarton corridor. SamTrans has since reported it may enter an exclusive negotiation process with Facebook to try to accelerate the development of improved transportation options along the Dumbarton corridor.

In addition, there were a number of closed-session meetings during which the council discussed litigation between the city and the city of East Palo Alto. The lawsuit arose, in part, due to concerns that Facebook's proposed "Willow Village" and other development in Menlo Park's recently upzoned territory in the eastern part of the city would move forward without extensive environmental analysis. That lawsuit was eventually settled last December.

During that time, the council also received informational updates on the company's expansion plans along Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road.

--

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Menlo Park councilwoman held Facebook shares through most of 2017

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Tue, May 22, 2018, 10:28 am

Amended state-mandated documents reveal that it took Menlo Park City Council member Catherine Carlton six months to sell Facebook shares after learning her husband owned company stock.

Last month, The Almanac reported that Carlton owned, through her husband's investment portfolio, Facebook shares when she voted on two major projects that bolstered the tech giant's development prospects in November 2016, which may be a political ethics violation.

She told The Almanac she didn't know the shares had been purchased for her husband's investment portfolio, and learned of the matter only in late March 2017. She said the shares were sold shortly thereafter.

According to documents Carlton filed with the California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), she owned between $10,001 and $100,000 in Facebook shares, purchased Sept. 14, 2016. She reported finding that she owned the shares just prior to filing a mandatory form disclosing her economic interests April 3, 2017.

But according to a recently amended version of that form, filed April 30, 2018, Carlton's shares were not sold until six months afterward, on Oct. 2, 2017.

Carlton told The Almanac that an independent financial adviser had purchased the stock for her husband's retirement fund, and she learned she was a shareholder only when she went to file her Form 700, a mandatory document elected officials and government workers fill out to lay out their economic ties and potential sources for conflicts of interest.

In a written statement she sent to The Almanac, Carlton said, "My husband and I gave clear instructions to his financial adviser not to buy any stock related to Menlo Park and he assured us that he knew the rules and would act accordingly. I had no reason to think that he would act differently, and am upset that he made this mistake."

She said that when she learned the investment manager had bought the stocks, which were held under her husband's name in a separate account, she asked the shares to be sold "in March or soon thereafter."

Later, in July, she said, she followed up with the investment manager's office, and asked for the date that the shares had been sold. She reported that the office staff told her they'd look into it.

After additional attempts to get that information, she said, she was informed in September that the request to sell the shares had been ignored, because the investment manager "does not typically carry out investment directions from one spouse when an account is held in the other spouse's name."

Carlton said her husband then demanded the shares be sold, and they were on Oct. 2, 2017.

During the time her household owned the stock, Facebook's share value rose by 32.6 percent. From the time she says she was aware of the stocks (April 3, 2017) and the time they were sold, Facebook's share value rose by 19 percent. She reported that her household earned $5,500 from the shares.

She added in the statement to The Almanac: "I have been careful to recuse myself from participating in any decisions that I knew would have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect on Facebook."

She said she has self-reported the issue to the FPPC and is "working with them through the process to resolve it all."

Facebook entanglements

While the period between April and October 2017 involved little direct council discussion about Facebook, the company's ties to the city have become so entangled there are some matters that raise questions about whether there is a conflict or not. During the six months Carlton knew about the shares but had not sold them, a number of Facebook-tied projects were brought before the council that she did not recuse herself from.

One of those matters was the creation of a new police unit, which Facebook offered to fund as part of a development agreement with the city for its expansion along Bayfront Expressway. She voted on Sept. 26 to accept Facebook funding for the initiative of about $11.2 million over five years on Sept. 26.

Another was a discussion in September of the findings of a Facebook-funded study by SamTrans looking at ways to ease congestion along the Dumbarton corridor. SamTrans has since reported it may enter an exclusive negotiation process with Facebook to try to accelerate the development of improved transportation options along the Dumbarton corridor.

In addition, there were a number of closed-session meetings during which the council discussed litigation between the city and the city of East Palo Alto. The lawsuit arose, in part, due to concerns that Facebook's proposed "Willow Village" and other development in Menlo Park's recently upzoned territory in the eastern part of the city would move forward without extensive environmental analysis. That lawsuit was eventually settled last December.

During that time, the council also received informational updates on the company's expansion plans along Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road.

--

Comments

Come on
Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 22, 2018 at 11:10 am
Come on, Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 22, 2018 at 11:10 am
41 people like this

This is so bad.


Wingo
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 22, 2018 at 11:19 am
Wingo, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 22, 2018 at 11:19 am
31 people like this

Time for a trip to China. Or wherever.


Menloshopper
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 22, 2018 at 12:44 pm
Menloshopper, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 22, 2018 at 12:44 pm
30 people like this

I guess the married couple were too busy to talk about this and verify what should have been the earlier sale with their financial adviser, who maybe could have mentioned to Carlton that he/she needed to hear from the spouse.


Pops
Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on May 22, 2018 at 12:50 pm
Pops, Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on May 22, 2018 at 12:50 pm
50 people like this

It strikes me as completely reckless that Carlton kept voting on items related to Facebook for six months without verifying the stock was sold.


pogo
Registered user
Woodside: other
on May 22, 2018 at 1:04 pm
pogo, Woodside: other
Registered user
on May 22, 2018 at 1:04 pm
12 people like this

This is easy to understand. And while I don't condone oversights, Ms. Carlton's proposed remedy is appropriate.

If the shares were held in Ms. Carlton's husband's account and she had no authority to buy or sell those shares, then she had no control.

It is pretty easy for me to see how this could happen.


Mike Keenly
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 22, 2018 at 1:59 pm
Mike Keenly, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 22, 2018 at 1:59 pm
36 people like this

Our councilwoman's excuses are simply weak. Maybe she should consider donating the stock gains to a local non-profit to really "put your money where your mouth is".


Bad
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 22, 2018 at 3:59 pm
Bad, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 22, 2018 at 3:59 pm
26 people like this

Bad Kat, bad.

It’s time for you to resign your office and clear the field for candidates with actual integrity to run.


TaxSmart
Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on May 22, 2018 at 5:44 pm
TaxSmart, Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on May 22, 2018 at 5:44 pm
8 people like this

I expect one of those involved was smart enough to want to avoid paying capital gains taxes at the short term rate:

Reversing the reported $5,500 gain... apparently >
Bought about 128 shares at about $127 on 9/14/2016 for about $16.3k
Sold about 128 shares at about $170 on 10/2/2017 for about $21.8k
Just over one year holding period, so a long term capital gain of about $5.5k

Long-term gains on most assets are taxed at lower rates than are short-term gains or ordinary income. Under the current law, an asset has a long-term holding period if it has been held, or is deemed to have been held, for more than one year.


J.C. Bogle
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 22, 2018 at 7:15 pm
J.C. Bogle, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 22, 2018 at 7:15 pm
11 people like this

The most objectionable thing about this is that Carlton and her husband think that paying an "expert" to pick individual stocks is a good idea. Get a low-cost index fund and call it a day!


No Big Deal
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 23, 2018 at 7:24 am
No Big Deal, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 23, 2018 at 7:24 am
8 people like this

If anyone thinks that a local real estate transaction affects Facebook's value in any material way is sadly mistaken. Facebook's primary value comes from its business model and not from its local real estate holdings. Any Council vote on Facebook property acquisition isn't going to materially impact its value.

People must really be bored with nothing better to do to focus on a matter is trivial as this. Now if the Zuck was giving Ms. Carlton stock options or grants that would be a different matter.

All Ms. Carlton should do is donate the Capital Gains to a local charity and be done with it.


More than a donation
Menlo Park: other
on May 23, 2018 at 7:51 am
More than a donation, Menlo Park: other
on May 23, 2018 at 7:51 am
17 people like this

It's not simply settled by a donation. There are multiple issues here:

1. Why wasn't Carlton forthright with the press by explaining the timeline the first time the story broke, that she owned the stock for such a long period of time. Instead per this article, she gave a misleading account that the shares were sold shortly after the discovery of ownership.

2. Why did Carlton wait until July 2017 to first try to verify the shares were sold? Willow Village was announced in July, 2017.

3. Why did Carlton continue to vote on council items related to Facebook without confirmation the shares had been sold?

4. Like most families in this area, it assumable Carlton's household makes charitable donations ever year. How would the public be able to verify the donation this year was above what she would normally give, and not simply in placed or averaged with other donations over a period of time? Would we trust we were getting the whole truth?



Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 23, 2018 at 9:32 am
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on May 23, 2018 at 9:32 am
16 people like this

No Big Deal,

This is about more that the value of the stock, it is a legal issue and speaks to integrity. You can also look at this and say "OK, we now know about this, but are there other things that are being hidden?


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 23, 2018 at 10:10 am
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on May 23, 2018 at 10:10 am
13 people like this

Here is the FPPC language that covers this issue:
"Reportable investments include:
Stocks, bonds, warrants, and options, including those held in margin or brokerage accounts and managed investment funds (See Reference Pamphlet, page 13.)
Sole proprietorships
Your own business or your spouse's or registered domestic partner's business (See Reference Pamphlet, page 8, for the definition of "business entity.")
Your spouse's or registered domestic partner's investments even if they are legally separate property."


Rainer
Registered user
another community
on May 23, 2018 at 10:34 am
Rainer, another community
Registered user
on May 23, 2018 at 10:34 am
12 people like this

This is so unimportant.
And most of the above comments sound so stupid or envious or uninformed about real life.

All her or her husbands transactions were at arms length through an investment advisor. More at arms length than my self-directed investement through funds in Fidelity, T. Rowe Price and TIAA. Of the growth funds my portfolio there was hardly any which grew less than 30% and I would have no idea if included Facebook.

That is probably terribly unfair wrt to the employed who got a 2.7% pay increase, but has nothing to do with ethics.


Get a life boys and girls.


Integrity Fan
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 23, 2018 at 1:34 pm
Integrity Fan, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on May 23, 2018 at 1:34 pm
29 people like this

Based on the details in the article, Carlton would have known in October that her shares were not sold. So she was lying to the Almanac reporter. It defies belief that her Investment Advisor would not have told Carlton of any problems selling the Facebook stock because the shares were in her husband's name. Any competent person would have written (emailed) Carlton and her husband immediately about the problem. Carlton should resign. Ethics matter. Facebook clearly has a majority of our Council in its pocket, otherwise why would four have voted for a General Plan that mostly benefits Facebook's desire for unbridled development in Menlo Park. Term limits are part of the solution. Another would be an Ethics Commission. Residents -- for a competitive race, we need people to come forward to run for office in district 2 and 4 for the Nov 2018 election. You will have a lot of support.


horrible
Menlo Park: other
on May 23, 2018 at 3:19 pm
horrible, Menlo Park: other
on May 23, 2018 at 3:19 pm
7 people like this

It's also possible that Carlton always told the truth but she has a horrible financial advisor.


Integrity Fan
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 23, 2018 at 5:26 pm
Integrity Fan, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on May 23, 2018 at 5:26 pm
12 people like this

To Horrible -- yes that's possible, but not likely. However, if it is true, then Carlton can have the person come forward to attest to her story.


Candid and Full Disclosure
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 23, 2018 at 10:17 pm
Candid and Full Disclosure, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 23, 2018 at 10:17 pm
12 people like this

I don't think much of Catherine sending emails to the reporters with prepared statements. Her statement was identical to the Daily Post. She should be speaking candidly about what happened.


secret plot
Menlo Park: other
on May 24, 2018 at 12:05 am
secret plot, Menlo Park: other
on May 24, 2018 at 12:05 am
2 people like this

@Candid_and_Full_Disclosure, should understand filing a Statements of Economic Interests is not something where one should "shoot from the hip." What people here are suggesting is that Carlton had some secret plot, but then decided to make it all public when she filed her forms.


Candid and Full Disclosure
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 24, 2018 at 5:53 am
Candid and Full Disclosure, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 24, 2018 at 5:53 am
6 people like this

According to this article Catherine didn't fill out all the information in the disclosure forms she filed to begin with. It says she filed new forms after the first Almanac story was written.


Candid and Full Disclosure
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 24, 2018 at 5:57 am
Candid and Full Disclosure, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 24, 2018 at 5:57 am
7 people like this

"But according to a recently amended version of that form, filed April 30, 2018, Carlton's shares were not sold until six months afterward, on Oct. 2, 2017."

That's what the article says.


FYI
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 24, 2018 at 1:45 pm
FYI, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 24, 2018 at 1:45 pm
6 people like this

Years ago, an investment firm failed to abide by our sell orders. We sued and won. does happen! I agree, more important things to be concerned with.


JP
another community
on May 24, 2018 at 3:44 pm
JP, another community
on May 24, 2018 at 3:44 pm
6 people like this

I think all of the little MP busy bodies should find something to do on Santa Cruz Ave and let this big story die. No such thing as the liberal police squad!
Catherine has a great deal of integrity.


Integrity
another community
on May 24, 2018 at 5:39 pm
Integrity, another community
on May 24, 2018 at 5:39 pm
16 people like this

Integrity is a characteristic demonstrated, not claimed.

But thank you for making it apparent that Republican trolls are attempting to defend their Republican councilwoman Carlton. This isn’t a Republican versus Democrat issue. But your slight against liberals makes it apparent you believe it is.


Lynne Bramlett
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 25, 2018 at 10:50 am
Lynne Bramlett, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on May 25, 2018 at 10:50 am
25 people like this

The document "Fighting Small Town Corruption" from the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity has many helpful suggestions for those who want to see increased Transparency, Oversight and Accountability in local government. Web Link As the document points out, "the very nature of small municipalities makes them susceptible
to corruption, because their small size and workforce do not allow for the kind
of oversight and enforcement mechanisms that larger cities, state governments,
and the federal government can employ. Nor can small towns usually count on
oversight from county-level or state oversight mechanisms, at least absent a
specific complaint about egregious conduct that is deemed important enough for
higher-level officials to pursue." The cautionary advice is especially important as Council considers adopting a new City Charter for MP. As we move away from the safeguards inherent in being a General Law city, our new charter will need ample safeguards to protect the public's interests. Meanwhile, concerned residents can ask Council to discuss a more explicit ethics code and the Sunshine Ordinance that Mayor Pro Tem Ray Mueller proposed last year.


Mike Keenly
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 25, 2018 at 2:46 pm
Mike Keenly, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 25, 2018 at 2:46 pm
22 people like this

Although some people want see politics hiding behind every bush, integrity (or lack thereof) is not the province of one political party or another. As one poster stated, integrity needs to be demonstrated, not claimed.


good grief
Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 25, 2018 at 3:34 pm
good grief, Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 25, 2018 at 3:34 pm
8 people like this

Lynne, as always, thank you for your thoughtful comments. As Peter Carpenter pointed out, when elected officials are corrupt and dishonest, as you are insinuating, these public calendars will be carefully curated and a waste of time. Please also understand that these proposals can be a political game. Some elected officials are able to gain momentum by pandering to the mob, but this usually turns out badly in the end. Leland Yee is a perfect example; he when after the video game industry and assault rifles, but literally got busted (and is now in prison) for trying to sell rocket launchers, purchased from terrorists, to undercover FBI agents while running for secretary of state. Web Link


Lynne Bramlett
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 25, 2018 at 4:13 pm
Lynne Bramlett, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on May 25, 2018 at 4:13 pm
28 people like this

To Good Grief, thank you for your comments and your points are well taken. Just to clarify, I wasn't trying to insinuate that our elected officials are corrupt and dishonest. I don't think that. However, our newspapers are highlighting some questionable actions with explanations that doesn't convince me. The staff also plays a stronger role in policy making than most people realize and their actions need transparency, accountability and oversight too. What I am suggesting is that our city needs more safeguards to protect the public's interests. Along with an Ethics Commission with some real power, and a Sunshine Ordinance that would greatly increase transparency (and the public's right to decide what it wants to know or not know on a given topic) -- I would also like to see the MP Advisory Commissions strengthen the role of the residents serving. Too often, they are advisory in name only with key decisions being made outside of the meetings. At all key decision points, I would like to see the relevant commissions have a full public airing of the topic(s). That would cut down on the number of decisions that are being made (and questioned later) that don't fully involve the public.


Mike Keenly
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 25, 2018 at 6:45 pm
Mike Keenly, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 25, 2018 at 6:45 pm
17 people like this

Lynne,

Thanks for providing a link to the quite excellent document. Tt's a very worthwhile and not-to-long read.

Mike


Council Email Watcher
another community
on May 25, 2018 at 7:41 pm
Council Email Watcher, another community
on May 25, 2018 at 7:41 pm
23 people like this

Lynne,

Have you seen this email on the City Council email log?

Web Link


policy or politics
Menlo Park: other
on May 25, 2018 at 8:55 pm
policy or politics, Menlo Park: other
on May 25, 2018 at 8:55 pm
4 people like this

Thank you @Council_Email_Watcher for your off-topic contribution. We've seen this story on almanacnews, mv-voice and pleasantonweekly websites; there are at least three similar articles published on the padailypost website. Other than George Fisher, it is a mystery who the people behind this are. Ray Mueller's public calendar would be the perfect place to see the names of every person Mueller has spoken with about this issue, but we expect Mueller will keep this list of names secret because it is embarrassing for all involved.

If real people really think this is an issue that council should discuss, then the Mayor should put it on the agenda the day after the November election. If people want a council discussion sooner to help generate content for political hit pieces, then the whole thing is in the realm of politics where we should not be spending staff and council time. If CCIN becomes a free service for publishing anonymous political attack ads, council needs a policy to keep CCIN focussed on policy and free of politics... which is the law.


Sunshine
Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 25, 2018 at 9:36 pm
Sunshine, Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 25, 2018 at 9:36 pm
2 people like this

The city council inbox is sent to every council member. Council members responding to anonymous emails accounts can be problematic if one of our council members is behind the secret account or in communication with these individuals, There can be a brown act violation it the topic is coming before council.


George Fisher
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 27, 2018 at 12:02 pm
George Fisher, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on May 27, 2018 at 12:02 pm
25 people like this

People or Politics: Real people think this is an issue that council should discuss, NOW!. The Almanac Editorial of April 18, 2018, over five weeks ago, raised the following questions, which remain unanswered:

"It is clear that Ms. Keith, whose term as mayor ended last year, was not authorized by her council colleagues to represent the city in China. But beyond that, questions include:

• What exactly was in the document, called an "agreement" and a "memorandum" by the Chinese press, that appears to have been signed by the Dublin mayor, as Ms. Keith and Mr. Siegel stood by? The Chinese press reports, according to certified translations, that the agreement was signed on behalf of the three Bay Area representatives there, including Ms. Keith.

• In at least one photo published by the Chinese press, Ms. Keith appears to be wearing the city of Menlo Park's "Mayor" pin. Why would she represent herself as the city's mayor when she doesn't serve in that capacity?

• What was the purpose of Ms. Keith's participation, wearing a city of Menlo Park pin, at a ceremony that, according to the Chinese press, benefited a private firm whose CEO is the former Mountain View council member, Mr. Kasperzak?

• Why would Ms. Keith, Menlo Park city pin affixed to her blazer, attend a function in another country representing the city when she was not authorized by her council colleagues to do so?

These are questions the public has a right to ask, and to have answered."


SFG4E
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 27, 2018 at 5:25 pm
SFG4E, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 27, 2018 at 5:25 pm
19 people like this

Here are the possible factors that MIGHT make me think that this "isn't a big deal":

1) Catherine Carlton and/or Bob Ridenour gave their investment manager written guidance not to invest in firms doing business in Menlo Park
2) Catherine Carlton and/or Bob Ridenour provided written direction sell the Facebook shares immediately after having learned they were purchased
3) This particular investment manager is no longer serving Catherine Carlton and Bob Ridenour

How about it? Vague memories of "telling" the investment firm this or that are not good enough for something this serious.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on May 27, 2018 at 7:09 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on May 27, 2018 at 7:09 pm
12 people like this

"How about it? Vague memories of "telling" the investment firm this or that are not good enough for something this serious."

NO. Not good enough. Any emails that confirm this? I doubt it. Those emails likely never happened.


Councilmember Reports
Menlo Park: other
on May 28, 2018 at 12:58 am
Councilmember Reports, Menlo Park: other
on May 28, 2018 at 12:58 am
2 people like this

@George_Fisher writes, "...this is an issue that council should discuss..."

Good news, "Councilmember Reports" is an item on every city county agenda and includes public comment. At the 5/8/2018 council meeting, council member Keith gave a report about her trip (Web Link): it was on her own time, no taxpayer dollars were spent, no official duties were performed, no votes were taken or missed while away, she wanted to call-in but was in transit. There were no questions from fellow council members or from the community, although Pam Jones did give public comment during that agenda item.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on May 28, 2018 at 9:06 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on May 28, 2018 at 9:06 am
14 people like this

"no official duties were performed,"

Then why was she wearing a pin identifying her as Mayor of Menlo Park?

"no votes were taken or missed while away"

Not true.

"she wanted to call-in but was in transit."

If she wasn't missing a vote, why would she need to call in?


there was a vote?
Menlo Park: other
on May 28, 2018 at 2:41 pm
there was a vote?, Menlo Park: other
on May 28, 2018 at 2:41 pm
2 people like this

When the council votes during a meeting, or the mayor signs some official documents for the city, there is no requirement that they wear a pin or name badge. This argument that wearing a pin bestows official status is misguided. The pin is primarily a name badge, and there are generally no official duties for city council members outside their city.

@Menlo_Voter suggests there was a vote during the study session. Is that really a mystery?


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on May 28, 2018 at 7:00 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on May 28, 2018 at 7:00 pm
15 people like this

"This argument that wearing a pin bestows official status is misguided. The pin is primarily a name badge, and there are generally no official duties for city council members outside their city."

Then why wear one that says "Mayor"? Why not just wear a plain name tag? Because she was trying to insinuate some kind of formal city support for what was a strictly private event. And that's the problem.


Lynne Bramlett
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 29, 2018 at 2:08 pm
Lynne Bramlett, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on May 29, 2018 at 2:08 pm
12 people like this

Thank you Mike Keenly for your thanks for the link to the document, "Fighting Small Town Corruption." Web Link To Council email watcher, I have seen the slide presentation regarding Kirstin Keith's trip to China. While her trip may have been legal, it certainly raises questions in my mind regarding at least her judgment as it pertains to this trip. At minimum, MP needs a more explicit travel policy and ethical guidelines, along with other practices that promote public trust and confidence in our elected officials and staff. Rich Cline and Ray Mueller have asked that Council discuss the travel policy, which I appreciate. Having a Sunshine Ordinance Web Link would greatly increase transparency and the public's ability to be involved in our local government. The public's increased involvement would lead to more oversight and accountability. Our overall Public Participation process also needs improving so that it better incorporates and protects the public's interest in the decision-making process. Too many MP meetings seem more designed to be "check off" ones to satisfy the public input requirement. The public has also complained about meetings designed to get the public to agree to what staff wants done. Or one never hears about the meeting. I'm impressed with the process from the EPA Web Link. Council also needs unbiased and objective staff reports instead of ones that contain a slant (due to loaded language, included details and omitted details) towards what staff wants Council to do. Municipal benchmarks would also help so residents have comparison points with other cities. I also like the Good Governance Checklist Web Link for ideas and resources at the Public Service ethics laws page Web Link.


formal vs ceremonial
Menlo Park: other
on May 29, 2018 at 3:31 pm
formal vs ceremonial, Menlo Park: other
on May 29, 2018 at 3:31 pm
2 people like this

@Menlo_Voter, asks "Why not just wear a plain name tag?"

When most people at the ceremony can only read Simplified Chinese, it's not a bad choice. People that were at the ceremony have clarified this situation. "Mr. Kasperzak, Mr. Haubert and Mr. Siegel said that Ms. Keith did not represent herself as mayor." Web Link

Regarding the question of formal vs ceremonial, a properly noticed council meeting is formal.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on May 29, 2018 at 7:15 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on May 29, 2018 at 7:15 pm
19 people like this

"Ms. Keith did not represent herself as mayor."

Except she wore a name tag identifying her as such. Sounds like "representation" to me. If I put on a police badge and don't "represent" myself as a police officer do you think my arrest for impersonating a police officer will be invalid?


formal vs ceremonial
Menlo Park: other
on May 30, 2018 at 12:56 pm
formal vs ceremonial, Menlo Park: other
on May 30, 2018 at 12:56 pm
2 people like this

Today's Daily Post has another installment of this international crisis. There is a closeup of Keith speaking into a mic, the caption reads, "Chinese media posted a picture of Menlo Park Councilwoman Kirsten Keith in China. On here badge, the word beneath her name cannot be clearly seen but it's about the length of the word mayor."

@Menlo_Voter, if she introduced herself (to the room, into a mic) as council member, and the designation on her badge was too small for people in the room to read, it is possible that nobody at the event noticed the designation on here badge.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on May 30, 2018 at 8:25 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on May 30, 2018 at 8:25 pm
9 people like this

"if she introduced herself (to the room, into a mic) as council member, and the designation on her badge was too small for people in the room to read, it is possible that nobody at the event noticed the designation on here badge."

Big assumption. Assumes she wasn't any closer to anyone than other from the podium. I think we both know that is HIGHLY unlikely. She represented herself as mayor. Why? She could probably clear this up herself, but?


formal vs ceremonial
Menlo Park: other
on May 31, 2018 at 12:14 am
formal vs ceremonial, Menlo Park: other
on May 31, 2018 at 12:14 am
5 people like this

@Menlo_Voter, no assumptions, just going by what was reported in the Almanac by people in the room.

Mr. Kasperzak, Mr. Haubert and Mr. Siegel said that Ms. Keith did not represent herself as mayor. "I don't recall even seeing Kirsten's name badge, but I do specifically recall her introducing herself as Councilmember," Mr. Haubert said. Web Link

I see the disconnect here. You believe that wearing a name badge (with tiny letters in English, in a place where people generally can only read simplified Chinese) is proof that she ONLY represented herself as mayor, while everyone at the event that can be asked has stated that she only ever represented herself as council member, and you want her to explain why she represented herself as mayor. Well, it seems she has stated that she simply had the wrong name badge with her at the time, but always introduced herself properly when she spoke.

It's hard to imagine a new council travel policy that will bring you any closure on your concerns.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 31, 2018 at 8:00 am
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on May 31, 2018 at 8:00 am
7 people like this

Here is the Fire Board's Policy:

"The district shall provide a district “Director” official badge (flat, wallet style), Menlo Park Fire District plastic laminated photo identification with lanyard, a 3/4” gold colored name plate with black letters, with their name and position “Director” below. All of the above items should be displayed only while conducting official District business)."


Brit
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 31, 2018 at 10:57 am
Brit, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 31, 2018 at 10:57 am
17 people like this

All this defense attorney spin dribble round round is ridiculous.

All one needs to do is look at the pictures in the slide deck from the Council email Lynn was referring to:

Web Link

Pictures can’t be spun.

Keith is in a picture standing over the guy from Dublin signing the document wearing her pin, with Silicon Valley Group on the screen behind her. We are supposed to believe she didn’t believe Silicon Valley Group referred to her? And didn’t she give press interviews wearing her Mayor pin? And according to the quote she gave the Almanac she said she doesn’t know if the Dublin guy Haubert signed the document. But in the picture she is looking right at the guy sign the document. Look at the slide deck before you buy what this troll is selling.


dog and pony show
Menlo Park: other
on May 31, 2018 at 3:00 pm
dog and pony show, Menlo Park: other
on May 31, 2018 at 3:00 pm
2 people like this

@Brit writes, "Pictures can’t be spun," but she's standing in the row bind the people at the table. By writing that she's standing "over the guy from Dublin" you are actively spinning the photo. It is possible she can't see what he's doing, and she's just there as window dressing. If this was simply a dog and pony show, the document is a prop and it doesn't apply to anyone.


Cat Club
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 1, 2018 at 6:38 am
Cat Club, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 1, 2018 at 6:38 am
9 people like this

There are other posts about George Fisher's weird China theories. This is about Catherine Carlton's clear violation of FPPC rules. Comment accordingly!


justaskme
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 4, 2018 at 11:45 am
justaskme, Menlo Park: other
on Jun 4, 2018 at 11:45 am
4 people like this

How did this go from one thing to another?
So Menlo.


FollowThru
Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jun 6, 2018 at 7:58 pm
FollowThru, Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jun 6, 2018 at 7:58 pm
5 people like this

The Almanac needs to stay on top of this! Let the people know if Cat faces fines or any other sanctions for this illegal (if possibly inadvertent) activity.


prudent
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 7, 2018 at 11:11 am
prudent , Menlo Park: other
on Jun 7, 2018 at 11:11 am
2 people like this

It is completely legal for Carlton to own as much Facebook stock as she wants. Her spouse or she could start working for Facebook tomorrow, which is also legal. If she wants to avoid a fine (civil, not criminal), she should fill out her Form 700 properly. In certain circumstances, it may be prudent for a council member to be recused. The FPPC can also issue fines when forms are not submitted in time.


Joke
Atherton: other
on Jun 9, 2018 at 6:55 pm
Joke, Atherton: other
on Jun 9, 2018 at 6:55 pm
7 people like this

It's legal for Carlton to own shares of Facebook. It's just a violation of the law to vote on Facebook issues while she does. Which she did, over the course of a year.



impropriety
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 11, 2018 at 8:41 pm
impropriety, Menlo Park: other
on Jun 11, 2018 at 8:41 pm
2 people like this

Not a violation of the law @Joke, simply a conflict.

"The presence of a conflict of interest is independent of the occurrence of impropriety. Therefore, a conflict of interest can be discovered and voluntarily defused before any corruption occurs. A conflict of interest exists if the circumstances are reasonably believed (on the basis of past experience and objective evidence) to create a risk that a decision may be unduly influenced by other, secondary interests, and not on whether a particular individual is actually influenced by a secondary interest." (wikipedia: Web Link)


Keep Commenting
Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jun 12, 2018 at 9:10 pm
Keep Commenting, Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jun 12, 2018 at 9:10 pm
5 people like this

" 54 comments | 4154 Views "

Don't let this story die!


Public Apology
Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Jun 16, 2018 at 1:33 pm
Public Apology, Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Jun 16, 2018 at 1:33 pm
4 people like this

This week a new story was published about Catherine and some China travel issues.
Web Link

The thing that bothers me is that she doesn't seem to take responsibility for any of it. Nothing but excuses. It's disappointing.


don't hold your breath
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 17, 2018 at 6:28 pm
don't hold your breath, Menlo Park: other
on Jun 17, 2018 at 6:28 pm
2 people like this

@Public_Apology is bothered that Carlton didn't take responsibility.

George Fisher was only able to learn about the stock purchase because Carlton filed the appropriate paperwork once she had identified the issue... very responsible of her.

@Keep_Commenting pleads, "Don't let this story die!"

A conclusion to this could eventually come from the FPPC, which deals with actual corruption, so don't hold your breath.


FPPC Investigation?
another community
on Jul 17, 2018 at 6:10 am
FPPC Investigation?, another community
on Jul 17, 2018 at 6:10 am
Like this comment

If Carlton self reported to the FPPC in March 2017 as she says she did, why hasn't the FPPC issued any ruling on the matter yet?

Also, if Carlton self reported to the FPPC in March 2017, why did she wait until recently to add details to her filings?


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