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Police Outsourcing - Can Discussions Take Place?!?

Original post made by Free Speech!, Atherton: other, on Nov 18, 2010

At today's finance committee meeting, former police chief Glenn Nielsen and representatives of the police union, together with several old-time "police groupie" residents, stormed the meeting and demanded that Atherton not consider outsourcing police services.

What the heck? Isn't that up to the residents, not the pension holders?

Maybe as a first step, former chief Nielsen can give back some of his pension to enable the town to be able to afford the police department.

It looks like Atherton won't even get as far as Menlo Park. The union there is suing after the voters made their decision. The Atherton union is getting more aggressive. They won't even allow the discussion to take place.

Who loses here? The residents!

This is SOOOOO wrong.

Comments (10)

Posted by No discussions are needed
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 19, 2010 at 12:55 am

No discussions are needed, as 97% of residents have already decided this issue.

There are only three or four people in the whole town -- Kathy McKeithen, Jon Buckheit, Melinda Tevis, Peter Carpenter (and their stooges, John Johns and Michael Stogner) who have ever criticized the Police Department or even thought about outsourcing it.

Lord only knows these malcontents have had their share of free speech. It's all we ever get to hear, as a matter of fact, and the all-McKeithen, all-the-time, Almanac has made sure of it.

We've heard too much. It's time for them to go.

There is NO WAY Atherton is EVER going to outsource its Police Department. Buckheit, McKeithen and Carpenter are just going to have to get used to that. Better yet, move out of this town to somewhere else you can be happy - or, since that's probably impossible, at least make others miserable. We've had more than too much.

Posted by Cat In The Hat
a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2010 at 6:20 am

For years, people have been ranting on these boards about democracy, facts, and participation.

When the day finally comes when some of the less participative residents step up and exercise their democratic rights, they are criticized? REALLY?

Don't lose site of the fact that the frequent fliers at the council meetings and on these message boards aren't the only ones who reside in Atherton and have an interest in its operation. Every resident has not only the right, but also the obligation to speak out. Kudos to those who showed up!

The people who attend every Council meeting and live on these forums don't have a monopoly on the Town's democratic process. Their visibility and speech give them no additional rights. To suggest that residents who oppose their frequently published opinions (often characterized as assertions) have less right to participate is outrageous.

The police union also has a right to speak out and participate. To assume that they would sit on the side-lines is simply naive. They were open about who they were and who they represented. Frankly, had they not been there, I would have interpreted that as a signal that they did not care about the outsourcing issue.

Nobody said anything about cutting short the discussion on outsourcing. The Council and Finance Committee have an obligation to balance the budget. All solutions should be considered. Due diligence includes listening to the residents who wish to retain a police department.

Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2010 at 6:59 am

Glen Nielsen of Sequoia Healthcare District shows up to the Town of Atherton meeting with other representatives of the police union to share their ideas about Police Outsourcing.

At lest he took the time to express his opinion.

That is what is supposed to happen at these meetings, People should come a speak their minds. No City or Town wants to lose its Police department. Start talking

Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 19, 2010 at 10:16 am

I agree with Cat in the Hat. Everyone has the right to speak their mind on any issue. I am concerned the union getting involved in this process. Atherton residents are well aware of the service the police department provides. I have consistently said that by and large, it is excellent, despite my bad experience with a few of those officers and a management that will not or cannot hold them accountable. The issue of rising costs and in fact unsustainable costs is real. The issue of Atherton's deficit is real. It's not a "vendetta" by a few people who have had poor experiences with the police department, as "No discussions needed" has said. Other municipalities have outsourced based on purely fiscal decisions and blaming discussions on this happening in Atherton on me or Kathy McKeithen or in fact any person is simply foolish and the beginning of a propaganda campaign to avoid looking at true facts and circumstances.

Since Atherton residents are well aware of the services, they need to be similarly well-informed of the costs, alternative costs, and levels of services with alternatives. This is the basis for thoughtful decision making. I would not want to see any union interfere with that process as they have done in Menlo Park. There is certainly no group that is as well-funded and well-organized (or in fact, as far as I know, any group at all) on the pro-outsourcing side of things. But, the union does have the right to speak and it will be up to Atherton residents to make sure they can distinguish the facts from the advocacy and vested interests.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 19, 2010 at 11:59 am

What Atherton citizens want is high quality police services, which is very different than wanting to own and operate a police department. We also want reliable electricity but we don't own and operate an electric utility -as does Palo Alto.

Posted by number cruncher
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 19, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Glenn Nielsen retired with a final payout of about $300,000.

Atherton's police staffing costs are at least twice what neighboring cities cost

Atherton has a chronic imbalance between reveneus and expenses.

Is there a cause and effect relationship at work here? Of course there is.

Unless the Atherton Police Officer Association's monopoly is broken, Athertonians will continue to be taken advantage of.

Let the free market work its magic. Let there be open and transparent competition for the privilege of patroling the finest community in North America.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 19, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Here are the facts - you decide:

Agencies which have their own Police Department:

As of the census of 2000, there were
7,194 people
4.9 square miles (12.8 km²)
Police budget $4.9 M
$681 per capita

Redwood City
As of the census[1] of 2008, there were
75,508 people
34.6 sq miles
Police budget $31.7 M
$419 per capita

Palo Alto
As of the census of 2000, there were 58,598
23.7 sq miles
Police budget $29M
$494 per capita

Foster City
As of the census of 2000, there are 28,803
The city has a total area of 19.9 square
miles (51.6 km²), of which 3.8 square miles
(9.7 km²) is land and 16.2 square miles
(41.9 km²) is water.
Police budget $9.6 M
$333 per capita

As of the census of 2000, there were 28,158
The city has a total area of 15.6 km² (6.0 mi²).
11.2 km² (4.3 mi²) of it is land and 4.4 km²
(1.7 mi²) of it (28.19%) is water.
Police budget $9.5M
$337 per capita

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were
10,825 people
The town has a total area of 6.2 square miles
(16.1 km²), all of it land.
Police budget $8M
$739 per capita

Los Altos
The population was 27,693 according to the
2000 census.
6.3 square miles (16.4 km²).
Police dept budget $13.46 M
$485 per capita

Menlo Park
As of the census of 2000, there were 30,785
17.4 square miles (45 km2), of which
10.1 square miles (26 km2) is land
and 7.3 square miles (19 km2) is water. Police services budget $14.69 M
$477.148 per capita

Agencies which contract out their police services:

The population was 30,318 at the 2007 census.
The city has a total area of 21.1 square miles
(31.4 km²)
Police costs via County Sheriff $4.34 M
$143 per capita

11.8 square miles (30.5 km²)
As of the census of 2000, there were
5,352 people
Police services via County Sheriff $1.3 M
$242 per capita

Portola Valley
The population was 4,462 at the 2000 census
9.2 square miles (23.7 km²)
Police services via Sheriff $498,601
$111 per capita

San Carlos
The population was 27.238 in 2008
5.93 square miles
Police services via proposed Sheriff's contract
$6.8 M
$248.62 per capita

Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 19, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Can someone explain why, if in other cities in which police have been outsourced, all officers have kept their jobs, the Atherton police officers/union are vehemently against outsourcing? This is not a rhetorical question. I honestly don't understand the polarization. In some sense being part of a much larger organization offers more opportunities for advancement, so all things being equal, it should be an improvement.

Posted by what do you think
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 19, 2010 at 11:41 pm

There is probably some pension structure thats way better than the what every one else has-I don't actually know, but think about all the rest of it: not many crimes to solve, no actual danger, lots of mansions to house sit, the occasional rent free guesthouse, access to the rich and famous (and I do mean full and complete access to all of their most personal and financial affairs), the use of their fabulous 2nd and 3rd vacation homes, a loan of money when you need one, the occasional tip stock tip worth lots and maybe more to the unions, and perhaps a "scholarship" for the kids to an exclusive private school right here in town. Also think of the great real estate tips to be used or passed on to interested parties. Nope. This party is way to valuable not to fight to keep going-and it will be fought by an army of deluded but wealthy benefactors who would rather feel safe than actually be safe.

Posted by singing the blues
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 20, 2010 at 10:00 am

It isn't about pensions its about power. Its about accountability.

The vehemence we see on these boards is a product of fear.

The Atherton POA knows how dirty its rank and file is.

[Portion removed; unsubstantiated accusations of criminal behavior violate terms of use.]

There's a former chief who, by the grace of goodwill of an Atherton resident escaped charges of battery.

There's an officer who had the nerve to speak out against corruption in his department only to be persecuted by the DA on trumped up charges.

The Atheron POA knows that outsourcing would be like opening Pandora's box with the end result a large cadre of its members would be seeing the world from the inside of a jail cell.

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