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Guest opinion: Setting the record straight on Atherton and the fire district

Original post made on Oct 5, 2020

In an Oct. 2 op-ed, Atherton councilmen Mike Lempres and Bill Widmer write about their concerns regarding what they call "repeated misrepresentations of Atherton's relationship with the Menlo Park Fire Protection District."

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, October 4, 2020, 9:33 AM

Comments (2)

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Oct 5, 2020 at 8:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Weekly has kindly allowed two of the three misguided Atherton Town Council members who continue to demand that Atherton be treated differently than the rest of the Fire District. to publish an Opinion Piece accusing "the Mayor and at least one candidate (for Town Council) of misleading readers about the position of the town." These three 1% ers want a tax refund paid for by the losers and suckers.

Their misguided premise is that "The question involves the unusually high cost of those (fire) services to Atherton."

They are operating from a misguided premise.

Emergency services are not a metered service like water and electricity.

Emergency services are just like police services, national defense, public schools, public health, CHP etc and in our society we have decided that those services will be paid for by property and income taxes therefore the wealthy 1% pay far more FOR ALL OF THOSE SERVICES than do the residents of East Palo Alto.

Arguing how much more they pay for a particular public service is a meaningless discussion. Just imagine how much more Atherton residents pay for our national defense than do the poorer citizens of our country - and Atherton has never asked for more national defense for Atherton. Atherton pays much more per enrolled Atherton student in the SUHSD than do the residents of Menlo Park but these crazies never acknowledge that fact.

The basis of this problem a total lack of understanding of the philosophical basis of our tax systems by Wiest, Widmer and Lempres.

If instead Wiest, Widmer and Lempres want to continue to pursue their false narrative then they should produce comparable numbers for the cost of providing all the other public services, one by one, to Atherton vs how much Atherton residents pay for each of those services.

The public school one is an easy one to get both cost per student enrolled in the public schools and the taxes paid by Atherton residents to the school districts. At least everybody in Atherton gets fire services while few Atherton residents enjoy the benefits of a public school education.

I predict that Wiest, Widmer and Lempres will meet this challenge with a stoney silence.


Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 5, 2020 at 9:51 am

Thoughtful is a registered user.

to Cary Wiest, Bill Widmer, Mike Lempres – why is taking a hard look at costs versus alternatives being limited just to fire services?

Isn't it the case that Atherton spends most of its money on police services? Like fire services, this is also a politically charged issue. Like fire services, a lot of money is being spent. Unlike fire services, Atherton has a very high degree of control over how those monies get spent.

Why not take the same approach with police, or is that being treated as a "sacred cow"?


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