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Argument Against the Parcel Tax

Original post made by news hound, Atherton: West Atherton, on Oct 24, 2009

Jerry Carlson is flat out wrong. Atherton does not need the parcel tax to function.

Here are some reasons why:

Developer fees provide more than enough money to finance road rehabilitation and drainage improvements.

The Police Department is overstaffed, overpaid and underworked. The Department's $4 million plus budget could be cut in half with no reduction in response times or public safety.

The Town administration is top heavy. Their compensation is far out of line with their ability, effort or scope of responsibility.

Fully 25 percent of the Parcel Tax is now being used to finance litigation against residents and current and former Town employees that should have been settled long ago.

I have heard the argument from one should vote for the parcel tax because it is tax deductible. This argument is a falacy.

Join me in voting no against Measures S and T. Just say no to public greed.

Comments (3)

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Posted by Fiscally responsible
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 25, 2009 at 12:52 am

Well, as a resident, I have received an Athertonian that was basically an advertisement for the parcel tax, post cards from the police department stating we need to renew the parcel tax, many signs posted everywhere saying "S&T" for safety, etc.

I tend to think that the people who have worked hard enough to be able to live in Atherton are intelligent enough to actually delve into the issues rather than just recite mantras.

No one, not the city council, Jerry Gruber (I guess he's been too busy demanding his raise), the Atherton Police Officer's Association, or anyone else for that matter, has disclosed the MILLIONS IN UNFUNDED PENSION LIABILITIES that are not being disclosed in the campaign for the parcel tax.

Much like a contractor who tells you he can patch your roof for $5,000 but doesn't tell you it will need to be fully replaced in two years for $50,000, the parcel tax is merely a band aid on Atherton's severe financial problems.

It's time to take the medicine, acknowledge these dire financial circumstances, and make the tough calls necessary to set the town's finances straight. After all, just because the federal government is spending trillions of debt doesn't mean we have to. The solution is NOT to continue with taxes, but to cut the spending that is unsustainable. The most glaring example is the police department we cannot afford because the number of officers and population of Atherton is small enough to make the fixed costs unaffordable.

I challenge, defy, and dare any supporter of the parcel tax to refute these allegations of unfunded pension liabilities and to explain why this is not an issue that is being disclosed to the residents of this Town. (Yes, the answer is they just want to get the parcel tax passed). Tell me I'm wrong, and how I'm wrong, not that I'm John Johns, not a resident, have a police officer's wife tell me I'm anti-police, etc.


Like this comment
Posted by Ellen
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 25, 2009 at 1:24 am

Well I did recieve the A.P.O.A. postcard mailer today indorsing parcel tax expenditures for the safety of the police dept. Is this even legal?? I remember wondering about this when they endorsed Elizabeth Lewis for council--this was Glen Nielson's first week on the job...

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Posted by Colleen Anderson
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 29, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Please speak your truth,and don't be afraid. Tell your real name. Please lets get together for a ballot group. SPEAK YOUR TRUTH IF FULL!!!!
The City Council has made it hard for me to be pro on this issue because of some of the poor chooses the city has made. It's sad to see the town in so many legal actions. At times, City Council can be so unfair they leave people no other choice but to sue the town. However, I love this town, and would be happy to contribute if I knew exactly where the money was going -- that is if I believed in where the money was going. I live on a smaller lot (less than 1/5 ac) zoned in with the larger lots. If you look at a plot map I look like a postage stamp on a letter. Three members from City Council decided not to send our issue to the planning committee, even though there was a recommendation to look at how the R1A zoning was effecting the smaller lots. Most small lots in this town are R1B and I find Atherton to be very unfair. Maybe we should take more items to a town vote. I believe it takes only 750 signatures to put an issue on the ballot (about 10,000.00?) vs all the legal fees we are paying. For example, I heard the“urns” is costing the town $180,000.00 and they lost the case.

I would be very interested in forming a ballot group and help get the people of Atherton heard.

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