Town Square

Post a New Topic

Lewis, Wiest win Atherton council seats

Original post made on Nov 7, 2012

Elizabeth Lewis swept to a second term on Atherton's City Council on Tuesday, winning 1,690 votes, with the second council seat going to newcomer Cary Wiest with 1,209 votes.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 7, 2012, 12:23 AM

Comments (10)

Like this comment
Posted by What the numbers mean
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 7, 2012 at 7:05 am

The voters have sent a strong message they want to stop the Widmer, McKeithen, Dobbie (WMD) style of government.

Ms. Kupperman, has been a hard worker for Atherton, but was supported by Ms. McKeithen and viewed as third vote Widmer and Dobbie needed to keep power.

In a survey a year ago only 25% of the people supported a library in the park, yet WMD, and a small committee lead by Kupperman fought to push it through.

Outsourcing the police might have been a small factor in the election, but the driving force was to remove WMD.

Like this comment
Posted by Integrity Actually Matters
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm

What Denise Kupperman seems to fail to recognize (probably because McKeithen has so convinced her otherwise), is that people recognize dishonesty. In this case, the complete fictions that Kupperman put out about the work of the ALBSC, her own motivations to run in her campaign literature, as well as the absence of disclosure about her expenses or sources of funding is what doomed her campaign. The only connection to the police was that well-founded distrust of Kupperman meant that she wasn't to be trusted to support what people care about with respect to the police either.

Like this comment
Posted by Nice try
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm


1. The vote by mail results were very consistent with the final results, and the very higj likelihood most of these occurred prior to the (false) library union allegations, and,

2. The loss of Greg Conlon,

It's much more likely the police union bought this election, along with their scare tactics.

We shall see how Lewis and Wiest vote on the upcoming APOA contract.

Like this comment
Posted by What the numbers mean
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm

"Measure F, asking if a library should be built in Holbrook-Palmer Park, went down to resounding defeat on Tuesday, with nearly 69 percent of voters saying they did not want the library in the park. Ms. Kupperman actually garnered about 50 votes fewer than Measure F did."

It has been clear for a year, that only 30% of Atherton favored the library in the park and Kupperman lead that campaign to build the library in the park. You can not expect those that do not want the library to vote for her.

She received the about the same number of votes.

Like this comment
Posted by Nice try
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I'd like to be able to agree with you, but then I'd be wrong also. Ms. Kupperman not winning the election is not simply a result of her being aligned with library in the park. Greg Conlon had no linkage with the library in the park, but he lost also.

Greg Conlon has objectively more experience than Cary Wiest, has lived in Atherton far longer, has been a member of various important committees (unlike Cary), and is widely respected.

Not only was he not linked with the library in the park, but the Lewis/Wiest/APOA faction was unable to "taint" him with a Kathy McKeithen patronage either.

But he made the fatal mistake of questioning police salaries and benefits in the finance committee he was a member of (and properly so). We all know what happened to the last finance guy who questioned police expenditures (John Johns). At least no criminal investigation has been ginned up against Greg (yet).

To say the union activities had no influence on this election just doesn't measure up with the known facts. As I said, we shall see how Lewis and Wiest vote on the APOA contract (though ethically they should recuse themselves from that).

Like this comment
Posted by What the numbers mean
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 8, 2012 at 7:46 am

Greg's third place shows a few things.
1. Greg entered the race late. He was not lining up endorsers months before filing. He has support, but a candidate has to start sooner.

2. Greg would not state his age. Cary had support of the younger families. Who was Greg's base?

3. McKeithen stated she had decided not to run months ago. Since McKeithen supported Kupperman, Kupperman was able to plan her campaign. Yet with that extra time, Kupperman had little support.

4. Greg's campaign goals were to: A. Not increase the Parcel Tax. B. Not Outsource the Police. C.Balance the Budget. To do all three might be tough.Voters might have wondered how he was going to deliver.

How will we know how Lewis and Wiest vote on the Union contract, isn't that closed session?

Kupperman lost because she favored the library in the Park. During the election she tried to move away from that position, but was not able to.

The whole APOA thing will likely have more effect on Widmer and Dobbie in 2014. The way WMD handled the APOA endorsement was incorrect. Voters will remember Widmer's letter and video.

Like this comment
Posted by Nice try
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 8, 2012 at 8:28 am

We're clearly not going to agree on whether the union influenced this election, so I'm going to stop trying. To me, the APOA donating nearly $10,000 to the candidates represents an appreciable investment per officer in this small department, and they would not have done so unless they thought it would have a measurable effect. It did.

I find your comment about Conlon not being able to simultaneously keep the police, not increase the parcel tax, and balance the budget, very revealing. It presupposes keeping the police, yet dialing back salaries and benefits, is not an option.

It should be. With Lewis and Wiest, it won't be. The APOA knew that.

Like this comment
Posted by Read the results
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 8, 2012 at 9:26 am

You don't seem to be able to read the election results. Atherton voters decided NO on police outsourcing and NO on any reduction of salaries and benefits. That will just cost Atherton money as officers leave, and make Atherton the training ground it used to be.

The right thing for Widmer and Dobbie to do at this point is to step down. They have zero understanding of what Atherton residents want. Nickle and diming the police department isn't it. It's counterproductive, and will cost Atherton much more money than it can possibly save.

Atherton residents support paying a little bit more for getting a lot more in service.

Kupperman, Sleeth, Crittenden, these are all people who have no clue of what Atherton wants, and they should be removed from their committees by the new council.

Like this comment
Posted by What the numbers mean
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 8, 2012 at 10:13 am

To: Nice Try,

The money spent by the APOA also comes from resident donations. Who knows how much of the funds spent were from residents. How do you know $10,000 was spent?

The salaries of 20 Police officers cannot be reduced enough to make that big of a budget difference. What would a 10% pay cut produce?

Your comments are revealing. You write that "dialing back police salaries and benefits is an option" as a way for Conlon to balance the budget. The the police union will get a better deal with Lewis and Wiest.

Conlon and Kupperman were running banner ads on the Almanac 24/7. If they position was to reduce Atherton operating expenses by cutting police salaries why didn't they campaign on those issues.

Why didn't Kupperman campaign that she supported the library in the park? or that McKeithen supported and donated to her campaign?

Probably because those issues and drastic cuts in police services have less than a third support of the residents of Atherton.

Residents elect council members to represent their views.

The APOA endorsement did not state who would give the APOA a better contract, but since it came out numerous supporters of Conlon or Kupperman tried to make that claim including Dobbie at a council meeting and Widmer in a video. MicKeithen writes that the police activities are intimidating voters.

Those activities probably hurt Conlon and Kupperman more than the endorsement of the APOA.

If the APOA was such a mayor reason, then Conlon would not have received 20% more votes than Kupperman. What explains that difference?

Like this comment
Posted by Nice try
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 10, 2012 at 11:20 am

"The salaries of 20 Police officers cannot be reduced enough to make that big of a budget difference. What would a 10% pay cut produce?"

This is a very damaging theory. I agree, no one cut balances a budget. It's a combination of cuts across the board. Just because no one cut can do it, doesn't mean that no cuts at all should be made.

In Atherton, we have the salary levels of the police officers, we have the unfunded pension liabilities of the police officers, and we also have the fact that the Town of Atherton makes their pension contribution for them (in addition to the Town of Atherton's portion of the officer's pension contribution). That's like a private company not only matching your 401(k) contribution, but making the contribution for you.

There are many opportunities to make Atherton police compensation in line with the rest of California and the rest of the United States to assist in balancing Atherton's budget. Most residents are unaware of all of the perks they are getting and how much they cost. The police union, Lewis, and Wiest, have been successful in the scare mongering that any attempt to discuss police compensation equates to police outsourcing.

I hope most intelligent residents can understand these are not the same thing.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Food Party! 420
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 1,539 views

What Are Your Gifts that Must Be Shared?
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 631 views


Readers' Choice ballot is here

It’s time to decide what local business is worthy of the title “Almanac Readers' Choice” — and you get to decide! Cast your ballot online. Voting ends May 29th. Stay tuned for the results in the July 19th issue of The Almanac.