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Why I’m supporting Elizabeth Lewis and David Henig for Atherton Council.

Original post made by James R. Janz, Atherton: Lloyden Park, on Oct 24, 2008

All the discussion in the presidential campaign this year is about change, with both sides claiming that they’re the best agent for change. Change can be a good thing. Change is needed here in Atherton too.

As Mayor, I have tried this past year to elevate the level of discussion at the City Council, to have the Council focus on the big issues, not the day-to-day issues that seem to have bogged us down.

But I’m concerned that upgrading the discussion level won’t happen without some significant change on the Council, and I believe that David Henig and Elizabeth Lewis are two people that can help bring that about. Henig and Lewis are both honest, smart, committed, open-minded, and, most-importantly, capable of working with other Council members, Town staff, and the public with civility, respect, and empathy.

Bring some new people onto the Council, and let’s have a Council that focuses on the future of the Town.

James R. Janz
Mayor of Atherton

Comments (4)

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Posted by john p johns cpa
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2008 at 10:29 am

In reviewing Jim Janz' endorsement, one should remember that this is a contest over whether the Town will be run by those who would treat Town Hall like burger king and "have it your way", with the only distinction being that 91 Ashfield Road doesn't have a drive through window.

To satisfy Janz and his cronies, perhaps a drive through window should be installed in the new Town Hall. After all Janz is one of the proponents of the Law's proposal to change the Town's General Plan to permit multi-family residential and retail development.

Pleaase also remember that Councilman Janz got caught up in "Developergate" himself as he was one of the three councilmen who was found to have received preferential treatment from the Building Department. But then again, what else should we expect from a land use attorney who knows on what side his bread is buttered?

To that point, I still remember Janz' reaction when it came to his attention two years ago that a prominent developer in Town had been caught with his "hands in the cookie jar".

Mr. Janz looked as though he had swallowed a goldfish (a very big and foul tasting goldfish indeed). I guess I'd have had the same reaction if my client or a friend of my client had just been issued a red tag on his beloved albeit illegal home improvement project.

On one point I do agree with Councilman Janz. Now is the time to look to the future. That's why I say goodbye and good riddance to Mr. Janz as he steps down from the Council.

I also strongly urge all Athertonians to view Mr. Janz endorsement with a healthy dose of skepticism. As the saying goes for Mr. Janz endorsement or those of any others: Consider the source.

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Posted by Watch Dog
a resident of another community
on Oct 30, 2008 at 5:57 pm

If "...Henig and Lewis are both honest, smart, committed, open-minded, and, most-importantly, capable of working with other Council members, Town staff, and the public with civility, respect, and empathy..." are the other folks (McKeithen and Moore) dishonest, not smart, not committed, closed-minded, and most-importantly, incapable of working with other Council members, Town staff, and the public with civility, respect, and empathy?

Discuss it at Watch Dog San Mateo: Web Link

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Posted by john p johns, cpa
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2008 at 5:25 pm

Hi Elizabeth:

Just in case I might have misinterpreted the documents Marc Hynes was kind enough to send me I thought I'd send them to you for your review.

Here's what I gather from the attached.

Somebody appeared to have misled the Building Department on the nature and purpose of your new residence. While the residence was characterized as an addition and alteration, the permit files and Mr. Lively can confirm that this was a "scrape and build new" job. Hence the application should have read "new residence". Now I hope folks at one of the local papers won't get too sensational on us and call it permit fraud.

The conditions of the conditional use permit were that any changes would have to be brought back before the Planning Commissoin. The conditional use permit also specifically referenced the May 22, 2000 plans drawn up by Abigail & Haws.

A June 10th, 2002 letter from Mr. Antony Joma, the project architect from Pacific Peninsula Group indicates that an entirely new set of plans were to be drawn up. Additionally, the architect appears to be under the mistaken impression that since, the new residence would remain within the footprint of the old plans, PPG would only require staff's approval, rather than going back to the Planning Commission.

A copy of the building permit and fees paid indicating that the main residence plus detached garage and guest house total 6,317 square feet of living area or about 32 percent of the 19,736 lot size. Even if one were to allow for an 1,100 square foot basement, we'd still be talking about a lot coverage of 23%, significantly greater than the 18% maximum lot coverage.

If after reviewing this document you decide that you owe it to the community to tear your house down and to build one that actually conforms to the Town's zoning ordinance, or if the Town makes this decision for your, I think you really do have a great lawsuit.

After all Pacific Peninsula Group builds lots of houses in Town, hence they, better than anybody ought to know the rules, right? That's why I'm copying Jim Janz in on this note as well.

I think Jim Janz would be a heck of an advocate. I've watched him in action. Sure I saw him lose his composure once (the time he looked like he swallowed a goldfish when he learned about Steve Ackley's illegal basement) but that was a once in a blue moon event.

Now if you, like Alan Carlson decide that you can no longer live in Atherton because of all the bad publicity you can expect to endure, I don't blame you one bit. In fact I can even sympathize with you. The press got so bad for me after all of those Charles Marsala press releases I too decided I'd had enough.

I also know what you might be thinking, if only I hadn't run for council, this might never have come to light. Now I can sympathize with that thought as well. If I'd decided to look the other way and ignore the goings on in the Building Department, I might still have my job.

As the saying goes, there's no sense in crying over spilled milk.

All the best.

John P. Johns CPA

Like this comment
Posted by Thelma
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 2, 2008 at 8:46 pm

Does anybody out there know if it's true that ex mayor Marsala has been encouraging his friends to volunteer for grand jury duty??? Guess we can all expect to endure another exhausting diversion of some kind or another --but at least this time he would only be subverting county resources to run his charade -instead of using any more of the town's budget to pretend to litigate his pals lawsuits---You da man Charles--but it's spelled democracy not demockery, or at least it used to be

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