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Ackley/PPG to Town of Atherton: I own it

Original post made by This wasn't supposed to happen, Atherton: other, on Mar 9, 2011

The Atherton Town Council, led by Elizabeth Lewis and Jerry Carlson, has recruited Bill Widmer to form a new majority that is following the old policy of large payouts to any real estate developer who says tens of millions of dollars of profit made on this town's taxpayers is not enough.

Next week the council will pay out a legal settlement to Peninsula Pacific Group, owned by Steve Ackley, who has sued Atherton saying that the amount of road impact fee refund received last year is not enough. They want more.

Jim Dobbie was against the road impact fee refund last year. Is he going to vote to give even more back to Ackley?

Could Kathy McKeithen be the only council member who is going to stand against giving taxpayer money back to PPG? Or is even she going to go along with this?

Wasn't Widmer promising to change stuff if he got elected??

Comments (9)

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Posted by Sweeping under the rug?
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 10, 2011 at 12:07 am

The council agenda for next week has this as its last item. Do they figure everyone will go home before the council gives this money out?

The Town of Atherton has also refused to publish this settlement in advance of the meeting. PETER CARPENTER, WE NEED YOU. They claim they are going to review it at the closed session before the meeting, but just the fact it's on the regular agenda leads me to believe that Furth already knows what in all likelihood it's going to be. The public deserves to know this now so we can comment on it BEFORE it's a done deal.

Recommendation: Adopt the resolution (Attachment 1) approving the Settlement Agreement (Attachment 2) between the Town of Atherton (“Town”) and Pacific Peninsula Group (“PPG”)

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Posted by Ed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 11, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Wow Good Catch!
At first when I looked at the Closed session agenda I thought this was no big deal--just another one of the endless law suits PPG has brought against the town demanding more and more money out the budget on top of all the money PPG already makes off Atherton (their personal fiefdom) as the builders of "over 100 homes here". But now I see that in fact this issue is listed at the tail end of the regular agenda for a settlement vote! Apparently PPG wants even more money now than they got last time. This has got to be a move that Jeff Wise and Elizabeth Lewis have tried to ram through during McKiethen's absence from the country while on vacation the last several weeks. Widmere hasn't been around long enough to be aware of PPG gaming the town in slow motion over the span of time--and Dobbie probably wasn't able to fend this off without McKiethen around to back him up. Nice going as usual Jerry Carlsen.... Got to had it to Elizabeth for making good use of Furth while she's still around in order to show favors and payback to her friends.
Please remember that PPG built Elizabeth Lewis' questionably legal home and that he was a major campaign backer for getting her into office so that she could help him.
Does anybody think she should be recusing herself from voting on this issue due to Conflict of Interest--OR WORSE?
P.S. Please remember that if Ackley gets this money, then everyone else will be lining up for their share also!

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Posted by peter carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm

peter carpenter is a registered user.

The agenda provides for public comment BEFORE the Closed Session.

Go and speak out against the lack of opportunity for informed public comment on the proposed settlement BEFORE the Council votes in Open Session to accept this settlement. If no one shows up then you have no one to blame except yourself.

The model is the Fire District resolution on prior publication of proposed labor agreements:


WHEREAS, in accordance with the policy of promoting prompt public access to government records, the California Public Records Act broadly defines public records (Gov. Code Section 6252, subdivision (3)) and the exceptions to disclosing public records under the California Public Records Act are narrow; and

WHEREAS, the Ralph M. Brown Act, Government Code Sections 54950 through 54963, enacted into law in 1953, requires open meetings of local agencies “to curb misuse of the democratic process by secret legislation of public bodies”; and

WHEREAS, the Ralph M. Brown Act “…reflects a legislative determination that ‘public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business,’ and an intent ‘that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly’ (Gov. Code Section 54950); and

WHEREAS, the Ralph M. Brown Act and the California Public Records Act require the District to conduct its business in a transparent manner; and

WHEREAS, the Board, as duly elected representatives of the citizens within the District, in conformance with the Ralph M. Brown Act and the California Public Records Act, is committed to providing the District’s citizens with information considered by the Board in making its decisions; and

WHEREAS, the Board believes due to the importance of proposed collective bargaining agreements with the District employee labor representatives, that these proposed agreements should be made available to the citizens of the District in sufficient time prior to the Board’s adoption of the proposed agreements so as to allow for adequate review and comment by the public prior to final Board action.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Directors of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District does hereby move that any proposed collectively bargained labor agreement between the District and designated District employee representatives shall be made publicly available at least fifteen (15) calendar days before the meeting at which the agreement will be acted on by the Board.

PASSED AND ADOPTED as a resolution of the Board of Directors of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District at the Regular Meeting held on the 16th day of December 2008

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Posted by 1+1 = 3
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 12, 2011 at 11:30 pm

No public comment is going to change the fact that this decision is going down. A small handful of residents read these message boards and the council members will not listen to all of them put together. The fourth estate led by the Almanac has been doing a good job of getting these stories of corruption out there. More publicity needs to happen. This city council needs set a priority of the residents being their constituents. City employees and businesses should be behind the residents in line. What I see is the town fighting two residents tooth and nail who have been mistreated by the police and building departments, and apparently provably so. Where PPG fits into this is obviously well ahead of the residents and this is because of special interests at work with the council members as it has nothing at all to do with helping residents and lowering their tax payments.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 13, 2011 at 8:36 am

1+1 = 3 said, "No public comment is going to change the fact that this decision is going down."

If you really believe that, then just stay home (and don't post on this website either). But don't complain about the actions of your elected officials, either.

Our elected officials, especially on the city and town council, don't live in some remote city disconnected from the realities of their constituents. They live on your street and we see them at stores, schools and restaurants everyday.

I believe they will be responsive and you should let them know your concerns.

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Posted by Ed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 14, 2011 at 12:57 am

Dear editor Gibbony:
Couldn't you send a reporter to the closed session, or poll councilmen on this latest settlement with the PPG. Or how about calling Mayor Dobbie or Jerry Carlson in advance of the tuesday meetings to see if you can get a comment. I wonder if you can get ANY of the council member to comment on why they are throwing even more money at PPG while the town goes broke. See if any of them are finally willing to concede to you that "we know it's not right, and we feel just terrible about it, but it's just the way things are....PPG even owns the police dept. and "Well they are just too well entrenched here for anybody to do anything about it at this point. We think it's best (for the town of course) to let Ackley just have what ever it is that he wants from the town, and for us to just be grateful that he lets us remain in " the leadership" and on the front side of the magic curtain while he pulls all his strings. Our wives are so so proud of us, and we wouldn't want to disillusion them about how little control we actually have here. Please try to understand our position...

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 14, 2011 at 7:25 am

Ed asks:"Couldn't you send a reporter to the closed session, or poll councilmen on this latest settlement with the PPG"

1 - closed sessions are closed even to the press

2 - polling the council members and publishing the results before a vote was taken in a properly agendized board meeting would violate the Brown Act because, IF the council members read the results of the poll, it would become a serial meeting.

IF the public is concerned then go speak up in the public comment period that precedes the closed session.

The responsibility for good government rest not just with the Almanac or Peter Carpenter but with every citizen.

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Posted by Ed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 14, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Speaking of "speaking out", "standing up", and The Brown act---There is a nice letter to the Editor of the Daily Post in today's edition, thanking Peter Carpenter for his civic participation
From a Mr. Donald Letcher of Mt. View, wishing that Santa Clara County had such a resident there to bring transparency to that county as well.
We are very lucky to have you here Peter
I know you are not motivated by either appreciation or fan mail--but it makes me feel better to see you get it.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I echo the kudos to Mr. Carpenter for his actions promoting transparency and ethics in our government.

Mr. Carpenter cannot do this alone. The very best thank you anyone can offer to Mr. Carpenter is to attend your own city council meetings and insist on transparency and ethical behavior from your elected officials.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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