Town Square

A Fresh Start

Original post made by JS, Atherton: other, on Dec 13, 2012

Next Wednesday night, a new Atherton council will be seated. Elizabeth Lewis is expected to become mayor. Cary Wiest will bring a new respect for residents and employees to the council. The twelve long years of Kathy McKeithen's attacks against police officers, employees, and residents will have come to an end.

It is important to honor the will of the voters in this last election. Through the election of Cary Wiest and Elizabeth Lewis, the last place finish of McKeithen henchwoman Denise Kuupperman, and the resounding defeat of the library in the park, the voters have spoken clearly. They want the Atherton Police Department to continue on and to do so in an environment in which it is not being continuously attacked by McKeithen and her cronies.

The amount damage done to the Police Department by McKeithen and WMD has been tremendous. The officers have been subject to continuous attacks on their professionalism as well as their compensation. Atherton residents decided long ago that the department should be at least at the 70th percentile of compensation compared to surrounding neighborhoods to attract and retain quality officers. Right now the effect of McKeithen's war against the Police Department, it is more like the 30th percentile. Most residents would clearly support increasing the retention program to the 90th percentile so we can continue to enjoy what Malcolm Dudley said makes Atherton special, its employees, and especially the Police Department.

The following actions need to be taken quickly by the new council to restore morale of the officers and make sure we don't lose officers (which costs the town much more money than the nickel and diming that has gone on under WMD).

1. This is easy. Restore the water and coffee. It was a mean-spirited move by WMD to remove this, but it costs next to nothing.

2. Make sure officer compensation remains competitive. This will involve INCREASING compensation to avoid losing officers to other agencies. Atherton residents spoke loudly in this last election. They want the parcel tax to continue, and small increases in the parcel tax (which has never been increased to keep up with inflation) will enable Atherton to keep its police compensation competitive and avoid losing officers. Atherton residents as well as San Mateo County residents have consistently recognized and approved that taxes must go up with inflation to continue to get quality public safety. The notion of WMD that police compensation can decrease and the parcel tax can go away, and Atherton keeps a quality Police Department, is a fantasy designed to outsource. This is what residents don't want.

3. WMD made sure Atherton no longer has a dispatch supervisor. Atherton residents want a dispatch center that is well-managed so when they call into the Police Department, they get a quality response. The former supervisor John Mattes should be restored to his position with back pay. This was a McKeithen-sponsored vendetta that should be rescinded.

4. Internal promotion to chief. How can Atherton possibly attract quality officers when the message is you will not get promotion opportunities? Atherton has traditionally recruited chiefs from within the department and it should stay that way to motivate the officers to perform their best. How ironic that the "business people" like Dobbie who believe in a capitalist work for reward system would be in favor of recruiting from outside to demoralize and demotivate.

5. Restore the number of officers needed for the Atherton Police Department to function properly. There needs to be a minimum number of officers just for officer safety to be assured on shifts. This has been another short-sighted decision by WMD. Atherton residents want their Police Department and that means a functional Police Department, not one financed by a shoe string.

With these measures taken, the damage done by McKeithen and WMD over the course of years can start to be addressed. Hopefully the new council will be treating the Police Department and officers respectfully instead of as adversaries like McKeithen did.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 14, 2012 at 7:14 am

Increasing compensation for your officers? Surely you jest. Just where are your officers going to go that pays better, has better benefits and most important of all, IS ACTUALLY HIRING?

This screed was obviously written by an Atherton cop. What self serving nonsense.

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Posted by missed you on the ballot
a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 14, 2012 at 8:07 am

JS, you sound like you're running for council, but you're a month too late. Too bad you didn't join the race so you could have asked voters about the idea of recreating a bloated Steve Cader-style police department.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 14, 2012 at 8:20 am

JS -

What a nice opening to reunite your city... just restating the union line.


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Posted by Nostradums
a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Before the election, I predicted if the Lewis/Wiest axis one, the following things would happen:

1. The parcel tax for Atherton residents goes up to over $3,000 per year.

2. Police Chief Ed Flint "retires" (actually is fired). He is replaced with Sherman Hall IV, the son of "Sherman III" who is a leader in the Wiest and "No on F" movements.

3. Atherton withdraws from the library JPA and takes the library money to give to the new police station/cops.

4. Atherton cops are the only police officers in California who have not had to give any salary, pension, or benefit concessions. This all ties into #1.

Little did I know that not only would Atherton cops make no concessions, they would be getting an ***increase*** in salary and benefits from the axis (or troika, along with Jerry Carlson).