April Letter to Atherton Residents

Dear Atherton Friends and Neighbors:

I hope that you are well and enjoying the resurgence of Spring that came from this much needed late April rain.  My garden is showing its thanks in so many ways!

This email will address (1) a summary ​of​ your responses to the Open Town Hall Project, (2) the opportunity and value of joining one of Atherton’s committees which have several openings and address important quality of life issues for all of us, and (3) an outline of the current concept for a 10 gigabit fiber network in Atherton.

Open Town Hall

The Open Town Hall Project enables you to identify your priorities for the City Council​ over this year.  ​Here ​are the results to date: (I identify the number of votes and points are 3 for #1, 2 for #2, 1 for #3.​)

_______________________________________________

Traffic Issues (mostly ECR, but also school traffic) 26 votes, 54 pts

Gigabit Fiber Network 18 votes, 36 pts

Drainage Issues 17 votes, 36 pts

_______________________________________________

Balanced Budget 13 votes, 30 pts

Bicycle/Pedestrian Paths 14 votes, 23 pts

Civic Center Project 10 votes, 23 pts

_______________________________________________

HSR Issues 9 votes, 17 pts

Crime Prevention 8 votes, 13 pts

Aircraft Noise 7 votes, 14 pts

Train Quiet Zone 7 votes, 14 pts

Park Improvement 5 votes, 12 pts

​If you haven’t voted, go to ​http://www.ci.atherton.ca.us/OpenTownHall​

Atherton Town Committees​

​Atherton has key committees that review issues within their subject matter areas and provide much needed advice to the City Council.  These committees provide opportunity for residents to get involved with community issues, to work closely with other residents and to have a real impact on policies in Atherton.  At different points in our lives, we each get involved with what we consider meaningful non-profit work as a way to “give back”​.  These committees engage in community-oriented non-profit work that can be both engaging and fulfilling.  This work helps shape the future of our Town.  I strongly encourage you consider joining a committee of interest to you.  I am happy to talk to you about any of these committees and to address any questions that you may have. Here are the openings:

Audit/Finance Committee2 openings – recommends action on tax and spending issues that impact the Town of Atherton.  This committee meets once every other month on the second Tuesday at 2 pm.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory CommitteeNewly formed committee – will recommend implementation of new bicycle and pedestrian paths in Atherton.  Meeting times are not yet established.

Environmental Programs Committee 3 openings – provides leadership on water management, energy efficiency and sustainability issues.  This committee meets once every other month on the second Monday at 4 pm.

Park & Recreation Committee2 openings – provides guidance on programs, maintenance and policies related to Holbrook-Palmer Park. This committee meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30 pm.

Planning Commission2 openings – focuses on land use, zoning and related issues.  This commission meets once every month on Wednesday at 6 pm.

Ad Hoc Telecommunications Committee – currently focuses on issues related to improving broadband and cellular connectivity in Atherton.  This committee meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 4 pm.

To fill out an online application for one of the vacancies listed in the Town Committees above click here . You may also  download the application and drop it off at Town Hall.

Proposed Atherton 10 Gigabit Fiber Network​

​​​The idea for a gigabit fiber network in Atherton grew out of discussions at the Ad Hoc Telecommunications Committee, which was established in June 2014.  After initially considering the state of broadband networks in Atherton and the difficulty associated with townwide WiFi, the Committee asked staff to send a letter requesting Information​ from all known and likely broadband network providers to see what they would propose to build a robust fiber network in Atherton.  We sent the letter in July 2014 and received no responses.

Beginning in September 2014 a resident began to explore creating a private company (comprised of residents) to design and deploy a robust fiber network in Atherton.  Over the past eight months the conceptual design for this effort has begun to take shape.  This group has engaged a design firm (Byers Engineering) that has designed many fiber networks. Byers is now in the midst of the Atherton design effort.

The concept for this network is that if following completion of the design, the private entity determines that projected costs are within the target zone, then it will hire a construction firm to lay underground fiber along our streets and throughout the Town.  Residents would be offered the ability to purchase the right to receive and own a bundle of four fibers (each providing up to 10 gigabits of bandwidth with current equipment and up to a terabit in the future) which will connect to a central office where network service providers (Comcast, AT&T, Google, Sonic etc.) could lease rack space and offer broadband service.  For residents that don’t want to purchase the four fiber bundle, the company would locate a single fiber at a connection point on the street in front of each resident’s house at no cost. This fiber would be owned by the company. Residents would be responsible to connect the fiber(s) from the street to their homes, which connection could be independently contracted or offered by the construction company or its sub-contractors for a fee.

​Service providers would offer service (which could include Internet, cable, phone and other broadband service)​ to all residents that connect to the fiber network.  The network wouldn’t be owned by the Town, it would be owned by the individual residents and the private company, but it would be independent from the service providers.  A key goal is to expand the capability of the Atherton Library to offer library services to its service population.  The 21st century library has to be about information management and we’d like to enable our new library in the Civic Center to gain lease access to this network and thereby provide residents with library services and programing in your homes.  The goal would be to offer basic Internet service to all those connected to the network at no charge.  Residents could pay for upgraded services, such as Netflix, movies, phone, cable and enhanced Internet service, just as you do now, but basic Internet and library programming would (hopefully) be at no cost.

​Besides enabling the library to be at the forefront of defining the 21st century library​, one great advantage of this system would be that the service providers would not own the fiber network.  For those residents that purchase the four fiber bundle, the fiber would be owned by the resident.  For others, the fiber would be owned by the private company.  In both cases, the cost of broadband service should be greatly reduced because there will be competition amongst service providers to offer services over this network. We will also protect future access and cost.

Please note that the foregoing description is entirely conceptual and subject to significant change.  I wanted to share this with you because I think that it is extremely exciting and a great improvement for Atherton and for our library.

My next month’s email will address traffic issues in Atherton.

If you find these emails interesting, please pass them on to your friends and neighbors. I’m happy to add any Atherton residents to this  list and to take anyone off who prefers not to receive these emails.

Warm regards,

Rick

Rick DeGolia
Mayor 
Town of Atherton​
84 Clay Drive
Atherton, CA 94027
650.321.7707 (h)
650.793.2800 (m)
www.rickdegolia.com

 

Atherton: Relative unknown wins landslide council victory

by Renee Batti / Almanac

 

Image of Rick DeGolia by Dave Boyce

(Cross-posted from an expanded version of an earlier Almanac story. Image by Dave Boyce/Almanac.)

Atherton voters gave political newcomer Rick DeGolia a giant thumbs-up on election day, with 62 percent of them backing his bid for a one-year term on the City Council to fill the seat left vacant by Jerry Carlson’s July resignation.

“My name was not known when I started (the campaign), but I built a very strong relationship to a lot of people,” Mr. DeGolia told the Almanac when asked about his sweeping victory in the three-candidate race.

 

The lack of name recognition is understandable: Before January, Mr. DeGolia hadn’t served on a single town committee or commission, and before the November 2012 election, hadn’t participated significantly in the town’s often-polarized political arena.

By contrast, one opponent — Greg Conlon — has not only served on town committees for nearly 10 years, but also came in a close third in a race for two council seats last year.

The county Elections Office late last week reported Mr. DeGolia winning 1,066 votes (62.2 percent); Mr. Conlon, 357 votes (20.8 percent); and Diane Sandhu, also a relative newcomer to town civic affairs, 290 votes (17 percent). The county will update those figures on Nov. 12, according to the Elections Office website.

 

[Please continue reading this article at the Almanac Online]

DeGolia wins seat on Atherton City Council by large magin; residents overwhelmingly approve parcel tax renewal

Reposted from Mercury Breaking New article by Jason Green,

Daily News Staff Writer

A Picture of myself and KarenRick DeGolia will fill a single open seat on the Atherton City Council if semi-official election results hold.

With all eight precincts reporting Tuesday night, DeGolia had nearly 63 percent of the vote. Greg Conlon trailed with about 20.2 percent and Diane Sandhu had 16.9 percent.

Meanwhile, Measure X had secured 74.1 percent of the vote. The parcel tax, which needed a two-thirds majority to pass, generates about $1.86 million annually and helps pay for police service and infrastructure work.

The winner of the council race will serve out the final year of Vice Mayor Jerry Carlson’s four-year term. Carlson, 76, resigned July 1 because he wanted to spend more time traveling with his wife.

The city council couldn’t agree on a replacement for Carlson and voted in July to hold an election.

[Continue reading this article at the Mercury News: Breaking News site]

What were you for Halloween?

photo 2Halloween is upon us and with it the welcome respite from the day-to-day normal into the freaky, bizarre and eerie.  So it was with the Rick DeGolia campaign that, unbeknownst to us, the serious, articulate and well-intentioned Rick transformed unwittingly into several (and we don’t know exactly how many) satirical, glib and possibly macabre figures roaming the streets on this hallowed eve, with nary a voter in sight.  photo 1We campaign staffers were heartened and rather charmed to learn the news that many and even possibly most of the Rick DeGolia yard signs that went missing over the last few weeks were taken by local students on some kind of viral craze that involved ritualistic usage of Rick DeGolia signs and backpacks.  Yes, it seems that being “Rick DeGolia” began to catch on with the youthful cognoscenti at the schools  a few weeks ago and, however improbable, being Rick DeGolia became the thing to be for Halloween.  So, what were you for Halloween?

 

Rick Receives Almanac Endorsement

On October 21, 2013 Rick received the endorsement of the Almanac’s editorial board. We are pleased to reprint the article below, or you can see it on the Almanac’s website here.

ALMANAC

Viewpoint – October 23, 2013

2013 Editorial: Rick DeGolia for Atherton Council

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 1.11.44 AM

Besides deciding whether to renew the parcel tax (see below) Atherton residents will select one of three City Council candidates to replace Jerry Carlson, who resigned in July.

Of the three candidates running, our choice is Rick DeGolia, vice chair of the Civic Center Advisory Committee and a high-tech business executive and lawyer who has some fresh ideas that we believe could improve the council’s relations with the community. His opponents are Greg Conlon, a former state Public Utilities Commission member who now serves as chair of the town’s finance committee, and Diane Sandhu, who is now that committee’s vice chair.

In our opinion, Mr. DeGolia stands out in this race due to his insights as a longtime business executive and corporate board member and his willingness to listen, respectfully, to all ideas and try to come up with creative solutions to problems before the council and of concern to residents. His decision to get involved in town government was sparked in the last election, when he was dismayed that the proposal to build a library in Holbrook-Palmer Park was pushed “from the top down” by a slim council majority, he said.

Mr. DeGolia notes that the town was recently able to pay $2 million toward its long-term pension obligation, which he says is due in part to the influx of many young families who are moving to Atherton and paying higher property taxes. Mr. DeGolia says these families will want playing fields, bike lanes and a safe way for pedestrians to cross El Camino Real, where several fatal accidents have occurred recently.

Mr. DeGolia did not accept support from the police union, and said he believes there is almost no possibility that the town will outsource police services. He did say that police costs and pensions, which take up more than half the town’s budget, are worthy of discussion.

Mr. DeGolia is a candidate who will make sensible decisions as a council member. He vows to listen to residents and says he will try to make the council’s decisions as transparent as possible. He is not endorsed by any current council members, who split 2-2 on many issues, so Mr. DeGolia could be a swing vote. We urge voters to elect Rick DeGolia to the Atherton City Council.

[To read the endorsement as posted on  the Almanac Online, click here!]
Reprinted in its entirety with permission.

Helping residents address a problem

[Re-printed from an email message sent to NextDoor]

Hello,
To Atherton voters,

airplane-noise-over-dearborn-300x199I would like to share how active and strategic Rick DeGolia (who is campaigning for Atherton Council) has been with the Surf Air noise matter.  From the moment I met him at our meeting, I could see he was deeply involved, he has championed the cause for all of us and provided thoughtful guidance. He has provided really good leadership in these areas:

  1. The encouragement that we reach out and create a strong resident group before we meet with Surf Air and the Airport;
  2. The inclusion of Elizabeth Lewis, Atherton representative on the Noise Abatement Roundtable, and George Rodericks, City Manager;
  3. Making sure that we get a decibel reading under a Surf Air flight before the meeting;
  4. Guidance and redirection of our focus to make our strategy to seek to change the flight path for all planes approaching the San Carlos airport. This is a much more fundamental fix to the noise and safety problem than our prior focus;
  5. Involvement and summary at the meeting with Surf Air that while it is right for Surf Air to make incremental changes to their flap use and other operational procedures that it is imperative that they invest in understanding why their flights are more noisy than other flights coming into the airport; and
  6. Work to forge a consensus at the meeting to get both Surf Air and San Carlos Airport to agree that the only fundamental fix is to change the flight path and to agree that this is in the interests of Surf Air and the Airport, such that they agreed to work with us (and even to lead the effort) to act as a united front in our approach to the FAA.

This is an ongoing concern, and I am confident that with Rick’s help, Surf Air and the airport make changes, but they will also work with us to craft a solution that we can take to the FAA. Ultimately, Rick would be a superb asset to the Atherton Council — Please vote for him.

Kind Regards,
Dan

Atherton voters to pick council member and consider renewing parcel tax Nov. 5

By Bonnie Eslinger, Daily News Staff Writer

Posted Online:   07/18/2013 08:18:15 PM PDT | [Re-posted here 8/1/13]

The Atherton City Council this week gave residents two reasons to go the polls Nov. 5 — to choose a new council member and decide whether to renew a parcel tax.

At its meeting Wednesday night, the council voted 3-1 to forget about trying to appoint a replacement for Jerry Carlson, who resigned mid-term on July 1. Council Member Bill Widmer cast the dissenting vote, saying “I don’t like to lose my options.”

Under state law, the council had only 60 days from July 1 to either appoint Carlson’s replacement or call for an election by July 15 to make the November ballot, according to City Attorney William Conners.

The council’s four remaining members called for the election July 11 after failing to select someone that a majority of them could agree on from among seven candidates.

Mayor Elizabeth Lewis suggested Wednesday that the council take another stab at appointing someone after Aug. 9 — the last day candidates can file to run for Carlson’s seat. Council Member Bill Widmer agreed, but Vice Mayor Cary Wiest opposed the idea, saying it would be “unfair” to candidates to effectively delay their campaigns for three weeks on the chance an appointment might be made after all.

Counci Member Jim Dobbie subsequently motioned to continue with the election, Wiest seconded it and Lewis cast a third vote, telling Widmer, “I changed my mind.”

Rick DeGolia, whose appointment to the council Lewis and Wiest had supported, told The Daily News he plans to run. John Ruggiero, whose appointment was backed by Widmer and Dobbie, said he “probably” would run as well.

[Click here to continue reading this San Jose Mercury News article.]

Veteran candidate and political newbie vie for seat on Atherton City Council

By Bonnie Eslinger, Daily News Staff Writer

Posted:   07/02/2013 08:10:06 PM PDT
Updated:   07/03/2013 12:21:43 AM PDT

 

A perennial candidate and a political newcomer are the leading contenders to replace Jerry Carlson on the Atherton City Council.

In fact, they’re the only candidates, so far, with a July 8 application deadline looming.

The city council decided last month to try to appoint a replacement for Carlson, who resigned mid-term on Monday. If the council can’t reach a consensus, it might call for a special election in November.

One of the candidates is businessman Greg Conlon, who came in third place last fall in a race for three council seats; he trailed second-place winner Cary Wiest by 213 votes. Conlon currently serves on the town’s finance and rail committees.

The other is Rick DeGolia, a partner with the private equity firm Exigen Capital, and vice chairman of the Atherton Civic Center Advisory Committee.

[To read this full article, please continue reading at the Mercury News.com]