Town Issues

Rick believes that council members have an affirmative responsibility to search out the issues that are important to Atherton voters and to gauge voter preferences so that he can best represent those interests.  While some issues will be of interest to all Atherton voters, other issues may be of interest to only a limited number of voters, Rick believes that all Atherton residents deserve the attention of the Council and he wants to create the opportunity for you to talk to him about any issue that is important to you.

Rick’s position on each of the following issues are detailed below:

  • Atherton’s effort to build a new civic center and library
  • Responsible management of Atherton’s finances
  • Atherton’s police force
  • Infrastructure and Holbrook-Palmer Park
  • Transportation and traffic safety
  • Governance issues for the Town Council

If you have additional thoughts on Atherton issues that you would like to share, please contact Rick through this website, by sending an email to rick@rickdegolia.com or by attending one of the many receptions that are being hosted by residents in town during this election process.

 


New Civic Center and Library

In November 2012, 73% the Atherton electorate voted to move forward on a new Town Center to be built primarily with private funds.  Following the election,  Rick was elected Vice Chair of the new Civic Center Advisory Committee (CCAC) and appointed to Chair its new Ad Hoc Library Committee.  Working with the other dedicated members of these committees was a key part of what inspired and energized Rick to become more involved with the future of Atherton.  After being elected to the Council in 2013, he was appointed to be one of the two Council Member liaisons to the CCAC.  Continue reading by clicking “New Civic Center and Library” here.


Responsible Management of Atherton’s Finances

Over the past several years, Atherton’s City Council has managed its finances in a fiscally conservative manner.  Rick is committed to continuing this practice.  The Council has reduced its long term pension and healthcare liabilities through a combination of smart negotiations with Town staff and a series of payments to reduce the overhang of the Town’s unpaid, long term liabilities.  This, in combination with a steady improvement in housing values and a resulting increase in property tax  revenue, has enabled the Town to generate an operating surplus in each of the past three years.  As the unpaid portion of the long term liabilities is paid down and the surplus is put into reserves, the Town is in a position to make a level of infrastructure investments that haven’t been made since Proposition 13 was passed in 1978.  Rick Supports this conservative fiscal management and focus on capital improvement investments, so long as the priorities for such investments are driven by resident input.  Continue reading by clicking “Responsible Management of Atherton’s Finances” here.


Atherton’s Police Force

There has been some rumblings in Atherton over the past few years about the Atherton Police.  The town pays more for its police services than for any other component of town operations.  As a strictly residential community, the relative size of this expense may not actually be a problem.  Nevertheless, some residents have questioned whether Atherton should be employing its own professional, dedicated police force, as it currently does.  They have pointed out that a few other local communities have implemented a less costly solution by contracting with the San Mateo County Sheriffs department. Continue reading by clicking “Atherton’s Police Force” here.


Infrastructure and Holbrook-Palmer Park

Atherton has focused for the past few years on repaving and maintaining our roads.  This is a priority, as is management of our storm water run-off systems.  Atherton’s buildings, in its civic center, are seriously deteriorating and need replacement and the town hall needs repair.  This is being addressed in a series of four Master Plans that have been in process for more than a year.  These include a Bike and Pedestrian Path Master Plan, a Drainage Systems Master Plan, the Hobrook-Palmer Park Master Plan and  the Civic Center Master Plan.   Continue reading by clicking “Infrastructure and Holbrook-Palmer Park” here.

 


Transportation and Traffic Safety

It is no secret that regional growth is impacting our rural, residential community. We have become a “pass-through” commute route and most of our north-south routes are jammed at rush hour.  To add to the increasing congestion issues, bicyclist and pedestrian safety problems along El Camino Real are well known, as there have been a number of serious accidents, too many of which were fatal over the past few years.  There are also problems with “pass through” on Atherton Ave., Alameda de las Pulgas, Middlefield and Marsh Road.  While Atherton council members are working with county boards to address overall traffic problems in the region, much of this problem needs to be tackled on a local level. Continue reading by clicking “Transportation and Traffic Safety” here.


 

Governance Issues for the Town Council

Residents elect council members to represent them and their interests in the important decisions that the town needs to make.  For minor or everyday issues, that representation can simply mean that the council should use its best judgment.  For the important matters, however, I believe that the council has an affirmative responsibility to solicit and gauge resident preferences, and not decide such matters based solely on their personal preferences.

This responsibility means that the council needs to work with staff to schedule agendas with sufficient planning time to determine which issues need more community input and then to actively schedule community meetings, request staff analysis and solicit public input, so that the sentiments of both council and members of the community can be understood when decisions need to be made.  Continue reading by clicking “Town Governance” here.