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 they 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 ability to enable affordable housing
- Responsible management of Atherton’s finances
- Atherton’s police force and community policing
- Infrastructure, the new Town Center 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 email@example.com or by attending one of the many receptions that are being hosted by residents in town during this election process.
Atherton’s Ability to Enable Affordable Housing
The Town’s recently submitted Housing Element relies on a strategy to (1) enable and incentivize schools to build townhouses on their land for their teachers and staff and (2) encourage residents to build and rent ADUs (accessory dwelling units) on their property. Given the cost of land in Atherton, affordable housing cannot be built on any newly purchased land. The only affordable housing that can be built in Atherton will be on property owned by schools for their staff or ADUs on land owned by residents, which can be rented affordably. To have this accepted by the state authorities, the Town must launch a serious program that encourages this affordable housing. 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 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 few years. The Town did borrow $7m to build the new Town Center, but as this and the unpaid portion of the long term liabilities is paid down, the Town is in a position to make significant infrastructure investments. 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 and Community Policing
Atherton residents have a close, cooperative relationship with our dedicated police force. Some residents have advocated that the City Council consider outsourcing our police services to the county sheriff’s office, like Woodside or Portola Valley; however, Atherton residents want the close relationship that we have with our police men and women, which includes special services, like direct connection of home alarms to the police, regular house visits by police when residents are on vacation, and very direct familiarity. This is community policing that Rick supports 100%. Rick is also extremely proud of the strong, no profiling policy that the police have and carefully enforce. Continue reading by clicking “Atherton’s Police Force” here.
Infrastructure, the new Town Center and Holbrook-Palmer Park
Atherton recently opened its new Town Center, which replaced a totally dilapidated administration and police building and seven worn out trailers that had required replacement for thirty years. For the first time in 10 years, Atherton has hired to the full headcount allowed for the police because the police have a new facility that anyone would want to work in. Atherton has four Master Plans that include a Bike and Pedestrian Path Master Plan, a Drainage Systems Master Plan, the Holbrook-Palmer Park Master Plan and the Civic Center Master Plan. Now is the time to start investing in our park, our bike and pedestrian paths and our drainage needs. Continue reading by clicking “Infrastructure and Holbrook-Palmer Park” here.
Transportation and Traffic Safety
It is no secret that regional growth is adversely impacting our semi-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. There are also problems with “pass through” traffic 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.