22. What motivates McKeithen’s long-standing antagonism with the Building Department?

It seems curious to me that Kathy McKeithen has repeatedly attacked Building Officials in the Town of Atherton.  In this Palo Alto Online article from 2006, residents were so outraged by McKeithen’s public attack on Building Official Mike Hood, that they initiated a Recall Campaign against McKeithen.  Even in 2006, McKeithen scorned Atherton’s Code of Conduct to publicly demean one of the town’s senior managers, and someone (so I’ve heard) was as nice as they come:

The recently formed Atherton Residents for Responsible Governance was galvanized by the upheaval in the town’s building department and the year-old excavation fee. The group said department staff were above reproach, and blasted the excavation fee as exorbitant and illegal. . . .  Jilian Manus Salzman, a member of the group, said she believes McKeithen violated Atherton’s code of conduct by publicly demeaning former Building Official Mike Hood, among other things. A petition signed by 25 residents was sent out on Friday by certified mail to start the recall process, she said.

Here’s where the pattern gets really interesting.  For so many of the events that have triggered huge uproars in the recent series of confrontational encounters with McKeithen, she ardently defends herself by accusing others of exactly the offenses that people think that she’s been committing.  And in 2006, her comments for the article were:

“It’s a sad day when people in pursuit of their own self interests (work against) the common good of the town,” McKeithen said.

McKeithen said she has no personal agenda and is working solely for the good of the town.

No personal agenda?   Hmm!  Maybe it’s as simple as her desire to inflict sad days on lots of people.  Anyone care to comment on what happened to that recall effort or the group Atherton Residents for Responsive Government?


2 thoughts on “22. What motivates McKeithen’s long-standing antagonism with the Building Department?

  1. From John Johns
    Sent: Monday November 6, 2006
    To: Winston Krone
    Subject: RE: this morning’s meeting

    Hi Winston,
    Thanks for your note and for the call.
    Just as a bit of background info. As was reported in the AlmanacNews, the San Mateo Conty Grand Jury has been making inquiries about the Town’s Building Department prompted largely by the three phase audit I conducted. Additionally Councilmember Kathy McKeithen has indicatged that she may be inclined to push for a criminal inquiry on the Building Deptartment. It is also my understanding that Kathy ut Mr. Tim Wulff the contract plan checker who worked as a subjec tmatter expert for me on Phase III was referred to David Crone by Mrs. McKeithen after Tim briefed her on some of his observations….

    Town of Atherton Purchase Order #280
    Date 10/11/06

    Vendor: WInston Krone Computer Investigation
    717 California St.
    Second Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94108

    Description Forensic Analysis $14,000.00

    Allegations and Items to search for:

    Destruction, Fabrication, and alteration of records
    Items to look for:
    Memorandum attributed to John Johns regarding effective date of excavation surcharge

    Retaliatory Behavior
    Items to look for
    Any communication concering town employees who are the subjects of harassment allegations including
    Duncan Jones
    John Johns
    Kathy McKeithen

    Any evidence suggesting involvement in a recall campaign against Kathy McKeithen

    Any communication pertaining to road impact fees or excavation surcharges

    Acceptance of gifts
    items to look for
    Any communication regarding a party at Mayor Charles Marsala’s home on June 29th, 2006

  2. From: Kathleen McKeithen
    11 Maple Leaf Way
    Atherton, CA 1998
    June 19, 1998

    To: Mr. Michael A. Hood
    Building and Zoning Official
    Town of Atherton
    91 Ashfield Road
    Atherton, CA 94027

    Dear Mike,

    As you know, for two years I have been discussing with Brent Hipsher and you the problem of tenants occupying the poolhouse and the main residence at 70 Maple Leaf Way. Admittedly, it has been only 6 months or so that we have engaged in frequent interaction on this issue, but it has been a long 6 months nonetheless of speaking with Brent, you, and Robin Faisant and gathering the information Mr. Faisant requested.

    To be told by you now that as a result of your meeting this week with the homeowner you have learned from him that there is, indeed, an illegal tenant in the poolhouse but did not even raise the issue of illegal tenant in the main dwelling (rather spoke with him about how he might obtain a conditional use permit) raises a number of community responsibility and legal issues which I hope we might address at our proposed meeting with Mr. Faisant on Wednesday, June 24, 1998.

    From Robin Faisant
    Atherton City Attorney
    1550 El Camino Real #220
    Menlo Park, CA 93025

    July 30, 1998

    TO: Mr. and Mrs. R.L. McKeithen
    11 Maple Leaf Way
    Atherton, CA 94027

    RE: Zoning Issues

    Dear Mr. and Mrs. McKeithen,
    This will acknowledge receipt of your letter dated July 23rd, 1998.
    As I explained to you during our June 24,1998 meeting wit Messrs. Hood and Guluzzy, experience has shown that it is not practical to enforce zoning laws by means of criminal proceedings. Therefore, when it becomes necessary, we invariably use civil processes for this purpose. Also as indicated, the process usually involves some investigation to verify the existence of a violation, followed by efforts to achieve voluntary compliance. Almost all violations are cured by this effort. In the unususal case, if all else fails, authority is sought from the CIty Council to commence civil litigation.

    As you know, Mr. Hood is now attempting to achieve voluntary complaince. To the extent that my office becomes involved, I will attempt to inforom you of the status, but please be aware that for tactical reasons not all litigation decisions and processes are made public.

    Yours very truly,
    Robin Faisant

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