16. Kathy McKeithen is prosecuter, judge and jury in Atherton—but is there justice?

We found the below quote on the Almanac blog:

On November 16, 2011 after a council agenda was posted on the Athertonian’s website advising of a library agenda item and the process not being transparent, McKeithen sent an email to the city attorney which read: “It has been now been over a week since I put you and John Danielson on notice that the EPC was illegally operating its Town website and its part “Ownership” of the Athertonians’ e-mail list….I am letting you know that I intend to go to the Grand Jury next week to investigate these matters.”

McKeithen did not like something the EPC did, so she had her hatchet men, Danielson & Conners, string up the EPC.  Under threat, they forced the committee to take down its website. They started an investigation (no doubt figuring out something that they could conceivably justify doing this for that was legal) and had the committee suspended in December.  There was a formal investigation (with Jennifer Larson, City Attorney Conner’s daughter being hired to do the work) and the Almanac dutifully reported the accusations.  Months later, it appears that the committee was completely cleared.  Both the Assistant City Attorney and the City Attorney issued recommendations to reinstate the committee—whose biggest offense seems to have been following the protocols given to it by town staff, which were not in conformance with what today’s council finds appropriate process.  (Ah, the benefits of hindsight and liberal interpretations of “misconduct!”)  Then the Interim Town Manager recommended that the council reinstate the committee.  The committee was never reinstated.  McKeithen, found to be completely wrong about her accusations, never issued any apologies.  The committee’s innovative energy program was trashed, wasting the federal stimulus funds and sponsorships the committee had raised.

How is it that none of staff would stand up for this committee?  How is it that no one called out Ms. McKeithen on her rather transparent efforts to silence the committee throughout the entire Library EIR process?  Is that good governance?  Or is this what McKeithen meant when she campaigned to increase “transparency?”


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