This site is about Kathy McKeithen and our quest for the truth about what she is doing to this town. That’s her on the right side of the picture. Those are her “peops” on the council, Bill Widmer (now highly unpopular (thanks to Kathy) and semi-present mayor on the left, and Jim Dobbie, Kathy’s chief henchman, in the center). Neither one opposes her, questions her, or ever fails to vote for what she wants, and so enable all of the bad, bullying things that she does. We heard she works at the retail store: Tuesday Morning, a discount store in Redwood City. Not sure about that because maintaining absolute control over Atherton (or bringing Atherton down, depending upon how you look at it) is what her actions (with Dobbie and Widmer’s support) appear to be accomplishing.
BACKGROUND for this BLOG (updated)
Kathy McKeithen got elected to the Atherton City Council in 2000 on a platform that had the following priorities:
- Bring accountability, transparency, and responsive stewardship to town government
- Create an environment that fosters respect and openness to citizens and town employees; seek input from Atherton citizens
- Establish term limits so that new people with new ideas can keep the Council from becoming complacent
Councilmember McKeithen is soon to be completing her THIRD TERM. She has now been on the City Council for nearly twelve years. Much like her commitment to TERM LIMITS—she seems to say one thing and do the exact opposite. If she actually were doing what she says her priorities are, it is very likely things in Atherton would be okay.
Unfortunately, things in Atherton are not going well. To start, residents don’t feel respected or listened to at all. McKeithen has pushed through her pet library development project at an incredible clip, and is now hastening the EIR process to a conclusion, despite big concerns about the $8 million project as raised by residents, which McKeithen, Dobbie and Widmer seem primed to ignore.
Meanwhile, having apparently failed to attract a single, decent professional Town Manager to fill the job that was left by the very popular and capable Jerry Gruber (who resigned after being attacked by McKeithen about two years ago), the council has just decided to hire as permanent town manager the nice young lady who previously did a great job as Assistant City Clerk. I suspect that most everyone realized this is McKeithen’s way to ensure that no experienced staff person gets in her way while she micro-manages the town and out-maneuvers residents’ interests the way she wants. For this, the town paid a large sum to a professional head-hunter!
Meanwhile, residents have been complaining loudly and boisterously about the Library Project since the moment when the completely divided council majority went “rogue” to endorse a premature recommendation—abruptly revealing that the McKeithen’s Library “community engagement” phase was a farce. Efforts to get the council to step back and allow for an effective and comprehensive look at town needs (rather than rubber-stamping the McKeithen/Library Committee’s prime park choice) and preferences fell on completely deaf majority ears. This is, until residents began a petition recently to get the council to discuss putting the library project to a vote. (Questions on this coming up!)
While the town has had continuous controversy and acrimony over the last twelve years of the McKeithen reign, town morale seems worse than it has ever have been—and Kathy McKeithen is in the center of all the problems. It seems like a good time to take a good hard look at what she is doing, and attempt to assess whether or not McKeithen has lived up to ANY of her stated goals.
Unfortunately, not only isn’t there any transparency, there isn’t any coherency either. We are promised “responsive stewardship” but what we have feels more like covert deconstruction and conspiratorial agendas (like being stripped of park rental income and possibly the park tennis courts without any input from residents). Even with a month of posting here, I have many more questions and concerns about Kathy McKeithen—than I have answers. I am therefore going to do what I can, and write down my questions. Please help me to fill in some answers. I’m attempting to piece together some answers or simply theories that could explain why she does what she does, but please add your own insights where you can. Use the open comment links but it is best that everyone respond anonymously. These are perilous times in Atherton and, given what we know, anyone who ventures to critique Ms. McKeithen will get accused of something!
Thanks for your help!