Obama to return to Atherton for fundraising visit

New special events ordinance should have hosts paying any town expenses

President Barack Obama is due to visit Atherton, again, on Feb. 11, to raise funds for Democrats but this time the town shouldn't have to provide police and other services for free, thanks to a new special events ordinance that says hosts must pay for such services.

That's because after a 2013 visit by President Obama to Atherton that left the town with $8,000 in bills, but no law on the books to allow it to demand repayment, Atherton decided to rewrite its special events ordinance.

The changes, approved by the City Council in July, require those hosting special events to pay for any police, public works or other town services the event requires, plus the costs of issuing the permit.

City Manager George Rodericks said that once the town heard about the planned Feb. 11 fundraising visit, which was announced in an email from the Democratic National Committee, Police Chief Ed Flint asked the Secret Service "to either confirm or deny," the president is coming to town. By Wednesday afternoon, however, the town had not heard back.

After the 2013 visit, the town sent bills to the hosts and the Democratic National Committee, but they were not paid.

Under the ordinance, a permit is required for any special event "that requires the assistance of the town for traffic control, public safety services, extraordinary parking control measures, waiver of any local, state, or federal ordinance, or other mitigation measures arising from the special event."

According to the email from the Democratic National Committee, the brunch reception with the president will be held at the home of Steve Westly, the former California state controller who is rumored to be pondering a run for governor.

Westly and his wife, Anita Yu, live not far from Alameda de las Pulgas, so the brunch event is bound to cause some traffic tie ups. The invitation did not reveal the exact time of the event, but did say that tickets are $250 for general admission, $1,000 for premium seating, $10,000 to be a photo line guest and $25,000 to be a co-host.

President Obama has been at the Westly-Yu home at least once before, in 2010 when he was raising funds for Kamala Harris' run for state attorney general. A venture capitalist, Westly was one of the candidates vying to be the Democratic Party nominee for governor in 2006. He co-chaired President Obama's California campaign in 2008.

According to a report by the California Secretary of State, in February 2015, a total of 39 percent of registered voters in Atherton were Republicans, while San Mateo County as a whole had fewer than 19 percent registered Republicans. The town had 31 percent registered Democrats, and almost as many more who belonged to small parties or were unaffiliated.

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5 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 28, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Does this Atherton ordinance apply to Republican candidates also?

15 people like this
Posted by oh no
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 28, 2016 at 2:46 pm

I'm glad we got a heads up. They close the highway, some of us have crucial transits to do. They do a ground stop at SFO. I have been personally severely inconvenienced. Since Obama is friends with Google, why can't he fly in/out of Moffett Field like President Clinton used to do? I used to live near there and that created no problems.
But the usage of SFO is really impactful on us little people.
All this for a lame duck public official - it's not like he's running for re-election.
If he were giving a speech or doing anything important for the public, that would be some justification.

18 people like this
Posted by Kazoo
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 28, 2016 at 2:51 pm

OY! We're tapped! Enough of using your office to raise money at the expense of low and middle income taxpayers.

4 people like this
Posted by Stephen Rock
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 28, 2016 at 4:06 pm

Asking for money for police services for a for profit event may be OK. However, the ordinance seems to also require people who are gathered "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government" to also pay for a permit and police costs. This is a basic violation of our first amendment rights. No permit should be needed to exercise our political rights and these rights should not be dependent on the ability to pay. The first amendment states "The right of the people to..", it explicitly does NOT say "rich people".

22 people like this
Posted by Gasp
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Anyone else find it ironic that Atherton was stuck with a bill for, gasp, $8000!!!!!. Did they have to pass on the caviar for the council meeting that week?

17 people like this
Posted by muttiallen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 28, 2016 at 4:37 pm

muttiallen is a registered user.

I have a good friend who lives in New Hampshire. She can see all the candidates at the local school or diner. Here you have to either pay thousands of dollars to see/hear a candidate, or else have your commute ruined.

4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 28, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Please, someone, find out what streets will be affected! Or does someone know where he lives?

2 people like this
Posted by JoAnn
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 28, 2016 at 6:15 pm

They said "near Alameda de las Pulgas" but didn't give a cross street. I wouldn't use that street to avoid El Camino on the 11th.

7 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 28, 2016 at 7:09 pm

Gasp wrote:
> Anyone else find it ironic that
> Atherton was stuck with a bill
> for, gasp, $8000!!!!!. Did they
> have to pass on the caviar for
> the council meeting that week?

1) It's ironic that someone who lives in PALO ALTO would quip on the perceived wealth of another community.

2) While Atherton does have many very, very wealthy residents (as does Palo Alto), the town itself has a relatively small budget compared to its neighbors. Some recent revenue numbers:

Atherton: $10,605,202 Web Link

Menlo Park: $46,300,000 Web Link

Palo Alto: $171,100,000 Web Link

Redwood City: $106,400,000 Web Link

San Carlos: $30,410,000 Web Link

3) $8000, after-tax, more than pays for the salary of 1 full teacher in PAUSD or or MPCSD for a month. That money is better spent on teachers than providing free security for a FUNDRAISER (hello?).

9 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 28, 2016 at 9:05 pm

The weather is pretty bad in Washington, DC right now. So is the golf. The cost of Air Force One junkets is VERY expensive... hundreds of thousands of dollars-plus. From here POTUS often goes to the LA area for a few rounds of golf. If this is political does the Democratic Party pay? Did the Repubs pay for any their president's 'political' trips? or were there any? When Mama Clinton frequently came to visit Chelsey who was at Stanford, they'd eat in downtown Palo Alto, or T&C, and no one paid any attention to them. Ho, hum. Just a another 'celebrity' gracing our streets. BUT----when the streets get closed down fro Pres. Obama for hours on end, when a nearby school hours are messed up (Addison), when the commute comes to a halt, the freeway closes down, THAT's when the average taxpayer gets hot-under-the collar. .

6 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 28, 2016 at 9:34 pm

I thought Obama was concerned about global warming. Why is he hurting all of us with his cross country trip? couldn't he video conference and save us all from the carbon emissions that not only his plane, but the planes that carry his security vehicles and security team? We are talking tons of carbon emission.

What a hypocrite.

8 people like this
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 28, 2016 at 10:54 pm

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that politicians whose electoral success was based on getting lower & middle class votes in return for free benefits fills his coffers from 0.1%ers?

5 people like this
Posted by stay home
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 29, 2016 at 8:16 am

[Post removed.]

7 people like this
Posted by what a waste
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 29, 2016 at 8:18 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

13 people like this
Posted by a bargain
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 29, 2016 at 11:32 am

$1000 for premium seating for an event with the president sounds quite reasonable considering that female faculty at Stanford were recently invited to a gathering with Mrs. Clinton costing $2700.

12 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 29, 2016 at 7:16 pm

Posted by Chris Zaharias a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis said:
>> Am I the only one who finds it ironic that politicians whose
>> electoral success was based on getting lower & middle class
>> votes in return for free benefits fills his coffers from 0.1%ers?

No, Bernie Sanders is basing a whole campaign on it, and is not
accepting any money from billionaires and does not have a super-
PAC to do his dirty work for him ... since Bernie doesn't have
dirty work to do.

How is it that the US pretends to leadership of the Western world
when all the other Western countries have universal health care
and universal education? For decades we have heard one lie after
another about how Europe was going broke under its social spending
while healthy and well-educated Europeans some here in droves
lining up to take our tech jobs that apparently we do not have enough
contenders for?

How can the whole of the Western World be wrong about health care
while they spend less and have better outcomes? How can Americans
be so clueless as to not ask this question?

To make the absurd claim to leadership based on anything other
than the largest military, paid for by generations are hard-working
and hard-fighting citizens take a huge PR and advertising industry
as well as ownership of all the media outlets and the removal of
all regulation from doing real in the public interest journalism
and reporting.

When you study and read in depth about some of these politically
active rich people their ideas and goals are crazy, but mostly they
plan to implement them by taking away the rights and ignoring the
needs to the majority of Americans. And what is even worse than
someone who gains colossal wealth and power are their kids who
grow up under the care of nannies and flunkies they boss around
and abuse and develop quite the superior and entitled attitude
about as they buy their places into policy-making and talk about
everyone else's sense of entitlement.

3 people like this
Posted by Local
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 30, 2016 at 7:05 pm

Could Atherton possibly be more dull? It's hard to feel sorry for a city with an operating budget last year that left them with an $800,000 surplus. They literally have more money than they know what to do with. But there better not be any teenage parties, or worse yet, presidential fundraisers.

3 people like this
Posted by local
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 9, 2016 at 10:58 pm

[Post removed.]

3 people like this
Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2016 at 12:11 am

[Post removed.]

1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 10, 2016 at 2:42 am

Moffett is the expected Air Force One landing site. (An early comment above thought SFO.) The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) 10-mile radius area centered on Moffett is effective 6:45-8:00pm Wednesday evening, and 2:00-3:00pm Thursday afternoon. I expect the usual crowd of amateur photographers on the frontage road turnout at the south end of the runway. They were there Super Bowl Sunday for the Blue Angels. I don't know whose unmarked 747 was sitting by the control tower.

Haven't seen yet whether there's a TFR later this month for the next VIP visit.

2 people like this
Posted by Andrew Brietbart
a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 17, 2016 at 2:05 am

Folks,we have bigger problems.The treaty our president recently signed with six south east asian countries that circumvents the constitution ,giving a handful of tyrants authority over American citizens sovereignty.For example , the current dictator of Laos , he has a solid record ,being a mass murderer from the Khmer rouge ,and imprisoning his citizens for speaking out , the other 5 dictators have similar records. does the american public understand what the Trans Pacific Partnership will do to the U.S.? i was working in Atherton last week when the president came to town , it was alot of too much ,barricading of the mile from the freeway offramp to the house the function was held at , and a 40 car procession , 2 ambulances , black suv's with guys in tactical gear holding automatic weapons , Alot of overkill ,alot of money....but we all cant admit that there is something wrong , with the air we breathe , from the drone 747's spraying chemical on us every day ( wonder how much that costs ?) we all cant admit that we just got sold out, the good days of a once great nation are gone

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