City Manager's Blog

The City Manager's Blog is an online educational tool to provide general information to the community in open communication style. Periodically, the City Manager will post articles of general interest covering topics such as the Town's budget, budget process, capital projects, upcoming meetings, community issues, public safety, and general Town operations.

Articles in the blog are not designed as press releases or Town publications, rather, they are written in more of a conversational style. The Blog does not have a comments feature but readers are free to respond to the Blog and its entries view email directly to the City Manager.

View All Posts

May 22

April 2017 City Manager's Monthly Report

Posted on May 22, 2017 at 1:30 PM by grodericks grodericks

City Manager's Monthly Report - April 2017

Monthly-report.pngThe City Manager's Monthly Report Blog is a consolidation of issues, communications, and Town activity during the prior month that have been reported to the City Council as part of their weekly email from the City Manager. Sometimes information is duplicated over the course of several emails to the City Council to ensure that it is reviewed

As I review the information to include in the Monthly Report, to the extent possible, I remove duplicate updates (older emails get shorter) in favor of the most recent - although some will be duplicative if there is other relevant information included; I try to remove information regarding events that have already occurred; and I edit information that requires update - hopefully to make it more useful. However, overall, the information is generally the same as it was presented to the City Council in their weekly Council email.

The Report reads with the most recent first. As always, if you have any questions or comments regarding the Monthly Report, please feel free to contact me directly via email or phone.

My weekly email to the City Council typically goes out every Friday.

Follow us on Twitter -

Like us on Facebook -


George Rodericks
City Manager
Town of Atherton
(650) 752-0504

April 28, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

2. Atherton Fiber

Staff and the IT Subcommittee will be meeting with Paxio/Open Fiber/Atherton Fiber on 5/17 at 11 am to discuss plan costs as well as incorporation of the Library into the project scope. 

3. Sergeant Open Recruitment

Chris Vigil (lateral back to Atherton from Santa Cruz) has been selected as the next Sergeant filling the vacancy left by Lamont Cusseaux. Pending completion of background, Chris will return to Atherton in late July/early August. Chris was an outstanding performer when he worked for Atherton as both an officer and Sergeant. He gained additional experience working of the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department over the last year . Chris is excited to return to Atherton. 

4. Planning Commission Update - 4/26/17 Meeting

The Planning Commission took the following action at last night’s April 26, 2017 meeting:

-1  Toyon Road – Approved the request to remove 2 heritage trees. 

-Discussion of Heritage Tree Ordinance Revisions– received and discussed recommendations by Ad-Hoc Tree Subcommittee and directed staff to come back to a future meeting as an additional study session item with more information: a) Prepare mock-up, reference site analysis for several properties in Town under recommended changes to evaluate what the impact would be to overall development potential; b) Further evaluate recommendations to identify which changes are addressing compliance issues vs. regulation issues; c) Further evaluate unit of measurement for trees (diameter vs. circumference); d) Attempt to solicit additional feedback from the architectural, development, arborist community on implications of recommended changes. 

The next meeting is scheduled for May 24, 2017.

5. Overview of Earth Day Event - 4/22/17

A summary overview of the Town’s 2017 Earth Day event - 

There was a total of 8 main event booth / activities and a final budget of $2,723. 

General feedback received by staff was that event was well received by community attendees.  Event Participants included: 

* Pure Juice Organics Truck
* SMC Office of Sustainability
* Peninsula Clean Energy
* Yes on Measure A
* CalWater
* UC Master Gardeners
* Informational Speaker Laurel Nagle
* Library
* Planting and Crafts
* Imagination Playground
* Bookmobile & Outdoor Yoga and Organic Food Demo 

6. Presentation at 4/18 Fire Board Meeting - 2016 Annual Statistics

Linked here is a PowerPoint presentation that was made at the April 18 Fire Board Meeting on Annual Statistics for 2016.

7. County Investigation of Deep Water Wells

The County Groundwater Protection Program is conducting an assessment of the San Mateo Plain Groundwater Subbasin. To conduct this assessment, the County is contacting residents with known water wells. Granting access is not mandatory. Attached is an example of a letter that will go out to those property owners with County-permitted wells. The letter also advises the property owner of a public meeting to be held on May 16 from 4 pm to 8 pm at the Carriage House for more information. 

8. Upcoming Civic Center Project Neighborhood Meeting - May 11 Meeting - 7 pm to 9 pm

The focus of this meeting is the immediate neighborhood and impacts thereto if/when the project moves forward. The meeting is a precursor to on-boarding the short-list of contractors to discuss the phasing and staging plan with the neighbors concerns in mind. There is a local group of neighbors interested in this meeting and they will be assisting with the provision of refreshments for attendees (Council Chambers). 

9. SBWMA Presentations on the Franchise Discussions

On May 3, the SBWMA will be making a presentation on the current status of franchise negotiations with Recology. Linked here is a copy of the presentations from the April 27 Board Meeting. The SBWMA will be making an updated presentation to the Council on May 3 focused on Atherton’s options. The Council will need to decide whether to move forward with the model franchise and tweak it a bit for Atherton; and/or consider alternatives. 

10. History/Update on the El Camino Real/Selby Lane Intersection

A member of the Council asked for some history and an update on the Selby/ECR Intersection. 

In December of 2013, Caltrans made a presentation to the City Council informing the Town that primarily due to a 10-year history of vehicular collisions, the Selby Lane/ECR intersection met warrants for a traffic signal. Over the next 12 months and after several additional reports to City Council, it was determined that neither the Town of Atherton nor San Mateo County supported the installation of a traffic signal. However, although they did not support a traffic signal, the City Council directed staff to explore and evaluate all potential alternatives to improve the safety of this intersection.
Since April 2015, technical staff from the Town, Caltrans District 4, and San Mateo County have been engaged in discussions looking at a number of alternatives to improve the safety and operations of the Selby/ECR intersection. The purpose was to identify alternatives which all 3 agencies could support. This meant identifying alternatives which were sensitive and respectful of neighborhood traffic concerns as well as alternatives which preserved the operations and capacity of the El Camino Real Corridor. Through this process, a number of alternatives were identified and supported by all 3 agencies. In February 2016, a Community Workshop was held at Selby Elementary School to share these alternatives and solicit community feedback and input. The meeting was broadly advertised to residents living on Selby Lane as well as adjacent Redwood City and San Mateo County neighborhoods. Based upon sign-in sheet information, there was a good representation of Atherton, Redwood City, and San Mateo County residents attending the Workshop. After the presentation of alternatives and response to questions, the attendees were asked to show their support or non-support of the alternatives through the placement of colored dots. Through this process, two alternatives clearly emerged as the preferred alternatives. These were the traffic signal alternative and a non-signalized alternative which eliminates all existing left turn and thru movements except the northbound ECR left turn into Selby Lane. 

Based on the success of this meeting, in April 2016, the City Council authorized additional engineering analysis required by Caltrans to assess the potential operational impacts to El Camino Real of the 2 preferred alternatives.That technical analysis is complete and is still being reviewed by Caltrans. The Town anticipates one last meeting with Caltrans and San Mateo County to ensure all 3 agencies can still support the 2 preferred alternatives and then host a follow-up Community Workshop to select the preferred project. The timeline for this meeting is dependent on Caltrans completing their review.

11. El Camino Real Complete Streets Project

The initial Stakeholder Meeting was held in early April. The Fire District was inadvertently left off of distribution for the project. That has since been corrected. There is a Community Open House for this project planned for Tuesday, May 16 fro m6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Encinal Elementary School. 

12. BPAC Recommendations

The BPAC made several recommendations regarding bicycle and pedestrian improvements that will matriculate up to the Council via the CIP budget item. Staff will present these items during the PowerPoint presentations for consideration by the Council for inclusion in the CIP. 

One of these items is the next steps along Atherton Avenue toward a Class II bicycle lane implementation; a second is the addition of speed feedback devices and the purchase of an additional speed feedback trailer; a third is related to pedestrian improvements on Middlefield Road. 

13. Letter of Opposition - AB1103 (Obernolte)

The hearing on this legislation is scheduled for the first week of May. A letter from the Town will be sent at that time. 

14. Police Chief Visit to Atherton

A reminder that the Police Chief will be in Atherton this weekend through the first week of May to complete a number of pre-employment exams and requirements. During his visit, he will be joining our one-on-one meetings with those members of the City Council that have not yet met him. 

Council Member Lewis - Monday, May 1 - 9:30 am
Council Member DeGolia - Monday, May 1 - 1 pm
Council Member Widmer - Tuesday, May 2 - 3 pm

He has other meetings, exams and appointments pre-scheduled during the week. Chief McCulley will be sworn in at the May 17 Council Meeting. 

15. Dispatcher John Mattes Retirement

Dispatcher John Mattes has announced his retirement date of July 15, 2017. John has 18 years of service with the Town of Atherton. 

16. Temporary Staff

With the unanticipated staffing changes and absences, you will be seeing a few different faces around City Hall. You have likely already met Rojini who is filling in for the vacancy left by Amanda in Finance. Rojini is from a temporary accounting firm with governmental accounting background. Robert will be looking to fill the vacancy when Theresa returns from maternity leave. Theresa will be headed out in mid/late May. Prior to her departure we will be training up a temp to work the front desk three days a week so that Judi can fill in for Theresa in the back office. Theresa will be absent until at least the beginning of September but plans to work off and on from home during her time off. 

April 21, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

2. Atherton Fiber

Representatives from Atherton Fiber/Open Fiber will be providing update information for the Town’s website on the services offered once they get up and running. 

3. Public Records Act Request

We responded to a Public Records Act Request for “…all written opinions, letters, emails and other documents in any form whatsoever related to the legal and/or binding effect of Measure L and Measure M, particularly but not limited to, the California Supreme Court case cited by the city attorney at the February 2017 council meeting and the city attorney’s impartial analysis for Measure M.”

4. Felton Gables Gate

The two residents (one new) along the private cul de sac in Felton Gables have reached out and would like to speak to the Town about re-opening (at least at some level) the prior gate location. We are setting up a meeting to discuss options and interest.

5. Mobility Partnership

In 2016, a mobility working group was formed at Stanford led by Russell Hancock (Joint Venture Silicon Valley). The group was borne out of an ad hoc meeting between the City Managers of Redwood City, Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Mountain View. One of the tasks of the group was to create and/or document the bicycle mobility routes from north to south along El Camino Real. San Mateo County and Atherton have been invited to participate in the conversation and I attended a meeting on Thursday, April 20 to begin that conversation. 

Atherton’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan already designates a north-south route off of El Camino Real. While El Camino Real is the ultimate solution and target; the group will be working with member agencies up and down the corridor to identify and sign alternate routes to El Camino Real. 

Here’s a link to a copy of their Agenda for this week. 

6. Animal Services Report - March 2017

7. EPC Meeting Recap - April 17

The EPC took the following action at their 4-17-2017 meeting.  

- It was noted that Public Works staff just informed staff that the previously budgeted $1500 for MCE staff to set up, attend, & clean up the event was going to be able to be provided at no cost. 

- Directed staff to request that the Informational Speaker at the event provide materials in Spanish for public distribution

- Opted to re-use painted signage from the 2016 Earth Action Fair in order to sustainably decorate the event

- Committee Member Larson, Committee Member Joseph, and City Council Liaison Lewis volunteered their assistance at during the event

- The Committee discussed forming an EPC booth at the event and disseminating information on Climate Change 

- A member of the Committee suggested that in the future, the EPC focus on public education and outreach involving science-based climate science

- A member of the EPC raised a concern about the nature and role of the EPC. She noted that the committee is currently more of a social club, rather than a committee formed to tackle pressing, science-based issues.

- The Committee requested that staff update the committee on sustainability-related items that staff may execute, such as the upcoming PCE presentation and Beacon Awards Resolution at the 4/19 City Council meeting.

- Two members of the committee & Council member Lewis stated that they never received the Earth Day postcards mailed out. One committee member said that she received two.   Planning discussed this with City Clerk’s office who stated this issue happened with last year’s Earth Day event as well;  some received and others did not.  She noted with bulk mailings the usual 2-3 day delivery time is not always adhered to, or in some cases the postcard is confused for “junk mail” and disposed of by someone else in the household.  Staff will report back to the Committee and work with the Clerk’s office on possible solutions.

Next Meeting – scheduled for Thursday, July 20th at 1:30 pm. 

8. Upcoming Civic Center Project Meetings

May 11 Meeting - 7 pm to 9 pm

The focus of this meeting is largely the immediate neighborhood and impacts thereto. It will be important to not only talk about the Project itself, but the expectations for phasing, staging, and construction. Issues such as noise, dust, mitigation efforts, detours, deliveries, large trucks, routing, points of contact, signage, phasing, relocation, timing, etc. will all need to be touched upon. 

There will be a neighborhood contingent that will reach out and connect in addition to the Town’s noticing efforts. The local mailer will be to the local area only. The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers. There may be refreshments (wine and cheese - provided locally). 

9. Quad Gates Update

The draft preliminary engineering plans have been delayed. In order for HSR to complete the plans, there are some outstanding project definition items that need to be resolved. HSR was targeting early April for the drafts, but that date has been pushed to the end of June. 

April 7, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. IT Subcommittee Meeting/Atherton Fiber

As mentioned prior, Atherton Fiber has employees in the field working on various poles throughout Town. They have names on their vehicle representing themselves as Atherton Fiber. They are working with the Public Works Department to complete the full Encroachment Permit. Fees will be collected accordingly and they are being treated just as any other service provider. Staff is also looking into shared-trench opportunities in conjunction with our Series Street Light Project. 

There is an IT Subcommittee Meeting set for Tuesday, April 18 @ 4 pm. Atherton Fiber has partnered with OpenFiber/Paxio moving the project forward. 

2. Articles of Interest

3. Letter to Fire District

The letter from the Mayor to the Fire District was signed and mailed on Thursday, April 6. It is also located on the Town’s website under Mayoral Correspondence. 

4. El Camino Real Complete Streets - Stakeholder Kick-Off Meeting (4/6/17)

The Stakeholder Kick-off Meeting was held on Thursday morning for the El Camino Real Complete Streets Project. It was well attended. Linked here are a couple of the handouts and the PowerPoint

5. Sanctuary City - ACLU

Commander Wade recently met (upon request) with a couple of local residents and a representative from the ACLU to discuss the Police Department’s policy with respect to police integration with Immigrations and Customs (ICE enforcement). Attached is the Town’s Police Department Lexipol Policy on Immigration Violations. This is the current model (and relatively consistent with the expectations of the ACLU). 

Commander Wade has been invited (and will attend) an event at the Atherton Library on April 13 at 7 pm on this topic. 
6. Park Events and Revenue Log

Linked here are the Park Events Log for March and the Revenue Log

7. Concerns Regarding Traffic/Speed on Atherton Avenue

A few residents along Atherton Avenue have expressed concerns regarding traffic volume and speeds along Atherton Avenue. Once they put together a small neighborhood group, staff will meet with the group to go through some of the potential options for consideration. Following that meeting, staff will assist with moving the discussion through the Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan process - community meeting, Transportation Committee, adjacent neighbors, etc. 

8. Meeting with Portola Valley and Woodside

I have a meeting set up for next week to meet with Jeremy Dennis (CM Portola Valley) and Kevin Bryant (CM Woodside) to discuss the current status of their refuse contracts/negotiations and the potential for partnership if the Town decides to move in that direction with the franchise renewal. 

9. EPC Meeting - March 30, 2017

The EPC met on March 30 to discuss issues related to the Earth Day event in April. Below are the notes from the meeting. 

Drones – elected to disassemble the “Drones” subcommittee as the students would not be able to fly their drones at the events per the new Town ordinance. Chair Rakas instead elected to form a subcommittee in order to identify potential educational speakers or other attractions for the Earth Day Event. The committee discussed potentially utilizing the allocated $500 “Compost and/ or other EPC supplementary identified materials” budget, as approved by the City Council, in order to financially compensate any speakers at the event. 

Additional Informational Booth – asked staff to identify any additional informational booths or speakers who may like to attend the event. Examples included Sunpower, and potential speakers on the topic of Native Planting.

Student Challenge Showcase – asked staff to change the format of the “Student Challenge”, where students were to prepare original projects specifically for the event, and to instead host a “Student Showcase”, where students can present science projects they completed for a school class or other events. This change was incorporated in order to make it easier for students to participate in the event without detracting from the time that students would spend studying for the AP examinations. The committee further asked staff to outreach to local Middle Schools and Elementary Schools and to invite these students to participate in the Showcase.

Live Music – asked staff to contact the Menlo Atherton band once again and discuss the possibility of the committee making a donation to the band in exchange for performing at the event with funds allocated from the existing approved budget. 

Next Meeting –rescheduled the May 18th regularly scheduled meeting to Monday, April 17th from 1:00 – 3:00 pm in order to discuss any outstanding Earth Day action items. 

10. Proposition 64 - Countywide Working Group on Cultivation

The Cultivation Working Group met last week to discuss issues related to implementation of Proposition 64 related to cultivation. Attached is the “framework” presentation from the meeting

Upcoming Working Groups are meeting - April 12 - Manufacturing, April 14 - Revenue. 

11. Clay Court at Tennis Courts

The Park & Recreation Committee recently supported a request from Michael Jessup to accept the donation of a clay court to replace one hard surface court and to ask staff to work with Michael to put the proposal together and come back to the Committee for final approval before bringing it to Council. 

12. Tennis Court Key Holder Notice

A note is being sent out to Attention Atherton Tennis Key Holders. Below is the note. 
Spring is here, and with it comes a rush to use the wonderful courts at the Atherton Tennis Facility at Holbrook-Palmer Park. Just a couple of reminders to make sure you experience is a good one:

Please remember to use the reservation system prior to coming out to the courts. This facility will soon be in high use, and booking a reservation is an easy way to make sure your court is available for you during your schedule. Court reservations can be placed a week in advance. This system works great when everyone uses the system. 

This is a reminder that Player Capital Tennis (PCT) is under contract with the Town to manage the Tennis Facility at Holbrook-Palmer Park. As part of this arrangement, PCT provides clinics and lessons to both residents and non-residents, as well as runs the tennis reservation system. PCT is given exclusive rights to conduct all tennis instruction at the facility for a fee paid to the Town.

This means that no other tennis lessons can be given/received at any time at the Atherton tennis facility without the express approval of PCT. If you would like a special tennis instruction from someone other than a PCT pro, that pro must seek arrangements from PCT to provide this instruction at the facility by mutual agreement and under their insurance umbrella.

If a user fails to abide by court rules ( linked - ), they may be asked to leave the park by the Atherton Police Department.