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Atherton Green Building & Pension Funding Costs: 2006 Mayor Charles Marsala Discusses

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Atherton High Speed Rail: Council Member Charles Marsala Expresses Concerns

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Atherton Home Energy Audits: Council Member Charles Marsala Interviews Steve Schmidt

from the desk of Charles marsala


Atherton is a wonderful community consisting of brilliant minds, motivated individuals, and philanthropists. During my terms as a Council Member and Mayor, I have sought to connect residents together to enhance the results of their organizations. For the last decade Atherton has faced many tough decisions and will continue to face the challenges of development, finance, and meeting the needs of citizens for services and infrastructure.

From 1999-2002, before becoming a council member I served on a Town Commission and two committees: The Park and Recreation Commission, the Waste Reduction Committee, and the Art Committee. As a council member I became active in the California League of Cities going and went on to receive in 2009 a statewide Leadership in Action Award. 

In 2004 I worked with the League of Cities worked and the Governor to pass measure 1A to stop the state from keeping city funds during emergencies. While this has helped Atherton, the League needs to address pension reform to protect the our financial budgets of cities in the future.

As Mayor, I signed the Mayor’s Climate Action Protection Plan and created the Environmental Programs Committee. Atherton Earth Day Chair Valerie Gardner has created www.AthertonGreen.net to inform residents of ways to conserve their environmental impact, build green homes, and save money. 

Atherton will always need to be proactive to prevent High-Speed Rail and other Regional developments from taking away from the quality of life. Our schools have developed master plans to give residents notice to future development impacts.

From 2006- 2009 I served as chair of the Facilities Committee and the Blue Ribbon Task Force Committee to study a new town center; improving our own Town Facilities is long overdue and a highly debated process. 

The Town Council of 1995 realized that staff had out grown the Town Center built in 1965. Our current facility does not meet seismic codes, ADA requirements, and has required the Building, Public Works, and part of the Police Department to work out of modulars since 1998.

The Art Committee proposed an Art and Community Center in the mid 1990s, to be started with funds donated by Rita Corbet Evans back in 1978. Art is one of the best ways to build community. Atherton is fortunate that over the last few years Menlo-Atherton, Sacred Heart, and Menlo High School have built new Performing Arts Centers which bring in numerous opportunities for residents to enjoy the diverse cultural opportunities.

A shining star is our Library. I served as Atherton’s representative to the San Mateo County Library Joint Powers Authority (JPA) from 2003-2008. Atherton receives more than three percent of our property tax towards our library. This allows the JPA and Friends of The Library’s to create many  wonderful programs for residents and run a surplus.  From 2000-008 a surplus of over $4,000,000 had been created, which gives Atherton the ability  to meet current and future needs.

The town now has options to remodel, expand, or move the library to Holbrook-Palmer Park and increase the library’s impact on Building Community in Atherton.  

From 2009-2010 I served as the Town’s representative to the San Mateo County’s Emergency Preparedness JPA. I encourage all residents to take time to become familiar with how to prepare for an emergency. Many residents have taken the Citizen Emergency Response Training (CERT) courses. The County, Menlo Fire District, and the Town of Atherton have taken great steps in preparing for disasters, but residents should realize that we will all have to do our part.

I encourage all residents to do your part by volunteering in our community, whether through the church, school, town, or a non-profit. There is a great need and the rewards are wonderful.

Charles Marsala