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Letter: "Falsehoods" in Kensington Candidate Kosel's Letter

Kensington resident Rodney Paul takes issue with assertions made in a letter sent to Kensington residents by Cathie Kosel, who's running for re-election to the Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District board.

To the Editor:

Kensington residents this week received a letter from Cathie Kosel that is filled with falsehoods. They should consider her lack of candor as they weigh her re-election bid to the Kensington Police Protection and Community Services Board (KPPCSD).

Kosel’s letter depicts the Kensington Police Department darkly, taking them to task for a rising crime rate and stating that “no crimes were solved.”  The crime rate in Kensington is very low and her assertion that crimes have not been solved is patently false.  Our police continue to do an excellent job, and there is no evidence that crime is out of control in our community.

Kosel also mentions that the KPPCSD 2011 annual audit is overdue. While this is true, she fails to mention that it is claims she herself has made against the Police Chief and other members of the KPD that must be closed before the audit can be completed. Concerned residents should note the role Kosel plays in obstructing the Board from meeting the audit and other commitments in a timely manner.

It is simply untrue that Kensington projects a budget deficit next year, and the claim that Kensington is mismanaging its pension obligations by not following the recommendations by the Contra Costa Grand Jury is a serious distortion. Kosel is aware that these recommendations were superseded by the Public Employees Pension Reform Act signed by Governor Jerry Brown last month, so her charge is a smokescreen to confuse Kensington residents.  Also, the agreement with the Police Officers’ Association she complains about is one she voted for herself.

Kosel’s distortions strike me as very similar to those being used by politicians at the national level in this election.  I am sorry to see these tactics being used locally and hope my fellow Kensington voters will reject them by supporting Chuck Toombs and Pat Gillette for the KPPCSD Board.

– Rodney Paul
   Kensington 

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El Cerrito Patch welcomes Letters to the Editor of up to 450 words from readers. Send them to elcerrito@patch.com. You can see past Letters to the Editor here.

Cathie Kosel October 13, 2012 at 08:18 PM
John, Regarding getting along, you have only seen attacks against me. I have not made any personal attacks. I have just provided data. The data is pretty damning, so others may feel attacked. Please look at the data. Thanks!
anna shane October 14, 2012 at 01:21 AM
I checked that bill that Mr. Paul claimed made the Board's vote proper, and, big surprise, it partially corrects for our kind of problem-police contract, at the state level, apparently there is no way to stop cities like Kensington from walking into a bankruptcy situation, there is no law against Boards being reckless. (As you all know the Board insisted on paying 100 percent of retirement for our police chief and his officers, even though there was a Grand Jury warning against such a reckless act. That's why our Police Chief's pay package is close to a quarter million dollars a year, about ten percent of the entire operating budget (not to be confused with a budget that should be followed, in this case it's what we have). Here's the quote that speaks to our Board's lack of wisdom: Brown praised lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for reaching a deal that will increase the retirement age for new employees depending on their job, cap the annual payout at $132,120, eliminate numerous abuses of the system and require workers who are not contributing half of their retirement costs to pay more. Somehow I don't think this solves the problem entirely, it only reinforces knowing the perils from our Board's lack of responsibility, and mitigates against the fallout. I think we need smarter people controlling our Board.
sylvia elsbury October 14, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Why do so many in Kensington ask so little of our governing body? Cathie makes it her business to ask questions, to chase hard data, to strive for balance in an organization which is inherently lopsided (police chief is his own boss). For her efforts she has been, frankly, persecuted, sometimes in ways that would be laughable if they weren't.bordering on sinister. "Getting along" may well have a very high price tag for Kensington residents; I feel Cathie is most trustworthy with regard to our rights and our wallets.
Cathy Travlos October 14, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Sylvia, you've been misinformed: the police chief is absolutely not his own boss. I requested the employments agreements for both the General Manager and Chief of Police positions and both positions are supervised by the KPPCSD. Board member do need to ask questions - however, they need to follow the rules and laws about privacy. You absolutely cannot discuss personnel issues except in closed session for the protection of your employees; to do otherwise invites lawsuits.
Cathie Kosel October 14, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Cathy, Please provide information regarding any privacy laws I have violated. I have not done that. The details regarding the spending of your money and your neighbors' money is in the public domain. On your behalf and in your interest, I will continue to ask about charges for expensive meals for the gm/cop and his wife ($220+), airline tickets for his wife, thousands of dollars spent on local restaurants. Many of our neighbors have lost their homes because they cannot afford to continue to pay their mortgages and, yes, the approximately $500 per home that we entrust to our KPPCSD board. I believe that your money is not well spent, and there are NO RULES for spending by our employees. Did you know that? Is that OK with you? In fact, the District Attorney's office is appalled that we have no restrictions on spending and that therefore, they cannot bring any criminal charges for the careless spending of your money. The KPPCSD board refused again Thursday evening to even put temporary limits on employee spending while they research a permanent policy. That is not oversight. It is dereliction of duty. Together we need to provide reasonable rules and supervision of our employees. Please give me a call if your have further questions. Regards, Cathie
Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D. October 14, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Lies about Cathy Kosel Rodney, you make assertions with nothing factual to back them up. You say, "Falsehoods in Kensington?" COP/GM Harmon published crime statistics three years in a row, 2008, 2009 and 2010 inflated by 47 % in his favor. Cathie exposed that and Harman responded with mind numbing detail in the Outlook that don’t come close to answering the question, "Why report false data?" Maybe to justify taxes he receives and Board Majority, Toombs, Lipscomb and Lloyd totally failed to supervise, and covering up the reality. Sixteen months ago after revealing Harman was charging airline tickets for his wife, $200 meals and alcohol on the District credit card, Cathie and Medcalf called for needed policy for Per Diem expenses. It still hasn't been done. At the last Board Meeting Toombs held up what he said was a 40 page UC Per Diem policy and so obviously it’s a very complex process justifying further studies. That is sheer nonsense and I don't see how else to explain it when, Mr. Toombs, a tax attorney must know that he is trying to compare cumquats to watermelons in order to further delay establishing appropriate fiscal control where it seems clear to me that it is nonexistent virtually across the board. Tax payers deserve to see the audits resulting from the credit card revelations. Harman opened the matter by explicitly referring to the audits in justifying his attack on Cathie at the last Board Meeting. (See the rest of this post attached below)
Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D. October 14, 2012 at 10:09 PM
(This is the continuation of the post above.) Rodney, you seem to have the best interests of Kensington at heart, witness your concern about traffic safety at the Colusa Circle. Please Rodney, bother to learn the facts before you attack Cathie. She is a public servant who has shown great courage and character strength in continuing to fight for transparancy in the face of scurrilous false personal attacks and abuse heaped on her by the Kensington Clique, too long in power, aided and abetted by the editor of the Outlook who in my opinion needs a course or two in journalistic ethics, or maybe better yet to find another job..
Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D. October 15, 2012 at 03:43 AM
(continued from above) Rodney, you seem to have the best interests of Kensington at heart, witness your concern about traffic safety at the Colusa Circle. Please Rodney, bother to learn the facts before you attack Cathie. She is a public servant who has shown great courage in the face of scurrilous false personal attacks and abuse heaped on her by the Kensington Clique, too long in power, aided and abetted by the editor of the Outlook who in my opinion needs a course or two in journalistic ethics. I’m given to understand that the last editor resigned in protest over pressure from Mr. Toombs to control editorial policy. I thought the Outlook did pretty well under the former editor.
Cathie Kosel October 15, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Rodney, Thank you for being interested and involved in our town governance. Let's continue our conversation about employee pensions. Our pension problem is real and it was not solved by the legislation signed by Governor Brown recently. The legislation pertains primarily to newly hired employees; we have current and retired employees who remain our sole responsibility. While new employees starting Jan. 1, 2013, would automatically have to contribute 50 percent of their pension costs, local government labor unions will have a five-year window to negotiate that through collective bargaining. We are the only agency in Contra Costa County that pays 100% of pension contributions. Here is the problem with that: If CalPERS is unable to fund employee pensions, the agency from which the employee retires is responsible for paying the pension. A number of studies have concluded that CalPERS will be unable to fund pensions in the future. Some have predicted as soon as 3 years from now. Their ability to fund is dependent upon the rate of return on their investments which has historically been 7+%. This year it returned 1+%. One employee costs over $100,000 per year and over 10 years it exceeds $1 million each. If we have 30 current and retired employees, do you see the problem with funding our obligation? Isn't it fair to ask our employees to share in funding their own retirements? They currently pay nothing; Kensington residents pay it all. Respectfully, Cathie
Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D. October 16, 2012 at 07:19 AM
Rodney, you were mistaken about the budget shortfall, and I think about other things as well. Go to: http://www.kensingtoncalifornia.org/files/active/1/2012-03-08%20KPPCSD%20AGENDA.pdf top of 6th page by hand written number, and you will see that Cathie was right about the projected budget shortfall. It's in Harman's own report. I hope you will take a second look at what Cathie has been saying.
sylvia elsbury October 16, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Cathy T., I am aware that it is not technically true that the Chief is his own boss. But like many Kensington residents, I have come to view the organization as being as such, de facto, based on the Board's response to various irregularities, not to mention the contractual and compensation decisions they have made. Now would be a good time to add that being a supporter of Cathie Kosel's re-election does NOT make me "anti-KPD," as some have characterized Cathie. I have many good things to say about the force, based on my personal interactions with officers. That does not change the fact that these are times for austerity and for tight accounting. We cannot afford to be generous, only to be fair. Current contracts must be honored, but I want to feel confident that the Board will show restraint and due diligence in all matters, going forward.
Quinn Vincente October 17, 2012 at 01:54 PM
As President Washington said, "Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism." Cathie Kosel's reign of slandering falsehood will soon come to an end! Cathie Kosel is nothing more than a schoolyard bully, using tactful manipulation in the City of Kensington. Watch her political bullying against Police Chief Harman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSvITTaNV8w http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGWP7GNiOZg
anna shane October 17, 2012 at 02:16 PM
OMG, one minority woman bullies the police chief? Weird!!! If I had doubts about voting for Cathie (well, I didn't, I think our majority board needs to be replaced), I surely don't know. Poor Chief Harman with his near quarter million dollars salary subjected to disagreement from one board member who cited his own statistics?
Local Parent October 19, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Thank you Cathie and Mari for taking the initiative to ask pointed and direct questions...and not being satisfied by the notion of "that's just the way things are". I would like to hear an explanation from Chuck Toombs about breaking procedure and rules when he allowed a continuation of a KPPCSD meeting without the proper votes to do so. He seems to have a bit of a 'what's good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander' attitude. As Sylvia noted, many Kensington residents have the impression that the Chief of Police is indeed his own boss, be it true or not. The nefarious allegations against Cathie appear to be intimidation at it's very best. I will happily cast my votes for Cathie Kosel and Kim Zvick!
Asal Sopol October 22, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Among all KPPCSD, Cathie K. is one who asks questions and just doesn’t go with that is just the way thing are and lets approve it and finish the meeting. I really appreciate her courage and braveness to be like this among other members and the board supervisor who is the most nonsense guy in the board. He is not even interested in the subjects that are discussed wants to open and close the meetings and enjoys the power that he has! And I am just surprised that he is applying again!!! I will happily cast my votes for Cathie Kosel and Kim Zvick and dont want to see Chuck toombsin the board again...enough is enough...
Rodney Paul October 29, 2012 at 08:19 PM
The new edition of the Kensington Outlook establishes Kosel's use of the Bay View postage meter to send her mailer. Go to http://www.kensingtonoutlook.com/issues/outlook_nov_12.pdf and see Page 9. The use of Bay View resources is a clear conflict of interest since they are involved in litigation against KPPCSD. This may also violate campaign finance laws. For all but the True Believers, this is clear evidence she is unsuited to a 2nd term.
LONG TIME RESIDENT November 03, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I have lived in Kensington since the 1970s. I have not before been involved in Kensington politics. As I started reading of all the acrimony on the board and the police chief's use of a government credit card to buy airline tickets for his wife, I started looking into what was going on. The Kensington website is a good place to start-police logs, police reports, reports by village manager, even an "Open City Hall" link. The police logs and reports showed a few officers doing anything. The manager’s reports stopped last year until I brought it to Toombs' attention. "Open City Hall" has been shuttered. I reviewed the police chief's contract. I reviewed over 120 pages of community service district policies. Conclusion: Toombs has without authority taken over our elected government and handed it to Harman, without checks on Harman, who also controls Koosed-the editor of our village paper. In response to requests for transparency, we now get silence or vicious personal attacks. “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” (Google) History has seen such people before. The district's policies say Toombs has no more authority than any other Board members, yet he has shut their & the community's access to information. http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/view-kensington-board-s-failure-to-disclose-information. As a neighbor said: “It looks like a police state.” We need to take back our village from Toombs’ autocratic control. THE FIRST STEP IS TO REMOVE TOOMBS.
LONG TIME RESIDENT November 03, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Dear Mr. Paul: On the matter of "conflicts of interest," I urge you and other residents to read the police chief's contract. Under the contract he is required to be a policeman. Under the contract, his responsibility is stated to include advising our community government in their negotiations with the police. I understand that Mr. Toombs wrote the contract and had it passed beyond the time set for a meeting, and that it is therefor unauthorized. I also understand that the police have made political donations to Mr. Toombs. Just "cozy" or is it "conflict of interest"?
Meryl Rafferty November 03, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I have been following the race for the local Kensington governing board. I've been at several board meetings, and took the trouble to read the candidate statements and to watch the videos of several meetings. It has become clear to me that Ms. Kosel is one of those individuals who feels that if you lie loudly and long enough, it will obscure the truth. In the Outlook, Ms. Kosel is quoted: “I never supported takeover of our independent police force by El Cerrito. I don’t have a loud voice. I don’t scream. The screamer is Linda Lipscomb. I did not throw papers on the floor, Vida Dorroh dropped them there.” If you watch the video of the meeting in question: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSvITTaNV8w From minute 30 to minute 38 you can see the letter she wrote as mayor of El Cerrito recommending annexation of the police force and hear her scream and watch her throw the letter on the floor when this is presented to her, behavior unworthy of a well-behaved 5-year old. When the State, County and El Cerrito Democratic Clubs voted overwhelmingly to support Pat Gillette and Chuck Toombs, Kosel formed a private, invitation-only group, called it the “Kensington Democratic Club” and endorsed herself and her running mate. That doesn't seem like "transparency" to me. I was at the El Cerrito Democratic Club meeting which endorsed Gillette and Toombs by one 70%.
anna shane November 03, 2012 at 05:58 PM
GM/PC Harman reviewed his estimates for revenue and expenses for the District's current fiscal year. He summarized his findings on Page 57 of the February, 2012 BOD package which are that he is projecting a $109,849 shortfall for the current fiscal year (after receipt of the remaining $88,684 for the COPS grant). He said this shortfall is a function of the BOD'S decision to spend funds that were not budgeted for: 1)$65,000 for consulting expenses related to the park buildings and personnel investigations, 2) $23,100 in Community Center repairs, and 3)$15,000 in legal fees. GM/PC Harman said that the BOD has two options. One is to do a mid year budget adjustment now to include the three aforementioned items in the budget. The second option is for the BOD to do nothing but to know that it has been forewarned that the District is projected to end the fiscal year over budget.
anna shane November 03, 2012 at 06:46 PM
on the contrary, it's an example of Toombs lack of ethics, which I hope will come back to bite him when he seeks a judgeship. One of the Cathie/Jim supporters paid Bay View for using their machine, and I have seen the cancelled check. It was about what the Kensington Police Officer's Association donated to Chuck and Pat, just shy of 1,000 but while we paid Bay View for our mailing, the Kensington cops paid Chuck and Pat. What is unethical is they were required to ask before reporting their 'suspicions. You'd think that think guy's who want to be judges would know better?
anna shane November 03, 2012 at 06:49 PM
are you the same famous Meryl who has been visiting old ladies and telling them not to vote for Cathie? Loudly and often? Why not watch the entire thing? And she never advocated that we outsource to El Cerrito, she once asked for a bid to compare costs, about twenty years ago. The majority board asked for a bid two years ago, why aren't you accusing them of wanting to outsource our police department, Meryl?
Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D. November 03, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Ms. Rafferty, I have watched the utube videos you cite and am unable to see support for your claims. I don't know if you are just ignorant or just lying when you say that the State and County Democratic organizations voted to endorse Toombs and Gillette. Those organizations took no vote on this matter and probably most of their staffs don't even know about the claims made about their support. In any case it follows the clique's pattern of putting out outright falsehoods and at best distortions with respect to their claims. Their claim to those endorsements flows from only one vote. How many people constitutes that 70% you refer to who voted at the El Cerrito Democratic Club function? I was there too and it seems to me that was about 30 people, members of the clique, long organized and fighting to maintain their hold on power in their lack of care for the people of Kensington as they drive us over a fiscal cliff. Check out the October 30th editorial endorsement of Kosel and Hausken in the CC Times and the Journal.
anna shane November 03, 2012 at 06:58 PM
a private club they invited Chuck and Pat to join? And Pat said 'no,' and Chuck didn't bother to reply? Why, Meryl, didn't you ask to join when you found out about it word of mouth, that had to have been close to its time of inception? No one was invited, there was a founding group and then word was spread and people invited themselves. I wasn't part of the founding group, but when I found out about it I asked if I could join and I was told yes, any registered Kensington Democrat can join, abide by the by-laws and pay five bucks a year. Meryl, why don't you join, and then perhaps talk with the old ladies you've been loudly and frequently advising and tell them you were wrong.
Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D. November 03, 2012 at 07:00 PM
"Pretended Patriotism"? Check out the bold red, white and blue of the Toombs, Gillette materials.
Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D. November 04, 2012 at 10:56 PM
This is the Joel Koosed, the Outlook editor, (better named the “Overlooked”) the propaganda organ of the Kensington Clique, of which Vida Dorroh is a prominent member, and where they give "truth" a bad name. I appreciate how discriminating your services are Mr. Koosed. His photo is on the web site. Joel Koosed “ Founded San Francisco Roommate Referral Service, Avenue Ballroom, Kicks Magazine, and The Meeting Game® Salon. Editor: Kensington Outlook ” Interested in new Meetup Groups about Drummer, dating, Dating and Relationships, Make New Friends, from all Walks of Life, The Over 40 Gang, Speed Dating, Meeting New People, Dating Women, Divorced, Widowed, Never Married, Singles, Single Professionals looking to Meet other Singles, Professional Singles, Single Parents, Hiking, Social Networking, Writers, Artists & Musicians, Creative Circle, creating a creative community, East Bay International Creative Community, East Bay Creative Community, Dinner Party, Singers & Songwriters, Performing Musicians, Dance, Drum Circle, Drumming, Recreational Drumming, Open Relationships, Polyamory, Alternative Lifestyles, Socializing with other Singles over 50., Show less... Albany, CA Sept 2012 http://www.meetup.com/members/6449445/
LONG TIME RESIDENT November 05, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Dear Cathy: Please consider the post at http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/view-the-kensington-election-does-it-matter. And also the post at http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/view-kensington-board-s-failure-to-disclose-information Thank you.
LONG TIME RESIDENT November 05, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Dear Cathy: Please consider the post at http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/view-the-kensington-election-does-it-matter. And also the post at http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/view-kensington-board-s-failure-to-disclose-information Thank you.
LONG TIME RESIDENT November 05, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Please consider the post at http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/view-the-kensington-election-does-it-matter. And also the post at http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/view-kensington-board-s-failure-to-disclose-information Thank you.
LONG TIME RESIDENT November 05, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Please consider the post at http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/view-the-kensington-election-does-it-matter. And also the post at http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/view-kensington-board-s-failure-to-disclose-information Thank you.

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