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Letter: Fiction vs. Facts in Kensington Election

The latest letter to the editor about the election for Kensington's governing board comes from Andrew Reed, who urges voters to turn to the "facts" from candidates Chuck Toombs and Patricia Gillette and not the "fiction" from ca

To the Editor:

Voters are better informed and make better decisions for their community when presented with facts. In an effort to bring more accurate information to the table allow me to suggest that Kensington voters visit the web page for Pat Gillette and Director Chuck Toombs (http://www.kensington-pat-chuck.net). There they will find answers to some of the questions and claims being raised by Director Cathie Kosel and her supporters. Supporting documentation is provided.

It is my belief that when reasonable people are given the facts they will dismiss Director Kosel's claims for what they are: Fiction. It seems that when you do not have a good record to run on you go negative, make mountains out of molehills, and keep attacking your opponents even when presented with facts to the contrary.

– Andrew Reed
   Kensington 

Rodney Paul October 29, 2012 at 04:28 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.
Cathie Kosel October 29, 2012 at 04:53 PM
KPPCSD "does not track a category for cases "solved." And that doesn't bother you Rodney???
Cathie Kosel October 29, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Well, John, the inappropriate use of your credit card has stopped. I made no "assertions." I asked what the charges were for and Mr. Harman refused to answer and Mr. Toombs refused to let me talk with our CPA, so in your interest, I contacted the DA to get advice. They thought the charges were "interesting" enough to investigate. It was only AFTER the DA got involved that Toombs approved an audit. The DA investigator was appalled that KPPCSD has no limits on spending for employee personal spending. Because those limits do not exist, there is no measure to judge criminality. I guess you think buying airline tickets for an employee's wife is OK? And spending $220 on a dinner for the pair is OK? You approve that? $28,000 on credit cards. Get informed. Take a look at the credit card statements yourself and then comment.
LONG TIME RESIDENT October 29, 2012 at 06:46 PM
As a long time Kensington resident and attorney. Who is it is that has the authority to engage attorneys at community expense? Our agency's employee, Mr. Harman, sent out a long document with copies to several attorneys, including 2 at the excellent firm of Hanson Bridgett. Who will pay for them to read Mr. Harman's document? I have many times asked the board for a copy of the engagement letter between the Board and the Hanson Bridgett law firm so that we can learn who has the authority to engage attorneys at community cost-- is it the local agency? Is it Mr. Harman? Is it Mr. Toombs as the head of the Board? Mr. Toombs' public statements suggest that Mr. Toombs is reluctant to have the Board exercise responsibility for fear of Mr. Harman bringing a law suit against our government agency. Yet, Mr. Harman seems to have the authority to engage our local government's own legal counsel --at our expense - to read (and prepare?) his communications. Kensington friends who are major supporters of Mr. Toombs told me that Hanson attorneys are sometimes, because it would be too expensive to have them there at all meetings. In sum: (1) Mr. Toombs seems reluctant to have the board demand agency employee accountability for fear of employees bringing legal action if it did so, and yet those employees seem to have the authority to engage the agency's own attorneys - paid by us, but (2) the Board (Mr. Toombs?) feels it would be too expensive to have informed legal advice at Board meetings.
Rodney Paul October 29, 2012 at 08:18 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.
M. E. Campbell of Kensington, CA October 29, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Once again Rodney Paul, Toombs and Gillette go fishing for something, anything, they think could discredit their highly perceptive critics (in this case Director Kosel). Kosel did not "use the Bay View postage meter"-maybe her campaign hired Bay View's Kensington mailing list to do a blind mailing for her. Your candidates hired expensive public relations people to do the same thing. Why is it that T&G are willing to spend $10,000 in an endless litany of deceptive mailers, to shut Director Kosel up and stop her questions about Harman's unusual behaviors and Toombs' weak "oversight" on the KPPCSD Board?
M. E. Campbell of Kensington, CA October 29, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Why is it Toombs and co. can tolerate NO dissidence, no questions, no concerns, and no one who can do arithmetic regarding indebting the town to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in pensions for a police chief/general manager who can't can't even keep town records organized in a filing cabinet? Most people in public office expect to be scrutinized and to be responsible for their decisions--why is it that Toombs and his friends don't tolerate any questioning at all? This insider clique has been running Kensington into risky financial and legal territory without providing the kind of oversight the Board is supposed to have over the Police Force ("Kensington Police Protection and Community Service District" Board of Directors-that's the chief and primary job of the Board: Police Department oversight. This seems to be the one thing Toombs doesn't want to do, warning that to do so could result in a lawsuit, meanwhile he is provoking a lawsuit from the trash service. Vote him out on November 6.
M. E. Campbell of Kensington, CA October 29, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Our Kensington has amassed several hundred thousand dollars in legal fees thanks to Toombs and his board majority. Vote them out. Let's keep Director Kosel and bring Jim Hausken onto the Board with Director Metcalf to finally get a majority with some maturity, responsibility, and OVERSIGHT. By the way, it is the protected right (and probably obligation) of every citizen to approach the DA if there are concerns of malfeasance or criminal behavior, particularly by the town's General Manager (e.g. Harman). Get over it. Toombs appears to have political (judicial?) aspirations. Don't let him continue to use our KPPCSD Board as a stepping stone in this direction. Vote for Cathie Kosel and Jim Hausken and get a new Board Majority to get something positive and fiscally responsible done in this town. I can't afford another $200+ Measure G property assessment to cover Toomb's and the current Board majority's MISTAKES and ambitions. Can any of you?
LONG TIME RESIDENT October 29, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Mr. Paul: I know that you, as we all, are concerned with the dysfunctionality of the administration of our little village. We may come to this issue from diverse directions, but we have a common objective and that is to bring transparency, accountability, and civility to our little village agency. I suggest that in your efforts you bring a bit of skepticism to all you read in the Outlook. While it was once an objective source of information for the community, I have reason the believe that this objectivity may no longer exist.
M. E. Campbell of Kensington, CA October 29, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Here are some perhaps wise words that certainly can apply to Toombs's record: "It is my belief that when reasonable people are given the facts they will dismiss...Fiction. It seems that when you do not have a good record to run on you go negative, make mountains out of molehills, and keep attacking your opponents even when presented with facts to the contrary." – Andrew Reed Kensington
LONG TIME RESIDENT October 29, 2012 at 09:21 PM
As a long time Kensington resident and attorney. Who is it is that has the authority to engage attorneys at community expense? Our agency's employee, Mr. Harman, sent out a long document with copies to several attorneys, including 2 at the excellent firm of Hanson Bridgett. Who will pay for them to read Mr. Harman's document? I have many times asked the board for a copy of the engagement letter between the Board and the Hanson Bridgett law firm so that we can learn who has the authority to engage attorneys at community cost-- is it the local agency? Is it Mr. Harman? Is it Mr. Toombs as the head of the Board? Mr. Toombs' public statements suggest that Mr. Toombs is reluctant to have the Board exercise responsibility for fear of Mr. Harman bringing a law suit against our government agency. Yet, Mr. Harman seems to have the authority to engage our local government's own legal counsel -at our expense - to read (and prepare?) his communications. Kensington friends who are major supporters of Mr. Toombs told me that Hanson attnys are only sometimes there, as to have them there for all meetings would be too expensive. In sum: (1) Mr. Toombs seems reluctant to have the board demand agency employee accountability for fear of employees bringing legal action if it did so, and yet those employees seem to have the authority to engage the agency's own attorneys - paid by us, but (2) the Board (Mr. Toombs?) feels it would be too expensive to have informed legal advice at Board meetings.
M. E. Campbell of Kensington, CA October 30, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Did you really mean "our refuge company"? Because if so, you would be right. Our trash company has the lowest rates in this and nearby counties. Unlike any other company it collects cans from down driveways and back yards at no extra cost (and you don't have to be disabled to get this service). They have served us for 65 years. My trash men know me personally and worry if I don't put my trash out (the Kensington Police don't do that). When 20% of the 2200 households in Kensington have dropped from regular service to mini-cans and jeopardized the stability of the company, our refuge (from high rates and poor service) asked for a small increase (about $2 a quarter) in rates. "NO!!" Said Toombs and Gillette. "A CONTRACT IS A CONTRACT." Of course, there is a clause in said contract that allows for renegotiation of the rates for unforeseen events (like the Recession, Hello). But rather than even discuss renegotiation, somehow under the "leadership" of Toombs we find ourselves involved in litigation that has the potential to cost the town between $150,000 and $400,000+fines. That doesn't sound "Responsible" to me, or to my pocketbook. Let the trash company have the $2. No other company is willing to work for the same low rates we have been paying. And who warned us this was coming? Who tried to prevent this ridiculou$ $ituation? Directors Kosel and Metcalf tried, but were gaveled down by Toombs. And that is why we TRUST her and want to re-elect her. VOTE KOSEL and HAUSKEN-Save $$$.
LONG TIME RESIDENT October 30, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Mr. Paul: I know that you, as we all, are concerned with the dysfunctionality of the administration of our little village. We may come to this issue from diverse directions, but we have a common objective and that is to bring transparency, accountability, and civility to our little village agency. I suggest that in your efforts you bring a bit of skepticism to all you read in the Outlook. While it was once an objective source of information for the community, I have reason the believe that this objectivity may no longer exist.
LONG TIME RESIDENT October 30, 2012 at 03:46 AM
In my years of representing government agencies, providers of legal services present the agency with monthly billing statements. The agency reviews them to make sure the services were authorized, and then, if appropriate, approves payment. I understand that in Kensington the local government legal bills are received, reviewed, and approved by its police chief, rather than by the Board. How does the Board know what services have been performed, or who authorized them, or that the agency’s budget for legal services is not exceeded? I have made several Public records Act requests for a copy of the engagement letter. This would inform who it is that has the authority to engage lawyers at our public expense. The local agency has never replied. It is our agency that is accountable to the public - not their employee. Our local government must do the job it was elected to do. It cannot hand it over to someone we did not elect to do that job. What is the Board's policy for authorizing legal fees? Who paid for Mike Rains' defense of Mr. Harman? Surely it was not left to him to authorize the payment of his own defense counsel by the public. What are the rules? I have also requested several times requested the agency’s bylaws describing the authority of the board members, including the position Mr. Toombs’ holds. Again, there has been no reply. Mr. Toombs seems to have authority of the local government agency. What is the basis for that authority?
Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D. October 30, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Rodney, The only thing the Outlook establishes is that the journalistic character of the editor suggests to me that another editor, perhaps the previous one who the clique got rid of should be found or rehired.
LONG TIME RESIDENT October 31, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Contra Costa Times editorial: Kosel and Hausken for Kensington District Contra Costa Times editorial © Copyright 2012, Bay Area News Group Posted: 10/30/2012 02:31:55 PM PDT "It's mind-boggling how governance of the highly educated little community of Kensington has become so dysfunctional. Voters can start fixing that Tuesday by electing retired teacher Jim Hausken and re-electing incumbent Cathie Kosel to the Police Protection and Community Services District board.This community needs leaders who value openness and fiscal discipline. Currently, public information is withheld and the board has failed to control employee benefit costs. meeting minutes reveal the systemic secrecy. ..The actual (police chief's) contract was drawn up after the meeting and signed by the board president, Charles Toombs, before the public had a chance to see it. Amazingly, Toombs insists he's running an open government. But he confuses letting people speak at meetings with providing them public information to which they're entitled. His attitude is part of the problem. He doesn't deserve another term. As for Kosel, she raised legitimate issues about the process and about the magnitude of the raises...her concerns deserve serious consideration, and she deserves another term...we found Hausken ..versed on the pension problem and had a more pragmatic approach for putting the government board back on track. We hope this election leads to real change."
LONG TIME RESIDENT October 31, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Contra Costa Times editorial: Kosel and Hausken for Kensington District Contra Costa Times editorial © Copyright 2012, Bay Area News Group Posted: 10/30/2012 02:31:55 PM PDT "It's mind-boggling how governance of the highly educated little community of Kensington has become so dysfunctional. Voters can start fixing that Tuesday by electing retired teacher Jim Hausken and re-electing incumbent Cathie Kosel to the Police Protection and Community Services District board.This community needs leaders who value openness and fiscal discipline. Currently, public information is withheld and the board has failed to control employee benefit costs. meeting minutes reveal the systemic secrecy. ..The actual (police chief's) contract was drawn up after the meeting and signed by the board president, Charles Toombs, before the public had a chance to see it. Amazingly, Toombs insists he's running an open government. But he confuses letting people speak at meetings with providing them public information to which they're entitled. His attitude is part of the problem. He doesn't deserve another term. As for Kosel, she raised legitimate issues about the process and about the magnitude of the raises...her concerns deserve serious consideration, and she deserves another term...we found Hausken ..versed on the pension problem and had a more pragmatic approach for putting the government board back on track. We hope this election leads to real change."
LONG TIME RESIDENT October 31, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Contra Costa Times editorial: Kosel and Hausken for Kensington District Contra Costa Times editorial © Copyright 2012, Bay Area News Group Posted: 10/30/2012 02:31:55 PM PDT "It's mind-boggling how governance of the highly educated little community of Kensington has become so dysfunctional. Voters can start fixing that Tuesday by electing retired teacher Jim Hausken and re-electing incumbent Cathie Kosel to the Police Protection and Community Services District board.This community needs leaders who value openness and fiscal discipline. Currently, public information is withheld and the board has failed to control employee benefit costs. meeting minutes reveal the systemic secrecy. ..The actual (police chief's) contract was drawn up after the meeting and signed by the board president, Charles Toombs, before the public had a chance to see it. Amazingly, Toombs insists he's running an open government. But he confuses letting people speak at meetings with providing them public information to which they're entitled. His attitude is part of the problem. He doesn't deserve another term. As for Kosel, she raised legitimate issues about the process and about the magnitude of the raises...her concerns deserve serious consideration, and she deserves another term...we found Hausken ..versed on the pension problem and had a more pragmatic approach for putting the government board back on track. We hope this election leads to real change."
LONG TIME RESIDENT October 31, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Contra Costa Times editorial: Kosel and Hausken for Kensington District Contra Costa Times editorial © Copyright 2012, Bay Area News Group Posted: 10/30/2012 02:31:55 PM PDT "It's mind-boggling how governance of the highly educated little community of Kensington has become so dysfunctional. Voters can start fixing that Tuesday by electing retired teacher Jim Hausken and re-electing incumbent Cathie Kosel to the Police Protection and Community Services District board.This community needs leaders who value openness and fiscal discipline. Currently, public information is withheld and the board has failed to control employee benefit costs. meeting minutes reveal the systemic secrecy. ..The actual (police chief's) contract was drawn up after the meeting and signed by the board president, Charles Toombs, before the public had a chance to see it. Amazingly, Toombs insists he's running an open government. But he confuses letting people speak at meetings with providing them public information to which they're entitled. His attitude is part of the problem. He doesn't deserve another term. As for Kosel, she raised legitimate issues about the process and about the magnitude of the raises...her concerns deserve serious consideration, and she deserves another term...we found Hausken ..versed on the pension problem and had a more pragmatic approach for putting the government board back on track. We hope this election leads to real change."
Michelle Hart November 01, 2012 at 09:14 PM
I am as fatigued with the shenangins of our Police Protection and Community Services District board as I am with Corky Bouzé and the Richmond City Council. My family moved to Kensington in 1962 and for the past 50 years, while the neighboring police departments may have no or little respect for our Police Department, I assure you that the Police Protection and Community Services District board is a greater laughing stock now. The Toombs/Kosel debacle must come to an end. I can not in good conscience vote for either of the two teams. Neither group deserves to serve our community.
LONG TIME RESIDENT November 01, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Dear Ms. Hart: Thank you for your post. You may be interested in the article posted in the patch this morning. The hyperlink address is http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/view-kensington-board-s-failure-to-disclose-information. In addition, you may wish to consider Mr Harman's employment contract prepared by Mr. Toombs and passed by 3/5 of the the Board in what seems to be an unlawfully held session in July- extended without the required 4/5 vote. It provides that on the one hand, Mr. Harman must be a police officer and then, when describing Mr. Harman's responsibilities, provides that the person in Mr. Harman's position has the responsibility of advising the community services district board in their negotiations with the police officers on matters of salary and benefits. I suggested to Mr. Toombs that this has the appearance of a conflict of interest as Mr. Harman seems to be on each side of the negotiation at the same time. Mr Toombs has written that this is not a conflict of interest for Mr Harman.Thank you for expressing your concerns.
Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D. November 01, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Dear Ms. Hart, Please read below. Best, Len Contra Costa Times editorial: Kosel and Hausken for Kensington District Contra Costa Times editorial © Copyright 2012, Bay Area News Group "It's mind-boggling how governance of the highly educated little community of Kensington has become so dysfunctional. Voters can start fixing that Tuesday by electing retired teacher Jim Hausken and re-electing incumbent Cathie Kosel to the Police Protection and Community Services District board.This community needs leaders who value openness and fiscal discipline. Currently, public information is withheld and the board has failed to control employee benefit costs. meeting minutes reveal the systemic secrecy. ..The actual (police chief's) contract was drawn up after the meeting and signed by the board president, Charles Toombs, before the public had a chance to see it. Amazingly, Toombs insists he's running an open government. But he confuses letting people speak at meetings with providing them public information to which they're entitled. His attitude is part of the problem. He doesn't deserve another term. As for Kosel, she raised legitimate issues about the process and about the magnitude of the raises...her concerns deserve serious consideration, and she deserves another term...we found Hausken ..versed on the pension problem and had a more pragmatic approach for putting the government board back on track. We hope this election leads to real change."
CL Hogue November 01, 2012 at 10:52 PM
It is mind-boggling that the CCT editor clearly did not do his homework - unless the CCT supports a candidate and government official who abuses her power, fails to disclose campaign contributions from businesses with contracts with Kensington, fails to disclosure her own back-door activities with these businesses, files false reports accusing the police of attempted assault, ignores the law and tramples on the legal rights of public employees, forms a 'democratic' club with 13 members who all vote for her and on and on. Cathie Kosel could have rolled up her sleeves, joined citizens in committees to solve problems - but she prefers to continue in her own echo chamber with the same accusatory and defammatory rhetoric. She doesn't want solutions - unless the solution is to dissolve our KPD and KFD and get our police and fire services from El Cerrito. Every community is concerned about pension reform - as are Chuck Toombs and Pat Gillette. The editor misrepresented Ms Gillette's position and statements and ignored documentation presented to him by Mr Toombs. The editor knows nothing about Kensington - and if he is not going to do real and impartial homework on our community - then he should stay out of our politics.
LONG TIME RESIDENT November 01, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Dear CL Hogue: Thank you for your post. You may be interested in the article posted in the patch this morning. The hyperlink address is http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/view-kensington-board-s-failure-to-disclose-information.
Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D. November 02, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Andrew, for you an attack artist of long standing of the lowest standard to pose as a moral paragon is worse than hypocritical, it reaches the comical. P.S. Are you M.E, Campbell too?
Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D. November 02, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Dear ME Campbell, I misunderstood your post as coming from Reed who had been posing instead of as you meant to comment on him. But all the things I said about him I meant to say about him. It's too late for me to correct the mistaken post and I apologize for the confusion.
M. E. Campbell of Kensington, CA November 02, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Why am I not surprised that CL Hogue gets his/her "evidence" from the Toombs-Gillette web page? Numerous posts, letters, public statements in Kensington Police Protection Community Services Board Meetings and so for have repudiated this "evidence". For example, Pat Gillette said Director Kosel was on a committee (she was never on) and failed to show up to those meetings (which never happened). When Director Kosel said, "That never happened," candidate Pat Gillette turned to her and was overheard to say to Director Kosel, "That's your problem". Gillette was apparently unaware she could be heard from the front rows. Unlike you, the Contra Costa Times has independently done its research and found first hand as well as independent sources of information to draw its conclusions. That is why the CCT has endorsed Kosel and Hausken for Directors of the KPPCSD.
Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D. November 02, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Dear ME Campbell, my wife and I were sitting in the front row in front of Cathie and Mari when Pat Gillette walked in back of them from the western side of the room back towards where she had been sitting and Cathie turned toward her and said "That never happened" regarding the meeting non-attendance shot Gillette had taken at her before, and with a smile that struck me as conveying self-satisfaction said something I think was close to, "I can say whatever I want to.." and then added the "That's your problem." That should not surprise us coming from a clique candidate given the signature approach of the clique over time of playing fast and loose with the facts to smear Cathie. What chutzpah, they have, saying Cathie used attack because she had no record to hold up when they used attacking Cathie, aided abetted by the sycophanticaly run Outlook, to cover up the actual record they have. I think that's why they are spending such money and effort on this election, I think they are afraid if they lose control their dirt will rise to the surface and the stink will permeate Kensington and everyone will see where it's coming from. And the cover of the new Outlook is an unpaid advertisement for Harman, and thus his enablers Toombs and company. Harman showed what could be seen as method acting skills kind of like when he became positively overcome with emotion as he praised his officers for solving the murder that was confessed to and resulted in $10,000 in overtime. .
LONG TIME RESIDENT November 05, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Dear Michelle: 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 01:47 PM
Please consider the post at http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/view-the-kensington-election-does-it-matter. Thank you.

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