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View: 'Big Lie' About Kosel-Hausken Stand on Police

In this guest column, Leonard Schwartzburd accuses the "Kensington clique" represented by candidates Chuck Toombs and Patricia Gillette of spreading a "false myth" about opponents Cathie Kosel and Jim Hausken on keeping local police.

It’s a big lie that Cathie Kosel and Jim Hausken want to farm out our police services to El Cerrito. This is a false myth spread by the Kensington clique, too long in control to maintain their grasp on power and to shut off the transparency Cathie and Jim stand for. Just read the independent Editorial Endorsement of Cathie and Jim in the Contra Costa Times.  

On Sept. 24th  I called a property owner and asked if the Toombs-Gillette signs were put up with the owner’s permission and whether we could put our signs up.  The owner said that permission was given because they were told Cathie and Jim want to end Kensington’s independent control of our police department. I told the owner they were lied to. I sent them some of our literature and the July 11, 2011 article in the “Patch” about Chief of Police/General Manager Harman’s improper credit card use, another covered up affair, and his 17% raise, (conservatively calculated).

Since when is a demand for fiscal responsibility somehow the same as opposing the independence of our Police Department. On the contrary it reflects a desire to be able to continue to afford our independence. Though some appear not to believe it, those of us supporting Cathie and Jim also support, appreciate and want to keep our line officers. We know them and regardless of a couple of rough edges we want to keep them, and speaking for myself, to keep all of them. With proper leadership they can be a great part of a great community. All the pieces are here, we just need changes at the top. 

The pattern of misrepresentation is consistent with what we have been seeing in this election and for years by both the Chief and Board Majority. We are now told that crime is way up in Kensington. This comes ONLY after Cathie Kosel discovered the last crime statistics covering 08, 09 and 10 were grossly wrong. The 3 years of false statics were used as a  justification for measure G. Where are the up to date statistics? Toombs says the budget is balanced. In reality, GM/COP Harman is projecting a $109,849 shortfall for the current fiscal year. Where does the demand for more money stop and where does all the money go? A significant part of it goes into Mr. Harman's pocket. Five officers in full uniform and armed, drawing overtime pay regularly appear at Board meetings. Are they there on Harman's orders to enforce Toombs banging his gavel shutting down citizen comment critical of Harman, I think so.  

I have a clear memory from a formal meeting for the campaign to pass measure G. We were told we needed a 10th officer to provide safety. 2 years later we still have only 9 officers. The property tax payers by law are liable for the retirement commitments the Toombs Board 3 to 2 majority are making for us. Even more troubling is what happens if CalPERS defaults as they very well might. Then we tax payers will own all of the retirement liability for years to come. (Presently, according to a Dec. 2011 Stanford Study, PERS HAS 100’S OF BILLIONS IN UNFUNDED OBLIGATIONS.)

The potential liability is frightening. When property taxes go sharply up property values go down. Ask yourself: "Why are Toombs-Gillette and their active supporters spending at least $10,000 and using such tactics on a small community election like ours." Like the CC Times Editorial says in the beginning, "It's mind boggling..." 

Leonard Schwartzburd is a resident of Kensington.

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El Cerrito Patch welcomes letters to the editor (up to 450 words) and guest columns (more than 450 words) from members of the community. Those interested in contributing can write to elcerrito@patch.com. To see past letters to the editor, please click here. Past guest columns can be found here.

LONG TIME RESIDENT November 03, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I have lived in Kensington since 1970s. I have not been involved in Kensington politics. Then as I started reading of all the acrimony on the board & the police chief's use of a government credit card to buy airline tickets for his wife, I started inquiring. 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 &reports showed only 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 looked at the police chief's contract. I reviewed over 120 pages of community service district's policies. Conclusion: Toombs has without authority taken over our elected government and handed it to Harman, without any 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) The district's policies say that 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. A neighbor said to me: “It looks like a police state.” We need to take back our village from Toombs’ autocratic control. FIRST STEP IS TO REMOVE TOOMBS. History has seen such people before.
Anna November 03, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I don't know if a police chief in a small community should be making $250,000 a year (even including benefits); I don't know if Harmon/Toombs/Gillette are crooks using OUR tax dollars on non-Board approved expenditures; I don't know if Kosel is a kook accusing officers of chasing her with their patrol cars; I don't know if Koosed is in the pocket of Harmon/Gilette/Toombs - thereby causing many to question the validity or our Outlook's hand selected Letters to the Editor. What I DO know? Kensington can make money by strapping some cameras on to all these crazy characters and getting all of this drama sold as a reality show. Who needs Peyton Place when you have "Kensington Corners". Our once wonderful, wise community has truly becoming a laughing stock throughout the entire East Bay. SHAME ON everyone. What a wonderful example you are all setting for our children - the reason many of us came to Kensington in the first place.
anna shane November 03, 2012 at 08:11 PM
I don't, the election is close and the stakes for me are high. My home is my greatest asset - I have skin in this game.
kensickton November 03, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Hear, hear Anna with nice picture. As a matter of fact, Anna Shane (not same Anna, I presume), you, Schwartzburd, PhD (let's not forget that), "Kensington Resident" aka Jan Behrsin are the stars of the reality show. It seems like you guys have no other lives or meaning in your lives (at this time) but ranting on and on and on with accusations. It's gone weird. Were I to vote on comment-sounding-sanity alone, the Toombs/Gilette would take it all the way. Whatever the outcome, I fully expect to see all of you characters out in the trenches volunteering for Kensington like so many others do, serving on boards and committees and in service and volunteer groups.
Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D. November 04, 2012 at 11:38 PM
In case you rely on the Outlook for your information I offer the following Ken: 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/

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