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By Roz Rogoff

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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Touching base with Harry Sachs

Uploaded: May 22, 2014

City Councilman Harry Sachs phoned me earlier this week to arrange a meeting to "touch base" about the City's new Budget. He suggested meeting Thursday morning at Denica's. We met there before the election to discuss his candidacy, and I still have credit on my Denica's gift card to use up.

But after thinking it over, I called Harry to change the meeting to the Thursday Farmer's Market at Bishop Ranch 3. It's closer and I needed to pick up some fruits and vegies, rosemary oil, and eggs. I didn't see the egg vendor there, but I got everything else except the rosemary oil.

The oil and vinegar vendor, Tony Hernandez of Mangiamo Gourmet, had a test batch, but I said I'd come back on Saturday for the finished product. I need to go back for the eggs too.

I introduced Harry to Tony, and they talked about the City and how nice it is. Tony said he moved from San Jose and is really glad he did. I have met very few people in San Ramon who are not happy to be living here.

Harry said this is a very well-managed City, and credited City Manager Greg Rogers and City Staff for keeping it so nice. Harry wanted to talk about the results of the new Fiscal Year 2014-15 Budget, which the Council just wrapped up this week. It is on the May 27th City Council Agenda for approval. I also wanted to ask Harry about his first six months on the City Council.

Harry was elected in November, 2013, which was also the last odd year election for San Ramon. He said he likes serving the community and getting to know the other Councilmembers better. The Council is holding Goal Setting Workshops every six months where the Councilmembers can talk to each other in a less formal environment than regular meetings.

Harry listed some of the committees he's on – the Library Renovation Committee, The Iron Horse Trail Committee, and the Policy Committee with Dave Hudson. The Policy Committee sets the Council Meeting Agendas.

He asked if I saw the article in the San Ramon Express about his request for the City Council to review the Planning Commission's approval of the Faria Preserve development. He seemed surprised that the Express had a story on it.

I was surprised he wanted to review the Planning Commission's approval because he was on the Planning Commission when Faria was originally approved five or six years ago. That project has been spinning around for a long time. The original developer, Art Lorenzini, sold the property to Lafferty Communities, and they started all over again.

Harry questioned the size and location of the development. He said 740 units are too many for Faria, which is a sensitive area. The potential for earthquakes was brought up at one of the hearings, but Harry said it is also highly risky for landslides. He wants to see the size reduced.

He also wanted to talk about city finances, which have improved considerably since last year. When he ran for City Council the City had an almost $4M deficit. That has been reduced by $3M to just under one million dollars.

I asked if the City will start hiring again. Harry said there are five long-term part time employees who could be promoted to full time.

The City plans to spend $1.3M for road paving from Norris Canyon to Bollinger. In another project, the fountains at the back of the Community Center are being converted to a patio. I saw some of that work being done when I went to the Overpass Workshop on Tuesday night. The water was drained from the fountain pools, and workmen were doing something there. I thought it was just maintenance.

Harry wants to add more safety features to roadways and creeks. For example, Pine Valley Road and Montevideo Drive have electrified walkways where they intersect with the Iron Horse Trail. These automatically flash lights when a pedestrian or cyclist approaches the intersection from either side of the road and while they are in the crosswalk. These are very effective when driving along Pine Valley or Montevideo, to notify drivers that someone is crossing the road there. Harry said these lights are being added to five more crosswalks throughout the City.

Harry said his main priorities are public safety and financial stability. Those are jobs 1a and 1b. I said he sounded like Jim Livingstone, the Councilman Harry replaced. "Jim was right." Harry said.

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 23, 2014 at 3:56 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

After my meeting with Harry Sachs I left a message for the Transportation Department asking where the new electrified crosswalks will be installed. I received a call this afternoon from Transportation Specialist, P. J. Dhoot with the answers.

The five new walkways in the 2014-15 Budget will be installed next year. Three are in Dougherty Valley – Windemere Parkway at Hollborn, Windemere Parkway at Kerney, and Harcourt Way at Craiglee. The other two are Talevera Drive and Cardona and Alcosta at Fire Station 34. I think that one is near the Iron Horse Middle School. All of these are near schools.

Three other new crosswalks have already been funded, planned, and designed and will be installed this summer – Camino Ramon at Crow Canyon Commons, which is across from the PG&E Learning Center, Alcosta Blvd. at Brocton, and Crow Canyon Place at Magnolia Square. That's just south of the Danville line at Fostoria.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community,
on May 28, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Roz:

I would be curious to ask Harry if the landslide issue is something new, as he seemed okay with approving the original proposal back when he was on the Planning Commission. As I recall, the footprint of the Lafferty project was bigger as well.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community,
on May 28, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Roz:

I would be curious to ask Harry if the landslide issue is something new, as he seemed okay with approving the original proposal back when he was on the Planning Commission. As I recall, the footprint of the Lafferty project was bigger as well.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 28, 2014 at 11:06 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Bob P.

I don't recall landslides being an issue when Faria was originally approved. The plans were different then. The recent landslides in Washington state may have contributed to new concerns here too.

Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 29, 2014 at 7:38 am

The project remains, far too big for the location. Nothing can or will change this, or has MUCH along the way in its evolution...This is most unfortunate.

We in San Ramon are going to be stuck with a quagmire of traffic, water and air quality issues that will most definitely impact northwest San Ramon SERIOUSLY as well as Crow Canyon and San Ramon Valley boulevard and on up to Danville.

Yes, I know it's the LAST big parcel, but it can and will as it is currently designed? DESTROY hillsides, water resources equaling a destruction of the quality of life here.

It's a given.



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