http://pleasantonweekly.com/blogs/p/print/2013/10/15/more-feel-good-legislation-from-sacramento-


Local Blogs

By Tim Hunt

More "feel-good" legislation from Sacramento

Uploaded: Oct 15, 2013

With last Sunday the deadline for Gov. Brown to sign or veto the 805 bills the Legislature sent to his desk, he continued to walk a bit more moderate line in some areas than might have been expected given his history.

For instance, he vetoed seven of the 18 gun bills that reached his desk—the flood sparked by the horrific Newtown elementary school shooting. That means California, which already has extremely tough gun control laws, will add 11 more.

How that will stop the ongoing violence in Oakland and Richmond—most perpetrated by black young men against other black young men—is the key question the Legislature and the governor have failed to answer. Legislators can point to the bills and their voting record and argue they have done something—the broader question is rarely asked: Will it do any good or has it ever done any good?

History says they continue to joust at windmills as opposed to drilling down in the causes and working to deal with those issues.

For instance, what steps have the well-intentioned legislators taken to address the nearly complete breakdown of the black family? Before Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" 70 percent of black children grew up with a mom and dad in their home. Today, it's just 30 percent.

SWITCHING GEARS—It will be most interesting, now that the San Ramon City Council has approved yet another plan for a new city hall in partnership with Sunset Development Co. (the developers and operators of Bishop Ranch), whether it will actually be built.

The county-developed community with a 585-acre business park in its heart has struggled since its incorporation in 1983 to develop a true downtown gathering place. That has been the subject of numerous studies and ensuing plans, but nothing has actually happened.

The latest iteration leaves open the possibility of a gathering place and will give the city a civic center. The economic downturn sidelined the prior ambitious plan.

Three Tri-Valley cities (Dublin, Danville and San Ramon) all incorporated in the early 1980s. San Ramon leaders focused their resources on parks and buildings (the community center) that were designed to bring the community together because there was no downtown San Ramon just as there was no downtown Dublin.

Danville's quaint downtown had been in place for decades and was the natural gathering place. Dublin built its unique round civic center as one of the city's first projects, while San Ramon bought a modest single-story business center that houses much of its city operations to this day. That site will be ripe for redevelopment if the current plans, which the City Council has approved, play out.

The tradeoff is that the city will renovate the existing library for $1 million. It's a reversal of a public policy that I have always admired in San Ramon—focus on buildings that serve the constituents and let public employees work in modest but efficient spaces instead of traditional showcase city halls.


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