http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2007/12/14/oak-grove-backers-charge-opponents-with-deception


Pleasanton Weekly

News - December 14, 2007

Oak Grove backers charge opponents with deception

Senator Dianne Feinstein says quote used was not about Pleasanton issue

by Jeb Bing

Supporters of the Oak Grove plan say they'll fight to give Pleasanton an open, honest debate on the issue over building 51 homes in the southeast hills above Kottinger Ranch, a project that would also give 496 acres of open space to the city free of charge.

A citizens' coalition called Keep Our Park charged that opponents misled local voters by using incorrect and inaccurate information in their bid to qualify a ballot measure against the Oak Grove project.

Last week, another citizens' group--Save Pleasanton's Hills--submitted 5,225 signatures from voters registered in Pleasanton on a petition calling for a referendum to overturn the City Council's approval of the Oak Grove project last month. If 3,672 of those signatures are certified by the Alameda County Registrar, the council will have to decide within 30 days whether to rescind its vote allowing the Oak Grove project or let the issue be decided at the ballot box, probably at the time of the June 3 California primary.

"Using false and misleading information to hastily gather signatures from citizens who are rushing to do their holiday shopping shouldn't override the four years of open and honest public debate that led to the City Council's approval of this project," said Jerry Pentin, chairman of the Keep Our Park committee.

"Pleasanton residents deserve a fair examination of the issue. We'll wait to see if the signatures that opponents gathered are valid and we'll fight to ensure they don't employ the same deceptive tactics during a campaign," Pentin emphasized.

Pentin said that among the most serious distortions and incorrect information that opponents of the Oak Grove project used during their signature-gathering campaign was to "falsely imply the endorsement of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein in a newspaper ad in the Pleasanton Weekly."

Senator Feinstein sent a letter to Mayor Jennifer Hosterman denouncing the ad, which she said falsely attributed a quote to her.

"The advertisement states that I said: 'Local officials should start using zoning laws to keep residents from living in fire-prone areas,'" Feinstein wrote. "In fact, this was not a direct quote from me but was paraphrased from an Oct. 24 Associated Press report on remarks I made in the U.S. Senate on the Southern California wildfires."

"Let me be clear," Feinstein added. "I am not familiar with the Oak Grove development, and I have taken no position on this issue."

Pentin said Save Pleasanton's Hills, headed by former councilwoman Kay Ayala group, also stated that the East Bay Regional Parks District criticized the project.

"The East Bay Regional Parks District has never commented on the approved 496-acre Oak Grove park plan," Pentin said. "In addition, a majority of members of the Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Commission and most local environmentalists strongly support the new park."

Other claims by the Save Pleasanton's Hills group that Pentin said were false are:

* Its claim that the plan calls for eliminating 1,000 trees. In fact, he countered, the plan calls for removing only 58 of 12,000 trees on the entire property and replacing them with 400 new trees, a net gain of 340 trees.

* Its statement that the Oak Grove plan automatically allows construction of new homes on the property, even referring to specific sizes. Not a single home has been approved and no homes can be built without review and approval by the city, Pentin said.

The Oak Grove project was approved by the council early last month in a 4-1 vote that followed four years of public meetings and hearings. In addition to the almost 500 acres of open space and parkland the city received as part of the plan, the number of homes allowed in the project was reduced from 98 to 51.

"It's easy to get someone to agree to sign a petition, if not all of the facts are in front of the voters before they sign it," Pentin said. "People like to vote on things. We look forward to being able to continue to conduct an open and honest informational campaign. We challenge the opponents to do the same."

Comments

Posted by Shelley, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 19, 2007 at 3:38 pm

Interesting statement for Dianne Feinstein regarding the mis-use of her words by the Save Pleasanton's Hills group. It's amazing that a US Senator would have the time to keep an eye out for grassroots groups improperly quoting her. Just another example of exploiting the initiative process and misleading voters. Haven't we had enough of the lying from the Bush administration that we have to deal with it in our local politics?


Posted by Sally, a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 19, 2007 at 8:47 pm

Actually the developer people are pretty lame for saying this. The ad that they are referring to had a statement from Diane Feinstein talking about the dangers of placing homes in a high fire area and then the ad said they agreed with Senator Feinstein. I don't know how anybody could read the ad and think that Senator Feinstein had any opinion on our development. I am sure the Cheryl Cook-Kallio's campaign manager, who is an active person in the Democratic party and a member of the Democrat Central Committee arranged for this. This same person has also been hired by Jennifer Hosterman as her PR person (guess we are in big time politics in Pleasanton when the mayor hires a PR person).


Posted by Shelley, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 19, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Sally,
The point is that Senator Feinstein wrote a letter to the mayor and stated that she had no official position on the Oak Grove development.

"I don't know how anybody could read the ad and think that Senator Feinstein had any opinion on our development."

Well, Senator Feinstein was able to read the ad and come to this conclusion.


Posted by Sally, a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 20, 2007 at 7:33 am

"Shelley"

You really think that Senator Feinstein read the ad? We are not that gullible? I would hope that she has more important things to do. The Democratic Party has their representatives on our Council and it was an easy connection to get Senator Feinstein to sign a letter saying she knows nothing about the Oak Grove development.

Let's get back to the real issue. Should we be harming the natural and visual environment by putting hills at the top of the hills? The rest of this, like letters from a Senator, are there to create a diversion.


Posted by Sally, a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 20, 2007 at 7:33 am

"Shelley"

You really think that Senator Feinstein read the ad? We are not that gullible? I would hope that she has more important things to do. The Democratic Party has their representatives on our Council and it was an easy connection to get Senator Feinstein to sign a letter saying she knows nothing about the Oak Grove development.

Let's get back to the real issue. Should we be harming the natural and visual environment by putting hills at the top of the hills? The rest of this, like letters from a Senator, are there to create a diversion.


Posted by Nicole, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2007 at 9:09 am

The point is that the proponents of the referendum used a United State's Senators name without permission. The quoted phrase was paraphrased from something said from the senate floor out of context about a different region of CA. It wasn't even a quote. How hard would this be to verify? Any citizen could contact the Senator's office and ask whether the Senator has taken a position on a particular issue.
Obviously someone asked the question and got the answer. Is this a big deal? The quote was placed in the ad to make people believe that Senator Feinstein agreed with the proponents. It was a misuse and meant to mislead. This should be taken in combination with other information.

The lesson? It takes work to be informed.


Posted by "Shelley", a resident of Downtown
on Dec 20, 2007 at 2:09 pm

"Sally"

Yes, I really do think Senator Feinstein read the ad.

"The advertisement states that I said: 'Local officials should start using zoning laws to keep residents from living in fire-prone areas,'" Feinstein wrote. "In fact, this was not a direct quote from me but was paraphrased from an Oct. 24 Associated Press report on remarks I made in the U.S. Senate on the Southern California wildfires."

I don't think we should begin this statement with "The advertisement states..." if she didn't read the advertisement.

"Sally" wrote: "I would hope that she has more important things to do."

Actually, I'm a little proud to say that a busy U.S. Senator has the time to deal with local issues for a city in the state the senator represents. You know, the whole representative democracy... anyway, you can say that I'm being gullible, but, that's like your opinion, man.


Posted by "Shelley", a resident of Downtown
on Dec 20, 2007 at 2:10 pm

Correction:
I don't think SHe Would begin this statement with "The advertisement states..." if she didn't read the advertisement.

Hah! I may be somewhat dislexic but not gullible!