http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2008/05/30/letters


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - May 30, 2008

Letters

Where the League stands

Dear Editor,

The League of Women Voters California has taken the following positions on the two state propositions on the Primary Election Ballot.

No on Proposition 98: deceptive measure would abolish rent control and harm environmental protection.

Californians deserve protection from eminent domain abuse, but Prop. 98 is a radical proposal that goes too far. Its extreme provisions would eliminate rent control and other renter protection laws. That is why wealthy apartment and mobile home park owners have contributed most of the money to qualify Prop. 98 for the ballot. In addition, Prop. 98 contains language that would make it difficult to protect the environment and regulate land use, growth and development. This hidden agenda would threaten water quality, hurt the environment and thwart regulations that protect our neighborhoods.

Yes on Proposition 99: Homeowners Protection Act.

This measure is a real eminent domain reform measure that will protect homeowners, without the hidden agendas and adverse consequences of Prop. 98. Prop. 99 will prohibit the government from using eminent domain to take a home to transfer to another private party. It is supported by a broad coalition of homeowners, business, labor, cities, counties and environmentalists.

Vote with the League on June 3.

Zone 7 board member gives endoresements

Dear Editor,

Having dedicated my professional career to water quality and having served 15 years on the Zone 7 water board, many people have asked me whom I am supporting for Zone 7. I support Chris Moore and Dale Myers.

During my tenure on the board, the region endured one of the worst droughts in recorded history. Myers was instrumental in ensuring Zone 7's financial stability during that time. As a retired Zone 7 general manager, he knows more about the operations of Zone 7 than almost anyone.

When I was elected to the City Council, Moore was unanimously selected to succeed me on the board. As a lawyer and former board member, he is well versed in water issues. As a deputy police chief, he knows emergency preparedness and public safety.

California faces a drought that is unprecedented in its history; a drought that is not only climatologic, but regulatory. California water issues require a steep learning curve. We cannot afford inexperience. For that reason, I also support Dick Quigley.

Ensure our safe, reliable drinking water supply. Vote for Chris Moore, Dale Myers and Dick Quigley for the Zone 7 water board.

Vote no on Prop. 98

Dear Editor,

Prop. 98 has two issues: limiting eminent domain and rent control. Regarding the latter, the City of Pleasanton has been the champion of the seniors in Pleasanton Mobile Home Parks. Why change a good thing? Vote no on Prop. 98.

Pleasanton Chamber endorses Moore, Myers for Zone 7

Dear Editor,

The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce announced its support for Christopher Moore and Dale Myers, two candidates running for seats on the Zone 7 water board, the agency responsible for providing a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water and an effective flood control system to the Livermore-Amador Valley.

According to Chamber spokesperson Eric "Otis" Nostrand, both Myers and Moore earned the Chamber's endorsement for the June race because they bring the experience and expertise needed to ensure the Valley continues to have safe, reliable sources of water to meet the needs of Valley residents and businesses.

"Moore brings past experience on the Zone 7 Board and a legal background that will be of great value as the board negotiates future contracts," said Nostrand.

"Dale Myers is a recently retired administrator for Zone 7 and very familiar with the needs of the area as well as the intricacies of the agency. He is extremely knowledgeable about water quality and safety standards," said Nostrand.

Zone 7 supplies treated drinking water to retailers serving nearly 200,000 people in Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and, through special agreement with the Dublin San Ramon Services District, to the Dougherty Valley area. They also supply agricultural water to 3,500 acres, primarily South Livermore Valley vineyards, and provide flood protection to all of eastern Alameda County.

Thorne supports Prop. 99

Dear Editor,

The proponents of Proposition 98 want you to believe that the measure is only about "eminent domain." However, Prop. 98 is a dangerous and deceptive measure that is full of hidden provisions that are unrelated to eminent domain. These hidden provisions would harm local business and local economies, hurt senior citizens who are dependent on rent controls, diminish local control of land use decisions, gut important environmental protections and a variety of other hidden impacts.

Proposition 99 is the straight forward solution to protect us from eminent domain abuse. Prop. 99 prohibits government from using eminent domain to take a home to transfer to a private developer. Unlike Prop. 98, Prop. 99 is eminent domain reform with no hidden agendas.

Please vote no on Prop. 98 and yes on Prop. 99.

Hillside initiative was necessary

Dear Editor,

From the sound of your editorial, "Just say no to more initiatives" (May 16, page 12), one wonders if your real message wasn't "Just say no to Kay Ayala." It is not the first time that Oak Grove supporters have tried to dismiss the opponents of hillside development on the basis of her involvement. But having spoken to hundreds of people while I was collecting signatures on the hillside petitions, I can assure you that Kay Ayala's name rarely came up. Perhaps because people tend to follow issues more than personalities, what resonates most strongly is the City Council's willingness to put gigantic houses on the remaining open spaces around Pleasanton. With respect to Oak Grove, the parkland offered in compensation may not be enough to justify such excessive building. Just ask the next 10 or 20 strangers you meet on any street corner.

I disagree with you that these issues lack urgency. Times change, and since the neighborhoods you mentioned were built, houses became larger while the resources to build and maintain them responsibly became scarcer. Meanwhile, in the past seven months, our City Council approved Oak Grove (with houses allowed of 6,000 to 12,500 square feet), and also found unexpected "flexibility" in the Vineyard Corridor specific plan in order to approve a house of more than 12,000 square feet. The time for building houses like this has passed, and the few remaining houses that can be built under the housing cap simply do not have to be placed on the hillsides. Or so think the 5,000-plus of our fellow residents who signed both petitions. The City Council's stubborn resistance to hearing their message made the hillside initiative necessary.

Anne Childs Pleasanton

Comments

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 30, 2008 at 8:20 am

With regard to Anne Child's letter on the hillside initiative, I found it quite divisive. It makes one wonder if all 5,000 plus residents Anne says signed both petitions ever made an effort to bring the issue to the Council before signing the petition. Why make the claim that the Council is stubbornly resisting? Let's not be so divisive. As citizens, we need to work _with_ our local government and each other, not point fingers. The fact remains that after some scrutiny of the hillside initiative it is vague and has the potential to negatively impact such citizen-approved projects as the Happy Valley bypass road. This is certainly an unintended consequence that is typical of good intentioned initiatives (look at Prop 98 for example) and I highly doubt this is what the 5,000 or so petition signers would have wanted to happen.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Birdland
on May 30, 2008 at 10:23 am

Stacey, I would suggest that the council needs to work _with_ our citizens. As a citizen, I did not know about all these closed door meetings taking place. If this was four years in the making, how come we did not know how to participate during those four years? By the time I heard about it, the council seems have made up their mind already and was just going through the motions of a public hearing.

I did not realize the citizens approved the Happy Valley bypass road. I also heard the city had a "blue ribbon committee" working on changing the location of the road. But once again, nobody told me as a citizen how to get involved.

Pleasanton has traditionally been slow-growth and concerned about developments that affect traffic, trees, etc. and we elected people who we thought had our same values. I know many people I talk with are as disapointed as I am in this current council not being inclusive. What really became the clincher for me was members of our council waving signs saying "do not sign the initiative". That was very arrogant. I have never seen council members doing something like that before.

As for the initiative, the hilside initiative is not vague. It is needed because our current council has choosen to interpret any plan they want they want, ilregardless of how previous councils or commissions have voted on in these protection measures. I believe if the citizens thought the council was respresenting them well there would not be the need for initiatives. Having an initiative and a referendum signed by about 5,000 people each within a short amount of times seems more like a referendum on our council. What is scarier is I don't think our council realizes this. Instead of the council just attacking the messengers of the initiative and referendum and saying they as "bad", they should be working with the community. They refuse to do so.

Well my 3 minutes are up so I had better stop talking...


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 30, 2008 at 11:33 am

Bill wrote: "If this was four years in the making, how come we did not know how to participate during those four years?"

This is the clincher for me. I never understand this excuse. The City publishes public notices. It is on their webpage. It is in the PW. There is an email notification list you can sign up for. Specific issues get sent directly in the mail to impacted neighbors. I agree there is room for improvement, but if someone doesn't know how to participate that is out of their own ignorance. This excuse is really poor and definitely not a reason to support clipboard politics.


Posted by ABIQUEBIP, a resident of Ridgeview Commons
on Nov 19, 2008 at 10:00 am

(comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly staff)


Posted by MainStreetDiva, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 19, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Stacey, a favor...please...don't continue to paint the 5,000 signers of these petitions as idiots! Many of us did reach out to the council to work "with" them, to no avail.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 19, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Hrm... I'm not sure how you've interpreted what I wrote to mean I'm painting 5,000 people as idiots. When Anne Childs writes, "Or so think the 5,000-plus of our fellow residents who signed both petitions. The City Council's stubborn resistance to hearing their message made the hillside initiative necessary.", she's claiming to represent why all those people signed. No one ever saw 5,000 people show up to a Council meeting demanding a hillside protection ordinance. That would've been something! So how can she claim to know why people signed? Nor did anyone know at the time that PP could affect the Happy Valley Bypass road. If that open issue were available to people at the time they signed the petition, would they still have signed it?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 19, 2008 at 8:19 pm

I meant to add, some of the people who signed the petitions wrote in the past on this forum that they signed because they wanted a chance to vote on the issue. That isn't the same as signing because they wanted to vote yes on it.