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Why we won't sign the Save Pleasanton's Hills petition

Original post made by Shelley, Downtown, on Nov 18, 2007

I'm interested in reading other people's reasons for why they won't sign the petition. Here is mine:

I won't sign the petition because I don't see how a special interest group could come up with a better plan for the hills than what the city council has worked towards these past years. I voted for the current city council members because I believed they would carry out such detailed planning on my behalf and the behalf of all of Pleasanton. I didn't vote for some special interest group to plan city development.

What's your reason for not signing the petition?

Comments (44)

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Posted by No More Clipboards
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Nov 20, 2007 at 9:08 pm

I'm not signing because 4 out of 5 council, 3 out of 5 planning commission, I think all of park and rec commission, ALL support it. Many residents, the city staff professionals, the developer, the land owner and many others spent years to come up with this COMPROMISE plan. Compare that to a few people in someone's living room coming up with a initiative and then bothering the hell out of us at school and at the store to sign- no thanks.

Let the council and the public process work. Whatever happened to representative democracy?


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Posted by Erin
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2007 at 11:13 pm

"Some special interest group"? That would be Pleasanton residents who don't want their city to look like Mission Viejo, which doesn't have a square inch of land without a house on it and has tons of traffic. The better plan for the hills is to leave them alone. What a concept.


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Nov 20, 2007 at 11:16 pm

The developer? The land owners? The want money, they don't care if Pleasanton gets over-built and traffic-clogged. You actually want to leave the decisions to the developers?? As opposed to residents who care about quality of life? Interesting choice.


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Posted by Shelley
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 21, 2007 at 1:07 am

First off, I don't think adding 51, 12k sq. ft. homes are going to make much of a traffic difference. Will it really? Show me some facts that it will! I think that traffic in Pleasanton is a result of two elements in Pleasanton, and in the U.S. No wait, actually make that 3 elements. First, there is the "drawbridge" mentality everyone seems to have here. Wake up! We're not an oasis in the middle of the desert! And then there is the "in order to get to the store, which is only 5 blocks away, I have to drive everywhere and I'm entitled to polluting and driving everywhere with my 18 miles per gallon SUV." Lastly, there is Jeff Knowles. Wasn't he the guy that used to also be the traffic engineer in Berkeley? Has anyone ever tried driving through Berkeley? You are forced to use Ashby, Shattuck or Telegraph to get anywhere because all the side streets are closed off. Why were those side streets built in the first place? Oh wait a minute, I have a 5th reason for all the traffic: high school students. And everyone wonders why gas is so expensive and teenagers drink and drive.

Second, as far as I know, the developers are not the people making the final decision on the plan for the land. It's a group effort, with representatives from the city, working with developers, to decide what's the best usage of this land, for everyone. Emphasis on everyone. And emphasis on "representatives from the city," people that have either been voted in by the people of the city or appointed or selected by people who were voted in by people of the city.

So, I'd like to know who exactly these residents are, "who care about the quality of life." Did these residents vote for people to represent them in making decisions such as land development? Did these residents care about land development issues before this issue became an issue, by deciding to vote for people that represent the decision they would make, if they were in the position to make these decisions?

I care about quality of life. Just because I am opposed to this petition, does not mean I don't care about quality of life. That is not the issue.


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Posted by Becky Dennis
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Nov 21, 2007 at 9:45 am

Hi, Shelley -

Just one factual error I need to correct (probably the result of the petitioners need to scare people into signing):

Oak Grove will NOT consist of all 12,500 sq ft homes. There are only a few lots where a home this large COULD be built. However, no homes of any size have even been proposed, much less approved. Each of the 51 plans has to be reviewed for compliance with design and environmental rules by City staff and Planning Commissioners before the lot owner can build. Not everyone buys a large lot because they want to build to the maximum Floor Area Ratio.

I enjoy reading all your thoughtful comments on the issues!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 21, 2007 at 9:55 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Shelley,

Which petition? The Oak Grove referendum or the initiatives?

I won't sign the referendum because I support the compromise plan, the process that lead to it, and the way the City Council voted on it. I care about the quality of our growth. If it comes up for a vote I'll vote no.

I won't sign the initiatives because I don't want to support direct legislation. It is an abused process that has just become another tool for special interest groups. I care about the quality of our laws. If they come up for a vote I'll also vote no.


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Posted by Suzanne
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Nov 26, 2007 at 8:24 pm

Pleasanton has NO chance of becoming Mission Viejo! Get real. We have a slow-growth council. We have an Urban Growth Boundary. We have some beautiful hills that are being saved by initiatives like those initiated by Matt Sullivan and Jennifer Hosterman, who pushed the "developer"/landowner into amazing concessions at Oak Grove, including halving the number of lots at Oak Grove, demanding a gift of a 500 acre park, and requiring conservation easements over Oak Grove to protect it forever. There is no other way to get these benefits for Pleasanton residents—you could not get it in court, through petitions, or via "ballot box" planning because we live in America where private landowners have private property rights.

The small group of petition people CAN IN NO WAY offer or deliver the same benefits. They may promise them, but there is no way for them to deliver on those promises. The only trick they seem to have in their bag are scare tactics of ruined "views" of ridgelines. The truth is the only "views" affected are only those of the people circulating and paying for the petitions.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Nov 27, 2007 at 2:00 pm

I will not sign the referendum or the initiative because I witnessed acts of the singature gatherers at Saturday's Farmer's Market that make me cringe. First, Kay Ayala verbally and personally attacked Mayor Jennifer Hosterman. Second, Kay put a "Keep Our Park" sign in the trash! Okay, so she dislikes the Mayor, maybe upset at losing an election to her, but it is illegal to disgard the campaign signs of another. This has gone too far! Is this the quality, community dialogue that the proponents were looking for? What happened to our community of character? Can't we disagree without stooping so low?
It has become clear that the Oak Grove referendum isn't about what's best for Pleasanton. I will just say NO!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 27, 2007 at 2:19 pm

I tend to find that feelgood statements like "Community of Character" become convenient pre-packaged memes that hide the worst offenders. Personally I'd rather we had kept "City of Planned Progress". Let's drop pretense and be real; judged by our actions instead of fancy memes.


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Posted by disgusted
a resident of Valley Trails
on Nov 27, 2007 at 4:44 pm

So I was approached at Lucky's to sign both petitions with the reason "signing allows a community dialogue to take place followed by a vote". When I declined to sign the woman asked why I wouldn't sign? I replied that I happened to agree with the decision of our City Council. At that point she became extremely rude and amoung otherthings said "Oh, you're one of THOSE people!!! (whatever that means) I don't see any benefit to the community by having this type of dialogue so I won't sign anything!!!!

So then I'm reading Cindy McGovern's letter to the editor. In the letter, she certainly implies that all 51 houses can be 12,500 square feet. Then I got a fact sheet at Farmer's Market on Saturday and see that only 3 out of the 51 homes can be 12,500 square feet. So what's the truth here?

I'm concluding that as a community we'd be far better off taking the petitions and time spent to Dublin and trying to get the residents there interested in at least leaving some small part of their hills undeveloped. It seems like everyday more and more of the hills to the north are getting covered in houses.


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Posted by Activemom
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Nov 27, 2007 at 9:04 pm

Why I AM signing the petitions? Because I don't want 6000, 9000 or 12000 square foot homes built on the hills around our City. Do I feel that we should need to go to the City 51 times to review each home before it was built? No! Do I feel we should let Charter Properties buy us off with a plot of undevelopable land in exchange of defacing our hills? No! Do I believe in the democratic process and that voters should be allowed to decide what kind of development belongs and doesn't. Absolutely!! I have signed and will encourage all my friends to do the same.


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Posted by Carol
a resident of Stoneridge
on Nov 27, 2007 at 10:23 pm

I think the main reason that I'm against the Oak Grove Development is because these houses will be on the ridges. Even if it's only 5000 square foot homes (but more likely, people will build the largest house they can up there), that will look atrocious. The developer can build lower, in the valley portion. Don't destroy our hilltops! What are they thinking? I don't understand why anyone wouldn't sign these petitions. One post talks about Dublin building endlessly. We are well on our way to doing the same thing unless we stop it. This is no longer a slow-growth council. There are political motives involved. And to the post who says the council or commission will have to approve the size of each of these houses, just remember, it only takes a majority vote (3 out of 5). If you don't want Pleasanton to look like a metropolis, sign the petitions. It only puts it on the ballot so the voters can decide.


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Posted by Jackie
a resident of Happy Valley
on Nov 28, 2007 at 1:58 pm

I am NOT signing the petitions because Oak Grove is a thoughtful plan that minimizes development and maximizes benefits to the entire community. There is a very, very good reason why the 51 homes cannot and should not be built in the valleys: It would destroy many of the 12,000 oak trees on the property. The trails in the new city park will go through these beautiful oak studded valleys.

Much has been made of the "views," but did you know that the only people whose views are at all affected live in homes that are much, much more visible to the rest of us. These are the same people who are leading (and paying for) the petition campaign. This debate is really about balancing the concerns of a few with the benefits to many.


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Posted by mac
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2007 at 7:04 pm

All right, gang, help me out.

I am still confused over the petitions. One is for the Oak Grove referendum...the other is about "initiatives". I understand the Oak Grove topic (the 51 homes on the ridgeline and trails with access.)

What are the initiatives, exactly? I can't seem to find a definitive answer. Sorry for sounding so basic but I need help.

Confused,
mac


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Posted by mac
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2007 at 7:06 pm

p.s. After spending the afternoon with a ladies group of 15 it became clear that none had an even basic understanding of these petitions. Lots of confusion and lots of questions.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 28, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Friends of Pleasanton has two initiatives out regarding Staples Ranch. Currently FOP and Pleasanton First, which was formed to fight these initiatives, have decided to work together to get more citizen say on what gets developed at Staples Ranch without breaking the MOU between Pleasanton and Alameda County. As a result I don't think they are collecting signatures anymore. Go FOP and Pleasanton First!
Web Link

Save Pleasanton's Hills is running both the 2 referendums against the Council's Oak Grove decision and an initiative that does two things: 1) creates a ridgeline ordinance and 2) requires Pleasanton to stop futzing the housing cap numbers. I somewhat wish these things would be in separate initiatives. Web Link


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Posted by activemom
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Nov 28, 2007 at 11:01 pm

There are 2 things that need to happen at the same time: 1)The Referendum to overturn the City Council's misguided approval of the 51 HUMONGOUS homes that can be built above Vintage Hills and Kottinger Ranch area and 2)An Initiative to allow future development of all hills to be limited to 10 homes at a time and not on greater than 25% sloped hills or near the ridgelines.

When you hear people say, "Well, if they Referendum passes they will just come back and want to build more homes" it will not be true with the above Initiative in place. Developers will be limited to 10 or less.

The Referendum just applies to the Lin property, but the Initiative applies to all Open Space Hills around Pleasanton. The next developer to want to build is looking at Lund Ranch II and all the ridgelines around that southern part of Pleasanton. DON'T LET IT KEEP HAPPENING and SIGN THE PETITIONS. All signing does is let BOTH sides be explained fully in the next year and ALL the voters can decide. Makes sense to me :-)


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Posted by activemom
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Nov 28, 2007 at 11:06 pm

Oh yeah, the Initiative does have another issue in it too. Everyone in Pleasanton believes we have a 29,000 housing cap. Apparently, this "not-really slow growth City Council" is trying to sneak in more front doors into that number. There is talk of "if the homes are built near BART they don't count" or "if they are senior housing, they don't count," etc. The Initiative has another portion besides the hillside protections of ensuring that the housing cap really stays at 29,000 and doesn't keep inching up. Another great reason to put it on the ballot so all the voters learn about what is going on at City Hall. I am still glad I signed!


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Nov 29, 2007 at 11:45 am

activemom,

You're really misguided and more importantly misinformed. Please see Becky Dennis's post on the thread about Oak Grove to get the facts straight.


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Posted by Carol
a resident of Stoneridge
on Nov 29, 2007 at 11:53 am

I get frustrated when the Oak Grove development keeps referring to this "park" that the city gets. It will be one or two trails, NOT a park!! I wish the opposition would quit misleading the public by saying this is a "park" when it is not. Oh yeah, and 11 parking spaces. How much of the public will be served when they are only making 11 parking spaces? Think about it!

Jackie - do you think tree aren't going to be destroyed if the houses go on the ridges? Trees will be destroyed there, too. Unfortunately, trees are going to be destroyed if any development happens on those hills. No development would be the best environmental answer. However, since the landowner wants to develop, it should be the way it best suits the entire town. The houses are going to be huge. No one is going to buy a piece of land up there and build an 1800 square foot house on it. If the west side has an ordinance, why shouldn't the south side? Isn't that only fair? Is there a reason why one side of town should be a priority and not another?

Our community needs to wake up and realize what's happening before it's too late. Go to www.savepleasantonhills.com for more info.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 29, 2007 at 3:11 pm

Carol,

I don't see how mincing terminology is seriously a relevant argument. Look up the word "park" in a dictionary or stop calling other parks "park" like the Augustin Bernal Park.


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Nov 29, 2007 at 4:07 pm

Agreed Stacey. I don't know why people are getting all bent out of shape over the word "park". Pleasanton doesn't have enough passive open space as it is. Go read "Last Child in the Woods" and then tell me that this park doesn't mean anything.


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Posted by Jackie
a resident of Happy Valley
on Nov 30, 2007 at 10:22 am

Carol: Here is the TRUTH about the trees. There are 12,000 oak trees on the property. About 58 trees will be destroyed to create the roads and infrastructure at Oak Grove; they will be replaced by 410 mitigation oak trees that will be planted and nursed to extend existing oak groves in the new PARK. As many as another 50 trees could be affected when people plan their custom homes on the 51 lots. There is a rule that each of those 50 "on-lot" trees would have to be replaced by 4 more new oak trees. So, at most 108 oak trees could possibly be affected by the 51 lots and they will be replaced by over 600 new oak trees. Overall, that's a net gain of 500 making 12,500 trees in the new Oak Grove park. I agree with Councilwoman Cook-Kallio, we should make decisions based on evidence not emotions.


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Posted by John
a resident of Valley Trails
on Nov 30, 2007 at 7:52 pm

Jackie: When you are talking about 58 trees, that is the number of heritage trees only and only those trees which will be cut down for the roads and some rough grading of the lots. The city staff starting from the planning commission hearing has estimated about 1,000 trees could be cut down in total. A lot of trees will need to be cut down because the requirements of the development have a specific distance that trees have to be away from house because of fire danger.


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Posted by jon
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Dec 1, 2007 at 4:12 pm

I keep hearing 1000 trees, yet the staff reports and EIR all total around 100 or so. Here is what the staff report states:

"Approximately 400 trees would be planted in selected portions of the open space area to mitigate the loss of trees due to development. Approximately 58 trees, 29 of which are heritage sized trees, will need to be removed out of the 12,000 existing trees on the subject site. These trees would be limited to native species – oaks, bays, etc. – and would be maintained by the Homeowners Association or by the Geologic Hazard Abatement District."


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Dec 1, 2007 at 4:55 pm

I signed because both sides of the argument started sounding like they were fabricating something less than the truth. I have lost confidence in our elected council. The signatures will cause this to come to a public vote. I would have much prefered that our elected officials decided on the issue in line with the platforms that they ran on to win election.

Now the people will decide - and frankly, what ever the outcome, it will be neither as good or as bad as the screaming would suggest.


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Posted by Dominic Di Blasio
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 3, 2007 at 8:06 am

Are you kidding me. I am very disappointed with the the city council's vote to support this development initiative and especially the efforts of our local representation to dissuade the residents from signing a petition that simply puts project on a ballot for voter's to decide.

I signed the petition Saturday and I encourage all Pleasanton regsitered voters to sign it and not be fooled by the massive campaign to advance this for what seems to be selfish interests.

Here are the reasons why I signed the petition:

1. The campaign against the petition is using deceptive practices like framing their campaign as "Save Our Park," they fail to mention the real motive regading a park is the tremendous tax write off and that with any development project this same thing is likely to occur.

2.The idea the our elected officials know better than the general local public on something like this is a myth, this is exaclty how rights and freedoms get taken away in less free societies.

3. Does anyone see the David and Goliath battle here? The landowner who doesn't even live in this country is throughing boo koo $$$$ at this campaign and seems to have influenced our local officials. Do you really think he has Pleasanton's interest's at heart here. Friends, this is all about MONEY! Why hasn't the Pleasanton Weekly reported on how much money is being spent to advance this project and where the money is going, who is benefiting...all this effort to simply not allow "we the people" have a say in this. it would be interesting for the PW to also report on the camparison of funds spent by the Taiwanese landowner to move this project forward vs. the local resident grassroots movement to simply allow the people to decide if this project is appropriate for our city. Do you really think this grass roots efforts doesn't have a clue and the landowner is just benevolent?

4. Lastly, at first I wasn't going to sign the petition. After all, doesn't a landowner have a right to develop on his own property. That was before I learned the landowner has no roots here and that if this is such a good project, surely a vote in a general election would vote for the project. Something seems very wrong here in how much effort is being placed on preventing the people of Pleasanton have a say on development that involves our ridges.

Dominic DiBlasio


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Posted by Casey
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 3, 2007 at 8:50 am

Dominic,

I certainly hope then, if you want a say in this, you will be willing and able to go throught the 20 pounds of EIR reports, Development Agreements, meeting minutes, staff reports, etc... that every one who voted on this project went through in order to make their decision.

That is why initiatives and referendums generally are ill-conceived. Members of the public who have jobs, lives, families, etc... do not have the time nor the inclination to read and digest 1000's of pages of materials necessary in order to make an informed decision.

Do you?


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Posted by Barbara
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 3, 2007 at 10:20 am

This sound like "Trust us - we know what's best for you." As in "You're all too stupid to really understand all these issues like we do." I don't buy it.

And I laugh every time I see the "Save this Park" banner - you can't 'save' something that does not exist yet! 12,000 sf homes? Gimme a break.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 3, 2007 at 10:51 am

Barbara,

Then I ask that all those who signed the petition and hope to vote yes on the referendum do indeed go through and read the EIRs and PUDs and meeting minutes from all the Planning Commission and Council meetings to arrive at an educated and informed decision rather than voting on emotional based propaganda such as "Save our Hills".


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Posted by Carol
a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Dec 3, 2007 at 11:41 am

What is with telling people they must go through tons and tons of paperwork to understand everything? Did you know that the Planning Commission had questions with the EIR, but it bypassed them and went straight to the city council? They are the ones who do go through all the paperwork, but they were unable to do their job. The city council has political interests in this project, there are ties to the developer. That is the reason it bypassed the planning commission. So please don't tell me that I should be going through tons of paperwork. That is the job of the Planning Commissioners and the city should have allowed them to do that.

Even if one needs to do a lot more research, signing the petitions will allow for more time to do that. I encourage people to research it more if they have concerns. Sign the petitions and make an informed decision at the ballot box!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 3, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Carol,
The request is asking people to do their own research and make informed decisions instead of emotional based ones on arguments such as like Barbara wrote: because "You're all too stupid to really understand."

The vast majority of voters do not do the research and make decisions based upon character and emotion (just look at the presidential campaign for an example).

Yes it is known about the Planning Commission's rejection of the EIR. Did you happen to know that it is the right of anyone to appeal Planning Commission decisions to the City Council? Why do you think the Planning Commission was "bypassed", as you put it? You saw that process in action when neighbors appealed to City Council on the Trinity Lutheran Church expansion. Just because someone is following due process of our City's law doesn't mean that suddenly is a reason to suspect conspiracy. Otherwise it would be equal to think a referendum on City Council decisions was also conspiracy.


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Posted by Casey
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 3, 2007 at 3:18 pm

Going through all the paperwork should be the job of anyone who wants to make an informed decision on an issue this complicated.

The Planning Commission made a decision and it was appealed. Plenty of decisions get appealed. The Commission did its job as did the City Council. If you think the Commission was bypassed you need to get your facts straight.


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Posted by Susan
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 3, 2007 at 4:14 pm

Dominic,

What possible motive could all the people supporting this project have in a tax writeoff? Are you suggesting that the developer bought off everyone? When I see people like Dolores Bengston, longtime parks activist and retired City Parks Director, supporting this project, that is pretty credible. The Keep Our Park people are also a grassroots group. I have seen many of them at the Farmers Market. Take a look at the list for yourself at www.keepourpark.org I see lots of community activists on that list including many of our city commissioners. This is clearly not just the developer. Perhaps, the developer has proposed something that the community actually agrees with.

In less free societies, there is no concept of respresentative government, which IS a voice of the people. No one is suggesting that the City Council generally knows more than the people, but they certainly have spent way more time with the information. They are our neighbors who have been elected to do the best job possible with the information that they have been given. To suggest that they have been bought off, is insulting at best.

The landowner has owned this property for 30 years. They haven't given the land to us yet, what makes you think they would do so now???


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Posted by Ginny
a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 3, 2007 at 5:16 pm

Susan,

Just because Dolores Bengston supports this does not make it credible. You might remember that in 2002 there was the initiative to save the Bernal Property from more houses to keep it all as a park and Dolores was against that initiative (she wanted more housing on Bernal). Actaully if you look at the list of supporters of the development, many, of not a majority, of the names were against the initiative to protect the Bernal Property from more housing in 2002. The developers website also lists Tom Pico as ex-mayor but fails to disclose that Tom is a paid lobbyist for this development (he has received money from the developer to make it this far through the process and will make even more money once the project has final approval).

Casey, while the Planning Commission did review the Environmental Impact Report and voted to not certify it (which was overturned by the Council), the development plans and the developer agreement did not go through the Planning Commission. The Commission was bypassed. For a large development like this you need an EIR plus a development plan. These are two separate items. The Planning Commission was not even given the chance to vote on or modify the development plan. There are some that feel that action alone was illegal; don't know. The proper action should have been for the City Council to certify the EIR (like they did) and then being the development plan back to the Planning Commission to continue the process, and tell them that the plan should be consistent with the EIR the Council approved.


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Posted by Carol
a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Dec 4, 2007 at 2:33 pm

Casey - read Ginny's thread above. The Planning Commission didn't get a chance to do their job. You need to do your research. Do you honestly think every citizen should go through mountains of paperwork on every issue voted on? I, and maybe unlike many, do go through a lot of information in order to understand the issues, but that is the reason we have Planning Commissioners. If we all took on that burden, we really wouldn't need to have that commission. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't have nearly the amount of time needed (with work, kids, etc) to do that kind of research and I don't think most people do.

Stacey - saying that voters always vote emotionally, what is your point? That because you feel voters aren't informed (and I agree that many are not), we shouldn't allow people to vote on the issues? What is your solution? Just let elected/appointed officials make all the decisions and the common people have no say? I have to agree with you that the presidential election was the result of people voting emotionally, but now what? There have been many groups trying to impeach or do something about this administration, do you think that's not right of them to try and do something? I'm just trying to understand, help me out here! Don't get me wrong, I believe people should be informed. Signing the petitions will allow for more time to get informed before voting on an issue that affects our town!


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Posted by Casey
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 4, 2007 at 3:16 pm

I honestly don't know who you guys are getting your information on vis a vis the Planning Commission but they did get to do their job. By a 3-2 vote they voted not to certify the EIR and then they shut the process down on their end. The City Council, when the item was properly appealed, chose to certify the EIR and approve the Development Agreement and the Conditions of Approval.

Nowhere is it a requirement that the Commission review the Development Agreement or the Conditions of Approval. I'm sure the Planning Commission would have liked to, but that doesn't mean they (a) didn't do their job or (b) the action taken by the City Council was illegal.

And one of the benefits of living in a REPUBLIC is that you elect people to make decisions on your behalf. You say you rely on the Commissioners and City Council to take on that burden but obviously you don't in this instance. Therefore, yes it is now up to YOU to review the mountains of paperwork.

It shocks me that people think it's ok to vote on something they're not informed about.


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Posted by Adams
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Dec 4, 2007 at 9:05 pm

Interesting point Casey. But consider this. In the last elections,
our 2 newest council members got the most votes, but certainly not
more than half so I don't think you can say with certainly that they represent the majority's view on all issues. In addition, the same rationale that you apply to voting emotionally on this issue could also be used as a reason as to why these council members won.
Lastly, i don't necessarily think that all emotional responses are bad. Be a drab life if that were true.
I signed the petition, not because i will vote for it, rather i did
it for my neighbor whose help, both you and i may ask for 1 day.


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Posted by Carol
a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Dec 4, 2007 at 10:11 pm

Casey - the development agreement should have gone back to the Planning Commission for approval and it didn't. That wasn't proper.
When residents feel that their elected officials aren't representing their constituents, they feel compelled to act. It is their right to do so. If this decision is so great, the voters will validate the council's decision.
Also, you missed my point entirely. I consider myself a very informed person regarding the issues. What I don't have time for is to read every single EIR, PUD, and everything else the PC reads. Do you? Do you think everyone else does that? If I were to do that, I would apply for a Planning Commission position. I think you are confusing two things here, the repsonsibility of a voter with the responsibility of an official.
I'm encouraging people to sign the petitions so that they can become more informed about an issue that affects our town.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 4, 2007 at 10:35 pm

Carol wrote:

"That because you feel voters aren't informed (and I agree that many are not), we shouldn't allow people to vote on the issues?"

That's how the Founding Fathers felt and I agree with them. So do many others. That's why only 14 states allow people to "vote on the issues".

"I have to agree with you that the presidential election was the result of people voting emotionally, but now what? There have been many groups trying to impeach or do something about this administration, do you think that's not right of them to try and do something?"

Don't confuse the initiative process with the impeachment process. The impeachment process is written in both our federal and state Constitutions. Moreover, the average citizen does not initiate and vote on impeachment, that is the duty of the legislative branch. Writing law should also be solely the duty of the legislative branch, but the initiative process bypasses that. It is just as bad as President Bush's signing statements or judges who legislate from the bench.

The greatest problem with the initiative process is that the language cannot be debated upon and changed. What's worse is when two initiatives get on a ballot that have the same purpose but may conflict each other. Wouldn't it be better to have an assembly of interested ordinary citizens come together under the guidance of experienced govt staff and lawyers and propose law that could be discussed and modified before being voted upon? That is similar to the indirect initiative process that California USED to have.


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Posted by i was there
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 5, 2007 at 7:36 am

I was in the audience at the second Planning Commission hearing on Oak Grove. While there was no formal discussion on the Development Agreement or the Conditions of Approval, after the vote on certification of the EIR, the Commissioners did discuss some changes/concerns with the two documents. What I took away from the discussion was that the comments would be incorporated into what went to the City Council.

I recognize that this was not a formal discussion, but I felt that the Planning Commission did have some imput on those two items. I agree that both documents should have gone back to the Planning Commission. However after sitting through the Planning Commission hearing I can understand why the Council chose not to. The public hearing was very poorly conducted. One speaker who was against Oak Grove was allowed to speak for 45 minutes. Other speakers, again against Oak Grove were allowed to speak for 20 to 25 minutes. Yet speakers for Oak Grove took 5 minutes. People around me who were on BOTH sides of the vote were disgusted by the process. Many left without speaking very frustrated. Based on what people were saying, I'm sure that City Council members got feedback about that hearing and had no interest in subjecting people to that again. I had understood that Commissions were supposed to be apolitical but it appeared that some of the people had political agendas that night by what was/was not allowed to happen.


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Posted by Carol
a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Dec 5, 2007 at 7:43 pm

Stacey - how can you say that the initiative process doesn't allow debate? What exactly are we doing here? What is the opposition doing now by sending out glossy paid-for-by-developer mailers to everyone in town? Both sides have spoken at city council meetings, in letters to the editor, in posts like this, etc. Both sides have been at Farmers Market in order to present their views to anyone interested. If this does get on the ballot, do you think there won't be anymore debate? Quite the contrary. I'm sure both sides will be involved in educating the public. What is the "only 14 states allow people to vote"? I don't understand. And, I wasn't inferring that impeachment and initiatives are the same thing. My point was to explain that there are ways that the voters can do something about a government issue they don't like. Power to the people!

"I was there" - it should have gone back to the planning commission. As far as I know, this kind of thing doesn't usually happen. That's when I question the motives. Yes, I think you're right that it becomes political, but with the council member(s), not the commission. Otherwise it would have gone back to the commission.

Have a nice holiday everyone, thanks for sharing!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 5, 2007 at 8:05 pm

Carol wrote: "Stacey - how can you say that the initiative process doesn't allow debate? What exactly are we doing here?"

We can debate about the initiative here until we're blue in the face but we can't change the language of the initiative. And if the initiative becomes law the only way to get it changed is either by another initiative or a lawsuit where a judge can throw it out. What we are doing here is vastly different from the kind of debate that occurs in a legislature. You are right in saying both sides will "educate", but education is not the same thing as a real legislative debate in which a bill is vetted and changed numerous times until everyone feels it is ready to become law.

Carol wrote: "What is the "only 14 states allow people to vote"?"

Only 14 states have an initiative process.

Carol wrote: "My point was to explain that there are ways that the voters can do something about a government issue they don't like."

Then you used a bad analogy since voters have nothing to do with the impeachment process. Citizens have to write to their representatives to initiate an impeachment. The way voters can do something normally about government issues is to vote their representative out of office at the next election.


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Posted by i was there
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 5, 2007 at 9:29 pm

Carol,

I don't know if you were at the Planning Commission hearing for Oak Grove but I think you missed my point. The one body that is appointed to be apolitical, in other words judge something based on the facts, without having to consider where their next campaign contribution is coming from, did have members that clearly had political agendas at that hearing. If I was on the City Council, why would i send it back to a body after having feedback that the public hearing was conducted in a political manner and members of the Commission weren't being objective? And members of the public left in frustratation without being able to speak on both sides of the debate?


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