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Council votes 3-2 to sign Oak Grove development agreement

Original post made on Nov 25, 2008

The City Council voted 3-2 today against appealing a Superior Court order that City Manager Nelson Fialho sign a development agreement with landowners of a 600-acre parcel in the city's southeast hills who want to build 51 custom homes.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 25, 2008, 5:57 PM

Comments (21)

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Nov 25, 2008 at 8:24 pm

The council wisely decided not to throw good money after bad. Even if you are a die-hard Oak Grove opponent you should recognize that is not a strategic battle that needs to be won. Of course, if you simply want to waste taxpayer's money and not your own, you might disagree.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 25, 2008 at 9:33 pm

From the previous article on this: "As a practical matter, both sides agree that without the PUD, the houses won't be built and the Lins won't turn any of their property over to the city."

So both sides agree the issue is mostly moot, yet the Community Voice and McGovern want to throw more money at the issue by hiring outside legal counsel? Amazing! It's gonna take more than cuts to City worker pensions to reign in City spending with those two!


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Nov 26, 2008 at 1:35 am

What!!! Someone wanted to hire "outside legal counsel"!! Isn't that type legal work the responsibility of the city attorney??

Oh wait!! I almost forgot..... Never mind...

The article stated the Lins would turn over 496 of the 600 hilltop acres to the city free of charge. 496 "hilltop acres"?? Did I miss something?? The slick propaganda mailers I received, promoting this project, certainly didn't show "hilltop acres". What I thought I saw were steep unbuildable ravines, and such. Certainly not "hilltop acres".

Probably just a typo on someones part... Would the article have been more accurate if it had stated: The Lins would turn over to the city the 496 acres of mostly unbuildable land contained in the 600 acre project, thus removing the acreage from the Lins property tax responsibility.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 26, 2008 at 7:26 am

I don't see a problem with wanting to hire outside legal counsel. A city attorney is more like general counsel and you can hire specialists when needed. The problem I see is wanting to hire help for an issue that everyone appears to agree is mostly moot. As Frank mentioned above, is this a strategic battle? No.

As for the geography of the 600 acres, no need to get so emotional over it. Yea, the PW article writes it funny, but anyone is welcome to look over the proposal and check out the property in Google Earth. The truth is that both home sites and the park will be situated on or near the "hilltops". And the land for the park will include land at higher elevations than the home sites.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Nov 26, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Then why didn't he hire/consult with "outside legal counsel" before he neglected to issue all necessary documents that led to this debacle...

"No need to get emotional over it" - Now that's funny!!!:):)


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Nov 27, 2008 at 12:03 am

Stacey,

Forgot to mention a little tidbit regarding, "is this A strategic battle? No.".

Review the first sentence of your first post relating to the previous article where the council was to consider an appeal. Would you not consider that quote to be of strategic value. If not, why mention it. In my opinion, anything one can use to obtain an edge on one's opponent is of strategic value and anyone that can read would have known this council majority wouldn't allow an appeal to go forward. If it, the appeal, were granted, that wouldn't fit their map to getting this project started.

If you sincerely believe "a city attorney is more like general counsel", review the job description...


Posted by anonynous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2008 at 9:05 am

Again, it's all the city attorney's fault. The petition gatherers were told and they knew they had to carry the text of the ordinance. It's funny that when "they" like what the city attorney says he's an expert and when they don't he's guilty of malpractice. At least some of the "them" were familiar with how the initial process should work because "they" were former city council members and planning commissioners.

The City attorneys job is to counsel the council on behalf of the city.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Nov 27, 2008 at 10:27 pm

anonynous - resident from Another Pleasanton neighborhood,

Again, there you go with BS.

He admitted he thought he gave them all the documents required. You can go back through all the threads and newspaper articles related to this mess and find it for yourself, or better yet, ask him yourself... If it wasn't his job, why would he give them documents at all or make such a statement...

If they were told they needed to carry the text of the ordinance - who told them. If perhaps it was the city attorney, why didn't he provide it along with the documents he provided...

How do you know some of "them" were familiar with how the initial process should work. Did you, in your infinite wisdom, ask them or is this just more attempted spin on your part??

One more time - He admitted he screwed up... You can attempt to spin it in any direction you desire - won't fly...


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2008 at 5:31 pm

All you have to do is read the election code and review the minutes of the council meeting where the gatherers and the council were told that it was their responsibility to know the election code and that both "sides" would be treated the same in terms of the "help" they would receive from staff for what was clearly a political action.


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Nov 29, 2008 at 8:00 pm

The city attorney's job description is summarized on the city web site.
>>>>>>>>>>>
The City Council appoints the City Attorney as its chief legal counsel. The City Attorney is also the department head for the City Attorney's Office, a full-service legal department. The City Attorney's Office serves as "corporate" legal counsel to the City as an entity and advises the City Council and City staff on contractual, regulatory and litigation matters. These matters typically include open meeting and public records laws; conflicts of interests; land use and environmental laws; claims and litigation; municipal elections; employment and labor relations; municipal utilities; procurement and other internal services; code enforcement; and resolutions, ordinances, and other legal documents.

As the City Attorney's Office does not provide legal advice to individuals in the City of Pleasanton, you are directed to the following resources for private legal assistance:......
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The job is like a "corporate" counsel. It says so right in the description. Corporate counsels commonly hire outside legal counsel for their specialties.

I don't see in the job description where the job is to advise individuals, like in the case of what they should know about election code and should carry during a referendum. He only advises City Council and City Staff. His legal service is provided to the City as an entity, not individuals Also, it is very explicit that the city attorney does not provide legal advice to individuals.


Posted by Move on, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Jerry

All or most of the people that were involved in this mess(as you referred) were former City Council members, Planning Commissioners, etc. that have been involved in city politics, authors of prior initiatives, etc. and clearly do know the ins and outs of the process. They were in a hurry to make this a political issue to get Mr. Brozosky elected to replace our current mayor. If you really believe that they are innocent in this mess(as you referred) you are either one of them on the defensive(could be your last name begins with an F) or you are very naive.

Anyway, it didn't work out so get over it and stop spending our hard earned tax dollars to beat this dead horse into the ground.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Nov 30, 2008 at 2:50 am

anonymous,

Who told "the gathers and council it was their responsibility to know the election code and both "sides" were told they would be treated the same in terms of the "help" they would receive from staff". Why would "the council" need "help" from someone. They weren't involved in the signature gathering process...

Did you contact the city attorney and ask him if he admitted he screwed up???? Didn't think so...

Frank,

There you go again with the "does not provide legal advice to individuals" spin. One more time - no one said it's the city attorney's responsibility to provide legal advice to individuals. The city attorney was only ask to provide all the documents in his custody that were relevant to the issue in question. Common sense dictates someone can't simply walk in the city attorney's office and retreive the documents from a file cabinet...

Perhaps in the manner in which it's referenced, the "corporate" in the summary you used is a "general description", rather than an "actual description". A "Corporate Attorney" doesn't "prepare and review ordinances" or "research and prepare complex ordinances". The job description lists the actual responsibilities, not a "summary"...

Move on,

How do you know "All or most of the people" involved in this mess(yes, that's my description)"clearly do know the ins and outs of the process"... If given the chance, how much would you wager on the number of present and past council members that knew "the process" before they learned of the court's ruling??

If you are so sure this was a attempt to get someone elected - provide something other than idle assumptions...

In your opinion, I may be naive but I do have the courage to at least use my first name and community, unlike you and anonymous.

To my knowledge, I'm not "one of them"(whom ever you're referencing)and, no, my last name doesn't begin with an "F" and, since you don't have the courage to finish the name, I would have no idea who you're refering too...


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 30, 2008 at 9:30 am

Jerry wrote:

"Common sense dictates someone can't simply walk in the city attorney's office and retreive the documents from a file cabinet..."

Equally, common sense dictates that the person who is receiving the documents had to ask for which documents they wanted.

Regardless, it doesn't matter if Roush said he screwed up. That is also spin. The law is clear. It is the responsibility of the petitioners to ensure they have all the documents.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 1, 2008 at 12:54 am

Stacey wrote:

"Regardless, it doesn't matter if Roush said he screwed up. That is also spin."

It's "spin" when someone, with their own words, admits they "thought" they issued all the necessary documents!!! Now that's funny!!!

Come on.... This is a professional city attorney that's required to, among other duties,: "Prepare and review ordinances, resolutions, contracts, agreements, and other legal documents for approval by the City Council", "Ability to research and prepare complex ordinances", "Researches, interprets, and applies laws" - just to list a few.

And a "supposedly" professional attorney, with the afore mentioned duties, didn't know what was required. If one walks into this attorney's office and requests a copy of all documents related to Ordinance XYZ, would one not expect to receive all documents related to Ordinance XYZ, or, is it OK to be told later, "I thought I gave you all the necessary documents"...

This is like talking to.... Never mind.... Enough of this. Guess I'll just agree to disagree...


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 1, 2008 at 7:44 am

Notice that the above list of duties does not include "prepare referenda petitions".

I also disagree with your definition of "spin". You're confusing a fact with biased interpretation of an issue that is characterized by disingenuity and misrepresentation of facts. Whether Roush "admitted" or not, the fact is irrelevant. Roush has no legal obligation to have ensured that the petition was complete. You are certainly welcome to disagree with me, but continuing to ignore the fact that the law is clear on this matter is being disingenuous, which is "spin".


Posted by move on, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2008 at 7:43 pm

My point of reference as to who was behind the Oak Grove referendum and the Oak Grove Initiative were the individuals I observed gathering signatures at various locations in Pleasanton mostly at the farmers market. I don't know any of these individuals personally but I do recognize names and faces. I saw a current council member and her spouse(she has been in local politics since school board and council for many years) along with a few past council members(not to hard to recognize) and their spouses and several past and present planning commission members(some ran for council and some have been active for some time so not difficult to recognize) along with some of their spouses as well. I did see a couple of people I did not recognize but mostly it was the people mentioned above.

As far as motive I could be wrong but I do not believe that this project which is a win/win for Pleasanton is the only motivation behind this mess(as you refered.)


Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 2, 2008 at 9:51 pm

Stacey, I agree, it is not the City Attorney's job to "prepare referenda petitions". No one asked him to.
However, it is his job to be right when offering legal advice. If he does not know an answer, it is his job to seek outside professional support, do the research, etc. what ever it takes to be accurate. So that in a formal City Council meeting, if the attorney(PAID for with our tax dollars), tells a resident or council member during a council meeting, what a petitioners should carry - the attorney is not misleading them and exposing the petitioners defensive lawsuit! It is their job to offer accurate LEGAL advice in matters of the laws of the City, or obstain if it is not part of their responsibilities.


Posted by iwastheretoo, a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 2, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Remember, during a council meeting that Kay said she had been to three different lawyers and was seeking opinion from a fourth on the PUD vs the Development Agreement. What to carry should have been part of those discussions. As stated above, the city attorney is not legally responsible to tell the petitioners what they need to carry. He can offer his opinion when asked but Kay had an obligation to recognize that he was not legally on the hook and she should have sought another opinion as she publicly noted on the other issue.


Posted by JERRY, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 3, 2008 at 2:23 am

Now we've gone from "does not provide legal advice to individuals" to "does not prepare referenda petitions". When, and where, did anyone say this is the duty of a city attorney. This just keeps getting funnier...

If the city attorney is as clean in this mess(for move one's benefit)as some would have others believe, why did he show up in court for the origional court action, sit on his hands, and not say a word while the "Ayala Faction" attorney carried the load. Why not simply stay away and default the city's position, or, since he was there to supposedly defend the city's position he could have, at a minimum, simply said he "thought" he released all the necessary documents... Could it have been an embarrassment for a professional "corporate" city attorney, with duties that include "researching and preparing complex ordinances", to let the world know he "thought" he issued all the necessary documents relating to a simple referendum...

Better yet, why was the city attorney even in court if all the responsibility was on the shoulders of the signature gathers and if he had researched the legal aspects of the case as presented by the grievants???

If, in fact, a city attorney can "offer his opinion when ask" and he doesn't know for sure, why offer an opinion at all. Especially when addressing such an inflammatory referendum...

move on,

Common sense dictates if the signature gathers "weren't behind" the referendum and initiative, they wouldn't have been out there "gathering signatures at various locations". Since their identities are common knowledge, are you still sure they "clearly do know the ins and outs of the process" related to this mess(as I refered)??? Would be interesting to read your, and others, factual reasoning of the "motivation behind this mess(as I refered)"...

Enough of this, for sure this time... I agree to disagree with everyone!!!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 3, 2008 at 8:54 am

"Now we've gone from "does not provide legal advice to individuals" to "does not prepare referenda petitions". "

Well Jerry, that's what happens when Karen of Vintage Hills repeats the idea that the City Attorney is responsible to provide legal advice to individuals of Pleasanton because he said something to a resident at a council meeting to you arguing that because the City Attorney is responsible for writing ordinances that means he's somehow responsible for referenda too.

Again, the law is clear in this matter. It is the responsibility of the _petitioners_ to ensure they have a complete petition. Doesn't anyone have responsibility to themselves anymore or hold those responsible for their own actions? Next someone will end up blaming the City Attorney that the coffee at McDonald's is too hot because he didn't write an ordinance that restricted serving coffee at a scalding temperature.


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 3, 2008 at 10:49 pm

The city attorney showed up in the original court hearing because he had an obligation to do so since the Writ of Mandate was directed to the City Clerk of the City of Pleasanton, and, the City Attorney is the Clerk's attorney. The other defendants, Ayala and the 25 Does who were the Real Parties of Interest were represented by their own attorneys.

So, Jerry, since you have such a deep understanding of the job description of the City Attorney, should he have stayed away? Or do you agree he had an obligation to appear at the hearing because that's part of his job description?


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