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Anti-Oak Grove group gains 5,266 signatures to force referendum

Original post made on Dec 6, 2007

Opponents of a City Council-approved plan to allow the construction of 51 estate homes on the hilltop above Kottinger Ranch and Vintage Hills submitted 5,266 signatures of registered voters in Pleasanton to City Clerk Karen Diaz Wednesday, more than enough needed to force a vote on a referendum to overturn that decision.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, December 5, 2007, 8:52 PM

Comments (19)

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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 6, 2007 at 8:19 pm

Remarkable quote from Ayala:

"But if it goes to a vote, I can assure you this project will go down by an 80 to 90 percent margin," she said.

Of course it's designed to influence the council to rescind their approval of Oak Grove. But let's see if it goes to an election since there really are a substantial number of people who support the current decision. Ayala knows in any event she won't have to eat these words because 7 months from now no one will remember she said this.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 6, 2007 at 8:33 pm

We could make a cake with those words written on it and see if she's interested in eating it if the referendum and/or initiative fail in an election. And if the referendum and/or initiative pass then maybe the Council will want the cake instead. My mother-in-law makes good cakes.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 7, 2007 at 8:57 am

Sounds like a lot of sour grapes to me. For all of those signature collectors to work so hard during their own holiday time, shows real commitment to their values. I was very happy to sign to give ME the right to decide on such a controversial issue.

Stop your grumblings and find something else to complain about. This subject is closed for 6 months.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 7, 2007 at 9:54 am

Karen,

I also exercised my right to decide by _not_ signing the petitions. I wonder, did you happen to sign the Friends of Pleasanton's initiative petitions? Why or why not?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 7, 2007 at 10:13 am

LOL, signature collectors showing their commitment to their values by working over the holidays, but I'm accused of being a paid consultant for the same reason because I created a screenshot from Google Earth! *shakes head* I'll never understand it.


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Posted by Jason
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 7, 2007 at 10:45 am

Seems like a more even split of people in favor vs. opposed.

I would prefer if people didn't blatantly lie during an argument. It doesn't help their position, or their credibility.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 7, 2007 at 3:02 pm

It is my observation that the "Save Our Hills" people who post in these blogs tend to be rather uncivil towards those who disagree with their position by often directing snide comments toward people personally, as typified by:

"Stop your grumblings and find something else to complain about. This subject is closed for 6 months." quote by Karen.

The council members have born the brunt of this bad attitude with accusations implicit and explicit of being bought off, etc. etc.

Of course, all of those who have worked hard over a number of years to get the Oak Grove project approved with the park are not going to go away or be intimidated by snide comments and accusations. They will continue to get their information out to the public at large.


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Posted by SEAN
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 9, 2007 at 2:25 pm

DONT DO IT ME LIVE THER AMUNG TREESES AND SNAKIES.


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Posted by Susan
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 10, 2007 at 9:04 am

Jeb,

What does Keep Our Park say about this???


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Posted by Ajay Dhillon
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Dec 12, 2007 at 2:53 pm

I support the right of the citizens of Pleasanton to be able to make thier own decisions on such a vital issue.We are all civilized people living in one of the best cities of the Bay Area and such should not be uncouth. If certian people do not agree with the actions of the city council we have every right to go to the voters as it is a constitutional right.For the city council to call us disgruntled is not right. I myself heard and saw some supporters of Oak Grove use incorrect language to bully and stop the people getting signatures. Please be nice to people who may have opposite views.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 12, 2007 at 3:44 pm

Ajay,

Why has the actions of people opposed to the signature gathering been characterized as bullying and even undemocratic? Steve Brozosky called it undemocratic in a recent PW Letter to the Editor. I really do not understand this logic. Trying to get people to not sign is just as democratic and just as much part of the process as people trying to get signatures.

Moreover, did people sign the petition because they wanted to referend the City Council decision on Oak Grove or did they sign it because they thought they were helping the democratic process? You write about it here, Karen wrote about it here, and someone else in another thread here said they signed because they were "helping their neighbor". I wonder where these same petition signers were for the Friends of Pleasanton's Staples Ranch initiatives? Or was the Save Our Hills people much more clever than Friends of Pleasanton in signature gathering tactics?


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Posted by An observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 12, 2007 at 10:18 pm

So, what's the issue that is so vital to you, Ajay? Bet you don't have a clue as to its history and the pros and cons, do you? You signed because you reacted emotionally to an appeal which stimulated your emotional senses. Or you live on Hearst Drive and have a self-interest. Your letter wreaks with righteous emotions. I hope you direct equal indignation and self-righteousness towards real issues, like the Iraq war and the degradation of American values (we did not used to torture, at least publicly) promulgated by the current dim-wit in office.

Oh, by the way, which constitution grants you the right? State or Federal? Do you know?


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Posted by john
a resident of Valley Trails
on Dec 13, 2007 at 12:51 pm

I think you may have missed the point Stacy regarding the reason for signing the petition and the desire for all of Pleasanton to have a direct vs a represented voice in this matter. Asking people not to sign says something about your opinion of Pleasanton's citizens.(oops)
However, I am curious as to your motives for your support of various issues.
Side note -think you spend quite a bit of time alone in front of the computer? Sorry to pry- hard not to try to draw a picture of the authors of these letters.


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Posted by Shelley
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 13, 2007 at 4:42 pm

John,
If you go through the several threads of the forum regarding Oak Grove and posts by people who support/signed the petition, you will see that the main reason people signed it was to keep houses from being built on the ridges. From this, it seems that most people who signed the petition missed the point.
The statement of reasons as outlined in the initiative ( Web Link ):
1)Protect our scenic hills from development that destroys the character of our town.
---There is a limit to which a city can tell private land owners what they can or cannot do on their land.
2)To direct development and development speculation away from lands with environmentally sensitive features, lands with primary open space values, and lands difficult to service by existing jurisdictions.
---This wording can include practically every piece of land! Every piece of land has precious ecosystems that are destroyed when developed, even if it is developed into a park of some sorts. Speaking of which, so does this mean that development speculation for "passive parks" are also included under point no. 2?
3)Exempt 10 or less housing units and supporting infrastructure on ""legal parcels" of January 1, 2007 from hillside development restrictions.
---This one is the kicker! Let's say I am Jennifer Lin and now developing my land is limited by this point no. 3. So, I'll split the 570 acres into 10 57-acre lots. On each lot, I will build 1 "housing unit" as large as I want and on more than 25% slopes and on the highest ridges. Then I will also build a ton of other buildings on the lot that do not fall under the U.S. Census Bureau's definition of a "housing unit." These other buildings will also be huge, on the ridges and in complete view to the people on the valley floor. This development would be exempt from Policy 12.3 as outlined in the initiative ( Web Link ).
4)Pleasanton should be consistent with the U.S. Census Bureau and State of California definitions of a housing unit when calculating the housing cap.
---Wait, what does this have to do with "saving Pleasanton's hills?" Oh I get it, of course. It is so the definition of a building in Policy 12.3 as outlined in the initiative ( Web Link ) cannot be misconstrued or interpreted to mean something else in a court of law. No, that's not it. It's to support the housing cap passed in 1996. You know, the one that is causing Pleasanton trouble in fulfilling its affordable housing policies as mandated by State and Federal government.
5)Remove the loophole that is allowing the city to exclude housing units from our voter imposed housing cap.
---I wonder if anyone who signed the initiative, who were "saving Pleasanton's hills," realize that they were also voting against Pleasanton providing affordable housing. I bet they didn't realize that because they were to caught up in the emotion of saving hills and open space. In case no one got it, this loophole has been keeping Pleasanton out of some trouble (well, until the lawsuit, as blogged about here: Web Link ). Gee, I wonder why Kay Ayala and Karla Brown-Belcher didn't just say, "remove the loophole that is allowing the city to exclude affordable housing units from our voter imposed housing cap." Well, maybe because they would not have gotten all the signatures they needed if people read that one of the intents of the initiative was to make building affordable housing units nearly impossible.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 13, 2007 at 5:28 pm

John wrote: "I think you may have missed the point Stacy regarding the reason for signing the petition and the desire for all of Pleasanton to have a direct vs a represented voice in this matter." Are you referring to Ajay's point? Shouldn't the point of signing the petition for the referendum be about a desire to reverse the City Council decision? To say that it is about "the desire for all of Pleasanton to have a direct voice" or "the right of the citizens of Pleasanton to be able to make their own decisions" without supporting the goal of the referendum sounds somewhat hypocritical to me unless you happen to go around signing _any_ petition that comes your way. "Asking people not to sign says something about your opinion of Pleasanton's citizens.(oops)" You'll have to explain your logic to me for me how you jumped to that conclusion. Why does asking people not to sign mean the person has an "oops" opinion about Pleasanton's citizens? By the same logic, does it mean that asking people to sign says something about your opinion of Pleasanton's citizens that voted these leaders into office? (oops) "However, I am curious as to your motives for your support of various issues." You can read my motives here: Web Link, I've hiked in those hills (and the ones in Kottinger Ranch), but it was illegal for me to do because it wasn't public land. I would love to see them opened up for public use. Reversing the City Council decision will mean the loss of the park and could have the potential for an ugly land use battle that ends up being decided by a court instead of the City. Then the desire for Pleasanton's citizens to have a direct voice will become moot.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 13, 2007 at 5:31 pm

Hey PW, what happened to the line breaks in my last post?


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Posted by Grand Dad
a resident of another community
on Dec 13, 2007 at 8:40 pm

John, you are one of those who attack the messenger, when, in my opinion, you are unable to counter the many points that the messenger presents. Temptingly easy to do so, but that may be your failing.

Trust me when I say the messenger that you attack is very busy with a young family and at the same time holding down a consulting job from home with an internet firm. Her time "alone" in front of the computer is often disrupted when she has to change diapers.

I doubt accusations, implied or explicit, will cause her to shrink from her interest in the community.


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Posted by john
a resident of Valley Trails
on Dec 14, 2007 at 12:46 pm

Stacey
I think that You and Granddad(undoubtably a good guy to rush to your defense so quickly) read too much into the letter.
I didn't intend to attack anyone and am taken back by your emotion.
You characterized me as "one of those" when i might be one of you. I don't think it will help your cause.
other points-
"without supporting the goal of the referendum sounds somewhat hypocritical to me"
No Stacey, thats not even close though I would fight for your right to say that(make sense?)
" By the same logic, does it mean that asking people to sign says something about your opinion of Pleasanton's citizens that voted these leaders into office? (oops)" Not sure about what you are
saying here Stacy. I could reply that it was a minority of a minority of all available voters that put most of them in office or i could say that i agree with most of their decisions but not all and so on and so on but what whats the point?

My only point(read that 1 only!) is that I want people to vote
on the issue-period. Direct democracy like this,is a gift, that
as someone else pointed out, is only allowed in 14 states.
I want you to put forth arguments, like Shelley, that people will
read and discuss. No finger pointing, rich in facts and light on emotion.
I think the people of Pleasanton are pretty darn smart, and will will make the right decision here.

I do regret the part about the you and the computer- i shouldn't pry
Just that in scanning all the topics, you show up alot. (Impressive-even the one where you made yourself a target)



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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 14, 2007 at 2:53 pm

john wrote: "Direct democracy like this,is a gift, that as someone else pointed out, is only allowed in 14 states." That is where we disagree. Direct democracy to me is not a gift but is an open door to tyranny of the majority. I've been trying to clarify that my disagreement here isn't due to some sort of opinion of Pleasanton voters, but due to an opinion of the process itself.


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