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Campaign Finance

Original post made by Angela, Heritage Valley, on Feb 7, 2008

Keep Our Park Committee Press Release Feb 4, 2008

OPPONENTS OF THE OAK GROVE PROJECT VIOLATE STATE CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS, SUPPORTERS CHARGE

Thousands in campaign expenses goes unreported by opponents of a plan to provide Pleasanton with almost 500 acres of new public open space

PLEASANTON— Opponents of a plan to donate almost 500 acres of open space to the City of Pleasanton for public trails and recreation violated state campaign finance laws by failing to report thousands of dollars in political contributions and expenditures, according to supporters of the plan.

"Our committee has disclosed every cent we received and spent. The opponents of Oak Grove Park have disclosed nothing. Secretive campaign financing is a slap in the face to voters and the public," said Jerry Pentin, chairman of the Keep Our Park Committee. "We are proud that our disclosure allows Pleasanton residents to make an informed decision and we demand that opponents do the same and abide by the law."

Pentin said the Keep Our Park Committee would be exploring its options to force opponents to disclose their finances, including filing a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission. State law requires that individuals and committees who raise a minimum of $1,000 disclose the source of their contributions and how much each contributor gave.

Pentin estimates that opponents have spent at least $8,000 for their activities, including printing costs for signs and copies of the ballot qualification petition for 100 signature-gatherers, a website, and full-page color advertisements in a local newspaper that alone are estimated to cost $6,000.

"Voters and the citizens of Pleasanton deserve to know where the money is coming from, who is funding the opposition to this project, and what their interests are," Pentin said. "This is Pleasanton, where we are accountable to our neighbors and expect transparency."

The Keep Our Park Committee is fighting against a measure that could be on the June ballot that would effectively overturn the Oak Grove Project, which was approved last year in a near-unanimous vote by the City Council after four years of intensive planning and extensive public review. The project includes a donation to the city of almost 500 acres of recreational open space in the hills above Pleasanton together with the money to maintain it in perpetuity. In addition, the plan allows for up to 51 homes clustered on 12% of the property. Each home would require full public review and independent city approval. In response to neighborhood demands, the number of homes is half what was originally proposed.

Comments (65)

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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 7, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Per an article in the Feb. 7, 2008 edition of THE Independent, The Keep Our Park Committee spent $61,174.25 in monetary and nonmonetary contributions in an effort to keep the referendum targeting the Oak Grove development off the ballot. All of the contributions, with the exception of $100, came from the developer of Oak Grove, Charter Properties and Hong Lo Lin. Wonder why this wasn't mentioned in the press release.

If it's true Save Pleasanton Hills did spend "at least $8000", as Keep Our Park estimates, that would mean Keep Our Park had a 7.6 to 1 ratio advantage and still lost in the "Sign - Don't Sign" contest. According to the same article, Kay Ayala, one of the leaders of Save Pleasanton Hills, stated the group has collected zero dollars. She also said the group is in the process of forming a committee and filing with the Fair Political Practices Committee.

POP THE POPCORN!!!!! This is about to get funny again....


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Posted by Angela
a resident of Heritage Valley
on Feb 7, 2008 at 11:28 pm

Every dime of the Keep Our Park committee was reported, including some contributions that were below the reporting threshold of $25 from community members and therefore not reported in the Independent. The opponents keep repeating, "Follow the money." I am trying, but they have no trail. It is pretty clear what the interests of the developer are here. Is the report any surprise? But what I am trying to figure out is what are the interests of the Save Pleasanton Hills group? Don't the voters of Pleasanton have the right to judge for themselves by transparent and law abiding committees?

Here is where the Independent got it wrong. By state law, someone had to file paperwork within 10 days of raising or spending $1000. Each Pleasanton Weekly full page color ad is over $1000. Even if they collected no contributions and everything was funded by an individual, then that individual would have to file by January 31, 2008 in the City Clerk's office. They did not. Kay should know better.


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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 8, 2008 at 3:10 am

Haven't heard anyone dispute the claim that Keep Our Park committee reported every dime of their contributions. Just wondered, since they seem to be saying they don't know who may be contributing to the opposition, why they didn't report contributors and contributor dollar amounts in their press release since many citizens may not have the time, means or knowledge to access their filings. They could then say "this is our contributors and dollars for all to see - now we expect our opponents to follow our example". Perhaps then everyone could "follow the money" in both directions. Just as a point of interest, have they at any time reported this info in any of the local newspapers?

As to the interest of Save Pleasanton Hills - Now I could be wrong, since I'm not very smart, but by reading newspaper reports, listening to the debate at the city council meeting and talking to others it didn't take very long to understand their interest is stopping what they perceive to be the destruction of the effected hills. I fully agree every citizen of Pleasanton should be presented the facts in the light of day with no detail left in doubt. I could be wrong again but from what was written in the article in THE Independent, it would seem this may be accomplished when Save Pleasanton Hills form their committee and files their documentation with the proper agencies.

Now please educate me....If I thought my neighbor's dog was ugly and tomorrow I, as an individual with no ties to any group, bought a full page color ad, costing over $1000, in a local newspaper stating my neighbor's dog is ugly and showing a picture of said dog - would I, as that individual, be required "to file by January 31, 2008 in the City Clerk's office" or would I just be required to run the next time I see my neighbor.


More popcorn, please......


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Posted by disgusted
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2008 at 7:46 am

Jerry,

The way i understand the law, you could take an ad out in the Weekly and not have to file a campaign disclosure form as long as you hadn't filed a notice to collect signatures for a referendum or an initiative on the dog.

What's troubling to me here is that Kay Ayala, a former City Council women, has stood in many public meetings and talked about following the developer money. Which the paperwork is all there to be able to follow that money trail. Now when someone goes and tries to follow the money trail for the weekly ads and website costs for savepleasantonhills.com, there is no money trail. Makes me wonder exactly who paid for them and what their interest is. Even Cindy McGovern talked about transparency in the City Council campaign finance reform discussion, while she was out collecting signatures on a daily basis for the Oak Grove referendum. She should be out front here calling on Kay to disclose who paid for the ads, etc.

After reading the Independent article, the reporter needed to ask the follow-up question of Kay "If you didn't pay for anything then who did" The bottom line is that the public has a right to know and to be able to follow the money on BOTH sides of the debate.


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Posted by disgusted
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2008 at 7:46 am

Jerry,

The way i understand the law, you could take an ad out in the Weekly and not have to file a campaign disclosure form as long as you hadn't filed a notice to collect signatures for a referendum or an initiative on the dog.

What's troubling to me here is that Kay Ayala, a former City Council women, has stood in many public meetings and talked about following the developer money. Which the paperwork is all there to be able to follow that money trail. Now when someone goes and tries to follow the money trail for the weekly ads and website costs for savepleasantonhills.com, there is no money trail. Makes me wonder exactly who paid for them and what their interest is. Even Cindy McGovern talked about transparency in the City Council campaign finance reform discussion, while she was out collecting signatures on a daily basis for the Oak Grove referendum. She should be out front here calling on Kay to disclose who paid for the ads, etc.

After reading the Independent article, the reporter needed to ask the follow-up question of Kay "If you didn't pay for anything then who did" The bottom line is that the public has a right to know and to be able to follow the money on BOTH sides of the debate.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 8, 2008 at 7:50 am

Speaking of "pop the popcorn", what I found funny in the Independent article was some classic irony. It was reported that only $100 was contributed to Keep Our Park from Charter Properties and one of the Lins. Then later in the article appears a quote from Kay Ayala, "We are never going to have the kind of money they have, since they are backed by a developer." Perhaps Ayala needs to work more on backing up her claims with some actual facts before misleading everyone with her flag waving.


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 8, 2008 at 10:36 am

Stacey, I believe you read the Independent article incorrectly as it said that all BUT $100 came from the developer. They even listed the one person who contributed the $100.

I find it interesting that the press release above did not mention how much money they have spent to try and keep people from voting on the project. The Independent had to research this and found they spent over $61,000! Holly cow! I have also heard that since the filing they have been setting up focus groups and paying polling companies and even filming commercials. This sounds like the development in Livermore a couple of years ago where the developer spent over $3,000,000 to try and convince the Livermore voters that their development was really a "park". If you remember correctly, that project was defeated in flames.

I guess it takes a lot of money to try and sell something to people who do not want your project. It looks like the developers, and friends of the developers, will continue to make accusations like this and sueing people since they do not have enough confidence that their project stands on its own.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 8, 2008 at 10:59 am

Jen,
Whoops, my bad. Thanks for the correction.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 8, 2008 at 10:05 pm

Cutting through some of the obfuscating cr..p in this thread...

There are two sides here. On one side are the developer interests allied with a citizen's group (Keep Our Park) who desire to proceed with the Oak Grove project. The developers clearly have an economic interest. Nobody is so dumb as to not understand this. Of course money and profit is involved! Where do you think the home you live in came from?

On the other side is a citizen's group. There is no apparent economic interest involved with this side, most likely. Such groups are not unique, though, and are in fact quite common, especially in California which permits referenda and intiatives, a wonderful tool for factions. Their motivations lie in things that are somewhat complicated to understand and are beyond what can be discussed herein, and these motivations are not necessarily pure.

The first group took in and spent a considerable sum, $61,000. They reported it and there was no surprise to the rest of us that the majority donor of the money was the developer. Everyone who lives in Pleasanton experienced the information barrage that resulted from at least a part of this expenditure.

On the other side, we in Pleasanton experienced a similar, apparently expensive information barrage from the other side, but this group reports no expenditures, and claims nothing was spent except perhaps some angels (from heaven) may have run an ad or two on their behalf.

Two conclusions are possible. Group 1 spent foolishly and ineffectively, while group 2, with no money, was somehow super lucky and efficient. The other conclusion is that group 1 is being transparent while group 2 is not. It's pretty obvious that group 2 spent a chunk of change, but they are not willing to disclose where it came from (in group 2 I include the soft money, i.e., that from so-called unaffiliated spenders). Perhaps the law may not require them to disclose, but this is hardly an excuse for lack of transparency, especially when they accuse the other side of being evil, like some posters in this thread imply.

Despite all of the rhetoric, the Oak Grove project is not necessarily evil as depicted by group 2, which itself is a faction. In the words of James Madison, this group may be defined as:

"By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community. " The Lin's feel this group is adverse to their rights and the Keep Our Park citizens feel the group is adverse to the aggregate interests of the community. After all, the Oak Grove project is four years in the making and is not a surprise.


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Posted by Julia
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 9, 2008 at 8:40 am

It is clear that the people opposed to the gift of a 500 acre park to the City spent more than $1000. The opponents broke the law by failing to form/register a committee (required by law) and by refusing to report who gave the money and what was spent on premium placement ads (approximately $5000), a website (approximately $2000), and glossy flyers (about $1000). It is clear that they don't think the law applies to them.

They demonstrated this arrogance of being above the law by consistently misleading the public with false statements and scare tactics about hillside views and with false promises that the City would get the Oak Grove park even if the voters rejected the plan.

If they were forced to tell the truth about who is behind the referendum, they would have to disclose that the money and efforts came from NIMBYs who live next door to the project and who only want to keep Oak Grove to themselves and block the rest of Pleasanton access to this beautiful place.


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Posted by Francis
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2008 at 9:07 pm

I have looked at both sides. Called people on both sides and asked good questions. It was clear from the phone calls that some people believed what was told to them when they agreed to circulate the referendum. However, closer observation would indicate that the opponents of Oak Grove don't want people to know who paid for the ads and accompanying bills. Honesty is appreciated even when people disagree. There is no honesty here. The Oak Grove opponents have done a good job of depicting the Lin family as being evil foreigners. That is racist and and should be beneath all of us. The truth is they have owned the land and paid taxes on it for years. They also owned the land where some of the opponents' homes are located. The organizers of the opponents of Oak Grove have lied, used outdated information from the city and from East Bay Regional Park District, quoted a United States Senator out of context, inaccurately and without permission and misled people as to the size of the homes and how they are to be positioned on the property. Then failed to file any information on the financial backing for the opposition. It is unbelievable that Kay Ayala can claim she knew nothing of the necessity of filing information. She was an elected official and as such had to go through ethics training which explains the requirements.

It seems to be true that the developer has fronted the money to fight for the development. This does not make them evil. A critical mass of Pleasanton Residents agree as do four out of five council members. For those of you who watch the council meetings, this council has been all over the place in terms of how they vote. They do their homework, discuss things intelligently and respectfully and then come to a conclusion. They did so this time. They have been receptive to community input (home depot). To have them take to the streets to defend their vote in an election year means to me that they really believe in the project. Oh yay, did I say it is an election year? There may be the motive for the organizers of the Oak Grove opponents. You could ask where was Ms Ayala in all the public meeting held before the council vote? I think she was at home looking for a campaign issue .


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Posted by Fed Up with both sides
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2008 at 7:07 pm

We are all smart people. I refused to sign the petition because at the time, I did not have all the facts. I do now, and I welcome the opportunity to cast my vote. Give people some credit, and let the majority of Pleasanton voters decide. Campaign financing, the Lins, all that nonsense is only a distraction. Put it on the ballot, and let the voice of the majority speak. Enough is enough, this is turning into a soap opera, and a bad one.


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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 11, 2008 at 3:12 am

This just continues to get better!!!! Devine intervention and James Madison have now been injected into the fray!!!!

Could be wrong but so far in this thread there may have been suggestions implying "group 2"'s motivations may not be necessarily pure, they may have received divine assistance, spent a chunk of change(one poster mentioned approx. $8000)and are not willing to disclose the source of said change, called a "faction"( couldn't "group 1" also be called a faction), being non-transparent, accused of implying the other side is evil, somehow lucky and efficient, used outdated information, quoted a U.S. Senator out of context, inaccurately and ,heavens forbid, without her permission. Then there was "racist", which is always useful as a last resort.

The figure "approx. $8000/chunk of change" keeps popping up in this, and other related threads. Does anyone have actual knowledge this amount was spend by a "group 2" committee or is this all pure speculation, which is worth about $0.02. According to The Independent article, Ms. Ayala said the group had collected "zero dollars" and was in the process of forming a committee so apparently no committee exist when this "approx. $8000" was spent.

Also, will someone please point out just where "some posters in this thread" have implied "the other side" is "evil" as stated by one poster. Please get your facts correct before making such an implication.


Butter on your popcorn, anyone............


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Posted by Francis
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2008 at 10:12 am

This conversation does not happen in a vacuum. There have been some very inappropriate comments made on channel 30. (does it matter where the owners of Oak Grove live now? Is this pertinent?) Someone paid for the ads in the Pleasanton Weekly and certainly there was a group who organized and hence must report the amount spent.(each ad approximately $1000.) None of this would be an issue if the information from the opponents was factual. This is particularly important since many stood in front of the TV cameras and asked for transparency. Having the people vote is not the issue but having people vote on facts is an issue. How many people know what an FAR is? How many people know that the FAR for Kottinger Hills was larger than the proposed FAR for OAK Grove? People did not build obnoxious homes that used the entire FAR because they had to go through the planning commission and the City Council and there were restrictions. It is a ratio and is being used by the opponents to create an emotional reaction to the development for political reasons. I don't think that is everyone's motivation. However I think people would like to see who is behind the opponents and ask themselves what could be their motivation? Of course, without transparency we don't know. That is the point.


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Posted by Ellen
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Feb 11, 2008 at 10:14 am

Wasn't it Ms. Ayala who said "follow the Money!"?


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Posted by confused, too
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 11, 2008 at 8:08 pm

Jerry,

One full page ad in the Weekly costs $1,000 or more. (There were 5 ads run by savepleasantonhills.com during the signature gathering. The law says when a committee receives/spends $1000 or more they need to form a Committee and file some paperwork as well as file a financial disclosure. If an individual, independent of the group, spends $1,000 in support/defeat of an referendum, they need to file an independent disclosure, by jan 31st in this case.

So if Kay and her group did not spend/raise any money then the question is who spent the money on the Weekly ads as well as the web site from which material for the ads was taken? And was this individual truly independent of the group(committee)--not involved in signature gathering, etc?

I find it ironic, as Ellen mentions, that Kay said numerous times publicly, "follow the money" but yet for her side there isn't any trail to follow the money. Makes one have to ask what is it they don't want the public to know? Thought the point of this is to have an honest debate of the facts. Also, its hard to believe that 2 former council members and one current council member, who worked on this, aren't aware of the campaign finance rules. . .


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 11, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Dear Jerry,

You have a popcorn kernel stuck in your teeth. By the way, you clearly don't understand James Madison's definition of a faction.

Moving on, soon this topic will move over to what the court will soon decide. The legal arguments can be read at the court's web site. Also, the case law references can be looked up and read on a web site called FindLaw. If you spend the time to do so, and apply some reasonable level of intellect to what you read, you can begin to form your own objective opinion on the central issue. Pro or con.

The central Lin complaint (there are two others) hinges upon the referended ordinance that passes the Development Plan. The ordinance did not specify that the Plan is attached as either an appendix or otherwise. Simply stated, it says we approve the Development Plan, but perhaps because the Plan contains a considerable amount of pages, the ordinance does not have wording that attaches it to the ordnance. So the Plan is only attached by virtue of implied references, not explicit reference (although printing "approve the PUD", is this not explicit reference?). Ayala's lawyers therefore say the referendum petition included everything needed under Election Law. The Lin's lawyers say that under Election Law the Plan, which is being referended, had to be attached to the petition. The fact that Pleasanton staff wrote an ordnance whose wording only references the Plan does not escape the requirements of the Election Code. That's what is being referended!

The judge will decide, but I suspect that if the decision goes against the Lin's the judge will need to make a compelling legal arugment or it will be immediately appealed since the appeals courts have a greater vested interest in making the Election Law clear in cases of dispute such as this one than Superior Courts.




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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 15, 2008 at 10:32 pm

Dear Frank,

Using the words of Mr. Madison's, I agree, as you stated, "group 2" could be viewed as a "faction" by the Lin's and others opposing "group 2". Now, using the same logic, if we remove the Lin's from the equation since their objection is "rights" (they would have every reason to believe "faction"), could we not roll the remainder of "group 1" and the "group 2" into Mr. Madison's definition where both groups now become "factions", since each seems to feel the other is "adverse to the aggerate interest of the community". If not, as you said, his definition certainly escapes me but I'm always open to education.

The most recent edition of the PLEASANTON WEEKLY has an interesting article about this case and it seems the next step will take place soon. Should be interesting to see how far this goes.

By the way - thanks for letting me know about the popcorn in teeth. How did you see that???? You have me worried now!!!!!!


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 16, 2008 at 9:02 pm

Yes Jerry,

I agree with your logic about possibly the Lin's and perhaps the Keep Our Parks group constituting factions. Both groups have self interest at play. Let me in the following quote a segment from Wikipedia:

..............Similarly, in the tenth instalment(sic) of the Federalist Papers, James Madison defines a faction as "a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community." In plain English this is a group that pursues self interest at the expense of the common good..............

What we end up arguing about is whether Lin and Keep Our Parks are pursuing self interest at the expense of the common good, or they are pursing something adverse to the rights of other citizens or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community. It must be added that in the Federalist Paper No. 10 the subject was the use of pure democracy ( which the referendum process is) by factions to achieve their ends. (Consider as an example, that since we are Shites and are a majority we vote that all Sunnis must leave Iraq or die. That's pure democracy in action.)

Now, Ayala and her troops are using pure democracy to achieve their ends through the referendum process. Lin's rights are at risk in this case as well as the rights of Keep Our Parks supporters to benefit from this development.

On the other side. Lin and Keep Our Parks are not using pure democracy to pursue their goals, but rather established processes of zoning. Yes, a certain segment (Ayala and her group) feel that the self interest of Lin is adverse to their right to view hill sides free of homes (this is a right? or, please describe what right is being trampled upon). Keep Our Parks supporters might apparently be lumped in with Lin's as a faction who want a park and are being seemingly accused of stepping on the claimed right of others to keep our hillsides free of homes. (again, is this a right or self interest of a faction?)

Now, Lin have used the usual processes of government in a republican democracy over a period of four years to acquire permission to use their right of property to proceed with a development. That they are a faction is clearly debatable given that developers and property owners throughout the entire US for over 200 years have used similar processes of government to build developments on their property. Am I wrong? So, it's hard to call the Lin's a faction. Or Keep Our Parks a faction.

What rights associated with Ayala's group are being affected by this development? Now, be honest. Clearly, Ayala and her group are factions and Lin and the Keep Our Parks people are not.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 17, 2008 at 8:41 am

Frank;

Be careful trusting Wikipedia as a source. Check out the definition from my Oxford Dictionary, "Faction: a small organized dissenting group within a large one, esp. in politics." Both groups are factions.

Or check out Merriam-Webster's definition (11th collegiate), "A party or group (as within a government)that is often contentious or self-seeking: clique" Again, sounds like both groups when they represent their points of view.

Where does it say there is a monetary involvement? Citizens collecting signatures on ironing boards do not need a lot of money. I never saw anything that the signature gathers had that looked valuable. All I saw was homemade signs and xerox copied referendum pages. Where is the money? Lots of teenagers can put together a website - just ask one. Pizza money will buy a lot - and they can program the multimedia dvd recorder! The ads are the only thing costing $$. If an "angel" as stated earlier, wants to place an ad for an issue as a concerned citizen, how can that be campaign finance? If I want to run an ad for Hillary, as a concerned citizen - anonomously, does her campaign manager have to chase me down, call the paper, find out whom wrote the check and call it a donation? Ain't going to happen!

Developers without a support base of citizens however, need to spend a lot of money. Kind of like buying friends, buying video/TV commercials, buying attorneys, etc. Remember the tables at the Farmer's market? Same folks each time. Not much of a support base, unless they were paid. How much support do you think Tom Pico would have given if he wasn't the recipient of a check(s)?

Regarding the NIMBY issue, council member McGovern does not live anywhere near the potential OG development. The Planning commissioners who voted "nay" to the project don't live near OG. Actually the only member of the Planning commission that does, recused himself from the vote.

This is another case of the big Goliath bullying the little group/faction called David. And the Mayor and Council just sitting back watching, touting concerns about motivation and politics. Perhaps the council members are so concerned that Kay Ayala could beat them in a fair election, they will sacrifice a handful of Pleasanton citizen's first amendment rights - while sitting in their "sworn to uphold the law" chairs.

If there is justice, this case will be thrown out of the courts. This is harassment plain and simple. Merriam-Webster's definition: "to annoy persistently, to create an unpleasant or hostile situation for especially by uninivited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct".


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Posted by informed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2008 at 11:13 am

Karen,

Check out the FPPC website on campaign finance. The rules are pretty clear as soon as people start gathering signatures, if they spend or receive $1000 they need to form a committee and file a disclosure. If someone independently, a so called angel, makes an expenditure of $1000 or more they need to file an independent expenditure disclosure. What's interesting here is check out who bought the domain name for savepleasantonhills.com? Interesting that the material off the website was used for some 5 full page ads with premium placement in the Weekly. Its also interesting that the person who bought the domain name was in the picture of folks turning in the petitions to city hall. Doesn't sound independent to me. . .

The question I have to ask is why doesn't Kay and company want to disclose who bought the ads and did the web site? What is it they're trying to hide? I suspect that they're homeowners very close to the Oak Grove property and thereby the ultimate in "not in my backyard".

As has been stated earlier we've listened multiple times to Kay state "Follow the money" at City Council meetings. It seems like we should be able to follow the money for her group yet there is no trail where there should be one. Kay, Steve Brozosky and Cindy McGovern all know about campaign finance rules from being elected officials and were all actively involved in the referendum efforts so there should be plenty of knowledge of how this works. Again, what is it they don't want the public to know. . .


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Posted by aghast
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2008 at 11:46 am

They don't want the public to know the money behind this is a resident who owns land right above the approved development, who had a proposed big mansion of his own before the planning dept (it since has been pulled) and who tried to "negotiate" a huge settlement with the developer over a right away and then reneged on an agreement. I think we should do what Ms Ayala has said and follow the money.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 17, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Aghast, when she said "follow the money" I am guessing she mean big money not small change. Let's compare an almost 8:1 ratio of spending. The Parks people are well coached, when you are backed in a corner and forced to disclose, go on the Offense. They should be embarrased to disclose $61K of spending money. Rather than admit, "yes it is true" they opt for the tired old adage.... "Yeah, well.... what about you!?"

By the way, any idea why only ONE person - outside the developer, put in money? Perhaps the backers are paid consultants or returning campaign favors, not really passionate supporters?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2008 at 12:29 pm

Karen, go read the Federalist Papers. They are available online. No need for Merriam-Webster nor Oxford.

I find it somewhat humorous that the shoe is on the other foot now. Kay Ayala asked us to use preferential treatment ("hold to a higher standard") in the Hosterman hawk issue. Now as a former council member, her actions are under intense scrutiny too and she finds herself defending them.

I think the basic problem from the beginning is that Ayala and group have been trying to make the whole process easier for themselves by cutting corners. (You can review the council meeting that started this if you don't believe me) Instead of referending two ordinances, they only referended one. The council tried to help by putting in the poison pill language. Interbizten warned at the meeting basically that they better have all their ducks in a row on this one. All the ducks weren't lined up and now the issue is in court. Now it comes out that they didn't report campaign finances, which looks to me like another corner they tried to cut.


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Posted by informed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2008 at 1:17 pm

karen,

the law doesn't discriminate between big and small--you're eiher missing the point or choosing to ignore what the law says. Why aren't YOU asking where the money came from unless you know. EVERYONE is supposed to follow the rules and the rules here are clear. I fail to understand that these folks just don't admitt a mistake and disclose. Again, what are they trying to hide? For some reason, Kay seems to think she is above the rules.

Check the disclosure from keep our park. there were other donations, they just fell below the $25 mark. I attended some of the Keep the park meetings. NO ONE from the developer or representative were there. It was a group of citizens trying to get the real facts out about the development out to the community to counter the misleading statements made by Kay. For example, how many people really know that ONLY 3 out of the 51 sites can be up to 12,500 square feet? Or that the developer is required to create an endowment to maintain the public land so that it doesn't cost the City anything? Or that all the lots considered in the view corridor can only be 25feet tall? Be honest, are you aware of the actual facts around the development?

To say that the citizens involved with keep our park were paid consultants or repaying political favors is flat out untrue. Please talk to some us to find out the facts. That's what's wrong with this whole referendum--we're not dealing with the real facts of the proposal and now where the money came from to finance the ads etc. Is this really about doing what's best for Pleasanton or is there some other agenda here?


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Posted by Anne
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Feb 17, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Informed, I did go to the booth of the keep our park at a farmers market and spoke with Tom Pico. I asked him if he had a financial interest in this project. He was honest enough to state that he was a paid political consultant for this project.

As for political favors, James Tong, the developer of this project, has give a lot of money to campaigns in Pleasanton as well as the Chamber of Commerce (I believe he gave $5,000 to the chamber in one of his checks and that is probably why we saw board members of the chamber working for the keep out park). If you go to the secretary of state's website and search Tong's name as a donor, you will see that he is a large donor to political campaigns. I am sure our elected officials want Tong to be on their side in a future election so I would not be surprised if there were political favors going on not to mention Matt and Jennifer are close friends with Tom Pico.

In interesting case of irony. When Jennifer ran for mayor against Kay Ayala, Jennifer and Matt knocked on doors in the Kottinger Ranch neighborhood and told them that neither one of them would vote for a single house in the Oak Grove area and they told us all that Kay Ayala was the one who would allow housing up there. Not only did Matt and Jennifer support this development, they are still working hard to get it through by working in the booths with the keep our park people and waving signs. It is one thing to vote for a proposal but to then work with the developer after approval to make sure the residents do not referend the project is taking the project too seriously. They must have some self-interest in this project to be working with the developer now.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 17, 2008 at 4:48 pm

I must re-assert what I have carefully stated in all of my posts regarding factions.

I have clearly stated that I am referring to James Madison's Federalist Paper No. 10 as my definition of faction for the present discussion. Read the rest of this paper to see why it is important and applicable to the present situation.

So, please stick to this definition and don't attempt to dilute my arguments by introducing other definitions or obfuscating what I clearly have stated.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 17, 2008 at 5:05 pm

In reading through the recent thread posts it struck me that $61K was considered big money and something about an 8 to 1 ratio.

So, what do you think the bill will be for Ayala's attorneys when the present series of law suites reach a point where they go off the clock? I bet it will match the $61K at least. Who's paying this? Of course, the Lin's are paying their bill. We know that! Ayala must have a banker supporting her side of things or may herself have wealth that exceeds the average you and I so that she can follow her "passion".

In politics it is fair to ask her to "show her money".


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Posted by disgusted
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 17, 2008 at 5:25 pm

To bad all of the money being spent by both sides couldn't be put towards getting the Firehouse Arts Theater started. Something that benefits all the residents by contributing towards maintaining the vitality of our downtown as well as providing a venue for the arts.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 17, 2008 at 10:28 pm

You are right Frank, the bill the Lin's are forcing Kay to ring up with attorney fees is going to be large, and that is highly unfair. Yep there will be a big bill for her, and pocket change for the Lin/Tong group -- and boy don't they know it. Big business harassment to get their way. I hope the Lin's get a penalty fine for intimidation tactics.

Yes, the poison pill technicality could cause her to spend her hard earned money to defend herself. For the rest of us, this is such a complicated issue, even the City Attorney appeared unsure at the time.

Frank, could you please comment on Anne's concerns about "self interest" of Matt and Jennifer. Promises made to collect voter support, then flip flops in support later show a lack of ethics. How could I ever vote for their false promises again? Where is our trust - gone! What is their true motivation -- Mayor again or The State Assembly? You seem very knowledgeable on this subject, and I would really like to know your opinion.


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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 18, 2008 at 12:45 am

Dear Frank,

I would agree, using Madison's definition, the Lin's probably could not be called a "faction" since they have every right to develop their property, if the development is acceptable to the effected community. I apparently was un-clear while attempting to convey this in my prior post - "remove the Lin's from the equation".

With that said, since to my knowledge, Keep Our Park is not a part of the litigation involving the Lin's vs Save Pleasanton Hills referendum(IMO, Keep Our Park can only be seen as a seperate group primarily funded by the developer, per the details in the newspaper article), could one not say, before the referendum or suit was filed, both would fall in the same catagory since both believed, at that time, their position was in the best interest of the community.

You make a good case for "faction" after this mess became legal.

One more little tidbit that was pointed out by a neighbor - when the "Hayward Hotel" went up on the top of Pleasanton Ridge, at that time, wasn't some of the present supporters of Keep Our Park calling for "Somebody Get A Rope". Isn't Oak Grove very similar - homes on top of a hill that can be seen from the valley floor......Hmmmm......Wonder what changed.....

Bet this mess could have been avoided if those involved in the "negotiations", whomever they were, had insisted the homes be located at a lower level.

I"m saving the remainder of my popcorn for the thread that will surely start after the court renders it's decision.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2008 at 9:43 am

It seems popular to compare the "Hayward Hotel" with Oak Grove, but there are some fundamental differences that make such comparisons misleading. For one, Oak Grove homes are not going to be built upon a prominent ridgeline such as the Pleasanton Ridge that is visible from the entire valley floor. The homes will be not much more visible than the Kottinger Ranch homes are already. If you live to the west of this area (like from Bernal/Foothill), all you see are Kottinger Ranch homes. Oak Grove will be most visible only from certain open areas to the north and northeast (like from Stanley/Valley). The hills don't rise high enough for the area to be seen from the valley floor at say Stoneridge/Santa Rita. The hiking trails for the park will actually lie on ridges higher than the homes. The entire Oak Grove property does not contain the primary ridgeline of the southeastern hills. Anyone familiar with Google Earth can investigate the property and the plan in 3D and see this is true. These are the conclusions I came to after doing the same.

Politically, the way the two different "problems" came about and resolved will be/was quite different. The Hayward Hotel was built in Hayward while Oak Grove is within both Pleasanton UGB and city limit lines and Measure B UGB. Thus the Hayward Hotel was not subject to Pleasanton jurisdiction and could not be referended by us therefore resolution was gained on a regional level by negotiations between the cities, with EBRPD getting involved and coughing up funds to purchase the Pleasanton Ridge area. Look at why EBRPD got involved with that issue and not with Oak Grove.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2008 at 9:44 am

I should add... Some of the Oak Grove lots are actually situated at a lower elevation than some of the higher Kottinger Ranch lots.


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Posted by Ms Integrity
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2008 at 11:50 am

Anne:

"As for political favors, James Tong, the developer of this project, has give a lot of money to campaigns in Pleasanton as well as the Chamber of Commerce (I believe he gave $5,000 to the chamber in one of his checks and that is probably why we saw board members of the chamber working for the keep out park). If you go to the secretary of state's website and search Tong's name as a donor, you will see that he is a large donor to political campaigns. I am sure our elected officials want Tong to be on their side in a future election so I would not be surprised if there were political favors going on not to mention Matt and Jennifer are close friends with Tom Pico.

In interesting case of irony. When Jennifer ran for mayor against Kay Ayala, Jennifer and Matt knocked on doors in the Kottinger Ranch neighborhood and told them that neither one of them would vote for a single house in the Oak Grove area and they told us all that Kay Ayala was the one who would allow housing up there. Not only did Matt and Jennifer support this development, they are still working hard to get it through by working in the booths with the keep our park people and waving signs. It is one thing to vote for a proposal but to then work with the developer after approval to make sure the residents do not referend the project is taking the project too seriously. They must have some self-interest in this project to be working with the developer now."

Great observations!!!

It would be interesting to find out if Hosterman and Sullivan have ever received any campaign contributions from Charter Properties, Tong, Pico, or the Lins!

Also, did Hosterman and Sullivan violate the Brown Act while working together for the Oak Grove Project? They have a record of violating the Brown Act on the proposed increase in the City "stipend" for elected city officials, as called to the City's attention by Ms. Alaya...that cost the local taxpayers in terms of increased City Staff time.

With regards to the flip-flopping of Hosterman and Sullivan on their positions on the Oak Grove project, they have demonstrated their lack of integrity...on this and other issues. For example, they sucessfully referended the Merritt project by defending the right of the voters to make a decision...but would deny the same rights to the voters on the Oak Grove project (pehaps because they are on the Council now...what a difference being in power makes!!!) These are very arrogant council persons...who do not believe in democracy!!!!











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Posted by also disgusted
a resident of Sycamore Place
on Feb 18, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Anne, it is interesting you experience with Jennifer and Matt during the elections stating they would not support any homes at Oak Grove to get your vote. We had the same experience here in the Sycamore area. Both Jennifer and Matt came to our neighborhood and said they would not support a bypass road at all since it would go by our neighborhood and they would not support Lund Ranch 2.

Since then, Matt and Jennifer flipped on the bypass road and they now say that Oak Grove is a model for Lund Ranch 2. They have no integrity. It sounds like they went to every neighborhood and said what the neighborhood wanted to hear so they can get elected. I have no idea what they stand for anymore except to keep themselves in office.


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Posted by ditto
a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 18, 2008 at 3:16 pm

I think I see a pattern here. Both Matt and Jennifer came to our neighborhood and told us that over their dead body would they allow the Stoneridge Extension to go through or be left in the general plan. I guess their lied to us also. Have they no integrity? How do they sleep at night? I wonder what other neighborhoods they went to and made campaign promises and then completely changed after the election.

Lets see:
Oak Grove - Matt and Jennifer lied
Happy Valley Bypass - Matt and Jennifer ;ied
Lund Ranch 2 - Matt and Jennifer lied
Stonerige Extension - Matt and Jennifer lied

I heard that they also went to the Danbury Park and Vintage Hills neighborhoods and said they would not support the Home Depot. My guess is they have flipped once already on Home Depot and will be flipping back because there was another group that was ready to file a referendum for Home Depot. Having two referendums would be a real vote of no confidence for the elected officials so they are backpeddeling to avoid the second referendum on this term. I am sure Jennifer has been meeting with the Home Depot developers to tell them to pull the project for now so it does not make her look bad.


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Posted by you have got to be kidding
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm

I guess mudslinging feels good, at least for some of you. People hear what they want to hear and people who serve this community often have to adjust their views based on evidence not emotion. How much money do you think it would take to get someone to vote their way? This is a bunch of mudslinging. It is beneath our community. If you disagree, use evidence and be up front enough to use your name. There are more than two people on the council and it certainly takes more than two to pass something. Perhaps they happened to listen to the public hearing and the evidence presented and then voted. Imagine that? Susan


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Good post, Susan. Basically what I read is that public officials like City Council must make decisions based upon well-researched facts and planning that _benefit the entire community_, not just the wishes of a handful of residents. The decision on the Stoneridge extension I think was a prime example of this. I think good, strong leaders are able to make these fact-based decisions and have the ability to align the majority opinion towards them if the decision was unpopular. I don't think Pleasanton has the right strong leaders able to do this though. This is somewhat getting away from the topic at hand though...


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Posted by ditto
a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 18, 2008 at 6:34 pm

To the Stoneridge issue, I am supportive of the extension myself because I believe it benefits the whole community but what I was upset with was the fact that Matt and Jennifer insisted with campaign promises they would not allow the extension to stay in the general plan when talking with our neighborhood. It was not a "I don't currently support the extension", it was a "over my dead body will I allow it to stay in." Honesty is the trait I am looking for. If it were a single issue, it is possible that you could say they received better information, although they should not make such a strong promise, but they did this with so many neighborhoods that it is quite obvious that these were people more interested in staying in office and would say anything to get a vote; even a lie.


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Posted by No mudslinging
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Unfortunately mudslinging takes place at all levels of government. To the extent that President Bush feels that he is doing what is best for this country with the Iraq invasion and the lies about WMD is subject to mudslinging by the democrats and anti-war folks. To the extent that President Clinton lied about Monica Lewinsky was subject to mudslinging by the Republicans and the religious right wing extremists...

Hosterman and Sullivan are typical politicians...no different than Bush or Clintons.

A lie is a lie...and mudslingers are mudslingers. It is the duty of all good citizens to expose these pathological liers...to preserve democracy and the American way!


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 18, 2008 at 7:46 pm

And the smears go round and round, ohhh ohhh ohhhho, and it comes out here!

Jennifer and Matt and Tom, ohhh ohhh ohhhho, and you are so bad!

La, la, laaaa....... it all comes out here....!!!!!

For the music go here... Web Link


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Posted by curious
a resident of Danbury Park
on Feb 18, 2008 at 8:01 pm

karen, is Kay actually paying any of the legal bills or is the "angel" paying the bill? BTW, the law firm being used is tied to the same lawyer the "angel" used at the Planning Commission hearings. Hmmmm

Some people have short memories here. If I'm not mistaken, Kay was endorsed by the Chamber PAC and thereby received money at least indirectly from Jim Tong. Also, Cindy McGovern was endorsed by the Chamber PAC. And if i'm not mistakened, Steve Brozosky received money from Jim Tong or bundled money from him in his race for Mayor. Also, I believe that Kay and Steve were the council members advocating to begin to set aside money for the bypass road in the capital budget. Those in the sycamore area might want to be careful about who is really against the by pass road.

Frankly, I admire politicians, that can stand up and say based on all the current facts and what's in the best interest of the community my earlier position was not right. Matt Sulivan's position on Stoneridge drive is admirable. (Btw, I don't agee with him on much of anything.)

But what's really interesting here is that the proponents of the referendum have attacked the developer based on the transparent disclosures but have yet to address why Kay and her committee don't need to disclosure their sources of money even though the laws seem pretty clear. It would be helpful if Karen or Anne could explain that. Based on earlier posts, its seem clear that the "angel" was not independent of the committee so the question is why didn't Kay form a committee and file a financial disclosure? What is it she's afraid to have in the public domain?


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 18, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Jerry brings up the "Hayward Hotel". Good point. But....

As another poster pointed out, the Hayward Hotel appeared suddenly without a single input from anyone in Pleasanton since the land was/is an extension of Hayward! As a result of the outrage, Hayward voluntarily agreed to limit such future approvals on the ridge. It's not like the Lin's who spent four years negotiating their development with Pleasanton in open view of all of Pleasanton's citizens.

But, there's more. The ridgeline that everybody sees from almost any location here on the valley floor is at an elevation of about 2000 feet mean sea level (MSL). The valley floor upon which we stand is about 400 feet MSL. Therefore, the Hayward Hotel sits about 1600 feet above us. The elevation of the Oak Ridge homes is about 790 feet MSL, a mere 390 feet above us. This is over four times lower that the Hayward Hotel!!!!! The present highest point in Kottinger Hills is already 726 feet MSL. You are looking at those home already.

Few will see any of the homes from most locations in Pleasanton. There is no comparison!!!! Those are the factual numbers. The Hayward Hotel comparison is simply a scare tactic and a bunch of BS put out by Oak Grove opponents. 390 feet versus 1600 feet!


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 18, 2008 at 8:33 pm

To Karen. I'm no apologist or defender of any of the folks. I just go with what I think is fair. Please don't feel so sorry for Ayala. You say she is "forced" to spend money. Nobody is forcing her. Where is the gun being held to her head? In my post I wondered if she is using her money to follow her passion or is there some self-interested party actually funding her attorney fees. Hey, people in this post can smear our elected officials with accusations of money coming from Tong and others but why is Ayala immune from a simple question of who is funding her campaign? If it is out of her personal pocketbook, say so. We'll clap.


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Posted by tickeld
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Oh Frank, I love it!
Are you married?


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 19, 2008 at 9:18 am

Frank, before the romance gets further along, perhaps I should remind you, when a defendant is being sued by someone with deep pockets like Charter/Lin/Tong, you have GOT to defend yourself and your constitution. I thought I read, if she looses, she will be responsible for the Charter/Lin/Tong legal fees! Now that is a big wad of cash!!! Wouldn't you defend yourself?!

Views of the megamanstions are only a part of the offensive characteristics of OG. What about the hill tops that will be lost due to excessive amounts of grading (43' in some places)? What about the possible obscenely large homes that can go on top of the man made "mesas"? Give the chance the Council did not limit the house size at this point (even when asked to limit to 10,000 they voted "no" - a no vote which was lead by Matt Sullivan)? Kottinger Ranch probably shouldn't have been built like it is - I don't know. But do 2 wrongs make a right? Can someone build another Hayward Hilton and say it is OK because one is already on the Western Ridge? That agrument is flawed logic.

There is ONE question I really want to know the answer to...... What fabulous and wonderful benefits will our city gain if OG goes through? Can anyone answer that? The trails are not great, they will be steep and we have quite a few trails right now. A gift to Sunol for a huge piece of land which may have trails, we have the ridge, etc. Why does the council feel so driven to get this through our system? The link in the trail system is not all that important. This is only one link. There has to be many other developments approved WITH trail gifts to extend this mythical trail all the way to Callippee. Conversely, if the City protects the ridges through a vote of the people, we won't have to worry about sprawl up the tops of the hills. We have our housing cap to also control growth.

Again, what is SO great about this development? Not much. Hence the suspicion that politicians are getting the real benefits. Is a local city office that fabulous that they want to cling to their loft raised chairs? A resume builder? A future as a lobbyist? I just don't get it.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 19, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Karen wrote: "What fabulous and wonderful benefits will our city gain if OG goes through? Can anyone answer that?"

If you read all the documentation that wasn't included in the information packet carried by the petitioners, you can find that information out yourself.


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Posted by questioning
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Feb 19, 2008 at 1:41 pm

Karen, I hardly know where to start. How much mud can you throw? How many lies can you tell? How many hours of City leaders and Staff time can you ignore? How many years can you not pay attention, and then suddenly decide to smear anyone who doesn't agree with your narrow-minded, NIMBY attitude? Why don't you tell us all where YOU live. It wouldn't be a neighborhood already built in the hills looking down on the rest of us, would it?

For your information, the City Trails Master Plan from 1992 calls for a system of trails surrounding and criss-crossing our city. It has been a Council priority for years now. The trails through Oak Grove will be a huge link in this system. If the trails are forever locked out of that property, like they are now in Kottinger Ranch, the system will never have a chance to be completed.
And another FYI, when you say that "the trails are not great. They will be steep," don't you know they haven't even been designed yet? And when you say "we have quite a few trails now" don't you realize that trails only make real sense when they're connected? Having some isolated trails are fine in their way, but having a trail system that will allow us to hike from Callippe to Shadowcliffs, or Livermore through Pleasanton and on to Dublin and the Iron Horse, or from the Senior Center through downtown and onto the Iron Horse, for example, will be when we truly have a trail system to be proud of. Maybe you 'just don't get it,' because you prefer not to 'get it.' Maybe you have your own interests at heart rather than all of Pleasanton. Just wondering.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 19, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Karen, I need not answer those charges that some already have quite well addressed.

Legal fee award. This is true. In lawsuits it is standard to include repayment of legal fees. That is the case in Lin's lawsuit.

Now, Ayala by her free choice chose to contest the lawsuit by hiring attorneys and instructing them to counter-sue a SLAPP against the Lin's. In doing so she knowingly elevated her risk of paying Lin's legal fees if she loses because this counter-lawsuit causes the legal fees on the other side to escalate significantly. Let's not forget her own legal fees for this SLAPP lawsuit will be large.

She was not forced to do this. This was a free choice.

Regarding the original Lin's lawsuit, there was an early time window of opportunity for her to decide to contest, or to agree not to contest and negotiate with the Lin's an agreement as such in return for her removal from the suit. She clearly chose not to. By her removal from the suit she would not be placing herself personally at risk if the case was judged in Lin's favor because the suit is simply a Writ of Demand that the city clerk deny the petition. There is no claim for damages, for example.

I wish to note that the City of Pleasanton, a co-defendant, is not doing anything to defend themselves. They are spending NO money on attorneys.

So, before you get the hankerchief out and cry for her (Argentina? Pleasanton?), she had a series of free choice opportunities. And her choices took her case in the direction of large legal fees. That can be read by others that she has the funding. Is it hers and she's spending it to follow her passion, or does it belong to the invisible angel who also purchases ads in the Pleasanton Weekly and chooses not to disclose?

It's politics, so we want to know. Remember, in politics no good deed goes unpunished. This holds true for our council who thought they did good in this four year negotiation on Oak Grove, and it equally holds true for Ayala and her troops who thought they did good for their factional interests of not looking at any more hillside homes other than their own.


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Posted by Susan
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 20, 2008 at 12:41 am

Wow...more misinformation and more mudslinging. How about a few facts?

Fact Check:

-every house must be approved through the city based on strict design guidelines and city council approved restrictions on height, visibility, etc.
-every lot has a maximum FAR (floor area ratio) assigned to it. the FAR at Oak Grove is less than the FAR at Kottinger Ranch
-grading: less for Oak Grove than for Kottinger Ranch
-This privately owned property is within the voter approved Urban Growth Boundary and the voter approved housing cap
-This land is currently zoned for 98 homes
-Benefits: nearly 500 acres of open space given to city and allowed for public access unlike the no trespassing signs seen all over the open space at Kottinger Ranch, developer to build staging area and real restrooms after sale of fifth lot, developer to maintain park at no cost to city, crossing guard at Concord and Hearst, brand new fire truck able to climb hills, $1 million in traffic mitigation fees, fees for our schools (example: a 5000 sq ft home generates $40,000 for our schools nevermind the property taxes)


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Posted by Susan
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 20, 2008 at 12:53 am

I think it admirable when a person can look at an issue and decide based on the facts in front of them. I hardly think it admirable when a person has an opinion and then despite evidence to the contrary pushes along with the same opinion. Good for Matt and Jennifer for reconsidering Stoneridge Drive to the benefit of the entire community. Same goes for reconsidering Home Depot. Three councilmembers changed positions when they had some new evidence. Should they have stuck to their original position just to avoid the title of flip-flopper? Please!

Hosterman has declared her intent for running for Mayor of Pleasanton in November 2008 when her seat is up for reelection. She is not running for State Assembly. She lives in the 20th AD and Assemblymember Alberto Torrico is running for reelection. Any person could do their homework and figure it out, but I assume it is more fun to throw around make believe aspirations to pad the "bought by the developer" argument. By the way, in the interests of facts, Jim Tong gave more money to Steve Brozosky than to Jennifer Hosterman in the last election.

If Kay Ayala is not "bought and paid for" by anyone, then why won't she file her paperwork which is required by state law? I guess it is more fun to hurl dirt at the other side. I am crystal clear on the interests of the developer here, I am still wondering about the interests of Kay Ayala and others associated with the referendum. Steve Brozosky and Cindy McGovern put their name on this...shouldn't they encourage their buddy Kay to follow the law? November election issue, anyone?


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Posted by State Law Compliance
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 20, 2008 at 1:20 am

State Campaign Finance Law

"A referendum becomes a measure when the proponents begin to circulate signature petitions to qualify for the ballot. A person or group must file a statement of organization (form 410) within 10 calendar days of becoming a committee by receiving contributions of $1000 or more in a calendar year.

The obligation to begin counting contributions arises when a proposal becomes a measure. If the proposal is a referendum, it becomes a measure when proponents begin circulating petitions to qualify the proposal for the ballot.

Once a proposal becomes a measure, contributions received and expenditures made count toward the $1000 threshold for becoming a committee and are reportable, even if the contribution or expenditure took place before the proposal became a measure.

If the committee received contributions before the proposal became a measure the committee must report the names of contributors who had reason to know their contributions were used in supporting or opposing the qualification of the measure, or in supporting or opposing the measure's passage. The contributor would have reason to know if, for example, the commitee placed an ad asking to support or oppose the measure.

What is a Contribution?
A contribution is a monetary or nonmonetary payment such as money, nonmonetary items such as donated goods and services, or payments made by a third party for advertising or other communications.

Expenditures
Generally speaking, when someone other than the measure committee pays for a communication supporting the committee position on the measure, the committee has received a nonmonetary contribution."

Quoted from the FPPC's "Campaign Disclosure Manual 3: Information for Committees Primarily Formed to Support or Oppose a Ballot Measure" which can be found at
Web Link


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2008 at 9:59 am

First let me state I live in the Vintage Hills area, not Kottinger Ranch. Kottinger has their own entrance and exit off of Hearst Drive, which is fine with me. I cut through their neighborhood as much as they drive through mine. All is good.

However, when Oak Grove goes in, new home owners will burden their neighbors with a lot of extra traffice down Hearst/Concord/Touriga/Crellin and Kottinger Roads - and none of us like that.

Second - Dear Miss Susan Fact checker, if OG does NOT go in, we won't need:

Fact Check:

WON'T NEED:-every house must be approved through the city based on strict design guidelines and city council approved restrictions on height, visibility, etc.


WON'T NEED: -every lot has a maximum FAR (floor area ratio) assigned to it. the FAR at Oak Grove is less than the FAR at Kottinger Ranch

WON'T MATTER -grading: less for Oak Grove than for Kottinger Ranch
(BTW - are you sure? There was no EIR for KR recheck those facts. OG is moving 70,000 cubic feet of dirt)

APPROVED FOR THE AREA, BUT NOT VOTER APPROVED FOR THE DEVELOPMENT! LETS VOTE ON THIS AND FIND OUT!OH YES, THE DEVELOPER DOESN'T WANT US TO-This privately owned property is within the voter approved Urban Growth Boundary and the voter approved housing cap


LET'S VOTE ON IT!-This land is currently zoned for 98 homes


WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO STOP WHINNING ABOUT KR TRAILS? DID THE CITY ASK FOR ACCESS TO KR TRAILS BACK 15 TO 20 YEARS AGO--NO! LET'S LET THE VOTERS (NOT BLOGGERS) DECIDE IF THEY WANT A TRAIL, A BATHROOM, A STAGING AREA, ETC -Benefits: nearly 500 acres of open space given to city and allowed for public access unlike the no trespassing signs seen all over the open space at Kottinger Ranch (I THINK THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY - CAN I GO IN YOUR YARD, PLAY TENNIS AT LAGUNA OAKS, SWIM IN THE POOLS AT THE STONERIDGE CONDOS?), developer to build staging area and real restrooms after sale of fifth lot (WON'T NEED IT), developer to maintain park at no cost to city (VOTERS CAN DECIDE IF THEY WANT THE TRADE OF A RIDGETOPS FOR A TRAIL & BATHROOM), crossing guard at Concord and Hearst (WON'T NEED IT), brand new fire truck able to climb hills (WON'T NEED IT), $1 million in traffic mitigation fees, fees for our schools (WON'T NEED IT) (example: a 5000 sq ft home generates $40,000 for our schools nevermind the property taxes)DON'T NEED IT AND DON'T WANT MORE TRAFFIC AT VINTAGE HILLS, PMS OR AMADOR AND DON'T WANT MORE TRAFFIC ON OUR ALREADY OVER FILLED ROADS.

Susan, is the best you can offer? Most of these so called benefits are addressing the extra burden the new homes and roads will place on our city. There is no problems on Hearst and Concord NOW, so we won't need a crossing guard - YET.

There are certainly a few of you (or two people signing on with many names)that want this trail system. But what about the majority? Do MOST people want this trade? Do most people in Pleasanton want this trail system? Why is the developer so afraid of letting the public decide? Because their survey's and test groups strongly indicate that you are the vocal minority! Let's vote and you will see.

Lastly, when elected most of our council was voted in to PROTECT the hills - that was why they won their elections. Flip flopping is critical because it does NOT represent the voters that endorsed, supported and ultimately voted for them.


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Posted by Nicole
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Karen, you asked for the benefits and then dismissed them when Susan explained her point. The caps, the sarcasm? I thought we were having a discussion. Just because you don't agree doesn't mean you need to be personal. This is beneath the character of Pleasanton. Stop the meaness!

No wonder people do not want to post under their real names!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 21, 2008 at 8:28 pm

I sometimes wonder how Karen is able to decide single-handedly that Pleasanton doesn't need a crossing guard at Concord and Hearst, a brand new fire truck able to climb hills, $1 million in traffic mitigation fees, fees for our schools, etc. I also sometimes wonder how Karen is able to decide what kind of park Pleasanton should get. How is Karen able to determine for us all that 51 homes is going to be such an extra burden? Certainly it is less of a burden than the 98 homes the property is currently zoned for.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2008 at 9:07 am

Well Nicole & Stacy;

I can't respond in any text other than caps in this limited text format, so that is what I used to show my comments. It was not shouting, just showing my response - no meaness or anger here. If you can show me how to show comments in bold, italics, color, etc. I will use it.

Second, as you can see by my neighborhood. "a resident of..", I know more about Hearst and Concord than most people in town, and no there is no problem - yet.

Lastly, 51 homes IS less than 98. Is this a math lesson? Zero, 15 , 25 and 35 are all less than 51 too. Fact is almost everyone I talk to - outside of this blog, doesn't want OG, doesn't want hillside homes, doesn't want more students in tneir schools, doesn't want the whole deal - period. Yes some say, who cares, but they aren't they type that get off their computer chairs and go vote.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2008 at 11:40 am

Karen, you're right, zero homes are less than 51, but, as much as you or the people you talk to would like, you really can't legally take away the Lins' right to develop that land unless you were to somehow purchase the land outright (see US Constitution, 5th Amendment).

As you can see by my neighborhood, I don't live in the area, but that doesn't mean I know less about it than Karen. People move, Karen. Before Kottinger Ranch was built, traffic was even less. Your judgment on traffic is quite relative.


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Posted by Shelley
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 22, 2008 at 1:27 pm

"Fact is almost everyone I talk to - outside of this blog, doesn't want OG, doesn't want hillside homes, doesn't want more students in tneir schools, doesn't want the whole deal - period"
--poor statistical sampling. How convenient that everyone you talk to all think and emote like you. It makes things easier, doesn't it?


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 24, 2008 at 8:59 am

Your lack of logic is astounding. Try stepping away from the computer and talk to 5200 people that want a chance to vote!

Again, why is the developer so afraid of letting the public vote? Because the majority doesn't want it! Just ask the test audiences in Dublin or a person on the the street. Or the only 10 people have asked to have their names removed from the referendum - YES 10 out of more than 5200 pleasanton residents. Do you want to call that poor statistical sampling?

This is going around in circles isn't it? Present new information or stop blogging.


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Posted by Shelley
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 24, 2008 at 8:15 pm

It's possible that the 5200 people you claim to have spoken to were looking to be spoken to and persuaded by misleading statements regarding the referendum. When conducting a survey, 30% of the population represents a good statistical sample. This is common knowledge learned in any college-level statistics class. 5200 is only 14% of the 36,720 who voted in November 2006, only 4% more than the required minimum 10% for the petition to be counted (Web Link). So when you write, "Your lack of logic is astounding. Try stepping away from the computer and talk to 5200 people that want a chance to vote!" then I must wonder whether you actually proofread and think through your comments before clicking the submit button.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 24, 2008 at 11:27 pm

Shelley, the computer is making you loose track of you own quoting ability. I never spoke to 5200 people! Over 50 signature gathers did! I appreciate your confidence, but there is no way that would be possible.

I am recommending YOU talk to some of the 5200 signers. Learn their motivation, like some of the folks I spoke to that did their research. There were many times I was talking to people at the farmer's market and they went to the "Park" people to ask what the problem was in letting the people vote. It was great because it made signature gathering even easier! The best response I got from a resident was, There is no way our Mayor is supporting this - she is against development! Sorry to tell you ma'am, but yes, she is in favor of THIS one.

Can anyone tell me why the Keep our Park Website no longer exists? To register a site on Go Daddy is like $10 per year! Could it be that no one is willing to pay the minor fee?


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Posted by Shelley
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 24, 2008 at 11:39 pm

"Shelley, the computer is making you loose track of you own quoting ability. I never spoke to 5200 people! Over 50 signature gathers did! I appreciate your confidence, but there is no way that would be possible."
Oops, my bad! I guess I have poor reading comprehension like everyone else in Pleasanton. I am simply a 25 year old product of our public schools and higher education institutions.
"Try stepping away from the computer and talk to 5200 people that want a chance to vote!" ---What does that mean anyway? You write as though you have spoken to 5200 people. Did you speak to 5200 people? Do you know for a fact that they were all educated immensely on the development plan and "14lbs" of documents you et al failed to attach to the petition? Tyranny of the minority, I say! Although, don't try to comprehend what I'm typing because it's obvious that the computer screen is making me cross-eyed.
In the end, that land is going to be developed in some way or form whether you or the other 5200 like it or not. 50 years from now when you're dead because you kept over-consuming like the good American you are, you won't even know or care if those hillsides are developed or not!
C'est la vie!


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 25, 2008 at 8:51 am

Shelley;

You just plain scare me with your racist comments. No I don't look at the racial mix on the bus. I see Wheels buses full of kids at PMS, Amador and other schools. Kids of ALL races. And no I don't ride the bus my self, but my son does on occassion. By the way, what color do you think I am?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Shelley
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 25, 2008 at 10:30 am

Karen, you scare me living in your bubble! #10 line, anytime, anyday. Just try it. You'll see. Stating observations about the racial mix using buses is not a racist comment! If it is, then all those researchers at UC Berkeley in the Ethnic Studies and African American Studies, and Asian American Studies, and Native American Studies departments must all be racist too. "Your lack of logic is astounding. Try stepping away from the computer"


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 25, 2008 at 11:32 am

Karen,
I found it a little ironic that you can tell Shelley off that she misquoted you and then _you_ misquote Shelley and claim she made a racist comment. Please explain what is racist about observing (in another thread) that most of the riders of the #10 bus are not white? It seems no different to me from a census website reporting a demographic statistic on the racial makeup of Pleasanton. Or is this just more mudslinging?

Also, what does this have to do with the lack of campaign finance disclosure from your group? Has Kay Ayala still not reported it? Who paid for the full-page PW ad?


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