Judge Has Ruled the Oak Grove Petition Invalid Around Town, posted by frank, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2008 at 5:17 pm
At the Superior Court web site Judge Roesch has posted his rulings in this lawsuit. Basically, he points out that while all of the documents in the development plan did not need to be available, at least relevant portions of it should have been since otherwise the conditions of approval are either meaningless or even possibly misleading.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2008 at 6:34 pm
Although I have mixed feelings about the whole thing, I did think there was something unusual about the way the signatures were collected. Being relatively uninformed on the issue, I was approached, outside of my local Walgreens store, by a person wanting me to sign the petition. I said I needed more time and more information: was there anything in writing explaining it? was there a website I could go to and later on sign if they gave me a contact person? I was told that time was of the essence, that they could explain to me everything I needed to know (verbal explanation).
Since I oppose the signing of documents without knowing what I am doing, I had to say no thanks, but they were persistent!
I wonder how many people signed without understanding what they were doing.
Posted by Angela, a resident of the Heritage Valley neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2008 at 9:49 pm
Keep Our Park
March 20, 2008
JUDGE STRIKES DOWN OAK GROVE
Decision Ends Costly June Referendum Drive and Helps Speed the Donation of Open Space to the City of Pleasanton
PLEASANTON—Community supporters of a plan to donate almost 500 acres of open space to the City of Pleasanton for public trails and recreation applauded a court ruling today that concluded project opponents deceived residents during a referendum drive targeted for the June ballot.
“This decision is a victory for the Lin Family, the city and the residents of Pleasanton and a repudiation of the deceptive tactics used by a small group of opponents to misrepresent a project that has widespread community support,” said Marty Inderbitzen, attorney for the Lin family, owners of the Oak Grove property. “When we initiated this project, we made a commitment to an open, honest and candid process that would involve the entire community. That’s why we have spent four years of intensive planning with elected officials, homeowners’ associations, environmentalists and community leaders and held open house sessions, participated in ‘First Wednesdays,’ and nine formally noticed public hearings before City committees, commissions and the City Council.”
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch invalidated a petition that opponents had circulated to place the Oak Grove project on the ballot. The judge said opponents misled residents into signing the petition by failing to provide the full text of the ordinance approved by the Pleasanton City Council.
The court’s decision saves Pleasanton from having to hold an expensive election with taxpayer dollars. With no further delays, Pleasanton gets almost 500 acres of new park land – twice as large as Augustin Bernal – with trails suitable for hiking, biking and equestrian uses, a staging area and other amenities. A developer-funded endowment will maintain the open space in perpetuity.
Despite the extensive community planning process and the council’s near-unanimous approval, a small group of opponents mounted a campaign to place the council’s decision before voters. However, the petition that opponents circulated to get the referendum on the ballot failed to include the very ordinance it sought to challenge, a fatal flaw according to the judge’s ruling.
Oak Grove supporters challenged the petition in court when they heard from many residents who learned only after they signed the petition that they were not given complete information about the project. There were many more who stated that, had they seen the additional information, they would not have signed the petition.
The 497 acres being donated to the city as part of the Oak Grove project will serve as the first and most significant step in the creation of a 2,000-acre greenbelt to protect and buffer Pleasanton’s southern border against future development forever.
Posted by frank, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2008 at 9:52 pm
Today Ayala filed a Notice Of Appeal regarding the decision by the judge. It can be found under Register of Actions under case RG07361370.
So, the drama continues.
It will be interesting to see what her arguments will be when she files with the appeals court. They will have to be convincing if she additionally asks an appeals court for a temporary injunction against the Lin's to stop them from going forward with their development and expects to get one. However, an injunction may be irrelevant since any development is not likely to begin for some time.
Posted by a voter, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2008 at 10:20 pm
Why does it seem like this blog is the same people commenting their biased opinions on the referendum? There were over 5200 people who signed the petition--that is over the 3600 required. Why do you persist in saying that everyone was coerced? I sought out the signature-gatherers because I want the town to vote on this, not have this decision made by politically-influenced City Council officials. Only a public vote would show that the greater population of Pleasanton does not want large homes on the hills. Stop your whining and let educated people vote. Don't be fooled by all these obvious "plants."
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2008 at 8:28 am
Being called a "plant" or thought of as someone else (I've been accused of being the Mayor) is getting really old in these Oak Grove threads. It seems like this occurs because the accuser has the inability to debate, becomes frustrated when their arguments don't work, and then ends up rationalizing bizarre conclusions as to why. It is like getting a math problem wrong then saying the reason must be because the math teacher was conspiring against the student. A Voter asks, "Why does it seem like this blog is the same people commenting their biased opinions on the referendum?". The explanation is much simpler than to believe there is a conspiracy of referendum opponents planting themselves. We're vocal frequenters of this website.
Furthermore, "over 5200" is not the entire voting population of Pleasanton so it is difficult for A Voter to make claims regarding what the majority want.
BTW, there is no requirement that you actually have to be educated in order to be a voter. You just have to be a U.S. citizen 18 years of age and older.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Jensen Tract neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2008 at 2:48 pm
"Furthermore, 'over 5200' is not the entire voting population of Pleasanton so it is difficult for A Voter to make claims regarding what the majority want."
It would NOT be difficult to know what the majority of voters want. If it was allowed to go on the ballot we would have a definitive answer. Oak Grove supporters know the project would be denied so they will not allow it.
Posted by frank, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2008 at 7:11 pm
Let's be more precise here about the 4200 validated signatures. They represent about 10 to 15 percent of the registered voters in Pleasanton. These voters signed a petition to put an issue to vote before the general electorate. They DO NOT represent a majority position.
About 85 percent of the registered electorate so far has chosen the case where they do not want to vote or don't care to vote the issue in a general election. With all of the publicity as well as the extensive signature gathering efforts you would think that the number of valid signatures would have been considerably higher if the above statement in this paragraph is not largely true. The number would need to be 50+ percent to represent a majority.
To take 4200 signatures and expand that to saying a majority wants to vote on the issue is clearly unjustified.
85 percent is not just a majority but is far larger than a super-majority (66 percent).
The position that 4200 signers actually represent is the taking of an ordnance, which was passed by the elected representatives of the majority and vetted over four years through public processes, and subjecting it to a forced vote on the general electorate to test their speculation that it is a bad ordnance.
The supporters of this referendum have their logic upside down.