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Opinion poll regarding Measure D

Original post made by Yes on Open Space on May 6, 2010

I received a "public opinion" poll call from a Flagstaff, AZ number. After a few questions concerning what I thought of the problems facing Pleasanton, and my opinions of various City Council members, I was asked my opinion of Kay Ayala. (This raised a red flag, given that she is not on the council. Why would my opinion of a private citizen matter?) After a few more questions, I was asked to give my opinion of various statements concerning Measure D, and the effect these statements would have on my vote. I agreed to listen to one statement, which was, "Did you know that if Measure D is approved, the city and schools will receive over $3 million dollars?

I ended the call at this point.

Someone is paying for the poll. It's not the city, since it, via the city council, has effectively paid for the ultimate poll (the ballot measure). It's not the No on D coalition; they don't have funding for that, nor anything to gain financially should the measure pass or fail. I concluded it must be the owners/developers of Oak Grove, and the purpose of the "poll" is to get opinions in order to tailor their message to voters. Anything I said or didn't say could only help that group, and thus I ended the call.

I was warned that the pollsters would only call back, and when I informed the caller that I was on the no-call list, I was told that the no-call does not apply to public opinion polls.

I'm not going to re-hash the facts concerning Measure D; they have been stated and re-stated many times in this publication and others. I am going to state my opinion, however, which is that the owners of Oak Grove, having failed in the courts, are now attempting to sell their plan to the voters. Every sales pitch emphasizes the good points, the benefits, while downplaying or ignoring the bad. Every sales pitch contains an element of truth that makes it sound believable and beneficial; $1 million in money for road improvements sounds like a good idea until you realize that those improvements wouldn't be necessary if there was no development. The sales pitch to voters is the smart move; their last move, and, I hope, a failing move. There is nothing wrong (in fact, there is everything right) in acting in one's own self-interest, but not at my expense.

Beware of the pollsters; don't react as I almost did by giving them information. If you support Measure D, continue to support it; and press the city council for open space legislation for the lands surrounding Pleasanton as the next step.

Comments (25)

Posted by I got that call too, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2010 at 9:50 pm

This developer will spend a fortune trying to force this development on us. The fake survey is really just a rouse to make us listen to their sales speech for 20 minutes. I was sick of it!!

I don't know Kay but she is a private citizen and does not deserve to get sued or be a part of their war path.

Kick em out of town for their unethical behavior. Lin's - Go Home!

Posted by Pete, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2010 at 10:36 pm

I received the same phone call. I'm sure it was monitored. The girl was very pleasant and a little scattered when asking her questions. It did concern Measure "D" and was an attempt to try and understand the logic,you would require,to pass the measure. Every past,present and possibly future candidate was asked about in a pleasant way. There was a lot of giggling in the background...take it for what its worth.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 6, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Legislation to protect open space is not as secure as conservation easements and land dedications. If you value protecting the southeast hills from further development, you'll vote YES on D so that 90% of the land is put into a conservation easement (paid for by the developer).

Posted by Wish I got call, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2010 at 11:17 pm

I would love to give my opinions. But, I don't answer any calls if I don't hear the caller identify himself OR his purpose. I LOVE all polls and would have been happy to answer IF I knew that's what the call is.
I certainly say YES on D...and get to it FAST.. Quick before the judge says put 150 sudsidized units on the site !! That WOULD serve the 'NO' dummies right! They might wish they had PUSHED for some beautiful mansions, and FAST before they get stuck for something else !! I'd sure rather have the property tax revenue from 51 mansions, over PAYING for masses of SUBSIDIZED LOW-income houses. Just to maintain average resale VALUE, since the courts say we HAVE to build MORE SUBSIDIZED houseing, we need to average in MANSION VALUES...we'll just have to wait to see if our investments, still are. (investments, that is).

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on May 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I also received the survey call and told them I wasn't allowed to have an opinion....End of call...

By the way, let's protect the southeast hills from this development and trust PP and QQ will do their job in the future... Just my opinion(I lied. I'm allowed to have one opinion)...

Posted by No on D, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2010 at 7:16 am

They must have called most of the town with their survey. At 27,000+ homes, that is a lot of calls and a lot of MONEY!

Stacey, the tri-valley conservancy never promised to take on this project. They said there if no money set aside for them to take this on by either the city or the developer, they won't take it, perhaps- ever. If the developer doesn't pay - then you and I will. Have you ever seen a Pleasanton Park Ranger? Who is going to pay their salaries? Who is going to carry the insurance on the land in case the dry grass burns down a $3M house or 10, or someone falls and breaks their neck? Who is going to pay to keep the bathrooms clean, the trash picked up, the trail repairs from mud slides, from horse poop, etc? You and I will.

Save the hills NOW, vote NO on D for your kids, because we don't need any more ugly McMansions on the ridges, because huge grading projects are a sign to "pass" on a bad development, and because this land owner would sue almost anyone in their way, but that can't sue a NO on D vote!

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2010 at 8:24 am

Stacey is a registered user.

And the sky might fall too! I guess that's all very good reasons for why to turn down placing 496 acres into a conservation easement and lose the opportunity for public access to those hills?

Oak Grove is expected to generate roughly $200,000 property tax revenue to the City. You were saying about salaries and maintenance?

Posted by justthefacts, a resident of Amador Estates
on May 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm

To "Wish I got a Call"

You are being 'scared' by half-truths from the developer. There are plenty of infill locations witing Pleasanton which would be ideal for affordable housing...near bart and the freeway. If Measure D gets defeated, no one will put 150 units on the tops of the hills.

Rather than suing everyone in sight, if the developer were to comply with PP and QQ, they could still develop. The difference would be fewer homes (the estimate is between 29 and 31...they wouldn't be visible...and the developer would be responsible for the land and liability rather than 'gifting' it to the City.

The developer is spending 10's of thousands of dollars to promote this project. Follow the money - they don't care about Pleasanton, only the bottom line. They have hired professional PR firms and professional out of town pollsters. Heck, one of the poeple handing out literature at the Farmers market is a paid PR person from San Francisoc. Be skeptical and don't believe the propaganda.

The developer does not live here. They won't have to look at these hills once they have been destroyed.

The opponents of Proposition D are all Pleasanton residents. It is a very 'grass roots' campaign by folks who are trying to get the message out. Comply with PP and QQ and don't destroy ridges.

Vote No on Measure D.

Posted by Wish I got call, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Justhe....., NOBODY SCARES me !!! I KNOW the facts and I LIKE nice house and wide open spaces. We're not in Kansas anymore ! 'something' will be there. I'll opt for lots of open space, and a few magnificent houses. I'll fight like hell to stop MORE susidized housing...we're full up with shopping carts abandoned on corners from the 3rd worlders. That's BAD enough, but it expect me to PAY for it. Go find another cause. This cause is beautifyinng forever the East side and shame on you for not going with it.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The National Sierra Club are all Pleasanton residents? Wow!

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I don't know where this number about 29-31 homes is coming from. PP dictates a 10 home limit for the exemption. Are you saying that Oak Grove is already subdivided into three different parcels?

Posted by justthefacts, a resident of Amador Estates
on May 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm


The 10 home limit is an exemption from the requirements of PP.

The developers and others have already studied this (they won't admit it, however) early on. Under PP, you can develop on less than a 25% grade and not within 200 feet of the ridgeline. If you apply that to Oak Grove and the land, it results in about 28-31 homes.

IMHO, this would all go away if the developer would just comply with PP and QQ.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

They could also just build 10 large mansion-ranch-estates on top of the ridges and still comply with PP. I do not see any guarantees for that land other than to vote YES on D and place 496 acres (90% of the property) into a conservation easement. Measure D is the bird in the hand. All other alternatives are the two in the bush.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

For example, there's absolutely no guarantee that the poison pill language will hold up in court in which case your guess about 29-31 homes is just fanciful thinking. The poison pill language circumvents the normal referendum process defined under State law. Do you know of any case law where two ordinances were successfully referended by only referending one of the ordinances?

Posted by justthefacts, a resident of Amador Estates
on May 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Less than 10 homes still have to go through the normal reviews - planning commission (unless overridden by the City Council like with Oak Grove) and the City Council. It is just that with less than 10 homes, the provisions of PP are not automatically applied.

The conservation easement could still be done under PP. Based on your comment about the poison pill language and court tells me something else. If Measure D is defeated, are you implying that the Lins will sue AGAIN? What do you know here? It is an interesting thought...measure D is defeated and the Lins sue the city (and who knows who else) to invalidate the poison pill language. Do they sue to enforce the development agreement anyway? Isn't it great having a developer who really wants to work with the community. I guess that is what happens when you live 10,000 miles away.

I don't know if it was intentional or not but you have pointed to a very interesting strategy that the Lins will probably employ. With them and the money that they are spending, nothing would surprise me.

I have to work this weekend but I have enjoyed our exchange.

(P.S. Vote No on D - I will take the bush...;))

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"If Measure D is defeated, are you implying that the Lins will sue AGAIN? What do you know here?"

I know nothing other than what is in the public record. I guess you missed the Council meeting where an attorney for the developer asked the Council to consider removing the poison pill language. Do you know why lawyers speak at such meetings? Because they can only bring suit on some detail of a topic that has been spoken about at a public meeting. If you want to know what possible future court cases look like, just pay attention to what lawyers say at Council meetings.

Now you could interpret this as the developer not wanting to work with the community. I interpret it differently. The developer already has worked with the community going back to after the last proposal for 98 homes and a golf course was referended. The community said, "Come work with us on a compromise plan. Let's make something that is beneficial to both of us." Now the developer did that, took the time and spent the money to try working with the community and what has come of it? Another referendum. Put yourself in the Lins' shoes. Would you sit down again with the community to work on yet another compromise plan that will take another many years and could still end up in referendum? You'd be thinking, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Which side really is showing bad faith?

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

No, you'd be thinking, "Time to protect my rights via the courts."

Posted by Maria, a resident of Downtown
on May 8, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Why do the "No" supporters bash the Lin Family? They want to develop their property!!! They run into obstacles everywhere they turn. I wouldn't blame them if they sued the City of Pleasanton if this does not pass. I imagine if the City told a Pleasanton homewowner that they could not sell their home, or that they could only sell it to certain people, that homeowner may resort to legal action. Get off the Lins and stick to the facts!

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 8, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Please flip open your Sample Ballot and Voter Information Pamphlet to page PLMD-8. In the second column is a section entitled "The No Development Alternative". This is one of the alternatives examined in the Environmental Impact Report. Notice that this "No Development" alternative was found to be infeasible due to the designation for residential development under the General Plan.

"It may reasonably be assumed that, if the current proposal should not be approved, an alternative proposal would be brought forward."

This all means that the only way to truly prevent development in Oak Grove is to buy the property from the Lins.

Next, flip to page PLMD-37. Under the section "Open Space Area", No. 74 details the dedication of the land and the creation of a conservation easement. The last sentence says, "The developer and/or other source shall contribute the funding; the City will not be required to contribute."

Posted by Mike, a resident of Downtown
on May 9, 2010 at 11:24 am

Stacey, the developer will contribute to the funding to create the easement but there is no agreement on how the maintenance will be paid for. You can guarantee that if this was not specifically in the agreement, the developer will not be paying for it. If this project plan went to the planning commission, they would have caught this oversight. However, my concerns on this project on not on the maintenance of the easement but rather the 62,000 truckloads of dirt being moved to another part of the property, and the Oak trees that will be destroyed.

I think the issue with the "Lins" is more than who they are but who they represent. They represent people who have no interest in our community, or ties to it, except they purchased some land for speculation. They have purchased a lot of land in Pleasanton, Livermore, and Dublin. The Dublin projects on their land look just awful, in my opinion, as they have destroyed what were the Dublin Hills. Not only are the Lins not from our community, or even an adjacent community, they do not live in this country. They have no vested interest in this property except to make money. They really do not care what the community thinks on the projects or what they do to our local environment; they never have to look at it. The only connection the Lins have to our communities is through lawyers. I am not saying we should not allow them to develop anything. I believe there is a plan out there. They might not make as much money on the land but there is something that could fit on parts of their property without the destruction they are proposing.

Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on May 9, 2010 at 11:47 am

To 'Mike' - If the 'Lins' were 5th generation California resident 'Smiths', would this be any different?

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2010 at 7:15 pm

In this particular case, what the Lin's did is what the city asked them to do. They came in with a plan. the city said NO. Go out and meet with the public. They met with stakeholders and participated in between 9 and 11 public meetings. They are contributing 496 acres of public accessible open space. The reason the developments look they way they do in other communities is that the city council approved them.

This reduces the number of homes from 98 to 51. Provides many things to the community and pays more that the contractual mitigations required by the city and the school district.

People who represent the Lin's do live in the community and some of them have lived here their entire life. Their lawyers live here, grew up here and have a vested interest in what goes on in this community.

Racism under the guise of caring???? I have heard some comments that embarrass me. I would not want my children to hear some of the things being said. There is a reason why justice is blind.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of California Reflections
on May 10, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I am afraid the whole Oak Grove discussion is making me like attorneys even less than before.

The Lin representative may have attended the meetings, and they may have reduced the house count, but then they doubled the house size in exchange. There was not 'gift' of sq. ft. reduction.

How do you define a stake holder? The public is strongly in favor of ridgeline protection, are they stake holders?

Sorry, when the best support you can offer for a personal spin on behalf of the land owner who will never see the destruction of the hills, is that their lawyers live here.... it is time to log off. The lawyers are paid to do a job, and they have done it quite well. They have racked up endless billable hours and made a huge amount of money doing so. No tears here.

Posted by Don't believe everything the builder tells you, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 10, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Goodness, what chumps people will let themselves become when they want something. The Lins are NOT producing a thing over what they have been asked for except the land "donation.".
The fire truck is for the community due to the fact that Oak Grove would be built in a wild fire area (greater than 5 minute response time to start putting out a fire). No other community would require this. The 1 million in traffic mitigation is for a traffic light needed for the community. There is no plan for any extra $$$ to fix other traffic woes in Pleasanton.
The 2 million in school fees is NOT a gift from the Lin's but money that the home builder will have to fork out to get their permits (there is absolutely no
guarantee that the homeowners will pay this fee, none, nada; despite what the developer promises). The money can only be used for buildings (to house the new students from the project for one thing) and not for teachers and programs.
There is NO "extra" bond money generated from this project despite what the yes on D's tells everyone. The amount the community pays to the district remains exactly the same it's just that the rest of the taxpaying households will pay a few pennies less a year.
The ADA money the district receives per pupil everyday comes from the state and is determined by what kind of district we have (rural or not) and NOT by the number of large tax generating homes. We could build a thousand more 12,000 square ft homes
and the dollar per pupil amount we receive would remain unchanged.
Why do people want to believe that this project offers so much to the community when it just does not?
The open space from the land giveaway has not been put into a conservancy either. Tri Valley Conservancy requires a party to pay for the yearly inspections. The city of Pleasanton would have to cover this along with the trail, parking lot and bathroom upkeep-along with insurance coverage. While this may seem like a pittance to most it is certainly not "FREE."

Posted by spin it again, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on May 10, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Don't believe everything the builder says but do read the documents and look at the development agreement.

How much do you think 496 acres are worth?

If it it stops encroachment from the Southeast, I would say it is priceless.

There is not traffic light approved, only mentioned IF needed. It still would be up for discussion.

If that area ever has a wildfire, we have no fire engine that could get up there. It is a protection for that entire area.

One million is 4 times requires by law.

there is a signed letter from the developer on file at the district office and the city will not fork over the permits unless this agreement is honored.

Stakeholders have to care about getting to a meeting. The city over notices public hearings. It takes some effort to help solve the problem rather than complain after the fact. This was well publicized and lengthy.

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