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Sullivan, Sierra Club join Oak Grove appeal effort

Original post made on May 9, 2008

The Tri-Valley region of the Sierra Club has agreed to support an appeal by former Councilwoman Kay Ayala and her citizens' coalition of a Superior Court decision that favors a 51-home and open space development project planned for Pleasanton's southeast hills.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 9, 2008, 12:00 AM

Comments (53)

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 9, 2008 at 7:55 am

Mr. Sullivan, you think _maybe_ you didn't finish the job _you_ started?!


Posted by Jon, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on May 9, 2008 at 9:25 am

Stacey - Fortunately, the majority of the council saw that this was not about the referendum process and completely about Oak Grove.

Unfortunately, I was the lone vote with the Sierra Club Tri-Valley group who took this view. There is no one with experience and credibility on the subject looking at this as a far reaching (or even reaching beyond Oak Grove) attack on referendums. The headlines are also an overstatement and a bit premature regarding the level of support The Sierr Club will provide. These headlines are most likely all of the mileage Kay will get from the decision.


Posted by Jon, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on May 9, 2008 at 9:33 am

Stacey - One other thing; Matt Sullivan genuinely believes this. He is VERY protective of the rights of the people. That is an honest and fair position, don't you agree? The late Oak Grove opposition faction are not genuinely concerned about referendums, just this one. That is not an honest position to take, don't you agree?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 9, 2008 at 9:35 am

Jon,
Thanks for the response. Actually I was wondering myself on the level of support being offered. PW didn't report exactly what kind of support.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 9, 2008 at 9:50 am

Jon,
Honest? Sure. He's being sincere in what he believes in. Fair? I think that remains to be determined. His protection seems somewhat selective. How about the rights of people to a fair election? Or is it ok for one group to steamroll another with the referendum process? Seriously, is he calling up the State Legislature and putting them on task to clarify the election code? That's where the problem of people's rights needs to be solved. Not in some rinky-dink appeal.


Posted by SullySupporter, a resident of Mission Park
on May 9, 2008 at 11:44 am

I'm really starting to like Matt Sullivan. When it comes to issues involving planning and the General Plan he is right on the mark! Of course, he was on the Planning Commision for a long time but I think he truly tries to represent the people of Pleasanton on these issues. This is unlike Hosterman who has become a tool of the big money developers. I'm sure she will join Pico in lobbying the city when she is ousted.


Posted by Jon, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on May 9, 2008 at 3:47 pm

Stacey - I meant "fair" in the sense that he is picking a side. I agree with you in the inherent unfairness of this particular referendum, where there was a long public process, a 4-1 vote (and the 1 was not originally objecting to the project in concept, but to the potential size of the homes), and significant amounts of erroneous information being floated (1000 trees down, tall houses on ridges, the public can use the land anyway, etc.).

SullySupporter - Hosterman a tool of big money developers? And the same for Pico? You obviously have no idea of their records both on and off the council. In the case of Oak Grove, the Council could have taken up the original plan to follow your logic. It would have died in its tracks, but trying to reach a compromise on land zoned for residential development, inside the UGB and included in the General Plan. In fact, Matt Sullivan knew all of this and supported the project. I don't know if he received contributions or not from developers (probably not) but what's the diff. Give us something to go on SullySupporter rather than your unqualified opinion!


Posted by SullySupporter, a resident of Mission Park
on May 9, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Two words: Home Depot.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 9, 2008 at 5:20 pm

SullySupporter,
That's the best you can come up with?!


Posted by SullySupporter, a resident of Mission Park
on May 9, 2008 at 5:58 pm

Stacey,

That should be sufficient. If you want more: I personally observed signs at Tom Pico's downtown office with the anti-democratic message - "Don't Sign the Petition". I also observed Jennifer Hosterman waving the same sign at the corner of Main Street and St. Mary's. These signs were paid for by the Lin Family - Big Money Developers. Ergo, Pico and Hosterman - tools of the big money developers.


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 9, 2008 at 6:51 pm

To say the following about Hosterman and Pico waving signs is absolutely silly:

These signs were paid for by the Lin Family - Big Money Developers. Ergo, Pico and Hosterman - tools of the big money developers

I think the person miss-spelled his/her moniker. It should be SillySupporter.

I'll bet the signs cost the gigantic amount of at least $3.74. Of course, they would not be out there promoting their political beliefs unless "Big Money Developers" paid for these terribly expensive signs. Absolutely ludicrous!!!


Posted by Follow the money, a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 10, 2008 at 5:51 pm

At least we know where the money came from to pay for the "Don't sign the petition" signs. That's more then can be said for the save pleasanton hills group. As has been said before, since the money can't be followed, it makes one wonder who is behind this group and why don't they want to share who paid for the ads? Political motivation? Not in my backyard? mmmmmmm. . . If the motivation here is truly in the best interest of the City then why the fear to disclosure the source of funding?

I keep wondering if someone has filed a complaint with the campaign finace commission. Seems like a complaint is needed to get full disclosure here.


Posted by Tim, a resident of Downtown
on May 10, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Jon: I am surprised you did not recuse yourself from the Sierra Club vote since your property abuts the Oak Grove development. I guess the Sierra Club does not have the same conflict of interest rules that government has. While I can understant why you would support Oak Grove since the original plan had the access to the project coming out on your court and the one you supported did not, but I thought you would at least support the right of the people to vote on a project. The decision from the judge was so wrong as he did not understand the ordinance. The judge stated that the signature collectors should carry items "such as" the development plan,... There is not development plan but the judge did not understad this plus our city attorney did not speak up since he was instructed by the Council to not say anything (i.e., support the developer). The judge's use ot he term "such as" for things to carry was totally incorrect. You can't have people collect signatures on a petition and tell them to carry things "such as". You have to state exactly what they are to carry and the election code states you must carry the ordinance.

Shame on you for supporting the developer and a plan which you clearly had a conflict of interest in when you voted at the Sierry Club plus for you supporting the subversion of the referendum process.


Posted by money, money, money, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on May 10, 2008 at 6:22 pm

While I thought Pico did a good job while he was mayor, right after he stepped down he went to work for the developers as this is where the money is. Tom is not a mediator in this project. He was hired to get the project approved. Period. He gets paid when the project is approved. I believe he is now the king lobbiest for hillside residential projects. He did Oak Grove and even before that was done he was hired by a family off of Vineyard to get a single house approved in the hills. This house is over 16,000 square feet and they will have to cut 30 or 40 feet off the top of the hill to make a big enough building pad and they will have to cut down 70 something trees, 17 of which are heritage trees. All for a single house. Pretty amazing since if I wanted to cut down my large tree in my yard, the city would never let me do this since they will say it is a heritage tree but this single house is cutting down 17 of them!

Since Hosterman is a good friend of Pico, and she wants the money of the developers for her next run for office, she is approving projects she would have not approved before but is approving them now since she knows where the money will come from.

Another interesting tidbit, one of the main consultants for the Oak Grove project is Angela Romerez. In addition to working on Oak Grove she was Cheryl Cook-Kallio's campaign manager and she has been working for Jennifer Hosterman on her elections and is a paid PR person for Hosterman (she told me this). Seems like a pretty tight group of people, incluenced by developers, making the decisions in Pleasanton.

I used to believe that people ran for office because they cared about their community but I guess I have been naive; at least with this council. I expect to see significant money from James Tong going towards those officials that have supported him. If it is anything like the past, his money will be laundered through other people so it does not appear to come from him. He was fined in Fremont for doing this and an insider of the Hosterman campaign said that he did this for Hosterman when she first ran for mayor.

Wake up Pleasantonians! The developers are now controlling the elected officials (by the way, the majority of the money raised by the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce for the PAC is from developers so they are a puppet of the developers also). I hope this online campaign finance reporting will work out so people can see which candidates are receiving money from the developers. My guess is the developers will find a way to hid their identity (like Tong hides himself with a PAC called the Green Caucus).


Posted by how much is too much, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 10, 2008 at 6:36 pm

All of the officials mentioned above have disclosures on file, as well as any other elected or person working for any government agency. Brozasky actually took more money from Tong than any of the others currently in the council. That was mentioned to me by someone who nows. This certainly can be verified. What does this all mean? None of the councilmembers or candidates accepted so much money from anyone that they would make a decision based on the amount. How easily do you think these people can be bought? In addition many others also contributed. Why is it that when someone disagrees she thinks those that don't agree have been bought off. Is it possible that there is honest disagreement?

I still would also like to see who funded the petitioner's. I think what is fair for one is fair for all. There is a lot of mudslinging by some who don't want to disclose anything.


Posted by Hello????, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 10, 2008 at 6:39 pm

Ms. Ayala has been asked and asked and asked about who financed her group. In fact, one of the council members pointed out that she was also one asking for transparency concerning campaign financing from the council. I guess she lives by a different set of rules. She doesn't want to have to tell the whole story or be upfront about who is giving her group money. More importantly, she can't claim ignorance since she has served in an elected position and has been well informed of the requirements.


Posted by Jon, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on May 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Tim - you can lump me in with Pico and Hosterman (and Sullivan) on open space protection issues anytime. I am in very good company. Sorry you feel the need for personal accusations, but I guess when you have nothing else....


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 11, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Is "there is no development plan" anything like "there is no spoon"?


Posted by Jules, a resident of Danbury Park
on May 14, 2008 at 2:49 pm

"There is no one with experience and credibility on the subject looking at this as a far reaching (or even reaching beyond Oak Grove) attack on referendums" - Jon

I just heard the the Bay Area Chapter of the Sierra Club voted to support the appeal of the judge's decision. It was a unanimous vote. Jon, do you think all 13 of the Bay Area Chapter members are wrong?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 14, 2008 at 2:52 pm

I think Jules is misunderstanding what Jon wrote.


Posted by neighbor Gael, a resident of Dublin
on May 15, 2008 at 6:04 pm

"Another interesting tidbit, one of the main consultants for the Oak Grove project is Angela Romerez. In addition to working on Oak Grove she was Cheryl Cook-Kallio's campaign manager and she has been working for Jennifer Hosterman on her elections and is a paid PR person for Hosterman (she told me this). Seems like a pretty tight group of people, incluenced by developers, making the decisions in Pleasanton."


(Comments partially removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as innuendo, hearsay or specific accusatory information unsupported by facts.)


Posted by I was there, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 16, 2008 at 12:09 am

The five member executive council of the Tri-Valley Sierra Club passed the following motion..."Without prejudice as to the merits of the Oak Grove development, the Sierra Club supports the right of citizens to referend land use decisions and therefore supports Kay Ayala in her appeal." There will be no money given to Kay. At most an amicus brief could be filed IF the Bay Area Legal Committee and the Sierra Club at the national level agree. By the way, Jeb Bing was not there and seems to have written the story based on Kay's statements during the city council meeting. Hmmm...


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 16, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Jules: I am still waiting for the following "shoe to drop" that you reported:

"I just heard the the Bay Area Chapter of the Sierra Club voted to support the appeal of the judge's decision. It was a unanimous vote. Jon, do you think all 13 of the Bay Area Chapter members are wrong?"

So far, nothing has been published detailing this claimed support from the larger council of the Sierra Club. Did you base your attack on Jon on a rumor?


Posted by aghast, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 16, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Certainly the attack on Angela Ramirez Holmes is without merit. She was a colleague of mine and one of the finest teachers I have ever known. She left Dublin High when her son was born. So this is the community of character, instead of agreeing to disagree, libelous things are printed.
Shame on you neighbor Gael.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Jensen Tract
on May 16, 2008 at 11:43 pm

I thought Angela Ramirez was some sort of property developer or realtor. On the PMC chat group last year, my wife forwarded me a broadcast message she was posting that was a real estate listing for Cheryl Cook-Kallio, (but I believe the moderator removed this posting several days later because it violated the PMC membership agreement to not advertise on the chat group).

I thought it was very strange that a city council member was advertising their home to be rented in Hawaii Web Link . Seemed a bit tacky to me.

Just how many elected officials in Pleasanton really live somewhere else or plan to move full time to somewhere else shortly? No wonder there is such a disconnect between most elected officials and regular people in Pleasanton. And no wonder they want to plunder the hills, not preserve them. Guess there are plenty to look at in Hawaii.

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as irrelevant to this thread.)


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Dublin
on May 17, 2008 at 5:17 am

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as irrelevant to this thread.)


Posted by Becky Dennis, a resident of Foxborough Estates
on May 17, 2008 at 9:13 am

Hello PW bloggers -
This thread has me wishing that people would cut their fellow residents a little slack. We all have our passions. We achieve, err, offend, and inspire because of them. Angela Ramirez is a good-hearted person who has a passion for party politics that far exceeds my own. Still, I'm glad to know her, and appreciate having her unique perspective, among many others, as I form my own opinions about things.

As for Oak Grove, Pleasanton residents have worked hard to make sure the developer came up with a plan that met our community's needs and desire to preserve open space in a way that benefits the entire community, not just a select few in the immediate neighborhood. Those of us who participated in the process have tended to view the developer as our tool for achieving community goals, not the reverse.


Posted by Jules, a resident of Danbury Park
on May 17, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Frank, this was reported by the Independent and I believe also by the Times. You will not see this in the PW because it does not support their pro-development stands.

Becky, if you feel the process was so open and the best thing for the community, why are you and others afraid to have the residents vote on it? I would think you would want to showcase all the work you did.

The interesting thing about this case, if the developer did not go after the referendum, this case would be voted on in a few weeks by the electorate. Who knows how long it will be stuck in the courts now.


Posted by Karen, a resident of Downtown
on May 17, 2008 at 4:47 pm

It's interesting that Becky Dennis and Jon Harvey were one of the privileged annointed ones powerful enough to be holding private, closed door meetings, with the developer as reported in the newspapers. Even the Weekly blasted them in the "Spirit of Open Meetings Fades with Oak Grove" editorial written by Jeb Bing here Web Link and A"pproval follows "deal" made at unannounced, private meeting of officials, developers" here at this story Web Link .

It's so nice that a dozen or so individuals take it upon themselves in the community to consider them to speak for the so-called public when they are the ones holding private, secret meetings with the developer.

Also a city commissioner and the developer used the current home address of that commissioner on the return address of the glossy 'Keep Our Park-Do Not Sign' mailers funded by the developer --- the home address of a former Parks and Recreation Commissioner and current Planning Commissioner who voted yes twice on the project.

This isn't democracy. It is cronyism and corruption at its worst, made worse with the former mayor also acting as a paid consultant for the developer.

Here is how the Weekly reported it---

"By the time the private, closed-door meeting ended at the city's Operations Center, the group had a deal that will likely carry the proposal forward for approval by both the Planning Commission and City Council as early as next month. No notice was given to the public about the meeting, including members of the homeowners association who went to the public hearing to object to the plan, only to find their leaders had already approved the deal."


Posted by Just the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 17, 2008 at 4:53 pm

The people who had work so hard on this were concerned because it was misrepresented by many who circulated the petition. I personally saw people say things and show documents that were not part of the what the council adopted. The representations of the houses as being on top of the hills, the letter circulated from EAST Bay Regional saying they didn't support the project was NOT this project but the project before with over 100 homes, among other things. Finally, of the three petitioners, one was consistent, one stated his concerned had been remedied the night the council had the second vote and the third was no where to be found when talks were going on to address some of the issues, only appearing to make political hay after the fact. This council has been deliberative and thoughtful in its stance and for the record had approved less houses than the previous two councils.




Posted by Francis, a resident of Downtown
on May 17, 2008 at 10:49 pm

The development DOES have houses on the tops of the hills.

I would like to see your facts about this council approving less houses than the previous two councils. I do not believe that to be true. Also, I believe that this Council has approved to removal of more trees than any other council in recent memory.


Posted by Jules, a resident of Danbury Park
on May 17, 2008 at 10:53 pm

Frank, here is a good quote that I should have placed in my last post.

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers."
- Thomas Jefferson


Posted by just the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 18, 2008 at 7:59 am

Just don't believe me, it's all public record. Does planting trees count?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 18, 2008 at 9:35 am

Once, when I was growing up here, Pleasanton was the City of Planned Progress. This was long before the "Community of Character" ideal, that lends itself so easily to hypocrisy, came along. We still have the "Planned Progress" motto on our City Seal actually. To some here, Planned Progress means "pro-development" or "pro-developer", which is sad to me because I grew up here never believing that to be the case. Planned Progress always meant striking a balance between growth and preservation. It always meant controlling growth (keeping developers in line) and shaping it to our own benefit. It is _that_ policy that has created the Pleasanton you know and love today, not the "no growth" of the "drawbridgers". Their "no growth" stance is a direct attack upon Planned Progress. If past Councils were as no-growth as the "drawbridgers" want this current one to be, the "drawbridgers" wouldn't even be living here.


Posted by just the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 18, 2008 at 11:03 am

Well said!


Posted by No Hypocrisy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 18, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Good observation Stacy...

Since Mayor Tarver left office the succeeding Mayors are without integrity and are motivated by greed.

Hardly the people to set example for the young people in a so called
Community of Character!!!

My heart bleeds for Pleasanton, California, and America!!!


Posted by you're kidding right?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 18, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Name calling when one doesn't agree. . .hmmm what's next? What's this post about again?


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on May 19, 2008 at 1:13 am

Karen, thanks for the Web Links.

How many times have some people said Oak Grove was done "in the light of day" over a 4 year period. Perhaps it should have been said agreements were made "in the light of day" - after they were agreed to in private. No doubt citizens were given the opportunity to comment during the "open meetings" but for what purpose since agreements were apparently already being made behind closed doors by a chosen few.

Would those meeting behind closed doors be considered a "faction". Naw, it's well known there's only one "faction" involved in this mess. All others are considered "community leaders" and such..... :)

Would "agreements made in private" be similar to "referendums written at someones kitchen table". Probably not since citizens get to vote on referendums. :)

By the way, why was the "private meeting" held at the Operations Center. Doesn't City Hall have meeting rooms. You don't suppose they didn't wish anyone to know they were......Naw, this was "community leaders" and such....Probably just better parking at the Operations Center. :)


Posted by iwastheretoo, a resident of Amador Estates
on May 19, 2008 at 9:00 am

What I think is great about this whole thing is the council stated that the Kottinger Ranch Association suppported this...The president of the Kottinger Ranch Association was in all of the 'glossys' stating how wonderful this was etc. Guess what, a careful examination of the record shows that neither the members of the Association or the Board of Director ever voted on this or authorized anyone to enter into any agreements on their behalf. Talk about back room deals. And, of course, all of the city council members 'relied' upon the representation that the community (Kottinger Ranch) and the developer had come to a good agreement. Disgusting all the way around...back room deals, private deals, mis-representations - ain't democracy great in Pleasanton.


Posted by just the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2008 at 10:42 am

There were NINE public meetings!


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on May 20, 2008 at 1:23 am

Other than the one reported, how many "private meetings" do you suppose there were. :)


Posted by Just the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 20, 2008 at 5:50 am

Because it was reported in the paper doesn't make it so. . .Just because someone said it doesn't make it so. Check the public record.


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 20, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Jules, you still have not corroborated your statement:

"I just heard the the Bay Area Chapter of the Sierra Club voted to support the appeal of the judge's decision. It was a unanimous vote. Jon, do you think all 13 of the Bay Area Chapter members are wrong?"

Seems you've obsfuscated your answer with stuff about not using newspapers as sources, but turn around and claim newspapers were your source of information. I read the same stuff you did and did not see support for your claim.

I'm simply asking for some reference that corroborates your statement. The Times and Independent appear not to.

Let's see if Court of Appeal Case A121147 goes forward after June 4 in the 1st Appellate District and who might be paying for it.


Posted by Becky Dennis, a resident of Foxborough Estates
on May 20, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Is anyone interested in what was discussed at this nefarious "closed door" meeting, or why the meeting was arranged by the City Manager at the request of some concerned residents? I would be happy to share this information here if anyone is interested since no "secret" issues were discussed.




Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on May 21, 2008 at 2:45 am

Thanks for the offer Ms. Dennis.

If changing the primary access route to the new hilltop park and trails from its original route to Hearst Drive was the only purpose for the "closed door meeting", it was covered in the Web Link.

Surely you can understand the suspections a "closed door" meeting concerning such an inflammatory subject as Oak Grove would generate.

You stated the meeting was arranged by the City Manager at the request of "some concerned residents". I suppose my question would center around why a "closed door" meeting, with 16 people attending, was required to make an access route change. Why not arrange a public meeting where all concerned with the access route change, pro or con, could have input. Natural suspection could lead one to believe "some concerned residents" weren't happy with the original access route passing through their neighborhood and had it changed behind closed doors. Why would some residents opposed to the change only learn about the agreement, after the fact, at a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting. Doesn't sound like a very savvy City Manager that would arrange a "closed door" meeting such as this that had the potential to inflame "unaware residents" affected by the change.

I would hope you would agree this "closed meeting" was a bad idea when an "access route change" agreement, if indeed that's all that occurred, could have been been accomplished at a public meeting with all interested residents attending.


Posted by Jules, a resident of Danbury Park
on May 21, 2008 at 10:06 am

Frank, the quote from the May 15 Independent, "The San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club voted 13 to 0 to provide an amicus brief pending a review by the chapter's legal committee." This was on independentnews.com but don't know how to link to the page.

I am sure you can phone any of the members on the board of the Bay Area Sierra Club and they will confirm this. Suspicious that the PW did not write anything about this especially since this is a big issue in Pleasanton. I guess they need the revenue for ads and don't want to upset the leadership of the Pleasanton chamber of commerce, which is a front for the pro-development faction from what I can see. On a side-note, I can't wait for the city to put the campaign finances online so everybody can see that most of the money the chamber raises for political action comes from developers.


Posted by goose and gander, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 21, 2008 at 10:51 am

Jules, while you're waiting for the Chamber to post their campaign finances, could you please encourage Ms. Ayala to do the same? Don't you agree the community deserves to know who is financing her anti-Oak Grove park campaign?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 21, 2008 at 11:04 am

I wonder if the City is going to also put historical campaign finance information online too. They can hire local teens perhaps to do the data entry for summer jobs. Then we can all do easy searches to see who financed past elected officials too.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 21, 2008 at 11:10 am

Forgot to write...
I don't understand Jules' comment regarding the Chamber of Commerce. A "front for the pro-development faction"? It's a Chamber of Commerce! What interests did you think they are supposed to represent? These are local businesses and business people.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 21, 2008 at 11:35 am

Here's a link to the PDF copy of The Independent. The article mentioning the vote by the SF Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club is "Hillside Initiative Qualifies for Ballot"

Web Link


Posted by goose and gander, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 21, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Jules, you live in the Danbury Park neighborhood. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't your home built by a developer? By purchasing a developer built home, doesn't that make you pro-development? Or did the developers and pro-development crowd become evil after you bought your home?


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 21, 2008 at 6:16 pm

Thank you Stacey for the web link showing the article that Jules references.

So, here is what I see. On May 14 Jules wrote:

"I just heard the the Bay Area Chapter of the Sierra Club voted to support the appeal of the judge's decision. It was a unanimous vote. Jon, do you think all 13 of the Bay Area Chapter members are wrong?"

On May 15 the Independent wrote:

"The San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club voted 13 to 0 to provide an amicus brief pending a review by the chapter's legal committee."

So, I conclude that Jules made his statement admonishing Jon based upon hearsay, not based upon media-reported information, since I doubt he was reading the Independent the day before it was published.

Next, the "support" is not at all firm because it depends upon yet-to-happen legal "review".

Finally, the "support" would come in the form of an amicus brief, not money paid into Ayala's appeal costs.

This situation is not at all what the reader would take away after reading Jules' initial post.

For those who wish to understand more what an amicus brief is, I suggest this web link:

Web Link

The bottom line is the Sierra Club's legal committee will only shoot their bullets if there is truly a larger, broader legal issue at play here in this case that needs to be settled in the court system. In my opinion, what and how petitioners carry during signature gathering is likely not such an issue that can be settled in courts. Courts can (and should) only interpret existing law, not make new law. The underlying issue at play lies with the legislature. This was pointed out by certain council members recently in their meeting.



Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 21, 2008 at 6:21 pm

By the way, in the original decision Judge Roesch simply interpreted existing law and did so in view of a large body of case law that is similar to this case. So, he did not make new law.

The appeals court will do the same.


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