Original post made
on May 30, 2008
With regard to Anne Child's letter on the hillside initiative, I found it quite divisive. It makes one wonder if all 5,000 plus residents Anne says signed both petitions ever made an effort to bring the issue to the Council before signing the petition. Why make the claim that the Council is stubbornly resisting? Let's not be so divisive. As citizens, we need to work _with_ our local government and each other, not point fingers. The fact remains that after some scrutiny of the hillside initiative it is vague and has the potential to negatively impact such citizen-approved projects as the Happy Valley bypass road. This is certainly an unintended consequence that is typical of good intentioned initiatives (look at Prop 98 for example) and I highly doubt this is what the 5,000 or so petition signers would have wanted to happen.
Stacey, I would suggest that the council needs to work _with_ our citizens. As a citizen, I did not know about all these closed door meetings taking place. If this was four years in the making, how come we did not know how to participate during those four years? By the time I heard about it, the council seems have made up their mind already and was just going through the motions of a public hearing.
I did not realize the citizens approved the Happy Valley bypass road. I also heard the city had a "blue ribbon committee" working on changing the location of the road. But once again, nobody told me as a citizen how to get involved.
Pleasanton has traditionally been slow-growth and concerned about developments that affect traffic, trees, etc. and we elected people who we thought had our same values. I know many people I talk with are as disapointed as I am in this current council not being inclusive. What really became the clincher for me was members of our council waving signs saying "do not sign the initiative". That was very arrogant. I have never seen council members doing something like that before.
As for the initiative, the hilside initiative is not vague. It is needed because our current council has choosen to interpret any plan they want they want, ilregardless of how previous councils or commissions have voted on in these protection measures. I believe if the citizens thought the council was respresenting them well there would not be the need for initiatives. Having an initiative and a referendum signed by about 5,000 people each within a short amount of times seems more like a referendum on our council. What is scarier is I don't think our council realizes this. Instead of the council just attacking the messengers of the initiative and referendum and saying they as "bad", they should be working with the community. They refuse to do so.
Well my 3 minutes are up so I had better stop talking...
Bill wrote: "If this was four years in the making, how come we did not know how to participate during those four years?"
This is the clincher for me. I never understand this excuse. The City publishes public notices. It is on their webpage. It is in the PW. There is an email notification list you can sign up for. Specific issues get sent directly in the mail to impacted neighbors. I agree there is room for improvement, but if someone doesn't know how to participate that is out of their own ignorance. This excuse is really poor and definitely not a reason to support clipboard politics.
(comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly staff)
Stacey, a favor...please...don't continue to paint the 5,000 signers of these petitions as idiots! Many of us did reach out to the council to work "with" them, to no avail.
Hrm... I'm not sure how you've interpreted what I wrote to mean I'm painting 5,000 people as idiots. When Anne Childs writes, "Or so think the 5,000-plus of our fellow residents who signed both petitions. The City Council's stubborn resistance to hearing their message made the hillside initiative necessary.", she's claiming to represent why all those people signed. No one ever saw 5,000 people show up to a Council meeting demanding a hillside protection ordinance. That would've been something! So how can she claim to know why people signed? Nor did anyone know at the time that PP could affect the Happy Valley Bypass road. If that open issue were available to people at the time they signed the petition, would they still have signed it?
I meant to add, some of the people who signed the petitions wrote in the past on this forum that they signed because they wanted a chance to vote on the issue. That isn't the same as signing because they wanted to vote yes on it.