I received an email with a long, informative letter from Councilman Harry Sachs. I am assuming he sent this out to all of his supporters from the last election and possibly everyone since it is an update on what the Council has been doing over the last year and his proposals for the future.
I shall summarize my interpretation of Harry's letter into numbered sections with my comments, pro or con on each.
1. The City ended 2014 with a modest surplus of revenue and healthy reserves. Sachs' priorities are funding road maintenance and improvements for parks and facilities.
My comments: Road maintenance is very needed right now. I'm not sure which facilities need improvement or how these will be prioritized.
2. The council voted to reject the Tassajara Valley Cemetery, which reversed support by previous councils.
My comments: So what. This is political grandstanding for a group of residents that are uncomfortable living several miles away. Tassajara Valley is under County jurisdiction. This cemetery has been planned for ten years and might take another ten years to be built but it will be built.
3. Find ways to fund open space and modify General Plan to limit building on hillsides.
My comments: I agree with Harry about limiting building on hillsides. This not only keeps the hillsides open space, it protects residents who might buy a hillside home from instability in mudslides or earthquakes. Hillsides here are not a good place to build housing.
4. Hire more police and increase service areas from five to six.
My comments: There's almost no need to comment on this. Everyone should agree this is necessary as the city keeps growing.
5a. Renovate the Library to add 6500 sq. ft. to the existing building. Harry is working with the Library Committee and hopes to have the remodel completed by 2017.
My comments: I know some residents complained that the City should have a new Library building, but the existing building is only half used. Also it is architecturally outstanding and should be modified in a way that doesn't reduce any of the design elements.
5b. The council still hasn't decided on the design of the Bollinger Canyon and Crow Canyon overpasses. Harry invites more comments on Open San Ramon.
My comments: I attended several workshops and posted my comments on Open San Ramon. Bollinger should take priority over Crow Canyon, where a stop light could be sufficient. I am always into functionality over appearance. I want bike and pedestrian crossings that are easy to access and safe.
6. Harry is the City's representative on the Tri-Valley Water Council. They are focused on increasing the reliability of water to the region and setting regional goals.
My comments: As most of my readers know, water has been a big issue for me for many years. I advocate requiring rainwater storage be built into all new housing in California and offer rebates on systems for capturing rain water and recycling gray water from showers and bathroom sinks. This more of a State issue than a local one.
Harry's Conclusion: Harry finishes his letter with "I strive to be accessible and invite you to reach me by email or phone 510-599-1653."
My Conclusion: I don't recall getting any similar letter from any other Councilmember in the 18 years I've lived in San Ramon. The City publishes a quarterly newsletter for residents, which summarizes what the council and staff are working on. But I like that Harry took the time to email this highly detailed and informative letter. I agree with most of it, but I doubt all of it can be accomplished in the next few years.