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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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The Lund Ranch saga

Uploaded: Jan 7, 2016
The “first round” of politics on the Lund Ranch II development may have ended with the City Council’s 3-1 approval of the 43-home project Tuesday evening, then again, it just may be starting.
Opponents threatened to referend the approval or potentially file legal action. We will know over the next 30 to 60 days what will play out.
What’s notable to me is just how incredibly long it has taken to get to a decision. Tuesday night’s meeting was the sixth hearing before the City Council on a project that started going through the process in 2002. Yes, 14 years ago.
Sadly, that’s way too typical for Pleasanton where officials seem to pride themselves on process where once it was progress.
The Lund Ranch was particularly challenging because it involved two neighborhoods, both with affluent homeowners with plenty of cash available to challenge the council’s action. The council ended up dividing the traffic between the two neighborhoods.
Further mudding the waters was the provisions of the poorly drafted Measure PP that lack clarity about whether a road is a “structure” subject to the ban on building on slopes greater than 25 percent. It demonstrates why ordinance by initiative is a poor way to govern a city.
The voter-adopted measure invites legal action challenging the council approval regardless of whether there is a signature-gathering drive for a referendum.
The benefits for the city—177 aces of open space along with 43 upscale homes that will add to the property tax base—are significant. The approval establishes a boundary of publically owned and accessible open space.

Chatting with my brother-in-law, Don Provan, over the holidays, I was surprised to learn that Concannon Vineyard’s superb Irish whiskey will not be available once the current supply is sold out (that could be soon)
Checking in with John Concannon, he confirmed that he did the very smooth and drinkable Irish whiskey as a one-off salute to the vineyard founder, his great, great grandfather, James. If you can find some (Safeway and local liquor stores are still possibilities), then try it simply neat. This was a one-off production that would have been wonderful to see continued.

James recognized the similarity of the Livermore Valley to the Medoc area in the Bordeaux region of Frances when he established the winery here. He was the first to import Bordeaux vines here. Years later, Concannon, played a key role with the University of California, Davis, in developing Concannon clones 7, 8 and 11. The winery estimates that 80 percent of the Cab vines in the state are grown on one of these clones.
Incidentally, the Wente family played a similar role with Chardonnay.
Local Journalism.
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