Last week, the Dublin City Council held a long, long public hearing and discussion on the IKEA project proposed at Interstate 580 and Hacienda Drive. The council, because of the late hour, decided to continue the decision and it was delayed until Nov. 8.
By then, at least two council members, Abe Gupta and Janine Thalblum, will be in lame duck status. Gupta did not stand for re-election on Nov. 6, while Thalblum had committed to the council that she would not run when she was appointed to fill the remaining months of the late Don Biddle’s term. Mayor Dave Haubert is facing a spirited challenge from Councilman Arun Goel so there potentially could be three votes in the lame duck status.
Of course, this council, after reviewing the more than 1,100-page staff report, should be well-positioned to make a wise decision for the community’s future. IKEA will have significant traffic impacts that can only partially be mitigated. Talking with council candidates and incumbents, many were pleased by the additional of the lifestyle retail and parking underground in the current proposal compared to the original plan.
IKEA won an approval for a different project with a larger store and acres of surface parking 15 years ago. That approval, which was followed by changes in usage after another developer bought the land, puts the city is a poor legal position should the current project be denied as the Planning Commission did. IKEA bought the parcel back and has been working with city officials and the community on the current proposal.
With the deceptively titled repeal of the governor’s gas tax on the Nov. 6 ballot, have you noticed how many reports on the conditions of the roads have rolled out lately?
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission just released its report that showed the Tri-Valley’s streets were in fine shape, particularly when compared to tax-poor Marin County where the city of Larkspur ranked last. Oakland also was notable for the poor condition of its streets.
Earlier, similar reports were issued, all seemingly timed to convince citizens to vote No so the tax stays in effect. Republicans invested money into gathering the signatures for repeal, hoping it would help drive turnout, particularly in key Central Valley and Southern California congressional districts that Democrats hope to swing next month.
You also probably noticed the signs all over touting street maintenance and repairs that prominently listed the gas tax increase. Cities and other agencies have been in a full court press to demonstrate they are using the funds for improvements.
As to the misleading title that Attorney General Xavier Becerra, check this out: “Eliminates certain road repair and transportation funding. Requires certain fuel taxes and vehicle fees be approved by the electorate.”
It could simply have been “repeals 12-cent gasoline tax increase passed by the Legislature in 2017.” Becerra is not the first AG to cook up confusing ballot language and, when proponents sued, a superior court judge upheld the complaint. Surprisingly and sadly, an appellate court overturned his ruling.