Publication Date: Friday, December 20, 2002
(December 20, 2002) Greedy proposal
At the monthly meeting of the Pleasanton Housing Commission held Nov. 21, the discussion was on the development of the Vintage Hills Shopping Center. While the meeting was billed as a work session to address issues in the proposal related to affordable housing, the spotlight was clearly on the viability of the project as a whole. The developer, Charter Properties, was represented by James Tong. After opening remarks, Tong evasively answered questions from the commission. At one point, when asked about the height of the buildings (in some cases three stories) and the parking situation, Tong responded that in his native Hong Kong tall buildings and parking problems were the norm. I would like to politely point out that this is not Hong Kong, and that remark among others reflects Charter Properties' total lack of understanding of the Vintage Hills community.
For those present, there was no mistake that the proposal was unacceptable. To the residents of Vintage Hills, the need for a revitalized commercial center was succinctly and forcibly presented. With the population density of surrounding areas, re-zoning the shopping center to residential use is ludicrous and unsound. It became clear that much of the problem lies with the owner of the land, purportedly an offshore entity. If the current owner is unwilling to develop the land to suit the needs of our community, we need to find someone who will.
The proposal by Charter Properties to develop the Vintage Hills Shopping Center should and will be stopped. Greed, lack of community understanding and lining the pockets of a developer is not acceptable. I look forward to seeing a proposal that is responsive to our needs.
Larkin and Amy MontgomeryConcord Place
Support our seniors
The opposition to the Elder Care Center adjacent to St. Augustine Catholic Church may indeed care for the welfare of our elderly, but seemingly only on their terms and preferably not in their neighborhood. These people should talk to the thousands of Californians who gladly live near similar centers in residential neighborhoods before resorting to inflammatory language and unsupported assumptions to oppose the plan. I for one readily welcome our seniors, whether requiring assisted living or not, into my community. It is the least I can do for those who have given of themselves over the years so that succeeding generations could enjoy a better quality of life.
Jim GarberDunsmuir Circle
Design too big for site
I attended the Pleasanton Planning Commission Workshop Wednesday night on the Elder Care Alliance Facility proposed for vacant land next to St. Augustine's Church. I came away with the following conclusions. Pleasanton has a need for additional residential facilities for its seniors who can no longer live on their own. The Elder Care Alliance has a design that would take advantage of low ground rent offered by the church and help to serve this need. This three-story, 142,600-square-foot facility with its population of 183 residents, 66 staff, and a day care facility would loom over its neighbors and is not suitable for this single-family residential neighborhood.
I believe that the proposed facility should be downsized to one story to serve a smaller population, or if this size is required by Elder Care, be placed at a location in Pleasanton that is compatible with such a large institution. I think the Planning Commission agrees with this view.
James McFeelyBordeaux Street
We are exclusionary
I agree with a recent letter writer that our city has become very exclusionary, and that people from all walks of life do not have the same opportunities for housing. A resident for 30 years, I find it hard to believe that so many in this community supported Measure V, thus closing the door for others to reside here.
We have excluded so many people who serve us everyday: our clerks, restaurant workers, teachers, public safety personnel, nurses, doctors and so many more. The elderly especially, who have contributed so much to this community, are excluded in their search to find affordable housing.
Have we not learned from Sept. 11? Shouldn't "United We Stand" start at the community level? All are created equal and have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. This should also include a place to live affordably in the community of one's choice.
At this time of year let us remember the spirit of our land and the season. Open your hearts and minds so all can enjoy the beauty and blessings of Pleasanton. Unfortunately, the door has been closed and many will never have the chance.
Chamber wrong on interchange
Recent letters indicate that the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce believes itself to be exempt from political criticism because of all the fine charitable work it does. Chamber leaders attribute such criticism to a plot to damage the chamber's character. Clearly chamber leadership has only itself to blame if members reconsider membership due to the chamber's unpopular politics. Voter rejection of the chamber's out-of-touch political agenda indicates that they've already done great damage to themselves.
Many Pleasanton voters are at odds with the chamber over the proposed West Las Positas interchange because it threatens the safety of our school children. If built, the interchange will increase morning traffic at the West Las Positas/Hopyard intersection by over 500 percent, in direct conflict with the school commute of the 4,500-plus students from Lydiksen/Donlon/Hart/Foothill schools. The interchange is being considered because insufficient capacity will exist at city buildout to get all of the evening commute traffic onto northbound I-680. It's a choice between our children's safety and shaving five minutes from the commute of out-of-town residents working in Pleasanton. Workers from out of town are important but will never be more important than our children's safety - especially not when suitable alternatives to the West Las Positas interchange exist.
Tom GillAmber Lane
Airport needs regional approach
I was very pleased to read that discussion is going on between Tom Pico and Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena regarding the possibility of including representation from Pleasanton (and probably Dublin) in the decision-making process for the Livermore airport. Just as with traffic and water, a regional approach to the airport is both logical and necessary for the future
Although I would prefer that the proposed representative would also have voting rights on the board, having the opportunity to provide input and to have access to the information that currently only Livermore residents are entitled to would be a welcome change.
Only a regional approach will avoid the type of controversy that is occurring in Santa Clara County regarding Reid Hillview airport.
James JellisonEast Angela Street
Very hard times
You can be certain that in the last days there will be some very hard times. People will love only themselves and money. They will be proud, stuck-up, rude and disobedient to their parents. They will also be ungrateful, godless, heartless and hateful. Their words will be cruel, and they will have no self-control or pity. These people will hate everything that is good. They will be sneaky, reckless and puffed up with pride. Instead of loving God, they will love pleasure. Even though they will make a show of being religious, their religion won't be real. Don't have anything to do with such people (2 Timothy 3).
How ironic that this ancient Biblical passage was brought to my attention, as a coincidence, the day after St. Augustine's was rejected for an assisted care living facility. In the greater picture, it seems timelier now than ever. Locally housing and health care, especially for the elderly, have been rejected more than once. Compound this with the attitudes and behaviors of the people behind these rejections and it gets greatly disturbing. Universally there is unending corruption, (talk of) war, disregard toward basic human needs, needless abortions, greed and hate. The list could go on forever.
Is this passage beginning to present too much accuracy? During this holiday season maybe the best gift we could give is to find a place of quiet solitude, take a mirror and reflect.
Weekly insulted task force
In the Dec. 13 issue, the Pleasanton Weekly ran an article about the community task force approval of a sports park on the Bernal property. The article ends with the statement, "The second task force was closed down last year after it was unable to come to an agreement on the uses proposed for the balance of the Bernal Property." As a member of the Bernal Property Task Force, I am insulted. This statement implies that the Bernal Property Task Force was terminated by the City Council because of bickering among the task force members. Nothing could be further from the truth. As trends in the land use proposals emerged, the City Council decided to change the planning process for the Bernal Property. I do not believe that the de-scoping of the Task Force's mission was in any way related by what was judged as poor quality of its work by the City Council. I am proud of the work of the task force and its accomplishments.
Carl PretzelGlacier Court