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Original post made on Feb 29, 2008

California cities are watching closely the outcome of the legal battle in Alameda County Superior Court over a referendum effort affecting the development of Oak Grove. A tentative ruling by Judge Frank Roesch has already stirred interest from those on both sides of the public initiative process because of his extremely conservative view of the California Code of Civil Procedure. If the tentative ruling stands, developer Jennifer Lin and her brother Frederic will have all the permits and approvals they need to develop 51 large custom home sites on 77 acres they own atop Hearst Drive in Kottinger Ranch. As part of their agreement with the Pleasanton City Council, they also have promised to turn over the remaining 496 acres of adjacent hilltop and wooded land that they own to the city of Pleasanton for perpetual use as open space and a public park. Pleasanton plans to create hiking trails, equestrian paths and a park area with picnic tables, lavatory facilities and parking. The acreage, the largest land grant ever given to the municipal government, also is being considered as a model open space parcel that other southeast side developers will be encouraged to duplicate when their land parcels are developed.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 29, 2008, 12:00 AM

Comments (8)

Posted by law abiding citizen
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 29, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Mr. Bing and editorial staff, I must say I'm disappointed. Having to follow state law is "overly strict?" How much weight would be acceptable to you- 1 or 2 pounds... or even 10 pounds? Should we now legislate by the pound? Absurd.

I'll tell you what should be "easier"- disclosing the source of Ayala and her group's political funding. At least the developer was forthright with their finances. Your newspaper accepted money for quite a few Save Pleasanton Hills ads from someone. Why don't you help refresh Ayala's memory and encourage her to allow the community to know who is financially supporting their anti-park effort. Or do you only "follow the money" of efforts you don't support?

How about an editorial on the merits of ALL groups, including Ayala and her supporters, being transparent with their political finances? That shouldn't be too tough- I figure it's no more than about a tenth of a pound of ink and paper...

Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 29, 2008 at 7:11 pm

This editorial is misrepresentative of actual history in California concerning the exact same issue: Citizens attempting to referend or intiate law but failing to follow basic election law that has been in place for the last two decades, at least. And these cases all regard land use law.

To say that "the judge will single-handedly toss out" is to ignore the substantial case law that has been decided at the appellate court level for situations that are nearly identical to this one and form the basis for his tentative ruling. In a separate thread I described an example that occurred over the hill in Hayward ten years ago as one of the cases cited by this judge in his tentative ruling. To say or to even imply that this judge is "single-handedly" coming to judgement is completely erroneous, and that statement as well as the rest of this editorial simply appears to be the editor playing to his readership here is Pleasanton. He is stating what he thinks his readership wants to here. That's his right as being part of a "free press" (which can be, and usually is, biased. So is my post!)

I don't doubt it is true that there are current groups in cities around California who are equally ignorant of election law as well as the substantial case law regarding land use intiatives and referenda, but to imply that somehow this case is a pioneer in its class is simply an exercise in self-importance.

For Ayala to appeal a negative judgement, she will waste money since the appeals court will likely be more strict than Judge Roesch. For Lin to appeal a negative judgement, it will be money well spent. That's my opinion.

By the way, as of tonight the judge has not issued a final judgement and none is scheduled on his calendar. There are no cases other than emergencies scheduled in his court for Monday and Tuesday's calendar shows nothing scheduled for this case. Therefore, Tuesday's council meeting where city attorney Roush requested a ruling by then appears to be a non-event. The judge does not march to the drumbeat of Pleasanton politics!

Lastly, this stuff about the development plan needed 14 to 18 pounds of paper is something completely generated by Ayala and is objectively unproven. At best it assumes a paper-based delivery system, yet you are not presently reading my words with one. The saving hills people had a lot of choices but chose to go with the one they did.

Posted by Sue
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 1, 2008 at 10:18 am

Frank where does the bee in your bonnet on this subject come from? You and the OTHERS are bully's on every thread, but here you are truely absurd. Your celebration of the judges prilimanary ruling was childish. Now you are tantruming because someone does not agree with you.
I do not live near Oakgrove. I am not a primary supporter of the referendum nor do I share many of the concerns that they have. I do support their right to ask the voters to decide.
I have participated in past referendum. This grassroots group of Pleasanton citizens followed every good faith effort and the guidelines given to them by the City Attorney. The financing has been explained. No money was collected; a handful of citizens/neighbors paid independently as needed. They did not meet the threshold to file disclosure. There is no cover up; reasonably neighbors are typically the start of a call to arms.
You and the OTHERS continued accusation of wrong-doing is malicious.
Frank, Stacey and Shelly you are bully's, we can not have a real community exchange of thoughts because no one reasonable wants to play with you.

Fast forward to childish response..................

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 1, 2008 at 11:07 am

Obliging childish response: How did I get dragged into this? Community exchange cannot happen when people resort to name calling and self-righteous claims of being reasonable.

Posted by Sue
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 1, 2008 at 11:39 am

In review of your posts I regret including your name.
My apology.

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 1, 2008 at 1:04 pm

Apology accepted. We all make mistakes.

Posted by Shelley
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 1, 2008 at 7:02 pm

If anything, being called a bully makes me feel that this is not the place I thought it was for having "real community exchange of thoughts."

Posted by Susan
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 6, 2008 at 10:45 pm


The financing HAS NOT been explained by Ayala and company. Money does not have to be collected in order to trigger reporting requirements. Malicious? No, just waiting on the truth. The reason we have campaign reporting is to have transparency and so that the voters know what the interests are of those behind an initiative or petition. It is clear to me what the property owner's interests are, but who can explain to me the interests of Save Pleasanton Hills? Or should I say Allen Roberts?

So fussy about state laws!!! Gosh, we must be bullies!

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