Here it is.
Yes on PP, no on QQ
BAY AREA NEWS GROUP
Article Last Updated: 10/10/2008 07:29:19 AM PDT
WE HAVE never been big fans of ballot-box policy making. But when our elected representatives fail to carry out their responsibilities, voters are left to do the job. Such is the case in Pleasanton, where voters should approve Measure PP, a citizens initiative to regulate hillside development, and reject Measure QQ, another stalling tactic by the City Council.
The genesis of this battle goes back more than 10 years to the city passage of a general plan that called for developing a ridgeline preservation ordinance. It never happened. Meanwhile, last year, the council approved a hillside subdivision of 51 custom homes, ranging in size from 6,000 to 12,500 square feet.
For some residents, that was the final straw. They collected more than 5,000 signatures to place Measure PP on the ballot. It's a reasonable measure that would prohibit grading on slopes of 25 percent or greater or within 100 vertical feet of a ridgeline. The measure would also establish a stricter definition of a housing unit, reducing the number left under the voter-approved citywide 29,000-unit housing cap.
Ordinarily, we would encourage Measure PP backers to instead take their case to the City Council and work through the legislative process. But they have waited long enough with no results. Indeed, the council knew for nearly a year that the initiative was coming. Yet, the best response council members could come up with was a counter measure designed to negate the original initiative.
If Measures QQ passes with more votes, it would block Measure PP from taking effect. Yet, Measure QQ is nothing more than an empty promise. In essence, the council-backed measure is a reaffirmation of old policies and establishment of a process for development of hillside guidelines. There is no assurance that the council would actually approve those policies once they were drafted. Meanwhile, at least another year would be lost, providing an opening for even more hillside and ridgeline development.
It should have never come to this. If the City Council had done its job over the past decade, there would have been no need for Measure PP. But, now that it's on the ballot, the council's response with Measure QQ shows that it's still not serious about hillside regulation.