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Valley Times,Tri-Valley Herald and Independent all Endorse No on D

Original post made by long time resident, Birdland, on May 27, 2010

The Independent endorsement No on Measure D was done previously.

Today the Tri-valley Herald and the Valley Times also gave a big endorsement for No on D at Web Link .

They had a great opening:

FOR THE second time in as many years, Pleasanton voters are being asked to weigh in at the ballot box because their City Council has been deaf to their concerns about hillside development.

And ends with:

It should have never come to this. If city officials had complied with their promise more than 10 years ago to develop a hillside ordinance, the Lins' 2003 proposal and the subsequent compromise would have been drafted to comply with the rules. This fight could have been avoided. But that would have required the City Council to listen to residents' concerns rather than overriding them.

Comments (38)

Posted by A true independent paper
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 27, 2010 at 9:29 am

Gotta Love it! Jeb, look what an independent editor thought of NO on D! Did I read that right? The editor called the majority Council's proposal of Measure QQ a "sleazy attempt to confuse voters".

Posted by Diana
a resident of Del Prado
on May 27, 2010 at 10:10 am

"despite the City Council's sleazy attempt to confuse voters "
Got my vote!

Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on May 27, 2010 at 11:57 am

To 'A true ...' - The article's byline is an anonymous 'MediaNews editorial' with no name ascribed. What makes you think this is an 'independent editor'?

Posted by Member
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 27, 2010 at 12:17 pm

It's my understanding that this property is already zoned residential, regardless. My question is, would you rather have something like what is proposed or something MORE housing and no park area?

Posted by Sleazey Council
a resident of Danbury Park
on May 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm

This is what developers always say: "It could be worse!!". Despite what the "sleazy" Council majority and the developer say, they CAN’T build more housing. They will have to comply with Measure PP which will likely result in fewer - and certainly less visible - housing. And the open space is a property tax liability for the Lin's. Why would they want it after the development potential is gone?

This editorial is an indictment of a City Council majority that represents developers and business interests at the expense of their constituents. We’ve lost democracy and live in a corporatocracy. In D.C. the money flows from BP and Goldman-Sachs and the president and congress do their bidding. In Pleasanton, the Lin’s and the Chamber of Commerce BACPAC funnel the funds to Hosterman, Cook-Kallio, and Thorne and the interests of the citizens are ignored.

Good thing us citizens can have the last laugh – VOTE NO ON D !!

Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on May 27, 2010 at 9:54 pm

I think that they endorsed Obama, too, and we all see how well that's going. Anyway, the Valley Times and the Tri-Valley Herald are really one paper...the Indpeendent???...they have a readership of what...1/2% of residents?
The city is getting most of the land as a park and its zoned for residential already and even though the Kottinger NIMBY'S seek to deny them, the Lins do have rights.
I already voted yes by mail.

Posted by M.
a resident of Downtown
on May 27, 2010 at 10:33 pm

M. is a registered user.

When exactly has this city ever cared what its citizens want? When has this city not been run by a pack of self serving corrupt townies? None of this should come as any surprise to anyone in Pleasanton.

Posted by Emily
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 27, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Could it be those so-called "deaf" city council members are just all new to town? How sad that they are so disconnected from the residents they were elected to represent. I do hope hope they aren't just receiving tons of money from this developer. Oh dear.

I drive often around town and the single lawn sign I've seen in favor of building those ridgetop houses in next to the satellite post office on Chabot in Hacienda Business Park. The building is 4690 Chabot Drive.

Posted by sickofit
a resident of Amador Estates
on May 27, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Hey, I just got another post card from the Lins. This one is signed by Jennifer Hostermann. According to Jennifer, if we vote Yes on D it preserves the ridgelines forever. Is she kidding? She must think we are really stupid. Goes to show you what our elected representatives think of us.

Vote no on D now and vote No on Hostermann in November.

Posted by Emily
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 27, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Yep. Building mega-homes on ridgetops = preserving ridgelines. Ha ha ha.

Hosterman interested in preserving ridgetops? I don't think so.
From the Valley Times: "Voters approved the initiative, Measure PP, finally establishing the city's hillside ordinance. They did so despite the City Council's sleazy attempt to confuse voters with a gutless competing measure."

Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on May 28, 2010 at 8:17 am

To 'Emily' - Don't let the facts get in the way of your agenda. The highest ridges in OG will be part of public lands. The highest lot in OG is less than 100' higher than the highest lot in Kottinger Ranch. Measure D transfers almost 500 acres of private land into the public domain. Preserve our YES on D.

Posted by gimmeabreak
a resident of Downtown
on May 28, 2010 at 8:20 am

Clearly all of the above remarks are by Kottinger Ranch Elitist's. They are attempting to use every public forum they can find to bully and mislead others into supporting no entry to the trails from their neighborhood. Think back to before Kottinger existed what the impact would have been given what we know about the Kottinger development. Oak Grove will be FAR LESS visisble than most homes that CURRENTLY exist in Kottinger Ranch. Don't be fooled. Vote Yes on D.

Posted by sickofit
a resident of Amador Estates
on May 28, 2010 at 9:28 am

Vote No on D

How much does it cost to buy an election in Pleasanton? Apparently, if you are the Lins, you can spend (according to the public records at the City Website) $379K and owe and additional @200K for a total of over $500K to try. This doesn't count the multi-thousands donated to City Council incumbants and the fact that our former mayor is paid Lin consultant. The opponents of D have spend approximately $6,900 and have no monies owed.

Apparently, just like in LIvermore, the developer believes that if they throw enough money at this, they can win the election. Don't believe the silky smoothe marketing blitz.

Vote 'No' on D

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 28, 2010 at 9:56 am

Stacey is a registered user.

In Livermore, they needed voter-approval to build outside of Livermore's Urban Growth Boundary. Something like that would fail too here, but that is not what is even being proposed here. Oak Grove is wholly within the Alameda County Urban Growth Boundary and Pleasanton's City Limits. I was disappointed to read in the Independent a letter from PARC stating that part of the Oak Grove property is outside of the UGB. I'm not sure where they got their information from, but the map (Web Link from ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) shows differently and I'm pretty confident that the UGB hasn't changed since it was enacted by the people.

Posted by oh my gosh
a resident of Danbury Park
on May 28, 2010 at 10:15 am

I went to the city of pleasanton website and looked at the campaign finance reports. Looks like they were filed yesterday. The Yes on D campaign has spent $379,308.60 on the election Jan 1 through 5/22. WOW!

I just received a postcard from the mayor so they are still spending.

The report is at: Web Link

I did not think it was possible to spend that much money in an Pleasanton election.

Posted by sickofit
a resident of Amador Estates
on May 28, 2010 at 10:19 am

If you really want to have some fun, add in how much they have contributed to Jennifer's campaign over the past few years, how much they spent on trying to undue the referendum etc. Perhaps in their home country, the people don't have the right to do what we can do in California - don't know. Also, don't forget to add in the amount that they still owe over and above the $379K.

What I do know is that they are trying to buy this election as they have apparently used their money to purchase political influence.

Vote No on D!

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 28, 2010 at 10:44 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Who doesn't use their money to protect their business interests? How different are the Lins from Alan Roberts in this regard? And yet again this is why responsible voters will vote based upon the pros and cons of the project itself, not the personalities involved. One can look at campaign finance records and find issues on both sides while the actual issue gets lost in the noise. Let's stay on task. Campaign finance records are rather irrelevant to the issue of whether or not Measure D represents what is in the best interest of all of Pleasanton (as opposed to benefiting a minority).

It is interesting that five former Pleasanton mayors (six in total) have now all come out in favor of Measure D. I think they well understand that Measure D's pros do outweigh its cons.

Posted by Emily
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 28, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Stacy isn't correct. She is wrong.

The Map on the Sample Ballot and Voter Information Pamphlet for June 8th on page PLMD-60 shows the Urban Growth Boundary in Figure 36 (Source: MacKay & Somps) and the water tank /part of the road on the right side of the diagram is definitely outside, yes, outside of the Urban Growth Boundary.

Posted by Observer
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm

The developer obviously does not feel confident that they have a great development. Otherwise they would not be spending this amount of money to "promote" it. While you say that campaign finance is irrelevant to the issue, that could be true for the 15% of the people in town who take the time from their live to read the information, not for the other 85%. The 85% are more influenced by calls and mailers. Most people cannot tell you anything about all the propositions on the ballot or even the candidates. Campaigning now is all about getting your name/issue in front of the voters as many times as possible so then they vote they go "I remember reading something about...".

As for the past mayors. Tom Pico is a hired lobbyist for the Oak Grove Development so he is supporting a cause that contributes directly to his pocket book and is not speaking his voice as a former mayor. I even remember Pico standing on a corner with a sign saying "Don't sign initiatives.". While he was in office is was a major proponent of the people's write to referend and do an initiative and he even collected signatures. Now he is paid to say otherwise.

My memory also tells me that many of those who write the guest opinion peace (or at least signed it) were against the ballot measure to protect the Pleasanton Ridge many years ago.

Posted by Emily
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 28, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I just poured through the city's website. I just found out Tom Pico was actually a paid consultant and lobbyist "hired gun" for this developer (see the minutes). As for these others, Ken Mercer, they just talk about building houses and resorts and country clubs on ridges.

For Oak Grove, these house sites are so so so very high in elevation that a brand new water tank at elevation 900 feet is needed to give the house sites standard water pressure (staff report gpsr0629.pdf if anyone cares).

And Dark Corners of Town is also stating false information. The highest Oak Grove mansion sites (Highest Corners of Town?) are 200-300 feet above the highest lot at the end of the existing Hearst Drive.

Posted by Emily
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 28, 2010 at 2:50 pm

In searching "Ridge" in the city's website in July 1983, 3 out of these 5 environmental stewards (ha ha) Brandes, Mercer and Butler approved sending a letter approving a mining operation and quarry to blast off the top of our ridges in the southeast hills between Pleasanton and Sunol.

AYES: Councilmembers Brandes, Mercer, Mohr, Wood, and Mayor Butler

Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on May 28, 2010 at 4:33 pm

To 'Emily' - I said the highest lot in Kottinger Ranch. My information is correct.
And when Kottinger Ranch was built, didn't it need it's own water tank? So what's good for Kottinger Ranch is not good for OG? That's been the back story all along. NIMBY in its full glory.

Posted by P-Towner
a resident of Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks
on May 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Tom Pico, Ken Mercer and others have done more for this town than just beat their gums like you, Emily. Anybody who takes the time to go up and actually walk the property will have a "true" understanding of what they are voting for. Keep "Beating" Emily. I wonder if the fact that the developer is Chinese has anything to do with all this?

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 28, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Heh, I like to use the Kottinger Ranch water tank as a landmark for spotting where Oak Grove is.

I noted above that I didn't know where PARC is getting their information from regarding the Urban Growth Boundary. It is always helpful to readers when writers provide a citation so thank you to Emily for pointing it out. My understanding of the UGB location came from the ABAG map (link I provided above) and I suspect (without looking it up) that the UGB may follow where the two different zoning designations for the property meet. Given that new detail, my next question on the subject would be, does placing the water tank right outside of the UGB really matter? A UGB is a legislative limit on "urban growth" and not a replacement for such things as conservation easements which give true protection to a land against future growth. Moreover Kottinger Ranch's water tank is located in Oak Grove, as an example of service infrastructure being placed outside of a development. Certainly for the majority of Pleasanton residents, their developments' service infrastructure all lie outside of their developments. Does such service infrastructure really constitute "urban growth" and what does it mean when it is still within City Limits?

Does such a detail as the water tank being placed right outside the UGB (which can be changed by voter approval btw) weigh greater than placing 90% of the property, roughly 500 acres, into a conservation easement that cannot be changed by voters?

Posted by Ron
a resident of Highland Oaks
on May 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm

I am so sick of the political propaganda that the developers and supporters of Measure D keep sending me. This reminds me of the Yes on K nonsense in 1992. Yes/D is a sleazy attempt to defraud the people of Pleasanton.

Yes/D would put the houses on the most beautiful, prime, pristine ridgetops, leaving the steep, inaccessible leftover land as so called "open space." What is being developed is the prime acreage on the ridge and the lower leftovers are what is left.

I even had one of those people at the farmers market with an hard sell approach try to get me to put a pastel Yes/D sign on my lawn. I said no way. I said that when Augustin Bernal park was dedicated, it was at the highest part of the ridge, and the houses were built on the low part. I told them Oak Grove was the opposite, with the mansions on the ridgetops. They asked me what Augustin Bernal Park was.

These Yes/D people they have at the farmers market don't even live here. Just vote NO.

Posted by sickofit
a resident of Amador Estates
on May 29, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Since the end of March, the developer has spent $379,000 marketing the 'Yes on D' campaign. THey hire professionals to go door to door and to make calls. Sometimes, one or two of the folks at the Farmer's market are paid professionals. Imagine what they will spend in addition to this from May 25th to the election.

BTW, you can see these numbers on the City Website. All of the donations for 'Yes on D' have come from one person (in the latest filing). The 'No on D' campaign has raised $6,900 though many local donations.

This is developer big politics money at its very best. Don't be seduced by the marketing fluff.

Vote no on D!

Posted by Emily
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 29, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Ron, you are right. This is just like Measure K with people wanting to build on the ridges! I remember all of those preserve the ridge flyers in the mailbox where these slick flyers called the development "preserving open space." Developers Scott Raty and Sam Brown who called themselves "Amador Land and Cattle" were pushing for that plan. They came to Pleasanton to annex it because Hayward said no to developing it. Then a grand jury investigated and the judge outlawed the annexation.

In that scam, they said 80% would be preserved and 20% would be developed. The 80% of so called "dedicated open space" was basically unusable land that was too steep to develop anyway.

If you voted No on K, vote No on D.

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 29, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Here's (Web Link a screen grab from Google Earth of the Oak Grove property with an overlay of the lots and elevations of both select lots and the primary ridge of the southeast hills. Google Earth is a 3-D visualization tool of the Earth using satellite data. All elevations are taken from Google Earth. From it, one can clearly see that the comparison of Oak Grove with the location of Augustine Bernal park and homes is not well understood by Ron above. The peak upon which the main Oak Grove road will be put is 790 ft. above sea level, which is the same elevation for the highest Oak Grove lot. The Kottinger Ranch water tank is at 830 ft. The highest Kottinger Ranch home is at 726 ft. The hiking trails rise up above Oak Grove, up to 923 ft. above sea level. The primary ridgelines in the southeast hills all lie outside of the Oak Grove property and rise up to over 1200 ft.

Posted by Gill T.
a resident of Del Prado
on May 29, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I checked it out, Stacey, looks right to me! No homes are going to be built on ridges. This is plain as plain can be - thank you Google!

Posted by Brian
a resident of Birdland
on May 29, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Wow Ron- you must have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Let's see- today at farmer's market I saw Dolores Bengsten talking about Yes on D. Is she from out of town? NO. I saw Cheryl Cook Kallio. Not from out of town. And many more local citizens. Come on. There are a lot of prominent and knowledgeable citizens supporting D. Do your homework.

Posted by Theory is flawed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Stacey, you logic is flawed. The highest point in a ridgeline is NOT a ridge. According to the City's own site, a “Ridge” means a connected series of major and minor hills. A ridge is a series of hills - not a specific point.

Posted by Just checking....
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 29, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Brian, who is that Jen chick that is paid by the Oak Grove developer to stand and talk? I hear she is from SF. Do you know different?

Posted by sickofit
a resident of Amador Estates
on May 29, 2010 at 9:26 pm

According to the public records, her name is Jennifer Longpre and she is a paid consultant who is based in San Francisco. According to the filing, she has been paid approximately $18,000 by the developer for her services.

Stacy, your information is not correct. You should look at the developer's own map (before it was taken off their website). It clearly shows how many feet are being taken off the tops of the ridges and how much is being used for fill.

All of this information used to be on the 'Yes on D' website but has now been removed for obvious reason. Check out the developer's own map that has been filed with the City. Read the actual development agreement.

Then, vote No on D.

Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on May 29, 2010 at 9:33 pm

To 'Theory is flawed' - then by that definition of 'ridge', most of Kottinger Ranch is built on ridges. Heck, the entire area (Ruby Hill, Grey Eagle Estates, Foxbrough Estates, Vintage Hills) is a connected series of major and minor hills. If they can have homes on a connected series of major and minor hills, so can future home owners located in Oak Grove. Protect the highest ridges of Oak Grove! Preserve the highest ridges of Oak Grove! Yes on D!

Posted by Get up and do something
a resident of Danbury Park
on May 29, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Darkness ...

It sounds like you should have gotten out of your barca-lounger, stepped away from the computer, got active, collected signatures and put those developments to a vote years ago, if you are against them. However, the time is right for stopping Oak Grove NOW.

BTW, those developments were in part "thanks" to our 5 growth mayors that are quoted in this week's Weekly. If Oak Grove goes through, another pro-growth mayor can take credit for more houses. Complain to da-mayors, but stop the sprawl. Vote NO before it is too late.

Posted by See the ridges for yourself
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 30, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Mackay and Somps are civil engineers, surveyors and planners and WPM Planning (now Dahlin Land Design) is an environmental planning company. See the ridges and ridgelines from the maps they prepared for yourself.

Web Link

p.s. "Gill T." et al ("Theory is flawed") must be from out of town or be some sort of internet troll spreading misinformation and false statements. It's a pity that they can't just tell the truth.

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 30, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Theory is flawed,

You seem to have misunderstood what "primary ridgeline" means. I voted no on PP because it did not provide useful definitions of ridges. It makes a mountain out of a molehill. I voted yes on QQ because it could have provided well thought-out and detailed definitions and guidelines for ridgeline protection. There should be something defining primary, secondary, and even tertiary ridgelines. The southeast hills has complex geology and visibility and requires something more than a "one size fits all" approach. Defining primary ridgelines is nothing unique. Here's an example: Web Link

"(3) Definitions.
(a) Ridgeline Development Classification. Whether or not a ridgeline, as defined in Chapter 16.04, is regulated by this Section is determined by whether or not the ridgeline is significant, "Significant ridgelines" are defined as those ridgelines that surround or visually dominate the valley landscape either through their size in relation to the hillside or mountain terrain of which they are a part as viewed from a Veiwing Platform; their visual dominance as characterized by a silhouetting appearance against the sky as viewed from a Veiwing Platform; as a significant natural backdrop feature or separation of communities from a Veiwing Platform; through visual dominance due to proximity and view from a Viewing Platform; or as an area of significant ecological, historical or cultural importance such as those which connect park or trail systems. If a ridgeline meets any combination of these criteria, it shall qualify as subject to regulation under this Section.
(b) Primary Ridgelines. Primary ridgelines are those ridgelines that are characterized by any combination of significant ridgeline criteria as identified in Ridgeline Development Classification.
(c) Secondary Ridgelines. Secondary ridgelines are those ridgelines that are characterized by any combination of significant ridgeline criteria as identified in the Ridgeline Development Classification above. Secondary ridgelines are secondary in nature to primary ridgelines due to the following features:
(i) Smaller size and prominence of a feature or branch of a primary ridgeline; and
(ii) Silhouette of a ridgeline against the open sky on a smaller size hill or silhouette of a ridgeline on a smaller hill which is back-dropped by a significant ridgeline.
(d) Viewing Platforms. Viewing Platforms are selected from the list in subsection (5) below using the Ridgeline development Classification in (3)(a) above to determine which four (4) platforms should be used by the County to determine whether a significant ridgeline will be violated In the event there are not four Viewing Platforms from any state or federal highway or County major collector road. Also, in the event that: (1) a development is large in nature and visible from several roads or highways or different sections of roads or highways; or (2) a development will encroach on more than one significant ridgeline, Planning Staff may select additional Viewing Platforms along state or federal highways or County collector roads up to eight (8) total Viewing Platforms based on the Ridgeline Development Classification above."

We can all agree that the Pleasanton Ridge qualifies as a significant and primary ridgeline according to the definition above. Can we say the same of the ridges within the Oak Grove property? Look at the maps linked to by "See the ridges for yourself". They show the ridges within Oak Grove and do not show the primary ridges of the southeast hills because they lie outside of the property. Those maps are also slightly misleading as they mark "Kottinger Ridge" with a thicker line than the other ridges as if "Kottinger Ridge" is higher, more prominent (old artist trick). There are three other ridges and the upper part of "Kottinger Ridge" showing higher elevations on Google Earth than the part of "Kottinger Ridge" upon which the lots are placed. All these ridges are part of the 500-acre conservation easement. As for the part of "Kottinger Ridge" that has lots placed on it, it is at the lower elevations. What's the impact to the view shed? Since there's ridges that are higher, we cannot say very well that these are primary ridgelines. At best they're secondary ridgelines of this particular mountain system. In the maps there are some areas showing some degree of view shed impact. The grading and landscaping requirements are to mitigate view shed impact. We cannot say that mega-mansions are going to be built upon ridges and it will be some sort of free-for-all because the truth is that mega-mansions must be built in such a way as to mitigate their impact to the view shed of a secondary ridgeline. That's the trade-off for protecting the higher ridges (and valleys) and nearly 500-acres by placing them into a permanent conservation easement WITHIN City Limits and WITHIN the Urban Growth Boundary. I think that's a good trade-off and better than the alternatives of endless land use battles. Ideally someone could purchase the land and place all of it into a conservation easement. Voting no on D does not provide that. But voting Yes on D provides protection to 90% of the property.

Posted by Stacey's Neighbor
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 30, 2010 at 10:35 pm


Would you please get off the computer and mow the grass, cut the bushes, clean the house, take out the trash and take care of the kids! You "live" on the Forum and you have an opinion about EVERYTHING! I love you but -- you need to get a life!

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