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Letters: Residents weigh in on Lund Ranch

Original post made on Jan 15, 2016

In the wake of the Pleasanton City Council voting 3-1 last week to endorse a project to add 43 upscale homes to Lund Ranch in the city's southeast hills, Pleasanton residents on both sides of the debate shared their thoughts about the council's decision and a new referendum effort aiming to overturn it.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 15, 2016, 12:00 AM

Comments (19)

Posted by ConcernedCitizenry
a resident of Lund Ranch II
on Jan 15, 2016 at 9:08 am

ConcernedCitizenry is a registered user.

It bears noting that at least one of the authors of the above letters to the editor, Kay Ayala, is funded by the developer of the property at issue, Greenbriar. This is revealed by the advertisement that appears in this week's print edition. On page 15 is a full page ad, professionally produced. There is small print in the lower right corner of that ad, blending in with the background. Look closely and it reads "PAID FOR BY GHC LUND RANCH LLC." (Corporate records further reveal GHC is a company controlled by Greenbriar.) The ad includes a link to a webpage, also run by the developer.

Ms. Ayala is is one of three organizers of a pro-development group that has adopted the name "Protect Pleasanton Neighborhoods." The two other organizers, Amy Lofland and Vicki LaBarge, are also authors of "letters to the editor" above.

So take what you read with a grain of salt.

Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 15, 2016 at 5:46 pm

I have not seen anything indicating that Greenbriar has funded Kay Ayala. That is an ad, paid for by Greenbriar, using a quote of Kay. I am sure that Kay has not received any funding from the developer. Kay has never been pro-development. Measure PP brought the house number way down on this project and there are no longer being houses proposed on the slopes of that hill. Without Kay working on Measure PP, you would see over 150 houses covering the whole hillside.

Posted by Disagree
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Kay Ayala voted to approve the Merritt property development in 1998 and I spent all of January in the cold collecting signatures. It was put on the ballot in June and defeated by the voters of that year in Measure P. Dennis Michelotti and Ayala formed a pro development bloc against Tarver and Pico and have wasted millions of our taxpayer dollars approving poor developments that the voters then overturned. In today's weekly Ayala claims authorship of Pleasanton Measure PP which can't possibly be true because I voted for a measure with almost the exact same wording 25 years ago on the ballot in Contra Costa County. She can't possibly have created a word for word original initiative when in reality the hillside open space portion is a replica of a Contra Costa County ballot measure that is 25 years old. I am positive based on my past experience with looking at Ayala approved developments that Lund Ranch 2 is a disaster for Pleasanton and can't wait to sign the referendum.

Elected and previous elected officials that try to bar freedom of speech and prevent citizens from exercising our right to vote on an issue are repulsive particularly those funded by the Tong and Greenbriar and Ponderosa development machine.

Posted by ConcernedCitizen
a resident of Lund Ranch II
on Jan 15, 2016 at 7:25 pm

ConcernedCitizen is a registered user.

Well, oldtimer, I may have to respectfully disagree. The ad *looks* like a folksy letter from Kay Ayala to the public. It is quite purposefully constructed to appear that way. It isn't just a Greenbriar ad with a quotation included from Kay -- no disagreement from me, that would be a different kettle of fish. But that isn't what this is. It is a slick, full page message from Kay to the public, but then with fine print clarifying it is in fact a message from GHC LUND RANCH LLC.

Then, jumping off from there, in addition to this Greenbriar ad, Kay also holds herself out as leading this group "Protect Pleasanton Neighborhoods" that is behind a lot of the letter traffic on this issue. (For example, from two other organizers, Lofland and LaBarge.)

So, grain of salt.

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2016 at 7:55 pm


How is what your saying anything different from just classic NIMBYism? I got mine, no one else should get theirs. What is the difference? Please explain.

Posted by ConcernedCitizen
a resident of Lund Ranch II
on Jan 15, 2016 at 8:36 pm

ConcernedCitizen is a registered user.

Agreed, BobB: the opposition to the referendum from certain vocal Ventana Hills and Mission Park residents like LaBarge stems from concern over traffic "In Their Backyard," and so it might be fair to call that opposition NIMBYism, as you say. That is objectionable, too -- maybe not as concerning as the opposition being funded developer dollars, though, so the latter is what I thought should be called attention to.

Posted by Who's zoomin' who?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2016 at 12:10 pm

To ConcernedCitizenry:

Would be interesting to know who you are, and who you represent?

Would it be the 'Save Pleasanton Hillsides' group? That group consisting of wealthy residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek, plus at least one individual who doesn't even live in those two neighborhoods?

That group that purchased a full page ad in this Friday's edition of the Weekly on page 9?

That group that is spending $30,000 to $50,000 for signature gatherers who are saying anything to get unaware residents to sign their referendum petition?

Your accusation that the residents of Mission Hills and Ventana Hills are NIMBYs is completely FALSE. Residents of both of those neighborhoods have accepted a compromise regarding traffic from Lund Ranch II.

Your claiming to be a resident of Lund Ranch II is FALSE. The project has not been built yet, therefore, you can't be a resident there, unless you're living in a tent or lean-to that you've built on the flat project site.

Here ARE some FACTS (i.e., TRUTH) for you, 'ConcernedCitizenry':

FACT: The City Council scaled down the Lund Ranch II project to only 43 homes, NONE of which will be built on hillsides or ridges.

FACT: Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek residents have NEVER offered ANY compromise regarding traffic access from their neighborhoods. NEVER. See "Not In My Backyard."

FACT: The Sycamore Heights HOA could have provided access to some of the homes via vacant land they own. They refused. See "Not In My Backyard."

FACT: Instead, their referendum petition-inspired group, 'Save Pleasanton Hillsides', wants to reject it via referendum, because they object to where some of the roadway access to the project will be—that access is a 50 yard, inconspicuous extension of a dead-end road to access some of the homes.

FACT: The City Council struck a compromise to honor obligations made by previous City administrations to Ventana Hills and Mission Hills residents, and longstanding plans (in writing) for the entire project to be accessed via Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek neighborhoods. Residents of those latter two neighborhoods want everyone to accept their own personal interpretations of Measure PP. Their referendum is NOT about honoring Measure PP (saving hillsides), it’s about benefitting their own ‘Not In My Backyard’ self-interests by routing all traffic through the former neighborhoods, currently suffering from cut-through traffic, which will increase once a 350 apartment + retail complex at Stanley and Bernal is completed.

FACT: It will cost ALL Pleasanton taxpayers at least $247,000 to put their referendum on the June ballot.

Should ALL Pleasanton taxpayers pay to benefit a select group of residents' NIMBY self-interests? ALL of us should accept the compromise, which guarantees 177 acres of protected hillsides and ridges, and adds to our property tax base. The compromise benefits ALL Pleasanton residents.

The referendum, if successful, will benefit two wealthy neighborhoods, Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek, satisfying their NIMBYism.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 16, 2016 at 2:05 pm

Shawn Wilson was hired by Greenbriar to push through the Lund Ranch II development. Here is the Contra Costa Times article link Web Link

The first part of the article states: "Supervisor Scott Haggerty's chief of staff improperly and unethically pressured county employees to approve licenses and permits for political supporters and personal acquaintances, including a landowner who was also handling his personal home loan, according to an Alameda County grand jury report."

[Removed because it was unverified]

Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 16, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Alliance Campaign Strategies is owned by Angela Ramirez Holmes. They did not run the Keep Our Park initiative. That was done by a SF consultant. I guess when you don't have facts on your side, you turn to libel/slander.

Posted by DIsagree
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2016 at 4:08 pm

On page 5 of the November 23, 2007 Pleasanton Weekly Angela Ramirez Holmes in a photo by Jeb Bing is pictured in back of a table with a Do Not Sign banner and Keep Our Park Don't Sign Petitions table banner and Bing identifies the person as Angela Ramirez Holmes.

Royce Kelly and Shawn Wilson were present and Shawn Wilson led one Greenbriar Lund Ranch Ii. I guess that with the Contra costa Times reporting $100000 in legal fees has been spent by the taxpayers on the Shawn Wilson misconduct alone with one of the businesses involved in the misconduct uncovered by the grand jury, that means taxpayers have to foot the misconduct bills multiple times.

Maybe the Fact Checker person is Alliance Campaigh Strategies. Maybe next they'll say the they were photoshopped into the Page 5 picture and weren't really there?

thanks to Livermore resident for posting the link and yes you are right the Merritt project Kay Ayala approved was 1999.

Posted by ConcernedCitizen
a resident of Lund Ranch II
on Jan 16, 2016 at 4:35 pm

ConcernedCitizen is a registered user.

Fascinating stuff, Resident and DIsagree. I had no idea the interconnections on the anti-referendum side went so far back or so deep. I was focused on them being bought & paid for re: this campaign; I didn't know it goes back from there.

Went by the Farmer's Market today for some of that fantastic popcorn. The anti-referendum crowd was out in force. That developer money buys some very nice looking posters! Greenbriar graphics department does a good job. Or maybe the Loflands paid for them? "Wealthy residents" indeed, eh, Zoomin?

All this referendum would do is put the issue of this development to the voters directly. How does one really oppose that? No one would dispute that this is a controversial project. Why not get the voters' take on this? Then we'd really know whether the folks who voted for Measure PP think this project is PP compliant, which is in the end the question that matters.

One side in this debate is desperately afraid of that; one side isn't.

Posted by Who's zoomin' who?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2016 at 6:53 pm

To ConcernedCitizen who doesn't live in Lund Ranch II because it hasn't been built:

Yep, fascinating stuff from Resident and Disagree. It's what's also known as unsubstantiated accusations.

Per Fact Checker, when you don't have facts on your side, you turn to libel/slander.

Kay Ayala most certainly co-authored Measure PP, and Resident is making bogus claims.

Re: "Wealthy residents" indeed, eh, Zoomin?,", I don't know the wealth of the people you are attacking, but I do know that the residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek, which I presume includes you, ConcernedCitizen, are paying signature gatherers between $30,000 and $50,000 to acquire voter signatures.

Further, Re: "All this referendum would do is put the issue of this development to the voters directly. How does one really oppose that?"

I think many oppose a select group of residents from two neighborhoods pursuing a referendum that will cost all Pleasanton taxpayers at least $247,000--that's how.

Re: "Why not get the voters' take on this?" Yeah, get the voters take based on what you're telling/feeding them, right? Hearsay, unsubstantiated accusations by people hiding behind pseudonymns trying to draw creative conclusions.

Who paid for the full-page ad on p.9 of yesterday's edition of the Weekly, ConcernedCitizen? Cat got your tongue on that one, eh? It looks real nice, wonder how much it cost to place? Wonder how much was paid by whom to design the ad. Wonder who's paying the signature gatherers $30,000-$50,000. Follow that money, ConcernedCitizen.

This whole referendum effort is a last-ditch effort by wealthy residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek to eliminate the fair compromise decision that was reached, keeping alive their selfish interests and NIMBY mindset.

In the end, the question that matters is who's zoomin' who, ConcernedCitizen?

Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 16, 2016 at 7:52 pm

He said, she said- they said, we said, this is worse than a really bad ping pong match-- HEY, that road is a structure, PP has to be followed, you can't change the rules in the middle of a game, let the voters decide, we have gotten stuck footing the bill for a lot worse. I have never seen one group so afraid of what the voters want, that should be a heads up warning sign.

Posted by Disagree
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2016 at 8:35 pm

if Kay Ayala wrote the hillside portion or in any way crafted it she should be able to post on this forum what 25 year old Contra Costa county ballot measure she lifted the language from. And it should exactly match what I was told when I posed the same question to Friends of Livermore and actually got an answer - a real answer with actual names - after I went to a HOA meeting in Valley Trails and again given some mumbo jumbo about a committee. Next in my mailbox arrived a mailer from the Lin family under some sort of Californians for Good Government fake name with three guys in suits with question marks over their faces.

So Fact Checker should be able to tell me why I got a mailer from the Lins with a hit piece on who wrote Measure PP anyway with the men with the 3 question marks in 2008 fans should be able to post exactly where Ayala the so called newly anointed architect of open space initiatives lifted the language from.

Posted by need to reply
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 16, 2016 at 9:04 pm

Disagree, I guess if you cannot defend the issue, you attack the messenger. Upon doing so, would be best if you knew what you were talking about.

I worked with Kay on Measure PP. We never consulted the Contra Costs initiative that you are talking about. We did however refer to the Save Pleasanton Ridge initiative from many years back in order to use some language that has worked for the City. It is possible that the Contra Costa initiative lifted some of the wording from the Save Pleasanton Ridge initiative also. No crime in either one. It is always helpful to look for precedent and leverage work already done.

On the Lins/James Tong mailer you mention, I guess they could not figure a good argument against the initiative (although I think their flyers were on the Oak Grove referendum), so they try to discredit those who brought it forward and/or confuse the voters.

Posted by Who's zoomin' who
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2016 at 9:59 pm

To Map:

If you think a road is a structure, do me a favor. Go ask some homeless people If they agree with you.

Also, re: letting the voters decide, make a decision on which neighborhoods get traffic frim a housing project? The Planning Commission and City Council already did that.

Maybe we can all vote on the future of determining traffic in and out of Del Prado using your logic.

Posted by Disagree
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2016 at 10:23 pm

The language the voters voted on for Measure PP is nowhere to be found in any of the previous Save Pleasanton Ridge initiatives. Point out the specific lines and point out the specific paragraph in whatever Save Pleasanton Ridge initiative to which you refer.

if Kay Ayala or Steve Brozosky or Matt Campbell or Tom Pico or Jennifer Hosterman claim they wrote the initiative, this makes no sense because they could have simply inserted the wording of Measure PP in the General Plan at any point when they were on the city council as a general plan amendment during any general plan update. Sometime in 2002 to 2004 when both Steve Brozosky and Kay Ayala both were on the council at the same time, there would be some sort of record in city records that one or both of them attempted to insert the language of Measure PP into the General Plan update that Pico initiated in 2003. Alternatively when both Ayala ran for mayor in 2004 and Brozosky in 2006, if saving ridges and hillsides were a priority for either of them, I would see some sort of position paper on thie previous campaign web sites saying there was a priority. I see no record on the city of Pleasanton website where either one of them ever requests that development of some sort of general plan amendment to protect hillsides. I have reviewed all of the records for the time period and see one and only one request and that is from Jennifer Hosterman to remove the Weat Las Positas interchange from the General Plan.

The Contra Costa county initiative includes the near exact wording as Measure PP and Bob Baltzer gave that information about that initiative information to one of the Pleasanton planning commissioners after two attended a meeting in one of the high school gyms during the Livermore Airportt Expansion meetings.

Posted by Bill Brasky
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 17, 2016 at 3:08 am

Bill Brasky is a registered user.

Community, character and environment be damned. This is about several wealthy individuals in Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek who are use to getting what they want. Under the current plan The HOA in that neighborhood could save the slope if it is important to them.

At its core this referendum is about where one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Pleasanton wants the traffic to go... Case Closed

Posted by MsVic
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 17, 2016 at 4:57 pm

MsVic is a registered user.

Hello Concernedcitizenry - I normally don't climb down to your level, but I need to defend myself. I have received zero funding from the developer, I have received zero materials from the developer, I live in one of the affected communities - do you? If so please identify which one. I clearly have identified which one I live in.

The truth is - the only thing the referendum (if the goons paid for by Sycamore Creek and Bridle creek residents collect the required signatures) will do is that it will cost us the taxpayers 247,000 to send to the voters - then what? Well the development is still going to happen because it is part of the general plan so it wont' be stopping the development. The builder will come back with yet another plan. I wish we didn't have the development at all BUT knowing that it will happen I have accepted the compromise on the traffic situation, half through Mission Hills and half through Sycamore Creek/Bridle Creek.

Well it seems that the wealthy of Sycamore Creek and Bridle Creek don't want any of the traffic so the are using tactics that use people from outside our community to collect signatures. I have been verbally attacked by these people as I am out there on my dime and my time trying to let Pleasanton residents know to not believe what they are hearing. One even told a lady getting ready to sign that the development was in Vintage Hills.....I personally let that lady know it had nothing to do with Vintage Hills.

Concernedcitizenry please get your story straight and stop telling lies about me. I am a grandmother living in Mission Hills and I care about my neighborhood and community. I have lived in my home for over 32 years, I voted for PP and would not be supporting this development if it in any way violated PP. Stop already with the untruths.
Vicki LaBarge - Mission Hills

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