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Harassment of Referendum signature collectors is against the law

Original post made by Jon, Downtown, on Jan 17, 2016

I live downtown and on Saturday I had a chance to see a woman with black hair (I think her name is Carol) yelling and looking ridiculous at Farmer's Market on Saturday. She was shouting at the people gathering signatures.

I think her strategy was to harass people and scare away signers.

So I am a bit of an amateur attorney and I looked up State Election Code.

Please call the police if it happens again. Here is the text:

SECTION 18630-18631

18630. Every person who threatens to commit an assault or battery on a person circulating a referendum, initiative, or recall petition or on a relative of a person circulating a referendum, initiative, or recall petition or to inflict damage on the property of the circulator or the relative, with the intent to dissuade the circulator from circulating the petition or in retribution for the
circulation, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

18631. Every person who forcibly or by stealth takes from the
possession of a circulator any initiative, referendum, or recall
petition on which one or more persons have affixed their signatures
is guilty of a misdemeanor.

So if you are THREATENED, call the Pleasanton Police again if you need it, and then press charges.

Comments (17)

Posted by Bill Brasky
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 18, 2016 at 9:02 am

Bill Brasky is a registered user.

Dear (I think her name is Carol),

You must be very passionate about a potential referendum. I know you must feel frustrated but on the bright side if it does get on the ballot you will have the opportunity to canvas Pleasanton and explain to hundreds of citizens the facts. I know my friends and neighbors will be doing the same. (While more than likely the supporters of this will once again hire outside help)


Posted by Cal
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 18, 2016 at 10:53 am

Obviously elected leadership should have worked with these two neighborhoods and helped reach an acceptable solution. To Mayor Thorn, Council people Narem and Olson: Pitting one neighborhood against the other is not good leadership and reflects badly on you. You should know better.

Posted by Get educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2016 at 11:54 am

To Cal:

Our elected leadership DID work with both neighborhoods to help reach an acceptable solution. It's called compromise.

Unfortunately, two neighborhoods, Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek, have refused to accept any compromise. They have never offered one of their own, either--ever.

Take the time to educate yourself on the long history and all of the facts regarding the Lund Ranch II project before drawing conclusions or assigning blame.

The Mayor and City Council tried everything they could within reason to strike a fair resolution for the four neighborhoods involved--a fair compromise.

At the very least, please check/review the January 5th, 2016 City Council meeting minutes. Also check the many previous City Council and Planning Commission meeting minutes regarding Lund Ranch II (aka PUD-25).

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 18, 2016 at 8:10 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Compromise is often a sub part solution. Find the right solution and manage the issues that result.

Regarding the person screaming in public, actions have consequences.

Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 19, 2016 at 4:52 pm

I was collecting signatures Saturday morning at the Farmer's Market was subjected to the abuse and intimidation with the "intent to dissuade the circulator from circulating the petition" as described in the government code above. The tactics of those opposed to the referendum were successful in driving many people away to escape their bullying tactics. We've seen this before with the Ponderosa "goons" back in the 90's, but the sad part here is that these are residents opposed to the referendum. The City Council has created this conflict between both adjoining neighborhoods and those concerned with the integrity of Measure PP. The only winners in this conflict will be Greenbrier Homes, and I believe that this is by design.

Posted by Thugs
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 19, 2016 at 5:36 pm

I agree with Matt Sullivan. This type of behavior shown by the "Do Not Sign Petitions" group reminds be of the Ponderosa goon squads. Just call 931-5100 and have these people arrested, and if the PPD does not do anything, call the D.A.'s office.

The shouting and abuse and "win at at all cost tactics" remind be of a cross between a corrupt rural sheriff and Tonya Harding - would not be surprised if some of these idiots would whack the knees of Pleasanton people with a metal pole to win. How disappointing that these thugs would resort to intimidation to deny people to right to exercise their First Amendment rights.

The bottom line is that current approval of Lund Ranch II scars Pleasanton hills. It is a bad project for Pleasanton. Greenbriar knows it and that is why they are so desperate to stop signature collection. The council unwisely approved it knowing that it was a bad project, and would be wise to rescind it once the signatures are gathered and start the process over before it goes down in massive defeat in a Special Election.

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2016 at 6:02 pm

@"Matt Sullivan",

"The only winners in this conflict will be Greenbrier Homes, and I believe that this is by design."

What about the people buying the homes and using the roads? Couldn't they be winners?

Posted by Get educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2016 at 7:16 pm

To Matt Sullivan (if you are, indeed Matt Sullivan and not posing as him) and Thugs:

Too bad you make a lot of inaccurate claims. The Mayor and City Council didn't pit two (actually four) neighborhoods against each other, two of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Pleasanton, Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek, have decided that their own selfish NIMBYism is more important than accepting a fair compromise.

Haven't ever seen you at ANY of the Planning Commission or City Council meetings whenever PUD-25 was discussed/debated, Matt. Not one.

Your comments are wholly disingenuous, Matt--to jump in NOW and stir the pot?! Wow, pretty bad tactics on your part.

Also, pretty bad when two of the wealthiest neighborhoods can afford to fork out between $30,000 and $50,000 for signature gatherers whose sole purpose is to say and do anything to get people to sign on the dotted line.

All that said, nobody on either side of this referendum petition effort should be intimidating or coercing anyone.

As for "win at all cost tactics," that would be the residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek. If either of you actually researched the LONG history of this project, you would be enlightened.

The real scary part is other residents of Pleasanton satisfying the NIMBYism that's going on here.

At least $247,000 of taxpayer dollars, Matt, if the referendum petition succeeds. Check with the City.

Then, if the project is rejected or reduced, the builder can rescind their donation of 177 acres of hillsides and ridges to ALL of Pleasanton, and and resubmit a new plan. Maybe that will be 10 homes on top of hillsides and ridges, permissible under Measure PP, or maybe they'll sue the City of Pleasanton in a 'takings' lawsuit for MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars, something that was discussed and information provided on by the City Attorney, Matt--but neither you nor Thugs would know (until now), because you haven't attended the MANY meetings on PUD-25.

Last but not least, how does it look when you refer to people who don't agree with you as 'goons'?

The residents of Mission Hills and Ventana Hills are not goons--they're not as wealthy as the residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek, either.

Get the facts, stop the name calling, and see this referendum effort cloaked behind "we're protecting Measure PP and the hillsides and ridges" for what it is--a very selfish effort to satisfy the wants of a select group of residents.

Posted by Thugs
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 19, 2016 at 7:47 pm

I have a feeling the "Fact Checker," "Get the Facts" and "Get Educated" (what a condescending handle to go by - as if Pleasanton residents aren't educated already?) is the developer's hired consultant hired to stir the pot and finger point and attack people and neighborhoods that oppose their woefully bad development project. This sounds like a developer-hired consultant-speak and also sounds exactly like the condescending tone of similar postings during the Oak Grove debacle.

My understanding is that the Ventana Hills neighborhood spent two years fighting the New Cities Development insisting on concession after concession and did not want public access to anything because of their privacy. They did not even want the city workers to be able to access the nearby creek that had flooding potential. The city had to hold meeting after meeting and even after there was an agreement, the Ventana Hills neighborhood kept making even more demands. The Ventana Hills neighborhood did this from 1997 until 2000 before the residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek even moved to Pleasanton. Now they are on the attack again blaming others.

Barricading the Lund Ranch II roadway or restricting it to only a few homes results in a fire hazard. Having most traffic go up a ridge to exit/enter most houses on the property is a disaster waiting to happen.

For the current "goon squad" tactics, the developer's consultant was apparently not in Pleasanton during the time the newspapers used this term to describe the Do Not Sign petitions. This is another reason I believe this "Get Educated" is a developer consultant from out of town.

The same thing was going on during the Ponderosa goon squad times and the person who came up with the name "goon squad" was former Mayor Tom Pico who described their tactics exactly. As signatures were being collected for both the Ponderosa project on Busch and the Merritt property, the entire city was being told about what was going on with Ventana Hills and the New Cities Development project.

Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 19, 2016 at 8:27 pm

I remember now why I don’t normally participate in the PW blog. Anonymous rants and disinformation don’t qualify as democracy to me.

Mr. (or Ms.) Get Educated: yes, this is Matt Sullivan, City Councilmember from 2004-2012 and Planning Commissioner from 1998-2004. Where were you during those years? I do indeed remember the beginnings of this project, and the impacts that Measure PP has on it. I don’t need to go to every meeting to know what’s going on here. As Bernie Sanders has so eloquently stated, we can’t expect change unless there is a political revolution that ends the corruption in our government. It’s the same whether in Congress or at Pleasanton City Hall. The city of Pleasanton has been run by the Chamber of Commerce and developers for over the 20 years I have been involved in politics in this town. It’s the same thing today. Not sure who you really are, but if you are not the lobbyist for Greenbrier then you are woefully ignorant about how things work. Let me know if you have 10 minutes for a cup of coffee and I’ll enlighten you. But my guess is that you know exactly what you’re doing.

Signing off. Next stop, democracy with a little “d”. I hope you can join me!

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 19, 2016 at 8:37 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Get the Facts has been posting here for quite some time as a registered participant.

Posted by Get educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2016 at 9:22 pm

To Thugs and Matt Sullivan:

Nope, dead wrong--both of you. I am neither a mouthpiece nor a consultant for Greenbriar Homes. I am posting on behalf of residents of Ventana Hills and Mission Hills, of which I'm one, just as you are posting on behalf of the much wealthier residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek. BTW, it's my understanding that one of the financial backers of the referendum petition drive lives in Gray Eagle, the gated community at the top of Crellin Road. Up on the top of a ridge/hillside. How ironic. Or how about Councilmember Karla Brown, who lives in Kottinger Ranch, a massive subdivision built in the early 90's--up on a ridge/hillside--several of both, actually (too many homes to mention that sit on ridgelines/hillsides in that neighborhood--take a spin up Hearst Drive sometime and the streets connected to it all the way up to the top of the ridgeline). How equally ironic.

To Matt: I've lived in this town for virtually the entire time you were on the Planning Commission and on the City Council. That's where I was. Unfortunately, you missed quite a few Planning and City Council meetings over the past 2 1/2 years regarding PUD-25, so I beg to disagree with you--you are misinformed/don't know 'what's going on here.'

Re: your claim that the City of Pleasanton is run (controlled) by the Chamber of Commerce and developers, and that it's corrupt? Wow, fine, then help vote everyone out of office next election--replace all the City Councilmembers and the Mayor you're insinuating are corrupt.

Re: wanting to know how things work with respect to PUD-25, another poster, '46 year Pleasanton resident' in another string on this topic stated it so eloquently earlier:

"The decision reached by the City Council was the result of hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of planning commission meeting and city council meetings where the citizens of Pleasanton were given opportunities, regardless of their neighborhood, to express their concerns about this project. The developer was also allowed this open-ended opportunity. Anyone who attended these meetings heard comments from neighbors, opponents, lawyers, the developer, city planners, and council members. Many of these meetings lasted well past 11:00pm. City Council members spent hours walking the property and talked to the neighborhoods to assure everyone's concerns were adddressed. Traffic studies were conducted several times to insure morning and evening commute traffic would be routed properly past a park were 100s of children practice and play soccer late afternoon and evenings during the Spring-Summer-Fall season.So after reaching a long, arduous, complex compromise solution some citizens are upset that they didn't get the solution they wanted. Guess what - nobody got everything they wanted. The developer got far less homes to build and the affected neighborhoods will get a little more traffic (but more evenly distributed). But Pleasanton also gets over a hundred acres of open space and hiking trails and NO homes will be built on the ridgeline. That's how a representative democracy is supposed to work."

There's democracy "with a little d."

To 'Thugs,' are you kidding me? 'Thugs' isn't condescending? 'Get Educated' ABOUT THE FACTS re: this project, instead of drawing conclusions without knowing all of them. Get it? The paid petition solicitors are representing the Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek side of the 'story,' and their ulterior motive is to avoid having any traffic go through their neighborhoods. No compromise, "Not In My Backyard."

Stating "Barricading the Lund Ranch II roadway or restricting it to only a few homes results in a fire hazard."

No one in Ventana Hills or Mission Hills is asking for a roadway to be barricaded, however, the residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek most certainly are--Not In My Backyard.

Stating "Having most traffic go up a ridge to exit/enter most houses on the property is a disaster waiting to happen." Really. If that were the case, then I guess Kottinger Ranch is equally a 'disaster waiting to happen,' because you just described how traffic enters and exits that development.

Re: out of towners, I'm not one of them, but the paid signature gatherers for the referendum petition certainly are.

Re: where the term 'goons' and 'goon squad' originated from, really, are you trying to tell me that because others called others names years ago, that makes it OK for you and Matt Sullivan to do the same? Wow. That's incredibly childish.

If you want to support the referendum petition, and it succeeds, and the referendum succeeds, then you've succeeded in satisfying the self-interests of two of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Pleasanton.

If the petition effort fails, or the referendum makes the ballot and fails, then a hard-fought compromise survives, and you, along with ALL Pleasantonians have protected 177 acres of publicly accessible ridgelines and hillsides. Nothing corrupt about that, I don't think. No so-called goon squads to worry about either.

NIMBYism or fairness to all involved/interested parties via an arduous path to a compromise, the latter of which is how government works pragmatically.

That's what this boils down to.

Posted by Trina
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 19, 2016 at 9:35 pm

More propaganda tactics from the Sycamore Heights/Bridle Creek folks, Matt Sullivan, etc, : labeling truth tellers as "bullies" and "goons" and calling it "harassment" for setting the record straight with facts.

Matt and Thugs: You've demonstrated your skill in rousing and generating contempt for the opposition in your posts. Appears you are hoping the majority who may read this will dismiss the truth tellers and the facts without examining their merits.

We all know propaganda works best with an uninformed audience whether it's here on Town Square or at the Farmer's Market.

It appears you don't want the people of Pleasanton to think or be informed but merely react to the name calling and false accusations that has become so apparent. The old "distract them from your real issue (i.e traffic in my neighborhood) trick while I pull this rabbit out of my hat" and yes, sign right here (and did I mention- you can pay for it later to the tune of $247,000)

Reliance upon an informed and educated electorate vs your propaganda tactics is not "harassment".

And people who are standing up to your tactics are not "goons" or "bullies but good and fully effective citizens who are able to challenge and to question wisely propaganda when they see it.

Posted by Bill Brasky
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 19, 2016 at 9:54 pm

Bill Brasky is a registered user.

247,000 Dollars to shove ALL the traffic down an already overcrowded street that has a middle school crosswalk, cut through traffic to 680 and Raley's and a neighborhood park.

Sweet, where can I sign up?

Posted by Julie
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 19, 2016 at 10:02 pm

A signature gatherer told me the petition was for PRESCHOOLS. I thought well I'll sign that. Nope it was for the Lund property.

Cmon. Get your signatures the ethical way or don't get them at all. What the heck. Reminiscent of the PP signature gatherers who pointed to THE PLEASANTON RIDGE when they told me what they were trying to protect.


Posted by Thugs
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 19, 2016 at 10:14 pm

The project is not in my back yard, but adding more houses when there is a so-called drought when Zone 7 is shipping water from Alameda County to service 11,000 out-of-county residents in Dougherty Valley must be halted before any more houses are built in Pleasanton. Zone 7 (the Greenbriar consultant is one board) just gave an outrageous pay increase to the head of Zone 7.

And who wants to add yet more school children to Pleasanton's already desperately overcrowded school? No one. No school fees have been used to construct schools in Pleasanton since the mid 1990s.

The required state and federal permits regarding the creek crossing and the public street connection through the Sycamore Heights neighborhood may never be issued anyway. Of course Greenbriar knows that the backlog in permits could mean years.

What better way to trick the Ventana Hills neighborhood into being their rowdy Do Not Sign crowd with in the end knowing they will probably withdraw from their plan the connection to the Sycamore Heights neighborhood eventually.

Destroying hillsides and ridges, adding more water connections and increasing class room sizes at the elementary, middle and high schools impacts all residents. This is a city wide issue, not a NIMBY issue.

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2016 at 10:44 pm


"so-called drought ..."

It would have a less than negligible impact on water usage. Try something better than that.

It is a NIMBY issue. Pure NIMBY.

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