Home PageInfo & LinksCommentaryLocal PressAnnouncementsEventsFeedbackClick to Buy

October 23, 2003Hot Issues

 

Hotline Heats Up

(10/13/03)

 

The Employee Protection Line of the Employment Risk Management Authority (ERMA) has been heating up with calls from San Ramon City Employees complaining about mistreatment by City Manager, Gail Waiters. The Protection line is a toll-free, third-party reporting service, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, providing a simple, accessible, and unbiased reporting mechanism for employees.

 

Normally complaints of management harassment would go to the City Manager for resolution, but since the complaints are against the City Manager, City employees have taken their issues to an outside source.  A deep source told the Observer that an Attorney was hired to look into employees' claims of mistreatment. The attorney is preparing a report, which will be delivered to Mayor H. Abram Wilson next week. 

 

The Contra Costa County Municipal Risk Management Insurance Authority (CCCMRMIA), which covers employee claims for San Ramon, is also investigating the many complaints received against Waiters.  The Risk Control Program oversees a number of programs designed to contain insurance costs in such areas as workers' compensation, employment liability, motor vehicle, property and general liability. It seems that unionization plans are just the tip of the iceberg of discontent at City Hall.

 

At the end of the October 14, 2003 City Council meeting, Councilmember Donna Dickey defended the City Manager. Dickey said that Waiters came in to reorganize City government and impose controls that had not existed before.  Waiters took on an $8M deficit and didn't lay off any staff.  Dickey said she stood behind the City Manager, and anyone criticizing her should walk in her shoes first.

 

 

City Employee Union

(9/5/03)

 

City employees met in July and August to discuss how to deal with what many felt was the oppressive management style of new City Manager, Gail Waiters. Many senior staff took early retirement or sought other jobs, rather than continue working for the City after Herb Moniz was fired, and then again after Waiters was hired.

 

Those who had not retired or resigned, were left to deal with very tense and untenable working conditions.  One individual whose mother was seriously ill, was told by Waiters that she could not take time off to visit her mother until after the City budget was resolved.  The Observer also received a report that Waiters yelled at the new Police Chief about missing a meeting about which she had not been informed.  Waiter's has been accused of having a closed-door policy, being difficult to see and speak to, and being condescending and critical. 

 

City employees also complained about meddling by some City Councilmembers.  Scott Steinberg, reporter for the Tri-Valley Herald, attributed staff's interest in forming a union to the economy and threats of layoffs.

 

 

Show Me the Money

(9/30/03)

 

The City Council finally got a long-awaited presentation on the cost and funding for the new City Center.  Project Manager Stephen Fust, gave a presentation at a special City Council meeting on September 29, 2003.  Vice-Mayor Jerry Cambra led the meeting since Mayor Wilson was at the Undergrounding Workshop, which was scheduled at the same time. Councilmember Dave Hudson was also unable to attend. 

 

The four buildings in final site plan were presented together and individually, to show that the City Center could be built in phases, with any building built independently of any other.  "This is a Master Plan," said Fust, "with a zero to 25 year time frame to be built."

 

But Fust sees the Valley Children's Museum as "Teed up and ready to go."  The Council voted for an exclusive Negotiating Agreement with the VCM at their September 23, 2003 meeting.  This agreement will be finalized in the next 60-90 days.  The VCM will be financed through their nonprofit foundation and not with City money. The cost is estimated at $8.7M, which is the smallest of the four buildings planned for the City Center.

 

The VCM building shares it's lobby space with the new Library.  The Library is under pressure to file for a State Grant, which is now in Phase III with the deadline on January 16, 2004. Fust feels that the proximity of the Children's Museum adds to the Library's chances of being funded. 

 

The Grant could provide as much as $16M of the estimated $25M for a new 50,000 sq. ft. library, with $100,000 from the Library Foundation. Pauline Nolte, representing the Library Foundation, handed the City a jumbo check for $100,000 for the new Library. Councilmember Nancy Tatarka thanked Mrs. Nolte for her hard work on behalf of the Library.

 

However, in order to apply for the State Grant, the City is required to match 35% of the cost. The land value is $2.5 to $3M but that leaves approximately $6M, which the City must commit to by resolution before January 16, 2003. 

 

The Grant process is being rushed to meet the deadline with barely a whisker of time for any unforeseen delays. Councilmember Donna Dickey pointed out that new Councilmembers take office in November. If the new Council doesn't approve the City Center EIR, or other required agreements with the County and School District, Library funding could be sunk.  However the Library would not be in this situation if Dickey, Tatarka, and Cambra had not restarted the City Center design a year-and-a-half ago, pushing the EIR and architectural designs to this late date.

 

The San Ramon Library is actually part of the Contra Costa County system, but the County has no budget for the increased operating expenses of an enlarged library. That could fall to the City to the tune of $730,000 a year.  But many speakers urged the Council to support the Library, including two high school students who say that despite stereotypes, teens like to read.

 

The City Office building, with its 4th story Council Chambers placed kitty-corner to Mt. Diablo, is projected at $38M to $55M.  Planning Commissioner Donna Kerger said City Staff needs new offices. Staff is presently scattered around the City in rented spaces, or as Kerger said, in little cubbies behind the Council Chambers.  A new City Hall would provide room for meetings and meeting rooms, which are needed by many community organizations. 

 

Fust said the City could fund this building with Certificates of Participation, which takes money from the General Fund and requires greater solvency than the City has now. General Obligations bonds require a 2/3 vote of the residents.  A bond could be phased in at $45 per $100,000 of appraised value.  As homes in Dougherty Valley are annexed to the City, the prorated amount for each property would go down. Kerger said she would be willing to pay a few hundred dollars a year get a new City Hall.

 

The most controversial of the four buildings, and the most expensive, is the Performing Arts Center.  The City Council voted to change the original 800-seat theater and 200 seat black box, to a 1200 seat regional theater with a 300-seat component.  Mark Ballock, Chairman of the Arts Advisory Committee has been an outspoken critic of this change.  He says a 1200-seat theater is too large, and cannot support local groups like the new San Ramon Theater Company or the Tassajara Symphony.  Ballock is also very critical of the building's design, which he considers boxy and unimaginative as well poorly laid out.  Fust says the Performing Arts Center would cost close to $66M to build and $2M a year to operate. 

 

Other speakers also criticized the design of the site and the buildings as boxy and unattractive.  Beau Berman said that the original plan was to be a gathering place, and lively at night. Several years ago Alex Mehran of Sunset Development offered to build City Offices and a downtown, but this was rejected by the City Council at that time.  Ironically Mr. Fust now recommends a public-private partnership for the 7 acres on the south side of Bollinger.  Diane Schinnerer was disappointed that those 7 acres weren't incorporated into the whole plan.  Scott Miller, who is a director of the Aqua Bears swim team, wanted to know why the aquatic center had been taken out of the City Center. Fust said that it didn't fit into the site plan, but could be revisited for the 7-acre site.

 

An agreement with Sunset Development requires building to begin by 2005 or Sunset can buy back the 7-acre property.  However if the City has a public-private partnership for the 7 acres, they do not have to sell to Sunset.  Mary Hanson, representing the Economic Development Advisory Committee, says EDAC is working on a proposal for a public-private partnership for the 7 acres and that will be their main project for 2004. 

 

Funding Consultant, Christine Dohrmann, recommended establishing a nonprofit corporation to manage the City Center project instead of the City.  That would remove it from politics and increase business and community support.  Dohrmann said the nonprofit corporation could work with other nonprofits, like the VCM and Library Foundation on raising money, and also manage the public-private partnership on the 7 acres across the street. Business likes to partner with government because the cost of capital is lower. The City would have leverage because we own the land.

 

Councilmember Tatarka liked this source of funding, because it wouldn't require a bond or payment by residents. Tatarka said that putting a bond measure on the ballot would kill the project, because GO bonds don't do well here.  She wants to consider other sources of funding that won't require a bond measure. It still isn't certain what would go on the 7 acres, but Fust recommended retail like they have in Pleasanton and Walnut Creek.  In the past Tatarka has opposed retail at the site.  But Councilmember Dickey says she never opposed retail.

 

To summarize Fust's five recommendations:

 

1.                   Valley Children's Museum is ready to go.  Finalize the agreement.

2.                   Finalize the Library Grant by January 16, 2004. Requires City acceptance of the City Center EIR in December.

3.                   Start public-private partnership for 7 acres on South side of Bollinger.

4.                   Form a nonprofit organization to manage the City Center project.

5.                   Pursue Certificates of Participation or General Obligation bonds for new City Hall and Performing Arts Center.

 

The three Councilmembers voted to give staff direction to start working on a plan for a public-private partnership for the 7 acres, even though this was not on the published agenda.

 

 

 

Lundgren Corrects Oliver

(Statement at Public Comment before City Council meeting of October 14, 2003)

 

I was in the audience a few weeks ago at a Council meeting when Joe Covello and Mary Lou Oliver made a presentation about the past history of San Ramon (see below), especially as it related to agreements that are in place and now being questioned by some members of the current Council.

 

As to Mr. Covello’s description about the formation of San Ramon as a City and some of the reasons why, I have no doubt that these people spent a great deal of time and effort and we are all grateful that they were willing to do so.

 

However, some of the information presented by Ms. Oliver was not factual or clear, and this does a disservice to all residents of San Ramon who rely on information presented by politicians, either past or current.

 

First, she stated that the property for Iron Horse Middle School was “donated.”  In fact, the School District had an appraisal for that property and the price paid was “fair market value” or $4.1 million dollars.  Further, when Sunset sold this acreage to the School District, they were allowed by the City to build all of the square footage from that property on the remaining property at BR 3. 

 

Second, she stated that Sunset “made available” the city center property.  Made available is a questionable way to say that the City paid fair market value based on the appraisal done by the School District, since the City did not get an actual appraisal for this or the 7 acre properties.  The over $5 million for the 11 acres was paid by forgiving fees that Sunset owed the City.  Again, Sunset retained the right to build the square footage from that property on the remaining property. 

 

Finally, the general direction of Ms. Oliver’s statement was that past councils had made good decisions regarding the annexation agreements that were entered into between the City and Sunset Development.  I understand that the sales tax revenue paid by the tenants of Bishop Ranch was attractive to the City, and that some consideration should be given to obtain this revenue.  However, the reality is that according to the agreement with Sunset we cannot charge a business tax, or a payroll tax, the business license fee is limited to only $300/year, there can be no lighting and landscaping district and no assessment district, and the transient occupancy tax cannot go above 10%.  Even this small increase in revenue was eliminated this year when Mr. Wilson and Mr. Hudson saw to it that there would not be an opportunity for the voters to decide if the TOT should be raised from its current 7.25% to 10%.

 

In addition to the contract with Sunset, the City Council in 1987 signed a contract with the County to annex Bishop Ranch and agreed to refund property tax received by the City based on the sales tax collected in the previous year.  What this has meant to the city of San Ramon is that since 1987, this City has never received one penny of property tax for the Bishop Ranch annexations.  Just in the last ten years, this is over $8 million.  Coincidentally, this is the amount of the last City budget deficit.

 

The problem is not any one of these decisions specifically, and certainly the sales tax revenue in good economic times is wonderful for San Ramon, but we now know that a strong economy is not always the case.  The real problem is that the past councils in San Ramon walked into a room through a door marked “sales tax revenue” and then locked every other door, and they’re going to stay locked for a very long time.  What this means to you and I is that if the sales tax revenue is not sufficient to run the City of San Ramon, the only place to look is to us, the residents.

 

Two weeks later, Mrs. Schinerrer, who in fact signed some of these agreements, made a comment at the Council meeting regarding the City Center that the council should have looked to a partnership with business to support this project.  From what we’ve been able to find out, the taxpayers of San Ramon can’t afford one more “partnership”!

 

Melody Lundgren

 

 

 

Covello & Oliver Answer Tatarka's Questions (See Melody Lundgren's response above)

Presentation by Mary Lou Oliver and Joe Covello

At the September 23, 2003 San Ramon City Council Meeting

 

(Mary Lou)

 

At the last council meeting (August 26, 2003), Council Member Tatarka asked a series of questions that went without answers.  We are here to address those somewhat rhetorical questions and comments. Joe Covello is here to give you an overview or the events leading up to the incorporation of San Ramon.

 

(Joe Covello)

 

Due to the specious questions being posed it is time to impart the historical perspective into this issue; a perspective based on facts not supposition; a perspective provided and validated by the actual participants in the drama.

 

The alternative to the queries is simple:  SR would not exist and we would be “subjects” of the County or worse yet, vassals of Danville.  How do we know this – because we lived it!

 

We lived with the absence of the 4 Ps:

 

·         Police protection

·         Public works projects and maintenance

·         Parks – minimal or non-existent

·         Planning – virtually uncontrollable which required treks to Martinez just to express our un-listened to position

 

When we finally decided to do something collectively about this maltreatment we had to overcome SR’s own Mason-Dixon Line regarding services.  Three things kicked us into high gear in 1979.

  1. The attempt to solve local Proposition 13-caused financial problems by incorporating south San Ramon with Dublin failed (in part due to the thankful efforts of late Wilbur Duberstein).
  2. Danville (not yet incorporated) became the favored son of the County.  In doing so they concocted a gerrymandered ignoble boundary map for Danville, which went to Crow Canyon Road, and “cherry-stemmed” down the freeway to encompass the BR leaving out all San Ramon residences.  In other words, get the fruit and spit out the pit.
  3. R-7, the north San Ramon to Walnut Creek border county park district, decided to develop all Danville and Alamo parks before any San Ramon parks and eventually gave us Precipice Park (now Memorial Park) as a lien-encumbered, long-time useless site, which required significant cost to just stabilize the site.

At this point the North/South issues were set aside.  The San Ramon Incorporation Study Committee put on its boxing gloves, fought the County and Danville.  We split into three subcommittees, to do the “How To”, “Revenue” and “Expenses” analyses”, drew up and negotiated our desired boundaries, (to Danville’s detriment on our northern end), and 12 of us had to pitch in $500 each to pay for the County mandated consultant study which the County paid for Danville, but not for us and they never did reimburse us.  (Incidentally, another reason the SRISC organizers have the right to use the term Founders.)

 

Hard work, perseverance, stubbornness, and a healthy dose of belligerence and rebelliousness later we were allowed by LAFCO to get on the ballot.  But only on one late, mind numbing, and nearly fatal to incorporation condition, that the BR (and several residential developments the County wanted to maintain) were left out.

 

This was nearly devastating – the County and BR’s position was based on:

 

·         County unwilling to give up planning power, associated fees, and upon annexation to San Ramon (if it incorporated) the right to cut and dictate a one-sided revenue distribution deal.

·         Other landowners fears of over-regulation and taxation by future City Councils.

·         BR’s fear of dealing with the growing pains of a new city.

·         BR’s fears of an inadequate and incapable City Council majority that was anti-business instead of pro or at least neutral to business – a nightmare for them and everyone else that only very recently came true.

 

So what’s the ending of the initial chapters of Part I of the Chronicle of San Ramon? We lost the LAFCO battle to help the BR in the original City limits. We won the war, when by the largest majority in California history to that date, on 3/8/83, I, as President of SRISC, proclaimed “We are a City”.

 

We overcame the almost immediate loss of 1/3 of our revenue when Kodak closed down but instead of crying we went to work and those reserves we eventually had were testimony to our hard work (we even took on the County and won again when the County played shell games gave our 1983-84 park money to Danville and we got it back).

 

We then went to work to encircle the BR and force annexation into San Ramon on the best terms and conditions that were negotiation possible.  And we won that also because the alternative of the BR staying in the County and the Counting keeping all the money was too gruesome to contemplate

 

So as Paul Harvey says,

 

“And now the rest of the story” from a person who was one of the major players on the pre and post Incorporation stage – Mary Lou Oliver.

 

(Mary Lou)

 

Unless otherwise mandated by LAFCO, a developer (either commercial or residential) who owns land outside incorporated areas has a choice. He or she may

 

·         develop the land under the control and direction of the county planning department,

·         annex to a bordering city and develop under city planning,

·         enter into an agreement where the county and city work together.

 

The driving force for the development has always been and will always be, the bottom line.

 

Joe has explained how the incorporation came about, and why the Bishop Ranch and the Dougherty Valley were not included in the city boundaries at the time of the 1983 incorporation. 

 

It is still the developers’/landowners’ choice

 

·         Whether to annex at all

·         Whether to annex before 12 residents move in

·         Whether to wait until the development is occupied and put it to a vote of the residents.

·         Whether to piecemeal the annexation of commercial developments as projects are completed.

 

Again, the bottom line is $$$$$.  Those negotiating the agreements had to balance the needs of the city, with the needs of the business or development community in order to bring about mutual benefit, and, frankly, to prevent lawsuits in the future. 

 

At the time of Incorporation, the business climate was in a growth mode, but development was outpacing occupancy.  Bishop Ranch was still in the planning stages, but there were entitlements (approved plans) on most of the land.  Bishop Ranch was competing with Walnut Creek and Hacienda Business Park. Two major parcels were sold off to Chevron and ATT.  In order to make the traffic circulation work, it became necessary to add an interchange at Bollinger Canyon Rd.  Caltrans would not have been able to build the intersection for the foreseeable future, so the property owners at BR fronted the money for the interchange and it was built years ahead of schedule. 

 

To answer CM Tatarka’s question: “What was the purpose of the agreement?” The answer is in order to annex the Bishop Ranch and secure the tax base for San Ramon.

 

Bishop Ranch annexation took place in phases.  During each phase, entitlements were included in the annexation agreements. If there were proposed changes to the entitlements, a new development agreement was negotiated, and the city always benefited in some way, either financially or through the transfer of property, or property made available for purchase by the city or school district. (Central Park was nearly doubled from the original size, for example.)

 

Concurrently, the city was building a relationship with the corporate, retail, and business community.  The San Ramon Business split away from the Danville Chamber of Commerce and formed their own Chamber. The city had no way of knowing whether all the proper sales taxes, portions of the property taxes, and other income due the city from the businesses was properly being transferred from the county.  It became necessary to do an inventory of just who was doing business in San Ramon.  As a Business License was proposed, there was very heavy opposition from the businesses and Chamber of Commerce.  Also at the time, businesses were locating in San Ramon to avoid the business taxes in Walnut Creek and Pleasanton. It was decided at that time that San  would not balance it’s budget on the backs of those who don’t have a vote.  Money collected for the Business License was to be for administration of the program only, not for revenue purposes.

 

To quote Mr. Curry, “This agreement is a significant impediment to raising money.”  Yes. That is true.  It was intended that way.  In other cities, when business taxes go up, so does the vacancy rate. At the time Walnut Creek had a vacancy rate of almost 20%, Hacienda was suspending building because they couldn’t fill the space they had, and San Ramon had a little if any vacancy. 

 

The TOT was also an issue.  The only hotel was the Marriott.  It was competing with Dublin and Pleasanton and the owners were fearful of a high TOT.  We were gratified at the time to get as high as a 10% cap.  You (the City Council) are the ones who extended that cap while under the management of the Interim City Manager that you promoted. 

 

To quote CM Tatarka, “We inherited this agreement. It has some things that are detrimental to the city. I don’t know how we are going to deal with it.”  Might I suggest you go to the business community and start a dialog.  I guarantee the business community doesn’t want the city to go downhill either. 

 

CM Tatarka also asked, “What were our forefathers thinking when this was signed? Who knew about this agreement?  The public has a right to know who signed it.” Perhaps the above comments will answer that question for you.  These were hard fought contracts and agreements.  Many concessions were made on both sides. I’m sure my signature is on some the annexation agreements, and certainly I voted for many such agreements before my retirement in 1995, even against some, I suppose.  But I’m proud to say I was part of the effort to bring the Bishop Ranch Business Park into the community.

 

Pressed Glass

(4/23/03)

 

Fourteen people spoke at the April 22, 2003 Council meeting on the pressing issue of whether the David Glass house should be Documentary or Representative.  Everyone, even Nancy Thompson, said pretty much the same thing.  The Glass family was very interesting. They weren't famous or unusual.  They were important to the region, but not outstanding. We know a lot about them.  A couple of Glass family decendants even spoke on their linage, and how Glasses married into many other well know families in the Valley.  In fact the Glass family was very representative of families living in San Ramon in the late 19th Century.

 

The gist of public testimony was that the Glass House should be a merging of information about the Glass family with representations of family life in this area at that time.  Kathleen Mero of the John Marsh House in Brentwood spoke about how plans to restore Marsh House have been in progress for over 50 years.  Marsh only lived there a few weeks, and only had a few pieces of furniture, so it would be easy to make that a Documentary house.  Mero gave mixed answers about whether having furniture not belonging to the Glass family would detract from the Documentary focus of the house. 

 

Councilmember Jerry Cambra read the definition of Documentary, where it says, "It is not essential that every facet of a restoration be provable." However, earlier in the same definition it said, "A minimum of conjecture should be employed."  Cambra felt it was not conjecture to assume some members of the Glass family might have had a silver dollar, and that putting one in the house would not detract from its documentary focus. 

 

Cambra said the FHF Advisory Committee has a lot of information on the Glass family, but not much on other families in the valley at that time, so how could all these other families be represented in a representative house. "I want to make sure everyone gets it right, including the newspapers."  That appears to be a reference to Taunya English's article in the San Ramon Valley Times quoting Bruce Judd of Architectural Resources Group, who suggested "that the required level of documentation has not been collected or does not exist for the Glass family."

 

Councilmember Dickey said the house should be an amalgam of documentary and representative, but with the focus on documentary.  She made a motion for "a plan for the David Glass house to be developed, decorated, and maintained as an historical museum with a living history component recreating with historical accuracy the David Glass family's occupancy of the home in the 1890's with the exception of two of the bedrooms, one of which may be designated as a docent room/office and one designated as an interpretive exhibit area, which would be flexible."

 

Except for the last phrase about the upstairs bedroom being flexible, this is taken verbatim from the minutes of the May 1, 2002 Forest Home Farms Advisory Committee meeting.  It is the motion made by Nancy Thompson which supposedly passed unanimously.  However, the minutes of that meeting were not approved at the next meeting on June 4, 2002. Thereafter all subsequent meetings of the Advisory Committee were canceled.

 

Melody Lundgren, who identified herself as a Parks Commissioner in public comment, said that proper procedure wasn't followed because this recommendation was never brought to the Parks Commission.  Mayor Wilson clarified that Lundgren was not speaking on behalf of the Parks Commission.  It is proper procedure for an Advisory Committee not to make a recommendation to a Commission until the minutes have been approved.

 

Dickey tried to put the same wording into the RFP for the National Trust for Historic Preservation at the March 11, 2003 Council meeting.   When that didn't go over, the issue was carried over to the April 22, 2003 meeting.  Now Dickey is saying the house should be an amalgam, but only one upstairs bedroom (the same as in Nancy Thompson's original May 1, 2002 motion) is designated representative.  Jerry Cambra asked to have the Docent Office changed to another representative room.  So now in the motion, two upstairs bedrooms could be "flexible."  The motion passed 3-2 (Wilson and Hudson dissenting).

 

Dickey then objected that the Architectural Resources Group, which worked with Jane Jennings on the application for the Historic Register, should not get an RFP for Consulting Services.  City Manager Waiters said the RFP was for the Consultant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, not ARG.  Waiters said Staff would need to rewrite the RFP to give the Consultant room to come back with issues that might need to be addressed.  The Council agreed to send the RFP back to staff with Council review.

 

Then Jerry Cambra made a motion to "sunset" the Forest Home Farms Advisory Committee.  Dave Hudson said that wasn't on the Agenda.  Cambra said he checked with City Manager Waiters, and because the topic was on the Agenda, he could do it. City Attorney, Tom Curry, agreed, and the Council voted 4-1 (Husdon dissenting) to dissolve the Committee. The unapproved minutes from the May 1, and June 4, 2002 FHF Committee meetings will be accepted as official records.

 

 

Housing, Housing Everywhere 
(1/21/03)

Housing Programs Manager, Brooke Littman, gave a presentation at the Joint Meeting on January 21, 2003 on the City's plans to meet state and ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) requirements for affordable housing.  The State requires that San Ramon add 4,447 affordable units, with almost 600 for very low income, which is defined as less than 50% of the median income or $37,250 for a family of four. Littman outlined the major techniques the City is looking at to meet these needs. 

  • Inclusionary Zoning - requiring affordable housing in new developments
  • In-Lieu Fees - developers pay fee instead of including affordable housing
  • Linkage Programs - requiring commercial developments to provide affordable housing or pay linkage fee
  • Density Bonus - developers can increase densities by 20-25%, but 80% of that must be affordable
  • Mixed-Use Development - rezoning commercial areas to include affordable housing

Senior Planner, Victoria Walker, then went on to present the numbers on where and how affordable housing can fit into existing spaces in San Ramon.  According to the list of "Housing Opportunity Sites" distributed at the meeting, most of the very low income units would be mixed into the Crow Canyon redevelopment area, which is between the 680 and the auto repair shops near Danville.

I asked if the City surveyed any low income people working here to find out if they would want to live in such a development.  Deborah Cash, Vice-Chair of the Housing Advisory Committee, said there are waiting lists for people without decent housing to get into affordable units in Mountain View.  She said the need is very great.  After the meeting I heard Donna Kerger telling Littman and Walker that the General Plan Review Committee did not want low income housing concentrated in one location and wanted these units mixed throughout the city.

A sample of other locations on the list includes (multifamily units/affordable units).  More than  3/4 of the 4,447 affordable units are for moderate to above moderate incomes of $59,600 to $89,400 for a family of 4.  These are hardly poor folks!

F     Old Crow Canyon/Deerwood      228/57
J     Camino Ramon/Fostoria            161/40
K     Norris Canyon/Alcosta
              253/63
L     Bollinger Canyon/Iron Horse       358/89
P     Marketplace                             330/83
Q     Country Club Village                 136/34
R     Gateway                                  163/41

Councilmembers, Commissioners, and Committee members all questioned the consequences of not meeting state and ABAG requirements. ABAG is now asking San Ramon to build a permanent homeless shelter, which is a condition not previously required. There could be a loss of Measure C funds and impacts on state tax credits if the City doesn't comply. 

Councilmember Donna Dickey pointed out the Walnut Creek is only required to build 1,653 units. If the number of units is based on jobs to housing, why does San Ramon need 2,794 more. Planning Commissioner Jeff Rhoton mentioned a City in the San Diego area that opposed their housing allotment and is now considered a "poster child" for affordable housing. 

The consensus was that ABAG's "fair share" was unfair to San Ramon. Mayor Wilson said this was a complex issue that will take more than one meeting to work out. 

Where's the Pool?

The Aquatic Facilities Needs Committee was formed after the City tried to take over the pool at Royal Vista Golf Club for use as a public swim facility. This would have cost the City approximately $300,000, including renovating the pool and the area around it. This was voted down in a controversial 2-2 vote with Hudson and Wilson for the pool and Dickey and Cambra against (Mayor Tatarka was out of town).  The February 12, 2002 Council meeting turned into a showdown between swim club members and residents living near Royal Vista. The City clearly needed more swim facilities.

Ironically one of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee is to lease public pools for the short term (up to three years), including Royal Vista and another at the Bridges Community Center. This would help alleviate the waiting list for swim lessons and swim teams, until new facilities can be built.  The centerpiece of the recommendations is an enclosed swim facility with two pools, diving platforms, and event seating.  This could cost up to $20,000,000, but would provide year-round activities.  Mayor Tatarka pointed out that an open pool would cost half as much, and could be built between buildings in the City Center for protection. 

Vice-Mayor Wilson wanted to be sure that such an attractive facility wouldn't draw so many outsiders that residents wouldn't get to use it.  Jeff Eorio, Manager of the Parks and Community Services Department, said residents would get priority. 

Councilmember Donna Dickey wanted to know if the facilities in Dougherty Valley could be expanded, or if the City had to wait until buildout in 2020.  Abram Wilson, who was on the Dougherty Valley Oversight Committee said he was sure they could be expanded before buildout.  Councilmember Dave Hudson thought the pool planned for Dougherty Valley High School could be put in before the school was finished, and put into use as soon as possible. 

Clearly there are a lot of possibilities to investigate, including a temporary dome over the small pool at the current swim center so that swim lessons can be offered year-round. The Council accepted the report and will put a discussion of the options on a later meeting agenda.

 

qs_mailn.gif

Website designed & maintained by

mtd3small_tra.gif

 

 

 

 

 

  Home Page | Ongoing | Site Map | Events | Commentary | Feedback |