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Friday, January 12, 2007

San Ramon Mayor And City Council Play Pat My Back

The San Ramon Mayor Recently Gave His Annual State Of The City Speech At a Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

State Of The City Speeches tend to be highly positive for just about all cities throughout the land. A kind of rah-rah to get everybody pumped up about the outlook for the city. While, that makes a lot of sense from a business perspective, it does not take into account many of the troubling issues currently facing the city of San Ramon.

The City Council, not wanting to be left out from the rah-rah sharing, took what the Mayor stated in the speech, and continued stroking out many platitudes and accolades at the city council meeting to the Mayor and then back from the Mayor to each of the City Council Members. They were having a grand ole time, all to the theme of "What A Wonderful World."

So, what are some of the aspects of the Mayor's speech that are troublesome?

Intentionally placing the city in a position of raising the cap on redevelopment debt limit nearly threefold, from $35 million to $100 million. Now, it is important to understand that the city has not yet placed us in debt to this amount of money, but they could very easily do it now with this and also with the increase in bond-issue debt limit to $59 million which also was passed last year. This really means the city could mortgage itself in any of the redevelopment zones. Keep in mind, the city can expand redevelopment zones anytime they want. They can even use eminent domain for private gain. But, What A Wonderful World.

The Crow Canyon and specifically the Northwest Specific Plan is intentionally being steamrolled through, while totally ignoring the concerns of the San Ramon citizens. I guess we should not be surprised by this council not really listening to the citizens. They have shown time and time again that they really only want to listen to those citizens that agree with them to begin with. But, What A Wonderful World.

Byron Athan, the City Attorney seems to make up laws as the city goes along. He maintains that the General Plan allows grading of the two ridge lines in question, even though another law, the Save Our Hills ordinance of 1990, has many of the provisions adopted into the 2020 General Plan,[11] requires voter approval whenever a proposed development would alter a ridge line.

Two major lawsuits filed by the Sierra Club and the East Bay Regional Park District are taking the city to task on this proposed development. These lawsuits will no doubt cost the city money. Because the City Council chose to ignore the citizens and steamroll the plan through, even though they could have included excellent input and changes to satisfy most of the concerns, the Council continues to ignore reason. The City Council need not worry about this though, after all, it doesn't come out of their pockets. And remember, What A Wonderful World.

For an example of a flatting of the ridge lines we need not look too far to see the after affects. Take a look at the Davidon Homes development above Alcosta Blvd. and Old Ranch Road. A major flatting and grading has taken place with a hillside that looks precarious at best and one has to wonder what will happen with a big rain storm. Are we likely to find the hills are alive with sliding music? Ah but, What A Wonderful World.

Are there any independent thinkers amongst the City Council members? I think we have a bunch of "Good Ole Boys" slapping each other on the back. Give me a break guys and gale. What A Wonderful World was a bit over the top. Don't you think?

By-the-way, we suggest reading the Introduction to San Ramon News posting.

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