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By Roz Rogoff

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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Phone call to Abram Wilson

Uploaded: Jul 1, 2014

Two years ago former Mayor Abram Wilson was making the rounds of cities in the Tri-Valley to encourage them to invest in the Creekside Memorial Cemetery. I interviewed him for my Blogtalkradio program back in April of 2012. Web Link

Abram was trying to get the cities in the Tri-Valley to buy the land for the cemetery from Sid Corrie to generate income for the cities. Now that some of the residents of Dougherty Valley are protesting the cemetery, I wondered how much Sid Corrie was looking for to sell that land. I phoned Abram yesterday afternoon and left him a message. He called back at 9:37 pm last night.

He talked about what he was proposing in 2012, but not much has been done on it since. The five cities have not form a JPA (Joint Powers Agreement) to buy the cemetery, and the property is still owned by Sid Corrie with the intention of turning it into a cemetery. I asked Abram how much Sid Corrie wanted for that property. "Not that much," he told me, but he wouldn't say how much is "not that much."

Abram also told me Sid would not sell the property now because he wants a place for his own grave site. I asked Abram about all of the other cemeteries nearby that opponents mention to show such a big cemetery isn't needed here. He said there are cemeteries nearby, but they are all full or pre-sold. There are no plots left.

He also said that buyers from outside the United States are buying up land for cemeteries. He mentioned one buyer in China. I was surprised because the Chinese residents here are so opposed to the cemetery for cultural reasons. Abram said the man buying cemetery properties is in it for the money and lives there and not here. I don't know who that person is or if there is any possibility that he could buy Sid's property now.

Abram said that the Muslim community is looking for land for a cemetery. I know there is a sizeable Muslim community in or near San Ramon. The Islamic Center across the parking lot from the City Hall was enlarged a few years ago. The only protests were the usual ones about traffic, especially on Fridays when Muslims observe their Sabbath.

We had a nice chat. Abram was relaxed and joking and laughing. I told him he's much more fun now that he's not Mayor. He agreed that not having to represent the city or watch what he says makes life a lot easier.

I also met with Crystal Lu at Starbucks this afternoon. I started taking notes but she asked me to keep what she said off the record. So this is just a short summary of the meeting, which went very well.

There was no hostility. We treated each other with respect, unlike the childish name calling which has been growing in the comments on the blogs in the Express now. We listened to each other and came to understand our different perspectives.

I told Crystal to look for solutions instead of simply protesting the cemetery. Problems that seem overwhelming can be solved if you stay rational and not let fear or anger take over.

Comments

Posted by RJ, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jul 2, 2014 at 6:11 am

Nice job, keep up the good work!


Posted by William Bramble, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jul 2, 2014 at 7:41 am

So, Abram Wilson did not speak from his heart when he was mayor? Now, he can really tell us how he feels since he is not held accountable? Why can't a politician be who they really are - and speak openly about their feelings, beliefs and positions? I get it......but it is just a sad commentary. Public service is supposed to be just that. A person steps up because they have ideas and goals, but they always end up becomming two-faced and/or beholden to some outside forces (be it unions or other special interests).


Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jul 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

William,

He didn't mean it that way. As Mayor he represented the city, not himself. I recall that one time early in his first term he went to Pleasanton and spoke in public comment about something on their agenda. He was speaking for himself but because he was Mayor his comments were interpreted as representing San Ramon's position.

Our City Council members are not professional politicians, but as representatives of the city their comments can be misinterpreted. This isn't being two-faced. The same thing would be true if you were an executive for a corporation and made comments that could be misconstrued as representing the corporate view when they were just your own personal viewpoints.

Roz


Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jul 7, 2014 at 6:59 am

Well Roz, I had heard this was Sid Corrie's stance and understand his POV. It seems many want a cemetery of SOME type there and again, I really do hope it goes forward in some form or another in that very location. Frankly? NOT JUST segregated for Chinese OR Muslim?

But for ALL people of the San Ramon Valley.


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