Storer named new Danville mayor; council honors local contributors

Town council reorganizes, presents annual community service awards

The Danville Town Council and scores of residents honored key local contributors and celebrated as Councilman Robert Storer took the mayoral helm Tuesday night during the yearly mayor's installation and community service awards presentation.

"I welcome this opportunity more than I can possibly put into words. I wish I had a better command of the English language because this is absolutely amazing," the new mayor said to more than 200 people gathered inside the Danville Community Center for the nearly three-hour event.

This marks Storer's first turn as Danville mayor. He served as the town's most recent vice mayor, under outgoing mayor Newell Arnerich.

"It has been an honor," Arnerich said shortly before the annual council reorganization Tuesday. "It doesn't get better than this ... Everything that you touch and feel is created by local government."

The vote was unanimous to appoint Storer as mayor for the next year.

"Many of my friends have asked me, 'What are you going to do (as mayor),'" Storer said. "Danville has become a model of what a successful community looks like, a successful community where the bar has been set so extraordinarily high that, in my opinion, you stay the course. You stay with what made you successful, and you grow intelligently."

A former town planning commissioner, Storer joined the council in October 2009, having been appointed to complete the unexpired term of late Councilman Michael Shimansky.

Storer was selected to serve a full four-year term in 2010, when the council opted to make direct appointments and forgo an election after Storer and sitting Councilwoman Karen Stepper were the only candidates who filed papers that year to fill two openings on the dais. His current term expires in 2014.

The council also voted unanimously Tuesday to name Councilman Mike Doyle as the new vice mayor. Doyle has served on the council since 1991.

Before naming the new mayor and vice mayor, council members spent roughly two hours recognizing more than two dozen community figures while distributing the town's annual service awards.

The Danville Award

The night's highest honor, acknowledging the efforts of an organization that best embodies the town's spirit of volunteerism and community, went to the Role Players Ensemble.

Arnerich lauded the theater group for presenting "extraordinary things that made us laugh and made us cry and made us think and made us wonder what would be next" over its 26-year history.

"This is very, very much a surprise," Role Players Ensemble president Florence McAuley said of the award. "I am so proud of what we do … We provide professional, high-quality theater for this community."

Award of Special Recognition

David Miller was honored for organizing the annual Danville Hot Summer Nights Hot Rod and Classic Car Show.

"I do it for two reasons. No. 1, I'm proud to be a Danville resident. And No. 2, I really love working with the people who come to the show and are part of the show, all of the volunteers," Miller said after accepting his award.

Michael K. Shimansky Community Service Award

Danville teens Madi and Kinsey Mascali received the award named for the late town councilman because of their commitment to helping their less-fortunate peers through Packs with Love.

The organization, founded by the sisters in 2006, has collected and stuffed (with school supplies) more than 3,200 backpacks for young underprivileged students in time for their first day of class.

"My favorite part about this project is how we stuff the backpacks with unique notes that have very inspirational and uplifting quotes on them," Kinsey said. "We've heard back from some of the kids, saying when they've had a rough day, they looked at these notes and they felt loved."

Awards of Merit

The council handed out four merit awards.

*San Ramon Valley High senior Hannah McAlister was recognized for actively volunteering, seeking leadership opportunities and working with children with disabilities.

*Lori Garcia, who is deeply committed to the fight against cancer and the search for a cure, earned the accolade for helping organize the annual Danville Relay for Life and fundraising for the American Cancer Society.

*Four days after the annual downtown holiday tree lighting, the council honored Susie Wingate for playing the "Snow Angel" during the event for the last two decades.

*Lee Halverson received the award for his years of dedicated service to military veterans and veteran organizations in and around Danville.

Volunteers of the Year

*Ed Angle received the Parks and Leisure Services Commission Volunteer of the Year Award for his continued support of and participation in Danville's youth basketball program.

*Arts Commission Volunteer of the Year went to Rick and Barbara Mahan for their involvement with the cultural arts throughout the community. Between them, the Mahans have sat on the Parks and Leisure Services and Arts commissions, served on the House Committee for the Museum of the San Ramon Valley and volunteered at the Tassajara One Room School House.

*Ricardo "Ricky" Leon was named the town Volunteer of the Year for giving his time back to town departments. Since April, Leon has donated more than 750 volunteer hours, an average of 20 hours per week.

Architectural Awards

The Veterans Memorial Building renovation was named Outstanding Public/Semi-public Design, Incontro Ristorante (at 455 Hartz Ave.) received the award for Outstanding Commercial Remodel, and Outstanding Heritage Resource Design went to the renovation and remodel of the craftsman bungalow on the Weinberg commercial development project on East Prospect Avenue.

Outgoing commissioners

The council recognized six people who finished serving on town commissions during the past year: Brigitte Bize and Rosemarie Hyatt on the Arts Commission, Scott Tinetti and Turner Stanton on the Parks and Leisure Services Commission, Randy Haberl on the Heritage Resource Commission and Lynn Overcashier on the Design Review Board.

Service Awards

Six commissioners received mementos for their years of service to the town.

Hyatt, Tinetti and Victoria Brooks (Arts Commission) were honored for serving four years, Jane Joyce and Stewart Proctor (both Parks and Leisure Services Commission) for eight years and Susan Ritner for 12 years (Arts Commission).


Posted by Dan, a resident of Danville
on Dec 5, 2013 at 6:50 am

Mayor Storer is right. The council has done a terrific job over the years. Stay the course and grow intellectually.

Posted by Dane, a resident of Danville
on Dec 5, 2013 at 9:02 am

@Dan: Many people would disagree with you, Dan. Were you at the Town's hearings on the 2030 General Plan? How about the hearings on the Gulag Elworthy being built by KB Homes? Did you follow the hearings leading up to the Council's recent approval of SummerHill Homes appalling 69-home residential development for the traffic-choked Diablo Road area? Nearly all of the thousands of people in attendance at those hearings have the view that the Council has not done a good job in recent years.

In fact, the Town and Council are being sued because of the Council's recent approval of the SummerHill development, which was in violation of ballot Measure S that requires voter approval of residential developments on land designated in the General Plan for Agricultural use.

No, Dan, everything is not right in Danville. The fact that Storer, the developer/owner of Danville high-density housing, is now the mayor says it all. Ever talk to him at the Farmers' Market? He is a real hothead.

Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Danville
on Dec 5, 2013 at 9:05 am

No, Newell. Everything you touch and feel is created by the taxpayers, not the government.

Posted by RUkidding, a resident of Danville
on Dec 5, 2013 at 9:35 am

Arnerich and lackies......everything you touched turned into high density, traffic congestion, little progress on the Danville hotel project and community anger. Yeah, you all did a great job...... for the developers.......not the residents of Danville. Looks like it's more of the same with Storer too.

Posted by Julia, a resident of Alamo
on Dec 5, 2013 at 9:58 am

Great work Danville Town Leader's... More self serving folks on the council.

Dan, you need your head checked out...

Dane, Taxpayer and RU Kidding, have their head screwed on right.

I am so happy I chose Alamo 35 years ago to live and raise my family.

Danville was a great place 35 years ago...but not anymore.

Thanks for listening, Julia Pardini from safe and sane Alamo

Posted by Thank You, a resident of Danville
on Dec 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Mayor Storer- you are a good man and we are lucky to have you as our leader. Anyone who thinks differently simply does not know you, they are just entangled in their own views on politics.

Posted by Derek, a resident of Danville
on Dec 5, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I don't know Mr. Storer at all and it's entirely possible that he is a "good man" in plenty of ways. I am friendly with one of the other council members myself. But none of that means that they or the other three are good for Danville.
It has been stated on these boards that Storer is either a developer, or works for one. Is this true? I know that he was a former planning commissioner. Did his tenure date back to when Elworthy was being proposed, or did it come after? If it was concurrent, that's a big problem for me.
And now, I guess we have a vacancy on the council? I shudder with horror to think who will fill the seat. Perhaps we can get a Kauffman-Broad V.P. to make sure things stay completely corrupt.
By the way Dan, where can I buy what you're smoking? Some days a little reprieve from reality would be nice for me too.

Posted by wised up, a resident of Charlotte Wood Middle School
on Dec 5, 2013 at 5:21 pm

@Derek: Storer was appointed in 2009 when he ran unopposed for the Council. Before that he had been appointed to finish Mike Shimansky's term. Prior to that, he was a Planning Commissioner. So he must have been on the Commission when Elworthy was approved in 2007, I believe.

Storer approved the SummerHill project in June. Like Elworthy, the SummerHill project required a public vote, which the Council refused to allow. Both the Elworthy and the SummerHill projects are abominations. Danville voters have got to stop electing developers like Storer to Council.

Posted by C. R. Mudgeon, a resident of Danville
on Dec 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I don't know new Mayor Robert Storer, and will therefore reserve judgement. But it is a "fact of life" that many of the people who run for town council positions do so because they are motivated by specific issues, and therefore have some degree of conflict-of-interest on those issues. This is why we have fire-fighters (or ex fire-fighters) running for fire district boards (that negotiate their contracts), teachers (or ex-teachers, or spouses of teachers) who run for school boards, and real estate developers who run for planning commissions and town councils. Looking at the backgrounds of candidates is always important. I'm also of the opinion that Danville's "rotating mayor" process, where the town council members pick who gets the next "turn" as mayor, is not really in the best interests of residents, as it makes the mayor less accountable to voters.

Posted by Council watcher, a resident of Danville
on Dec 5, 2013 at 7:34 pm

@CR MUDGEON: I hope you will start getting to know Storer. He has been on Council for over 4 years and on the Planning Commission before that and has done a lot of damage around Town that will echo forever into the future. You will be voting whether he stays on Council next November.

Posted by Dan, a resident of Danville
on Dec 7, 2013 at 8:44 am

You one issue people make me laugh. A few homes get approved and you have a heart attack. An extra minute, or two, to get where you are going and you'd think the world is coming to an end. Let's be real, you've got yours now let's keep everyone else out.

Yes, I did attend some of those meetings and found massive over reaction. Yes, I have talked to Mayor Storer and found him to be thoughtful and even tempered.

Since Julia wants to take a trip down memory lane let's talk about the 1950s when a national magazine described Danville as having one of the ugliest down towns in America. No more.

Why is Julia "from Alamo" concerning herself with a few Danville homes. Must like to see her name in print.

Posted by another voter, a resident of Danville
on Dec 8, 2013 at 11:47 am

No one elected Robert Storer to be a Council member. Three of the current members appointed him.

Storer will lose in November 2014 when the voters finally get a chance to vote on whether they want someone that built and owns high-density housing in Danville to be making decisions about future such projects in Danville.

Storer is a member of the ABAG Board that is responsible for requiring Danville to redesignate dozens of acres in Danville for high-density housing. Wake-up Danville residents! Elect someone that will not have Storer's mindset and interest in building to Council!

Posted by local resident, a resident of Blackhawk
on Dec 8, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Good luck beating Storer, Danville voters. As Mark Twain once said, "It's easier to fool people, than to convince them that they have been fooled."

Posted by Just curious, a resident of Danville
on Dec 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Who would you rather see in office? Those schmucks from Save Diablo Open Space Don't Build in My Backyard?

Posted by Tree topper, a resident of Danville
on Dec 10, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I am disappointed to see so many residents as upset they are with our new mayor. He is a very decent person and has the best interest of Danville at heart. Danville does not live in a vacuum; things are going to eventually creep into the community if we are to keep pace with even minor growth. Comments indicate that Mayor Storer built and owns high-density housing in Danville. One should take a closer look as to what it is. One building, 22 units, occupied by seniors, handicapped, and the disabled. I don't think he should be criticized for that. Yes, he was appointed by the Town Council to fill the vacancy left by the death of Mike Shimansky. Yes, he was subsequently appointed to the council for a full term. But…realize that both he and Karen Stepper were running for the two seats on the council and were running "unopposed". To run a campaign (even for this small city (not really a Town)) it would cost approximately $55,000. A truly stupid idea to spend that money if one is unopposed. The town council showed some smarts in appointing them both without each of them spending a lot of cash.
Julia, I'm glad you live in Alamo
The rest of the naysayers, give the guy a chance. There will be an election coming up. If he isn't doing the right things by and for Danville, well……………………

Posted by Tony, a resident of Diablo
on Dec 11, 2013 at 6:58 am

Dan and Tree Topper what part of Danville do you live in? If it's along the Blackhawk Road corridor I can take your comments more seriously. More than 4500 Danville residents signed a petition stating that the town of Danville should follow the language of Measure S and give the voters the right to approve any projects which require a change from open-space to clustered housing. Unfortunately the petition was disqualified due to a technicality.

Throughout the lengthy planning commission and town council hearings, all of the input from the residents was "blown off. ". Unfortunately now the situation has devolved into a lawsuit. This is regrettable but the residents along the Diablo Blackhawk Road corridor have no other choice.
Why doesn't the Town Council listen to these residents and prevent Summerhill from being another Ellworthy disaster?

Posted by Janey, a resident of Danville
on Dec 11, 2013 at 10:10 am

It is so disheartening to read so many nasty and untrue comments. There is spin in politics, but I didn't think it happens at the town level. Mr Storer is a nice person who cares about Danville. He wants to keep this town as pleasant, beautiful and safe as possible. It takes a lot of work and courage to put yourself out there like he and the other town council have done. Calling any of them "lackies" shows how people are disrespectful and only express it anonymously.

Posted by Huh?, a resident of Danville
on Dec 11, 2013 at 11:10 am

Tony, for starters, Blackhawk and Diablo aren't in Danville - They are unincorporated county areas like Alamo. And its the County's bad planning which created the traffic issues which everyone is complaining about - not the city. The traffic generated by the Summerhill project won't be a pimple on the butt of the traffic load in your area. Blackhawk is the problem, not Danville.

And I get a kick out of the guys tarring Storer as a "high density developer." Google him, folks - he's a contractor who repairs and remodels houses. Web Link As far as I can tell his company's only "development" was the building with apartments for seniors and handicapped people at the end of Hartz by the freeway. Not exactly Nathan Shapell, eh?

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