Danville Express

Newsfront - September 14, 2007

Alamo petition toward incorporation begins

2,500 signatures needed to apply for study on cityhood

by Natalie O'Neill

The feeling in the air was "rah-rah sis-boom-bah!" for enthusiastic supporters of Alamo's cityhood last week, as the Alamo Incorporation Movement kicked off its petition launch.

Signature collectors - who set up a booth at the Alamo Wine and Music Festival on Saturday - will now need to gather 2,500 John Hancocks in the next six months. And leaders of the grassroots movement say they plan to do it largely through neighborhood groups.

"It's like throwing a stone at a pool; the ripples move outward," said Chris Kenber, spokesman for the Alamo incorporation committee.

Along with the petition circulating at casual neighborhood get-togethers, volunteers plan to leave them at public locations, such as Richard's Arts and Crafts and Mark Kahn Jewelers. Door-to-door petitioning, along with appearances at the Danville farmers market and in front of Alamo Safeway are also part of the plan.

The group needs to get 2,500 signatures - 25 percent of Alamo voters - but this does not OK cityhood. It is necessary for the Local Agency Formation Commission to conduct a study to determine if Alamo would stand up to the financial tests of running its own government. The Contra Costa LAFCO is a state regulatory commission to prevent small districts and non-viable cities from being created.

At a spirited meeting last week, which was essentially a pep rally for around 80 cityhood supporters, the committee found volunteers and worked on how to convey a consistent message while out in the field.

The meeting was a form of training for volunteers, Kenber said. Energy levels were high, donations were collected, and the message echoed that Alamo should have more representation.

"It's time for us to manage ourselves," said Vicki Koc, former Alamo Parks and Recreation committee member.

But while incorporation advocates are causing a ripple effect, some vocal opponents of incorporation are making waves as well. The problem, they say, is that the plan for how incorporated Alamo would be set up raises too many questions.

For example, the idea of an Alamo town council has been the object of criticism. Some say it will bring about too many rules and others worry that the movement's leaders have their own agendas.

Kenber, a former San Ramon Valley Unified School board member, says city councils have worked fine for Danville and Walnut Creek and they would work for Alamo.

"(A city council) is not exactly an 'out-there' thing to do," he said.

"People don't like government. My argument is, then don't you want it closer to you so can see it?" he added.

Still others have said vital parts of running a city - including taxes and road repairs - have been overlooked in the plan.

These are factors LAFCO will take into account in the study, should the petition pass.

The incorporation committee's goal is to complete the petition by Thanksgiving. From there, the LAFCO process will likely take more than a year and voting wouldn't be until spring 2009.

If the process gets that far, the vote would be the first on the incorporation of Alamo by itself. Efforts to make Alamo a city with Danville or with the entire San Ramon Valley failed in the 1960s and '70s. In total, six efforts to incorporate have occurred since the first was initiated by the Alamo Improvement Association in 1956.

In order for the 2009 vote to pass, more than 50 percent of Alamo voters would have to support cityhood.

Alamo makes up 5.8 percent of District 3, a statistic cityhood advocates use to note that the area is under-represented by county officials in Martinez. Currently Alamo's planning, parks, roads and police are all handled through the county.

"Alamo is going to change whether we like it or not. The question is: Do we want to manage it?" Kenber said.


Posted by Ana E., a resident of Alamo
on Jun 7, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Im not so sure that Alamo being incorporated sounds good to me. I have always been so proud of the fact that our town was a little oasis of sorts hidden away form the hustle and bustle and chaos of the city. I commute daily into SF and the contrast of these two places is a wlecome one. I may not always feel super pleased about my mortagae payments or the traffic that seems to bottle up just before my beloved stone valley exit but Alamo has always been for me about un covered green hills and horses in the backyard and pesky deer eatig the roses. I think that too much growth would destroy the charm and the peacfulness of this place we call home fo the past three generations.I beg you keep it simple but smart, and no need to make it incorporated. We love our town.

Posted by Community courtesy, a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Dear Dolores,

Our region's ad hoc formation committee noted Ana's comment. "Doubt was the cause of failure for AIM incorporation. AIM lacked inclusion, definition and planning/budgeting for fiscal crisis," noted Tom, as one analyst in preparation of the next steps to our regional government.

As you have viewed from neighborhood commentary shared with you, the concept is to establish the planning commission and services committees as a county function so they could translate in-place to a local government by LAFCO incorporation.

Ana's doubts provide a concise view. She was not included and did not have definition of a local government to use in her commentary.

Ah, but it is coming..

Hal, as a community courtesy

Posted by Dead-Head Fred, a resident of Danville
on Jun 8, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Did I accidentally go through a time warp and drop back to 2007?

Posted by Hal Bailey, a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Dear Dolores,

Many neighbors in 94507 Alamo CA are recapping the history of AIM's incorporation effort to better understand the new interests in more inclusive, defined incorporation effort. So as FRED noted, the history of AIM on your Forum is getting a new look-see and a response.

Where is the effort going? That depends on the needs of our region's neighborhoods for political and planning voice. If the issues that will arise can be handled directly with the county and other governments in our region, then incorporation will remain dormant.

Let's be grateful for Dead-Head Fred's question and simply smile.


Posted by Informed Resident, a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2009 at 12:07 pm

It takes more than frequent blogging to get any real effort started. An educated guess would suggest that it will be decades before incorporation is re-considered -if ever.

Posted by Hal Bailey, a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Dear Dolores,

The obvious reality of this forum is only three points of commentary are being displayed. The pseudonyms, Alamo Ron and Informed Resident, represent the next step in local politics from their support of AIM's undefined incorporation proposal. Hal Bailey, a pseudonym, has supported neighborhood commentary using available firewall protection of such commentary.

The reality is what is executed by the majority. At present, nothing provokes a majority to consider further formation, including a MAC, as the extension of district 3 in an outbound advisory of CCC-BOS actions. Afterall, a MAC as agency for district 3 does not warrant serious consideration by a majority willing to confront the county government and many local governments and districts.

A majority has made itself felt before, should we expect any difference for a MAC?


Posted by Louise, a resident of Alamo
on Jun 13, 2009 at 9:05 am

Be still my heart!

I thought we had new fodder to gossip about while playing golf.

I thought Vicki Koc and her AIM members had once again risen from the ashes.

Thank Goodnes this is only history, but darn now, what and WHO will we gossip about on the links with the guys?

Things have been dull around town. We need some new good gossip.

Posted by Tony, a resident of Alamo
on Jun 13, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Vicki Koc and "rah-rah sis-boom-bah!"

Is this a nightmare or what?

Not her again!

For a moment there, I thought someone had placed me on a scarey time machine.

Hopefully AIM has disbanded and all its self appointed dictators are busy making someone else's life miserable....not mine!

Posted by Halamo, a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2009 at 10:24 am

Dear Dolores,

It is nice to hear from Louise and Tony. A need for gossip??

Try these:

#1. Neighborhoods reformed an ad hoc formation committee in January when polling predicted the 54% or greater opposition to the AIM incorporation proposal. A formation document has been updated and neighborhoods are being polled for >5400 voters in support of incorporation and >$500,000 for a new incorporation process in 2010 after set-aside of the March 3, 2009 election results.

#2. Neighborhoods throughout district 3 are now organizing a RECALL effort and are polling voters for petition support, replacement candidate preferences, and majority replacement vote.

How's that to start commentary for consideration by a talented editor??

Hal, as Halamo
The Alamo Towne Fool

Posted by Informed Resident, a resident of another community
on Jun 17, 2009 at 1:07 am

And in chimes Hal with more conspiracies, accusations and threats of a RECALL...just like clockwork. Adding up to nothing more than mindless gossip! Tick, tick, tick.

Speaking of a organized recall (no need to SHOUT), shouldn't you at least be aware of the numbers of signatures needed and reasons to initiate a recall effort?

With all the time and research that you claim to receive, has any one of your "many" checked in to the numbers required? How about posting them here and while you are at it why not post how many voters are registered in the district? You know it works off of a percentage right?

Would the numbers needed support your threats? Please make a call or two and post the results below. Is that a fair enought request, or will you simply spin off into another subject?

Informed residents want to know, (that is how we stay informed).

Thanks in advance for your posting as a real honest to goodness community courtesy!

Posted by Community courtesy, a resident of another community
on Jun 17, 2009 at 8:56 am

Dear Dolores,

The request for background on recall specifications is a fair and informative opportunity for all your readers to consider. Last year, Steve Weir provided the specifications for recall and they were shared with you and the Town Square Forum. In general, Recall can be pursued after 6 months from the official's election and requires, I recall, 20% of the number of voters voting in that election on a recall petition. If a petition is successful and qualified, then a recall and replacement election is held within 90 days of the certification of the petition.

In the matter of district 3 supervisor, the June 2008 election had an extremely low turnout and the threshold for signatures is low. The interest in recall is beyond the boundaries of our region and exists in communities and neighborhoods throughout district 3. At present, such committee action is led from Dougherty Valley with active support in the Delta, Diablo Vista and San Ramon Valley regions according to circulating information on e-exchanges.

My suggestion for further information is to contact Steve Weir's office and confirm the specifications of recall and its justification. One additional road to replacement in district 3 is also considered and requires counsel specification for understanding. There are specifications of performance in office, including conflicts of interest, that can be employed in legal actions to remove a supervisor. For that information, the best source is Steve Bolin at the District Attorney's office.

Hope that helps your readers!

Hal, as a community courtesy

Posted by Informed Resident, a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2009 at 12:05 pm


You got most of it right. Good for you, finally posting some factual information. Bravo my man!

Now let's see, you just need to fabricate some kind of reasoning for this and get ten's of thousands of registered voters to agree with you? Oh, and you should probably hope that the majority of supporters who voted for the Supervisor don't push back with an effort of their own. I am sure you have not forgotten that she handily won the election by majority and popular vote.

Well there is that for starters...

Posted by RandyB, a resident of Alamo
on Jun 24, 2009 at 2:30 pm

That was because she (read dictator) was opposed by Guy Houston, who is perhaps the only person in the tri-valley that is worst then her!

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