http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2007/11/23/letters-to-the-editor


DanvilleSanRamon.com

Perspective - November 23, 2007

Letters to the editor

Infill development requires oversight

Dear Editor:

Since first arriving in Alamo in the fall of '72, I've seen tremendous changes. Mostly for the worse. Congestion, poor planning, substandard roads, lack of recreational opportunities and disappearing open spaces due to haphazard development. It barely resembles the same rural one-stoplight town I moved to. And who controlled what happened in Alamo? Was it Alamo residents or bureaucrats sitting in Martinez? Far too often, it was the latter, often over the strenuous objections of Alamo residents.

Over the years, the only community-wide voice has been the Alamo Improvement Association. As an advisory committee they were ignored at the County's pleasure (and still are). Deep pocketed developers with significant political ties (greased by large cash "contributions") to the CCC Board of Supervisors effectively ran roughshod over the planning and development process. Politically, our community has been marginalized by gerrymandered districts; as such, we are disenfranchised and "represented" by those who have little concern for Alamo residents.

A recent Letter to the Editor by Phil Erikson stated "there is no growth left to control." On the contrary, over building (big homes on small lots) is just as detrimental to our community's character as the rampant development we've experienced for the last 35 years. This "infill" development requires even greater oversight and community sensitivity, not less.

Since Alamo is a wonderful cash cow, the County is loath to lose that cash (and was the reason Alamo wasn't allowed to incorporate in the last effort). With newly enacted regulations that give the decision to a newly independent LAFCO, we finally have the ability to take control of our own destiny.

We fought a War of Independence a few hundred years ago over taxation without representation with a King who governed as he saw fit. Today, we substitute a myopic Martinez bureaucracy and the results are the same. Thankfully, reason and determination prevailed back then. I have faith they will prevail again.

Paul Barker, 35-year resident of the soon-to-be Town of Alamo

Old politics influence today

Dear Editor:

Some political facts of several years ago have not been brought out, which have a bearing on the current effort of Alamo incorporation. Were it not for the threat of abolishing the San Ramon Valley Regional Planning Commission, I don't believe the incorporation effort would have gotten off the ground. That threat, which would abolish the last vestiges of local control, I believe is at the heart of the Alamo incorporation move.

One has to go back to the Joint (County plus Regional) Planning Commission Hearings on developers Shappell and others' plans for Alamo Creek and related properties, east of Danville. The two commissions took opposite sides, but oddly the County Commission was the lead agency. The ensuing approved plan ruined the commute times from east of Danville via Camino Tassajara, and via Crow Canyon Road.

Dirty politics ruined the political careers of highly respected former Mayor and Danville Councilwoman Millie Greenberg, who had been appointed to the Board of Supervisors, and likewise highly respected former Supervisor Donna Gerber.

LAFCO is a dangerously powerful agency. Time and again, our Founders' principle that the government closest to the people, governs best, has proved correct.

Ralph Hoffmann, Danville

Comments

Posted by Jennifer Hansen, a resident of another community
on Nov 23, 2007 at 8:45 am

Dear Editor,

As I read these letters, especially Paul's, I see repeating lines that have been placed in incorporation proponents releases over and over again. I also see the same focus on opponents, by name, and the character assassination in absence of real information and position commentary.

Alamo region residents are not ignorant in their opposing views and are passionate about the best proposal for Alamo's future. What we fear is the relationship among the politicians behind the Alamo Incorporation Movement, as AIM, with county and LAFCo that will produce a local layer of government that has no responsibility to Alamo Region residents. Paul doesn't seem to realize AIM is Martinez politics combined with the selfish interests of a small political minority in Alamo that is proposing five council members to decide our future.

If the politicians we have seen at AIM meetings, in print, and on TV are to be that independent council then Alamo residents have no future other continuing politics as usual in Contra Costa County.

Jennifer Hansen
Diablo Vista CA 94507 Supporter


Posted by Alamo Ron, a resident of Alamo
on Dec 1, 2007 at 8:40 am

I agree with Jennifer that Alamo residents are not ignorant.

Therefore, they also clearly understand that the Alamo town council will be ELECTED BY ALAMO RESIDENTS!

The town council will therefore be directly responsible and answerable to the residents of Alamo and not to some far-off overpopulated bureaucracy.

The myth of a "local layer of government that has no responsibility to Alamo Region residents" is just that - a myth.

I have great respect and confidence in the power of the ballot box, both to elect AND reject persons to represent Alamo. It is a shame and highly unfortunate that some people do not respect well-established electoral processes...