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
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