Around 50 Alamo residents gathered at the home of resident Jean Taylor last week on Wednesday, Aug. 27, to discuss the matter. They filled two rooms and spilled out into the kitchen area, all there to discuss how to stop ongoing plans to incorporate.
Taylor said she has attended meetings held by the pro-incorporation group and feels these people are not going to be swayed.
"They have this plan, they have this study. It doesn't matter if the numbers are right or wrong. This is what they intend to do," she said, adding, "They're very smart, very professional."
Many of those in attendance debated facts and figures presented in the Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis, a plan designed to show where the revenues for the newly minted town would come from and where the money would go.
One area of concern was in law enforcement. Resident Larry Rodrigue, a 30-year law enforcement veteran and chairman of the P-5 special assessment district for police services in Round Hill, said the plan for police protection just won't work.
"I've reviewed their manpower requirements and they are dreaming," he said. "They can't provide police coverage for Alamo with what they have listed."
Rodrigue said he attempted to bring these issues to the pro-incorporation side but was frustrated in his efforts.
"Every time I ask these questions I get blown off with a very vague answer," he said.
Attorney David Bowie said this is not the first incorporation effort he has experienced in his lifetime. Bowie said he lived in Orinda during its incorporation and at the time he supported the move.
"I was in favor of it because a local government is a more responsive government," he recalled.
After Orinda became a town, though, he saw changes that did not fit what the residents were told would happen.
"My neighbors, who all worked together to get problems resolved, became politicians. They started becoming more worried about political things than about things that needed to be done in the town," he said.
Flatly, he told the group last week: "I would never support incorporation again after my experience in Orinda."
Bowie also pointed to the monetary issues raised and questions brought up by Rodrigue.
"The P-5 special assessment district would still be there, but it would be subsumed by the town," he said. "And the town council would decide where the police protection went so it's possible that we could end up paying the same taxes and getting less service."
Bowie recommended that the group reduce the incorporation issue to specific areas and form committees to research those areas. Those committees would be headed up by people with the appropriate background. By way of example, he suggested Rodrigue run the committee on law enforcement.
After some debate and discussion, the residents decided to create one core committee, with five subcommittees examining the issues.
The subcommittees will look at police and emergency services; finance; planning/city administration; media relations; and public relations. Bowie said the core committee will consist of six to eight people from the subcommittees. Their first meeting is expected in the next few weeks.
At the same time, Alamo residents concerned about the incorporation are being directed to Jean Taylor's Web site, alamospotlight.com. Taylor said they will provide information on the committee's efforts and the ongoing debate about incorporation. In addition, residents can post their comments and opinions on the issue.
"People aren't empowered," Taylor said. "A grassroots movement is empowering for people."
Another tack the group plans to follow is to hold information meetings of their own. Resident Tony Carnemolla recommended having meetings where they can discuss and refute points raised by those in favor of the incorporation.
Taylor jumped in to agree.
"You bring the people and I'll rent the hall. I'll provide the cookies," she said.