http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/09/05/alamo-incorporation-opponents-get-organized


DanvilleSanRamon.com

Newsfront - September 5, 2008

Alamo incorporation opponents get organized

Committee formed to look at explicit areas

by Geoff Gillette

The debate over whether Alamo should become a town has begun to heat up, with those against incorporation holding meetings and organizing their opposition campaign.

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.

Comments

Posted by CDSI Courtesy, a resident of Alamo
on Sep 5, 2008 at 8:08 am

Dear neighbors,

On Monday, September 8, all position statements to be included in Contra Costa LAFCO commissioners' consideration of AIM's incorporation application must be delivered to Ms. Lou Ann Texeira, ltexe@lafco.cccounty.us. Please refer to www.alamoinc.org for complete LAFCO instructions on submission.

At present, opposition, definition, annexation and exclusion supporters are preparing position statements for commissioners' consideration. A typical position statement is 200 to 400 words and includes the following:

(1) Commissioners' summary - what is your position in brief.

(2) Additions, deletions or changes requested to LAFCO application and incorporation proposal in detail.

(3) Group or individuals proposing this position.

(4) Conflicting proposals such as a Municipal Advisory Council and justification.

It should be understood that if LAFCO commissioners approve incorporation without additional positions to consider, the resulting incorporation proposal will be the defined choice for voters in an incorporation election.

Hal/CDSI


Posted by Alamo Ron, a resident of Alamo
on Sep 5, 2008 at 10:06 am

Dear Alamo,

So Jean Taylor is quoted above as saying,"It doesn't matter if the numbers are right or wrong."

Jean, Jean, don't you know that such a statement undermines the opposition's credibility? It says that opponents are mindlessly against incorporation no matter what. No need to think, no need to assess, no need to evaluate.

What you're really saying is that you don't care what the truth is. I would hope you would spend a bit more time looking at the many benefits that incorporation would bring.

Please give it a little more thought, ask questions and assess facts. You may be surprised at what you might learn...

Cordially,
Alamo Ron


Posted by Alamo Ron, a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2008 at 10:17 am

Dear Jean,

After rereading your commentary, I now realize that you were pointing to the reality that it does not matter to proponents of incorporation whether or not the study numbers are right or wrong because proponents are blindly focused on the goal of their own control of local government and not its affordability.

You have my regrets for the misunderstanding,

Alamo Ron (by a HAL of a group of friends)


Posted by Informed Resident, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2008 at 8:04 am

For all Alamo Rons and other neighbors,

I'm confused! That's it, I'm confused

Was I someplace else when this conversation started or are we all listening with our own opinions?

Would those neighborhoods, groups and organizations providing position statements for LAFCO commissioners' consideration, please post them here so we might better understand all points of view?

We all wish to be informed residents and your position statements provide all neighbors a better view of the issues of local government.

Informed Resident
and one HAL of a Pal


Posted by Jean Taylor, a resident of Alamo
on Sep 7, 2008 at 9:33 pm

Just for the record, the meeting place mentioned in the above article, is not my residence. I have lived in the Round Hill area since 1976. Although the Danville house is in a residential neighborhood, it is an extension of my home office which is too small to carry on all my different interests.

As for offering my website alamospotlight.com as a voice of opposition to the savvy proponents of Alamo, Inc., the red thermometer icon measuring the rise of public funds by the so called neutral nonprofit charity, Alamo Community Foundation, raised my Scottish blood to fever pitch, and I reacted accordingly.


Posted by Hal Bailey, a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2008 at 8:06 am

Dear Editor,

Diablo Vista region neighbors thank Ms. Jean Taylor for her clarity in response to the "popularity" of discrediting positions not held by "established Alamo leadership." We further support all rights of position by all neighbors and their groups. We hope that the Town Square Forum will become a display for well-considered positions by opposition, definition, annexation, exclusion and special district supporters in equal display to incorporation proponents' positions.

Such willingness to present the entire scope of positions within our Diablo Vista (Alamo) region will allow very savvy voters to fully understand, and appreciate, all voters' considerations.

Hal/CDSI


Posted by IB, a resident of Alamo
on Sep 8, 2008 at 8:14 am

I think a little definition of terms is in order here.

"Public Funds" refers to revenues that are paid to a government entity, such as property tax, sales tax, and so forth.

"Donated Funds" are completely discretionary on part of the donor. The Alamo Community Foundation has received no "public funds."

IB (Interested Bystander)


Posted by CDSI courtesy, a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Dear Editor,

The term "public funds" is not limited to government sources and is used in reference to funds raised for investment in new companies by public prospectus or as contributions to public fund raising efforts. Private funds, by contrast, are not publicly disclosed.

As we read Ms. Taylor's commentary, she clearly implies "public funds" as funds coming from the public as donations to a community foundation operated by individuals declared by prior presentation as incorporation supporters. In fairness to Alamo Community Foundation committee members, each has been very specific in their focus on fund raising and avoiding taking positions on incorporation during their ACF participation.

At this point, neighbors should expect all parties to be proponents of their own positions and not defining in decription of individuals with contrasting positions. Certainly, LAFCO commissioners are expecting to understand all positions on incorporation and not review the disagreements that might occur among individuals.

Neighbors can hope your editorials would foster the positives of all positions presented for consideration in this forum and subsequent consideration by LAFCO commissioners.

Hal/CDSI


Posted by R. Jean Taylor, a resident of Alamo
on Sep 9, 2008 at 9:45 pm

You may call me "Jean" or "Mrs. Taylor" when referring to me in future commentary, but PLEASE do not call me"Ms"!!! No matter what the money is called, "donations" or my misuse of the definition "public funds", Alamo Community Foundation's purpose is to move the process forward to create a contract-city government for Alamo. How ironic, that we, the wealthy little bedroom community of Alamo, suddenly need a "charity", a public benefit 501(C)(3)nonprofit corporation, to "educate" us! Me thinks the Emperor wears no clothes!


Posted by CDSI Courtesy, a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2008 at 9:45 am

Dear Dolores,

In Jean Taylor's response, we can view several concerns held by a large number of regional residents including those within the shrunken boundaries of the proposed Town of Alamo.

In priority order:

#1 - Our residents are very savvy, well-informed citizens that do not require campaign jargon to be presented as their "education." That approach is offensive and disregards the exceptional education and experience of our region's residents.

#2 - 2,197 neighborhood residents signed the AIM petition that was promised to be only for feasibility studies and were betrayed by the use of the petition in application for incorporation of an undefined government within restricted boundaries and not our entire region. Alamo Community Foundation is seen as a MASK to separate the incorporation application from the promise of only feasibility studies.

#3 - It remains a reality that no successful outreach by proponents of incorporation has been achieved because their approach has been unilateral in promotion of their own definition of Alamo and the government they wish to establish after an incorporation election. Region residents remain concerned by the lack of voice in proponent actions and the lack of definition in incorporation proposal.

Jean Taylor, in affect, is a mirror of the results of incorporation activities during the last sixteen months and is not exceptional to the more than 6000 voters within the proposed boundaries that have similar concerns. In your role as journalist, it remains the obligation of The Danville Weekly and other media to report the depth of incorporation consideration and provide a fair, balanced definition of incorporation impact on our region.

It is time for journalism and not story-telling,

Hal/CDSI