http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/10/24/alamo-headed-to-vote-on-incorporation


Danville Express

Newsfront - October 24, 2008

Alamo headed to vote on incorporation

LAFCO denies request to reconsider issue of cityhood

by Geoff Gillette

Opponents of the Alamo Incorporation Movement saw their last hopes of keeping the issue off the ballot fade away Tuesday as members of the Contra Costa County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) denied a request to reconsider the issue.

At a special session Oct. 21 in the offices of the County Board of Supervisors, seven members of the commission and two alternates heard testimony from staff concerning the request filed by Alamo resident R. Jean Taylor.

Taylor filed the request along with an addendum following the commission's approval of the incorporation plan at a Sept 18 meeting. The request can only be made if new information can be presented.

At the start of the mid-afternoon meeting, LAFCO Chairman Rob Schroder warned the more than 50 Alamo residents in attendance that the meeting's purpose was to determine if Taylor's request was valid. He asked that any testimony given pertain to new information.

Schroder then turned it over to LAFCO Executive Officer Lou Ann Texeira for the staff report, which was short, to the point and damning for the opposition. Texeira said staff examined all of the points raised in Taylor's request and found that none could be considered new information. Staff recommended the denial of both the request and the addendum.

Schroder then opened up the public hearing. More than 20 people signed up to speak, but only about 18 ended up in front of the microphone. Proponents of the measure were dominant by a nearly 2-1 margin.

Despite Schroder's warnings, most of the testimony was similar to that heard Sept 18.

After over an hour of testimony the hearing was closed and commission members weighed in. Commissioner Martin McNair, who switched his vote from a No to a Yes on Sept 18, allowing the ballot issue to be approved, said that any doubts he had initially have been assuaged.

He said the tipping point for him was the fact that members of AIM have had informal talks with both San Ramon and Walnut Creek on the issue of contracting police services. Doing so could result in a significant decrease in the annual cost of providing police support.

"They could end up having a 20-30 percent buffer in one of their largest budget items. That's big," McNair said.

Other commission members who had seemed to be on the fence in September had also been swayed during the intervening weeks. Commissioner David Piepho said he had taken the time to become better informed on the Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis and other issues of incorporation and he did not think any new information had been brought forth.

When the roll call vote was taken the count stood at 6-0, with Helen Allen abstaining. Allen did not comment on why she chose not to participate in the vote.

The issue now moves on to the County Board of Supervisors. The Board will meet Tuesday, Oct. 28, to examine LAFCO's recommendation. If they rule in favor of the recommendation, the incorporation initiative will be decided in a March 3, 2009, special election.

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