http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2009/03/20/aia-board-ponders-role-in-future-of-alamo


Danville Express

Newsfront - March 20, 2009

AIA Board ponders role in future of Alamo

Members look for outreach and inclusion post-election

by Geoff Gillette

Just 10 days after the defeat of a three-year-long campaign to incorporate Alamo, members of the Alamo Improvement Association (AIA) met March 12 to map out their strategy for moving forward in a post-election Alamo.

The Board met Thursday evening at Creekside Community Church in Alamo and discussed what role the organization would have in the future of Alamo and how best to achieve that.

AIA Board President Brad Waite said he expects the group to continue working as a liaison with the county and provide a strong voice on planning issues facing the area.

"I've always felt that our role in the AIA is what our Planning Committee does. I would never want to see this planning committee weakened. That will never happen on my watch, I want to see that voice strengthened," Waite stated.

Additionally, members agreed that they need to reach out to residents, making them aware of what the AIA does and how they can be a part of it.

"With the incorporation election, there are a lot more people out there really paying attention," Waite said. "We need to maximize that awareness and get people engaged and involved."

Board member Roger Smith agreed.

"We'd like to tap into the fact that there's a lot of interest here," said Smith. "There's a lot of interest in a lot of different camps and we should be trying to make sure that they all know that our doors are open and we welcome their input and their volunteerism."

To that end, the AIA approved a pair of resolutions that will strongly open the lines of communication.

First, they agreed to move $5,000 from the Remember Alamo Fund to help pay the costs of expenses related to public relations.

"The intent is for us to have money available to be utilized in communication for the purpose of protecting Alamo or making sure people in Alamo are educated about some sort of change that could be coming," Smith explained.

He said the funds will be used to cover things like press releases and town hall meetings where residents will have the chance to come in and talk about things of concern to them and encourage a sense of common purpose in the sharply divided town.

The second initiative was aimed at offering outreach to District 3 Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary N. Piepho. The Board created a committee whose mission is to create a liaison with Piepho's office, setting up a monthly meeting in order to get a sense of Alamo issues cropping up at the county level.

"We need to have that interaction in order to let them know how we feel," Smith stated.

Board member Mike Gibson agreed.

"We'll just take half an hour, 45 minutes, to download everything that's going on," he noted.

The AIA Board approved both measures, and named members Steve Mick and Jack Behseresht as heads of the newly formed committee.

Alamo resident Hal Bailey complimented the AIA on the work they have done and the steps they were taking to be inclusive, but he exhorted them to rely just as heavily on electronic means of communication as on town meetings.

"There's a lot more people in this town than those involved in the incorporation effort," he said.

After the motions were approved, Smith said he felt they were a good start on reaching out to the Alamo community.

"You want to be functioning in a way of enlightenment, so people are knowing what's going on," he said. "We all get a lot of questions, so it's good if we all have the information."

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