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Town Square

General Plan passes unanimously

Original post made on Mar 20, 2013

After years of study and several months of public discussion, Danville's Town Council unanimously passed its controversial 2030 General Plan, sustainability action plan and environmental impact report at its Tuesday meeting, which ran until 1 a.m.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 3:14 PM

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Posted by Danville resident
a resident of Danville
on Mar 20, 2013 at 5:03 pm

......and for all of this we paid $400,000.00.


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Posted by Heather Gass
a resident of Danville
on Mar 20, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Last night the town of Danville voted to adopt their 2030 General Plan, EIR (Environmental Impact Report) and optional SAP (Sustainable Action Plan). With a crowd of over 250+ voicing their concerns the meeting went into the wee hours of the night. The council made substantial changes to the plan. Many of these changes were debated and discussed with council during the hearing and should have led to a new public notice of the plan changes prior to a vote, but instead the town ended the meeting by unanimously voting to adopt all three documents setting the town on a new course for the next 17 years. The most disturbing part of this is that the City Council has set the small town of Danville on a path following international principles and ideology by the United Nations, but refused to acknowledge and disclose that fact to the public at the meeting or in the planning documents.

The word "Sustainable" appears 156 times throughout the Danville's Plan and SAP to describe everything from business, water, air, housing and more. The entire foundation of the plan and direction of the town is dependent on the exact meaning and understanding of this term by those reading the plan. After all general plans are meant to provide clear, concise and easy to understand information to the public. So a precise definition and understanding of the word Sustainable would seem obvious and necessary.

So what does the word "Sustainability" mean?

Well, The dictionary defines the verb "sustain" as meaning to "support," "maintain" and to "keep from ruin." But on page 1-3 of the Danville General Plan, we find the concept of "sustainability" strangely re-defined as "the ability to meet the needs of current residents without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs." Where did this new definition come from?

Danville's General Plan consultants, DCE Planning (formerly known as Urban Ecology) are responsible for inserting this new definition into our plan. This re-definition is unclear, nonspecific and carries substantial ideological baggage. And since this new definition is NOT in the dictionary but is posited as the foundational basis for this 17 year plan it would seem necessary to minimally understand its origin, yet no credit or sourcing of this information is given in the documents. So where did DCE Planning get this new definition?

The concept of "sustainability" as "the ability to meet the needs of current residents without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs" appeared in nearly identical terms in Our Common Future (Web Link),
also known as the Brundtland Report, published by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987. Wikipedia also cites this same source.


["Sustainable development," says Our Common Future, "is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of
future generations to meet their own needs." (Chapter 2, Principle 1 —
page 37 in the available 247-page PDF compilation)]

[Two paragraphs later, Our Common Future calls for "a progressive
transformation of economy and society" (Sound familiar?), and demands
"a concern for social equity between generations, a concern that must
logically be extended to equity within each generation." The document overtly seeks a remaking of global society "From One Earth to One World." Unsurprisingly, Danville citizens are saying "thank you, no, that's not a trip we want to take."]

Why is the town of Danville allowing an outside consultant, Barry Miller who is the front man for DCE Planning (who wrote the regional One Bay Area Plan) to inject a term into a small town General Plan with such radical implications? And if that is what the definition the UN has given for Sustainability then you then have to ask yourself what does the UN consider unsustainable?
In the following quote, former Under Secretary of the UN, Maurice Strong - In an UNCED PrepCom report, dated August 1991, Titled; ("The relationship between demographic trends, economic growth, unsustainable consumption patterns and environmental degradation," identifies several items which are considered to be unsustainable…..
"It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle-class ... involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts of frozen and 'convenience' foods, ownership of motor-vehicles, numerous electric household appliances, home and workplace air-conditioning ... expansive suburban housing ... are not sustainable."

As a citizen of the town of Danville this should elicit immediate concern as the fabric of our lives, suburban lifestyles, are held in contempt.



It is important to note that in1997, DCE Planning along with unelected unaccountable agencies like ABAG (the Association of Bay Area Governments) and MTC (the Metropolitan Transportation Commission) signed a Compact forming "the Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Communities" (Web Link). This Alliance congratulated itself for having embraced and adopted the same definition of sustainable development endorsed by the United Nations' World Commission on Environment and Development: (p.22 of the Compact) and the International Earth Charter.

On Feb 7th of this year, I e-mailed the Town Council documentation alerting them of the worrisome connections between DC&E Planning, ABAG, the Bay Area Alliance, and their adoption of the UN definition for "sustainable development," including endorsement of the international Earth Charter. Last night I reminded the Town Council of all of these connectins and asked if they knowingly intended to align Danville with the UN's Sustainable Development plan and its foundational definition of "sustainability" as defined by Barry Miller and DCE Planning Center. And if they did, then they should declare such intentions verbally and in writing, properly crediting and sourcing the origin the definition within the General Plan. Otherwise, the Plan and SAP's current definition of sustainability is unsustainably misleading.

I asked the town to do one of the following….
1. Remove the word Sustainable from the General Plan and EIR and go back to the language and direction from the previous general plan. Danville can continue to conserve and preserve without this misleading and controversial language in our plan.
2. Reject the adoption of the SAP Plan entirely. This plan is according to the town "Optional and Common Sense" and therefore unnecessary.
3. Redefine the word "Sustainable"
4. Or source and credit it properly within the town documents
When the town was ready to discuss issues after the open hearing the town manager, Joe Calabrigo tried to quickly whitewash the concerns about the meaning and origin of "Sustainabilty" by saying it was common definition. Even though the definition is NOT in any dictionary. Once the council took over the only member to bring up a concern about this was Karen Stepper. She questioned the definition and tried to discuss it. Mayor Arnerich said he didn't care where the definition came from and did not want to source it in the document. Council members Robert Storer said he was fine with the definition and agreed they should not source it in the documents. Renee Morgan and Mike Doyle basically said nothing about this controversial issue and then they all agreed that the undisclosed definition should stay in the document as defined by the Consultant and quickly moved on to other less toxic issues.
So there you have it…… The town of Danville was made aware of the true origin of the word "Sustainable" and will full knowledge of has refused to openly credit and source this in their General Plan, EIR and SAP. So much for transparency…Who's wearing the tin foil hat now?


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Posted by LMP
a resident of Danville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 6:59 am

What were the two areas that were approved for development?


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Posted by ta
a resident of Danville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 7:04 am

We wanted to control ourselves so be incorporated. We did not want to be a city so we called ourself "Town". We wanted to control what our town looked like so we joined ABAG. Who controls us now?


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Danville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 8:26 am

Tea Party strategy

- Seize on normal process and claim it is a big government plot to take over everything (in this case Danville)
-Make some obscure or government agency the boogeyman (in this case ABAG) even to the extent of demonizing the earnest people that work there (thank goodness they are not going after teachers again)
- Misuse and misinterpret words (in this case sustainable)
-Get tons of people who have no vested interest in this to show up and complain loudly how this leads us all down a road to ruin (I loved the "El Sobrante resident" who couldn't even pronounce the name of her town correctly
complain about how this is all a plot to drive religion out of our towns)
-Demonize other peoples idea's or opinions (including high school students)
-Never once offer a concrete plan for anything
-Waste a lot of taxpayers time and money on nonsense

I wish they would all go back to their houses and stew about how government ruins everything and controls all of our lives while they wait for their social security checks, use Medicare to see their doctors or drive on our streets, use our parks and send their kids to top rated schools.

God forbid we actually have people who make less than $77,000 a year (or in few minor instances $40,000 a year) wanting to live in this town. Those teachers, nurses, firemen and town of Danville city employees will certainly ruin this place.

Let's call them what they are. A bunch of NIMBY xenophobes
Nice ABAG buttons by the way


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Posted by For the People
a resident of Danville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 9:11 am

@Tom: As a woman named Andrea discussed at the meeting, Newell Arnerich has in emails to residents and in private discussions with them, attempted to marginalize those that objected to the plan as radicals "associated with a national organization". Others (Newell included) have attempted to label all members of the opposition as Tea Party members so that any that disagree with Tea Party positions on other issues will be afraid or uninclined to speak out. Using typical tactics for quieting the discussion, the epithets "NIMBY", "out-of-towner" (hmmm, the Greenbelt Alliance man trotted in by Newell was certainly not from the Danville area; is ABAG from Danville??),"racist", and others are trotted out.

STOP LABELING AND START TALKING ABOUT THE ISSUES! Those of us that value LOCAL CONTROL (why the heck did Danville incorporate if not for that??) want to talk about the issues. We all know the Toms and Newells of Danville are on weak ground when they have to resort to labeling tactics.


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Posted by Lydia Andrews
a resident of Danville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 9:29 am

Where will the recall petitions for this stupid council be located, please??


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Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 9:36 am

FTP: and what about 'demonizing' tactics? I know Newell Arnerich to be an honorable man, and the abuse he's had to endure in service to his vision for the Town he loves is, quite frankly, unconscionable.

I think what Tom of Danville was expressing is the frustration of reasonable people with the self-righteous vitriol of those who self-identify as TPers. The 'gotcha' tactics around the term "sustainable" is an important case-in-point.

It's the very first time I've ever heard Sustainability treated like an epithet, instead of the Unqualified Good Thing that it actually is. Instead, somebody chooses to link it to Dark Forces at ABAG, and thence to the even Darker Forces of the UN (gasp!).

The only good thing I see in the future of the Tea Party is the withdrawal of the Koch Brothers' "sustaining" allowance. So it'll have to either buy its own piccolos and tri-corner hats, or more likely, recede toward the dustbin, allowing more adult conversations -- about competing ideas -- to be better heard.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Danville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 9:53 am

To For the people

Lets define "LOCAL CONTROL" Does it not mean our town council working hard on this issue?Does is not mean seeing our town leaders figure out how to work within the framework of existing laws of the State of California? Does it not mean getting input from the people of Danville? I am amazed you think that all our town council has done is listen to outside people, get paid off and allow outside people to make decisions for the residents. You clearly don't know what ABAG is, you don't understand what sustainable living is, you have no clue what RHNA means and how and if it is enacted and clearly you don't have faith in people that have worked hard over the years to make Danville such a great place to live. We have worked fine within this framework for years and any changes that came about since the last growth plan are minor and our town council was well prepared to deal with them.

If you got what you wanted we would have zero growth, housing costs would become out of reach of our children, seniors and people who want to work in this town and developers/business would never want to invest in Danville thus hurting schools and infrastructure.

There are some real issues that need to be discussed such as whether the spirit of Prop S was violated in the new developments, and can Diablo Road can sustain more housing. Stop blaming outside groups and creating boogeymen and deal with the real issues. And if you really hate SB375, go to Sacramento and change the law. You will really see the impact of growth if you repeal that law and it wont be pretty.


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Posted by Danville Bill
a resident of Danville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 11:00 am

The two responses by Tom and the other one from Citizen Paine remind me that when you think emotionally about things you discount logic and facts.It's fundamentally the difference between liberals and conservatives.When you demonize people who speak out about things with clear facts as Tea Party radicals, just shows how immature and bullying you are.Tom, you can't win with your statement unless you only think emotionally about it. Danville, Alamo are jewels in the 680 corridor. You pay to play.If not you get as close as you can in our other great neighborhoods communities such as Walnut Creek , San Ramon, Dublin. There are many choices in this area. We , as residents of Danville do not need to be willing to provide low income housing for the sake of doing so because it may feel good. That's suicide in the long run.


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Posted by Trudy
a resident of Danville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Heather Gass- we have 1 word for you:

Shhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Thanks you.


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Posted by Joseph
a resident of Danville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Tom, your Tea Party commentary is a perfect indication of the definition of the phrase "Ignorance is Bliss"


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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm

OK - no "labels" - just descriptive terms. The people who rant on about these routine governmental actions (which are, in fact, no different than what the municipality has been doing for over 20 years - and look at all the horrible things that have ensued so far </sarcasm>) are demonstrating a toxic stew of ignorance, paranoia, gullibility and undeserved self-righteousness that is an embarrassment to every other resident of this town by dint of the fact that they identify themselves as "Danville residents."

Heather Gas is particularly, if unintentionally, amusing. I loved this: "The dictionary defines the verb "sustain" as meaning to "support," "maintain" and to "keep from ruin."" But, Heather breathlessly informs us, the Danville General Plan has a "new" definition: ""the ability to meet the needs of current residents without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.""

I hate to break it to you, tinfoil hat wearer, but the "new" definition means ***exactly the same thing*** as the "dictionary definition. Maintaining" means "meeting the current needs." "Avoiding ruin" means the same thing as not "compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs." Are you actually opposed to sustainability of the community - under any definition? Is your goal an "unsustainable" community? Seriously?

All you've proved is that literate people are able to express themselves clearly - as opposed to right wing nutballs who see black helicopters under every bush and repeat and recycle every loony conspiracy theory they're fed.

You folks are an embarrassment to the community.


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Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I just want to compliment Mr. H on his restraint -- until the last few sentences, that is. But it's difficult to maintain complete composure in the face of all this, uh, ... what's the word I want to use, ... well, 'controversy' will have to do.

I do have one question, though: how do you get a black helicopter under a bush? Or should I be asking a mad tinfoil hatte ... err, I mean, someone else?


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Posted by Debby
a resident of Danville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 4:43 pm

I have lived in the town of Danville my entire life...63 years to be exact...and I have never seen such a group of arrogant, bigoted, self absorbed people in my life....Where have you all come from? This is not the Danville I grew up in. People were friendly, kind and polite...not any more...take a trip to Trader Joe's parking lot any day of the week and you'll see what I mean. The true town of Danville vanished about 40 years ago...too bad you all missed it!!


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Posted by Christopher DiGirardo
a resident of Danville
on Mar 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm

WHERE are the RECALL papers? Thank you, Ms. Gass for all your hard work! Next step....RECALL.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Mar 23, 2013 at 10:30 am

Apparently, the carpet-bagging Ms. Gass would prefer an "unsustainable" plan for the Town's future -- or maybe no plan at all (just the free-for-all development that we see in places like Houston.


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Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Mar 26, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I think that part of the problem that many in the community have with the use of the term "sustainable" is that, regardless of how it is defined, the term carries additional meaning with it, that isn't explicitly stated in any of the definitions.

Put another way, one person's "sustainable living" is viewed by another person as unreasonable restrictions on what they can do, or as an attempt to change the community in some way.

Whether the Town Council likes it or not, there are a fair number of residents who are deeply suspicious of the intent of the General Plan, in part because it's not clearly defined. So people are therefore free to read their own concerns into words like "sustainable". For that matter, I think it is also a safe bet that supporters of "sustainable living", or "sustainable growth" aren't in total agreement as to what this means.

Does it mean migrating over time to denser town centers, linked by public transportation, so that we don't need (or perhaps won't be allowed to use) private cars? That's certainly ONE vision of "sustainable living". Is it limits on yard size and single-family homes, to minimize "unsustainable" water usage? How about the concept of "regionalized" property taxes, so that all of the property taxes collected within the entire Bay Area are "pooled" and distributed back to the various towns according to demonstrated need. That would be fair, wouldn't it? (This last idea might seem very far-fetched. But the concept is already being discussed by state legislatures in several states, as a means for central cities to "tap into" the resources of the surrounding suburbs, on the theory that the suburbs wouldn't really survive without the central city being there.)

Perhaps if the proponents of the General Plan were more open about THEIR goals (both short-term and long-term), then there'd be less uproar. The problem is, even if most (or even all)of the Council has no intent to take things that far, there ARE groups with those objectives, and it is naive to think that none of the slopes are slippery....

I agree with the feel-good idea that the elderly and young people of Danville should be able to find some place to live in the town.... But to claim that this is just about ensuring that young people and the elderly can live her, is clearly understating the full intent (and likely impact) of the General Plan.


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Posted by R.Turner
a resident of Danville
on Mar 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm

You have got to be kidding! Just one more example of council doing what it wants regardless of what the taxpayers of this town want!


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Posted by truth in advertising
a resident of Danville
on Mar 28, 2013 at 5:43 pm

If Newell Arnerich is so "honorable", why is he stating that he will deny the public a vote under Measure S for the SummerHill Homes project, and why did he deny a public vote on the Elworthy Ranch project (being built by KH Homes)?

In 2000, Arnerich used the bait of the Council's Measure S to defeat the citizens' Ballot Measure R. He promised that Measure S would give the public a vote on projects just like Elworthy and SummerHill. Now he is switching and saying, "no vote required."

Honor your promises, Mr. Mayor, if indeed you are "honorable".

Why would anyone trust Arnerich with the General Plan??