An end and a new beginning

Livingstone honored for decades of community service; Sachs sworn in

Tuesday's meeting of the San Ramon City Council marked the end of one era and the beginning of another.

Councilmember Jim Livingstone was honored as he retired after decades of service for the city of San Ramon, and Harry Sachs was sworn in as the newest councilmember.

Livingstone tearfully accepted proclamations and gifts, kind words and hugs from his colleagues on the council, staff members, family and friends.

Then he gave some parting words of advice, including the "HOV lanes that nobody wants to address because there are some of you citizens that are very against those HOV lanes."

Livingstone said that the proposed Norris Canyon high occupancy vehicle (HOV) are important because they will move some traffic off Crow Canyon and Bollinger Canyon roads. Some neighbors have voiced opposition to the project.

Livingstone said, "As council members you will need to make some touch calls. You will make some people unhappy."

"For you council members to bow down to a small little group, shame on you!"

Referencing the Thomas Burnett Jr. Memorial Bridge (Fostoria Way overcrossing Interstate 680), Livingstone said that if the small group of citizens who opposed that project had stopped it, "we would not be in very good shape."

"We as council people are elected to make decisions," Livingston said. "Decision doesn't mean go study it some more. That's why Costco is in Danville. It should be in San Ramon.

"Because the city council didn't have the guts to make the decision, Danville got the Costco. Good for Danville. But you know that sidewalk in front of Costco? It's in San Ramon. So San Ramon got all the traffic and Danville got all the money."

Livingstone was able to reference events in San Ramon's history from "way back in the 1980s," the 1990s and 2000s so clearly because he has been in community service for several decades.

He was part of the San Ramon incorporation effort, which came to fruition in 1983. He was appointed to the Planning Commission in July 1994 and served until June 2002.

During his tenure, he served as chair of the Commission from November 1997 to June 1998 and November 2001 to June 2002, and liaison to the Architectural Review Board, Transportation Committee and Economic Development Advisory Committee.

He first served on the City Council from August to November 2001, was reappointed in January 2002, was elected in 2005 and has served since with terms as vice mayor from 2004 to 2005, 2007 to 2008 and 2011 to 2012.

Livingstone served on the Finance Committee from 2006 to 2013, including serving as chair in 2012 and 2013. He has also served as Council Liaison to the Arts, Economic Development, Transportation and Senior Citizens Advisory Committees; the Arts Foundation; the Community Emergency Response Team; the Tri-Valley Affordable Housing Committee; and the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

Councilmember David Hudson, who was sworn in for another term on the council, said Livingstone was the "best councilman I have served with."

Harry Sachs, a teacher and former Planning Commission member, was also sworn in.

Addressing his fellow councilmembers, Sachs said, "We have many difference in our growth philosophies for the city going forward. Let's bridge our differences on how we manage our growth with transparent decision making, pragmatic decision making that values our past, that values the expertise of our city employees and also places the emphasis on the values of our residents. For, indeed, it is the residents of San Ramon that make this city truly what it is and what it can become."

Mayor Bill Clarkson was also sworn in for another term as mayor.

In his comments, citing the financial stability of the city, the award-winning school district and quality parks and open space, Clarkson said, "Building upon these assets and these great things, San Ramon is really poised to go great places.

"I know I speak for the whole council when I say to all of you how much we appreciate your support, your constructive criticism, your encouragement and your advice, and your active engagement."

Clarkson also acknowledged that this meeting was the final one for City Clerk Patricia Edwards, who is retiring at the end of the month.


Like this comment
Posted by Susan
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm

"An end and a new beginning" features quotes by former SR Councilmember Livingstone re the proposed HOV lanes to Norris Canyon Rd. Says Livingstone, "For you council members to bow down to a small little group, shame on you!" What he is speaking of, is a "small little group" of neighboring residents rallying in opposition to the wishes of an influential and monied group of local corporate interests. I'm glad to see Livingston go, and with him, his cavalier attitude toward the residents of San Ramon. His statements are cringe-worthy in their disrespect for the homeowners (whom he was elected to represent) who would have their property values and quality of life lowered by the increased noise and traffic of these massive eyesores. However this issue shakes out, there is one thing that needs to prevail in the decision-making of the SR City Council going forward: Every San Ramon voice -- no matter how 'small and little' -- is worthy of each council member's consideration and respect. Don't let the door hit you on your way out, Jim.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 30, 2015 at 3:20 pm

I agree 100% with Susan regarding former SR Councilmember Livingstone's comments on the proposed HOV lanes at Norris Canyon Rd. (Which are opposed by the vast majority of residents on the West side of 680). Livingstone's statement "For you council members to bow down to a small little group, shame on you!" was not only dismissive & disrespectful, but also incorrect because there is a very large number of residents in opposition to the HOV ramps, not only at Norris, but also at Executive Parkway. Councilmember Livingstone's comments simply provided confirmation of his callous arrogance and unresponsiveness to the residents of San Ramon; thank goodness that he is gone!

Please be aware that the HOV ramps are still under study by CCTA (Contra Costa Transit Authority) and that the EIR will be ready for S.R. City Council review in about 6 to 8 months (according to Mayor Clarkson at the last city council meeting.)

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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