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Immediate voting in Alamo

Original post made by Voter Information, Alamo, on Feb 9, 2009

For voters who have requested Permanent Vote by Mail status their official ballots were mailed last Monday February 2, 2009. If one of these voters hasn't received their ballot by tomorrow, they should call our office 335-7800 to request a replacement ballot.

All other voters should have received their sample ballot by now. If one of these voters wishes to Vote by Mail for this election an application is included in the envelope with the sample ballot or they may use the on-line application on our web site Web Link Voters who would rather pick up their own Vote by Mail ballot, or vote a ballot now in person, may do so in the County Clerk-Recorder-Elections Office, 555 Escobar St., Martinez, CA.

All requests to have a Vote by Mail ballot mailed to a voter must be received by the Elections Office no later than February 24, 2009. In person Vote by Mail ballot pick-up and return continues through Election Day.

More questions? Voter May call 925-335-7800.

Comments (11)

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Posted by community committee
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm

If you wish a ride to Martinez to cast your vote, please send your contact information to We will provide bus transportation this Friday and Tuesday for voters wishing transportation.

Cybil Raymond

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Posted by Anthony Buccio
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:18 am

I am a blog nut, so I thought I would dare to share my view.

I will not be voting in your election because I do not reside in Alamo.

I am currently visiting my sister in your fair Alamo. I graduated from Villanova University last year.

I am from Bryn Mawr (pronounced brin-mar) Pennsylvania. Bryn Mawr is located towards the center of what is known as the Main Line, a group of wealthy Philadelphia suburbs stretching from the city limits to Paoli, Pennsylvania. Our median household income of 179, 598 (2000 census) is even higher than your area. Home of some of the most beautiful woman in the world (I am one lucky guy)

You live in a charming area, away from the hustle-bustle of cities around you. Why are you even considering change?

When remote unincorporated areas in Pennsylvania get put on the map they somehow begin to realize changes that are unforseen.

While at student at Villanova we studied the changes that historically occur once a town adopts their own city governments. The changes that occur are not particuarly positive, and not as easy to control as you might think.

Hope your Alamo remains charming when I visit again in 3 years. I think if you incorporate, it will not be quite as charming. Just one guys opinion from 3,000 miles away.

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Posted by Steve From Alamo Oaks
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 12, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Thank you Mr. Buccio; those of us who are adamantly opposed to incorporation wonder the same thing. If something is wonderful and it has been for 40 years, what the heck is it all about to change it. Once you change, you don't stay the change and that's that. Period. And really, the fluff that the proponents throw up hoping that some will stick,is just that...fluff. Made up stuff with no foundation...demonizing the County government that's been with us through world wars, depression, recessions, civil war, etc. and guess what? WE HAVE NEVER CHANGED. The county has always left us alone. Now they try to scare the voters with completely refutable stories like light rail transit using the closed Home Depot in Alamo as a station. Please!!! Or that the County has "secret" plans to widen the Danville Highway. Right.
Thank you Mr. Buccio, for your observant letter and when you visit again in a few years, please let us know. We have no intention of ruining what we have here.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 12, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Anthony's information is interesting. However, the universities I graduated from taught me to discount vague, unsupported assertions and seek specific verifiable information. I would be very interested in seeing any credible study from a verifiable source about changes in incorporating cities, preferably in California, but even in Pennsylvania.

As for Steve's comments, the thought that Alamo has never changed or that the County has left us alone is nothing short of delusional. In my 25 years in Alamo, I have seen the community lose battles again and again over things like the many poorly planned hillside and ridge line projects, the slow but steady "stripification" of our downtown, the loss of almost all of the horse properties and stables, or the damage to our neighborhoods from poorly planned projects like the Monte Vista parking lot. As that last project obliterated a popular horse trail and created what many consider to be a major eyesore and traffic planning mistake, that last one wasn't too popular with folks in Alamo Oaks. Maybe that one was close enough for Steve to notice.

If you aren't aware of the periodic and ongoing attempts, successful and not, to incrementally widen Danville Boulevard, you aren't paying attention. About 900 feet of Danville Boulevard south of Hemme will be widened when the YMCA is built. In the current environment, widening the as yet unwidened 1,200 feet of Danville Boulevard between Hemme and the already widened portion north of La Serena is just be a matter of time.

Remember last summer when a years-long process to fund the widening of the Stone Valley/Danville Boulevard intersection (for the express purpose of facilitating freeway diversion) came within a month of being a done deal before the community found out about it and had to turn out in force to stop it? I do. I don't know other small towns where 60% of the traffic on "Main Street" is both coming from and going to places that are 10, 20 and even 30 miles away. It didn't used to be that way when I got here.

The County isn't a demon and Alamo has weathered these mistakes pretty well. However, it didn't have to be that way and it doesn't have to keep happening that way in the future. The County doesn't have the same interests or priorities as as Alamo, nor is it in any way accountable to Alamo's electorate. In the end, that's the problem.

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Posted by Steve from Alamo Oaks
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:23 pm

This is for "Micro-Manager" Mike, who thinks he's so much smarter than all of those evil and uneducated planners in Martinez. Those planners that only think of the devious underhanded ways to pull one over on Alamo. Those County planners that have worked in good faith with the AIA for 55 years, accomodating Alamo's desires and working to make sure that Alamo is kept happy. Yes, we know, they have sought to make sure that safety is accomodated in planning the traffic situation by maybe widening a shoulder here or there or actually planning to accomodate the YMCA traffic that will surely be here, but Mike, who I gather is one of the much discussed micro-managers on the AIA isn't satisfied. He and his fellow MM's would like to dig into every single aspect of every person's desire to do with their property what they wish and have a say in it. I mean, after all!!!, the county has no building codes or standards, harruumph!!! They don't know a damn thing about standards. People able to sell their land? Build the house of their dreams on it? Why, who do these people think they are!!! We MUST have a say!!!
Really MM Mike, we really would prefer to live our lives free of your ceaseless hunt for things to complain about. You berate a fellows comment about things he's noticed in passing and ask for a detailed and documented study of the effects of incorporation on a city before you grant him the right to notice anything.
Sorry MM Mike, we see you for what you are and are voting NO ON INCORPORATION. Just to keep you away from us.
Oh, and if you wish to retort, please respond with an accurate, unequivocal answer to the following: Is there or is there not a State Law which requires the incorporated city to accommodate what is known as "affordable" housing? If so, what does that entail? Is the accomodation of the state law an absolute requirement or is it discretionary? Does the Housing Element contained in the General Plan require the incorporated city to ease housing retraints,both governmental and non-governmental so as to allow more construction of housing?
Before you answer, I would suggest that you visit the following websites:California State Department of Housing-Community Development, Housing Element. ABAG-RHNA assignments. Town of Danville-Documents Housing ElementVI-Housing Plans.
Then you can complain about the lack of "local" control.

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Posted by Steve from Alamo Oaks
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Just another thing or two, MM Mike: Where exactly will you identify a by-right zone in Alamo for the 24/7/365 day/year Homeless/Emergency Shelter as mandated (this means you WILL do it) by SB2, Cedillo, passed in 2007 which took effect this Jan? As well as the special needs facilities and transitional housing(up to 2 years residency)? Before answering, do your homework. People will be watching.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 13, 2009 at 1:35 pm

The last couple of responses offer nothing to refute the fact that big changes have happened to Alamo over the years and we clearly aren’t being left alone. The changes I referred to are the kinds of changes that people in town feel are changing Alamo. Trying to minimize them while suggesting that County staff is being called devious, underhanded or worse, evades the issue while trying to put words in my mouth.

Almost every County staff person I have ever worked seemed to be trying to do a good job in good faith. But when things get above the small stuff, things do also get political. The big changes occur when out of town money or influence and the “countywide perspective” start to prevail. Ask the other folks in Alamo Oaks. Even on the smaller stuff, the rule book that staff has to follow can be pretty permissive. Neighbors are often astounded when a house that looks to them like 3 or 4 stories or thousands of cubic yards of grading occurs right behind them without so much as a variance. This isn’t the staff’s fault, it’s policy born out of the political process.

As for the boogey man of state-required regional housing needs allocations (RHNAs), talking in generalities, citing situations such as Danville’s or Pleasanton’s that aren’t comparable to Alamo’s, or failing to acknowledge that the County’s RHNA is applied in practice to Alamo is inaccurate and seems intentionally misleading. The Association of Bay Area Governments’ determination of the RHNA for each county and city is driven by things such as its growth potential, job growth and proximity to transportation infrastructure, etc. That’s why, in the last 5-year RHNA cycle (which has actually covered 7 years), Contra Costa County’s RHNA was 5,436 units, San Ramon’s was 4,447 and Danville’s was 1,110, but for cities like Orinda, Moraga and Lafayette whose growth potential and job growth are more like Alamo’s (i.e. low), the RHNAs were 221, 214 and 194 respectively. Had Alamo been given a RHNA separate from the County in that cycle, it would expect it to have been less than Lafayette’s. In that same cycle, the County’s Housing Element housing inventory represented to the State that Alamo would provide 132 units toward the County’s RHNA. All of these numbers represent only the required POTENTIAL or CAPACITY that the city/county must demonstrate to the State Department of Housing & Community Development is within the city or county’s zoning and other policies for that number of units to be developed by the market. There is no requirement for the city or county to actually build anything, nor, if the city or county has done everything it promised HCD it would do (if anything), is there any sanction on the city or county if the market fails to develop the forecast number of units.

Had Alamo had its own RHNA for the last 7 years of, say, 140 units (Lafayette’s reduced proportionately by population for want of a better method), it would have been essentially the same as the County’s 132-unit allocation to Alamo. That’s a very low .4% annual growth rate, even if the market were to provide the entire RHNA. Given the economy and the prospect of slowed growth for at least a few years, a future number could be even less.

A portion of this is required to be “affordable” (affordable to families with 120% or less of the median family income in three categories). The reality is affordable housing is being built in Alamo right now, every year. Any second unit (of which there are many built in Alamo), multifamily unit (like the duplexes at Livorna/I-680 or other multifamily type units for which there is existing and potential additional capacity within the downtown area), or “program” unit (e.g. buy-downs within an otherwise market rate project) built in Alamo is qualifying towards the “affordable” portion of the County’s overall RHNA. One of the County General Plan’s policies applicable to Alamo, Diablo and Blackhawk specifically states: “A range of densities shall be offered in order to provide for a variety of family sizes, income levels, and age groups.”

The bottom line is that every housing requirement that applies to a city also applies to a county. The notion that the County somehow gives a pass to Alamo on housing production is simply wrong and the experience of other comparable cities shows that RHNA requirements for Alamo wouldn’t be the plague rolling over the town with which some seem to be obsessed. If places like Hillsborough, Ross, Woodside and others like them exist very nicely as incorporated cities with such requirements, Alamo will too, don’t you think?

Now I would like an answer to a question of my own. Why is so much effort being expended trying to fan this de minimus issue with the obvious intent of playing to our prejudices?

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Posted by Community Courtesy
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 13, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Mail-in Voters, a reminder.

Your neighbors suggest that you mail your ballots on or before February 20. Please note the following requirement from Contra Costa elections department:

All requests to have a Vote by Mail ballot mailed to a voter must be received by the Elections Office no later than February 24, 2009. In person Vote by Mail ballot pick-up and return continues through Election Day.

More questions? Voter May call 925-335-7800.

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Posted by Anthony Buccio
a resident of another community
on Feb 14, 2009 at 9:17 am

I leave your fair Alamo tomorrow. Headed back to the East Coast. I have had an awsome visit with my sister. I wish you could all sample her amazing Italian cooking. Italian woman rock! Hope I am fortunate enough to marry one someday. Hey you California guys, they make the best wives!

Mike, you said,

“Anthony's information is interesting. However, the universities I graduated from taught me to discount vague, unsupported assertions and seek specific verifiable information. I would be very interested in seeing any credible study from a verifiable source about changes in incorporating cities, preferably in California, but even in Pennsylvania.”

Sure thing Mike, Old Man.

· The Meaning and Purpose of Local Government: A Tocquevillist Perspective Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University

· Content Analysis of City Government Texas State University by
Dr. George Weinberger and Dr. Hassan Tajalli.

· Measuring Government Management Capacity: A Comparative Analysis of Management Systems by Amy Kneedler Donahue PhD Syracuse University

· Political and Administrative Roles in City Government: Contributions to Economic Development. (Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association)

· Innovation in Urban Policy Movement in City Administration and Development. Policy Studies Journal.

All MLA citations above.

Also, a great publication, we used extensively at Villanova University, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.

LOL – Mike, Didn’t the Universities you graduated from teach you to do your OWN research? Geez!!!

Hope the life-size, unappealing, campaign signs are down when I return to Alamo, they are beyond unpleasant looking, and they totally spoil your beautiful landscape.

Good luck to all of you and thanks for the hospitality. You guys in Alamo are the friendliest people I have yet to meet.

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 14, 2009 at 9:25 am

Alamo is a net exporter of tax revenue to Conra Costa County. We generate more than we receive back from the county. Why not keep the tax revenue in Alamo for improvements to public space or infrastructure?

If managed properly, we could really enhance the community with the excess tax revenue that CC County is extracting to fund other communities. Also, everyone should at least agree that CC County budget management is a disaster. CC County management team results are below a minimum acceptable standard...they could be in some real big financial trouble.

I thought the 10k or so voters would pass the 3 March vote by a landslide...but am surprised at the Ad Hominem arguments against.

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Posted by Community courtesy
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 15, 2009 at 3:15 pm

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the man", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the source making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. The process of proving or disproving the claim is thereby subverted, and the argumentum ad hominem works to change the subject.

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

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