By Roz Rogoff
Answering Barbara HudsonUploaded: Jan 17, 2014
Barbara Hudson, Vice Mayor Dave Hudson's wife, asked me why the other Councilmembers, Mayor Bill Clarkson, and Councilmen Scott Perkins and Phil O'Loane, didn't endorse Dave for reelection last November. She especially wanted to know why Scott didn't, since he's been on the Council with Dave for ten years and originally said he would endorse him.
I emailed Mayor Clarkson, Scott Perkins, and Phil O'Loane with that question and asked about why they endorsed the candidates they did and not the ones they didn't. Clarkson and Perkins endorsed Harry Sachs and Rene Matsumoto. Phil O'Loane only endorsed Rene.
All three Councilmembers were quick to say it was not personal. They all like Dave and get along well with him, but have "policy differences." Clarkson said he and Dave have "sharp policy differences." But each of the three Councilmembers differed from Dave on different "policies."
Clarkson's differences with Dave are on growth and infill growth. He clashed with Dave over a development planned for Ryan Industrial Court, which Bill felt was not a "quality development." The developers proposed changing the mixed use zoning of the property to medium-high residential to allow more units.
In a preliminary straw vote, Dave Hudson, Jim Livingstone, and Scott Perkins voted for the zoning change. Bill and Phil voted against it. Since a zoning change requires 4 out of 5 votes to pass, the developers withdrew their request and continued their plan within the existing zoning limits.
Phil's differences are on maintaining open space outside San Ramon's boundaries. Phil would like to keep a buffer zone of open space around the city. He wants to look for ways to work with other agencies, such as East Bay Regional Parks or Save Mount Diablo, to buy up land along the city's Urban Growth Boundary to preserve it as open space. Jim and Dave felt that this was an expense the city could not afford, especially since we were in a structural deficit last year.
Phil did not endorse Harry Sachs because of Harry's support of Measure W. Opposition to Measure W was one of the issues Phil campaigned on. I supported Measure W because I didn't trust the County to manage the development of Tassajara Valley any better than they did in Dougherty Valley.
Phil said "au contraire." Actually he didn't say it in French, but he said the County is keeping the development out there very small. I asked about New Farm, and Phil said it has been changed. Only 30 acres are planned for what is now called Tassajara Parks. This new project is much more dense with 158 single family homes on 30 acres, which will all be built on the Danville side of Tassajara Valley.
I haven't been keeping up on what's been going on in Tassajara Valley and I should go back and revisit the different plans, including Sid Corey's mega Cemetery. One thing that's very clear, from Faria to Tassajara Valley, is that ANY development projects around here take a very long time!
Scott was supposed to call me after the football game on Sunday night, but he didn't. He called on Tuesday afternoon with some hasty answer to my questions. I said I could meet him before the City Council meeting, but he said there are wall-to-wall meetings that afternoon and there would not be any time.
Scott said he supported Rene and Harry, but not Dave because of policy differences. His differences are also different from Phil's and Bill's. Perkins wants a person on staff as a contact for public information.
He didn't say who he had in mind, but when I suggested Nicole Blazin since she is the media contact for the Parks and Recreation Department, Scott replied that she's with Parks and Rec. I'm not sure why that would preclude her being a contact person for the city as a whole, but Scott wanted someone else.
Because Scott was in such a rush to get to the Special Council Meetings scheduled Tuesday afternoon, he didn't say who he wanted as a contact person or whether his disagreement with Dave was over the position or the person. So I needed to call Dave to ask him who it was and what policy differences he had with Bill and Phil.
I called Dave around 3:30 pm on Thursday afternoon. Dave had an hour to talk before going to an ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) meeting. So we managed to talk for one hour and forty-one minutes when he realized he was late for the meeting.
Dave covered a lot of territory on the reasons Bill, Phil, and Scott gave me for not endorsing him, and his views of the real reasons. I shall cover as much of what Dave told me as I can reasonably summarize in my next blog.