Original post made by Angela, Heritage Valley, on Feb 7, 2008
OPPONENTS OF THE OAK GROVE PROJECT VIOLATE STATE CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS, SUPPORTERS CHARGE
Thousands in campaign expenses goes unreported by opponents of a plan to provide Pleasanton with almost 500 acres of new public open space
PLEASANTON Opponents of a plan to donate almost 500 acres of open space to the City of Pleasanton for public trails and recreation violated state campaign finance laws by failing to report thousands of dollars in political contributions and expenditures, according to supporters of the plan.
"Our committee has disclosed every cent we received and spent. The opponents of Oak Grove Park have disclosed nothing. Secretive campaign financing is a slap in the face to voters and the public," said Jerry Pentin, chairman of the Keep Our Park Committee. "We are proud that our disclosure allows Pleasanton residents to make an informed decision and we demand that opponents do the same and abide by the law."
Pentin said the Keep Our Park Committee would be exploring its options to force opponents to disclose their finances, including filing a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission. State law requires that individuals and committees who raise a minimum of $1,000 disclose the source of their contributions and how much each contributor gave.
Pentin estimates that opponents have spent at least $8,000 for their activities, including printing costs for signs and copies of the ballot qualification petition for 100 signature-gatherers, a website, and full-page color advertisements in a local newspaper that alone are estimated to cost $6,000.
"Voters and the citizens of Pleasanton deserve to know where the money is coming from, who is funding the opposition to this project, and what their interests are," Pentin said. "This is Pleasanton, where we are accountable to our neighbors and expect transparency."
The Keep Our Park Committee is fighting against a measure that could be on the June ballot that would effectively overturn the Oak Grove Project, which was approved last year in a near-unanimous vote by the City Council after four years of intensive planning and extensive public review. The project includes a donation to the city of almost 500 acres of recreational open space in the hills above Pleasanton together with the money to maintain it in perpetuity. In addition, the plan allows for up to 51 homes clustered on 12% of the property. Each home would require full public review and independent city approval. In response to neighborhood demands, the number of homes is half what was originally proposed.