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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Campaign spin

Uploaded: May 10, 2016
When it comes to misleading campaigns, the No on K folks in Pleasanton are certainly a pace-setter.
This is the crew of folks in a neighborhood directly affected by traffic from 43 homes that the City Council approved earlier this year after the typically lengthy Pleasanton approval process. Some folks in Bridle Creek joined with a few other anti-development people to employ paid signature gatherers and barely qualify the referendum for the ballot.
The question will be decided on the June ballot so the anti-K folks have parked a box truck with its message around town. Among the presumably poll-tested buzz words are “developers”, “sprawl” and “hillsides.” To say these are a stretch is quite an understatement.
Yes, Greenbriar Homes is the proponent. The firm has built a number of quality neighborhoods in Pleasanton. Sprawl—give me a break. It connects to two existing neighborhoods as called for in the city’s General Plan. It would not be a stretch to consider it an infill project.
The homes are located in a valley, largely out-of-sight, not along ridgelines or hillsides as is the case in the Gray Eagle, Kottinger Ranch and other older developments on Pleasanton’s eastside.
Do take the time to read the ballot arguments and learn what is real instead of paying attention to the sound bites.
Developers in Livermore have hit a home run with the speculative warehouse project, Oaks Logistics Center, according to a report in the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
Telsa, with its manufacturing in the former General Motors plant in Fremont, has leased two warehouse buildings totaling more than 1 million square feet with an option for another 300,000 square feet. The warehouse project is located right off Highway 84 (Isabel Avenue) between I-580 and Stanley Boulevard.
Developed by Trammell Crow Co. and Bentall Kennedy, it is an easy drive at non-commute hours to Tesla’s plant in Fremont. In addition to the Fremont plant, Tesla is building a huge battery manufacturing plant in Reno.

There will be a new fall attraction in Pleasanton when the Alameda County Fair stages the first fall racing meet in recent history.
The fair won approval from the California horse racing board to take over the dates that were formerly used by the Stockton fair. Stockton tried a racing only event last fall and lost a chunk of money.
It was significant because the state board went for Pleasanton instead of Golden Gate Fields in Albany. During the regular fair meet, racing is a cornerstone of the activities and drives attendance. This year, that will run June 15 through July 4 (finishing on a Monday) and then offer a fall meet from Sept. 21 to Oct. 4.
What will be interesting to see is what events, if any, the fair decides to run to complement the fall meet. September and October are busy months for many people between school and youth sports.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Matt Sullivan, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 10, 2016 at 12:46 pm


You are right about campaign spin, but it is you who are doing the spinning! Voting NO on Measure K is all about protecting the integrity of Measure PP, the citizens imitative that provides ridge and hillside protections from City Council’s like the one we currently have, and yes, developers – which the project clearly violates. Why doesn’t your column even mention Measure PP? Funny how the public is always forced to resort to the initiative and referendum process to obtain any measure of democracy in this town. Coscto, anyone?

I live on the west side of town far away from Lund Ranch, helped collect signatures for the referendum, and like many others this is about Measure PP to me. I’m surprised that you don’t remember that the current four-member Council majority opposed Measure PP when it went to the ballot and supported a Council-sponsored competing initiative (Measure QQ) that was designed to confuse the public and result in the defeat of both. Fortunately, they utterly failed.

It’s true that the two adjoining neighborhoods don’t want traffic from the development and are on opposite sides of Measure K. This was the unfortunate dynamic set up by the Council with the Lund Ranch approval and has resulted in a war between neighborhoods that could result in the undermining of our hillside protections and the precedent for future, more damaging ridge and hillside projects. Pretty convenient for the project proponents and future real estate speculators. That is unless the public sees through your spin and the spin of the other Yes on K folks – Greenbrier Homes, their lobbyists, and the Council majority (fortunately Karla Brown gets it and supports NO on K). I truly hope the people of Pleasanton do their research and understand the importance of this issue and vote NO on Measure K.

Posted by Voting YES for the Truth, a resident of Mission Park,
on May 10, 2016 at 3:22 pm

Voting YES for the Truth is a registered user.

Thanks Tim Hunt for providing a fair analysis of our current political dilemma. I'm voting YES 100%.

Posted by Scott Hale, a resident of another community,
on May 10, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Scott Hale is a registered user.

Wasn't measure PP to protect hillsides? And this new (small) development is only in the valley and not the hills? That seems to be a detail.

Posted by No more lies, a resident of Birdland,
on May 10, 2016 at 4:09 pm

@Matt Sullivan - how can you bold face lie? Ohhhhh maybe you are thinking you might run for Mayor and use lies to get votes. As a Council member you specifically asked Karla if roads were intended to be included in measure PP - and her response? Karla publicly stated that roads were never intended to be included in measure PP. You explicitly agreed with her- on record Matt, on record. Karla's reelection campaign will be interesting as I expect it to also be full of lies. Both you, Karla Brown, Alan Roberts, Bill Lincoln etal should all be ashamed of yourselves. First having signature gathers tell lies to get this to a ballot, trying to blame others for this going to a ballot and the cost when it clearly was your little group. Continuing to lie to get voters. The truth will prevail. THERE ARE NO HOMES ON HILLSIDES AT LUND RANCH DEVELOPMENT.

Posted by MsVic, a resident of Mission Park,
on May 10, 2016 at 4:14 pm

MsVic is a registered user.

Tim Hunt - you continue to blog reality and truth. Thank you for the posting the truth anout Lund Ranch - Measure K issue. I know the truth as well and will be voting Yes on Measure K.

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on May 10, 2016 at 5:46 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

The no on K folks that live in the Lund Ranch subject property, signed documentation acknowledging the sub division will be built with roadway and traffic.

For the no on K folks to dishonor that understanding they signed off on, exemplifies the decadent demeanor of that group.

Pleasanton will be a better place with a yes on K. Flush the decadent group away with the next best rain fall.

Posted by PTownPride, a resident of Southeast Pleasanton,
on May 10, 2016 at 9:29 pm

PTownPride is a registered user.

I encourage everyone to visit for more information. The Ballot Breakdown page may in particular be helpful to walk through a response to many of the points the Developer is making for the "yes" vote. Some basic points though:

"Yes on K" is 99%+ funded by the developer. The developer has given almost $100,000 to this campaign to date.

"Open space" is at best a red herring. The "donated" land is unbuildable land. There is nothing on it now. Nothing will ever be built on it, regardless of your yes or no vote. All the donation does is transfer maintenance costs from the developer to the city. (Do you know how the developer came up with this, by the way? They paid to have a "robocall" voter survey done, testing various slogan and themes. "Open space" is presumably the result.)

This development will absolutely put homes on hillsides. The Council said it won't because it "defined" certain slopes as "not hills."

This development will absolutely build close to ridge lines. Again, the Council said it won't because it "defined" certain ridges as "not ridges." (Indeed, the City's own staff agreed to on the ridge lines and in the final vote the Council essentially redrew the map.)

This development will absolutely put roads and retaining walls on hillsides. I don't think anyone even disputes that. The dispute is over whether roads are covered by Measure PP. The campaign materials for PP referred to roads as being covered, the City's statutes likewise make clear that roads are covered by PP, and the City election guide that accompanied PP said the Lund Ranch development would be limited to fewer than 10 homes because of the road issue. The Council pushed this through by declaring PP doesn't apply to road construction (including acres of grading, retaining walls, etc.) A "NO" vote sends a message that we're not going to stand by while the Council redefines PP.

I think the key thing that Tim is ignoring is that there are at least three additional hillside development projects waiting in the wings. Lund Ranch sets a precedent. Even the City Attorney admitted as much in one of the final Lund Ranch meetings -- the Council can't very well, for example, define "road" to mean one thing for one project and another for another project. The direction we go on this development is going to set us on a path for future developments.


Posted by Matt Sullivan, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 11, 2016 at 9:21 am

No more lies,

It must be easy for you to hide behind your veil of anonymity and call people a liar. How about coming out with who you really are and we can have an honest debate about the issues?

Speaking of honesty, my question to Karla Brown that you reference was whether the authors of Measure PP intended to preclude the construction of the Happy Valley Bypass Road, which indeed was to be constructed on slopes exceeding 25% and over the top of a ridge. You may recall that a previous Council made a commitment to building this road to the existing residents of Happy Valley when the Callippe golf course was approved. Of course, the road was never built because of seismic issues discovered later and the resulting inability of Spotorno to build enough houses on his property to finance the road. My intention was to honor this commitment, which preceded Measure PP, and Karla confirmed that the authors of PP wished likewise. This was never a blanket statement by either of us that “a road is not a structure”. I won’t call you a liar, but you certainly have distorted the facts to support your argument.

Going back to “the record”, you may recall that shortly after this the Council attempted to define Measure PP after it was approved by the voters. The Council voted unanimously that a road was indeed a structure. Both myself and Jerry Thorne were on that Council, and at the time Kathy Narum was on the Planning Commission and she also voted that a road was a structure. Both later flip-flopped – presumably when they found out that Lund Ranch II would violate this provision of PP.

As I’ve said before on this blog, the Council had a viable option to approve a project on Lund Ranch without violating PP and honoring another Council commitment to prevent traffic to the project from going through Ventana Hills: the 10-unit Measure PP exemption. Of course Greenbrier did not like that option so the Council decided it would be better to ignore the will of the voters, violate the law, and give their benefactors, Greenbrier Homes and the Chamber of Horrors (oops, I mean Commerce), what they wanted. The public was somewhat dismayed at this and as a result the Council now faces a referendum.

The concept of the Pleasanton Weekly blog is a good one: to allow for a democratic exchange of ideas. However, this goal has fallen woefully short as the blog is dominated by anonymous spewers of hate and personal attacks from people like you. Come out of the dark and engage in a real dialog, or go back into the darkness from which you came. We’ll all be better off.

Posted by No more lies, a resident of Mission Park,
on May 11, 2016 at 2:53 pm

No more lies is a registered user.

@Matt - your words exactly "the intent of the initiative is not to block roads on 25 degree slopes", to which Karla Brown agreed. She refused to comment on Happy Valley. Would you like to view the minutes yourself! They are public record. Please stop lying to the citizens of this town.

Posted by Voting YES for the Truth, a resident of Mission Park,
on May 11, 2016 at 5:15 pm

Voting YES for the Truth is a registered user.

@ Matt Sullivan see for yourself: Web Link

Clearly Karla Brown clarified (and you seemed to understand at the time) that roads were not included in Measure PP.

Don't re-write history to satisfy wealthy special interests.

I'm voting YES.

Posted by MsVic, a resident of Mission Park,
on May 11, 2016 at 5:24 pm

MsVic is a registered user.

Thank you @voting yes for the truth for that web link. The video clearly shows what was said by Matt Sullivan and Karla Brown. Seems these two have forgotten their statements. I am voting yes on measure K.

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on May 12, 2016 at 6:58 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

The Alameda County Grand Jury ought to look into the developers, the monied people that paid to get this issue on the ballot and the political parties involving themselves into this issue.

This is an local issue for local people. It is not an issue for people that do not live in Pleasanton.

Posted by Resident of Ventana Hills, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 13, 2016 at 10:26 am

Thanks, Tim, for reinforcing the truth.

Keep on spinning, Matt.

Re: "Spewers of hate and personal attacks from people like you."

Hmmm, let's see, I'm the "bloviating pontificator," right, Matt? That's just one of the many derogatory descriptions you've thrown at me.

As far as "hate" goes, you can try to spin and rewrite history on that exchange between you and Councilmember Karla Brown all you want, but the truth is what historically wins out over lies and spin. Roads have never been a part of Measure PP. Period. That's a FACT.

I'm confident anyone who takes the time to examine the facts and truth will see right through your claims.

And for those who are commenting on how much the developer is spending, they should check out how much the No on K supporters are spending. Close to $30,000 alone just for the paid signature gatherers (oh, btw, Matt, via the company you and others still refuse to disclose the name of). The same No on K group that's paying for full-age ads in the Weekly, and all the No on K signs, too. How much money are THOSE wealthy individuals spending, Matt, to get what THEY want, with NO benefit to anyone else in Pleasanton besides THEMSELVES?

All the other No on K supporters above, in addition to Matt Sullivan, keep spinning the same misstatements of fact ("sets a precedent," etc., etc.).

Tim Hunt knows the facts. So do I. So do many others.

If you don't, you can get the facts (i.e., the truth) right here: Web Link

They debunk all of the myths and conjecture from you, Matt Sullivan, and all the rest of the No on Measure K supporters.

The truth hurts, especially for those who can't accept it.

Posted by Delete Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 13, 2016 at 12:59 pm

"Opinion piece" aside, the Pleasanton Weekly is manipulative, biased, and clearly pushing an agenda. This isn't impartial journalism that serves and represents the community, this is a mouthpiece. This comment will be deleted by those who run this site.

Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 14, 2016 at 10:13 am

BobB is a registered user.

@Delete Me,

Please provide examples manipulative, biased journalism in Pleasanton Weelkly that isn't in an editorial.

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