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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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Did Urban Shield make a difference?

Uploaded: Sep 17, 2019
Retired Alameda County Sheriff’s Lt. Jim Knudsen added a real life perspective to the Board of Supervisors’ decision to end the Urban Shield anti-terrorist training program.

The supervisors voted 3-2 (the valley’s supervisors, Nate Miley and Scott Haggerty opposed) to establish conditions that violated the contract with the federal agency funding the training. As expected, the feds pulled the funding and killed the program.

Jim, speaking to the Pleasanton Men’s Club, cited the Boston Police Department that had participated in the training. One key takeaway from the exercises was, when driven by adrenalin, detectives and other officers could work 48 hours in a row without taking time to rest, as might be expected.

Knudsen said that Boston police leadership, armed with that knowledge, kept the investigative pedal to the metal after the Boston Marathon Bombing and killed one terrorist and captured his brother within that window. With the end of Urban Shield, that training is no longer available.

He also mentioned that the Legislature and the governor felt it necessary to eliminate the 1872 law that required able-bodied men to be called into a posse to aid law enforcement. Author Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat from the Los Angeles area, said it was appropriate to clean up a law that no longer applied.

Perhaps. But, you could also ask, why bother? Or, ask why now? Legislators introduce hundreds of bills a year and cleaning up an 1872 law concerning the police and citizens was a priority to pass into law?

Jim thought it strange enough to mention to the attendees. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed it Aug. 30 without any accompanying message.

Steve Spedowfski, the deputy city manager and public information officer for San Ramon, added some helpful perspective to my Bishop Ranch post. He pointed out that the city is largely built out with all future residential sites located in existing retail centers—that fits with the shifting retail landscape driven by online shopping.

He also noted that the Sunset Development plan for 4,500 multi-family units includes giving free bus passes to all residents in the area. The park currently funds County Connection passes for all employees and pays for routes connecting the Bishop Ranch transit center with the Dublin/Pleasanton and Walnut Creek BART stations as well as the ACE train station in Pleasanton.

The residential project covers about 135 acres in four large blocks, representing about 23 percent of the overall 585-acre footprint. Most of it is either vacant or surface parking lots. It includes a previously approved 169-room hotel plus another 170,000 square feet of retail. The residential, is clustered near the one-million-square-foot 2600 Camino Ramon building, which was built as PacBell’s headquarters and now is headquarters for Sunset along with several other tenants.

The 4,500 multiples would add significantly to the 7,695 multi-family units in the existing city. San Ramon, with a population of 83,957, has 21,116 single-family units.
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