Just as anti-Washington protests are increasing in this national political season, we're seeing some of the agitation locally.
Those objecting to a 33-home development on Lund Ranch in southwest Pleasanton recently succeeded in gathering enough signatures to force a referendum on the City Council's approval of the development. That referendum, to be on the state primary ballot on June 7 at a cost of $200,000 for Pleasanton taxpayers, will decide if the council's decision that followed years of public hearings will stand.
More recently, a new coalition called Citizens for Planned Growth (CFPG) is gathering registered voter signatures to ban retail stores over 50,000 square feet from locating on a 40-acre site on Johnson Drive that a City Council-appointed task force is considering rezoning.
The group, led by Bill Wheeler, owner of Black Tie Transportation which has its operations on Johnson Drive, wants to head off a possible bid by Costco to build on the site, which was once home to a Clorox research center that has since been torn down. The coalition will have until May 12 to collect the 4,017 signatures required to place its initiative on the ballot.
Unlike the Lund Ranch referendum which, if approved by a majority of voters, would overturn the council's approval but leave the site still open for another development bid, the CFPG's initiative planned for a vote during the General Election Nov. 8 would change the city's General Plan for the Johnson Drive site permanently.
Already, well in advance of any vote by the council or an actual bid by Costco to build here, Wheeler and others have been voicing their opinions at meetings of the council and the city's Planning Commission. During this time, the numbers of protesters have grown.
Now, a new petition, again against a local government decision, has been launched by Tom Cignarella of Dublin to block a bid by IKEA to locate its third Bay Area store on Hacienda Drive next to I-580. Cignarella's group is collecting petition signatures through Change.org, and, like Pleasanton's CFPG, wants to stop the Dublin City Council's consideration of IKEA's plans before they can reach the building permit desk. And, like Wheeler, Cignarella is working to spread the word against the Dublin governments endorsement of another big box store in the Tri-Valley.
Citizens coalitions that have not been successful in persuading their elected representatives to vote their way are moving their protests to the ballot box. Voters will have the final say if there's merit in these tactics or if enough is enough.