Meeting talks money for an incorporated Alamo Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Danville Weekly Online, on Aug 11, 2008 at 3:46 pm
Will Alamo become a town? According to a recently released financial study, it's quite possible. Residents had a chance to get some of their questions answered at a community meeting last Thursday at the Creekside Church
Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 11, 2008, 12:55 PM
Posted by Spike Marvel, a resident of another community, on Aug 11, 2008 at 3:46 pm
Ms. Lou Ann Texeira may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lou Ann is very responsive to neighbors' questions and provides excellent study references for neighbors' research. As is typical in the Diablo Vista region, all governments, media and groups should expect e-communication from our neighbors and be willing to provide timely response.
Posted by Rachel Wells, a resident of another community, on Aug 11, 2008 at 4:29 pm
Dear Ms. Neal,
At the August 7th LAFCO meeting, Diablo Vista region neighbors only wanted to know the definition of the government we can now afford and how that government is the basis of the LAFCO study results. Your Danville Weekly story today covered little of the reality of Thursday’s meeting and only illustrated the lack of definition for any rational consideration by a majority of voters.
Certainly, Mr. Gary Thompson failed to answer such definition with his comments, “Anytime you take control of your own destiny at the local level, it's a good thing. The county has a whole county to take care of." Gary comments were meaningless because they did not define how neighbors and their neighborhoods “take control of our own destiny.”
After neighbors’ detailed review of the LAFCO “financials” such definitions are not included and much is based on assumptions of a status quo that will not exist in a new government or will the assumptions of surpluses be valid in separate contract services provided by the county, neighboring cities, and corporations. Every line item requires a detailed definition in a plan narrative so the reality in feasibility studies offered by LAFCO have documented basis in local government structure, operations, staffing, services, commissions, committees, and taskforce (creation).
We all celebrated the work of AIM, ACF, LAFCO, neighborhood groups, and community groups in the +four years of incorporation development, but we still need “community” among all residents through definition of a government for consideration as basis of feasibility of incorporation and support in an incorporation election.
Posted by Keith Lewis, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2008 at 7:14 am
Dear AIM Committee,
In this story by Ms. Neal and the commentary of our neighbors posted to this forum there are unanswered questions. In the past 16 months these same questions have been asked repeatedly without an answer that defines our future under your incorporation proposal.
Even Alamo Ron, who seldom answers any of her own claims, is asking obvious questions about incorporation that require definition of a government to know if such questions will be answered by incorporation. If we vote blindly for an undefined government in any incorporation election, Alamo Ron's questions could very well be predictions of incorporation results.
Time is on the side of Alamo voters and if you wish our YES vote then you will need to offer definition of your proposed government and its feasibility in any incorporation proposal subject to election.
Posted by Alamo Ron, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2008 at 11:52 am
Dear Rachel and Keith,
Regarding your concerns about the "definition of government" for Alamo, there is an excellent article by Dave Dolter on this topic. It was originally printed in the April 2008 issue of Alamo Today and is available on the Alamo Incorporation website under the Informational Articles link. The title is "What Are the Governance Requirements for the Town of Alamo?"
This will provide you with specific definitions of the structure and function not only of Alamo's government but also of the government of California cities in general as mandated by the state constitution and California Code.
Here is the article:
What Are the Governance Requirements for the Town of Alamo?
Alamo Today -- April 2008
Dave Dolter, Alamo Incorporation Movement
The requirements for organizing a city (or town) are found in the California State Constitution and in state statutes, particularly the Government Code. Unlike counties, which are legal subdivisions of the state, California cities are municipal corporations. There are three types of cities:
* General law cities – organized under state law, which describes their powers and specifies their structure.
* Charter cities – are organized under a specific charter describing the powers and organization the city will adopt, approved by a vote of the citizens of the city
* Combined City and County – San Francisco, the only one, is a charter city/county.
State law requires Alamo to incorporate as a general law city, and the law provides wide leeway in how general law cities organize themselves. Many small and medium sized general law cities are contract cities and these cities contract for a wide variety of municipal services. Alamo will be a contract city initially and likely for many years following incorporation.
The government of a general law city is vested in:
* A city council of at least five members
* A city clerk
* A city treasurer
* A chief of police
* Any other subordinate officers or employees provided by law
The Alamo Incorporation Movement application to LAFCO (the Local Agency Formation Commission responsible under state law for incorporations) requested that Alamo have five council members elected at-large, i.e., elected by all registered Alamo voters. To comply with the requirements for other officers, the Town Council will need to adopt an ordinance providing for the Council-Manager form of government where the Council appoints a professionally trained city manager to manage the daily affairs of the Town. The city manager would also appoint any other of the above officers designated by the Town Council, typically the city clerk. Since the provision of police services will initially be provided by contract, the police chief will be the contract police officer in charge. Likewise, the city treasurer may be appointed by the city manager and in small communities, the finance director may fill this role as well. The city manager would also select and appoint other department heads and employees, such as his or her assistant, the planning/community development director, city engineer/ director of public works, etc.
In many general law cities, the positions of city clerk and/or city treasurer are elected officials. The Council could also choose to appoint them instead of the city manager Post-incorporation, these positions could be made elective if voters approve a ballot measure to do so.
Every city has a city attorney although state law does not require one. A city attorney is typically the other direct appointee of the Town Council (in addition to the city manager). Typically a small community would contract for these legal services with law firms that specialize in municipal law.
One of the compelling reasons for incorporation is for Alamo citizens to influence land use planning and development directly. State law dictates that there must be a planning agency for these purposes. State law also requires the council to adopt an ordinance assigning the functions of this planning agency to a planning department, one or more planning commissions, administrative bodies or hearing officers, the council itself, or any combination it deems appropriate and necessary.
To assure community involvement, cities typically provide for a planning commission of five to seven members to advise the council on such matters. Indeed, the council cannot act on many planning matters until it receives a recommendation from the planning commission. For example, in many cities, the planning commission has final approval of subdivision maps (unless appealed to the council).
In Alamo, this commission will have important initial duties including crafting and recommending a new general plan (required by law), a new zoning ordinance to implement the new general plan (also required by law) a new subdivision ordinance (required by state law) and other duties as referred to it by the council.
No other commissions are required by law. However, active citizen participation in local government is vital. To this end, councils typically create advisory committees and commissions to help with city governance. Members serve without compensation except for reimbursement of approved business expenses. Where appropriate, youth representatives may also be appointed.
In Alamo's case, the creation of these advisory bodies will be at the discretion of the elected Alamo Town Council. However, the council will be receptive to the desires of Alamo residents. Merely as a guideline, the following is a list of the committees and commissions established by our neighboring communities. Note that these entities were created over a period of many years - Alamo would need to start small and assess our local needs over time.
Posted by Spike Marvel, a resident of another community, on Aug 12, 2008 at 12:33 pm
The article referenced by Alamo Ron contains a limited view of city government definition allowed according to California General and Municipal Law. No such government is defined in the AIM incorporation proposal or LAFCO Studies as the choice of government to be considered by voters.
Specifically, voters within the shrinking AIM boundaries for a Town of Alamo are asked to approve a fully independent town council and allow that council to determine the structure, operations, staffing, services, commissions, committees and taskforces. Neighbors can fully appreciate Mr. Dolter's point of view as a community relations director for a major home builder, but will not accept AIM's promises made on behalf of a not-yet-elected, independent town council.
We wish to challenge your reporters and you to fully research and define the options of governments for our region and specify exactly what is being offered, as a defined government for the Town of Alamo, by LAFCO and incorporation proponents.
Posted by Alamo Ron, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2008 at 1:34 pm
I just don't know what an "independent town council" is. The Alamo Town Council will be elected by the people. It will have to hold public meetings and conform to all the other requirements of California's open meeting law - the Brown Act. Members of the Town Council must also comply with The Political Reform Act of 1974.
Spike, are you really under the impression that once elected, the town council can ignore their neighbors, friends, and the people who voted for them with impunity? Do you think that they are elected for life?
What is an "independent town council?" Do you want to have a blue-ribbon commission sitting around second-guessing the elected governing body of the Town of Alamo? Do you have any thoughts on who would be on that commission and how they would be selected? And what's to keep them from becoming an "independent blue-ribbon commission" who answers to no one.
The Alamo Town council will have to answer to their constituents all the time.
Posted by Steve O, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2008 at 5:56 pm
When Alamo becomes a city or a town things will change. Want run a small business from home, you will need to ask the city permission. If you have a curb, it may get painted red. Your car insurance may increase because more speeding tickets will be givin out. Want to remodel your home, it will cost more and it will take longer than it does now. How about horses or farm animals? Most cities do not allow them. If you like freedom don't vote for incorporation.
Posted by Steve Block, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2008 at 10:25 am
Dear all, I am the director of communications for the Alamo Community Foundation, and see there is lively commentary on the subject of incorporation. Whether you're for or against, we hope you've had a chance to get yourself the facts. Our community meeting on August 7 was the first chance to hear the facts on the financial viability of the town. The next community meeting will be on September 18 and you'll get a chance to speak in front of all attending. On our website, www.alamocommunity.org, we have a lot of information out there. Very shortly, we'll be posting answers to all the questions received in the August 7 meeting (the document is currently about 10 pages long!).
One other note. I'm seeing that some posters are purporting to represent the beliefs of entire neighborhoods. Unless those posters can point to facts that can be verified (i.e. independent polls), I would suggest refraining from making claims that cannot be substantiated.
Posted by Spike Marvel, a resident of another community, on Aug 13, 2008 at 4:15 pm
As you continue development of your articles on incorporation, you might wish to focus your "slant" on substantiation of claims by all factions within the discussion of incorporation.
The minority of incorporation proponents, as less than 300 attending public gatherings, have not provided substantial validation of their claims and commentary. Neighborhoods have validated their positions, concerns and commentary among a majority of their neighbors. Incorporation opponents, as usually less than 30 at public gatherings, have openly expressed their positions and the sources of their positions.
It has been neighbors' postings that have brought resources for study to your forum and invited such resources from incorporation proponents and opponents so all neighbors in our region can be better informed. It certainly is not the responsibility of our region's neighbors to do research and validation for incorporation proponents or opponents.
Most importantly, it is not the authority or opportunity for any individual or group to demand the silence of another or the editing of information to the satisfaction of any point of view.
Neighbors look forward to your excellent journalism,
Posted by Alamo Ron, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2008 at 9:24 pm
I completely agree with Mr. Spike Marvel on the issue of "...it is not the authority or opportunity for any individual or group to demand the silence of another [individual or group].
This is an open forum of sometimes rough (and often tumble) political discourse. This means ALL voices should be heard. A demand for silence is not appropriate. In fact it borders on tyranny. Lay off it Mr. Block.
Posted by Steve Block, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Aug 14, 2008 at 11:59 am
"Tyranny? Silence demanded?" Huh? I simply requested that posters shouldn't claim to speak for their entire neighborhood unless they can point to proof that they do. That doesn't seem unreasonable to me.
Posted by Ty & Ignor Rant, a resident of another community, on Aug 14, 2008 at 12:48 pm
Please notice: Krak Potts has changed his on-line name to Ty Rant and mildly objects to the very negative discussions about himself and his knee.
Just to provide substantiation of claims, 121% of the population of Community California 94507 firmly believes. Ty Rant and his many supporter are now attempting to determine WHAT.
In other news, 97% of the Community California 94507 residents above the age of 21 have been proven to not be 16 years old. The remainder are 16 years old or are lying about their age.
There will be more news at Eleven when we provide substantiation that 213% of residents in Community California 94507 believe that those living next to them, or even on their street or nearby streets, are legitimately called neighbors. Whether they are hoods or not is another story. We contacted various government officials in our region for their expertise.
71% of all statistics, according to a totally uniformed source, are considered to have potential error factor of 100%.
Posted by Karen Sexton, a resident of another community, on Aug 14, 2008 at 1:19 pm
As another author noted, nothing posted to your forum, published in various media or stated on various proponent websites concerning incorporation of the Town of Alamo has been substantiated as reasonable fact or validated as complete and forthcoming.
If we were to expect substantiation and validation by all parties, then to whom would such substantiation and validation be delivered, under what terms of non-disclosure, and with what potential usage of such information?
If we cannot seem to define incorporation, maybe we can at least define our needs for substantiation and validation,
Posted by Ty Rant, a sour us, a resident of another community, on Aug 14, 2008 at 2:35 pm
Joyous Ron, your thoughts from Alamo, my former haven (Asylum).
As I visit with my pal, Ignor Rant, here today, we look for ways to make this forum discussion even more off-center and off-topic so to be "a sour us!"
As an Alamo neighbor of 12 years until 2005, I am well aware that neighborhood groups will never validate publicly any information that established, validated and circulated among their e-exchanges. There is no relationship desired or considered with Alamo community groups including those that propose incorporation at this late date in the incorporation process.
But from all viewpoints of the issues of local government, whether I use my new hometown of Morro Bay or my investments in the Alamo business district, I believe some definition of government proposed is appropriate. With LAFCO and AIM refusing such documented definition for voter consideration, then maybe all that is left is the humor of it all.
Posted by Keith Lewis, a resident of another community, on Aug 14, 2008 at 4:07 pm
Final thoughts on incorporation for proponent consideration:
If on September 18, 2008, LAFCO can define the proposed government and its processes of defining citizen participation, the result will be a positive voter response in any incorporation election.
To validate this reality, ACF or AIM need only canvass those residents signing the LAFCO petition for the importance of such definition in voter consideration. Each proponent and their supporters need only canvass their neighbors for the importance of such definition in voter consideration.
Substantiation of everyone’s neighbors’ preferences only requires that such neighbors be asked.
Posted by Hal Bailey, a resident of another community, on Aug 17, 2008 at 7:33 pm
Dear Inforest, not seen for the trees,
I am not any more than myself.
Diablo Vista resident counsel is quite available to provide a formal setting for meaningful dialogue fully absent for the last 16 months related to incorporation.
Ah, but let me confirm that the only pseudonyms related to me are Hal Bailey, Spike Marvel, Oxymo Ron and likely no more. Hal Bailey was invented in February 1973 and is nothing to do with my real identity.
Posted by L. Ike Lee Knowmore, a resident of another community, on Aug 18, 2008 at 8:19 am
Ah, Ron, we are once again distracted from review of reality.
No matter what casual, organized or commercial study of preference is pursued, any "polster" would quickly discover that 64% (approx) residents within the AIM shrunken town boundaries support incorporation, but less than 30% support the AIM incorporation proposal. That is the meaningful dialogue that needs to focus on the defined incorporation proposal a majority will support.
No individual commentary is critical to incorporation unless it provides reference and methods to establish such definition and gathers the support of a majority of voters. But everybody's right to commentary is absolute and may not be denied by the "tyranny" you saw in such requested restrictions.
Posted by Diablo Vista, a resident of another community, on Aug 19, 2008 at 7:35 am
As we prepare our positions and commentary for participation in the September 18 LAFCO Commissioners' meeting, let me offer some pointed humor as guidance. Does the following fit our participation among neighbors and governments?
1. As I let go of my feelings of guilt, I am in touch with my inner sociopath.
2. I have the power to channel my imagination into ever- soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia.
3. I assume full responsibility for my actions, except the ones that are usually someone else's fault.
4. I no longer need to punish, deceive, or compromise myself, unless I want to stay employed.
5. In some cultures what I do would be considered normal.
6. Having control over myself is almost as good as having control over others.
7. My intuition nearly makes up for my lack of self- judgment.
8. I honor my personality flaws for without them I would have no personality at all.
9. I am grateful that I am not as judgmental as all those censorious, self-righteous people around me.
10. I am willing to make the mistakes if someone else is willing to learn from them.
Posted by Diablo Vista, a resident of another community, on Aug 21, 2008 at 7:14 am
The following website will provide results of court challenges to LAFCO rulings and procedures as example of the mechanisms available through courts to further define incorporation proposals for voter considerations.
Posted by Hal Bailey, a resident of another community, on Aug 22, 2008 at 7:32 am
This morning I was invited by a incorporation supporter to speak for myself and tell your readers my views leading to the LAFCO meeting, September 18, 2008, concerning incorporation for the town of Alamo. In response, I look forward to the remainder of the incorporation process and seeing the results of approval, a possible election, and any local government operations that might result. I firmly believe that this process has awakened all in our region to consider the concepts of community from what only exists as neighborhoods today.
We will see, by this process, if we wish to be a community and, in my view, that will determine and define whether we become a city. In all, I expect this to be a very human and emotional process quietly considered by a majority without discord.
Posted by Jennifer Crest, a resident of another community, on Aug 25, 2008 at 9:45 am
Our Diablo Vista region discussion groups yesterday decided to wait silently for definition of a incorporation proposal for a city within our Diablo Vista (Alamo) region that would warrant our consideration, support and vote. At present, most of our region is not part of any incorporation proposal for the Town of Alamo, including much of our north Iron Horse, Alamo Ridge and other regional neighborhoods.
We simply wish to thank The Danville Weekly for this Forum and the ability to present a broader consideration of definition of incorporation.