Incorporation's end Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Danville Weekly Online, on Mar 6, 2009 at 8:12 am
For more than two years, proponents of an incorporated Alamo have worked to get the issue onto the ballot. Circulating petitions, raising the $200,000-plus necessary to pay for the feasibility studies, holding meetings, talking to residents. Two long years of effort.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 6, 2009, 12:00 AM
Posted by Rachel, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 11:47 am
Of couse I did! I am a college student, and this was only the 2nd. time I had the opportunity to vote in an election. I felt honored to be able to express my choice, and did many hours of diligent checking into issues.
I observed that the citizens that supported this measure worked very hard, and they had the best interest of Alamo in their hearts. I wanted to recognize their efforts.
There is no reason to respond with a nasty (holier than thou) tone to me.
You are a Yes on Prop A person (from your name above). I understand many people voted No because of the attitude you displayed in your response to me...Snobish and Arrogant and Superior!
Many adults (not all) in Alamo have displayed a very bad example to the young people of Alamo, with all your nasty remarks and negative comments toward one another.
While playing soccer in Alamo, I was taught to be a HUMBLE and GRACIOUS winner! Not a team player that would take a negative swipe at an opponent.
Posted by No Voter, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 1:27 pm
Congratulations Rachel! Unlike some voters, you cast your ballot in an honest and measured way, after carefully considering the options. While Gen Yers are sometimes considered to be politically apathetic, you certainly are not. Keep reading AND voting your conscience. As for the vitriolic blogging by the sore losers of the opposition, I suggest that you consider how badly the personal attacks reflect on you. Voters who voted again incorporation are not stupid and uninformed and it's a weak argument to explain the failure of the incorporation movement. Instead of attacking the opposition, how about taking a moment to analyze why incorporation lost. You might find that it lost because it was a bad idea. Simple as that.
Posted by Triogenes, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 7:52 am
I'm not sure you want to go to an AIA meeting and ask "What's next?" Four members of the AIA Board were candidates for town council and as you rightly pointed out, they would have made up an autocratic town council without citizen oversight.
As it is now, the AIA is composed of an autocratic board of directors that do not have citizen oversight. Do you really want to participate in such an unfair and autocratic process?
Posted by Community courtesy, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 8:55 am
The Alamo Improvement Association is constituted by its current members as less 1000 of the >5400 residences in Alamo and >7000 residence in the Alamo region. Current AIA by-laws allow broader membership than what is considered Alamo.
The AIA may be reconstituted by a new majority of members from the neighborhoods. In such actions, neighborhood representatives could call for new board elections and a new charter as a regional political and planning group, with counsel, to be a public voice with governments in our region pursuant to compliance with Alamo region community of neighborhoods positions.
Posted by Triogenes, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 9:15 am
That sounds pretty good and we should probably go in that direction. There would still need to be citizen oversight for the new AIA Board of Directors. One possibility for such citizen oversight would be for neighborhood representatives to call for citizen oversight committee elections and create a new AIA Board citizen oversight charter.
The AIA citizen oversight committee would serve as a regional political and planning group, with counsel, to be a public voice for oversight of the AIA Board with governments in our region pursuant to compliance with Alamo region community of neighborhoods positions and oversight of the AIA Board.
I suggest the neighborhoods start the process to put your recommended structure in place. Along with counsel, of course.
Posted by Community courtesy, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 5:00 pm
Dear Louise, Jean, Vicki, Dolores, and all neighbors,
Let's make Thursday night at the AIA the start of community in our Alamo region. Send a note to three people (please blind copy in respect for privacy) and let's form a similar core of divergent views as was done one Thursday evening in June 2000 that created the neighborhood groups and e-exchanges.
Let's focus on the scope of our positions and look at all sides of community. Please make this step before we lose our ability to focus on issues.
If we all make a major appearance at the AIA, the public notice is sent to all governments that the Alamo region is serious about its future and very serious about moving forward in community with all neighbors.
Posted by Triogenes, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 12:40 pm
And if you don't make a major appearance at the AIA meeting, then no one is serious about the future of Alamo? That would be a shame.
By the way, the AIA is an organization made up of an autocratic board of directors that does not have any citizen oversight. The first order of business should be to promote the election of a citizen's oversight committee for the AIA Board.
By the by the way, Louise - you don't show up on the list of registered voters in Alamo. You may want to check on this.
Posted by Louise Buriss _________, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 7:46 pm
Thanks for the infomation. AIA sounds just as autocratic as AIM is (was?) Some oversight by Alamo citizens is needed.
By the way, I am a registered voter in Alamo. My husband asked me not to use my FULL name on this blog. He likes to be very private.
And I am very thankful that I have not used my FULL name. Ever since I started blogging about this topic on these boards 2 months ago, my name has been "searched for" several times via the internet. That makes my husband very uncomfortable, indeed. Me too!
Posted by Community courtesy, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 9:56 pm
A lesson learned from Louise: Hal Bailey does not show up on any voter rolls. Such voter rolls were provided by the elections department for use in the petition drive many months ago and should be checked by any individual not connected with the elections department. It is PRIVATE information not subject to any individual's validation and review.
The right of privacy does not allow the right of any other individual to violate that privacy.
Posted by Triogenes, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 11:40 pm
1. Voter registration is public information. You can go buy it at the clerk's office.
2. How do you know your name has been "searched for" on the net? Do you have some magic back door to Google or Yahoo to see what people are searching for? Sounds like a violation of privacy issue to me.
Posted by Alamo Phil, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 8:57 am
The yes on A proponents (not all) continue to fail to realize that the initiative lost because the majority of voters clearly understood that incorporation would deliver practically no real benefits. Instead it would add another layer of costly government.
The proponents when pressed always reverted to the question of benefits as: "control", well not many like the idea of establishing government for control purposes!
The aggressive tactics used by the YES group also turned off many residents causing them to say....."do we want these people in "control?"
Lastly the proponents promised things they could not deliver. Promises of "no city hall" are empty as those making the statements were in no position to decide a issue that would come up after cityhood.
So, today we are still Alamo, just as it was before the election, there very place that we all decided to reside when it was not a city or town and most of us like it just the way it is!!!
Posted by Louise Buriss, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:38 am
You must be over 50 years old, or not very computer savvy. Try subscibing to a PC journal and educate yourself.
Just purchase the right internet monitoring software, keylogger, or keystroke software AND LEARN HOW TO USE IT! If you know what you are doing you are alerted when someone searches your name or part of your name, or maiden names - anything you program it to do. My husband owns an IT research and development company, so we get to try all the latest toys.
OR - You can subscibe to and sign up for sites like .mylife.com, or any legitimate reunion site, or linkeden.com or xing.com, or zoominfo.com, that informs you of activity regarding your user name and contacts. (this last way is faster/easier but not as reliable, because the person searching needs to log on as a contact).
Posted by An involved community citizen, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 12:51 pm
Hi fellow Alamoans!
I am a yes voter and involved.
I believe that the people who LIKE the status quo are quite possibly the very folks who have never become community involved. It's sort of like "if you can't see what's happening, then it doesn't exist" or "if a 'vote no' perceives no change in the status quo, then change won't happen, so I'll vote no" mentality.
Proponents are/were community activists who MAKE and contribute greatly, and unselfishly to keeping Alamo our town. They volunteer countless hours to keep YOUR community in tact. They saw a reason to "take control" because they saw firsthand that County is out of control. They realized that the County's oversight is bound to worsen Alamo conditions and they saw a way to mitigate that.
So, the no's lost, the yes' won resoundingly in large part because they did not want change. But...
Change is coming. Brace yourselves for new taxes voted on by all Contra Costans, paid for by Alamoans - be on the lookout for this Utilities Tax, and remember it can be imposed on us over and over again. We will not have the benefit of needing a 2/3's Alamo approval for this new tax - all of Contra Costa will decide that for Alamo.
Change is coming. I predict this dismal economy contributing to rising crime in our affluent neighborhoods. Brace yourselves for less policing in a time when we might need it most - the Sheriff must AGAIN make drastic staffing cuts - which will directly affect Alamo households. Unfortunate is that a dedicated Alamo police department - formed under incorporation - would have protected many of the officers now slated for layoffs to offset some of the County's growing deficit.
Change is coming. We need to brace ourselves for leadership changes as the supervisor must surely consider imposing a MAC. It will be one person appointing Alamo's leadership instead of 10,000 +/- voting for our leadership. Since the naysayers were the majority, I would challenge the "no" leaders (possibly Barclay, Podavani, Heafy, Taylor and Carnamolla) to consider offering their service to Alamo. It would be their opportunity to ensure that nothing gets "broke" and Alamo remains as we enjoy it.
Change is coming. Brace yourself for changes in community committees, as one person mentioned above that the Alamo Community Council meeting was cancelled (and I'll add that no future meeting date was provided). Will the Roads Committee also have its meeting(s) cancelled? The changes coming might be that AIA must go away as it is a private, membership only club, not a government sanctioned advisory who is bound to Brown Act and Better Government Ordinance guidelines. AIA carries no legal clout.
Further, Zone 36, R-7A, the P Districts (including Round Hill CC), could be rolled under the MAC so those respective committee volunteers may lose their voices to a one-person-appointed MAC, again, rather than a choice of 10,000 voters.
What positive change that incorporation gave was to demonstrate how a sense of community could be achieved. Many of us have said we lived more disconnected before this movement. Now we greet new friends at Safeway and smile at new acquaintances. There was a growing community cohesiveness. It was the proponents who fostered this in a positive vein and I wonder if there will be energy to keep expanding that connectivity.
In summary, I must say that in this economy, many were and are afraid of making any sort of changes, and I understand those fears. But changes are coming and we will not have control or voices in the process. Incorporation was a good idea put forth by honest efforts. Ultimately, we all lose.
It is time to heal, time for concerned people to step forward, time for dedicated infusions of energy, time to reflect and time to move on.
Posted by Community courtesy, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 6:56 pm
The community this "involved community citizen" is referring to are the <300 active participants and supporters that had Alamo community groups, former PTSA involvement, and related community groups in common. The community of neighborhoods was the community they needed to join in creation of a full community of Alamo as the basis for a town of Alamo.
From April 2007 to August 2008, neighborhoods offered that outreach and community. During September through November 2008, neighborhood discussion groups pursued proponents and opponents to participate. In the end, AIM proponents were still less than 900 and all opponent groups were still less than 600.
Neighborhoods, in community of >8000 voters, made their own decisions based on validated expertise and study references and the rest is history. BUT, in celebration, an involved community citizen presented the SPIRIT we all must bring to the AIA Thursday night.
Thursday night is the proof of community for Alamo. We must see if factions can set aside the past and focus on a strong voice in our future. We are not without options and certainly we have significant options for region voice and authority. We will not have that result unless a community much greater than 300 steps forward immediately.
If you would like to know more, please contact email@example.com and our neighborhoods commit to a very personal and confidential response. PLEASE come to OUR AIA on Thursday night.
Posted by Askidoo, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:00 pm
AIA is a private organization used by the county and overruled as such by the county, but with no official sanctions no matter what their leaders say about being ´quasi-governmental´. They are private, fee membership of volunteers who over time took on the role of judging variances and they were never, and are not, legally sanctioned in any way by Contra Costa County. They do not follow the Brown Act - such as posting agendas several days ahead of meeting, posting minutes, no daisy chaining of leaders decisions, published financials nor membership lists, and are not transparent in their decision making. For the most part they are a negative organization. That is not a pejorative. It is a descriptive of their role in protecting what their leaders view as important: mainly fighting decisions of the county but not creating community. With an estimated membership of 250 to 600 they represent a facet of Alamo. They had many town council candidates who were-are members: Smith, Waite, McPherson,Barley, Mick, Rubay and Schmidt, far more than any one other group. However, they are visible and real people unlike the ´neighborhoods´ and these made up statistics from Community Courtesy. Similarly, the voters in Alamo were real people who had opinions on what they wanted and that was not for incorporation nor was it a vote in any way for the AIA. Rumor seems to think that a MAC is in the future for Alamo - now that is truly another layer of government and is totally advisory and is only allotted funding on the sufferance or deference of the Supervisor. It seems, that with all March advisory meetings being cancelled, that the Supervisor is thinking on what to do.... and a MAC can be very broad in its mission including parks, roads, planning, police, etc. Under the new rules of Contra Costa County MAC representatives are appointed by the Supervisor and advisory to her.
By the way Phil you continue to get it wrong with your version of local control. In actuality, self determination, your local control, by Alamo over land use, how the cops were used, how parks money was spent, how roads money was spent, etc. were more in the forefront than how you trivialized the concept on what color you painted your house. Of course, opponents always trivialize - that is their job - and they did prevail. But repetition of inaccuracies did not, and will not, serve anyone in the future.
To clarify property taxes are based on the assessed value and not the market value. In Alamo last year assessed value went up 5% according to the Assessor, not AIM.
There were road funds in the CFA done by LAFCO - look it up and don´t repeat what is factually not true.
You can disincorporate - its an easy search in California law and any novice or lawyer can find that. In spite of what opponents put on their informational materials.
For all those who stated other towns were in trouble like Lafayette and Orinda, please go look it up and see the real truth. If you care enough to vote, don´t vote on a rumor of your next door neighbor´s sister-in-law in Orinda of 25 years ago.
Finally,Vehicle License Fees for new cities follow a per capital formula bumped up 150% in the first year and settling in at 100% in year five. They are paid first over all other cities, it doesn´t depend on Alamo car sales - again look it up.
If you want to repeat the subjective litany that was important to you Phil, and presumably to many others given the vote, like it aint broke, another layer of government,´´ etc. fine but stick to the facts when there are facts and get them right when they are easy to come by. That is why all three papers endorsed incorporation AFTER they met with the opponents and heard their material, it was why the agency of the state signed off on the financials that they hired a neutral expert to ascertain. The fact that you would believe two unknown city managers hired and paid for by the opponents and believe their version but disbelieve a neutral agency of the state is curious.
Ultimately, one of the most important elements for our community is policing. Unincorporated policing of 140 square miles with curently 25 officers - down two from two years ago and with many cuts coming this year of sheriff personnel per Danville Weekly March 4, 2009 with the sheriff estimating 70 plus officers to be cut and since jails won´t be cut, an unincorporated substation is a real target-is vastly different in how it polices and in its effectiveness from a police force for a town of Alamo with 10 officers for only 10 square miles plus the two officers in Alamo and one in the downtown. Those officers would not take two hours to come to a burglary after being in Morgan Territory - they would already be here. Alamo neighborhood officers would have property theft recovery more similar to Danville and San Ramon of 50% instead of Alamo´s zero. This is a job the sheriff can do as we well know they currently do policing of this type in Lafayette, Orinda, and Danville known as neighborhood policing but not done from an unincorporated Valley substation. This is a big deal and control over this was important - house paint and color was a big deal for you Phil as you trivialized the topic, but policing is a big deal for those whose homes and cars have been recently burglarized all over Alamo.
So folks you want to do something for Alamo. Skip the AIA meeting and head to the police department and start getting a full beat in Alamo that does neighborhood policing. Get a return on the extra money that you pay rather than continuing to fund the black hole of the county´s $2 billion unfunded liability. Now that would make some sense. Go to the parks meeting and get the overhead to contra costa county lowered and a park built (with over $3 million and growing and no park built in 14 years) or at least get a recreation department for kids and seniors - or continue to let the county and Danville take the money and run. Go to the landscaping committee and get that county overhead lowered. Do something besides just vote no on the first ever vote for self-determination and local governance restructuring for Alamo in 150 years.
Posted by An involved community citizen, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:45 am
Askidoo is eloquent, factual and straightforward. There can be no credible rebuttal from the naysayers - and quite frankly they don't need to rebut however if they chose they could only re-fabricate information. There was no there-there, residents were deceived with photos of parking meters - in ALAMO? How silly as that! Touting to protect wild animals like that oversized egret resting alongside a four-point buck? Where was THAT picture taken? Ridding Alamo of livestock? More unfounded fear! Empty wallets? Our Alamo wallets are surely going to get lighter now - they would not have with an opposite outcome. Potholes in streets? Incorporation would have elevated road maintenance and there would have been a local recourse to complain if a job was done shoddy like what happened in Alamo County recently. The County botched that area's roads and one resident could not raise the County to address it!
And what about the botched light at Stone Valley - because of our County's negligence it will cost over $20,000 to repair what was IN the original plan that the COUNTY overlooked and forgot to do! Outsiders were in charge as they will in the future. Was that a County doing a good job!?
Truly folks - we need to be watching, become aware, and don't let the County use the $700,000 + it receives from Alamo to fund the debacles of its retirement funds OR use it to vote in raises for the Supervisors. Alamo monies going to needy people is one thing, but let's think about the County's cutting services to those poorer areas pitted with a need to fund retiree benefits. Where honestly do you think that money is being spent!? And I truly doubt we will be able to accurately track it.
Someone mentioned Vehicle License Fees now going to the County rather than to a new town. That's not happening. The money that would have come to our town will now be disbursed to only "cities/towns" of California. It is NOT available to counties. So our lexus, mercedes, SUV license fees will go to places from Eureka to beyond San Diego. Lost local income.
Ponder this. There's no way to validate what costs are actually charged against the parks funds. With Zone 36, those funds have dwindled to practically nothing with NO PROJECTS done in years EXCEPT for County staff attending Z36 meetings. That would suggest that Z36 is only funding County staff time!!! Is this OK? AND the staffing is charged at 200% (100% of staffing rates, plus 100% employee benefits), and they charge door-to-door from Martinez! If money went to the poor of our County, I'd be happier, but it appears to not.
Please, please, please, get involved - don't stick heads in the sand and say "it ain't broke!" The proponents did NOT attack the County for its problems and mistreatments of Alamo, and maybe they should have. Then people might have realized the County IS broken, and also broke.
What I see on the forum is more factual information provided by the proponents as a courtesy to us Alamoans. It reiterates sound, factual information that was presented in the campaigns. What I saw was that they felt they did not need to stoop to fabricating statistics and instilling unfounded fears in voters' minds. Unlike the unsubstantiated, ill-conceived information given on the other hand.
People are inherently afraid of change. It's easier to in this case, think that things won't change if voted for no change.
Alamo is too big for the County to manage and a MAC is surely coming down the pike. It's what will make the AIA defunct as it will no longer be needed because it's a private club, advisory committees will function within the MAC and life WILL CHANGE in Alamo.
Posted by Community courtesy, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2009 at 11:21 am
An argument continues among <90 active proponents and <50 active opponents (in five groups), each group have a combined audience of <1500 supporters. At issue now is "What's next" in our Alamo region and not the history of 23 months of failure to communicate with the majority of very-savvy voters. "What's next" includes the achievement of inclusion of a majority in a well-defined voice and authority for our Alamo region.
There are legal options to set-aside the March 3 election and could significantly include the majority of voters in new incorporation or its options such as annexation.
There are options for reconstitution of the AIA into a majority-led organization with broader scope for political and planning voice and authority.
There are options for an Alamo region planning commission and functional committees to be negotiated with the county and various special districts that can be established through Contra Costa LAFCO.
There is no option to retrace history and correct the incorporation process that led to the March 3 election. That is history that we can only learn from if we do not repeat it.
Thursday night at the AIA is a discussion of the roles the AIA, community groups, neighborhoods and individuals in setting a course forward. History taught us much and we now must create community if we are to succeed in the future.
Posted by Askidoo, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2009 at 9:31 pm
Hal-Community Courtesy: Do you really think anyone believes your numbers? Where do they come from, what study and when, what questions? A lot of blarney. Noone failed to communicate - it was a larger vote than the presidential election!
There is no legal option to set aside the 3-3 election - you must wait two years to do it again. Do you know something noone else knows? If so say it clearly rather than alluding or implying.
What is the neighborhood counsel that has raised tons of money and has all knowing insight into everything. Now you promote your AIA members who lost in their candidacy and state they provide the panacea for Alamo even if they did not receive the top votes St. Patty´s Day is near - Blarney abounds.
* past blogs by Hal and Community Courtesy reveal numbers such as 8100 voters and $300,000 raised for counsel etc. I think there are 2,500,200 fishes in the sea and 4,502 monarchs in the world. I would wish that I could make up such stuff and truly believe it - life might be simpler with living in my head rather than the real world.
Oh and we must not forget the inclusive/exclusive arguments promoted throughout the last two years by the above mentioned authors (by the way who are they - noone knows them); are they poison pen or just pseudonyms or cowards. It is quite interesting that the achievement of inclusion of a majority, the questions about a defined town council, etc. are always left open, never defined or explained except alluded to by the person writing who is all knowing, ever defining and full of b*s* and prods readers subjective bias but never´answers directly. The Danville Weekly offers all its back posts so go and check it out - look at the number of posts by various sources, over a long period of time, and ask yourself is this possibly true or made up AND more importantly does it make any sense whatsoever.
There are real issues for Alamo. To let the tone be set by some who are obviously skewed to the unrealistic paranoia obscures a serious question about how to provide municipal services to Alamo. Be informed, be rational, find out what the reality is on how we are governed locally by Contra Costa County and then come up with an alternative solution to incorporation.
Posted by Triogenes, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:04 am
As you suggest, if you purchased internet monitoring software, keylogger, or keystroke software and installed it on a computer other than your own, you broke the law. Such software is illegal to install on another person's computer without permission. It's called computer crime.
Of course, for you to be able to tell if you're being "searched" you would have had to actually install it on another person's computer (it's the only way such software works). Actually you would have had to install it on thousands of local computers to have any real effect. Did you?