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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Mr. Hanafee's Request

Uploaded: Jan 6, 2011
Jim Hanafee posted a message on December 15, 2010 in reply to the announcement of the Mayor's State of the City address at the January 11, 2011 Chamber of Commerce lunch meeting. The cost for the meeting has been listed (in different places) as $25 to $35.

Hanafee was irate. "I think it is appaulling (sic) that the citizens have to pay $25 to hear the mayor speak on the finances of the city, especially when the City Manager is on the dole for approximately $350,000 a year, and other employees are over $100,000 per year."

I don't agree that "the City Manager is on the dole," which implies he is doing nothing but collecting a big check. To paraphrase Donna Summer, "He works hard for the money." However, I do agree that the State of the City address should be available to residents for free.

So I contacted Stewart Bambino, CEO of the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce, and suggested (in my usual pushy way) "I hope the State of the City address is being videotaped for TV30. It wasn't last year, but I believe Dublin's and Pleasanton's were. I don't know what the fee is for taping but I hope you will have it taped."

I quoted Mr. Hanafee in my email and suggested offering Mr. Hanafee the option to attend without paying for lunch.

Mr. Bambino responded promptly, "Great comments. Let me see what I can do to accommodate Mr. Hanafees's request."

Well the Chamber arranged to have the Mayor's address taped by TV30. The City will pay for the cost of the taping.

I phoned Mr. Hanafee to give him the good news and that the Chamber offered to give him a seat at the media table in the back with no lunch.

He answered, "The State of the Union is free. The State of the City address should be free."

I said, "You could ask that question at the end of the presentation." He said, "I've complained about this before."

I know Mr. Hanafee has been active in San Ramon politics for the last 30 years or more, and I know he's complained about this as have other residents.

The State of the City address is traditionally (I don't know why) presented at the first meeting of the Chamber of Commerce in the calendar year. The San Ramon Chamber of Commerce holds its monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of the month at the San Ramon Golf Club. The charge is mainly to cover the room rent and lunch.

That's why I asked for the presentation to be videotaped. It will be shown on one of TV30's channels (28, 29, and 30), but those require a subscription to Comcast or U-Verse, so they are not free. However it can also be viewed online, which can be accessed on a computer at the Library or the Senior Center.

I asked the City to play the video or make it available in a public venue for residents to view. I also asked their media person to put the text and PowerPoint slides of Mayor Wilson's speech on the City's website. She said they would look into it after Wilson gives the presentation on January 11th.

So in answer to kg's post on December 21, 2010, "I totally agree with Jim. Is there an event that residents can plan on attending for free to get the same report?"

Yes, contact the City after January 12, 2011 at (925) 973-2500 for where to see it, or go to for the schedule of when it will be available online or on one of their public access stations.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by h. Sachs, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 7, 2011 at 8:29 am

Roz- many readers give you grief, their perception is that you are "a schill for the city". To the uninformed, nothing could be further from the truth. You are an advocate for open government at the least. Thanks and I agree that no one should have to pay to hear Mayor Wilson speak about the State of the City. That was outrageous.

Posted by Bob P., a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm

I think it would be appropriate to have an area of seating available for those who wish to listen to the speech and forgo the luncheon. The agenda should be arranged for the State of the City to occur either prior to or after lunch. After all, 'there is no free lunch' even in San Ramon.

Cheers All

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Jan 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


I agree with you but the room is too small with all of the tables set up to hold many people. Attendance is limited to 250 people for the Chamber, with a table in the back for members of the media. I'm paying, so I shall be at one of the regular tables up front.

I plan to ask Mayor Wilson at the presentation and at the City Council meeting that night if he could provide another live presentation at the Community Center for residents. At least the video will be available.

I hope that the City will change the way the State of the City is given next year. It can still be presented at the Chamber lunch meeting for $25 but offered again for residents to attend for free.


Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 13, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Next year raise the fee to $100 for eaters. Fewer will attend making more free room for non-eater citizens. Use the extra money to pay Moniz's pension.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Jan 13, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


Instead of making snide comments about things you don't know or have misconceptions about, why not find out first by watching the the State of the City Address on Channel 29. Here's a link to the schedule [Web Link

The State of the City address explained that Mr. Moniz's pension is already paid for in the bond measure that assures the City will not run out of money or pay higher interest rates for employee pensions in the future.

Mayor Wilson promised at the end of Tuesday's City Council meeting that next year's State of the City address will make room for residents to attend without buying lunch. The City Council meeting is on TV29 right now [Web Link


Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Yipee! free bond money to pay for Moniz's pension. How could I have been so ignorant! Oh, wait a minute... who pays for the bonds plus interest?? (Snide enough for you Ms Rogoff? Careful about tossing stones when it's you with the limited understanding). There are no freebies, we are all gonna pay for his $260k/yr retirement.

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