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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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My predictions for 2012

Uploaded: Jan 1, 2012
Now I'm going to stick my neck out and make predictions for the coming year. Some of these are easy because they've already happened or started like the change in City Council makeup and redistricting for Congress, State Assembly and Senate, and County Supervisor.

Rep. Jerry McNerney lost his hometown of Pleasanton in his new District. He decided to move East to his exiting base inland. McNerney wasn't given much of a chance the first time he ran as a write-in candidate, and he didn't have much of a chance. Two years later voter attitudes towards Congress and the Federal Government were changing. McNerney still wasn't taken seriously by the State's Democrat Party, but McNerney plugged away and found support among veterans and the military. It was only when polls showed McNerney could beat Pombo that Democrats rallied behind his candidacy.

McNerney is a tough campaigner and earned his place in Congress, but attitudes against incumbents are worse now than when McNerney won the first time. Still I predict he will be reelected in his new District.

So whom does that leave us with? Well our new District 15 is Pete Stark's. Pete is a feisty, outspoken, Liberal Democrat. Stark turned 80 last year and I thought he might retire, but no, he's already announced he will be running for his new District in 2012. So far Stark does not have any opponents, either Democrat or Republican, but I expect at least one candidate from the Tri-Valley to give the new 15th District a try. I consider Stark vulnerable this time, so we might wind up with someone else, but in either case we will have a new Representative in Washington, D.C.

County Supervisor Gayle Uilkema has announced she will not run for reelection in her new District. She was opposed to the change of her boundaries to include most of the Tri-Valley. Candace Anderson, who is serving in the annually rotated position as Mayor of Danville, announced she will run for Uilkema's new district. Tomi Van de Brooke from Orinda, Supervisor Mary Piehpo's Chief of Staff, announced she will run too. I expect at least one more candidate to announce. Not because I have anyone particular in mind but an open Supervisor's seat in a newly configured district is too great an opportunity for political climbers to pass up.

Joan Buchanan will run for the final time for Assembly District 16. She will be termed out at the end of that one. Much of her new District overlaps the old Assembly District 15, so she should do well as the incumbent. So far only David Haubert, Dublin School Board trustee, has announced plans to run.

San Ramon Councilmember Dave Hudson told me last year that Abram Wilson is definitely planning to run for Buchanan's Assembly seat again. Abram's defeat in the City Council race is one strike against him now, and he might have to face Haubert and other Republicans in a Primary. My advice to Abram is don't try it again. Buchanan looks like a shoo-in this time.

The last local political office is State Senate District 7, which is held by Mark DeSaulnier. So far DeSaulnier does not have any opponents. He's an established politician and will probably keep his seat whether we like it or not.

The latest news that affects San Ramon's future is the State Supreme Court's ruling upholding Governor Brown's law abolishing Redevelopment Agencies. Hooray! Redevelopment in upscale cities like San Ramon is little more than a means to tear down old buildings and replace them with new ones.

Anything more than 30 years old or vacant fits San Ramon's definition of "blight." That's why the RDA was able to allocate almost half-a-million dollars in RDA funds to tear down Mudd's only a year after spending $2.3M in RDA funds to purchase the property.

I don't know if eliminating the RDA will kill projects already approved, like the changes to Beta Court in the Crow Canyon Specific Plan or tearing down Mudd's, but without the tax increment for property improvements, the motivation to "improve" these properties was eliminated too.

The revised definition of blight was added to the RDA plan in 2006 when Phil O'Loane was on the Economic Development Advisory Committee. Phil is now on the City Council, which would also put him on the Redevelopment Agency if the RDA continues at all. I'm not sure if it will still meet to make decisions on past projects. That may fall to the City Council, which at least will make these decisions more visible.

I expect Phil will spend most of 2012 getting his feet wet and learning the differences between being on the City Council instead of the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is mostly advisory while the Council makes the decisions.

Newly elected Mayor, Bill Clarkson, told Tom Morrison on his first Mayor's Report that he had only one month to prepare for being Mayor. Well Bill you ran for Mayor and not City Council, so you didn't get the usual years of preparation from serving as a Councilmember first. Your experience on the School Board is very valuable, but since the SRVUSD meetings are held at the same time as San Ramon City Council meetings, you couldn't even bone up in advance by attending meetings. So now you will be learning on-the-job.

I'm not worried about Bill's ability to take over as Mayor or Phil fulfilling his City Council duties. They might take a few months to get comfortable in their new roles, but they both seem willing to listen and learn.
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Posted by Dave Hudson, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 3, 2012 at 9:12 am

Roz- I thought I told you he was definitely running for council. Abram and Carol love the city and would do anything to help us in these trying times.

RDA abandonment is going to hurt some cities to the point of bankruptcy. It was a way to amend the negative affects of holding on to older buildings and older property tax basis. RDA could help with infrastructure to promote older areas. Abuses cost cities the ability to clean up declining areas. This will make it harder to keep Mudd's.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Jan 3, 2012 at 11:22 am

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


How is not tearing down Mudd's making it harder to keep it? You were not going to use the RDA funds to fix it, you voted for almost half-a-million to tear it down. Now without the tax increment for a new building, there's no incentive to tear it down.

You originally approved $2.3M to purchase the property and I recall about $215K of that was for renovating the building. This amount has already been allocated from the RDA bond fund. Since there is no inspection report saying the building would need much more money to restore it, the amount already secured should be at least enough to keep it from any further deterioration.

If you really want to save the building now, than arrange for the original architect and builder to tour it. I'm sure they could come up with cost effective ways to make those improvements including the ADA modifications you believe would be so expensive.


Posted by Harry, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 5, 2012 at 8:42 am

Roz- Eric Swalwell, democrat, is running against Stark in the primaries. I have met Eric a few times and think he has a shot. You should look him up and talk to him. Nice guy; Dublin city councilmember and has worked in the DA's office in Alameda County.

Posted by Alamo Gets Justice, a resident of Alamo,
on Jan 5, 2012 at 8:46 am

Roz, Can you tell us if we will get any relief at the Board of Supervisors level. Will there be new Sups ? Will the County begin a real reform process to reduce debt and maintain service ?

Thanks in advance.

Posted by mloliver, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 5, 2012 at 9:53 am

mloliver is a registered user.

Alamo G J,

Three members of the board of Supervisors will have an opportunity to show they are serious about attacking waste in the county. Those three are the LAFCO Commissioners, Glover, Uilkema, and Piepho. Before them next Wednesday at the LAFCO meeting will be the issue of dissolution of the outrageously wasteful Mount Diablo Health Care District, and the redistribution of those funds where they will do some good.

Dissolution of the district would be a bold move and set a precedent statewide. To my knowledge, no LAFCO has been able to initiate dissolution of an Independent Special District until the passage of recent legislation permitting it.

The big question will be if the board, usually fearful of making any fiscally responsible decision at all, has the courage to take this step.

Information can be found on the Contra Costa LAFCO website. The next LAFCO meeting is Wednesday, January 11.


Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Jan 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


Thanks for adding that information. I didn't know about it.

I just downloaded the documents from the LAFCO website Web Link . I'll try to write something up about this tonight or tomorrow for my Friday blog.


Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Jan 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Alamo Gets Justice,

I believe Alamo is in the new District II with San Ramon and Danville, but Diablo, Blackhawk, and Tassajara Valley are still in District III (Mary Piepho's).

Since Gayle Uilkema isn't running for her District II seat, that means Alamo will get a new Supervisor. I named two potential candidates in my predictions above, but I omitted Karen Stepper, who has also announced she plans to run for District II.

Stepper is from Danville and has been an appointed Mayor at least a couple of times. So it will be interesting to see if she and Candace Anderson split the Tri-Valley vote, which would help Tomi Van de Brooke. Of course more candidates could announce, and one or another could change her mind about running.

I'm not sure if that answers your question, but Alamo will be getting a new Supervisor next year for sure.


Posted by Tomi for Supervisor, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 6, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Hi Roz,

I look forward to talking with you soon and discussing the Supervisor's race.

I think you know that I have served on the Community College Governing Board for six years. I look forward to taking my business background and experience on that Board to serve as next District II Supervisor.

925 457 6260

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