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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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San Ramon Observer on

Uploaded: Apr 12, 2012
I signed up with to host an online San Ramon Observer interview show. My first "program" is scheduled for 11:30 am Wednesday, April 18, 2012.

I asked Mike Conklin, CEO of Sentinels of Freedom, to be my first guest, but the date and time were bad for Mike. He was already scheduled to be a guest on Gallant Few's New American Veteran on April 11th at 4 pm on Blogtalkradio. He invited me to sit in on his interview Wednesday afternoon.

I met Mike at the Sentinels of Freedom offices in Bishop Ranch 2. He set up his speaker phone for the interview with Karl Monger on the New American Veteran blogtalkradio show. Monger introduced the show and explained the plight of returning vets in finding jobs and housing. Sentinels of Freedom has also been helping severely wounded vets with jobs, education, and housing for the last ten years.

I've known Mike since he introduced his Sentinels of Freedom organization to the San Ramon City Council back in 2003, but I learned more about him in this interview with Karl Monger than I've known for the last 10 years. It's a very impressive interview, and I recommend everyone listen to the recording on the Gallant Few blogtalkradio website.

About 20 years ago, in one of my past lives, I owned an AM/FM radio combo in Morro Bay, CA. These were music stations. The AM played big band and swing music from the '40's and '50's, which was my kind of music even when I was much younger. The FM played what was called "Light Rock," which is rock where the singers don't scream or jump all around the stage.

One of the most popular performers on the FM station was Rod Stewart, who ironically is recording American songbook classics from the '40's and '50's now. One of the most popular performers on the AM was Tony Bennett, who ironically is recording duets with Lady Gaga now. So you see I was right on target then, but too soon.

Two years after I bought the stations they were in escrow and going through the FCC license transfer. My two DJ's, newscaster, and sales people were gone. I was down to two employees, the Traffic Manager who scheduled the ads and a board operator for Giants baseball games, which was our only money maker until the players went on strike that year.

Both stations were on a satellite feed for music and news, but during the worst of the Highway 41 fire between Morro Bay and Atascadero I interrupted Kate Smith on the AM to update on where the fire was moving and how much was under control.

A woman called to ask why we didn't report on the fire earlier that afternoon when she was stuck in traffic because of it. I held my temper and didn't tell her where to go. "This is a music station, not a news station," I told her patiently. "We didn't know about the fire until later, but we are reporting on it now."

Ah the joys of radio. Well I want to my voice heard again; so I'm planning to do a ½ hour show on BlogTalkRadio starting at 11:30 am on April 18, 2012. Since Mike Conklin isn't available at that time, I asked former Mayor Abram Wilson if he would be my first guest. Abram never turns down a chance to talk, so he said yes.

Here's the teaser for my first show:

"Today we catch up with Mayor Abram Wilson to find out what he's been doing since terming out as Mayor of San Ramon last year.

He has a plan for Tassajara Valley that might surprise both his fans and detractors. Tune in, phone in, and find out what's up with Wilson on the San Ramon Observer blogtalkradio show at 11:30 am on April 18, 2012."

His new plan for Tassajara Valley doesn't involve Measure W or San Ramon's Urban Growth Boundary, but it might stir some controversy among residents who want to keep the area rural. I'm fine with being controversial in my blogs. I prefer my blogtalkradio show to be informational, but there's a phone-in number to ask questions which could be controversial.

I hope that whets enough curiosity to get some of you to listen.

Blogtalkradio records and stores each show; so if you can't tune in at 11:30 am on April 18, 2012, you can always listen to the recording or download it as a podcast. I'll be sure to post the link and any juicy quotes to get you to listen.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by wiz, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 13, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Plural words, such as 1950s, the 50s and DJs, do not use an apostrophe.

I offer this with the best intention, to be helpful. But also because this problem with apostrophe misuse is huge and I can't stand it. Misuse is everywhere.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Apr 13, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Thanks for the correction Wiz. It is no longer incorrect to use an apostrophe before the "s" in '50's.

According to Paul Brian (2008) Web Link "There?s no requirement for the apostrophe before the "S" in decade names like 50s and 60s, since there are no omitted letters, though it?s also acceptable to include one."

The apostrophe after DJ's is also optional but not incorrect. Web Link

By the way I teach online for the University of Phoenix, so I frequently correct students' grammar and punctuation. They do make a lot of mistakes with apostrophes.


Brian, P. (2008). Common Errors in English Usage: The book (2nd ed.).

Sherwood, OR: William, James & Co.

Posted by Paul Mitchell, a resident of another community,
on Apr 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Nice blogcast, Roz. I learned a few things about my former city of residence from you and former Mayor Wilson. I don't see government having a role in borrwing money (selling bonds) to buy land and operate a cemetary, but if that's what the local citizens want to do, more power to them.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Apr 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Thanks for the nice comment, Paul. Did you try phoning in? The phone number for the free program is long distance, but if enough people want to call in I can upgrade to a toll-free number.

Abram referred to Colma. You might recall Herb Moniz was City Manager of Colma for a couple of years. I'm not sure if Colma owns the cemeteries in it or how it profits from them. Maybe I should have asked Abram that.

Here's the link to the recorded version of the show:

Web Link

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Apr 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

I just listened to the replay. The voice quality wasn't great and there was a lot of air popping, but overall everything was understandable with a minimum of dead air.

I goofed up the exit music and increased the volume when I should have faded it out, so it gets very loud at the end. Just turn it off or down before the last 15 seconds.

The Blogtalkradio specs said I had 2 live listeners and 5 who played the recording. I played it twice, so 5 other people listened to it.

I plan to host another show next Wednesday at 11:30 am again. I haven't set up my next guest yet.


Posted by Paul Mitchell, a resident of another community,
on Apr 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I was one of the two live listeners. I did not call in because I did not have a question for the former mayor. Well, actually I would have like to have asked him a question about abolishing the transient occupancy tax (the San Ramon "hotel tax"), but I already knew former Mayor Wilson and I will never agree on that subject, and he is no longer in a position to change his mind and vote to eliminate it. I did not need a toll-free number to call in; I have unlimited long distance service.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Apr 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Thanks for listening, Paul. Measure U in 2004 would have increased the TOT from 7.25% to 10% in 1/2% increments over 5 years. It was defeated 48.6% to 51.4%. The council has not tried to increase it since then.

I know how much you hate tax increases, but San Ramon has the lowest TOT in the region, and I believe it could be upped by 1 or 2% to offset deficits and cover lost income from other sources. Voters might be more inclined to increase it now than face more cuts in services.


Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm

It would be interesting to know if either Mr Wilson or Mr Moniz are now paid consultants for Sid Corrie.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Apr 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


Mayor Wilson told me Sid Corrie wants to sell the property for health reasons. Mr. Moniz is retired and in a totally different business now.


Posted by Paul Mitchell, a resident of another community,
on Apr 25, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Just for the record, it is not tax increases I "hate," as you described my position. No hatred here. As I have always stated I support taxes I understand. I do not support all of the nickel-and-dime taxes/fees that have developed over the decades: federal excise tax on telephone and cell phone service, transient occupancy tax ("hotel tax") levied on visitors when they (or I) rent a hotel room or a car, sales tax on gasoline (California was the first to apply sales tax on the federal tax built into the price of gasoline - the sales tax is just hidden in the price; a tax-on-a-tax, what a deviously clever idea!), franchise fees on cable televison service (tired of my list yet? I am)...

Just because other cities have hotel tax rates higher than San Ramon does not justify increasing San Ramon's tax. San Ramon should have a specific need to justify any tax, or any tax increase. Otherwise you end up with a million dollars in a San Ramon Lighting and Landscaping District account with no specific plan for where the money will be spent. I moved away before my multi-year requests for the specific plans for that million dollars were completed. I hope there is a plan by now.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Apr 25, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Ooo Paul, I must have pushed a button. Sorry about that. Taxes are like storage space. The more you get, the more you use, and the more you need.

I don't know which Lighting and Landscaping plan you are talking about.


Posted by Paul Mitchell, a resident of another community,
on Apr 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm

The San Ramon Lighting and Landscaping Districts were formed with the development of each new meighborhood, so the people in the older part of San Ramon (like your neighborhood) were sheltered from most of the costs of maintaining new developments. My former home was in L&L District Zone 5 "Summerwood Loop." I think there are 14 Zones in San Ramon now; maybe more with Dougherty Valley. There is also a city-wide L&L district that includes your neighborhood. The accumulated balances in all of the L&L districts was over a million dollars before I moved away. City staff was creating a plan for how that money was going to be used, because I kept asking what the money was for. I hope they completed the plan by now.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on May 8, 2012 at 11:06 am

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

My Blogtalkradio program is on hold right now until I can line up some guests and set a better time for it. I wasn't getting many listeners at 11:30 am on Wednesday, and I didn't have a guest for May 2nd so I wound up talking to myself.

I'd like some suggestions for guests and a better "broadcast" time for listeners who want to phone in to ask questions. If I get enough interest in keeping it going, I might upgrade to a paid show which provides a toll-free call-in number and up to two hours of talk time. If no one is interested, I'll drop it.


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