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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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New heights for NIMBYs

Uploaded: Aug 28, 2014
Many San Ramon Valley residents are taking NIMBY (Not in my back yard) attitudes to new heights.
An estimated 450 people gathered last weekend to protest against the Creekside Memorial Cemetery proposed for an unincorporated parcel in the Tassajara Valley. It's located on Tassajara Road between Windemere Parkway (the connection from the Dougherty Valley) and Highland Road that runs east to Livermore.
Frequently, residents complain about high-density housing or additional single family homes that could add to traffic and more students to schools. They fear their quality of life will be negatively affected by more people.
None of these objections apply significantly to burial plots?yes, there will be traffic from mourners attending burial services. The plans call for only about 30 percent (60 acres) of the 221 acres to be developed for the cemetery and its structures. It will be quite challenging to find quieter neighbors, although there are few residences in the rural countryside.
The cemetery plans have been mired in the Contra Costa County planning process for more than eight years, but a final environmental report was certified last year.
One valid concern is water. There is ground water in the Tassajara Valley, but there is no outside source. If developer Sid Corrie wants to create a traditional cemetery with lots of green grass, then he needs to figure out how to tap recycled water that is over the ridge in the Dougherty Valley. The alternative could be a drought tolerant landscaping of native plants in a different approach to a cemetery.
Opponents claim the cemetery is too big?it's beyond expected demand. It may be, but that's the gamble the developer takes, not an appropriate decision point for agencies dealing with whether the use of the land is suitable.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Herman Glates, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Burying people is dumb. It?s one of the least productive uses of land, especially in the Bay Area where land is at a premium.

How long are you going to keep doing this antiquated custom?

I don?t know if you noticed or not but we?re trying to build a global economy here. We don?t need no dumb cemetery right smack in the middle of it.

Get cremated. That?s what 70% of Bay Area residents do. That percentage is only going to increase as people around here become smarter. In Japan, 99% get cremated. Be smart with Bay Area land.

Hey Contra Costa Supervisors. If you vote for that cemetery, I?m not voting for you. That means you Candace Andersen. I saw you on your little walk with your cemetery supporters. You?re putting that cemetery right next to your hometown of Danville? Talk about getting stabbed in the back.

Posted by DirkaDirka, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 28, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Private property rights are paramount. Social policies, like ABAG housing are evil and ruin communities. Socialists love to use the NIMBY cry. Wake up America. That said, the Cemetery industry is one of the biggest scams ever. Cemeteries are an inefficient use of land. However, if it's your land and meeting zoning regs., laissez faire. People purpchase surrounding property based on reasonable assumptions of development, based on the zoning at the time of their purchase. If you don't like what someone is legally doing with their land, then approach it from a business stand point and try to buy the land; otherwise, you need a giant cup of STFU.

If you are stupid enough to buy an expensive box and plot of land to dump your departed into, hey it's your money, power to you. That's what aerica is supposed to be about, choice! Just like the Dirka does not care if you want to worship goat poop, Allah, the great pumpkin, Jesus, boobs, Buhda, or pink ponies, the government has no business in your personal beliefs and messing with your property. The Dirkarino has no patience for communist land grabbers and people who think they know what's better for you. These are the same people that think government should regulate every aspect of life. It's a mental disorder.
Web Link

This is what happens when we let liberal idiots educate our kids. The constitutional revisionists are practicing social engineering with their reeducation camps, I mean public schools. This country was founded on libertarian views of private property and free will. Ask a kid today if they learned about this principal in social studies. What a joke! There are ways to preserve open space that respect property rights.

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." Thomas Jefferson

Posted by Herman Glates, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 29, 2014 at 7:43 am

So if the landowner wanted to put a smelting plant there, you?d be cool with that?

What if he wanted to store some nuclear waste?

Or worse.

What if he wanted to build a giant statue of Obama?

Eff that.

Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 29, 2014 at 8:27 am

Hypotheticals seem to abound here. The cemetery will become reality and I believe it is a good "fit" for Dougherty, considering the existing "bumper to bumper" housing that went a tad bit TOO far. IF Mr. Corrie is smart and wise and CARES about this project? He will mitigate size, water needs, ingress/egress most carefully and concertedly. I suspect he will. The bigger issue actually has to do with the superstitious beliefs of those in the Asian culture who fear living near/seeing a cemetery. It goes against the grain of their very beliefs, then again? As a reminder? This IS AMERICA. We are "built" on hundreds of lives buried marked and unmarked and we HONOR our dead; are NOT afraid of them and believe this has less than nothing to do with life "luck". I believe in tempered and measured growth - no way around it and the NIMBY attitude is pretty immature if not unrealistic. This is a worthy project that simply needs caution exercised to produce the best possible end result (play on words!) I support it to date and hope Mr. Corrie succeeds and I believe? He will. Insofar as property "values" are concerned, this won't affect them in the least in my opinion and San Ramon REMAINS, a MOST desirable place to live for MOST. If the Asians choose to take "flight" over this? Let it be...For every home they sell? There will be several waiting "in line".

Posted by Herman Glates, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 29, 2014 at 8:58 am

So putting bodies into boxes underground is considered honoring your dead, eh?

Says who?

This is about empowering local communities. People should be able to decide what kind of community they want. The people who live out there should decide what goes out there, not big government Contra Costa County.

Nearly 60% of Dougherty Valley is Asian. They?re not cool with living next to dead people.

They should have the right to live as they wish.

Posted by Peter Kluget, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 29, 2014 at 9:11 am

So, Herman, what do you propose be done with the cremated remains? Apparently, some folks are not cool with living next to the ashes of cremated dead people either, whether in the ground or in columbarium niches. Web Link
So allowing some folks to "live as they wish" means nobody else gets to have the remains of their dead relatives put anywhere near where they lived.

It's not clear to me where people's remains are supposed to go after they die, other than the ever popular "somewhere else."

And at the risk of being sneered at for "political correctness" by ideologically pure folks like Dirka, while I don't plan to have my remains buried or otherwise enshrined anywhere, I respect the fact that others feel differently, and that their opinions in the matter should carry some weight. There are several sides to this issue. It takes serious tunnel vision to only be able to see one of them.

Posted by Herman Glates, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 29, 2014 at 9:19 am

Kluget, what are you doing here? Go back to Tom?s blog where you belong. I?m trying to have a snarky conversation here. Leave me alone.

Posted by JT, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 29, 2014 at 11:52 am

"New height for NIMBY's..."
You show absolute ignorance or worse disdain to advocacy. If it is not NIMBY's who is it going to be, People that live in San Jose, or that live in South America?

It is the people that live in the area, the proverbial "back yard" that have the most incentive to advocate. I don't see this columnist running over to Morgan Hill and writing about issues there. Nor any issues in San Diego. Why would you? Because it is NOT in your backyard.

So the fact that you can even BLOG about this means you are an MBY, and if crying NIMBY is your main advocacy weapon w.r.t. your position, I strongly encourage you to do some thinking on your own and present relevant facts and arguments to support your position, otherwise you will be in danger of being called either a NON-thinker or right wing GROUP STHINKer...

Posted by Bill, a resident of Pleasanton Heights,
on Aug 29, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Hunt calling others NIMBY's? That's rich. This is the same guy that complains about people driving on a public road in front of his house, because it didn't used to be busy in the 1950's. Go pound sand Mr. Hunt.

Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 29, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Oh for Heaven sakes boys, calm down...Seriously. It's gonna happen. It's gonna be fine and let the Asians "fly" away over this...If that's the case? They really ought not to be in this country ANYWHERE, under the circumstances of OUR heritage and respect for the dead. They are visitors IF this is their mantra - PERIOD.


Posted by wrong reason, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Aug 30, 2014 at 9:22 am

So they should stop the cemetery because:

"Nearly 60% of Dougherty Valley is Asian. They're not cool with living next to dead people.

They should have the right to live as they wish."

They absolutely DO have the right to live as they wish -- in Asia. This is the US. Get over it and stop trying to force your customs and superstitions on everyone else.

Radical Muslims think all of us should be executed. Should we allow them to live their lives in this country that way also?

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 30, 2014 at 9:27 am

I recommend a 10 story Mausoleum. That way remains can be placed in a safe and beautiful setting, no grass, a place to reflect and be with your loved ones.

If anybody doesn't want a Mausoleum nearby...move.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 30, 2014 at 1:42 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


A 10 story Mausoleum is already planned for that property. Well is it 65' high, which is close to 10 stories. That's one of the objections of the closest neighbors. I can understand that, but just because they bought a piece of property out in the wilderness, they can't expect it to stay wilderness forever. Too bad, stuff happens!

That property is zoned ag and a cemetery is an allowed use. A smelting plant isn't. HG you know better than that!

I was going to add more to this comment, but I might as well save it for my own blog. Stay tuned.


Posted by Herman Glates, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 30, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Why don?t YOU stop trying to force YOUR customs on everyone else. 70% of Bay Area residents get cremated. It?s not just the Asians.

The 30% minority shouldn?t be able to force this on the 70% majority.

If you must have a cemetery, put it in a community where the majority wants it.

Big government should not get to dictate this. San Ramon and Danville should have a say in the matter.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 30, 2014 at 4:47 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


San Ramon, Pleasanton, Livermore, and I believe Danville, all passed Resolutions supporting the Cemetery back in 2005 when it was proposed.

YOU are trying to force YOUR preferences on everyone else. I'm pretty sure there will be a crematorium there for you too. Now you can die happy!

This is a business. If there are potential customers, even if it is "only" 30% of everyone in the Tri-Valley (since everyone dies), that's still a pretty large market!


Posted by Oldtimer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Aug 30, 2014 at 7:56 pm

As a Midwestern farm child, I use to worry about the Earth being full of stacked up dead people, because we would some day run out of space. My Dad, a smoker, dropped at 60, and they had already bought 2 stacked sites, so he was buried there. Meanwhile, Mom, lived into her 90s, was not on any prescriptions, walked up the stairs to her apt, and down to get her mail, rarely using the elevator. She wanted to be cremated. She had nightmares of maggots on Dad, so wanted to save our feelings. She always said, the Bible says "ashes to ashes", and wrote out we were to cremate her and she prepaid for her plan to do just that. That was all very kind and considerate of her to make those decisions for us.
Today's families scatter in all directions with jobs and marriages, making it unrealistic to expect any to return. I certainly intend to be cremated. They aren't making anymore land, the reason homes here have skyrocketed. Unless the person or family pays for perpetuity upfront, it will become a financial burden to future local residents. Not kind, thoughtful, or even realistic, and funds should be provided.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 30, 2014 at 9:22 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


There's plenty of land in the middle of the country, in what are called "The fly-over states." Maybe they should turn all that open range into cemetery plots.

My mother has a family plot somewhere in upstate New York. She wants my body flown out there to be buried. That's all I need, to spend eternity next to Mother! I'll probably opt for cremation here too. But even cremation has to be done somewhere, and there's usually a mortuary for a service and mausoleum to store the urns.

Posted by Paulette, a resident of Val Vista,
on Aug 30, 2014 at 9:38 pm

I doubt if anyone over the age of 50 contributed to these comments, as most of them seem to show a lack of sensitivity for the actual dead people and those who grieve for them. I like the idea of a green burial, where the person is put in a biodegradable shroud and becomes plant food and a small plaque might commemorate the area where this person becomes fertilizer. America is all about freedom from or of religion; so, if some cultures find burials repellant, they need to understand that this country was founded by people who wished all of us to exercise tolerance. I don't understand the idea of Asians finding a cemetery repellant. I use to live near a Chinese cemetery when I was growing up; and, it didn't look much different to me than the other cemeteries in Colma. So, I don't quite get what people are referring to when they say that "Asians" find cemeteries more repellant than people of other races. Oh come on! Race has nothing to do with this argument over a cemetery.

Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 31, 2014 at 7:55 am

Paulette, these comments ARE, generally being made by people over 40, whether you realize/know this, or not (perhaps unfamiliar with this blog it sounds) "Green" burial methods are as interesting as any method of burial and certainly, based on personal preference. If you know/realize any major points of some of the Asian beliefs? You would know their huge distaste, fear, apprehension on living near a cemetery and/or having the dead near them. Age old belief, if not superstition/religious belief that it is "bad luck". Race has EVERY THING to do with this particular issue, since the majority of people concerned about this issue in the Dougherty Valley ARE Asian and have exercised opposition BASED on these fears and USED their own race as a "trump" card. Do your "homework" here dear...Seriously.

Posted by wrong reason, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Aug 31, 2014 at 9:28 am

Paulette you need to follow this issue from way back. The biggest objection has been from the Asians who say they cannot tolerate a cemetery being near their homes. Excuse me but did I miss something here? What country are they in exactly? If they insist on keeping their superstitions and culture completely intact then do so in Asia and stay out of the US. I would not move to Paris and demand all sidewalk cafes ban smoking just because we do that here. I would not move to Italy and demand that they serve Folger's coffee rather than their own. I would not move to London and demand that they drive on the right side of the road. So, dear superstitious Asians, go home if you don't want to live among our culture and beliefs. Oh, you say the economic opportunities are so much better here? Yeah, they are. Just leave your cultural blackmail at home and try, for once, to actually blend in.
Personally, I believe a cemetery is the worst land use ever. I have cremation instructions along with notice of exactly where I wish my ashes to be spread. How many people do you know who even know where their family members are buried, let alone do they go every week for a visit? The cemetery is a poorly thought out land use but to ban it because of racial superstitions is even dumber.

Posted by Herman Glates, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 31, 2014 at 12:05 pm

There are plenty of non-asians who oppose the cemetery. I oppose it, and I?m not Asian. The first time I heard about it was a couple years ago from a neighbor who was livid about it. Whenever the subject comes up in East Danville, the reaction I hear is always the same. Anger and disbelief.

Resolutions passed by former politicians nearly 10 years ago shouldn?t end the matter. That was before Windemere and Alamo Creek were built. What?s more important is what people want today.

No one is saying the Italians should be forced to drink Folgers. I hate pressing ?1? for English as much as the next guy. But demographics change. Communities should reflect what current residents want. In 1846, the majority of San Francisco residents were Mormon. San Francisco obviously shouldn?t be forced to follow Mormon rules today. Similarly, people shouldn?t be forced to live by the wishes of city councils long gone.

What irks me most is that the decision is being made by County officials, most of whom are from outside the Danville / San Ramon area and who don?t always have our best interests in mind. I?m sick of big government making decisions that are opposed by the majority.

Posted by Oldtimer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Aug 31, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Logically, Cremation makes the most sense, because the 'footprint' for an urn is about 1/1000th the 'space' of a casket. Also, they can be 'stacked' higher, easier at eye level. Regardless, always a narrower footprint. Either environmentally or cost per foot of escalating land costs, cremation wins. Stacking for cremation which is a small cube anyway would reduce cost to almost a per square inch price. I guess it is just too logical for some. I can't justify any other method. Like the Bible and Mom said, Ashes to ashes. I'll go with them.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 31, 2014 at 3:04 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Here's a link to my blog on the "Informational" meeting the City Council held a few months ago to enable the residents of Dougherty Valley to vent their objections to the Cemetery. Quite a show! Web Link

The comments are similar to these. I really don't understand the objections to cemeteries. I grew up back east where there a plenty of cemeteries in residential neighborhoods. Many of them are hundreds of years old, and tracing gravestones is an educational activity.

Perhaps the fear of cemeteries goes back to when people died of plagues and living near one could be contagious. I can't think of any other logical reasons why, but then a lot of this kind of fear isn't logical.


Posted by Herman Glates, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 31, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Would you mind if the Church of Satan put a church next to your home? Satan?s not real, of course, but a lot of people wouldn?t like that next to their home.

The following should be read pretentiously:

Perhaps fear of Satan goes back to when people had superstitions about plagues and living near satanists could be contagious.

I can't think of any other logical reasons why, but then a lot of this kind of fear isn't logical.

Now hold your pinky finger up to your lip like Dr. Evil (from Austin Powers) and make a smirk on your face.

Posted by Tom F, a resident of Castlewood,
on Sep 1, 2014 at 7:41 am

I'm not getting cremated. What of it hurts? Think about it.

Posted by Oliver Heaviside, a resident of Val Vista,
on Sep 1, 2014 at 9:14 am

Oliver Heaviside is a registered user.

I think a cemetery is a fine idea. I'd happily live next door to one, and expect to live in one, well, not too soon, but not that far away, either.

The custom of burying the dead is very old, and has been practiced by many cultures in many places. For many people, it is an important article of faith that they be buried, not cremated.

There are certainly a lot of people ranting on this subject. Asians don't like it? Tough. Athiests don't like it? Tough. Religious people don't like it? Tough. We are ALL going to die, people, and it's not too much to ask that each person be honored in the way they and their family members want.

Those of you who prefer cremation should consider the smell. Folks near Auschwitz complained of it. Talk about air pollution! This of you who want to be "logical" and "efficient" will be placed in my composter and either get added to my garden, or soy lent green. ;-)

Posted by WinResRamon, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 2, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Folks, most of us are not against the cemetery in general. Howeever having one in such close proximity of <5 mile radius will have a toll on the property values. Whether or not a few think this is the most peaceful place on earth doesn't matter, since there are lot more who don't think as such and our hard earned money will be shot for ever.

Besides isn't it unfair to have this project now after the city & county let all the builder build homes so close that 8 years ago!! duh... what were the thinking?? double dip.... !!!! that is the real issue. Its deception in the face of a few people who want to earn top tax dollars for their retirement eroding our equity!!!... how'z that FAIR????

Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 2, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Maybe you should have come to the hike and talked to some of the people there. You wouldn't be so fast to dismiss their concerns with nasty, meaningless labels.

You obviously did your due diligence talking to the land speculator and/or his cronies. Maybe you should take some time to talk to the people affected.

Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 3, 2014 at 8:52 am

-And maybe you "Hiker" ??? Should take a few minutes to speak personally with Mr. Sid Corrie, the developer and owner of this property. Then you should take another hour and speak to planning up at the county.

Just a thought.

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