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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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From Cemetery to Supervisor?

Uploaded: Sep 6, 2014

What is Vice Mayor Phil O'Loane up to now? Is he planning to run for Contra Costa County Supervisor? It sure looks that way with the pied piper of Dougherty Valley leading his followers around the proverbial cliff because they don't want to live near a cemetery.

Phil has been politically ambitious for over a decade. He first ran for Ron Raab's unexpired 2 year term back in 2001, which was only a short time after he moved here. He withdrew from that election for business reasons.

Phil later served on the Economic Development Advisory Committee and the Planning Commission. He changed his views on moving San Ramon's Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) into Tassajara Valley in the draft General Plan. He was the only Planning Commissioner to vote against approving the 2030 General Plan, which was later put on the ballot as Measure W for voter confirmation.

The City Council did not need to put the whole General Plan on the ballot. Only the changes to the Urban Growth Boundaries needed voter approval. Jim Gibbon suggested two measures, one for the western UGB which no one objected to, and one for the east into Tassajara Valley, which the proponents of open space objected to.

Their argument was if San Ramon's Urban Growth Boundary was moved, our City Council would support massive developments out there, which was not true. The property is still in Contra Costa County and San Ramon would not be able to develop it without the County taking the initiative. The only purpose for moving the UGB was to give our City government some say in whatever the County decides to do.

After Phil was not reappointed to the Planning Commission he joined with Save Mt. Diablo, the Greenbelt Alliance, and the Sierra Club to defeat Measure W. Those three environmental organizations contributed a combined total of over $100,000 to the No on Measure W campaign, to keep San Ramon's Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) from being moved into to Tassajara Valley.

Literature sent by the No on Measure W campaign described a scenario of 4000 houses being built on Sid Corrie's property in Tassajara Valley. This was totally false. Corrie changed his plans to a cemetery in 2005 and they all knew that. Now they don't want the cemetery there either.

Sid Corrie has two sets of plans for his property in Tassajara Valley. 1. Build a mega cemetery 2. Build housing developments. If the cemetery is prevented, Sid Corrie could go back to his original 1998 plans to build 4000 houses. Phil says the County won't allow that because it is outside of their Urban Limit Line (ULL).

If the County Supervisors are under pressure from ABAG or the One Bay Area plan to add more housing, and there's potentially millions of dollars in developer fees in it for them too, a supermajority (4 out of 5) Supervisors can vote to move their Urban Limit Line without requiring a ballot measure. That could of course be another campaign issue for Phil if he is planning to run for Supervisor.

Phil used his success from No on Measure W to run for City Council. His Council seat will be up for reelection in 2016. Supervisor Candice Anderson's term is also up for reelection in 2016. County Supervisors can vote to move their Urban Limit Line in 2016. Hmm, 2016 should be an interesting year.
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Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 6, 2014 at 7:23 pm

So pretty much you are faulting him for putting the interests of San Ramon residents ahead of the interests of rich developers?

Posted by LBV, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 6, 2014 at 7:41 pm

If you are going to delete comments, why don't you just not allow any comments at all Roz?

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 6, 2014 at 9:37 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


Huh? I didn't delete any comments on this blog. I'm not sure if you are referring to this one or another one. I did hide some comments on other blogs that were either false or insulting to another person. If you are the author of those, then that's why your comments were hidden. None of them are actually deleted.

I also do not "allow" comments. That is structured by the webmaster and editor. I suppose I could lock comments out, but I have never found a reason to do that. Most comments I receive on my blogs are pertinent, positive, or provocative but not offensive. Any that are simply mean, to my readers or my subjects, are not acceptable.


P.S. In a few cases my Editor will hide a comment she finds irrelevant or offensive. Occasionally I have disagreed with her and restored it.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 6, 2014 at 9:55 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


So you are saying that developers are rich and have no interest in residents of San Ramon? Do you live in a house in San Ramon? Did you build it yourself, or was it built by a developer? Do you know how long it takes for any housing development to be built or how many hoops and how much money is invested before they can be?

Sid Corrie changed his plans from housing to the cemetery in 2005 at the request of former Mayor Curt Kinney because the San Ramon City Council asked Kinney to find a place for a cemetery nearby. Corrie invested a lot of money in new plans and he's still waiting to get through the approval process by the County. Many residents in this area want a cemetery nearby.


Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 6, 2014 at 10:58 pm


"Do you know how long it takes for any housing development to be built or how many hoops and how much money is invested before they can be?"

EXACTLY. That's why you are being completely disingenuous when you suggest that if the cemetery proposal is rejected a housing development will be built on that land. You know perfectly well that isn't possible in the foreseeable future.

Obviously you are a smart, well-informed person. WHY you keep on pushing this nonsensical argument is what I can't understand.

Posted by LBV, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 6, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Well, Roz, I didn't see the "many" residents at the San Ramon City Council Informational Session in June get up and speak about how they would like a cemetery in the Tassajara Valley. BUT I DID SEE more than "many" residents speak against the so-called cemetery development. I live in Alamo Creek and I am not Asian or Indian, nor do I have any cultural issues. It's plain simple.. I DO NOT want a massive urban development referred to as a "cemetery" 3 miles down the road from my brand new home that is considered a highly wealthy and upscale community, nor does my husband, nor do my children. This is the FIRST home my husband and I have sunk our money into after being together for over 25 years.

My property value will certainly shrink (by AT LEAST 5%, that's about $50,000 for me right now) as a 140,000 burial plot development is NOT a selling point if I should ever have to sell and my developer (Toll Brothers, previously Shapell) disclosed NOTHING to me anything about this possible development when we purchased our home in 2010 either verbally or in writing.

I could personally care less about any political agendas or motivation of SR VM Phil O'Loane. I just don't want the County Supervisors to approve the Special Land Use Permit that is needed to go ahead with this development. Maybe it is just you, Sid Corrie and the anonymous "Ms. Bunny" who are the "many" that want this massive urban development. Please define the "many" you mention in your comments as compared to the "many" (~250) people who were at the SR Informational Meeting and the "many" (~450+) people who were at the Opposition Hike. Your "many" seems to be A LOT less than the massive urban development opposition's "many".

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 7, 2014 at 12:10 am

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


It seems like nothing is possible in the foreseeable future. The cemetery has been dragging on for almost 10 years and the housing plan took 7 years before that. So why is everyone getting so uptight about this. We will all be in a cemetery or up in smoke before anything happens with that property.


I don't get how a cemetery 3 miles away or even one mile away could affect your property values. I used to walk to elementary school past a cemetery every day. No spooks ever jumped out at me and our house sold for top dollar in an inflated real estate market. The only thing that affects property values in upscale communities like San Ramon or Danville are the ups and downs of the real estate market.

The only point I'm making here is that too many people are blowing this issue up out of proportion to what it is or what it could be, and Phil O'Loane may be using that for his political advantage.


Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 7, 2014 at 7:27 am


People are uptight because we don't want a cemetery in San Ramon. No one will say "oh, that's not in San Ramon, that's in unincorporated Contra Costa County land." They will call it the San Ramon Cemetery.

As you know, this isn't the first cemetery that was proposed for San Ramon. I'm sure you remember what happened, before Dougherty Valley had been developed, when they tried to put a cemetery in San Ramon. The people rose up and crushed it. Why did you think it would be any different this time?

What IS the job of a politician? To cram something damaging and unneeded down the throats of residents in order to appease developers?

Posted by Citizen, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 7, 2014 at 5:09 pm


Measure W was overwhelmingly defeated by San Ramon residents as it contained proposal to expand the Urban Line Limit (ULL) of San Ramon on the west side as well as east side into Tassajara Valley. Most of the voters were longtime residents living on the west Side of San Ramon who were already fed up with the decade long development in the Dougherty Valley and did not want any more in the city or adjacent to the city. It not only included the proposed Cemetery property but also about 1000 acre plus New Farm Development, plus other properties as well in Tassajara Valley to bring under the ULL. In any case it is a settled matter and we should respect the voters verdict on this.

Regarding Phil O' Loane running for County Supervisor is left to him and he has not made any formal announcements till now. Even if he does run nothing wrong in it him being ambititious and would well worth a representation of San Ramon in the County if he runs and wins. At this point it is just a speculation by you.

For Developors it takes 10 plus years to complete a housing project and make money ( in fact a lot of money) - risk vs reward is perfectly fine. Note that the home owners have to earn and be frugal and save money for at least 10 years to come up with the down payment (especially in the high priced Bay area market). So the home owners don't like to see their property values being eroded.

Please stop taking a jab at innocent Dougherty Valley Residents who had paid much into their homes besides building and maintaining a better community, better schools, keeping low crime rate, and contributiong to a high mello roos for the all the infrastruture.

The county moved all the sales tax money of Dougherty Valley, and funded their luxurious retirement plans while most of the Dougerty Valley residents don't have any reitrement or pension plans as most work in private sector
(other than their own 401 K contributions).

I am not against cemetery if it s a small 5 acre one ( like the La Gonda Way Cemetery in Danville or the Pleasanton Cemetery) which is purely for the residents andif it is located centrally within the City. I am just not for this proposed huge private commercial operation open to all of BayY Area with water, traffic, open space issues and negatively impacting th property values

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


Your comments are the most reasonable and well thought out of any of the answers to this blog. Most of the other objections to the cemetery are driven by fear and NIMBYISM.

I am in the process of answering some of the other commenters in a follow up blog for Monday. I shall take some of your comments under consideration too, but I actually agree with much of what you said.


Posted by Hiker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 7, 2014 at 9:16 pm


The point is, if Danville wants a cemetery, the citizens of Danville should put one within its city limits. If San Ramon wants a cemetery, the citizens should put one within its city limits.

What shouldn't happen is a rich land speculator uses his political influence to try to get a huge, for-profit cemetery built on county land, hoping that his political clout will be enough to silence the voices of the people who will be affected by it.

Posted by winres, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 8, 2014 at 11:49 am

I wonder why this blogger keeps frequently writing blogs to advance the agenda of this land owner?

Dose she has some special interest or nothing else to write about?

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