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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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If it ain't broke?

Uploaded: Oct 30, 2016
There's an old saying which I'm sure you all know, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Well I have not been following San Ramon politics the way I used to, but things seem to be going OK here. If anyone reading this has a gripe, add it in the comments, but so far the City seems to be well-run.

Two incumbents are up for reelection this year, Scott Perkins and Phil O'Loane. Mayor Bill Clarkson is also up for reelection, but is unopposed, so there's no doubt he will be reelected.

Clarkson recently sent me an email with an endorsement of O'Loane and Perkins by the San Ramon Valley Times, but there are two challengers running for those City Council seats. So I wanted to take a look at the newcomers before endorsing either of the incumbents.

I don't know much about the challengers, but both of them are women. San Ramon hasn't had a woman on the City Council since Carol Rowley retired from public office five years ago. I believe San Ramon should have at least one female Councilmember. In fact one candidate, Susmina Nayak, even said that in her Voter's Edge profile, "I will also add a woman’s perspective with diversity to the important work of the Council."

Both women are highly educated professionals. Nayak is an engineer in the telecom industry. Sabina Zafar is a "Technology Business Director." You can read their profiles on Voter's Edge.org.

They also have campaign websites: Sabina for San Ramon and Susmita Nayak 2016. Both are residents of Dougherty Valley, which has not had any representation on the City Council as yet.

Actually that's not quite correct. Councilmember Phil O'Loane lives in the original part of Dougherty Valley off of Crow Canyon Road, but that's not the part most of us think of as Dougherty Valley. O'Loane is up for reelection along with Scott Perkins.

I'm very impressed with the two women running but I would like to see Scott Perkins kept on the Council. I've had some issues with Phil, which he knows and we have discussed. His opposition to Measure W, which was to move our boundaries into Tassajara Valley to protect our interests from any development proposed by Contra Costa County, was distorted by O'Loane to claim the Council was planning to develop Tassajara Valley. O'Loane also used this as a stepping stone to being elected to the City Council.

By keeping us out of Tassajara Valley, the City now has no say over what the County can approve out there. As far as I'm concerned this makes high density development more likely in Tassajara Valley than if Measure W had passed.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Wellwisher, a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 31, 2016 at 11:02 am

Phil 'O Loane was right in opposing Measure W. Why did the then City Council want to have local control over only a small specific area of the larger Tassajara Valley which is zoned agricultural? The reason is the then City Council wanted to do something on those specific properties. A better proposal or action would be for the then City Council to expnad the whole or most of Tassajara Valley into its 'Sphere of Influence' if possible, so that City can have a say in whatever development that happens there or even prevent it. You seem to be too biased against Phil O'Loane.

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 31, 2016 at 11:50 am

rosalindr is a registered user.

I am not biased against Phil. I am in opposition to him being reelected because he prevented the city from having local control over the portion of Tassajara valley along our boarder. That's why the City wanted local control over that area, as a buffer to the development of Tassajara Valley by the County.

That's what happened with Doughtery Valley, which was developed by the County and then required the city to incorporate this development. The County permitted higher density and fewer building restrictions than the city would have.


PS Phil will be reelected anyway, so my opposition is about as effective as a peashooter.

Posted by Wellwisher, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 1, 2016 at 1:37 pm


Let us say per your wishes W-2 was passed and we get local control of some properties that border our City. Then some more new properties will become the border. What do you do then? propose Measure X, and Measure Y and so on

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 1, 2016 at 3:58 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

It wasn't necessary to put moving the boundaries on the ballot for voter approval, but if the County approves high-density building in Tassajara Valley, which they already have on the outskirts of Danville, residents might see that this wasn't an effort by the city to approve more development but to control it.

One project Phil has been opposing is the planned Cemetery in Tassajara Valley. This has been planned for over ten years when Curt Kinney was directed to find a location for a cemetery in this area. It tuned out that living near a cemetery is bad karma for Chinese people and the Dougherty Valley development has a large population of Chinese residents. Phil has encouraged this group to object to the cemetery now.


Posted by Wellwisher, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 1, 2016 at 4:19 pm


Phil did not encourage to object to the Cemetery in Tassajara Valley. Bill and Holly Newman ( neighbors to the cemetery site) already have a website where in about 3500 people have filed a petition with the County opposing the cemetery project

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 1, 2016 at 6:06 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

I know the Newman's. I've been to their house which is next door to the proposed cemetery, but about 100' above the level where the cemetery is proposed. This issue has been going on for a long, long time. I wrote several blogs about the cemetery and the objections to it. I was going to put links to them, but I don't want to start up a new discussion on this an old topic again.


Posted by San Ramoner, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 2, 2016 at 9:29 am

Why would you like to see Scott Perkins kept on the council?

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 2, 2016 at 12:14 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

San Ramoner,

I'm not especially for keeping Scott on the Council, but I don't have any reasons to oppose him either. I'm meeting with Sabina Zafar on Thursday. I'll write a new blog on our meeting tomorrow night.


Posted by tiki3, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 3, 2016 at 8:58 am

I'm not keen on Sabina. She couldn't be bothered to write a first person statement in the election mailer and she uses a lot of buzzwords without much insight into her actual plan. She seems pro-growth, which is okay, but I would like to know how much, how fast, and where. Also, she indicated bringing more companies into San Ramon will help with our local commutes. I'm not sure how that would work. Most people who already live here aren't going to abandon current companies just to work for a company closer to home. Congestion is a serious problem now and I don't see how that will be fixed if we bring in more companies. Bollinger Canyon at San Ramon Blvd is a nightmare come rush hour.
I wish she would have spent more time reaching out to the public.
All of this is just my opinion, of course. :)

Posted by BobP, a resident of another community,
on Nov 19, 2016 at 10:19 am

BobP is a registered user.

Hi Roz!! The thing that most people don't realize is that its a lot harder for new development to be approved in San Ramon, than it is if the county is the controlling body. That is a great reason to have Tassajara Valley in San Ramons SOI.

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 19, 2016 at 12:32 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.


You got that exactly right, and you would know because you were on the Planning Commission for many years. I've been saying that about Tassajara Valley for years now too, but too many residents don't pay enough attention to how things are done and only gripe when they don't go the way they want them to.


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