Save Mount Diablo leader to retire

Ron Brown to transition from protecting the wild to enjoying it

Save Mount Diablo's executive director Ron Brown is preparing to retire this year after leading the grassroots environmental nonprofit for more than 15 years.

"I have spent a lot of time in meeting rooms, swivel chairs and in front of computer screens to protect the Diablo wilderness," Brown said in a statement to his colleagues.

"The time has come for me to get outside and enjoy the great lands that we have protected together. At the end of this year, I will retire so that I can feel the wind in my hair, hike trails and go camping with my grandkids," he added.

Brown will have completed more than 42 years of full-time work in nonprofit organizations by the time he retires at the end of this year.

He will continue to work with Save Mount Diablo through the transition period and will assist in orienting the new executive director. In 2016, Brown plans to work as a consultant on special projects on a part-time basis.

"Ron has been an inspiring force for Save Mount Diablo and we will miss him dearly," said Scott Hein, president of Save Mount Diablo's board of directors. "We are pleased that he will be working with us towards a smooth transition."

A search firm is currently working with the board to select the next executive director, Hein said.

Under Brown's leadership, there have been many successes for the Walnut Creek-based organization, according to Save Mount Diablo reps.

The group has been able to preserve and protect 60% of the 180,000 acre Diablo wilderness which encompasses Mount Diablo.

"Although the work is not done, I know the organization has amazing supporters, is strong and successful with an actively engaged board of directors," Brown said. "I don't doubt that, together, we will protect the remaining threatened acres."

Save Mount Diablo is accepting donations in honor of Brown's work. For more information, visit the organization's website.

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4 people like this
Posted by frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on May 8, 2015 at 6:50 am

Kudos to Ron Brown for being farsighted about saving Mt. Diablo.

Did anyone think that a local politician would do this?

Not likely until a politicians "sees" a ground swell about anything, THEN THEY JOIN!!!!

6 people like this
Posted by Liz
a resident of San Ramon
on May 8, 2015 at 7:47 am

Cannot imagine what our beautiful mountain would look like had this organization not been working to preserve open space for wildlife habitat and future generations to enjoy since 1971 !

1 person likes this
Posted by disgusted
a resident of Danville
on May 8, 2015 at 10:29 am

It is indeed disappointing that Ron Brown will be remembered by many people as a leader in the effort to deny Danville voters their legal right pursuant to the 2000 Ballot Measure S to vote on housing developments for land planned as Open Space in Danville's General Plan.

The Measure S issue was raised as part of the review of the SummerHill Homes 75-unit housing project for Agricultural Open Space land in the highly-congested Diablo Road area. The Town Council approved the project, then denied the public its right to vote on whether the project could then go forward. A grassroots organization of hundreds of Danville-area residents sued the Council and the developer.

The trial court judge found in favor of SOS-Danville and the public's right to vote on the project.

Now Brown and his Save Mt. Diablo Board are fighting alongside SummerHill Homes and the Danville Town Council in the CA Court of Appeal to overturn Judge Austin's decision. Save Mt. Diablo has filed a brief against SOS-Danville and the public's right to vote. Apparently, Save Mt. Diablo and its cronies will stop at nothing to prevent the vote mandated by Ballot Measure S, an Open Space Preservation Measure approved by Danville voters in 2000.

What a shameful action by Ron Brown and Save Mt. Diablo. None of the land involved will even become part of Mt. Diablo State Park or any park. In any case, nothing about any project can justify illegally denying the public's right to vote. If the project is so great, why are they so afraid of letting the public vote on it?

Meanwhile, SummerHill Homes and SummerHill Housing Group have made substantial financial contributions to Save Mt. Diablo in the last couple of years. Check out the Save Mt. Diablo website to see for yourself.

5 people like this
Posted by Beryl at Save Mount Diablo
a resident of Walnut Creek
on May 9, 2015 at 9:58 am

In response to Disgusted's comment:
Although you are entitled to your opinion, much of what you said is not true. We are following the planning process in order to protect as much natural land for people and wildlife as is possible in the situation. Further, we received an unrelated and small donation later. More donations were sadly lost from some of our supporters in your area because of our stance on this project but we are doing what we believe is right for the mission of protecting this beautiful wilderness for future generations. Ron has accomplished a lot of wonderful things for our environment and communities in his 15 years with Save Mount Diablo although you don't agree with this particular position.

5 people like this
Posted by Not disgusted?
a resident of Danville
on May 10, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Disgusted- are you Marian Celia?!?

Like this comment
Posted by Elaine
a resident of Danville
on May 11, 2015 at 10:50 am

Kudos to Ron Brown for his efforts and accomplishments. But why did Summerhill make a donation to Save Mt Diablo in an amount that put it (Summerhill) in the ranks of the big oil companies? And why did Save Mt. Diablo get involved in a disagreement that had nothing to do with Mt. Diablo.

1 person likes this
Posted by Beryl at Save Mount Diablo
a resident of Walnut Creek
on May 12, 2015 at 11:31 am

Hi Elaine,
We cannot speak for SummerHill Homes but some companies whose employees live and play here choose to invest in keeping our communities beautiful by donating. Less than 15% of Save Mount Diablo's donations come from companies. Save Mount Diablo is working to protect natural lands on and around Mount Diablo for wildlife and people to enjoy. Many wildlife need a larger habitat to survive and will venture to other natural lands for some of their needs. This is one of those areas and wildlife and people alike will use it as a pathway (there will also be a trail connection) to the mountain itself.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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