I try to make a practice of not responding to negative or insinuating comments on blogs, but I am writing this for the group so you can all know my role in our efforts to save the golf course. If an outsider were to read the blog posts, and even better see the emails that are floating about (which include my name), they more than likely would come to a number of conclusions. I don’t need to list those conclusions but they leave a taste of Scott Holder being “the enemy” for lack of a better term as opposed to someone trying to preserve what we all have invested in – the City of San Ramon. To those of you who have been involved from the beginning I apologize as some content of this post is common knowledge. Others in our group have joined many weeks after our initial meeting and we welcome you to the group.
Before I get into a timeline of events and explanation of my actions let me first clarify a few things:
- I never had any contact whatsoever with the Ronald Richards prior to June.
- I have made no deals with the Ronald Richards
- I have not been offered anything whatsoever from Ronald Richards and if I were I would immediately decline and end any conversation
- I have not “negotiated” anything whatsoever
- Each and every one of my actions has been what I deem to be in the best interest of our community
- I am open to discussion with anyone on the issue and you can either call me or email me which will be far more productive than blogging
I had concerns about the future of the golf course all the way back to December when Tree City LLC purchased the course. Many were in denial the golf course could possibly close but reality began to set in when the ownership made the decision to close the pool on April 29.
My wife and I rented the Community Center and invited as many as possible via Nextdoor to attend our first meeting which was held on May 6. My estimate was we had approximately 225 neighbors attend. At that time it was clear the ownership wanted to develop the property but no one had any idea to what extent. There were members of our group who wanted to immediately begin a media campaign against the owners. I did dissuade this as the bottom line was we did not know their plan. As much as it angered all of us we needed to realize they owned the property and had every right to close the pool. What we did not know was what the next move would be and what plan did the owners have for the property.
Near the end of the first meeting, I asked the residents in attendance if the group would agree for me to reach out to the CEO of Western Golf Properties to attempt to meet with the course owners and try to find out what plans they had for the property. (Western Golf Properties has been hired by the owners to run the everyday operations of the course)
On May 10, I contacted the CEO of Western Golf Properties and requested he pass on a message to the ownership of my desire to speak with them. After approximately three weeks of his claiming to have passed on my message without any response from the ownership, I knew I was receiving a runaround from him. I called both Ronald Richards and Michael Schlesinger on June 2. I left a voice mail for Richards but was unable to leave one for Schlesinger due to a full inbox.
Ronald Richards returned my call on June 3 and we agreed to meet. Richards was not agreeable to meet with me unless we could have a frank and open conversation without either of us using said conversations against the other after the fact. I agreed to and signed an agreement with Richards and here is the wording from the agreement: “No statements of any kind from this meeting may be used by either party in any subsequent litigation, city council meetings, or planning meetings. The citation of any statements or documents would be a breach of this agreement and subject either part to damages, sanctions, or exclusion.” On June 7, I traveled to West Hollywood and met with Richards.
Since that time, I have had several conversations with Richards and have openly spoken of these conversations at our meetings and in other correspondence. My goal was that of a fact-finding quest to obtain any information as to what the owner’s plan was for the property. On August 30, that plan surfaced when it “was leaked” from Richards office. The site plan illustrating 255 townhomes and two apartment buildings is absurd; however, we now know the plan.
At our meeting last week, I voiced my opinion that we should have representatives from our group sit down and discuss the plan and I stand by that opinion. This issue may very well be a lengthy drawn out process which may or may not end in our favor. I for one want to get to the end of this knowing I did everything I could possibly do to have this end with the best possible outcome for our community.
In this same meeting, the overwhelming majority agreed that conversation with the owners could be beneficial. It’s not “negotiating,” it’s conversation, and there is a huge difference. None of us (and YES including me) has any authority to negotiate; the final decision rests with our city council.
I would like to think there are others who want a voice in the process now and agree waiting until there are public hearings at City Hall is far too late for us to be involved.
Making statements when you have never met me or haven’t been to one of our meetings is counterproductive and needs to stop. We may not agree but I will respect your opinion. You know where I stand and if you want to discuss further as I stated earlier give me a call.