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Updated Report from Steering Committee

We jumped the gun a bit when we published the letter from the Steering Committee president on Monday. This is the correct version.

Open letter to StayTheCourseSanRamon subscribers.

It has been awhile since there has been an update on what your Steering Committee is doing. So – here is a status report of our activities since the beginning in November 2016.

Following the selection of all 19 people who showed an interest in being part of a Steering Committee, an organization meeting was held in November 2016. John Adams was selected President.

Mr. Ron Richards requested that the Steering Committee meet with him to discuss the status of his plans for the ongoing operation of the golf course.

The Steering Committee and the members of the community quickly became involved in a sometimes heated dialog about the merits of such a meeting. The prevailing commentary seemed to be that nothing good would come from such a meeting. The rhetoric got personal and was directed at Scott Holder and anyone who thought listening was a good way to learn what Mr. Richards would say about where he was headed.

John Adams and Scott, who by then had become Vice President, finally had enough and resigned leaving the Steering Committee without a leader. David Ernest scheduled an organizing meeting on February 2nd. At the same time, David canceled the scheduled meeting with Mr. Richards that had been set for the following week.

On March 2nd, the Steering Committee, now down to 14 members, nominated Paul Warren, who had been serving as Secretary, and David Ernest to be President. Paul declined because he was about to become a new father and felt the time needed to be President was better spent at home. Pat Tuohy became Vice President who, along with Gene Bucciarelli as Treasurer and Paul Warren as Secretary, make up the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee meets, usually about 2 weeks before the scheduled meeting, to talk about which items will be on the agenda and any other administrative type of things that come up. We don’t keep minutes for this meeting so there is nothing to put on the website.

The results of a survey asking what the public’s opinion was concerning (1) whether the Steering Committee should meet with the developer in March and (2) only members of the SR City Council and Planning Commission should have any communication with the developer showed the following:

  1. There were 344 responses.
  2. 111 Agree with a meeting.
  3. 222 Disagree with a meeting.
  4. 8 Not sure.
  5. 3 Other.

As to question 2:

  1. There were 335 responses.
  2. 201 Agree.
  3. 120 Disagree.
  4. 14 No opinion.

In April, the Steering Committee listened to a presentation by folks who were speaking on behalf of residents concerned with the proposed expansion of the Church of the Valley located on San Ramon Blvd. The Steering Committee listened and the Executive Committee will discuss the merits of becoming involved in their cause and will report back to the Steering Committee in May about any action that should be taken.

A brief discussion was held about the proposed changes involving the Bridges Golf course. No formal action was taken since the subject was not an agenda item. It will be an agenda item for the May meeting.

An excellent flyer was presented to the Steering Committee that was created by one of the Steering Committee members. We are asking all Committee members to download the flyer, print as many copies as necessary, and start getting the word out to other parts of San Ramon about what is facing us here in South San Ramon.

Your Steering Committee is working on establishing a coherent mission statement now that our LLC application has finally been approved.

We have applied to the IRS for nonprofit status as a (501)(c)(4) corporation. Once that is approved, we will establish a banking relationship so that we will be able to accept donations to cover costs that will come up when events warrant a response.

Also in the works is a community survey asking for those who are willing to support us financially when the time comes to indicate their willingness to do so. We will discuss and review the survey at our May meeting.

This is about all there is to report at this time. An update will be posted on the website as events warrant an update but at least once a month.

Respectfully submitted,

David Ernest, President


Two of our community members have passed on some information that is extremely important.

The San Ramon City Council and Planning Commission are meeting tonight in a joint “workshop” session to talk about the possibility of allowing denser development in some areas of the city in exchange for more developer concessions.

From Sam Richards’ East Bay Times article:

At a joint City Council/Planning Commission workshop Tuesday night, the pros and cons of allowing denser development in certain parts of the city, and whether developer concessions the city could receive in exchange would be worth the price of dealing with more traffic and congestion, are on the agenda.

Read the entire article HERE.

There is more detail on the City of San Ramon website.

The meeting will be in the City Council chamber in City Hall, at 7000 Bollinger Canyon Road.

This would be a good meeting for as many of us as possible to attend.


Report of Steering Committee Meeting 4-6-17

San Ramon Senior Center 7:00 PM
Alcosta Blvd. and Stagecoach Rd. April 6, 2017


David Ernest
Pat Tuohy
Gene Bucciarelli
Paul Warren
Geoff Ho
Becky Kolberg
Jeff Bowlsby
Joe Weyandt
Joe Parsons
Lucille Evans
Michelle Hemenway


At this time, those in the audience are encouraged to address the Staythecoursesanramon Steering Committee on any item not already included on today’s agenda. If possible, comments should not exceed five minutes. If this is not considered sufficient time to address the issue, please arrange with the Secretary to have that item placed on the agenda for a future Committee meeting.

As a reminder, Steering Committee members do not respond to questions raised during public comment but may ask questions to clarify information presented

  • A local Community Action Group (henceforth known as CAG1) presented to the Committee
  • Treasurer
    • LLC Status; LLC Status has been filed and approved.  We have also submitted for 501(c)4 with the IRS
    • Pat Tuohy proposed a motion to allow the Treasurer to sign cheques up to $500 above which a second signature of an officer of the company is required.
      • Motion, Seconded, Passed (MSP)
      • In favor: 10, Against: 0, Abstained: 1 (Jeff Bowlsby)
    • Second Motion ???  Once the non profit status is granted by the IRS, the Treasurer will open a non profit checking account.  Approval minutes will be provided to the bank.  Proposed by Gene Bucciarelli.
      • MSP
      • In favor: 10, Against: 0, Abstained: 1 (Jeff Bowlsby)
    • It was noted that several members has already made donations in the form of required payments.  Action was taken to create receipts to record all of these transactions.
    • It was noted that should investigate Square (or Paypal’s) equivalent in order to more easily accept donations.
  • Secretary
    • Report by social media contacts
      • Twitter; 50 followers so far – most from SR – also in contact with Las Vegas Course
      • Blog (JP);
        • 500 subscribers
        • RR contacted JP on the blog
      • FB (MH); still to assume responsibility.  MH took an action to achieve this.
      • Nextdoor (DE); Has been in contact with the community group rallying against the Escondido GC development.
    • Slide presentation about Google usage
      • Not provided.  PW took an action to email out to the group.
  • Vice President
    • Gave an update on his view of the state of Richards development efforts.  Noted that development has not (officially) begun anywhere.
  • President
    • City Attorney is retiring
    • Gave the group an overview of what it will take to get a plan approved through the city and also to put a measure on the ballot.  The two possible approaches Richards has open to him.
  • DE proposed a motion to approve the minutes of the last meeting.
    • In favor: 10, Against: 0, Abstained: 1 (Jeff Bowlsby)

6 – 1 Flyer and landing page

  • General approval for the flyer.
  • Group decided on the landing page url to be www.staythecoursesanramon.com/info
  • JP took an action to notify MH when landing page is ready
  • MH will print, batch up and distribute to whomever wants them.  Contact MH if you would like a batch to distribute.
  • PW noted we need to deconflict distribution and took an action to put a spreadsheet in place on the drive for everyone to update.
  • GB asked when to distribute?
    • General feeling was to distribute now as it takes time to build the “database”
    • However mass media (TV/Radio) will be kept for mobilization

6 – 2 Mission statement

  • GH: Emphasized the need for a mission statement
  • BK: Stated that we need two; an Operating Statement and a Marketing Statement
  • GH took an action to collect existing mission statements and make a proposal

6 – 3 Survey

  • Will be reviewed at next committee meeting.

6 – 4 Discussion of Bridges course changes

  • Owner has gone to a planning permission with a “concept plan”
  • 2 story building; hotel and conference center
  • Replacing an existing building
  • That area zoned as park, not golf course (not clear why)
  • There is a Bridges opposition group
  • Discussion on what, if any, position we have on this
  • General agreement that we are opposed to this plan
  • BK will contact their opposition group and invite them to committee meeting

At this time, each committee member is encouraged to bring items of interest to the Steering Committee. No vote will be taken on any item discussed but the item can be scheduled for a subsequent Steering Committee meeting.

  • JB: Requested an agenda item to discuss the status of the Faria Project improvements
  • JB: Requested an agenda item to develop a strategic plan
  • JW: n/a
  • LE: n/a
  • BK: Requested an agenda item to decide whether we will support CAG1
  • BK: Requested an agenda item to hear from the Bridges Golf Course Development Opposition group
  • GH: n/a
  • GB: n/a


  • GB; Create receipts to record the existing donations in the form of payments required to keep the group functioning.
  • MH: Assume responsibility of the facebook page
  • PW: Email out the google slidedeck
  • JP: Notify MH when landing page is ready
  • PW: Create a spreadsheet on the drive to deconflict flyer distribution
  • GH: Propose Operating and Marketing statements for the committee
  • BK: Invite Bridges opposition group to Committee meeting

Behind the Green Fence

Have you been wondering what has been happening behind the green fencing on fairways 11, 12, 13 and 17 for the Faria Project riparian habitat creation?

Here is what part of the 13th fairway has looked like over the past few months looking over a fence. What isn’t visible is a new large drainage. Most of the sod has been replaced and I am sure further work has happened this past week. In short, the work appears very close to completion which should mean that the back nine would be available for golf looking better than ever. With the construction complete the fences should also go away.

November 17, 2016
november 17March 25, 2017
march 25 fairwayMarch 31, 2017
If you want more background on why the riparian habitat work was done in the first place you can read about that here.

For the details of what is being done to create the habitat see the bottom of the page in the very last text box.

Tip o’ the Stay the Course hat to Geoff Ho for the text and photos!


Oopsie! My bad…

A thoughtful reader was kind enough to point out to me that the URL for the twitter story about Silverstone Golf Course led to a twitter page in Arabic. Totally my fault. I’ve fixed the error.

I highly recommend that you read that series of tweets–it gives some valuable insight into the way this developer operates.


The Power of Twitter

I found myself involved in a minor Twitter tussle a couple of weeks ago. This followed an unexpected phone call from one Ronald Richards (he’s the new owner of the San Ramon Golf Club, for those who’ve been on some other planet). He called me to complain about my “censoring” the blog by not allowing him to use our forum to promote his agenda. You know, that plan of his to ruin our neighborhoods by putting up a bunch of condos on the present golf course.

Evidently, he wasn’t satisfied by our conversation–he kept insisting that I was violating his First Amendment rights by “censoring” him. Funny, coming from a lawyer.

He did some research about me, found one of my Twitter accounts and tweeted this. This is a long scroll, but worth it:

The tweet I had forwarded was from early November of last year.

Then we had a lovely Twitter exchange, along with our own Gene Bucciarelli (GB) never a good idea to tangle with two battle-tested Navy vets…

And his parting shot:

Since my mama taught me it’s not right to toy with the mentally (and ethically) challenged, I let him go.

Mr. Richards has bragged about how happy the neighbors surrounding one of his acquisitions, the Silverstone Golf Course in North Las Vegas are. One of our friends, who lives there, sent us some evidence of what a lovely project he has underway in Las Vegas. Click on the image to see more of the story. H/T to one of the local residents who sent this over to us.

If you don’t have time to read the whole series of posts and photos, this group of tweets is quite nice:

We’ll be talking about this at the next Steering Committee meeting, which we have tentatively scheduled for April 6.




Steering Committee Minutes

March 2, 2017 Committee Meeting

Meeting called to order at 7:00 by temporary Chair David Ernest


David Ernest
Becky Kolberg
Diana Brown
Jeff Bowlsby
Joe Weyandt
Michelle Hemenway (Podany)
Lucille Evans
Gene Bucciarelli
Joe Parsons
Pat Tuohy
Geoff Ho
Jim Hart
Scott Holder (left meeting after giving a brief statement)

David E.  opened the meeting.

Scott Holder addressed the committee outlining why he left the Stay the Course group . He also made a number of suggestions for actions by the committee including suggesting editorial control be increased on the Blog.

Attendees introduced each other and their motivations for being on the committee (not transcribed).

Meeting Discussion:

 David E. offered suggestions for individual background research on fund-raising and land use.

Gene B. updated the group on the status of the filing of our tax status application. We discussed possible methods of communication within the steering committee.

Paul W. offered a detailed strategy of community involvement by way of a well written proposal since he was an excused absence.  It was discussed at some length.

Joe P. has set up the Facebook page, Stay the Course San Ramon

Paul Warren created the Twitter account, @StayTheCourseSR

Michelle H-P. agreed to admin the Facebook page

Election Results:


Joe P. nominated David Ernest
David E. nominated Paul Warren  (Paul declined via text message)

Vice President

Gene B. nominated Pat Tuohy

At large

Those elected to the open positions for At Large seats:

Joe Weyant, Becky Kolberg, and Diana Brown.

All were elected unanimously by voice vote.

Survey Results

We discussed the survey that Joe P. had published on the webpage. After some discussion, it was decided to publish the results the next day rather than wait for minutes to be available.

Discussion among committee to share reasons why some wanted to meet with developer and reasons why. Reiterated that Ron Richards asked the committee for a meeting.

Geoff H. –  We need a succinct mission statement that communicates our stance.

Diana B. would like agenda item for next meeting regarding communications.

Next steps:

  • Michelle H – P. to send draft of minutes to Paul W. to post on Google Drive. Leadership will edit the notes for publication on the blog to eliminate extraneous items not germane to the meeting. David E. stressed that content not be deleted or altered.
  • Blog Editor will moderate Ron Richards’ comments before posting future
  • Gene B. will draft a survey to go to community to solicit community help in spreading the word.

Meeting adjourned at 8:50.


Survey Results

This is Joe Parsons, webmaster for the Stay the Course blog.

Given the strong differences of opinion among the Steering Committee about whether to meet with the developer who now owns the San Ramon Golf Club and wants to create a housing subdivision on the site, we decided that it was important to have at least some idea of the community’s thoughts on the matter.

With that in mind, I created a simple survey on the blog and released it at noon on Sunday, 2/26/17. The survey ran until 5:00 PM on Wednesday, 3/1/17.

There were two statements for the respondents to agree or disagree:

  1. The Steering Committee should meet with the developer in March
  2. Only members of the San Ramon City Council and Planning Commission should have any communication with the developer

Each response had space for an “Other” response. There was an additional field for free-form comments.

I configured the survey to allow only one response from each IP address and required an email address (with no verification) from each respondent. I collected IP addresses from all respondents.

The survey was publicized on the blog, on NextDoor and through the mailing list. I posted reminders mid-week to get the maximum number of responses.


There were 344 responses:

“Agree” with a meeting: 111
“Disagree” with a meeting: 222
“Not sure” or unclear opinion: 8
“Other” 3

On the second question, “Should only the City Council and Planning Commission meet with the developer:”

“Agree:” 201
“Disagree:” 120
No clearly expressed opinion: 14

In some cases, I added “Agree” or “Disagree” to answers that clearly expressed an opinion. I did this to facilitate sorting the answers in the spreadsheet.

The survey page is now marked “closed,” although a small number of responses (17) have continued to arrive after the deadline. The opinions were in the same proportion as the on-time responses.

Joe Parsons


Change in Steering Committee

Scott Holder has asked me to post a statement to the blog on his behalf. For those who may not be aware, Scott is the one person responsible for mobilizing the community to deal with the matter of the attempted development of the San Ramon Golf Club. He has devoted countless hours, much sweat, and considerable money in serving the community. He deserves our appreciation and our gratitude.

Joe Parsons

Dear community members,

I have resigned from my role in the Stay the Course group.  I would like to thank the Committee members who stepped up in an effort to achieve the best possible outcome for our community.

I hope this same outcome we all should be striving for is the end result.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve,

Scott Holder


Let your voice be heard

The developer who purchased the San Ramon Golf Club has requested a meeting with the Steering Committee. There has been considerable controversy surrounding whether the Committee should meet with him at all.

Please make your opinion known by completing this brief survey. If you have already done so, thank you. If you haven’t, please do. It will take literally seconds, and there is space for your comments. The results will be tabulated and made available once it has been completed.

You can get to the survey page HERE.

Joe Parsons
Stay the Course Webmaster