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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.

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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.

 

 

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Steering Committee Minutes

March 2, 2017 Committee Meeting

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

Attendees:

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:

President

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.

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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.

Results:

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
Webmaster

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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

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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

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Change in Steering Committee

John Adams, who has served as President of the Steering Committee, has announced that he is resigning effective immediately. Doing this work is often a thankless and grueling task, and even though there have been strong disagreements among the Committee, everyone in our community owes John a debt of gratitude for the time, effort and dedication he has given to this task.

John’s statement:

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Steering Committee Meeting 2/23

STEERING COMMITTEE’S 2/23 MEETING RECAP

This recaps the 2/23 Committee meeting

  • How can we better move forward as a group
    • We agreed to keep the community better informed as decisions are being considered on critical issues instead of waiting until all details are completely finalized.
    • Since Committee meetings do not occur on a monthly basis, pertinent information would be broadcasted on a timely basis.

Confirmation of our objectives of the Ron Richards’ meeting

We discussed what we wanted to attain from the meeting.  Our objective is to gain information that will benefit us and the City Council as we move forward.  Currently neither we, nor City Council, know anything about the development plans.  We also want to know about previous tactics and possible impact on our situation.  I have had ongoing contact with our City Council about our actions to make sure we are in concert with them.

The meeting is NOT for negotiation, we do not have the authority nor do we seek it.  There is no non-disclosure agreement.  The meeting is not a sanction for development.  After the meeting, I will provide a detailed account via the blog.

Ron Richards’ meeting

We discussed areas on which we would like information or clarification:

  • Pool closure
  • Status of the golf course
  • New fencing purpose
  • Previous actions taken at other purchased golf courses.
  • Proposed development plan

If there are any the areas you would like us to probe, please reply on the blog.

Update on the LLC

Documents for the LLC request have been sent to the State.  There are several steps are involved going forward including Federal approval before gaining final approval.

Future Strategies

Of particular importance is getting the word out to all of San Ramon about how the elimination of a golf course/open space and development of the property with houses and whatever will negatively impact their daily lives, wherever they live.

Further tactics to be forthcoming.

It was brought up that some members of the community were concerned about a meeting with Ron Richards.  The Committee agreed that the issue of whether or not to meet with him had been thoroughly examined and discussed and the vote would stand.

John Adams
President

There have been requests as to who are the Committee members.  Attached is an updated list.

UPDATED STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS

PRESIDENT:  JOHN ADAMS
VICE PRESIDENT:  SCOTT HOLDER
TREASURER:  GENE BUCCIARELLI
SECRETARY:  PAUL WARREN

AT LARGE:
JIM HART
RINKU THAKUR
PAT TUOHY

MEMBERS
BECKY KOLBERG
DAVID ERNEST
DIANA BROWN
GEOFF HO
JEFF BOWLSBY
JOE PARSONS
JOE WEYANDT
LUCILLE EVANS
MICHELLE HEMENWAY

 

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Activity on the golf course?

I received this comment from Adam Holden this morning. I am posting it with his permission:

Name Adam Holden
E-mail
Phone Number
Make comment public? Yes
Questions or comments? Heads up, two trucks in the parking lot at the golf course this morning loaded with fencing. Largely it looks like gates for blocking cart paths. When asked the driver of one of the trucks where it was being installed he didn’t know yet was waiting to hear from the customer.

It’s important to keep in mind that the new owners of the San Ramon Golf Club have made no application to the City of San Ramon to change to zoning from its present Golf Course/Agricultural to a zoning that would allow building.

This may be part of the work on the riparian habitat that is part of the Faria development. We’ll post updates as we find out more.

EDIT: more information from Adam:

Name Adam Holden
E-mail
Phone Number
Make comment public? Yes
Questions or comments? Update to my last note…the fencing is to block ALL entrances to the back nine are being gated.
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New Article in The Californian

Journalist Sam Campopiano has just released a new article about the San Ramon Golf Club and the developers’ plan to build homes on the 125-acre site.

Mr. Campopiano’s story is accurate and well-written. A couple of excerpts:

If the city of San Ramon does not change the zoning of the San Ramon Golf Course to allow the new owners to build housing on part of the course by the end of the month, the new owners have pledged to close the golf course for good.

This is nothing new. Many are, frankly, surprised that the course is still open.

Richards and Schlesinger want the city to change the zoning from “agricultural” to “residential,” so they can build housing on the golf course. If the city council fails to meet their demands, Richards and Schlesinger pledge [to] chain off and close the course indefinitely.

Many residents are saying, “brown is my new favorite color.”

The article is a must-read for all San Ramon residents, not just those who live close to the golf course. To put this into perspective, there are 26,000 homes in San Ramon. Of these, 18,000 are homeowners. There are 325 homes that look out on the golf course, and twice as many in immediate proximity (across the street). If the site were to be developed, the homeowners whose backyards abut the course would lose value–I would estimate around $20,000 for each home because their neighborhood and views would change (I am speaking as a real estate broker and mortgage lender here). Of greater concern–and this affects everyone in San Ramon–is the effect on traffic and infrastructure. Regardless of any promises the developer might make about schools and parks, the effect on traffic would be significant, especially on Alcosta, San Ramon Valley Boulevard, Broadmoor, Pine Valle Thunderbird and Sedgefield. These are all residential streets that cannot be widened to handle the additional traffic. Ultimately, these effects would extend to ALL San Ramon residents.

The San Ramon Golf Club property is zoned Golf Course/Agricultural. That is written into the General Plan. The only way that could be changed to allow building would be with a 4/5 vote of the City Council AND of the Planning Commission. Failing that, a ballot measure, which would start with a petition. There are no other avenues for these developers to build so much as a doghouse on that land.

It is more important than ever that we all stay aware and involved. You can do your part by urging every other resident of our city to subscribe to this site.

Read Sam Campopiano’s excellent article HERE.

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