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Steering Committee Meeting 2/23


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

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






{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Alyssa H February 25, 2017, 2:30 pm

    Our City Council has made it very clear that they would not be biased for or against any development proposal. They consider every proposal that comes before them on its merits and allow for public hearings so they can get the community’s input. The mayor made this very clear when asked about the golf course at his monthly community breakfast last week. City Council members are not assisting this group in any way, so how can you suggest they are “working with” you. That is not fair to our elected officials.

    • john adams February 25, 2017, 9:03 pm

      How can you say that City Council is not assisting our group when I have regular meetings with some of their members and keep them apprised of what our objectives are?
      This is not “fair” to the Steering Committee as it is not true.

  • Chris Crowley February 25, 2017, 3:24 pm

    I would like to know when I sent a question to Stay the Course why was I not given the courtesy of a reply? I had asked if anyone knew if we had any recourse about these ridiculous Green tarped fences.

    When is the meeting with Rony occurring? Who exactly will be attending this meeting?

    In addition why are WE discussing their development plan since it is irrelevant. Discussing it would seem to infer there would be a planned negotiation. Since OUR group already indicated there would be no negotiation because we will never allow a Mayor, City Councilman or Planning Commissioner to be elected that would support development.

    They can close the course and let it become brown and overgrown which would actually promote more wildlife which is fine with me. Development of the golf course will simply never happen.

    I hope this is clear to the Stay the Course committee members because if it isn’t then we need to vote for new members that accurately represent the views our residents.

    • Admin February 25, 2017, 4:13 pm

      Chris, your question apparently didn’t make it through to the blog. You asked on 2/14/17 whether the organization (Stay the Course) was still in operation. I responded to you the next morning that it is indeed. Anytime you ask a question as a comment to the blog, you can generally expect a reply very promptly. To answer your question, a meeting has been scheduled between the Ron Richards, the developer, and the Steering Committee of Stay the Course on March 2. The committee held a vote concerning a meeting. The outcome was 10 votes in favor of the meeting, 8 against.

    • Diana Brown February 27, 2017, 11:45 am

      All who feel affected should please complain to the city about the fencing.

      code – “A fence up to three feet is allowed within the front yard setback area (typically 20-feet) as measured from the front property line”

      Neighborhood Preservation
      The Neighborhood Preservation Inspectors will assist you in any way possible, even if the issue requires a referral to a different department or agency. They are usually available Mondays 9:00 am to 9:30 am; Tuesday to Friday – 8:00 am to 8:30 am.
      Phil Wisotsky
      (925) 973-2590
      Mike Elliott
      (925) 973-2589
      Duties and services of the Neighborhood Preservation Inspector:
      • Respond to citizen inquiries, ideas and viewpoints by investigating alleged violations of the City Municipal Code, Zoning Code and other related laws.

  • Adam Holden February 25, 2017, 3:45 pm

    I am reposting a comment I had previously made on Next Door. I have also added some additional comments after reading the summary of the Steering Committee meeting:

    John, first, I appreciate your update and tranceparency. I do have to say though that I am surprised by our asking for a meeting with Richards. I don’t think that any good can come from this. Unless he has a proposal on the table with the city, there is nothing to discuss. Thinking that he will be forthcoming with any of his plans is naive. He is an experienced attorney who’s only interest is profit. For him to share ANY information when he is not required to do so is not to his advantage. I would strongly encourage the steering committee to rethink meeting with him and change the decision on meeting with Richards.

    After reading the summary of the Steering Committee meeting I have to reiterate there is NOTHING to be gained by meeting with Richards now. Anyone who thinks he’s going to share any information of value to us is kidding themselves. Unless and until he has a proposal on the table, there is absolutely nothing to discuss.

    • john adams February 25, 2017, 9:23 pm

      Adam, thanks for your comments. If you look at the long term, there is the a distinct possibility of a voter referendum to overturn the general plan that has the current property zoned as golf course will be forthcoming. Our meeting is designed to gain information that will help us defend our position. There is not any downside.

      • Adam Holden February 25, 2017, 10:58 pm

        John, with all due respect, I disagree. There is nothing but downside to a meeting with Richards at this point. If you go back and review what has been published and his comments on camera in news stories, he already has a track record of distorting the truth – saying that he has been working with the community and the city when neither of these things are true. He has significant experience in using the media to his advantage.

        I said it before and I will say it again – meeting with him and thinking that he will share any information that is advantageous to us is naive. He is in this for one reason only – money. Meeting with him gives him credibility with the media that he has “reached out to the community.” If he wants to reach out to the community, he needs to put a proposal in front of the city, not this group or any other group or individual in San Ramon. Once there is a proposal on the table, then it may make sense to meet with him, but not before.

        I firmly believe that a meeting with him at this point will one, be seen by Richards as a sign of weakness and a willingness to negotiate on our part. Second, look how contentious this proposed meeting has already become over the last two days with all the comments on Next Door and the Stay the Course site. This is what he wants to divide us and have us angry with each other.

        Please do not take my comments here as a personal attack either on you or the committee, this is a discussion, and since we can’t speak live, this is the only forum available. I do appreciate the committee being willing to put in time to organize, but meeting with him I believe is wrong.

        I think that there is a heightened anxiety around the golf course issue right now. We all expected the course to close at the end of December and not hearing anything or knowing anything, good, bad, or otherwise, tends to make everyone more concerned. It is the not knowing for many that is really tough. Meeting with Richards will NOT provide any real answers.

  • Susan Thomas February 25, 2017, 3:57 pm

    I am reposting my comment from the Next Door website at the request of a fellow concerned neighbor so that more people can read it:

    I understand the reasoning behind stepping down and respect Joe Norton and Jolee Gust for standing up for what they believe in and representing their neighbors as they said they would. Regardless if you agree or not to the meeting, the board is supposed to represent the group as a whole which they are NOT doing. Have they asked our opinion? Have they explained their opinion before being forced to on Next Door? They’ve met with city council three times and we knew nothing of this? The point is they are abusing the power given to them and it’s very upsetting. I really don’t want to be negative because that’s exactly what Ron Richards wants is for us to divide and fall apart. We’re giving him exactly what he wants. If we stand united, communicate openly and honestly with each other and show respect we have a fighting chance. I am thankful for everyone taking this on and donating their time…but surely the board can see they’ve overstepped their bounds. There still isn’t even anything posted on STAYTHECOURSESANRAMON.com even though all this turmoil is happening. (It was finally put up shortly after leaving this comment on Next Door) This just isn’t right. Thank you again for those willing to speak out and step down. I hope that leads to change!

  • David Ernest February 25, 2017, 3:57 pm

    Mr. Holden. Thank you for taking the time to follow what is going on about the golf course issue.

    Just to clarify, Mr. Richards initiated the request for a sit down. He asked us for a meeting. We are responding to his request.

    There is an old saying where I came from. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

    Brown is the new green.

    • Adam Holden February 25, 2017, 11:00 pm

      David, please seem my last response to John. Richards needs to put a proposal in front of the city before we speak with him – if it makes sense for us to do so at all.

  • Allison Hanson February 25, 2017, 4:29 pm

    Can the committee please clarify to all residents how the vote to meet with the developer was initiated? If vote was not taken in person with the entire group present, were votes done via email, with responses visible to the entire group? Were all committee members presernt when votes were tabulated? Is there a reason why committee members are not posting their vote publicly?

    • john adams February 25, 2017, 9:52 pm

      A request from Ron Richards was received. At a formal meeting, we discussed his request and a vote was taken to meet with him pending an agreement to keep the golf course open for an extended period of time. The voting on the agreement of time was voted on via email. The committee’s votes with the exception of one vote, that was sent directly to me, was cc’d to the entire committee to view. The complete voting was given to the committee at our last meeting.

      The underlying tone of the questions is a question of my integrity of handling the voting. What are we trying to do here?

  • Ellen Pyle February 25, 2017, 4:46 pm

    After reading all of the comments….personally I would rather look at the green fencing than a brown, weeded abandoned golf course.

    • Chantal Chiapetto February 26, 2017, 11:43 am

      I agree with you Ellen Pyle.

  • K.M. February 25, 2017, 5:18 pm

    We should NOT meet with them for the following reasons:

    – the committee has no standing or authority to make decisions or take action in anyway
    – the committee has no approved talking points on what the citizens of San Ramon want
    – this guy has demonstrated multiple times that he does NOT operate in good faith
    – the city has a process for owner of properties to request the right to develop on their property and., at that time, we can formally object and comment as we desire

    In short, we have nothing to gain by having a committee with no standing or authority meet with this guy. If he truly wanted to work with the citizens he would follow the city process and set up open meetings for all to attend and ask questions etc.

    • john adams February 25, 2017, 10:05 pm

      You are missing the point of the meeting. At this time we have no idea what he wants to do. He has not given any proposal to City Hall. We are seeking information as to what his plans are. Right now, any information we can get is better than what we have now. If it is false, we can use it against him when we do battle against a voter referendum to alter the general plan. There is no downside to the meeting.

    • Scott Holder March 1, 2017, 6:49 pm

      Thank you Kristen

  • Bernard February 25, 2017, 6:06 pm

    There is definitely a big communication issue here. I’m also suprised by our willingness to meet with the Developer. There is nothing to talk about and if you guys think he asked for a meeting to hear about our concerns!!!please give me a break! Have you seen his tracking records?
    We play his game and we don’t even realize it. That’s a bad move to me.

  • Brian February 25, 2017, 10:02 pm

    What’s the purpose of this? You are overstepping your boundaries and will probably make the situation worse and more complicated. You are getting railroaded by Richards, who is a professional con man. He is great at what he does. Ron should be “steered” towards the city council, that is why we have one, not to a group of community members who think they know what they are doing. You are giving this man exactly what he wants and not helping our city. You are not representative of San Ramon.

  • Allison Hanson February 25, 2017, 10:15 pm

    I (along with many people who have posted on this string) have not personally attacked anyone. However, I am being personally being singled out on Next Door for asking questions. The many residents who have responded to this string are simply asking questions(many of which are remain unanswered) regarding the direction that the Stay the Course committee is taking and are asking why the committee is in such a rush to meet with the developers in spite of it being very obvious that many San Ramon residents disagree with this approach.
    The questions from the many residents are legitimate, as there have been have not been any meeting minutes recorded and published from any of the steering committee. Up until this week, there has been little communicated to the community at large, and this was after another resident posted about an scheduled meeting with the golf club owners on Next Door.
    The names of committee members were taken from a post from the Stay the Course website. I have addressed the committee at large and have never attacked anyone’s character…period! I (as well as many others) have simply posed questions to the committee. I have been personally singled out for doing so, even though it is obvious that many residents have similar questions and concerns.

    • john adams February 25, 2017, 10:33 pm

      I don’t think residents have asked questions such as:
      “were the responses available to the total group”
      “were all the committee members there when the votes were tabulated”

      This is an insult not a request for information.

      • Allison Hanson February 26, 2017, 9:33 am

        I will again reiterate that I have not personally attacked anyone’s character. The questions posed were in response to a steering committee member who was informing residents on the Next Door thread regarding the manner in which a “yes” vote to meet with the owners came about.
        His response stated “the vote was in form of emails sent directly to John Adams the president of the group. He informed us that the vote was 10 in favor of the meeting, 8 against. I don’t know the complete makeup of the vote”.
        The steering committee has provided no meeting minutes for review, so many residents who are not on the steering committee are feeling confused and uninformed. It is still confusing as to why a committee member does not know the makeup of a vote…if the committee can clarify this, it would be greatly appreciated.

      • Ted Hirtle February 26, 2017, 11:21 am

        Wow! If people are offended by being ask for transparency by the community that they are suppose to represent then we are all in trouble.

        Nobody is insulting anyone here and if someone feels insulted by questions being raised by concerned citizens then maybe those individuals aren’t right for the job.

        If there is going to be a steering committee that represents the community than transparency is mandatory and that committee should get feedback from the community before doing anything.

        We live in a great time where we can have open debate thought amazing technology like nextdoor. Why can’t we use the same technology to get the pulse of the community. Survey monkey is a great tool for gathering feedback.

  • john adams February 26, 2017, 1:23 pm

    Effective immediately, I am resigning from the Steering Committee.

    It has gotten to the point where the rift in our community has grown too large. Instead of unifying and finding an avenue to fight the developer, we are fighting with each other. We need to realize who the real enemy is. I feel it is appropriate for me to step aside and the give the community the opportunity to take a deep breath and determine a vision that is best for the entire community.

    I encourage the two sides on the Ron Richards meeting issue get together, and discuss what is best for the entire community, not just their own agendas or stance on the issue.

    I would like the thank the Committee members for their dedication and hard work.

    • Corey February 26, 2017, 2:27 pm

      Let’s not judge the community at-large — the only “rift” appears to be what you may consider whether the community is behind a meeting with the developer or not.

      Please tell me one clear benefit for the community if a few of us are meeting with rhe developer, privately? There is not one. What we need is open, public meetings in which all parties share, discuss and debate the merits of this project. Only then do we begin to represent San Ramon.

  • Brian February 26, 2017, 3:29 pm

    Good idea, John. There’s no “rift”, let’s just let our voted councilman do their jobs. For some reason the “steering committee” developed a belief that there’s something to listen to or negotiate. There is nothing to listen to and nothing to negotiate because Ron can’t do anything. Regardless, if Ron has something to say let him follow the proper channels via city council. The rest of the “steering committee ” should also disband since there’s nothing to discuss. If members of the group are interested in politics, then run for city council.

    • J.S. March 4, 2017, 8:41 am

      Couldn’t agree more, Brian…

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