San Ramon: Measure W no barn burner

Measure W, the general plan and urban growth boundary expansion measure in San Ramon, has fallen far short of the predicted high-dollar, head-to-head battle between developers and environmentalists.

Instead, the proponents, led mostly by Councilman Dave Hudson, have spent $960 on road signs that contained the wrong address.

The opponents have campaigned largely unchallenged with the help of $53,000 in contributions, much of it from Save Mount Diablo and the Greenbelt Alliance. The No on Measure W campaign has a Facebook page, mailers and even produced a 60-second television ad Internet video ad. (Posted below.)

On the sign screw-up, the address reads “900 Hawthorne Ct.” It should said “700 Hawthorn Ct.” State law requires disclosure on campaign materials of the name of the committee and its address. Hudson says he caught the error before most of the signs were posted and changed the “9” to a “7” with a marking pen but say he may have missed a few.

Measure W opponent Steve O’Brien has filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission, noting that the addresses doesn’t match. O’Brien has also filed a complaint over Hudson’s failure to include the correct name and address of a contributor to his council campaign in 2009; the company that donated the money is the family orchard business of San Ramon City Manager Herb Moniz.

As for the absence of a big-time advocacy campaign, Hudson says he is personally lobbying in favor of it but has no interest in “raising $50,000 to counter their $50,000. It’s on the ballot and people can vote on it.”

Here’s is the ad and the sign.

Yes on Measure W

Yes on Measure W

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • John W

    I live in San Ramon (near north end of the Tassajara Valley area affected) and have received two or three mailers from the “No” side, not to mention all the signs around town. Haven’t seen anything for it. I don’t trust either the city or county on this, but will go with the “No” crowd.

  • Menudo

    Vote NO this time and vote Dave Hudson out next!

  • John W

    I’ve read everything I can get my hands on and can’t reach any conclusions about Measure W. As for the developers, my guess is they’ve got their bases covered either way.

  • Truth

    The county board of supes will be approving the start of an EIR for NEW Farms in Tassajara Valley Tuesday morning.

    No on W is campaigning that the County should be trusted over San Ramon to NOT develope Tassajara.. Alamo Creek , New Farms, the county is going south to Dublin in the next 10 years.

    Measure W simply asks to annex a portion of Tassajara so any build will be control by San Ramon- which has a stated rural conservation for Tassajara any building limited to 10% with 90% open space!

    No on W trusts the County?

  • Roz Rogoff


    Developers don’t have to spend a lot of money to defeat Measure W. Environmentalists and misguided residents are doing it for them. They would prefer to have Contra Costa County in charge of the planning because they will be able to build more houses with fewer restrictions just like they did in Dougherty Valley. The fact that the developers are not fighting No on W should make it clear that they want Measure W to fail.


  • Victoria


    Contra Costa county has proven with Dougherty Valley that they can’t plan (San Ramon would have put in fewer homes and would have placed more restrictions on developers). Our city is one of the best run in California…I trust our planners over the county planners.


  • Truth

    Measure W Keeps Hillside Protections
    Measure W promotes local planning for Tassajara Valley
    Measure W includes downtown parks and transit stations to decrease traffic
    Measure W protects our schools from overcrowding by limiting development
    Measure W increases Open Space in Tassajara Valley and our western hills
    Measure W protects taxpayers from county fees
    Measure W is supported by San Ramon residents, we do not have lobbying groups financing our campaign

  • Ashley

    As a resident of the Tassajara Valley, it horrifies me to think that they would even consider developing this land. We live in a beautiful area and I personally think that they should leave the hills just the way they are. San Ramon is big enough as it is and they are taking away from the character of this beautiful place.

  • John W

    Re: #5

    “The fact that developers are not fighting No on W should make it clear they want Measure W to fail.”

    That’s the most astute observation I’ve read on this subject. Makes total sense. You just helped me make up my mind – YES on W. However, my guess is W is going down, for the reason you stated.

  • Steve

    As a parent with kids going to impacted Dougherty Valley elementary schools, I do not want another mistake to be made when it comes to overcrowding. We already know the County did not get it right when they estimated how many kids would be moving out here. They obviously did not know our demographics well enough to plan for enough classrooms. If we let them plan Tassajara, heavens knows what else they will cram into our backyard! It’s naive to think that nothing will happen out there…it’s just a matter of time. But when it does, I want to be able to go down to City Hall on Camino Ramon, and not to Martinez to have my voice heard in front of my elected officials!

  • Visit http://www.yesonsanramon.com to learn more about why you should support Measure W. Or why you would not support people who haved sued San Ramon in the past.

  • kevin

    Another “astute” observation would be that Greenbelt Alliance, Sierra Club & Save Mt. Diablo endorse no on W. It seems obvious that Shappel is not going to publicly endorse W, they do that through campaign contributions to the city council, who introduced this measure. I’m not saying that this measure is directly instigated by Shappel. I think it comes down to simple economics: the city needs the building income from fees & a larger tax base.

  • kevin

    OK, so now I’ve spent hours researching what would happen if the county were to be in control of the Tassajara Valley. This is what I’ve figured out…. The current housing built in the Dougherty Valley was condoned by a 4/5 vote of the County Board of Supervisors. We passed Measure L in 2006 which places a urban limit line, currently protecting the Tassajara Valley and other lands until 2026. The only way it can change is through a vote by the county voters. There has been no action by no city to instigate an expansion of urban growth that I have found, other than San Ramon, currently. It seems that the land is currently protected, so why the claim that, “We need to protect it”?

    I stood back and looked at this measure & this is what I saw… expansion of the urban growth line into Norris Canyon, rezoning and plans for 1500 densely packed homes into North Camino Ramon, no endorsement of W by any organization(other than the city council), endorsement against W by the Sierra club, Greenbelt Alliance & Save Mt. Diablo, a coalition of opposition to W including the past Planning Commissioner Chair, our teacher of the year in 2000 and businesses & residents.

    We all have grown to be understandably cynical when it comes to political arguments. The argument for W should be approached with the same cynicism because simply saying, “don’t trust the county” is not enough to make a good decision on W. We should all have begun to start question our city government, as well.

  • Laura

    Thank you for doing the homework Kevin,

    As usual it is very difficult to decipher these propositions, as I read the comments I actually started to think, hmm, maybe there is something to this, maybe we should protect ourselves against the county. Then I realized that the endorsements (or lack there of)really speak for themselves. I will look into it more myself, but frankly, I have no more faith in San Ramon’s city council than I do the county. I’m afraid we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Perhaps our city council should start putting their energy and money into something that actually benefits San Ramon! It seems the overcrowding in our schools should be a priority, not more building -and that includes the “voter approved city center”.

  • Roz Rogoff

    Kevin said, “I stood back and looked at this measure & this is what I saw… expansion of the urban growth line into Norris Canyon, rezoning and plans for 1500 densely packed homes into North Camino Ramon, no endorsement of W by any organization (other than the city council), endorsement against W by the Sierra club, Greenbelt Alliance & Save Mt. Diablo, a coalition of opposition to W including the past Planning Commissioner Chair, our teacher of the year in 2000 and businesses & residents.”

    Kevin, I understand your confusion. Here is a detailed explanation of the history and purpose of Measure W.

    Measure W is a continuation of a series of measures on planning that voters passed beginning with Measure G in 1999. Measure G provided for the establishment of a General Plan Review Commission to design the city’s new General Plan. A General Plan is a planning document that looks at what the city might be like in 20 or 30 years. It isn’t a description of changes planned for next year or even five years from now.

    The General Plan Review Commission consisted of 32 residents with differing political and economic views who came together for two years and developed the General Plan voted on in 2002 as Measure P. Measure P passed with over 77% of the vote. The 2020 General Plan approved in Measure P “requires a voter review of the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) in the year 2010.”

    The 2030 General Plan which is what is being voted on in Measure W is an updated version of the 2020 General Plan. The 2030 General Plan follows the strict requirements in Measure G to make any changes to the original General Plan.

    No on Measure W complains that the 2030 General Plan is too long and complicated, but it is approximately the same length and details as the first General Plan approved by 77% of San Ramon voters in Measure P.

    The No on Measure W campaign does not explain any of this. Instead they are trying to portray this planning document as a development plan, which it is not. Much of what Mr. O’Loane objects to now in Measure W, he approved when he was a Planning Commissioner.

    In the minutes of the June 29, 2010 Planning Commission meeting, “Chair O’Loane stated that the City should focus on what needs to be dealt with now such as revising Ordinance 197. Expanding the UGB in the Westside make sense right now since it is within the City’s boundaries but expanding the UGB into the Tassajara Valley is not needed right now. Chair O’Loane stated that the main problem with the Dougherty Valley is the over concentration of affordable housing.”

    State law requires a percentage of every new development to include affordable housing. The “concentration” of it in Dougherty Valley was based on Contra Costa County’s permitting process. San Ramon was not the lead agency in planning and developing Dougherty Valley, so complaints about its size and design should not be directed at the City. This is also a reason why the Urban Growth Boundary was extended to Camino Tassajara, to prevent the County from taking over development of that too.

    Mr. Gruber, the consultant hired to prepare the Environmental Impact Report for the General Plan, explained at the June 29, 2010 Planning Commission meeting, “The extension of the UGB will not change any of the zoning, does not give any landowner the right to do anything with their property that they currently have the right to do now. It does not allow for any development in the Tassajara Valley that would not have existed prior to the vote. Moving the UGB does not create any growth in that area and therefore does not have any significant environmental effects.”

    Kevin said, “We passed Measure L in 2006 which places a urban limit line, currently protecting the Tassajara Valley and other lands until 2026. The only way it can change is through a vote by the county voters. There has been no action by no city to instigate an expansion of urban growth that I have found, other than San Ramon, currently.”

    Four cities in Contra Costa County, Pittsburgh, Brentwood, Antioch, and San Ramon, have their own voter-approved Urban Limit Lines or Growth Boundaries. The County’s ULL is approved by all voters in the County. That’s what you voted on in Measure L. Cities with voter-approved Urban Limit Lines or Urban Growth Boundaries are voted on by residents of those cities. These voter-approved growth boundaries do not have to match the County’s.

    Kevin asked, “It seems that the land is currently protected, so why the claim that, “We need to protect it?”

    Measure L was not intended to protect Tassajara Valley from development. According to the Impartial Analysis of Measure L, “To continue to be eligible to receive the sales tax proceeds (from the Measure J tax on gas), the Principles require the County, by March 31, 2009, to either establish a ULL based on the mutual agreement of the County and cities or obtain voter approval of a County ULL. The County and cities were unable to agree upon a ULL. The County therefore seeks voter approval of the extension of the County’s ULL to continue to be eligible to receive the sales tax proceeds.” That means each city’s ULL or UGB does not have to be the same as the County’s.

    On October 12, 2010 the County Supervisors approved preparation of “an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the New Farm project in the Tassajara Valley area. The contract will be effective from November 1, 2010, to October 31, 2013. Contract No. C45335.”

    In my San Ramon Observer blog on the San Ramon Express, No on Measure W advocate, Steve O’Brien, said on 9/27/2010, “Developers aren’t stupid- they’ve got their money on the city as their efforts in TV have been shut-down for years by the county.” Did Tom Koch suddenly become stupid enough to waste $344,512 on an EIR for the County for to be “shut-down?”

    No developer has put any money into getting Measure W passed, but 87% of the money for No on Measure W comes from organizations and people outside of San Ramon. The environmental organizations you trust have sued San Ramon several times.

    If Measure W does not pass, the whole process would have to be started again at great expense to the city because Measures G and P require it. One way or another a General Plan with an Urban Growth Boundary must be put on the ballot for voters to approve; so if this one doesn’t pass we must start again from scratch, giving the County a two-year head start on developing Tassajara Valley.

    Roz Rogoff

  • Breg

    Be careful! If we don’t permit more urban growth, Jerry Brown may come after us and sue us saying we are bringing additional pollution into the area by forcing people to commute from further away! Talk to the citizens of Dublin/Pleasanton about that!

  • Kim

    Laura, you asked why the City Council isn’t moving forward on the voter approved City Center…the very reason it hasn’t gone forward is because the backers of No on W sued the City to stop it. Because of the lawsuits, the City had to hold off on any construction of that area. Unfortunately because of the economic slump, the City Council opted to pay it’s employees and keep the many varied programs that we all love in place rather than spend the $$ on the construction. It is still going to happen, but will have to wait a bit until the economy turns around. There actually has been some infrastructure work going on, mainly on sewage and water lines. As for the schools, the City Council has nothing to do with the impacted schools. The San Ramon Valley Unified School District is who you should direct those questions to. They are working with limited funds as well.

  • Heather

    San Ramon Residents: Vote Yes on Measure W.

    A Yes Vote on Measure W is a vote for local control.

    Do not be fooled by a mis-leading No on W campaign being financed 87% by non-San Ramon special interest groups, using speculative and outright false (e.g. as of today 30,000 new residents and 4,200 new homes in TV) information to “fear” voters.

    Truth: The 1990 “Save our Hills” protections and provisions approved by San Ramon residents (Ordinance 197) are set to expire on December 31, 2010. A Yes on W will extend these hillside, open space, and creekside protections to 2015. Residents of San Ramon want to continue to protect the natural beauty that surrounds us. The 2030 General Plan Update maintains and extends the protection of “Save our Hills”.

    Truth: A No on W will allow our decades old hillside protections to expire! County lands in our SOI will no longer even have our more restrictive protections applicable. Why are the special interest groups willing to allow our west side hills to go unprotected….particularly when they have fought so long to protect them!

    Are San Ramon residents really ready to put our hills, open space and creek sides at risk….at the advise of activist environmentalist? Vote yes on W.

    Truth: A Yes of W is not a vote for ANY new development! The 2030 General Plan is a 20-year “planning” document. No where in it does it authorize “development”.

    Truth: No where in the 2030 General Plan does it say 4200 homes will be build in Tassajara Valley or authorize 1500 homes in the West Side Hills. These statements from supporters of the No on W campaign are ABSOLUTELY FALSE.

    Truth: Contra Costa County is currently processing an application for the New Farm “rural” development in the Tassajara Valley. Which they can do outside of the “urban” limit line. It is rural development! By extending San Ramon’s urban growth boundary in the Tassajara Valley, it will ensure that San Ramon “residents” have a seat at the table, control of the process, and future of the valley.

    Do not let Tassajara Valley become another Dougherty Valley. Vote Yes for Local Control!

    Yes on W is 100% funded by citizens of San Ramon. Not one dollar is from a developer, special interest group, or nonresident!

    Visit http://www.yesonwsanramon.com

  • I’ve doen some investigating into who is backing the “Yes on W” campaign. SanRamonPatch.com recently posted financial statements from both the No and Yes campaigns.

    Quote “”Citizens for San Ramon” – supporters of the Nov. 2 ballot measure – raised $945… All of the money came from San Ramon residents, including City Councilman Scott Perkins, who’s also a member of Save Mt. Diablo. The only other donation listed this filing period was from a planning commissioner, Donna Kerger.”

    Both Scott Perkins and Donna Kerger are San Ramon citizens but they are also the same city leaders who are responsible for putting Measure W on the ballot. I would say that is or at least bordering as a conflict of interest.

  • Kim,

    You have it all wrong. The only reason that the City Center isn’t moving forward is because of the economy and the inability to get loans to move forward with the project. The City Center is a done deal. It is just a matter of time. Besides, do we really want to build the City Center during an economic crisis and end up with empty store fronts? Who would foot the bill for unleased space? The citizens of San Ramon. If you look around town, you’ll see a lot of unleased commercial rental property.