Thursday, November 15, 2007

A new wrinkle

More actual news and information from the Danville Weekly, in the form of a Guest Opinion from Roy Gloss, an organizer in an earlier attempt at incorporation. Here's a paragraph that echoes concerns we've shared here:

It doesn't take a college education to understand that this nearly half-century of voter negativism centers on one concept. Alamo residents may not cringe at the cost of self-government, although it is usually sold with an informal promise of no tax increase, but the majority of them are denunciatory of the feel of more government interference with their peaceful half-acre existence. So the big sell this time is to convince residents that when Alamo becomes a city they will be dealing with elected and staff officials who are friendly neighbors, taking over from the regimented staffers in Martinez who get their paychecks from the county, not from where they are laying down the law.

And he raises an interesting alternative, annexation by Danville.

A comment there asks the question,

When did Danville become a model for community service to its neighborhoods? The City Council (calling it a town is silly) is at odds with its neighborhoods and is sprawling "monster boxes" in stucco-tacky array. Danville is more Tra-la-LA that Los Angeles itself.

If we want a stucco-tacky future, Alamo might as well annex to Brea California.

Well, we could ask to be annexed by Walnut Creek instead, would that be better?

Symbolic Heart of the Town

What everybody says they want to preserve are the drive-thru Alamo Hay and Grain, and it's neighbor, the shoe repair with the horse on top.

Drive through and we'll drop a bale of hay into your pickup.
(photo: Alamo (Un) Incorporated?)

Shoe Repair AND Tack Shop.
(photo: Alamo (Un) Incorporated?)

About 10 years ago, there was also "Alamo Lumber" behind both with an entrance on Stone Valley, but it folded, and all we have left is the pigeon coops of the owner. At one point, there was talk of maybe putting a quick oil-change place there, but that never happened.

The question hangs, when the proprieters of Alamo Hay and Grain and the Shoe Shop are obliged to retire, what becomes of these landmarks? Do we hope someone else takes on the facilities in a compatible way, let them sit idle, tolerate their scrape and rebuild, or try to do something else?

Do we expect the Mary N. Piepho's of the County to do something we like, or to approve a fast-food with a drive-through?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Moving Forward

Alamo Incorporated has the signatures, now they need the money. They say they have 3100 signatures compared to the 2500 required, and so can move forward. They need to raise $250,000 privately to fund the next steps.

I think this is the part where some of the opposition was saying, "we can't afford it". But if it's private contributions, and some people don't contribute, how was it unaffordable to them? They are getting free ride.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Opposition emerges

The Danville Weekly had a report of 20 folks gathering to organize oppostion.

"I like Alamo just the way it is. We know exactly what we're going to get from the county, we don't know what we're going to get from incorporation," said Tony Carnemolla, who opened the meeting with a speech.

Jack Squat from the county is what we get, or plans to overdevelop. The apparent concern is that Alamo doesn't need local control because there's nothing left to control, and somehow it will be too expensive, and maybe just a Municipal Advisory Council is good enough.

Recall that some MACs were elected, and then the supervisors (including the beloved Mary N. Piepho) decided they should be appointed. Now that's local representation!

I don't sense a coherent opposition message. I think the finances for a Town of Alamo are plausible. The county seems more likely to allow/encourage/tolerate bigger development than local planning would.

What I fear from a Town is the empowerment of the clipboard crowd, resulting in an overplanned town of "neat streets." and no opportunity for individual character.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


While looking at the County Public Works Dept for the previous post, I came upon this chart that appears to be traffic mitigation fees charged to projects.

It is probably not surprising to see that Alamo gets charged more per single family house than most other areas. Now, it's reasonable that areas in unincorporated county get charged more than those in cities, but $9906? Ouch.

The Ultimate Configuration

The November issue of the "Alamo Today" tabloid came in the mail, and contains the usual fluff and nonsense. The front page news is a plea for location of a bus bench that was donated by the Rotary and filched from Danville Blvd, complete with color picture of it before it went MIA. (The Danville Weekly is vastly more informative on local issues.)

The only thing in the Alamo Today that is like news are two "advertorials", both pro-incorporation. One is by spearhead Sharon Burke, and the other is by longtime resident Grace Schmidt. I take "advertorial" to be a paid ad that looks like editorial content. It is, unfortunately, the closest to real news content that Alamo Today gets, sigh.

Schmidt has been pushed over the edge by the County's "Ultimate Configuration" of the 680/Stone Valley interchange, which is described as being about like the Sycamore interchange in Danville.

Reference given to the County public works website, where this is a "capital improvement program" goal, on pages 234 to 238 of the 5M PDF. Here are the pages snipped out:

Page 234; Click for Bigger.

Page 235, Click for Bigger.

Page 236, click for bigger

Page 237, click for bigger

Page 238, click for bigger

Page 239; click for bigger.

These projects will certainly get some attention, with Schmidt calling them a "tipping point." The real summation from Schmidt is:

The irony of the Ultimate Configuration is that it would flood Alamo roads with non-local traffic to alleviate congestion on Interstate 680, which was once intended to divert non-local traffic from Danville Boulevard.

As far as I can tell, the major causes of traffic up and down Stone Valley are the schools: Stone Valley MS, Monte Vista HS and El Cerro MS. At least, that's the appearance I get dropping my kids off at the school. I'm not sure what to do about that, but I'm not sure widening the road is the answer. One thing I would do is put a right turn arrow on the Miranda to Stone Valley turn, so that when Stone Valley east is turning left onto Miranda, the exiting traffic could proceed without a stop.

Restriping westbound Stone Valley so there's a longer left turn lane for the SB 680 on ramp would also be smart.

Anyway, projects run by the County are much less likely to take Alamo's concerns into account. It'll want to speed traffic through to Danville, where Alamo might just as soon make that a hard way to get to Green Valley.

At the same time, these projects are not currently funded by the County, and it's no sure thing there would ever be the money for their execution.

The road I'd like to get widened is Diablo Road from Green Valley to the Athenian, because it is a nasty, accident prone twisty section.

While we're in the vicinity, it'd be really nice to get a resurfacing of Diablo Scenic from the Estates up to the Park entrance at South Gate Road.