Friday, September 08, 2006

Follow The Money

San Ramon Politics, Redevelopment, Eminent Domain, And Money Are In The Mix With The San Ramon City Council

Who Gets The San Ramon Redevelopment Bond Money?

In an article titled: San Ramon redevelopment on the agenda again, by Scott Marshall, reporter with the Contra Costa Times, reports about the issues facing the Beta Court business owners affected by the Crow Canyon Specific Plan, which involves redevelopment of the area surrounding and including Beta Court.

The San Ramon Planning Commission voted 4-1 to remove the housing overlay for Beta Court which in essence would mean that the thriving business owners would in all likely hood remain and continue to provide vital services to the residents. However, the San Ramon City Council could place this new plan with the removal of the housing overlay for Beta Court in jeopardy. In fact, a four-fifths vote is required for passage of the plan.

It has been reported that, "At least one City Councilman, Jim Livingstone, has publicly stated that he did not want the Beta Court Business owners to determine the direction of the Crow Canyon plan."

If the City Council does not approve this plan, then it goes back to the Planning Commission with two newly appointed commissioners that would in all likely hood be reversed and change it to call once again for the housing overlay on Beta Court.

Property owners would most likely be in a position of selling out to developers to reap more profits then would be generated from renting to the business owners. "A consultant's report found that the redevelopment area is 'economically blighted,'" and as such the Redevelopment Agency, which are the same five members of the City Council could use eminent domain to take care of any property owner stragglers refusing to sell out.

To clarify matters, Beta Court is not economically blighted but provides valuable services to the San Ramon citizens. The area is thriving with activity. The business owners have been profitable for years. If the City Council chooses to do what is right for the citizens and business owners of San Ramon then we can look forward to having local service providers for many years to come. If however, the City Council chooses to reject the protection of these valuable service providers, then the City Council will effectively be kicking businesses out of San Ramon.

Maybe it is time to start following the money. By-the-way, speaking of money, the city's Redevelopment Agency is going to be discussing on Tuesday, Sept. 12, before they place their other City Council hats on, in the City Council Meeting: "Whether to set a $59 million bond issue limit."

Beta Court, San Ramon, CA

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