Letters to the editorKeep Alamo money in Alamo
There is so much dang wrong information about incorporation being spread around and it's driving me nuts!
Can I share some truths?
First, we all know the County is having money problems. So what happens to Alamo with or without incorporation? Without incorporation the County, in an effort to find money, will need to cut services to our Alamo. Do we want that? No!
They can cut back on maintaining our roads and let them go to pot; they can cut back on our loyal, dedicated Sheriff's department staff, making our streets less safe; Public Works can stop maintaining the median strips and other beauty points which will look shabby; they can do anything they need to get money out of our Alamo funds. We lose without any choice.
But, if we incorporate, the County will still need ways to balance its budget but it can't cut anything mentioned above. I want Alamo to be treated as other incorporated cities, and keep Alamo money in Alamo rather than spreading it countywide. Doesn't that make sense to you?
It's now time to incorporate so every Alamo citizen has a voice and a place to be heard. Please vote yes on Measure A.
Nancy Dommes, Alamo
Incorporation opponent Stephen Heafey and his wife, Denise Padovani, have sent in several letters and Web site posts with information which I would like to correct.
* Affordable housing: No law requires either the County or the Town of Alamo to build affordable housing. State zoning mandates apply to both counties and cities. The County general plan specifically for Alamo states "multiple family residential units shall be provided in suitable densities and locations. A range of densities shall be offered in order to provide for a variety of family sizes, income levels and age groups." (Section 3.112 of the County General Plan specifically for Alamo.) If a private developer using the County's General Plan proposes affordable housing in Alamo, if we are incorporated, Alamo citizens will decide where and what gets built; if we are not incorporated, bureaucrats in Martinez will decide.
* City growth: An incorporated city is not required to grow. Please check the 2000 and 2008 populations of the incorporated cities of Clayton, Moraga, Piedmont, Orinda, Ross, Hillsborough, Woodside, etc. All grew by only a few hundred people in the 2000s. This was primarily due to empty-nesters selling their houses to growing families.
* Alamo study by an engineering firm: Winzler & Kelly has a Municipal Services Group under which it performs financial studies for municipalities, including two Comprehensive Fiscal Analyses for two cities in 2008 who successfully incorporated by vote of their residents.
* Annexation to Danville or Walnut Creek: No representative of our movement has ever threatened annexation as a reason for incorporation, in writing or in presentations. We believe it is extremely unlikely and undesirable. A well known incorporation opponent has suggested annexation with Danville is desirable, but we have not.
* Alameda County's Measure F: We want voters to realize that a County can legally raise taxes on unincorporated areas with a vote of all County residents. Alameda County voters, including incorporated cities, have approved and raised the County unincorporated tax three times in the last 15 years, most recently in June 2008, because it's not hard to get someone to vote to raise a tax that they don't pay. A Town of Alamo cannot legally raise taxes without a vote of all Alamo residents, and only Alamo residents.
* Who really wants Alamo to stay the way it is: Our entire movement was formed because the principal founders wanted Alamo to stay the way it is. The leaders of our movement are the ones who have been vocal and visible at County and regional meetings fighting traffic on Danville Boulevard, and fighting to keep it two lanes. We have not seen incorporation opponents at these meetings but we would welcome their participation as it takes eternal vigilance by everyone in Alamo to keep Alamo the way it is.
Alamo voters, don't be fooled by fear and threats. Get the facts on our Web site, www.alamoinc.org.
Sharon Burke, Alamo Incorporation Movement