Story Poles Installed at Chevy’s in Pleasant Hill – Residents Plan Protest of Proposed Hilton Hotel

July 29, 2014 9:59 am · 89 comments

Residents in Pleasant Hill are planning a protest of the proposed Hilton Hotel, which could soon be constructed at the site of the old Chevy’s building on Ellinwood Way.

Signs have been posted at the proposed site.

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The city of Pleasant Hill will hold a study session on Aug. 7th.

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And residents plan to be there.

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They say the proposed hotel won’t fit into the neighborhood.

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Residents say they feel like they’re being deceived.

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Story poles have been erected to see what the outline of the building will look like, and how big it will be.

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The proposed hotel will take up much of the Chevy’s parking lot, and also the Chevy’s building, which would be demolished.

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Members of the public have expressed concerns about the height, mass, location, use, design, views, lighting, potential noise, traffic and possible increase in crime and concerns about impact on property values and overall compatibility with the neighborhood.

The hotel would be three or four stories, and would include 129 guest rooms.

1 Anonymous July 29, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Good…maybe it will make the rent over there affordable again.

2 Leigha July 29, 2014 at 10:16 AM

That’s right by the freeway. Next to residence inn and condos. I dot see what the problem is. Would probably block some of the freeway noise for folks living over there.

3 Cowellian July 29, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Four whole stories?

Oh, my!

4 NIMBYism at it's Finest July 29, 2014 at 10:24 AM

The council is evil and deceptive for wanting to bring businesses into PH? Can we stop with this nonsense?

I wonder how many of the Ellinwood neighbors stood up against other developments in PH that didn’t have a direct effect on their own neighborhood. Probably not too many.

Why do people have to resort to name calling and accusations when they disagree with someone else’s opinion? So, you don’t agree. There’s a place for you to address your concerns without demonizing others.

As someone else said, “Four whole stories?” It’s right along the freeway, which seems appropriate.

5 LOL when will people learn? July 29, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Government people, such as City Councils representatives, work for the benefit of themselves and their own (or paid for) agenda. What they decide to do to the City or County, State or on the Federal Level, has NOTHING to do with what the people want. They work for who pays them the most of what will benefit them the most.

People like to call elected representatives leaders. They are not leaders, they are takers. They put on the “dog and pony” show to satisfy easily fooled public, overseers and to comply with meaningless laws.

Whoever gives representatives the most money, or some other worthwhile benefit, will get the attention and the return of favors.

We The People are an inconsequential joke to them.

6 skrab July 29, 2014 at 10:31 AM

The houses over there are dumpy. I think most are rentals.

7 Alexey Solofnenko July 29, 2014 at 10:35 AM

The nearby buildings near freeway are three story – no big deal. It would block some freeway noise too.

8 Anonymous July 29, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Seriously, what is the problem? Would they rather have an abandoned lot there? And honestly, it isn’t like it’s a cheap motel going in there…

9 @skrab July 29, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Yes, the majority of that entire area is a 500 unit apartment complex. And a plot of land with townhouses are also over there, though not nearly as large of a complex. So you are correct, most of the people living there are renters.

10 Some people need a hobby July 29, 2014 at 10:47 AM

or a job, or something. Four stories is too massive? Lol, it might block their view of the lovely freeway.

11 SpiritDog July 29, 2014 at 10:48 AM

I’m encountering the same type of deception from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the destruction/massacre of America’s wild horses. And, of course, there has been the gradual yet steady urban sprawl that has decimated our wild places. When it comes to greed and government we always lose. I wish you well. By the way, I used to like that Chevy restaurant for the most part.

12 C July 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM

The people in that neighborhood are obviously uneducated folk who have no concept of business or the world around them.

13 Anonymous July 29, 2014 at 11:04 AM

First they get upset when they tear down a theater and then they get upset when they build a hotel…

14 formeremployee July 29, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Ridiculous. Everything around there is 2 or 3 stories already, including the homes (and including the more massive ellinwood center). If you’re going to have a soapbox, find a reasonable argument.

15 Barbosa July 29, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Heck no to Hilton!! We want Dick’s there and nothing but a Dick’s will do.

16 snurmac July 29, 2014 at 11:20 AM

if you didn’t want them to build on the site you should have gotten together and bought the property. it’s too bad but the company sees $ signs and so does the city in tax revenue. what’s the problem?

17 Tree Farm July 29, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Haha, post #1 nailed it! 9 years ago, I paid $1350 for a ONE bedroom apartment. I checked about 3 years ago what rent is like now. $1750 for the one bedroom! What a joke.

Anyways, build build build. Those story poles tell the story of a surprisingly small hotel lol.

18 just a concordian July 29, 2014 at 11:33 AM

A hotel is hardly anything to get upset about. Especially a good brand like the Hilton.

19 Zack July 29, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Isn’t there a 3 story building for JFK just down the block? I frankly would love to have another hotel option for friends/family to utilize nearby

20 tired of taxes July 29, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Pleasant Hill just wants to edge out Walnut Creek for the snobbiest city position.

Hotel trumps than abandoned lot. Abandoned lot trumps abandoned lot with lots of home-made signs protesting putting up the hotel.
They should have made the signs match the current look-and-feel of the neighborhood.

21 Cowellian July 29, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Barbosa@15,
Based on those hand-painted signs, I’m guessing they may already be there.

22 furian July 29, 2014 at 12:17 PM

What about a four story Olive Garden instead?

23 SKS July 29, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Gosh. You would think they are proposing it remotely nearby to The Woodlands in Walnut Creek !!!!

NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!! NIMBYs !!!

I say approve it and build it.

24 Marissa July 29, 2014 at 12:54 PM

not yet, another hilton isn’t needed there. The location is outstanding, far off in a meadow in the woods, surrounded by a flowing stream, all that is needed is the river. But no, this is concord not some far off land that doesn’t exist. We do not need another hotel.

25 Reality Slap July 29, 2014 at 12:58 PM

129 Unit Hotel for who? Is there really a need for a Hotel that size? What is the occupancy rate of the hotels now?

26 Sooth Sayer July 29, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Aren’t the condos in Elinwood 3 stories??? and they are protesting a building that will be the same height or just a little taller? that will block freeway noise?

Get a freakin life people!

27 Sooth Sayer July 29, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Dear Homeowners,

if you persist in supporting Prop 13 and restricting property tax revenues to your City, then the only alternative to pay for the services you demand are strip malls and hotels because the City can get some sales and occupancy taxes from those. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

28 The Realist July 29, 2014 at 1:16 PM

For whom?
Well based on the area, and income levels, and it’s near the freeway and mall.
Mostly prostitutes and meth addicts will patronize this new hotel.
Doesn’t matter what the residents or council wants, Hilton already bought and paid the committee to approve this.

29 JET July 29, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Ellinwood was a VERY nice area back in the day (like late 80’s and early 90’s) but in the last 15 years it has gone down the drain! Like other posters here have said, most of those units are rentals. And from what I know of the people living there, it is definitely not ‘working class’…… more like unemployed 20-somethings selling crack.

30 Mimi (original) July 29, 2014 at 1:35 PM

I think “the Realist” is right on the money! And I have to reiterate the question of “really? what is the occupancy of the area’s other hotels? I think they’re ignoring the face that there’s a hotel off Diamond Blvd that’s undergone name changes and ownership many times in the past 10 years – maybe they should just renovate that property and leave Ellinwood alone.

31 Protesters are losing their freeway view July 29, 2014 at 1:35 PM

and the mesmerizing view of bright shiny things moving about.

32 Resident of Ellinwood July 29, 2014 at 1:58 PM

These signs and campaign are being lead by one of the Board Members of the Ellinwood Townhouse HOA Board. This woman is not liked by all most all of the residents of Eillinwood. She is nosey, pushy, and feels this is her own personal neighborhood to control. She will walk into your garage or home if your front door is open, without being invited in. As one of the owners of a Town home in Ellinwood HOA, I am excited this hotel is being built here, instead of the empty old Chevys lot being left here. I also believe it will raise home values as well as help with noise reduction. Most the residents of Ellinwood are in favor of this project. And I for one will be at this meeting to let the developer know how happy we are they are doing something with the empty lot.

33 @The Realist and Mimi July 29, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Why do you think Hilton wants to build a hotel there? So they can lose money? The Chevy’s site has been an eyesore for years. What do you propose the city does with the property? There was just an article in the paper about the lack of hotel rooms in WC. Maybe PH wants to capitalize on that.

Me thinks your paranoia is showing. Why do you think that the committee (council?) has been bought and paid for…because they want it?

The worst thing about that site is it’s access. One way in and one way out. Other than that, it’s not a bad decision for an empty lot. People driving on the freeway will see a bright new shiny hotel next to JFKU. That’s a good thing for the city.

34 Claytonian July 29, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Doesn’t P-hill have a height limitation ordinance? I seem to recall that it’s 2.5 stories or 35 feet. I think that it was put in place due to a general ballot vote (not City Council vote), as a result of the Terraces office building. Wasn’t there a group called People Over Pleasant Hill that was created to promote it? I think Kim Brandt and Terri Williamson used to be involved with them.

35 Elwood July 29, 2014 at 2:34 PM

God knows what the PH city council might do. Four of five (except Jack Weir) are totally divorced from reality.

They’re being sued, and will lose, for writing a gun store ordinance so restrictive that it is impossible to locate one anywhere in the city.

They have adopted the ridiculous plastic bag banning ordinance.

What’s next for Berkeley east? A soda tax?

They may prefer a vacant lot and an eyesore abandoned building to a revenue producing hotel.

36 Cowellian July 29, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Is it really needed?

Hilton evidently thinks those rooms are needed, or they wouldn’t be spending the big bucks to build them. And no one else seems to be willing to spend money on the site.

37 Tom July 29, 2014 at 3:11 PM

It’s the Hilton. It’s not like it’s a strip club. Wow.

38 BusBoy July 29, 2014 at 3:49 PM

@ Elwood #35

Regarding the gun ordnance the City council bulldozed through… Funny enough they have made it even MORE cumbersome for any local gun store to locate in PHill… One of the 3 I think it was areas where you could put a gun store was… wait for it… yep you guessed it. at the current spot of where the Hilton is building I think… lol so now its a pad in the Best buy parking area or someplace else… cant remember anymore.

Anywho… as was stated almost all besides Weir are corrupt.

39 Ven Exeter July 29, 2014 at 5:17 PM

This is a clear case of attempted obstruction of commerce.

40 Anonymous Supporter July 29, 2014 at 6:27 PM

I don’t live anywhere near where the hotel will be built, but I completely support what the neighborhood residents are doing. I think it is very easy to act like it is no big thing, when it is not your own neighborhood. As was mentioned by Claytonian, there is an issue with the height of the hotel, and from what I understand, the City Council is making an exception and fast tracking the OK for the hotel. I love that some of the people who live in that neighborhood are speaking out and trying to stop the hotel from being built. It takes guts to stand up to the City Council. Most people would just let it happen, and then sit around complaining about it for the rest of their lives.

41 @Elwood and Busboy July 29, 2014 at 6:45 PM

You poor gun owners! You only have like four different locations in a small city like PH to buy your guns!

Geez, the way you talk about gun shops makes me think they are your houses of worship. Do you really think that most of the residents of the city wants more gun shops? Most of the people I know want better libraries, schools and roads.

Elwood says four out of the five councilmembers are divorced from reality. Odds are that it’s the one lone guy.

42 @Anonymous Supporter July 29, 2014 at 6:46 PM

It doesn’t take guts to be a nimby. I’ll bet those people don’t give a darn what happens elsewhere in the city.

43 green July 29, 2014 at 6:55 PM

the area is dumpy. lots if homless there by the boy scouts/residence inn. lots of broken car window glass on the curbs.

44 Julio July 29, 2014 at 8:10 PM

#5 I have to agree with #5. Anyone who spends anytime at city council meetings or others mentioned KNOW what he is saying is correct.

Stand your ground folks!!

45 Marissa July 29, 2014 at 8:15 PM

We do not need another Hilton Hotel in the city. No reason for it!

46 Dorothy Englund July 29, 2014 at 8:21 PM

I suggest those who favor the hotel read Pleasant Hill’s General Plan. The General Plan includes a maximum allowed density and Council approved a rezoning for the Chevy’s site that is more than double the maximum allowed density in the General Plan. What do they think “maximum allowed” means?

One of the Senior Planners said that the maximum allowed density applies city-wide. But, oh wait, he forgot to consult the General Plan definitions that confirm the residents are correct – the maximum allowed density (or floor area ratio) is building or site specific (not applicable city-wide).

I’ve already discussed the issue with two real estate attorneys who were amazed the City approved the excess density without revising the General Plan. And, the City should have performed a comprehensive review of our “current” 2003 General Plan in 2008 and again in 2013 (every five years).

The residents are absolutely right to protest this proposed hotel project. The General Plan is a City’s Constitution. You can’t change the rules without updating the General Plan.

I wish some of the pro-hotel posters would learn a bit about land use
and General Plans and zoning ordinances before posting.

47 Anon July 29, 2014 at 9:20 PM

Thank goodness it is election time soon. Except for Weir they need to go. Time for some new talant. If people vote for incumbants other than Weir prepare for more of the same, as this counsel racks up the lawsuits.

48 @Marissa July 29, 2014 at 9:23 PM

you do realize this PHill not Concord?

49 max July 29, 2014 at 10:13 PM

A hotel is a problem but the welfare office that brings scum from every city is OK! I know I do maintenance there you wouldn’t believe the things that happen there.And why does someone with $200 shoes I- phones cigarettes car with $6000 wheels need welfare?

50 Marissa July 29, 2014 at 10:22 PM

@Marissa Yes, there’s already enough hotels in PHill and the surrounding cities, why is another one needed?

51 Pleasant Hill Resident I July 29, 2014 at 10:52 PM

That area is actually very pretty and the existing hotel is definitely an eyesore (and it rarely looks occupied outside of PG&E trucks, so I can’t imagine another one being any more useful). Unfortunately, the renters are not the ones who would have the eyesore of another hotel – the privately owned condos would. I’d be annoyed too if I were them. First, the best margarita shack in walking distance closes down and now another hotel? Blah. Cheap condos coming up for sale soon, ya’ll! ;)

52 Jack Weir July 30, 2014 at 4:41 AM

The group formed by Marilyn Watson, Terri Williamson and Kim Brandt to lobby for reasonable land use in Pleasant Hill is Pleasant Hill Citizens for Responsible Growth, of which I am a member and former president.
PHCRG will hold a membership meeting this evening, July 30 at 7pm in the Community Room at city hall, 100 Gregory Lane.
The proposed Hilton Extended Stay hotel and other local issues will be discussed.
Visit http://www.phcrg.org.

53 The story poles don't represent the actual configuration of the hotel July 30, 2014 at 7:31 AM

They define the maximum height and perimeter. An actual architect’s rendering of the building would be much more informative. If the developers really want to cooperate and co-exist with the community, they should provide more definitive illustrations of the project.

54 RynDogRun July 30, 2014 at 7:39 AM

It is an indicator, a beacon, of
where the City will be heading in
the future. Give an inch now,
and you can count on a mile
eventually. You have to have
worked in the canyons of a
big city ti know what tall
buildings do to the landscape.

55 Get over it. July 30, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Its called progress, you country hicks.

56 With all due respect... July 30, 2014 at 10:54 AM

to the PHCRG and other concerned citizens, the hotel is already a done deal.

Remember Dick’s? There is nothing the people could to stop that place.

Money has quietly and secretly changed hands, the deal is in place.

The people of Pleasant Hill have lost again.

57 In Terri's Name July 30, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Sorry, Jack Weir. The group that you became a part of had little to do with the original mission. In Marilyn’s later years, she complained that PHCRG was the same in name only and that she would have nothing else to do with the group.

58 @Dorothy Englund July 30, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Oh no! Are you suing the city again? Or just posturing for your run?

59 Shelly July 30, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Hey, if what Dorothy Englund is true someone should probably be looking into suing the city pretty quick.

60 Question for PH Peeps July 30, 2014 at 1:47 PM

There was a survey that I believe was part of the general plan that neighborhoods were important.Then the Oak Park Christian Center wanted to expand and they built a huge building (and I think they want to expand again) in the middle of a residential area. The project was eventually approved. Was that in violation of the city’s general plan? if so, did anyone sue the city? I think there was a threat of a suit by a religious advocacy group but that was to allow it, not to stop the city from approving it.

61 @Dorothy Englund July 30, 2014 at 1:49 PM

It seems that the hotel project fits in with the land use in that area. Aren’t exceptions to size, etc made all the time by review?

62 Cowellian July 30, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Instead of just whining about the situation, at least Dorothy brings real facts to the discussion.

63 Dorothy Englund July 30, 2014 at 2:13 PM

@ Poster 58
I have never sued the City. However, this would make for an excellent case. The attorneys I spoke with said they just had a similar case that went to court and they easily prevailed. The real question is, why doesn’t Mayor Flaherty understand the importance of a City’s General Plan? He is, after all, a real estate attorney. He can’t claim ignorance.

I also don’t “posture.” I am open, honest and transparent. Perhaps if you did the same and told the truth, you would post under your real name.

64 Dorothy Englund July 30, 2014 at 2:21 PM

@Cowellian #61
Thanks!
The other fact is that staff originally told the Planning Commission (back in March) that the project would be subject to review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Shortly after that, staff indicated the project was exempt (class 32, infill exemption). In order to be exempt, the project has to be consistent with the General Plan and zoning ordinance. How can any rational individual believe that more than doubling the maximum allowed density (which the City has not done since Measure B was passed in 1986) is consistent with our General Plan and zoning ordinance?

Further, a class 32 infill exemption is a categorical exemption. That requires that the City ensure there will be no significant impacts to historical resources (which include Native American cultural resources). The Ellinwood area (which was originally comprised of about 80 acres) was originally identified as a potentially significant Native American (Indian at the time) resource when the first Environmental Impact Report was prepared. The City’s consultants didn’t consider the potential impact on Native American cultural resources when they recommended the class 32 exemption.

I don’t want to bore you and everyone else with too many facts. But, to be sure the City is moving way too fast and is making way too many mistakes – just like the City did with St. Theresa’s Retreat, In-N-Out Burger, and the Dome.

65 Dorothy Englund July 30, 2014 at 2:41 PM

@61
Exceptions can be made under certain circumstances.

Variances can be granted, but they cannot be granted if it results in an agency conferring special privileges to the applicant and his project. In this case, how could Hilton Homewood Suites (or whatever hotel it turns out to be) argue it was not receiving a special privilege when the Marriott Residence Inn (right next door) was kept to two stories, and essentially the same number of rooms on twice the land?

Some adjustments to standards are allowed with a rezoning to Planned Unit Development (PUD). However, those are generally premised on a project conferring a benefit to the public (parks, open space, a WWI monument and the maintenance of that monument at the Hyatt on Contra Costa Blvd., etc.).

The General Plan and zoning ordinance describe situations that might justify greater density (i.e. up to 35% density bonus if you are providing extremely affordable housing). But, there is nothing in our General Plan and zoning ordinance to suggest a single commercial building on a single parcel is entitled to a density bonus of more than 100%.

In fact, our municipal code specifically states that PUDs that existed as of October 21, 1995 (although I think the City means to say October 21, 1996) must follow the schedules that limit building heights to 35 feet and 2 and 1/2 stories. Why would the City impose such strict standards on PUDs that existed back in 1995 or 1996 and not impose the same restrictions on PUDs created after 1995 or 1996?

The General Plan Amendment Application Guide tells applicants to make sure the amendment is consistent with Measure B (the 1986 voter-approved controlled-growth initiative which established the height, stories and density maximums in our General Plan and zoning ordinance). The Rezoning Application Guide says the same thing. These guides were updated in 2007. I’ve asked to review the PUD Rezoning Guide and the Hillside PUD Application Guide and the City claims it can’t locate them and nobody knows anything about those guides.

I think we’re looking at engine failure.

66 Guap July 30, 2014 at 2:46 PM

NIMBY’s where do you think the tax base comes from?? Maybe you should pony up for an increae in parcel tax!?

67 Dorothy Englund July 30, 2014 at 2:51 PM

@60
I haven’t reviewed the Oak Park Christian Center development application and City approval in detail. However, I do know the Planning Commission originally approved a height in excess of the 35 foot maximum for the zone (for the steeple). For whatever reason, the Planning Commission got it wrong and Council had to reject the Planning Commission’s approval of the “variance” (that never should have been granted in the first place.

The project included a balcony area with several seats. The Church cannot occupy the balcony during church services until it comes up with adequate parking (and I have no idea how the Church can provide adequate parking). I heard the City was going to allow “valet parking” to help with the insufficient parking. If I attended that Church, I would just park on a neighborhood street rather than have to wait for a valet to bring me my car at the end of the Sunday service.

My question is why the church appears so close to the street. I can’t believe the City honored the standard setbacks. I would like to review the file (at some point when I have time) to see how the City calculated the front-yard setback. The building does seem to jump out at you as you walk by, and it does appear massive in the single-family neighborhood setting.

68 Shelly July 30, 2014 at 2:55 PM

What I meant to say at #59;

Hey, if what Dorothy Englund said is true, someone should probably be looking into suing the city pretty quick.

69 Dorothy Englund July 30, 2014 at 3:08 PM

@Guap #66
Sorry, but defending the General Plan does not meet the definition of NIMBY. A NIMBY wouldn’t want the project in his or her backyard even if it conforms to the General Plan and zoning ordinance. This hotel does not.

70 Dorothy Englund July 30, 2014 at 3:11 PM

@Shelly #68-
The Homeowners’ Association has an attorney who has already contacted the City. I hope it won’t come to a lawsuit. The City still has time to get things right. I was very encouraged by the last Architectural Review Commission Meeting where the Commissioners directed staff to have the Applicant come back with a three-story model that drops to two stories closest to the townhouses. The problem is, the Applicant can’t downsize to three and two stories without losing several rooms. The project is already at the maximum lot coverage so the footprint can’t get any bigger.

71 Dorothy Englund July 30, 2014 at 3:25 PM

@In Terri’s Name #57
I wasn’t a member of Pleasant Hill Citizens for Responsible Growth (PHCRG) when the ranks broke years and years ago. I believe some of the members defected and formed their own PHCRG (Pleasant Hill Citizens for Responsible Government) which they dissolved back in 2008 or 2009.

Terri was a big part of why I am running for City Council in 2014. She emailed me on June 26, 2013 and said:

“I wish you would run for council, or at least get on the Planning commission. The City needs you, dammit. But, if you won’t keep doing what you do so well. The Council and the Commission hears you, never doubt that, and they ARE listening.”

Terri was one of residents’ most powerful and vocal advocates when it came to defending our General Plan and maintaining our small town charm. Lots of public officials promise to preserve the character of our neighborhoods, but few truly and consistently practice what they preach.

I was so relieved when Michael Harris failed in his attempt to deny Terri Williamson the City Council seat that became vacant when Karen Mitchoff took her seat on the County Board of Supervisors. David Durant, John Hanecak, and Jack Weir did the right and honorable thing by the residents of Pleasant Hill. They listened and appointed Terri Williamson to fill the vacancy.

72 Brian July 30, 2014 at 4:17 PM

I’m surprised at the vitriol from folks who know little or nothing about the Ellinwood neighborhood, the people who live there or the issue at hand. You are correct – it’s all about more revenue…but at the detriment of livability in Pleasant Hill. I think the anonymity of this site makes vile comments come easy for some.

NIMBY? You betcha. There are hundreds of uses for the former Chevy’s property that don’t include a four story block of concrete and steel. Further, there’s no Hilton franchise…so while the developer may build, they may not come. Then what happens? Someone has to pay for that empty structure…all you who are in favor of the project, would you like your tax dollars directed toward that instead of the amenities you enjoy in Pleasant Hill?

Rather than exploring alternatives to the “hotel” and following proper planning guidelines, the city has fast-tracked approval, misrepresented what the project will be and ignored it’s residents. Ellinwood might not be your backyard, but beware if this effort by the city succeeds. Your backyard may be next.

Development of the old Chevy’s parcel is of course favorable to having an empty building there. What residents of Ellinwood would like to see is a city observing the guidelines it has put in place and communicating and interacting with its residents in good faith. What Pleasant Hill has shown us is none of that…just a total disregard of anything other than money.

73 In Terri's Name July 30, 2014 at 8:38 PM

PHCRGovernment had nothing to do with PHCRGrowth with the exception that they used the same initials to confuse people.

74 Dorothy Englund #71 July 30, 2014 at 8:51 PM

In your last paragraph, you write that you were happy that Michael Harris “failed in his attempt to deny Terri Williamson the City Council seat that became vacant when Karen Mitchoff took her seat on the County Board of Supervisors”

That’s a bit of revisionist history. Harris worried that appointing a third place finisher would set a precedent, but Jack Weir also had the same concerns according to the minutes of the meeting on 1-24-11.

“Councilmember Weir stated he was concerned that the public might perceive the appointment to be a precedent-setting action. He reiterated that he found strong support for all three of the options the Council had considered. He explained they were not able to agree upon an election or an appointment process and it had not been their intention to set a precedent.”

In the end, the final vote was:
Motion (Durant/Hanecak) to Adopt Resolution No. 4-11 Appointing Terri Williamson to the City Council to Fill the Unexpired Term of Karen Mitchoff carried as follows:
AYES: Hanecak, Harris, Weir, Durant
NOES: None
ABSTAIN: None
RECUSE: None
ABSENT: None

Ms. Englund- You will be held to a high standard if you are running for city council. People will pick apart everything you say, so you should use care in making statements that can be proven wrong.

My family is very appreciative of your dedication to the city of PH but it seems like you are always ready for a fight. We’ve had enough dysfunctional councils over the years and don’t need another.

We look forward to hearing the positive things you will do for the city. What is your vision? What inspires you? Please don’t make this campaign about how bad other candidates are. If you have something that you can offer the city, tell us. It would be a refreshing change.

75 Wendy Lack July 30, 2014 at 10:08 PM

@ #74

Having Councilmembers that will adhere to the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance would be a good thing and a refreshing change from the current lawlessness in Pleasant Hill policymaking. Dorothy Englund has made it clear she’s eager and qualified to do so.

Having City officials held accountable to operate in an open, accessible, transparent manner would also be a refreshing change. Dorothy Englund continues to oppose backroom dealmaking and other evasions of open meeting laws. She’s an advocate for transparency and public access to government records — much needed at PH City Hall.

Thank goodness for residents like Dorothy who are ethical, knowledgeable, and willing to speak up when public officials get off track. Dorothy Englund will be a welcome addition to the Pleasant Hill City Council, as she’s eminently qualified and committed to representing residents’ long-term interests.

76 New Resident July 30, 2014 at 10:48 PM

I appreciate the intelligent discussion here and am glad to know people are aware of some of the horrendous planning decisions that were approved in this town in years past. I am fairly new to town and wondered about some buildings… Cruising around PH I get the general sense of adorable, quaint, then all of a suddent a WTF building pops out, such as the awfuly located Christain center mentioned earlier. This is a great town and I am happy to have moved here, but some of the zoning/planning approvals give it a trashy feel. As said above, don’t rush at his decision. Have a plan, brand this town as a family, safe, quaint town, and approve all construction carefully. It will make a world of difference to home values and town pride. So simple. I don’t know much about town politics yet but I can see from discussions there are some passionate opinions and some people really care. Please keep caring! Don’t sell out!!
PS: off topic, but possibly try to get rid of all the meth heads begging for money around town too. That would REALLy help class things up!

77 Wendy Lack #75 July 30, 2014 at 11:43 PM

Yes, we’ve established her commitment. I asked her to address her false statement.

You are obviously a big supporter of hers, but the rest of us deserve to hear her account for the things she says that are misleading or untrue. I’m sure that since she’s running on her integrity, she’ll want to.

78 Dorothy Englund July 31, 2014 at 7:03 AM

@#74
If I am incorrect in reporting the final vote on the reappointment of Terri Williamson, I apologize. Michael Harris may have agreed to the appointment once he realized he was in the minority. I will go back and review the meeting videos to see what led up to the final vote you posted (including any previous motions that failed, if applicable).

With that said, you must agree that Michael Harris did everything he could to prevent Terri Williamson from being reappointed to Council. He also did everything he could do to prevent Jack Weir from becoming Mayor. He was unsuccessful in the first case and unfortunately succeeded in the latter.

I agree we’ve had dysfunctional councils over the years, and the current council ranks right up there with them. While I don’t favor negative campaigns, I favor the truth, honesty, and integrity above all else. If the truth hurts, then perhaps a few of the public officials should have thought about what they were planning to do before they acted.

We all love Pleasant Hill and we all want to keep it a wonderful place to live. I have lots of ideas on how we can keep it that way and I will cover as many of those ideas as I can during my campaign.

Jack Weir and I have created a campaign website:

http://www.rightteam4ph.com

We will be adding more information about the challenges we face and our positions on the issues.

79 Dorothy Englund July 31, 2014 at 7:45 AM

@#74
It was just as I remembered. Michael Harris changed his vote once he knew he had lost. You were looking at the January 24, 2011 Council meeting minutes. Please take a look at the January 10, 2011 Council meeting minutes (and the video of that meeting):

Excerpts from January 10, 2011 Council meeting minutes:
Mayor Durant made a motion, seconded by Councilmember Hanecak, to instruct staff to prepare a resolution for the Council Meeting on January 24, 2011 to have Council make a direct appointment of the individual who received the next-highest amount of votes in the November 2010 City Council Election. (link)

Councilmember Harris made a substitute motion to direct staff to prepare a Resolution Calling for an Application and Interview Process. That process would include an opportunity for members of the public to submit written questions, which would be vetted and provided to the applicants through a moderator. The process would include an application similar to running for election, a letter of intent and questions from previous election questions modified as needed to reflect the current situation. The motion did not receive a second and therefore failed. (link)

Motion (Durant/Hanecak) to Instruct Staff to prepare a resolution for the Council Meeting on January 24, 2011 to have the Council make a direct appointment of the individual who received the next-highest amount of votes in the November 2010 City Council Election carried as follows:

AYES: Hanecak, Weir, Durant
NOES: Harris
ABSTAIN: None
RECUSE: None
ABSENT: None

80 YES, keep fighting July 31, 2014 at 9:05 AM

PH residents. The outcome will be just like Dicks.

Money has changed hands, the hotel is already a done deal. People are beating a dead horse, so to speak.

81 Dorothy Englund #79 July 31, 2014 at 10:56 AM

So, I am confused. You don’t want council members to do due diligence when it comes to making decisions? The residents of PH were not completely in alignment when it came to appointing Terri.

From the 12/21/2010 CCTimes:
The lead sentence;
“Residents are split on how to fill Karen Mitchoff’s seat, with some favoring a special election and others urging the council to appoint Terri Williamson because she was the third-place finisher in the November election. ”

and…
“Support for Williamson, however, is not universal.

In an e-mail to the council, Ron Butler wrote, “Please appoint anyone other than Terri Williamson to the council. Williamson has dined at the public trough for 25 years and was rejected by the voters. Enough already!”

Mayor David Durant and Councilman Jack Weir said the election results aren’t clear-cut and may not accurately reflect support for Williamson. For example, Weir said he knows people who voted for only one candidate even though two seats were on the ballot. ”

Here’s the link to the article.
http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_16913062

You are also cited in the article as questioning Karen Mitchoff’s motives for leaving when she did.

I find it bizarre that you seem to know what people’s intentions are all the time- ” Michael Harris changed his vote once he knew he had lost.”

Maybe he thought he was being fair by asking the questions. Maybe he didn’t like Terri and didn’t want her to be on the council. Whatever. It’s clear from your posts that you are not a fan of Harris, so your analysis of his reasoning is as hollow as someone who tries to interpret yours,

82 Dorothy Englund July 31, 2014 at 8:59 PM

@#81
I absolutely support our Council members doing due diligence. I don’t know where you would get that idea. And, I encourage you to do your due diligence as well. The Contra Costa times article is one source of information. But, you should watch the January 2011 Council meeting videos, review the staff reports, and the letters and emails members of the public submitted to Council.

I don’t know everyone’s intentions all the time – but I do much of the time. You may recall that everyone wondered how I predicted that Michael Harris was going to try to deny Jack Weir the Mayor spot. I’m not prophetic, I just pay attention to what our public officials are doing and who or what is likely to be motivating them. Please review the video of the December 2, 2013 Council meeting.

In my recent posts on this topic, I am just correcting the previous poster #74 (perhaps you) who was obviously confused by the vote at the January 24, 2011 meeting and didn’t know what really happened. I think you would agree it’s important to know the facts and keep them straight. The facts generally speak for themselves.

The January 24, 2011 vote was a vote to determine whether staff had brought back the Council resolution as directed at the prior Council meeting on January 10, 2011. So, it is “revisionist” to try to construe that vote as Harris’ agreeing to reappoint Terri Williamson. He was totally against reappointing Terri and if you watch the video you will see how Harris vigorously challenges other Council members when he is truly for or against something.

Harris also challenged John Hanecak to change his position on Crestwood about ten years ago. Residents are still complaining how Harris campaigned saying he was opposed to the project and then suddenly changed his mind after the election. In contrast, Harris was not vigorous in his opposition to the rezoning for the Hilton Homewood Suites project. It’s an election year. You connect the dots.

If you attend several Council meetings over several years, and do the kind of research I’ve done on the various issues, you too may gain some insight into how everyone operates.

83 Dorothy Englund #81 July 31, 2014 at 10:45 PM

I get the idea that you don’t want council members to do due diligence because you seem to demonize those who disagree with you. I am not sure I understand what your implication is about Harris’ vote.

The CC Times is one source, but it is a source and it quoted people directly from that meeting. How interesting that you are touting your special awareness of knowing that Weir wasn’t going to be Mayor. I thought that he was shocked and humiliated. Why would you let him go through that if you knew that it was going to happen?

Harris voted to allow Terri be appointed–even if he had questions beforehand. Maybe some of his constituents told him they didn’t like the idea and he was asking questions on their behalf. Maybe he didn’t want to set a precedent, like Weir stated himself in the article, for the appointment.

Interesting that you bring up the Crestwood vote. How do you know that Harris challenged Hanecak to change his position on the vote? Is that fact or just your special awareness again? Was Hanecak even on the council back then? You are using real people’s names. I wonder if Hanecak would say that Harris challenged him in the way you are alluding to,

It looks like you are mining deep for issues to bring up against Harris for this year’s election. Running on a platform of he’s bad, so vote for me, is one strategy, but you run the risk of alienating voters.

You have put yourself out there plenty on this blog, so I think voters will have some insight into you as well.

84 Dorothy Englund August 1, 2014 at 7:35 AM

@#83
I am not demonizing anyone who disagrees with me. What I take issue with is public officials who disregard the letter and spirit of the Brown Act and refuse to deliberate openly. That is what happened with the Mayoral election.

Jack was surprised that Harris actually went through with his plan. I told Jack in mid-November that I thought Harris was going to try to deny him the Mayor slot. And, I think Jack discounted my intuition because he thought more highly of Flaherty and Carlson and didn’t believe they would go along with a petty power play. I have spoken with pillars of the Pleasant Hill Community who insist they will not vote for or endorse Harris this time around. I will watch for the endorsements and see if that’s true.

Harris had no choice but to approve Terri’s appointment on January 24, 2011. He knew he’d already lost his bid to interview and appoint someone else as soon as three of the four council members voted to reappoint Terri.

I know about Crestwood because several members of Pleasant Hill Citizens for Responsible Growth were active in opposing that project and attended all the meetings. I have also spoken with residents who live in the immediate area. One told me that he didn’t have a problem with Harris voting to approve the project (even though he had assured residents he was opposed during his campaign). He said he had a problem with the way Harris tried to persuade Hanecak to change his vote.

If the City still had the videos of those Council meetings from ten years ago, I would request a DVD. I have done that many times before. I have already asked Mayor Flaherty to make videos of Council meetings a permanent record. And, I heard that he has asked staff to do so.

I will not be running on a platform of “he’s bad so vote for me.” I will run on a platform of open government and transparency, truly embracing public participation, and putting residents back on top.

85 Dorothy Englund August 1, 2014 at 9:10 AM

I believe the resident I spoke with may have confused Hanecak with Escover. However, several PHCRG members clearly remember Harris trying to sway the other Council members. I believe them because I’ve observed it myself.

I don’t have a problem with council members being passionate about the matters before them and I encourage all public officials to deliberate openly. And, I recommend that all residents attend the meetings or watch the council meetings on T.V. or watch the videos on the City’s website. That way, residents will know if a council member is truly on their side of the issue or not. And, they will know which council members respond to residents’ questions and concerns and ask the tough questions of staff and fellow council members.

86 Anonymous August 1, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Wow. You would make a good fantasy writer. You make an accusation on a public blog naming other people based on information from a second-hand person’s memory from 10 years ago. Whew!

The most interesting part of it all is that you don’t really admit to your lack of facts. You blame it on a resident (pillar?) by saying you believe they got the people involved confused. You are already sounding like a politician!

You might want to use more care in the future when spreading gossip. Besides potentially getting sued for slander, people (other pillars) are going to be scrutinizing what you say for exactly the reason your last post reveals.

There’s no need to continue this back and forth. I believe you are a smart person who knows a lot about the city. I just don’t think I trust you to be a reasonable person on the council. You can’t seem to agree to disagree without being disagreeable.

87 Dorothy Englund August 1, 2014 at 2:31 PM

@Anonymous-
I don’t write fantasy. I review the facts and connect the dots. If someone isn’t a credible source, I look to corroborate the facts.

You can’t even keep the facts straight that I’ve relayed in this blog. So, if you will identify yourself, I will be happy to contact you directly and clarify things for you.

88 Dorothy Englund #87 August 2, 2014 at 1:51 PM

My goodness. You actually said you review, connect the dots and look to corroborate the facts. How ironic, since what you wrote amounted to hearsay to malign someone. I am not the one who has confused the facts. I have posted links to the city’s website and the newspaper. You only conceded that your source was incorrect when it was pointed it out to you. No corroboration of facts there before you posted.

I actually chuckled at your offer to clarify things for me. Thanks, but I’m good. I’m not interested in your version of clarity, You want open deliberations, but when you don’t like what’s being said, you call it “swaying and challenging”. You have a very skewed view of things. There will be many eyes watching how you use this blog to spread your “facts”. I really hope that you come to realize this before the election. The sad thing is that you could add something to city hall if you’re willing leave your bias and anger behind.

89 Dorothy Englund August 2, 2014 at 7:17 PM

@88
I’m not biased or angered. I think it’s actually entertaining and so are you!

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