Claycord – Talk About Local Politics

May 19, 2017 19:00 pm · 51 comments


This special post is “Talk About LOCAL Politics”.

Please use this post to talk about LOCAL politics, and keep state and national politics out of this thread.

Thank you, and be kind to each other.

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 THE BLACK KNIGHT May 19, 2017 at 7:27 PM

Well, it looks like Lennar-Urban is at it again. First, they changed which parcel of land they wanted to begin building homes on, after years of them telling the City of Concord and its citizens they were going to begin on another parcel of land. Now, they want to change the size of the green belt/buffer zone between existing homes and new construction. They say they are willing to provide the same square footage of “green space” or “parkland” throughout the development. How will they accomplish this? They are going to take square footage away from the green belt/buffer zone between existing homes and new construction, and add square footage of “green space” or “parkland” to the new parks that will be built in “the villages” or somewhere else in the new development. The existing citizens of Concord are once again, GETTING SCREWED OVER, because of the CORRUPT ALLIANCE that exists between Lennar-Urban and the members of the Concord City Council. For years, the members of the Concord City Council have been promising existing residents a certain size green belt/buffer zone, but now the size of the green belt/buffer zone has become negotiable. If you’ve listened closely, Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister has occasionally “let it slip,” that the plan Concord citizens came up with would change, now we are beginning to see this change.

We should have seen what was coming when Hoffmeister, Helix, and Birsan voted to make Lennar-Urban the CNWS Master Developer, after all they were willing to enter into this deal with a company that was giving the City of Concord and its citizens $40 million dollars less than what Catellus had offered us. Then again, first we were told that Lennar-Urban would give us exactly what Catellus had offered in their term sheet, and then the term sheet was negotiated down $40 million in benefits to us, the citizens of the City of Concord.

2 Truth Seeker May 19, 2017 at 8:27 PM

I heard today that Con Fire Chief Jeff Carman is being asked to leave. Any truth to this?

3 KAD May 19, 2017 at 10:07 PM

Black Knight – Re buffer and parkland. It looks to me like they are going to give more green space to be the new residents by taking it away from the existing residents.

4 anon May 20, 2017 at 6:37 AM

Corruption in the affordable Housing industry: Developers on the take from government programs and the “pay to play” mentally is pervasive in the affordable housing programs as exposed by this Frontline investigation.

Frontline from PBS, “Poverty, Politics, and Profit”

5 THE BLACK KNIGHT May 20, 2017 at 10:09 AM

KAD #3,

That’s exactly what they are planning on doing. Existing Concord citizens don’t matter, which is how and why this entire CNWS reuse plan has been pushed on us. The members of the Concord City Council are so proud of themselves and all the “work” they’ve done to bring more housing projects to Concord, yet they still can’t explain how existing Concord citizens will benefit from all these planned housing projects? The answer is there is nothing in it for us!!!

It is “work” like this that has Vice Mayor Edi Birsan and some other members of the council wanting a pay raise, because as Vice Mayor Birsan has stated, “We must honor [their] labor.” The other part of the pay raise issue is that we should give them a pay raise now, because they haven’t had a pay raise in 8 years, and this will allow the raise issue to “reset”, so that in the future they won’t give themselves a larger pay raise. They are actually telling us that we should give them a raise now, because we may not be able to trust them to do the “right thing” in the future, when it comes to a pay raise.

6 Jojo Potato May 20, 2017 at 11:41 AM

Dublin, CA will be opening their $43 million water park soon. See what you can do with developer fees? We’ll never know.

7 Randy May 20, 2017 at 12:59 PM

@jojo. Who pays for maintenance and staffing. Developers fees dry up when there’s no place left to build.

8 Lars Anderson May 20, 2017 at 2:11 PM

I continue to wonder why the City couldn’t get a new library out of the developers of the Naval weapons station. Isn’t that how Clayton got a new library? Wasn’t it built with development funds from all those high end homes that got built in Clayton? I’ve heard the city got some play fields out of developers of the navy base, big deal, there is land galore there, it’s a billion dollar project. Can anybody answer this question? What is city residents getting out of the developers, we will be getting all this traffic a result of this new city being built on navy base land. What are residents going to get? The sheer size of that project, the amount of land available – in a region where there is no property of that size you can develop, indicates to me residents should be getting a lot. If somebody has an answer to that I’m open. Frankly, I don’t trust Helix or Bejerke, they have spent most of their careers working for developers; who are these guys working for – city residents – or for the developers?

9 Random task May 20, 2017 at 2:34 PM

Woah lemmings this is a dem state and a dem city council you voted for all of these people. You made this bed now sleep in it ….yeah you indemnified us to servitude as public slaves to builders and gov corruption and greed as well as yes these are all socialist tactics … want this lack of rights and freedom enjoy being ruled …….you just bullied everyone into this by voting party politics stand up and raise your hand proud ….just like the Germans did in the 30’s…………

10 Jojo Potato May 20, 2017 at 2:34 PM

@Randy – that’s an excellent question. For example after WC built the $40 million library then there was a “surprise” (as in stupid politicians don’t think moment) when it was revealed that maintenance would be $500k per year. Think about that when you pay for parking, or your ticket, next time you visit my fair city.

11 Randy May 20, 2017 at 4:58 PM

@lars. Because it’s not the best use of funds. Tell us what percentage of Concord residents have used the existing library in the last 12 months?

12 D.V. Guy May 21, 2017 at 10:11 AM


The city council has not had a Dem. majority in at least a decade. The big business (payoff) money for this development comes from Orange Co.SoCal Repulsicans. Why else do you think Lenar won? these guys are 3 steps ahead of everyone involved due to our local voter apathy. WE WILL GET WHAT WE DESERVE……..SCREWED!!!

13 Lars Anderson May 21, 2017 at 10:42 AM

The current Concord library is so pitiful nobody uses it, I would agree. Even our homeless citizens turn up their nose at it. If the city builds a new two story show place library people will show up in droves. The library’s being built in surrounding cities are really community centers along – with being a place to check out books. They got conference rooms and even cafe’s. They also have lecture series at the libraries, all sort of events for kids and seniors. Many of these new showplace libraries have a large contingent of volunteers working at them – just like the hospital does- there are people who believe libraries are very important, so much so they volunteer at them. Folks like this have a lots of ideals, and there is nothing more idealistic than having a really good library.
In Concord though something like a new library – which surrounding cities are getting right left, is put on hold because the emphasis in Concord is continually on our PD, there is this claque over at the senior citizens center who continually demand more and more money spent on the PD – they want a police officer on every block even though PD officers cost taxpayers 300K a year. Apparently they don’t feel “safe”. City officials keep indulging the senior citizen public safety lobby because seniors vote, and kids don’t – kids, grammar school kids, high school kids, college kids – they are the chief beneficiaries of new library. These seniors over at the senior citizen center – who oppose the construction of a new library – they are not going to school, many of them can’t even read anymore. What they want is more money from the city for senior programs and a cop on every block so they can feel ” safe”. The city has been indulging the seniors – they vote , that’s a key reason why Concord has turned into an old folks home, to the point where the city slogan should be “Concord, the city for people who are 80 and gum their teeth”. City officials magnify the problem by doing these surveys. They ask voters what they think is their top priority, voters will say – understandably – public safety is important – which it is – but then city officials take this information and use it as an excuse to spend more money -oodles of it – needlessly and stupidly on the PD – to fight a pretend crime wave. City officials also use the surveys as an excuse to pay the officers huge salaries, they have allowed the PD to featherbed the department with managers on top of that I’m 65, I feel safe in Concord, I have lived here all my life, I have never found Concord not to be safe. The question I keep asking, is what’s with this obsession in Concord with police services? The PD is now sucking up 60% of the budget, and Concord has a very, very large budget. Hey, we are not south central LA, or even Richmond. The problem is made worse by our PD Chiefs who continually keep talking about Concord’s gang problem, which they exaggerate to keep their budget artificially high, which it is. Pleasant Hill, one city over, they don’t have a gang problem, but Concord does? I guess the gang members just avoid hanging out in Pleasant Hill, they love Concord but they just don’t like Pleasant Hill. I should mention, Pleasant Hill has a new library on the way, they built a new city hall, they have far superior recreation programs compared to Concord, and they even have a better downtown concert series too – even they they have a far weaker tax base and the city is a lot smaller. The reason we can’t get a new library in Concord is because the focus in Concord is on “gangs, gangs, gangs”, even though we don’t really have gangs, just a few wannabes. I know I keep repeating myself but this dopey senior-citizen-public safety lobby we have in Concord – and this obnoxious Concord PD labor union we have – have far too much influence, members of the community need to speak up. We need a new library in Concord, better recreation programs, more funding of the arts, this overspending on the PD has gone on long enough.

14 videoguy May 21, 2017 at 12:24 PM

Once again Concord is raising it’s sewer rates. Unlike other cities, Concord’s rates are charged per dwelling unit rather than basing their rates on water usage. That’s hardly fair or reasonable. Someone who lives alone and uses very little water pays the same sewer rate as a family of 10. In 2011 Concord’s sewer rate was $306 per unit. In 2017 that rate will increase to $547 per unit. That’s a 79% increase in 6 years. If you agree that this is unfair and unreasonable, voice your opinion, let the city council know.

15 anon May 21, 2017 at 12:41 PM

Just yesterday, got the notice from the City of Concord that the Sewer Service rates are going up about $45 per year for a residential parcel. That seems exhorbitant. My income didn’t go up $45 this year. Ridiculous.

16 KAD May 21, 2017 at 12:51 PM

anon #15 – And it will go up again next year. There was a 3 year increase agreed upon last year by the City Council.

17 chad May 21, 2017 at 12:54 PM

Lars for Mayor!

So basically old people vote for more police to feel safe = more police arresting young kids = young kids not utilizing a library that is relatively insufficient.

Can you please clarify how Police Department employees are also part of City Council.The fact that they can make decisions that directly benefit themselves seems highly questionable.

Im a younger person who is just beginning to focus on politics. Our city, society and communities do not focus on the importance of politics and education.

As an emancipated foster youth i can say with experience that schooling and conscious “political” decisions have got me much further than jail and being controlled by streetlights or petty codes and regulations that show a lack of trust in citizens.

Invest wisely. Senior citizens and voters should take in mind the best decision for the majority. Selfish decisions never build a successful community.

Oh and Lars for Mayor!

18 Jojo Potato May 21, 2017 at 12:54 PM

Sacramento’s fancy new library has simply become a restroom for local homeless. I would post the link but those get deleted too often. It’s at Now consider how the considerable homeless population in Concord would use a new library. Not pretty.

19 THE BLACK KNIGHT May 21, 2017 at 1:37 PM

Lars Anderson #8,

No, we could not have gotten a new library funded by the master developer of the CNWS! The Concord City Council voted for Lennar-Urban as the CNWS Master Developer over Catellus, and as a result the citizens of Concord are receiving $40 million less in benfits from Lennar-Urban than what Catellus was offering us. Since they were so willing to accept a deal with a company that was offering $40 million less in benefits, how do you think we would be able to get a new library out of them? We already lost by going into business with this company.

20 THE BLACK KNIGHT May 21, 2017 at 1:59 PM

D.V. Guy #12,

The Concord City Council currently has a democratic party majority, with Mayor Laura Hoffmeister, Vice Mayor Edi Birsan, Councilmember Carlyn Obringer, and APPOINTED Councilmember Tim McGallian.

The previous council also had a democratic party majority, with Hoffmeister, Grayson, and Birsan.

21 THE BLACK KNIGHT May 21, 2017 at 2:18 PM

chad #17,

“Invest wisely. Senior citizens and voters should take in mind the best decision for the majority. Selfish decisions never build a successful community.”

When voters make a decision on how to vote, whether or not they “take in mind the best decision for the majority,” it is ultimately based on their subjective opinions. As a result, the vast majority do vote on what is in their best interests, what they believe “is in the best interests of the majority,” and the direction where they want the country, their state, their county/county equivalent, their city, their special districts, and their regional government bodies to go. It is all based on voters subjective opinions and their life view, there is no answer as to what “is in the best interest of the majority,” except what one believes is the best choice, and that may not be what you believe “is in the best interest of the majority.”

22 Well Folks May 21, 2017 at 2:34 PM

Lars – know you don’t really research before shooting off your mouth. The reason PHill doesn’t have a “gang problem” is pure demographics. PHill doesn’t have massive multi family dwelling (apartments) neighborhoods. The cost of housing in general is more expensive in PHill than Concord. Also PHill has a smaller population that has a higher percentage of college education people that are employed in jobs that pay substantially more than minimum wage. There is a section of PHill that boarders Lafayette that bring in better educated higher income people. This section that also boarders Martinez which is “country like” with houses on large parcel with such things a horse property.

Lars get a feakin clue that demographics is what makes Concord what it has become. Concord has more apartments than PHill, Martinez, Lafayette and Orinda/Moraga put together. When you have so many apartments you have lower income people who for the most part are not well educated.

23 Explain May 21, 2017 at 3:41 PM

Wow so many thoughts …
“It is all based on voters subjective opinions ..”.
Pause .. look around .. um facts are not theoretical. Research and studies and collective reasoning show what’s best. Although, minor details are often debated. Education trumps poverty and any cultural disposition. Yes numbers are skewed due to the large area that concord occupies. Well folks even mentions these people are not educated.
When envisioning these strangers as our children we would not opt for jail and punishment. In my opinion, A person would implement patient kind methods that are forgiving, understanding and supportive.
Yes homeless people in a library solely for the bathroom purposes seems like a bad idea on the surface. When loooking through a different lense one might see that the positive side of the homeless not using the public areas to urinate/defecate. Also having a chance to clean themselves and multiple other luxuries that a safe shaded air conditioned facility provides should not be withheld from any person especially “the needy”. . Also this is a great place for an uneducAted person with limited resources to be.
When libraries were first invented people did not have the residential developments we have now. People were more or less drunk philosophers who knew that knowledge was the key to separating themselves from animals. That and conscience to guide the knowledge.

Point being be kind. No need to point out the negative that homeless bring. I’m just attempting to showcase points that aren’t always discussed. Well rounded reasonable conversations are the initial remedy

24 Lars Anderson May 21, 2017 at 4:40 PM

Sorry Well Folks, the “gang problem” in Concord is a joke. We have no Crips, no Bloods, no Hell’s Angel chapter, no Bandito chapter. I think maybe we got some high school gangs – wanabees – and a few bad guys in the Monument Corridor, but rents are going though the roof in that neighborhood, it’s gentrifying, you have a CostCo in the neighborhood now, the toughs in that neighborhood are on their way out. The PD likes to play up the gang problem – wave the bloody shirt – it’s helps keep the gravy train going for the PD and it’s helping to create more management desk jobs at the PD which aren’t even needed. Even if we had a gang problem it wouldn’t be solved by creating more desk jobs, but that’s what they are doing at the PD, the city council has given the PD a blank check and they just keeping spending more and more money. There is a tipping point in terms of spending on the PD, if you pass it you are just throwing money away. Crime happens, most of the time cops are called it after a crime happens, police reports get written up – papers get pushed around the big wigs offices at the PD, you have a lot of work going on, but it’s all much ado about nothing most of the time. We have a good PD in Concord, but we need to figure out how to police the city more cost effectively – the PD has a stranglehold on the budget, as I like to say. We need to get off this obsession on the PD in Concord and start figuring out how to improve our city – make it more livable. A new library, a theater for dramatic plays, things like that are needed. we can have these things but we need our leaders to focus on getting us stuff like this, rather than being shills for the PD labor union,as most council member are.

25 anon May 21, 2017 at 6:45 PM

If Concord is filled with all these uneducated apaetment dwellers, I would think that would be all the more reason it needs a state of the art Library. Catellus withdrew it’s offer to Concord and the City Council was left with only Lenar-Urban interested in building at CNWS. At that point, an intelligent individual would have realized they had no room to bargain and started the process over soliciting bids. Concord allowed itself to be cheated out of lots of improvements to the city … $40 million worth of improvements. You have to ask why? Something is not right here.

26 Well Folks May 21, 2017 at 7:17 PM

Lars – there is a gang issue in Concord. We have Norteno’s and Sureno’s. You can find their video’s on You Tube under their names + Concord, CA. Also get to know some FBI agents or County deputy sheriff’s and they will tell you that the Mexican drug cartel uses the gangs for drug activity. And if you did a bit of homework you would know that people from affluent areas are not flocking to Concord and they never will, but people from Oakland, Richmond & San Pablo are coming as those cities have run out of Section 8 housing but Concord still has some available.

#25 – A library won’t help the population in Concord, especially if it at the CNWS development as how would they get there? Public transportation around this area is a joke.

27 Turn and burn May 22, 2017 at 9:17 AM

Seriously, why go to the Library anymore? Who still uses it? With the technology we have nowadays nobody needs to be exposed to the homeless, or the loud kids or people who speak loudly on their phones. Sorry, but the days of the Library I remember are gone. Get with the times. And as far as the police. I’d rather sink my money in the police department than in a Library I’ll never use. But that’s just my opinion. I know and have heard time and time again from Lars how passionate he is about wanting a new Library and hating the police. But give it a rest already.

28 Explain May 22, 2017 at 1:16 PM

It seems that the majority feel a library would not be the best use of money and it also appears that investing into the PD is not a popular choice.
Any suggestions on good use of the money that benefits the largest number of people ?
Concord public transportation needs support. Only Clayton rd has frequent stops. Most other intervals are an hour.
Maybe redo the sports complex on willow pass?
Upgrade hospitals?
I personally have no idea what I’d be happy with. Maybe A nice fat refund. Just cut me a check lol.

29 Well Folks May 22, 2017 at 2:01 PM

Explain #28 – I don’t think we need to have a library as a solo entity. I think a library-public art gallery combo would be great. There are no galleries in Concord and I think a place where local artist could show and sell work would be an asset. It could kill 2 birds with one stone

30 Forsythe May 22, 2017 at 2:35 PM

Libraries are invaluable for many reasons. They support lifelong learning for all ages in many ways. Libraries also provide an opportunity for people to explore interests that they might not otherwise consider if all they did was read their smart phone. Given that Concord is spread out, I would like to see two libraries:

1. Remodel the existing library, including its landscaping.

2. Consider leasing space for a second library at one of the malls. Perhaps Sun Valley Mall. That way, Concord could add a library without having to build one. Sun Valley Mall once had bookstores. They have been gone for years. A mall library could fill the void.

31 Kirkwood May 22, 2017 at 2:57 PM

People complaining about the sewer rates must remember that most of the assessment (fee) is paid to Central Sanitary District for wastewater treatment. The state constantly tightens discharge standards and CCCSD and Cities are watched over by the EPA, RWQCB, and DFG. Concord has a small crew that maintains the pipes in the streets and somebody on standby 24/7.
As for fee structure, most households use roughly similar amounts of water indoors. The balance is for irrigation and uses that don’t impact the sewers.

Speaking of fees

32 Kirkwood May 22, 2017 at 3:06 PM

I forgot to mention that Concord’s sewer assessment fees have been the lowest in the region for decades.

33 Turn and burn May 22, 2017 at 4:03 PM

@Forsythe There’s a reason there is no longer a book store at the Mall. The newer generation does everything on Computers, I pads, etc. Just fix up the old Concord Library. No sense building a new one. Concord is having to deal with the homeless, gangs, car break ins and whatever else plagues this City. Hire more officers, and get rid of the Chief. He already retired from San Diego, retire from here please and hire someone who’s familiar with the back streets, and who knows where the homeless hang out, and the gang members. A Chief that really cares about Concord, not someone who needs his ego stroked to make him feel young again.

34 THE BLACK KNIGHT May 22, 2017 at 6:18 PM

Explain #23,

“Wow so many thoughts …
“It is all based on voters subjective opinions ..”.
Pause .. look around .. um facts are not theoretical. Research and studies and collective reasoning show what’s best.”

Is this you Chad (from post #17)? Facts are often skewed by the party presenting the “facts” when it comes to voting. People make decisions, the best decision for themselves and therefore the majority, when deciding on who or what to vote for, based on their interpretation and understanding of the facts presented, their personal beliefs, their interactions with a person running for office or those supporting and funding a state proposition, or a county or city measure. To blindly say that “voters should take in mind the best decision for the majority,” you are effectively advocating that individuals should give up their rights, their voting power, their beliefs, their interpretation of the facts they’ve been presented and as they’ve been presented, their interactions with those running for office, for what you (or someone else) decide is simply best for “the majority.” Is that a life you want to live? The decisions you make and the life you live aren’t necessarily “the best decisions for the majority.” Should voters vote to outlaw your personal decisions and the way you live your life, simply because they may be what is best “for the majority?”

We already see what this has done at the state level of government. In the 1960’s the United States Supreme Court changed the way we are represented in the state legislatures after 175 years of precedence of being represented by a combination of equal representation and representation by population, to a system of pure equal representation by population and no longer recognizing established geographical borders of counties and cities.

Prior to the Supreme Court decisions of the 1960’s we were represented by equal representation of the counties in the upper house of the state legislature (State Senate in California) where each county would have an equal, fixed number of State Senators (1 or 2 per county depending on the individual state), while the lower house of the state legislature (State Assembly in California) was represented by population, with each county being guaranteed 1 member of the State Assembly, and larger population counties would have increasing numbers of representatives based on apportionment. This system totally eliminated the gerrymandering of districts in the upper house and limited gerrymandering of districts in the lower house to only those counties that had 2 or more representatives, which further restricted the gerrymandering of districts to the geographical borders of the counties.

Instead, we now have a system that is based on pure equal representation based on population in both houses and no longer recognizing the established geographical borders of counties and cities. This change gave all power to the “majority,” to large cities and population centers. How has this change worked out for you? Are you happy with everything the State Legislature passes, because it’s based on what they believe is the “best decision for the majority” based on a system that gives power to the majority population areas of the state, rather than a shared equal representation and representation by population system our government is based on.

35 THE BLACK KNIGHT May 22, 2017 at 6:37 PM

anon #25,

Catellus withdrew its offer, because they were not being treated fairly by the members of the Concord City Council. For a year before they asked to withdraw, members of the Concord City Council and Concord Planning Commission were describing only the Lennar-Urban plan as the plan that would be selected, and describing how the development would start on Willow Pass Road and work its way towards the North Concord BART Station (which was the Lennar-Urban plan), never the Catellus plan that was to start at the North Concord BART Station and work its way in the direction of Willow Pass Road. The entire selection process was corrupt on the part of the members of the Concord City Council. They had decided long before the selection date that they were going into business with Lennar-Urban, and Catellus didn’t have a chance. The writing was on the wall and everywhere else.

When Lennar-Urban was the only choice left, we were told they were going to give us what Catellus had offered us, then Guy Bjerke and Lennar-Urban negotiated a deal that gave the Citizens and City of Concord $40 million dollars less than what Catellus had offered. Everything was planned long in advance.

36 KAD May 22, 2017 at 6:57 PM

I agree with videoguy regarding the sewer fee. It should be based on usage and not per unit.

37 Concord Mike May 22, 2017 at 8:58 PM

@KAD, Here are the problems with a residential sewer fee based on usage:

1) Costs of building meters and regularly measuring them at each home would be very expensive. Digging up streets and lawns is not cheap.

2) The sewer system depends on a lot of water to flush the bad stuff down through the system. If people cut back on their volume by diverting shower or clothes washing water outside instead of allowing it to go down the drain, the whole system would become clogged up..

I am not aware of any city which has meters on residential sewer lines.

38 KAD May 22, 2017 at 11:32 PM

Concord Mike – I was thinking the water usage not the sewer usage.

39 anon May 23, 2017 at 7:58 AM

Showering on the lawn kills two birds with one stone.

40 Hope Johnson May 23, 2017 at 11:02 AM

@ The Black Knight & KAD

No one can claim to be surprised that Lennar is significantly changing the plan and breaking prior agreements. We’ve had past lengthy threads on Local Politics here and at Council meetings that this is its pattern of behavior. For example, its initial proposal placed housing on the wrong side of the creek, it then violated its agreement not to lobby the council by having associates give Tim Grayson campaign money, it then asked to make non-substantive changes to its term sheet proposal after the deadline but proceeded to give substantive ones, and went on to say on its term sheet that it was going to go public with Five Point but then withdrew the IPO the day before the Council was supposed to vote on the Master Developer. Lennar then made a big deal about Five Point being made up of three stable companies instead of an IPO – and then of course – it recently changed again by filing an IPO.

This is why many of us wondered why the Council would want to enter into an agreement with a company it could not trust to keep agreements. We all had a lengthy discussion when Birsan said trust didn’t matter when you have a contract. Now Concord can see that trust does matter – Lennar is in charge of this project and the Council is breaching the public trust by letting them run rough shod over any agreements with the public.

And, don’t kid yourselves. The diminished green buffer and the 500 acre shift is for economic purposes. Lennar builds houses, not retail or high density housing. A smaller buffer equals more area to build market rate housing, especially when the green space they are trading it for is on very steep hills unfriendly to market rate housing. Since Lennar intends to build up to 60% of the housing on its own, that means a higher profit for itself. The shift of the 500 acres is for the same reason. They want to build the market rate housing.

Although, in its presentation to the Planning Commission, Lennar said the acre shift would help make time to coordinate having quality businesses near BART instead of just accepting whoever shows up first. This is probably a better strategy in the long run than what Concord has done in the past considering the empty office space downtown, even if the real reason is that Lennar wants to build market rate housing because that’s where it profit comes from. Every once in a while interests cross paths.

41 Hope Johnson May 23, 2017 at 11:07 AM

Important reminder:

The public can stop any unacceptable CNWS Specific Plan and Development Agreement by referendum within 30 days of the Council signing any agreements. It requires a coordinated collection of signatures, though, which means people would have to be willing to put in significant time and footwork.

42 Forsythe May 23, 2017 at 12:16 PM

@Hope: is it possible that market rate housing might be better? Especially if it means fews additional cars.

No one seems to be taking the transit issue very seriously. Except to propose driverless cars and more bike lanes.

43 KAD May 23, 2017 at 2:23 PM

Forsythe – Driverless cars do not take cars off the road.

44 Hope Johnson May 23, 2017 at 2:35 PM


I’m not sure of what you are asking. I do not think housing of any type is better than keeping the original size green space buffer zone. Lennar wants less open space on flatter land around existing housing and intends to build housing there. It’s in no way to contribute to the quality of life in Concord – it’s to profit from extra housing squeezed in. As the developers build everything out, that open space will become more valuable and irreplaceable than ever (plus open space does not contribute to traffic).

The higher density housing should be more evenly distributed throughout the project, including along Willow Pass Road. It is now supposed to be bunched up at North Concord BART. I think the residents are taking transit seriously but the Council, Bjerke, and Lennar are focused on max profit with reckless disregard for transit. Planning Commissioner Aliano went out of his way to emphasize the lack of evidence that public transit will help traffic and guy Bjerke told him “show me what you mean and I will tell you why we didn’t do it.” Bjerke said they are working with a public transit specialist on traffic. It’s all a lot of wishful thinking. High density equals gridlock everywhere it exists. No city has yet discovered this special transit secret that makes everyone get on public transit (and I walk to public transit every day to commute for work), including London, NY, Seoul, Paris, and our own Walnut Creek.

There are 900 units planned in downtown Concord right now. That area is destined for deadlocked traffic no matter what. It will creep out into other parts of Concord. Even those residents in Bishop Estates who are advocating for fewer entrances in their area will be affected. Traffic doesn’t stay on the freeway. We can all see this from the traffic on Willow Pass Rd and Bailey Rd when Hwy 4 gets crowded. Widening the streets will help for only a very short time (think Sepulveda Blvd along the 405 Fwy in Los Angeles heading to the airport). Bishop Estates is set to trap itself in the traffic sitting on Concord Blvd and Bailey Rd. And get ready for the gross brake dust that is generated by traffic. The only way to keep our quality of life is to plan fewer housing units. Otherwise, we will end up with beyond miserable traffic like Los Angeles. There’s no reason everywhere has to be that way – it’s a planning issue that is being overlooked to maximize profits for developers.

45 Forsythe May 23, 2017 at 9:07 PM


I managed to mangle my comment #42. But I agree with you. I am actually shocked that the City Council has such a cavalier attitude regarding traffic.

I would like to see lower density housing, built slowly, in phases, with adequate planning for traffic and transit. Within the next couple of years, we are going to see more toll roads, and more gridlock.

46 Forsythe May 23, 2017 at 9:09 PM

KAD #43. I imagine that there is study somewhere that claims that Driverless Cars reduce traffic. I am not sure how.

47 Hope Johnson May 23, 2017 at 9:43 PM

KAD is correct about autonomous cars – they add cars to a city not subtract. This is an ongoing discussion right now in SF with the Uber & Lyft drivers.

The Concord City Council is somewhat hypocritical on public transit and mitigating traffic. They all touted autonomous cars tonight as the answer and even stated the bus does not work in Concord. A car is a car taking up space on the road whether a human is driving it or not. Plus the definition of “public transit” is “mass transit….the transportation of large numbers of people.” Cars transport just a few individuals at a time.

48 Hope Johnson May 23, 2017 at 10:12 PM

PG&E recently gave Leone $50,000 for his Pacheco tribute statue. Sounds like they might have been hoping to influence his vote on Concord joining Marin Clean Energy.

49 Hope Johnson May 23, 2017 at 10:55 PM

During the CNWS presentation this evening, Lennar said it was willing to work on a tournament park in exchange for other land to develop. Anyone familiar with this? I thought the tournament park was incorporated in as part of the proposed plan.

50 KAD May 23, 2017 at 11:09 PM

I was disappointed that no one on the City Council asked about medical baseline allocations that PG&E give to disabled customers. I think it is good for most customers to have a choice in who to buy electricity from. And it is also too bad that they do not offer balanced payment plan.

51 KAD May 23, 2017 at 11:13 PM

Hope – The tournament park was to be developed by the City and not Lennar.

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