Oct 20 2011

Commentary on Blair Park

The following letter was sent to PCA on October 18, 2011

Re:  Moraga Canyon

I read Mark Menke’s letter and want to respond to what I believe are two inaccuracies.

First, Mr. Menke attempts to belittle those who oppose the Moraga Canyon project by
asserting that they are merely a “handful of vocal residents” as compared to the more than a
thousand parents of kids who will use the field who are supporters.  I believe he is mistaken
in at least three respects. 

First, over 1000 people have formally endorsed the Save Moraga
Canyon efforts, including over 500 Piedmont residents.  That seems like more than a handful
to me.  Second, many more residents are privately against the Project, but do not wish to go
public about it to avoid being chastised by the vocal supporters as being nabobs of negativity or
worse.  And third, how many of the parents of players will continue to support the project after
they discover that each player will have to be assessed $50-$100/year in additional fees for the
next ten years to pay for maintenance and turf replacement ($100,000/year funded by 1000-
2000 players)?

Second, he suggests that the solution to the divisiveness is to have a truthful discussion
about the Project.  However, how is having any meaningful discussion about the Project
possible?  The PRFO has made clear that they are interested in pursuing only their plan, at their
location, and on their terms, or no deal.  What is there to discuss about the plan under those
conditions?  We still have no idea how the proposed development will be structured (how will
the Project be fully paid for, how will the City be protected, etc.), and the PRFO’s discussions
and agreements with the City to advance the Project are reached in secret, and cloaked under
the attorney/client privilege to prevent disclosure.  What is there to discuss with Council
members who have already basically announced that they have made up their minds or about
agreements negotiated and reached by the City in secret months earlier?

What it seems to come down to is this: the PRFO believes it has the votes on the
Council, and will continue to work in secret with the City to pursue the project regardless
of what any opponents say.  And the City Council stubbornly refuses to even address, let
alone adopt, any of the project and risk management lessons it should have learned from the
Piedmont Hills $2.5 million cost overruns paid for by all of us.  That was a gift of public funds.
One need not look any further than the poorly drafted and inadequate Indemnity Agreement,
entered into without any notice to or input from the public, to see that they have obviously
decided instead to just repeat the same mistakes again, all in the name of “it’s a gift and all for
the kids”, so why do we need to do anything more than just say yes to whatever the supporters
propose.  That is the same flawed premise that led to the undergrounding fiasco: facilitate
without management or oversight.

Very Truly Yours,

Robert C. Hendrickson
cc: City Council

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