Feb 1 2012

Is Feb 7 Election a Referendum on Blair Park?

Writing in the February 1, 2012 edition of the East Bay Express, Nate Seltenrich calls Piedmont’s February 7 election “a referendum on Blair Park.”

How many Piedmonters see the election this way?  Seltenrich claims, “…the city has been fractured by the permitting of a controversial new soccer field along busy Moraga Avenue.”  And goes on to paint the history:

“What an environment into which to drop a contested city council race, with one incumbent and two challengers vying for two spots — especially considering the central role the existing council played in the Blair Park proceedings. The five-member council first riled project opponents by issuing a preliminary approval last March after the Piedmont Planning Comission voted unanimously against it. Then at its December 6 meeting, despite hearing a chorus of complaints long into the night, including from Oakland Councilwoman Libby Schaaf, the council issued its final rubber stamp. With city council hopefuls now representing both sides, the race has evolved into a sort of referendum on the city’s performance.”

Seltenrich describes in the article the support for Blair Park project by candidates Margaret Fujioka (incumbent) and Robert McBain and opposition by candidate Tim Rood, who has made it widely known he has problems with the approval process for the project.

“A Rood loss could be read as Piedmonters’ ultimate endorsement of the city’s handling of Blair Park. But if Rood is elected along with either Fujioka or McBain, he’ll join Keating as a voice for critics on the council as the project moves along. With completion a few years off, the design still under review, a lawsuit pending, and the City of Oakland threatening a suit of its own, maybe the planned soccer field’s greatest challenges still lie ahead,” states Seltenrich in the East Bay Express article.

Read the complete article.



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