Home Letter To The Editor Resident Says “Yes On L” Site Censoring Public Input On Development

Resident Says “Yes On L” Site Censoring Public Input On Development

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Ed: This letter is being re-posted after it was brought to our attention that responses to its content had been lost during a recent upgrade of our commenting interface (embarrassing, given the topic, to say the least!) We’re working on restoring original commentary and, as always, guarantee a free, open, and level playing field for those wishing to weigh in on any issue. Thanks!

Dear Editor,

I am writing as a concerned Lafayette resident regarding the Yes on L campaign. It has been noted on their Facebook page that they are scrubbing comments from residents who happened to disagree with the development. I myself have had comments erased regarding the questioning of where the money is coming from to support this development. The claim is that Yes on L is all Lafayette residents, when in fact O’Brien is giving a significant amounts of money to the campaign, according to their mail flyer to Lafayette residents. My questioning of the Yes on L’s claim that they are all local residents has since been removed from the post.

Wendi Giordano/Lafayette

22 COMMENTS

  1. The only YES L signs I have seen are the ones on the developers property on Deer Hill Rd. There are tons of NO on L signs on Reliez Valley especially. I have no doubt this measure will be defeated.

  2. My posts have also been taken down and I have been blocked from making any comments on their page. I was on the same thread as Wendi. The Yes on L poster had stated that they were residents and talked of the money they raised. I posted that in March, Yes on L reported $21,875 in monetary contributions, $20,000 of that coming from the developers. To me, the money “raised” is really overwhelmingly money given to them from the developer. They also have hired a spokeswoman/campaign manager, Angela Ramirez Holmes. I had agreed with Wendi that I questioned how they were claiming they are all residents when 97% of their campaign money leads to the developer.

  3. Several other posters have reported that is has happened to them too. It is disheartening that the Admin of their page chose to censor what was being posted. There was great information being shared. If they didn’t want comments, they should have made it restrictive to everyone but to delete posts and revoke posting abilities to a select group feels shady.

  4. I’ll stay out of the Yes or NO on L debate. I’m not a resident of Lafayette. What I don’t understand is why people are so upset when their comments are deleted. My understanding (when I post comments on the internet) is that admin has a right to post, delete or block a person. It’s their website. You play by their rules, or play elsewhere.

    For the record, I would vote NO on L if we lived in Lafayette. I’m not defending Yes on L. I’m defending common sense. The right for a moderator to moderate anyway he/she wants. Is it “fair?” No. No one ever said life was fair.

    • Fair enough and thanks, Danielle. For the record, THIS site did not consciously delete any of the perfectly acceptable responses from residents commenting on the issue, and we were staggered to learn we’d lost them during our shift to our current commenting model. We know you weren’t directing your comment at us but we wanted to make that clear. It was unexpected but we take full responsibility. And, also for the record, any Yes on L commentary would be welcome here, should they choose to state their position. We always revert to our guidelines for posting (no personal threats, trolling, indecent language, etc.) but rarely have we had to pull a post for violation of those guidelines. We value the trust we have earned from our readership. Thanks!

    • I would agree with Danielle that an admin has a right to delete comments as they wish. For those of us playing by the rules, but having comments deleted due to a difference in opinion, in my opinion is manipulating the narrative. They have allowed comments from posters who agree with them but have used very harsh language to remain on the site with their messages in tact. As I stated before, if they didn’t want comments and were not looking for a true discussion, they should have made it restrictive to everyone but to delete posts and revoke posting abilities to a select group, although their “right”, is a clear message to me how they are running their campaign. And that message only helps solidify my NO vote.

  5. Jennifer – I agree with you. It is manipulating the narrative. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box. They’re promoting YES ON L. To continue to promote Yes on L, NO on L will be deleted. If they continue to allow No on L comments, it defeats their argument. They don’t want an argument. They want Yes on L to pass.

  6. I understand and for the most part I agree with you. Since the Yes campaign is co-chaired by the Vice Mayor of Lafayette, and a former Lafayette city council member and is also being heavily promoted by our the current Mayor of Lafayette, one would truly hope that open dialogue would have been the goal. Many residents, not just myself had posts deleted that raised good points and overall I thought a good discussion was happening. The Yes campaign which as I mentioned has so far been funding 97% by the developer, hired a spokeswomen and strategist not from Lafayette. I understand their motivation in controlling the narrative and can accept that much more easily than my elected officials allowing this to happen.

  7. Hopefully wisdom prevails because we have a hard time imagining so many homes in that area. Traffic is gridlock most mornings now. We don’t live nearby but we feel sorry for anyone who has to drive through the area once those new homes are built. Has anyone been on Saint Mary’s lately? Mount Diablo Boulevards?

  8. Reading through the Yes on L site was very helpful especially after reading the numerous No on L threads posted on Nextdoor. I am voting yes on L.

  9. I would be interested in any informed discussion on why people are for or against this measure.

  10. YES ON L. Common sense. People bought the raw land and want to develop it within the law/guidelines. 3rd parties are now interfering with this and causing financial hardship for the landowners. Not good. The landowners even proposed giving a large portion of the land to the city for a park, etc. and now people are seizing on that as the reason for voting down the project since there might be highway 24 pollution blowing onto the site. Crazy. What would people think if they wanted to develop their land and outsiders/3rd parties interfered?

    • Chris, here are the facts. The land has for generations been in the Dettmer family, who ran an illegal quarry there for decades while the city looked the other way. This is on record in the city’s Historical Society archives. We “third parties” are the ones who would be stuck forever with gridlock that (among other things) would prevent emergency vehicles from reaching callers quickly. What’s your stake in this? PLUS the developer and his allies have been underhanded and dishonest — hiring outsiders to pretend to be residents, using disreputable slate printers to send out mailers under phony group names like “Budget Watchdogs Newsletter,” “Voter Guide Slate Cards,” “Voter Newsletter.” An article in Mercury News a few days ago stated that, “There’s an even darker side to the slate mailer business – a kind of extortion. Some slate mail operators tell campaigns that if they don’t pay to have their candidates or ballot measure positions “recommended,” their opponents will be promoted for free.”

  11. Hi Jim, I will tell you why I am voting NO on L.

    Lafayette was incorporated as a city in 1968. One of the reasons for this action was to gain control over our local development and zoning. We were thereby able to create our own General Plan instead of using the one we had inherited from the county.

    The 22 acre parcel of land on Deer Hill we are discussing today received very special treatment in Lafayette’s General Plan. It’s the only parcel to be singled out. The writers of our General Plan stated that this parcel is “the most significant undeveloped property in the community because of its high visibility, its location as an entryway to the community, and its proximity to major thoroughfares and open space. For these reasons, any development that occurs should be consistent with the semi-rural character of the community.” It further states that, “This area deserves a careful and detailed analysis of all the opportunities and constraints that will form the basis of future land use decisions.”

    Lafayette’s General Plan was created with foresight. A vote in favor of Measure L would be a complete contradiction to what our General Plan guides us to do.

    The passage of Measure L is the passage of Ordinance #641 which allows the Homes of Deer Hill to be built. Its passage means among other things, that we cut down 62 protected trees, allow excessive grading of the hillside, increase traffic, install two ill placed roundabouts, and build both a sports field and a tot lot in an unhealthy and hard to reach location. And with its passage, we allow the General Plan and Hillside Development Ordinance to be overridden and we set a precedent for more development on Deer Hill Road.

    The city had an “Opportunities and Constraints Study” prepared years ago, which concluded this particular parcel could not support more than 14 homes, and probably less, primarily due to the City’s Hillside Development Ordinance. In 2010, the City Council voted unanimously in favor of rezoning the property to low density housing. The City staff did not act on the rezoning immediately, if they had then we would not be discussing this issue today.

    It was during this delay that the developer filed an application for the Terraces Apartment Development and then that lead to the proposal for the Homes at Deer Hill. Residents expressed their disapproval and were denied the right to vote on the Ordinance that would allow this project. It then took our fellow residents, who created the group “Save Lafayette,” several years (and great expense) to have the Court rule that the City had illegally denied our right to vote.

    By voting NO on L , I chose to respect our City’s General plan. I chose to not increase traffic, to prevent the building of two unsafe roundabouts, to not spend $3 million on a sports field and a tot lot that are in an impractical location.

    I am voting NO on L to work towards a compromise that does not set a bad precedent for future development. The owner of this parcel fought development to preserve open space where she currently lives in Oregon. I would like to think she would be willing to work with her hometown in a similar way.

    Only a No on L vote brings the developer and the city back to the table. If L wins, it’s full speed ahead. Well, not really, there will be too much traffic to go more than a few miles per hour.

    • Thank you, Jenifer and Jim, for making your positions on this measure known. Appreciate the reasoning behind those positions and that you presented them with civility. Much obliged.

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