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Rossmoor Vote Goes to Event Center Opponent

Diane Guilfoy ousts incumbent Susan Williamson on retirement community's board of directors.

Challenger Diane Guilfoy defeated incumbent Susan Williamson by a vote of 337-125 last week in District D for the Golden Rain Foundation Board of Directors.

It's a decisive result that some Rossmoor activists are seeing as a vindication of their opposition to an event center in the retirement community. Williamson, who was the president of the board, had been a fervent supporter of the event center, voting with the 7-2 board majority that approved the $10-plus million project on March 29.

"I knocked on every door at least once," wrote Guilfoy in an email to Walnut Creek Patch. "But I think my opponent did the same. The difference was our message.  Susan was president of the Board that voted 7-2 to proceed with building the event center. I opposed the event center for its location and its design. The majority of residents of District D told me they were also opposed to it. Their reasons varied — cost, borrowing, coupon increases or simply location and design. I was never worried about the outcome because the passion against the event center was so strong."

In email to Guilfoy, Rossmoor activist Wayne Lanier said her victory "validates the Rossmoor Residents' objection to having the Event Center forced upon them without consultation, polling, or consideration of their wishes. Many have claimed that the 3,500 Resident signatures on the Petition did not represent a valid objection, or even the hint of a majority. You have accomplished a triumph over the nay-sayers …"

The District D vote was the only one contested. Two other candidates ran unopposed and were elected by acclamation — Melvin Wall in District A and Rita Fredlund in District C.

While the election campaign was going on, the event center financing hit a snag. In April, news came out that Wells Fargo Bank was balking at granting a loan for the project. Rossmoor officials have reportedly been negotiating with Mechanics Bank for a loan.

Mary Anne Clark May 15, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Diane Guilfoy worked tirelessly on her campaign, knocking on doors and listening to the concerns of her constituents. Not only that, she delved deeply into archives and city records for months to educate herself and the community about the sneaky notification process that led to the approval of the plans to build the event center by the City of Walnut Creek Design Review Commission. Congratulations, Diane, a community of supporters in and out of your district are rejoicing at your well-deserved victory!

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