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City Council Debates All-Weather Field

Heated discussion focuses on penciling in a specific amount as Walnut Creek awaits report on ballfield priorities.

A City Council discussion of 2012-14 budget priorities grew heated for a minute Tuesday night in an exchange of opinions on funding for an all-weather field at Heather Farm Park.

"We're just delaying a decision," said Mayor Pro Tem Kish Rajan. "We make decisions in the budget process. I'm baffled as to what we're waiting for."

Rajan was responding to a suggestion by Council member Cindy Silva. With the results of a consultant's analysis of the city's ballfields expected in six to eight weeks, Silva suggested the city hold off designating an amount for an all-weather field — and instead budget a dollar figure for recreation capital projects and specify the projects at a later date. The field, tentatively planned for Field 5 and/or Field 6, was pegged at $2 million in a staff report for the budget workshop.

Silva said there was about 90 percent of the information needed for the council to make priority decisions on a series of capital projects:

  • the all-weather field at Heather Farm Park;
  • an overhaul of the pool at Larkey Park;
  • Civic Park construction estimated at $1.25 million to make a permanent site for the Walnut Creek on Ice rink in winter and use for bocce courts at other times, plus realignment of walkways and creating a place for near the downtown library. The Civic Park plans are due to go before the council at its next meeting, May 1, after review by the city's Park, Recreation and Open Space Commission.

Beyond repairs at the Larkey Park pool, the city has listed as a discretionary expense the possibility of a splash feature, estimated at $600,000. The proposal merited further study, argued Mayor Bob Simmons, because the fees charged for it would increase overall cost recovery for the Larkey pool.

The council on Tuesday passed no resolutions designating budget amounts. Instead, it gave city staff direction on budget priorities in aiming for the budget to be finalized by mid-June.

For instance, because of concern for the expense, there was a council consensus to remove from the budget at this stage, potentially at Civic Drive and at Shadelands. The signs were intended to replace the inconvenience and expense of city workers putting up temporary signs when there is a blockage on the busy artery. Much of the cost would be building an extensive foundation to support signs at the side of the road with a high pole and a sign overhanging the busy road, said city Engineer Steve Waymire.

Other transportation projects listed under discretionary capital projects include:

  • in-pavement lights, estimated at $300,000, in various locations, including Locust Street, at Main Street near Target, and Walnut Avenue. 
  • a sidewalk on Ygnacio Valley Road from Oakland to Parkside.
  • extended left-turn lanes on Ygnacio Valley at San Carlos, and Civic Drive at Ygnacio Valley.
David P May 04, 2012 at 04:58 AM
OMTWF - Thanks for your comments. I understand your opinion about someone's endorsement bring more valuable than $, although if you ask Not Too Bright, my endorsement probably means nothing. I interpret "Inner Circle" a being kinda like people in a backroom making decisions; I've never been part of any such meetings, and I do not operate that way. And if anyone says that these occurred, I would hope they could provide hard evidence before you state it instead of just hearsay. As for my comment about not being asked for an endorsement, that was referencing candidates that Mike Frederick says never received an endorsement from any sitting commissioner, at least in the last few elections. I only know three -- Sol, Jake and Justin. I don't know any of them well, but I think each of them are very nice men, and I see and chat with them whenever I see them (and only one of them in the past two years). But none of them ever asked me for an endorsement; I do not agree with most of their campaign positions, so would not have endorsed them anyway. I tend to believe you knew that is what I meant, instead of throwing my words back at me, but as I try to be accurate, I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. BTW, yes, Silva did ask me for an endorsement and I gave it to her, and I walked doors in my neighborhood for her since I thought (and think) she is a very good council member. All for now, and thanks for the comments.
michael frederick May 04, 2012 at 07:57 AM
David P., "Inner circle" refers to those who huddle together to attack reason and fact in support of each other and their system of privilege, which they like to try to confuse with public service. Usually, their only discernible qualification for "service" downtown is their obedience to each other -- which is why over twenty years none has gone against the Council that appointed them: Not ONE (1)! For example, they can look at a $40 million expenditure in the face of global economic upheaval, a pending national recession, aging demographics requiring increased city services, increasing employee costs, inevitable increased state take-aways due to a state on the verge of bankruptcy, ditto county economics, mounting CIP requirements, etc. and attribute the impact on the city economy of flushing $40+ million to BAD LUCK, as we've witnessed here. These are folks who, for instance, can consider 80 police calls over two years -- coupled with WCPD testimony -- and conclude "inconsisent data." As if handling data were a strong suit of those who blow off 20 years worth of haystack to expound upon needle. They often don't make sense and leave the few members of the general public that can stand to watch their machinations wondering: How and why did he find Council appointment? Only to eventually realize: Oh, yeah, he had a fund-raiser for Cindy Silva at his home...
David P May 04, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Damn, Mike...I hope you are not always this negative, but it sure seems like it. And this is your definition of Inner Circle. And 80 calls is inconsistent data, and I am pretty darn good at objective data analysis, thank you, but you have no idea of my background. BTW - have I ever even met you face-to-face? And it was not a fundraiser -- it was a neighborhood meet-and-greet so people can meet the candidate and learn her opinions. Again, get the facts correct, please.
michael frederick May 05, 2012 at 12:18 PM
David P, Excuse me everyone, it was a "neighborhood meet and greet." My apologies??? Sorry if I misled anyone...
One more time with feeling May 07, 2012 at 08:10 PM
David P, Thank you for the clarification regarding your response to Mr Frederick on "contributions to candidates". You have differing opinions from those three candidates you would not endorse. At least one has a HUGE planks relative to a balanced budget & government transparency. If the Council truly wants a balanced budget, the actions of several Council members do not reflect that. Of course you "have to believe that no one at City Hall wants the budget to be unbalanced". Say that with a straight face when they are planning to spend money we don't have. How much more opaque can the 3rd floor & Council can get before their constituents start wondering. We are at a $2.1 million deficit in our budget, yet they consider spending money we don't have on street signs for Ygnacio Valley Blvd, fake grass for Heather Farm Park, split time for bocce ball & ice skating, artwork in Civic Park & keep dumping $ into the Lesher Center money pit & apparently you are in full support of the grossly overpriced, not yet complete, Contra Costa County Library downtown Walnut Creek Branch after two City Managers said we could not afford it, voters twice would not pass bonds & the state turned down our three grant requests. Fixing roads, getting the Police Department back to a decent staffing level, community-wide support (not just downtown) & other basics would be a good start. And you support - rather, endorse - Council's behavior because you "have to believe". Good to know.

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