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Rajan Defends Shadelands Committee Process

Mayor pro tem rejects as 'absurd' suggestion of tilt toward Safeway.

Walnut Creek Mayor Pro Tem Kish Rajan said the Shadelands Advisory Committee process is operating in a way to protect the community interest.

Rajan, responding to criticism about his role in the Shadelands Advisory Committee in , suggested the barbs are unfair to the volunteer committee members.

"I have said consistently that this process is an effort to define a potential development that could blend the property owner's (Safeway's) interests with the interests and needs of the community," wrote Rajan in an email. "We would not have insisted upon a specific plan process, with an advisory committee, if we didn't want to protect the community interest."

"I am very grateful to the citizen members of the Advisory Committee who have stepped up and volunteered," Rajan went on. "These citizen Committee members are strongly and thoughtfully advocating for the neighborhoods and the community at large. Through their efforts, along with the outstanding general public input we are getting, we are shaping a plan that I believe will be balanced, thoughtful and worthy of our community."

Wedel criticized the "seeming lack of community emphasis in this supposedly community-driven process" in a March 15 letter to the editor.

It is "absurd" to suggest committee members are simply advocating for Safeway, Rajan said. "While I am comfortable being the subject of criticism (as it is what one signs up for when seeking elective office), it is patently unfair to question the motives and the sincerity of the Advisory Committee members," said Rajan. "Should anyone have concerns about this, I would welcome them to attend any of our upcoming meetings to see for themselves. I am certain they would be impressed. "

Wedel, owner of a small computer business, ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2010.

Silence Dogood March 17, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Rhetoric. I just read Mr. Wedel's article and I do not see anywhere where he questioned the motives of the committee members, only the council members. Once again Kish refuses to address the real concerns of the community. SHAME! Lance, did you reach out to Mr. Wedel for comments? It is also amusing that rather than addressing the issue Kish decided to prove Mr. Wedel's point (at the bottom of his article) when he discussed diverting attention from the real issue. Very ironic....
karen cunningham March 20, 2012 at 01:56 AM
I have attended the Shadelands Advisory Committee meetings. At the last meeting, the residents of the city who attended, the public, were allowed to participate as bystanders only as the committee considered land use alternatives limited to development. I don't find any inaccuracy in Mr. Wedel's report, nor any criticism of the committee members, and we are lucky that there is someone who is forcefully questioning what is going on in Walnut Creek. I believe that most of the people of Walnut Creek do not want Shadelands to become a shopping center, do not want destruction of open space and wildlife habitat, do not want heritage oak and walnut trees cut down, and absolutely do not want development that adds to traffic problems on Ygnacio Valley Rd.
michael frederick March 20, 2012 at 10:19 AM
I like Wedel, Lawson, and Rajan -- with young families, they represent long-term planning and family values. Having said that, we need to referee the political BS to recognize problems. "We would not have insisted upon a specific plan process, with an advisory committee, if we didn't want to protect the community interest." Sure you would, for the same reasons we had a "Library listening" process without listening. It's a chance for the public to get fingerprints on the bloody murder weapon -- as they "participate" in a highly controlled, restricted, format. It provides both political validation for the plan and political innoculation. Three neighborhood advocates in a sea of build-out advocates, led by staff, hardly reflects "community interest" -- any more than it did with the Mt. Diablo Specific Plan. Mr. Rajan's "absurd" finding indicates a belief in the sanctity of past Council shams. He's satisfied past Councils left his office beyond reproach?!? One can attack Mr. Wedel's commentary as politically motivated. However, deeming it unwarranted takes ignorance about Council's past performance. I share Wedel's concerns -- as the composition of the committee, as well as Mr. Rajan's commentary, heighten them. If Mr. Rajan can't even recognize the serious and expensive problems we're currently buried under (ie, library), he's probably not part of their solution. Defending that status quo only ensures FURTHER arbitary, expensive, and inane Council promotions!
Mary Anne Clark March 23, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Karen Cunningham, you mention the heritage oaks and I have been working to save the ones in Rossmoor along with a group called SOS (Save Our Stanley, referring to the estate of the late Stanley Dollar). The corporate board wants to build a parking lot and an event center that 3600 residents say they do not want. I would like to know what you've learned in your effort to protect their habitat. Our fight sounds identical. Please call, I'm in the Walnut Creek phone book. I appreciate that Rajan Kish seems to be interested in knowing about the process that was used in the notification process that was a sly deal.
Mary Anne Clark March 23, 2012 at 10:17 PM
I think there might be a serious problem in the Design Review Office and with the design review process. Once a decision is made, it is impossible to have it reversed, even if the design review was in error (we residents of Rossmoor are finding that to be true; notification process was faulty). This means that any corporate entity can slip something under the noses of the Community Development Director and, if this person does not make an attempt at due diligence, the corporation wins. The citizens will not know approval has been granted until after the period of public appeals is past the deadline). Then, the City Council has to back the Community Development Director, right or wrong. I have heard that getting permits from the Planning Department is difficult, but it doesn't seem difficult for the corporations. We need help to stop this project but we only have a matter of days.

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