A long-running dispute over development of the Livermore downtown has lead to a Citizen’s Initiative to determine which of two plans will go forward. The Livermore City Council is aggressively pursuing contracts and construction for one plan before the results of the Initiative are known.

The experience of a neighboring city, Half Moon Bay, shows that drastic consequences can occur if a City Council locks the city into one plan before the dispute has been resolved.

The city of Half Moon Bay was involved in a long-running dispute over development on a land parcel. Before this dispute was resolved, the city blocked the development. In 2007, a judge ruled that the city was in error so they must pay $36 million (three times the total city budget) to compensate the developer. While part of the judgment was covered by insurance, the city had to tighten its belt, eliminate its police department while contracting with the Sheriff’s Office, and significantly downsize staff. The city was still paying off a related bond ten years later.

While it is unclear if the Livermore Initiative will be successful, signatures have been delivered to the City Clerk indicating a strong possibility the Initiative will be approved by the voters. It would be incredibly irresponsible for our city leadership to continue to lock us in to the Eastside hotel plan placing Livermore and its citizens at risk for potential drastic losses if the initiative succeeds.

The Livermore Mayor and City Council have the sole responsibility to determine if we incur drastic losses like Half Moon Bay or Livermore follows a wiser plan that can successfully implement either downtown plan.