I was one of the volunteers who collected signatures for the Livermore Central Park Plan Initiative. We also had paid signature gatherers whom we monitored to be sure they were not aggressive and were being factual. If complaints about the signature gatherers were verified, we worked with the company to rectify the situation.

But, both the volunteer and paid workers were bothered by interference from the opposition, who made it impossible at times for both volunteer and paid workers to talk to the citizens. We were advised that we should call the police, but we tried to ignore or work with them instead. The opposition has misrepresented the facts. It is disappointing that they are making personal attacks on the supporters of the Initiative, blaming the messenger. This is a distraction from the real question of what we want for the heart of our downtown.

When people responded to us that they did not want to sign because they liked the city’s plan, we asked what it was that they liked about it. As a result, we had a few interesting discussions. Some responded that they wanted more housing, though were surprised that 222 units were to be built on the Groth property just across L Street. Most just said they wanted the city’s plan and did not say what elements they liked.

Citizens who signed the Initiative wanted a continuous Central Park from the Bankhead Park Plaza to L Street, convenient parking, and affordable residential units on the periphery of the plan.

This is the chance to make the downtown special. What we need is a discussion of the elements of both plans. We had site maps of both plans at the farmers markets for comparison of the plans. When the voters understood the two plans, they did not want to settle for the city’s plan and signed the petition for a vote.

Because of the community’s support for the initiative, we were able to secure the necessary signatures in less time than we had originally planned.

The voters want to have a real say on the plans for the downtown.