The City of Livermore has implied disingenuously that the Council’s current downtown plan resulted directly from the extensive Public Outreach Process. Placeworks conducted the public process from spring to fall of 2017 at a cost to the public of $500K and filed a report at city hall. Yet the Council shocked participants by adopting a plan derived from a totally different process.
Confirming this distinction was Council member Munro’s glowing report given at Livermore’s Rally for Love,`` (also on the record at Council meeting 6/24) that the Council’s current plan was the product of seven groups (United Livermore) coming together with harmony and mutual respect to reach consensus among themselves.
Had these groups valued the Public Outreach Process, there would be a minimum of low-income housing in the heart of downtown plus a central park from the Bankhead to L Street in the Council’s plan. This would have left little chance of pushback from the public, even if the hotel remained on the Eastside! United Livermore was Limited Livermore. Hence the rancor continues as the public is fighting back by collecting signatures currently for an Initiative.
Complicating the argument is the Eastside or Westside location for the hotel. When the original RFP went out years ago, all respondents chose the Eastside. Hotel experts explained that hoteliers want to know who their neighbors will be and, at that time, the Westside was basically an empty lot with no definite plans. At the time, the Eastside location was the less risky choice.
The visibility issue (the importance of seeing the hotel from the other side of the railroad trestle on North Livermore) came up at the Downtown Steering Committee meeting attended by only one Council member and not recorded. It was the only positive argument for the Eastside location cited by the experts and everybody fell for it. This was responsible for the strange lobby configuration for the original Westside hotel, which blocked in Blacksmith Square, igniting opposition.
Placeworks had brought in the three hotel experts and part way through the meeting it became clear that they had been led to believe that the Eastside location had already been chosen by the city. City staff had to correct this on the spot. One has to wonder if the visibility issue would have come up at all had these experts been coached otherwise beforehand.