Larry Gosselin, Livermore

Long ago an insidious disease came to eastern Alameda County. It is known as Measure D and afflicts rural agriculturists and conservationists. The utility-scale solar-power project proposed for North Livermore is a symptom, a canker of that disease.

Measure D came to us with a promise: “The purposes of this Initiative are to preserve and enhance agriculture and agricultural lands” Yet, there has been no agricultural enhancement in eastern Alameda County, only destruction of the once vibrant agricultural economy.

When Measure D passed, agriculturists rose to the task of defining enhancement and worked with stakeholders, city and county planners, the business community, and others to develop a Working Landscape Plan that was agreed to be a model for conservation development. Alameda County was at the forefront of urban fringe conservation. Those who lead the agricultural resurgence in South Livermore joined with rangeland owners and North Livermore farmers and ranchers to provide advice and specific strategies. An Environmental Impact Report was prepared. Unfortunately, the plan was placed on a shelf, ignored, to be joined by a series of affirming plans also ignored.

The battle over solar power has become a metaphor for the destructive disease of Measure D. According to solar-field advocates, our agricultural lands are best used to produce power for urban uses. According to Candidate Bacon, our agricultural lands have the purpose to block urban sprawl. Vinnie Bacon, Fremont city council member and candidate for Alameda County supervisor, has displaced the well-intended purpose of Measure D, “to enhance agriculture and agricultural lands,” with the mundane task of protecting city folk from their own inability to plan and regulate urban sprawl. I encourage Mr. Bacon to visit the working agriculturists before representing our efforts and goals. We are stewards, recognized by Measure D to be “experts to make recommendations to enhance the economic viability of agriculture and ranching, and to minimize environmental impacts.”

David Haubert, Dublin mayor who is running against Bacon for county supervisor, has reached out to agriculturists affected by the solar debate. He knows the long history of conflicts in the area and spoke of the purposes of Measure D. Most importantly, he learned of and assessed problems, made no promises to any group, and provided direction to the proper agencies to help advance conservation and agricultural objectives. I appreciate his efforts to learn from all groups before forming an opinion.