John Marchand, Livermore

There have been a number of letters and ads demanding that the City of Livermore “Negotiate with Livermore residents” over the Eden Housing Development. The fact is that the City did work with residents and took thousands of public comments during the development of the Approved Downtown Plan. A committee with representatives from 19 community stakeholders heard from thousands of residents over a period of months to place all of the key elements that were required in the integrated plan. Those elements included open space, cultural facilities, parking, and housing, since housing funds were used to purchase the site. However, nowhere in any of the letters or ads does it suggest exactly who these “Livermore residents” should be or how they should be selected.

Let me suggest who it should not be. It should not be any of the people who created the “Central Park” drawing. That was created in secret with no public input or financial or feasibility analysis. It should also not be any of the major funders of the Measure P referendum. That referendum failed to garner a single endorsement from any local organization or elected representative. The failed referendum ignored the public input of which over 80% agreed that the downtown hotel should face Livermore Avenue. Instead, the referendum promoters spent almost a million dollars trying to convince voters that a 160-room hotel which included no parking should be built on L Street where Eden Housing had already been approved. It should also not be any member of the LVPAC Board which manages the Bankhead Theater. That Board drove the theater near bankruptcy. To save the Bankhead, which is now owned by the City of Livermore, the City approved a bond to retire the $23 million mortgage, which would have been catastrophic during the pandemic. In fact, many of those same Board members actually funded the opposition against placing the hotel next to the Bankhead. The hotel location was supported by Livermore voters by a margin of 2:1. These Board members have demonstrated that they are out of touch with the majority of Livermore voters. There is clearly a conflict of interest with some of these members who have refused to work with the City of Livermore. As proof, the Board will not allow any of our elected City Council representatives to attend any of their Board meetings.