In the local media, Tracy Region Alliance for a Quality Community members say the Tracy City Council and city staff must implement the “letter” and “intent” of Measure A, the city’s slow-growth law. What does this mean
The “letter” of Measure A is fact. Passed 56 percent to 44 percent by Tracy voters in 1990, it modified the city’s growth management ordinance by reducing the cap on the number of residential building permits the city can issue by half, down to a maximum 600 per year.
The “intent” of Measure A is a matter of speculation and interpretation; though it appears voters were unaware they voted to delegate to its author the sole authority to interpret its intent.
If only Measure A’s author can decode its intent, it follows the community and its elected City Council cannot. It also follows that all future council planning decisions will have to be approved by the author of Measure A to ensure the council complies with its “intent,” since any attempt to deviate from the author’s interpretations would be illegal.
Several months ago, the council voted to change its growth management ordinance to modify the number of building permits that can be allocated via development agreements. This administrative change had nothing to do with growth caps and everything to do with how the city conducts its day-to-day business to best represent all of Tracy, and not just a select few.
Mark Connolly is mayoral candidate Celeste Garamendi’s husband. He is the author of Measure A, founder of TRAQC and TRAQC’s litigation lawyer. Connolly determined the council’s decision violated the intent of Measure A and has sued the city on behalf of TRAQC to prevent the council’s administrative change from taking place. All this is corroborated by factual accounts in the media, public record and underscored by Councilwoman Irene Sundberg, a TRAQC member, from her council seat Tuesday.
If the City Council had yielded to TRAQC demands, it would have established a dangerous precedent by placing all of Tracy’s growth policies, development plans and day-to-day decisions in the hands of Connolly. This would have taken control out of the hands of voters, their elected City Council and placed Connolly in control of what happens to Tracy in the future.
As you vote Nov. 7, it’s important to know that if two more TRAQC members are elected to the City Council and follow their backroom, closed-door “contract,” they will form a TRAQC majority and effectively transfer control of all city policies and council decisions to Connolly, the founder of TRAQC, its theological leader, litigation lawyer, millionaire and husband of wannabe mayor Celeste Garamendi.
At a public dinner I recently asked San Joaquin County Supervisor Leroy Ornellas of Tracy if a community could ever be built in the southwest corner of our county, where Connolly owns an 11.5 square-mile parcel. Ornellas said the county regularly examines the land throughout the county to determine if a community could be built there. While a community in the southwest portion of our county is not envisioned, it is possible that one day in the not-so-distant future one could rise there, he said. I ask, with Mark Connolly and Celeste Garamendi calling the shots, who in the county would most benefit from the development of a new community south and west of Tracy
• Dave Hardesty, a satellite communications engineer, is among a select group of local residents rotating their columns in the Saturday Tracy Press.