22 Aug 2014
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Opinion: What's Behind Candidate's Statements?

Letter to the editor: An inquiry into a Moraga hopeful's take on the future of Rancho Laguna Park.

Opinion: What's Behind Candidate's Statements? Opinion: What's Behind Candidate's Statements?

By David W. Shapiro

recently revealed his plan for Rancho Laguna Park: someone (but not the Town) will build an enclosed dog park there and someone (and presumably not the Town) will pay to maintain it, protect sensitive species, and police its use. That “plan” will effectively ban off-leash dog walking, which would be unwelcome news to the hundreds of people who use the park now as it is or who don’t want to break up the open space at RLP.

Why is Mr. Arth in favor of such a drastic change to the off-leash dog ordinance that the Town used to boast about to potential homeowners? It’s hard to tell, except that he says a dog was attacked by another dog (the attacker dog was put down and the attacked dog still comes to the park), and he heard that two dogs “felled” a deer – a story that appears to be apocryphal. Mr. Arth also fears that children will be attacked, even though there aren’t any prior incidents, and, of course, children do go to the park with their families and their dogs – and will continue to do so regardless of whether his proposed fence materializes.

In his advertisement in the Lamorinda Weekly last week, Mr. Arth sought to undermine the legitimacy of the referendum that reversed the Council’s ill-conceived plan (adopted by Mendonca-Chew-Harpham) to repeal the existing off-leash dog ordinance by claiming that people who collected the 1,800 signatures misled those who signed it. The referendum was three sentences long and clearly stated that signatories wanted the Council’s 3 to 2 vote reversed. Mr. Arth’s assertion that “many” Moragans were duped into signing the petition relies on unspecific “reports” from unidentified people to justify dismissing the desires of over 1,800 of his potential constituents. That’s not the kind of judicious reasoning we are entitled to expect from a potential town official.

Mr. Arth has joined Mendonca and Chew in disregarding what many citizens want. His claim (in his Lamorinda Weekly ad) that he does not know of any “serious intention” to make RLP a sports park only reveals his lack of knowledge about the identities of those who have led the charge to ban dog walkers from RLP and the Town plans still in place. See the Town’s Master Plan (“consider multi-use, synthetic turf sports fields in the existing turf areas”).

Finally, Mr. Arth claims that complaints about his approach to open space are “red herrings” because he says he will follow the Moraga Open Space Ordinance. Claiming that he will follow the law is hardly comforting, in light of the fact that he has also said he approved of the Council’s action on Rancho Laguna II, which authorized a housing development on Moraga’s ridgelines. For more information about the poor decisions that Mr. Arth supports, see this website.

Mr. Arth has not earned my vote.

David W. Shapiro

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