There were fewer bared fangs and more wagging tails Wednesday night as the Rancho Laguna dog park issue returned yet again to the Moraga Town Council.
Calls for cooperation and healing after the often heated debate over the park’s use preceded a 3-2 vote to rescind Ordinance 236. The controversial ordinance ended off-leash dog hours in Rancho Laguna Park except in a fenced area yet to be approved by the Council. Backlash from the original passage of the ordinance in May, lead to a successful petition drive calling for a voter referendum on the Council’s decision. Wednesday night’s vote by the Council to back down, followed a unanimously approved motion to accept the County’s certification of that referendum petition against 236.
Council members Ken Chew and Karen Mendonca voted against rescission. It was Vice Mayor Howard Harpham who cast the swing vote, breaking ranks with Chew and Mendonca. The three originally cast the votes that won passage of 236. Harpham cited the Town’s greater need to focus on passing the upcoming sales tax initiative aimed at shoring up worn roads as motivation to end the controversy.
Councilmember Dave Trotter, when pressed by Chew about the next step at Rancho Laguna, hinted at the possibility of continuing discussion of the issue after the November election. The Town Council is barred by state election law from taking action on a 236 re-boot for one year.
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