Opinion: Looking Out For Residents' Interests

Letter to the editor: Karen Mendonca explains philosophy of representation, and the quest for compromise in Rancho Laguna Park issue.

I thought that I would respond to the Lamorinda Patch Editor's invitation to share some of my thoughts. I have chosen not to address, point by point, each factual inaccuracy contained in the letter, but, rather, to take this opportunity to share some of my thoughts as they relate to many of the points contained therein.

The truth is that I care very much about the opinions of our citizens. I do my homework and come thoroughly prepared to every Town Council meeting. I listen carefully and respectfully to all input provided, and, then, as an elected official, it is my responsibility to make the very best decisions on behalf of the Town of Moraga. Each Moraga Town Councilmember serves as an "at-large" representative, and that means we are to always make decisions that are in the best interest of our community-at-large. While individual passions can run high on given issues, decisions must be made that reflect the values of a civil society. Moraga citizens can, and should, have the expectation that their elected leaders will consistently look out for their best interests and will always keep in mind that they are in their elected positions, first and foremost, to be effective stewards of the Town and its resources.

With regard to the notion of a non-existent "silent majority" in the Town of Moraga, the reality is that many of our citizens are working adults with children whose lives are filled with a plethora of responsibilities, including the maintenance of professional careers, raising of children, school-related commitments, extra-curricular involvements, and volunteer assignments. Because of these numerous commitments, many of our citizens cannot attend Moraga Town Council meetings — at least, not on a regular basis. For this reason, they have elected representatives they hope will do just that — represent their interests — when making decisions that are important to their quality of life.

Safety concerns are paramount when making any decisions related to public park use. Rancho Laguna Park (RLP) has been the site of an off-leash dog mauling so severe that it required surgery for the victimized dog and the putting down of the attacking dog. It does not require much imagination to realize how easily that victim could have been a small child. In addition, an off-leash dog has been reported to have knocked to the ground one of our senior citizens while she visited the park. Several reports have been detailed of off-leash dogs stealing food from residents trying to enjoy family picnics at Rancho Laguna Park. Moreover, many individuals who are on-leash dog enthusiasts will not use RLP during off-leash hours because of the potential conflicts between on- and off-leash dogs.

Off-leash dogs in public parks necessitate careful attention be paid to safety priorities, and to minimize the importance of this consideration is a serious mistake. Our parks are not privately held amenities; they belong to all of our citizens, and off-leash dog activity in a public park is a privilege, not an entitlement. For good reasons, many municipalities do not allow off-leash dogs in any public park, and those that do almost always mandate a fenced, appropriately sized, and separate area for off-leash activities.

Finally, it is important to note, that in an environment of scarce resources, these precious park commodities must be fairly shared. In order to realize that goal, it is necessary to move from an advocate's perspective to a diplomat's reality. There is no perfect solution to most problems or challenges, but there is usually the opportunity to craft a realistic compromise that is respectful of the diverse needs and priorities of a heterogeneous community.

Karen Mendonca

Karen Mendonca is a candidate for re-election to the Moraga Town Council Nov. 6.

Gordy Erspamer November 04, 2012 at 03:43 AM
It would be helpful if Ms. Karen Mendonca would personally respond to the following questions before the election on Tuesday: Please disclose the identity of the sign-stealer (please do not claim ignorance, as her identity is known), and describe your relationship to the person caught stealing the "Defeat Mendonca" signs. Is she in fact one of your supporters? Were you in touch with her prior to the recent Moraga police action? If so, please disclose all of your interactions. Did you know that she was removing these anti-Mendonca signs? Please do not rely upon your surrogates to answer these questions, which go to the integrity of the electoral process. If you do not personally respond, then voters will be justified in drawing adverse inferences. Thank you.
2nd Generation Moraga November 04, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Seriously? I'm glad they caught the sign stealer, however this entire episode from the "dump mendonca" signs to the sign thefts is juvenile. I think it would be a tad bit obvious if Ms. mendonca had personal knowledge or personally directed the thief. I applaud her response to this whole circus, acknowledging Mr. Home's right to free speech and to post the signs.
Jose November 04, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Gordy, Gordy. I believe the word you are looking for is "minions", not supporters. And, of course, the Oz police are on their way, so go have a warm glass of milk, would you?
Gordy Erspamer November 04, 2012 at 05:29 AM
It was predicable that, notwithstanding the clarity of my post, the first responding posters would be two of the primary Mendonca surrogates, both of whom operate under aliases, and don't answer any of the questions I posed; if Ms. Mendonca cannot answer these simple questions that go to the integrity of her campaign for public office, how can she defend her status as a public servant?
Cooper Hall November 04, 2012 at 05:37 AM
Surest sign of an insecure person: They have a political bumper sticker on their car or a political sign in their yard. I don't care if you support Romney, Obama, Jesus, or Blake Sheldon for President. I don't care if you voted for or against Prop 8675309. The fact that you feel the need to share all this info as you drive around or as people drive by your house makes you as ridiculous as those people who put those absurd stick families on the back of their SUVs. Your neighbors and fellow townspeople just aren't that into you.
Cooper Hall November 04, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Karen Lewis November 04, 2012 at 05:43 AM
Cooper, It's hard to get past the insults and ridicule to figure our what your point is. But I did, and found you missed it altogether. The point is to show that the person named on the sign has actual supporters; ones willing to show their support. (And the same principle for bumper stickers or signs with messages.)
Jose November 04, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Surrogates? Hahaha. Ms. Mendoca just spit up her tea when she read that!. No, I work for a Wizard Gordy, and Council Members are not wizards. I hope you prosecute that sign stealer to the fullest extent of the law. I am just amused by your zeal in this matter. Now, I am off to fight global warming and poverty. Keep up the good work!
Cooper Hall November 04, 2012 at 08:00 AM
No insults here. Just reality, Karen. Just reality.
2nd Generation Moraga November 04, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Mr. Erspamer, I have no affiliation with ANY MTC candidate, either official or unofficial. Simply spouting my personal opinion as a Moraga resident.
Andrew L. November 05, 2012 at 02:05 AM
@2nd Gen., you wrote: " If Mr. Gerding isn't a Moraga resident, we don't benefit from his property tax," As I pointed out to you, there are many Moraga residents who do not pay property tax -- they are renters. Why don't you just have the grace to admit I caught you in your illogic and leave it at that?
2nd Generation Moraga November 05, 2012 at 03:58 AM
@Andrew, I replied to you above -
Chris Gerding November 10, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Andrew L, I am thoroughly amused by 2Gen's fixation on my place of domicile. In fact, it is to you and a few others that I owe the enjoyable ritual of watching 2Gen writhing in anxious, skin-crawling uncertainty as he frets about it every single day. The irony is that 2 Gen believes that he is owed an answer on his questions of others --while himself hiding behind his ridiculous McCarthy avatar of anonymity. Such irrational asymmetry of expectations is consistent with paranoia that would have made Sen McCarthy proud. But once, he let it slip that he owns a business here. This gave me an idea. What if we were to offer a cash prize to the first person who could prove the identity of 2Gen? In this way, not only would he be "outed" and linked personally to his entire litany of un-civil trash talk blog archives... But then the identity of his business could be "outed" as well. I'm guessing that it is consumer sensitive, and he thus has good reason to keep it separate from the irrational outbursts he visits on us here. I know some people who have access to the archives at Campolindo HS where 2Gen says he went. It's easy to cross match family names from his graduating class with residents of such a small town of his parents' approximate ages. Once we identify the business, the entertainment possibilities are endless. What do you think? Pursue this easy detective work, offer a $100 prize to Campo students, or just forget it? Maybe the latter if his tone here becomes civil?
2nd Generation Moraga November 10, 2012 at 06:13 AM
Mr. Gerding, your true colors are showing.
Jon Chambers November 10, 2012 at 06:16 AM
Chris, are you serious?
Nice and Rough November 10, 2012 at 06:27 AM
Seek treatment. Seriously.
Chris Gerding November 11, 2012 at 07:03 PM
So now, having seen roughshod trampling of Doug's First Amendment rights....we're more concerned for 2Gen's continued ability to lob insults from the shadows? Am I serious? I haven't decided yet. It'd be a cute school project, where the 16-somethings would get to feel like Julian Assange or another of their generational heroes. Far from raising privacy issues, all the clues are facts that 2Gen himself has already provided. JM 82' Campo 86, owns a business, same name parents lived here, has 2 dogs.... So, there is real community value in such a project. Maybe we could tie it to picking pears or something to engage more of the Town than just the Gen Y Geeks. As I see it Jon, this is the opportunity you have awaited. This is the ultimate fulfillment of your dream of universal civility. By outing 2Gen, you would see his mask of incivility removed quicker than the bed sheet of a tantruming 3 year old before a righteous parental spanking. To me it's a practical question. That $100 prize could instead go to pay for vandalism damage done by other anonymous goons to Bill Carman's car hours after the voters bid "Auf Wiedersehen" to Mendonca. So, to answer your question, I haven't decided whether to "out" 2Gen...but it would be easy and lots of fun. As I said, lets watch his tone for signs of civility and decide later.
2nd Generation Moraga November 11, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Mr. Gerding you are threatening me and my livelihood, and trying to bully me into silence because I don't agree with your point of view. While my comments are pointed and direct, they stay on topic and are not personal. You sir, are uncivilized, and this type of behavior is paints you and your associates in a very ugly light. I would call in those off-leash proponents who don't believe in your methods to repudiate you and your "techniques". You are a scary individual.
Karen Lewis November 11, 2012 at 08:55 PM
As far as I know Chris speaks for himself. I'd suggest we all move on.
Chris Gerding November 11, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Right Karen, this is strictly between myself and 2Gen. I have no idea whether he associates me with off leash dogs, Communists, or whatever is on his current list of hate-fantasies. The nerve I've struck is similarly unconnected with politics, elections, dogs, or anything else except 2Gen's scary realization that he might be identified via fully legal process through information HE PROVIDED HERE. When I became active in a global financial industry-level effort to stop commercialized online child pornography, a very wise senior person in this industry gave me words I will never forget: "It's what we do when we think no one sees us that is the true measure of who we really are". (2Gen's angry rants yield nothing good by this measure). I am neither threatening, nor intending to threaten you nor your livelihood, 2Gen. When you made these uncivil comments, did you rely on some explicit legal basis to assume that you would never be revealed --by anyone? By what twist of logic does linking your comments with your identity (using 100% public data you furnished) become someone else "threatening" your livelihood? Repudiate away, dog people. No off-leashers will be involved if my crew elects to put 2G's identity out there. True, the Town may get a chuckle, but 2G needn't worry about "dog people". I also doubt that anyone hiding behind a pen name (for ostensible business reasons!) ever meets a truly scary individual in a lifetime. Lucky you, 2G. Sleep well.
2nd Generation Moraga November 12, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Mr. Gerding, you posted: "But then the identity of his business could be "outed" as well..." This certainly sounds like a threat. It also sounds errily similar to the harassment that Mr. Jon Chambers underwent when unknown person(s) sent "hateful emails" to Mr. Chamber's work and work colleagues. Mr. Chambers also opposed you position on RLP as I do. Mr. Gerding you are a bully plain and simple.
Chris Gerding November 12, 2012 at 03:35 AM
No one keeps secrets forever, 2G. I'm especially amused when the primary blabbermouth is also the party who claims that his secret is so important. So you mouth off under an assumed name, afraid that your precious business will be impacted. DO YOU SEE A PROBLEM RIGHT THERE? Next, you tell us that you attended JM Intermediate 82, Campolindo HS 86, have 2 dogs (duly licensed, we hope), and are married. So your precious anonymity is endangered....by me? I didn't even enter the picture by the time you left these obvious clues. I'm just offering to do some gratis data mining for the People of Moraga on open source data. If you presume to call this a "threat to your business", do you have a security plan at this business? Does it include inserting a sock in your mouth and a 3 inch strip of duct tape over your mouth? Considering your biggest demonstrated security leak so far...,don't you think it should? Don't accuse others when you can't stop running at the mouth. Please.
Nice and Rough November 12, 2012 at 04:47 AM
You sound loony. Like stalker loony.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 12, 2012 at 05:28 AM
As Grandma used to say when things got out of hand, "Enough is too much!" We have drifted far afield and it is no longer informative or entertaining. You are two bright guys with clear differences regarding something or other as I have lost track of the subject at hand. Karen Mendonca hopefully will someday understand the error of her ways. The statement above is clear evidence she is essentially oblivious regarding political machinations and realities. She's a fish that has been returned to her home waters. The MTC makes decisions that effect the 'quality of life' of our residents. Her notions and opinions about what those things should be and how and when they should be applied are entirely subjective and debatable. She leaves little room for differing opinons and many of her actual behaviors belie her above statements. You guys need to agree to disagree and move on to a new subject as this one is spiraling out of control. Starting to sound like things you might not actually mean to say or territory best unvisited.
2nd Generation Moraga November 12, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Friz, Mr. Gerding is fighting with himself...
2nd Generation Moraga November 12, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Have fun with your sleuthing, let me know if you find DB Cooper or those aliens in area 51.
Chris Gerding November 12, 2012 at 06:16 AM
My life's pinnacle has been achieved this evening. I've been accused of various sins, ratcheting upward from incivility to being a scary bully. My not-quite-anonymous accuser has all but provided his true identity with his own uncontrollable, self focused babble, then feigns horror that I might give him away. A true set of passive aggressive behaviors....but this night is different. No time for human judgments tonight. But there's yet more to come. I receive unsolicited online counseling to avoid spiraling out of control....by a participant named Congodog. (Talk about life milestones) But then it turns intensely spiritual. I see the bright white light at the end of the tunnel. My life is flashing before me. Little cherubs whispering in my ear that Elite Soccer is of the Devil....but dont worry, Jon...I don't believe them, not for a minute. Everything will be OK...I can die now.
Nice and Rough November 12, 2012 at 07:14 AM
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 12, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Friz is my brother. Now, deep breath, and let's all simmer down.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 12, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Do not Die! I would miss your insight. But not your sarcasm. To Do is To Be, To Be is To Do Do Be Do Be Do


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