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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.

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
Moraga

Jeanne November 01, 2012 at 07:52 PM
The off leash dog group hoped that once a sports field was approved at Camino Pablo this witch hunt on off leash dogs would stop but, Park and rec. wants a town owned sports field. They do not want to pay the schools money to maintain the field and whats Park and Rec to turn a bigger profit.
2nd Generation Moraga November 01, 2012 at 08:14 PM
@Jeanne, I looked at the facts, and they support appropriate and routine due diligence performed by Parks & Rec, and an appropriate decision to fund field upgrades at Camino Pablo. From the report referenced above the ONLY mention of fields at RLP is on (pg 23), where it states "consider multi-use, synthetic turf sports fields in the existing turf areas." - note the word CONSIDER. Regarding Animal Control - BRAVO.. they should be enforcing the regulations. You can ignore the facts all you want - it doesn't change them.
2nd Generation Moraga November 01, 2012 at 08:24 PM
@Jeanne: 1) Your assertion lacks any credible evidence - just because you believe it doesn't make it reality. 2) Regarding your assertion of a "witch hunt on off leash dogs" : From the above referenced report (pg 112 of the PDF) regarding the topic of a dog park:"according to the Community Questionnaire, only 2.3% of paper respondents and 5.4% of online respondents feel that a dog park is the most needed type of recreation facility in Moraga. Dog parks ranked last on both the online and paper questionnaires." This isn't a witch hunt - it is the MAJORITY of Moraga citizens determined to reinstate BALANCE at a scarce resource (RLP) that has been upset by a minority of self-interested dog owners.
2nd Generation Moraga November 01, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Sorry, that reference is on page 58 of the PDF -
Jeanne November 01, 2012 at 10:49 PM
You don't read. I said I was out there during off leash hours. The dogs were there when they were suppose to be there. Giving tickets when dogs are allowed off leash is a waste of money. The tickets were dropped. As far as credible I'm the only one here with facts and proof. You are all talk. As far as only 2.3% and the 5.4% of course they didn't want a dog park. They could take the dogs to the commons off leash, and Rancho Laguna. The people that have off leash dogs now don't want a dog park we want what we have always had, Rancho Laguna. In many surveys it states walking dogs off leash is number one in importance to them. You and those like you are not the MAJORITY.
2nd Generation Moraga November 01, 2012 at 11:12 PM
The survey showed that only 2.3% of on-line and 5.4% of paper respondents who answered the survey WANTED a dog park. That means that 97.7% and 94.6% of respondents DID NOT believe a dog park was needed - and ALL ranked it last in importance. Talk is cheap: can you site your "proof" please - because all I see are your statements, which don't constitute proof.
Jeanne November 02, 2012 at 01:07 AM
That's what I said. The dog owners do not want a dog park. They like things as they are. You are just proving my point. I'm sorry I lowered myself to get into this debate. I will save my thought for the council. I will not answer anymore of your postings.
2nd Generation Moraga November 02, 2012 at 01:44 AM
@Jeanne, so you contend that the survey population was ONLY dog owners?? I think you need to re-check your information. BTW, this is called a "discussion" - sorry if your not used to having your facts called into question.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 07, 2012 at 11:41 PM
" it is the MAJORITY of Moraga citizens determined to reinstate BALANCE at a scarce resource (RLP) that has been upset by a minority of self-interested dog owners." You may want to check the election results, majority-man(sic)! It appears the "Phantom Majority" you are so proud about is just so much smoke. God, I love this country.
Chris Gerding November 11, 2012 at 06:25 PM
2Gen, it is you who's inaccurate. The elected partisans on the Parks and Rec Commission to this day keep drawing soccer fields on RLP at numerous public meetings. Jay Ingram's shill from Callendar Assoc. did likewise. You are either not connected to events here or maybe just enjoy bellowing without facts. Listen and learn from Jeanne.
2nd Generation Moraga November 11, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Fritz, the "identified" dog partisan candidate (Mr. Freeman) finished last. What else needs to be said.
2nd Generation Moraga November 11, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Mr. Gerding, it's obvious to all that the dog-partisans need an "enemy" to rally around, and you all have created one with your youth-soccer / Moraga Parks & Rec conspiracy. Alas the FACTS don't support your narrative, and other than DOG PARTISANS, no other group is talking about turning RLP into a sports complex.
Chris Gerding November 14, 2012 at 06:21 AM
2G- FYI, I've dropped the off-leash question for the moment. I have a meeting at Campolindo HS tomorrow afternoon, instead. Something tells me I'm going to recognize both your picture and your name immediately. I've settled on a limerick contest here as the most creative way to introduce your true identity to the public. For some people, a picnic is an outing, for others, an outing is a picnic. In which group are you? More FACTS coming soon. Sleep well in these, the final days of your anonymity.
Nice and Rough November 14, 2012 at 06:37 AM
I know who 2GM is. 2nd Generation Moraga is Mark Felt. Or maybe Gray Davis. Or maybe Enid Strict. Or maybe, CG, nobody cares and you sound like a bored, no-life, cyberstalker.
Chris Gerding November 14, 2012 at 08:02 AM
My, my, N&R, a little touchy tonight? Fact is-- everybody loves a mystery- even a lame one like this. Several here know who 2Gen is, and I have formed a strong suspicion. And it's not even remotely stalking to repackage information already provided by 2Gen himself....I say let readers make up their own minds. If only I had a sign....anything from 2Gen to signal a new era of civility in his communication style. Maybe I'll watch for a few more days and then decide on the limericks.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 14, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Leave the guy alone, I assume he's a guy but "Tail Gunner Joe" (no pun intended) was an infamous cross-dresser. He has a right to his anonymity as those are the rules herein. And "outing" him is an egregious violation of those rules. Find some better use of your time and Please leave RLP out of the dialogue. If you want something productive to do, go by the park at 9am and hustle the stragglers into their cars!
Chris Gerding November 15, 2012 at 07:32 AM
Fritz, no rules here supersede the editorial judgment of our moderator. Certainly then, none cover the case where loss of anonymity is self inflicted (where the anonymous poster intentionally doubles as a blabbermouth who thereby endangers his own anonymity....then gets all histrionic on us). Online editorial policy is usually written around somewhat normal contributors, not those like Norman Bates of Bates Motel fame (a good thing!). Speaking of "doubling", most readers here already know 2Gen. And I am not trying to silence him (yes, it's a "him"). However, any return on his part to his ever-so-despised "incivility", and I may elect to launch the Readers' Limerick Contest I mentioned. Amused readers all over Lamorinda can then make up their own minds. I didn't mention RLP; I'm curious why you did (?)
Nice and Rough November 15, 2012 at 08:57 AM
Not touchy at all. Simply creeped out by your obsession. It seems very unhealthy. Nobody really cares who he or she is. Why do you care about the words or opinions of some random Patch commenter? You don't have to live with or sleep with 2GM. You don't have to pay 2GM's bills and 2GM doesn't have to pay yours. So, why you care this much is peculiar and honestly - alarming.
Nice and Rough November 15, 2012 at 09:10 AM
You speak of normal contributors yet you took the time to research some "clues" left by 2GM (I think they were dates in which 2GM attended Moraga schools or something) and if I recall you were offering a reward or some such nonsense for people to research yearbooks or something?? (It's possible someone else offered this suggestion in a Patch comment. I can't really remember if it was you or someone else. But does that sound like normal behavior? To be that obsessed with what someone said on here? I mean maybe if 2GM is Barack Obama or Mitt Romney then people might care but otherwise most people probably don't give two biscuits on a Sunday morning who 2GM is.)
Chris Nicholson November 15, 2012 at 04:28 PM
N&R: I tend to agree with you, but I think the forum works best when people use a consistent handle and post their true opinions and not play characters with backstories, etc. I think consistency is as important as "real names."
2nd Generation Moraga November 15, 2012 at 04:43 PM
@CN: My "handle" and point of view has been consistent since my first post, and the only person attributing any back-story drama to me is Mr. Gerding.
2nd Generation Moraga November 15, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Mr. Gerding, your true colors are showing. While I (and everyone else) has tired of your fascination over this topic, I will answer you one final time before turning the page: 1) I have not "blabbered" on these pages regarding my background. I have provided sufficient background on my profile page to establish my local credibility. As referenced by N&R above, this has been sufficient for everyone except you. 2) You keep returning to my "incivility". My posts and responses are directed at topics not individuals. You seem to attribute the fact that I have opposed your comments to me being uncivil. You are certainly welcome to express your opinions - as I am welcome to oppose them. I will continue to oppose what I believe is wrong regardless of your "threats". 3) Regarding why RLP gets mentioned. A quick review of your posts indicates you are a single issue poster. You are associated with the off-leash dog-partisans, and your actions are shining a very poor light on them at this time. Best of luck to you in your quest - I assure you that we have never met, and hopefully never will.
2nd Generation Moraga November 15, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Fritz: J.Edgar Hoover was the (alleged) cross-dresser.
Chris Nicholson November 15, 2012 at 05:33 PM
@2G: my comments were not directed at you.
Nice and Rough November 15, 2012 at 05:37 PM
CN - I tend to agree with you but I don't think this forum works towards anything, under the best of circumstances. I question how an anonymous site can accomplish anything. It's nothing more than a place for people to spout funny, ridiculous, insightful, bullying, distasteful, well thought out, poorly thought out, & wacky ideas. I view each comment on its own merit. I don't see how the identity (anonymous or not, consistent or not) of the contributor is relevant. To concern one's self with the identity or consistency of the individual commenter places too much emphasis on the messenger. The focus should be on the message & ideas conveyed. The messenger is important if the comment involves a statement that involves criminal activity. For example, if a commenter said, "I'm going to poison leash free dogs," then obviously the messenger needs to be reported to authorities. But when the comment is merely a statement of opinion then the identity or consistency is irrelevant & only serves to promote confirmation bias on the part of the reader.
Chris Gerding November 15, 2012 at 05:39 PM
N&R, by now probably no one gives a damn about the nth time they've heard about the details of how MOSO was betrayed, how a now-defeated candidate responded to RLP, etc. either. But these things keep getting posted, and you keep reading and responding, don't you? No one is suggesting that you are abnormal. People enjoy a riddle, a puzzle that engages them. Here we have an individual with a strong personal agenda who expresses it incessantly, --only partly under a pseudonym from behind a wall, I might add. It would be natural for people to join in the process of helping tear down the wall...brick by brick....especially if there were a component of fun involved for the readers in so doing. As before, I'm going to wait until I can see if 2G returns to "civility" before I launch the first of the reader-interactive limericks. Despite the temptation to do so, there's no need to puncture his little bubble if he practices what he preaches.
Nice and Rough November 15, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Suit yourself. But I don't see people rushing to beg you for the information. That speaks volumes.
Nice and Rough November 15, 2012 at 05:47 PM
If a functioning forum was the goal, Patch would switch to Facebook commenting.
Chris Gerding November 15, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I've had 2 private emails, N&R. But I agree, the proof is in the pudding. A lot depends on how clever or engaging the limericks are. then again, maybe literally no one cares who 2Gen is.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 16, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Not according to Hank Greenspun! "Tailgunner Joe" (no pun intended) has been portrayed as philanderer, drunk and bi-sexual. I think the first two have strong cred, the last, well only J Edgar knows for sure!

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