Moraga "Off-Leashers" Say: "We Have The Signatures!"

Not content with a town council decision banning off-leash hours for dogs at Rancho Laguna Park, owners took a petition drive to the people -- and say they have enough signatures to temporarily suspend the ban.


Speed bumps? That controversy was a minor dust-up compared to the current battle over off-leash hours for dogs and owners at Moraga's Rancho Laguna Park.

A vigorous petition effort by factions unhappy with a council decision banning the off-leash romps was successful, supporters say, and some 1,800 signatures asking -- well, more like demanding -- that the issue be put to public vote are expected to be presented to town staff today (Thursday).

The battle over Rancho Laguna has proven costly to the town, both in terms of bruised sensibilities and legal charges. If the petition signatures are successfully vetted over the next 30 days, the matter will go back to the council where the ban will either be rescinded or put to a public vote.

2nd Generation Moraga June 20, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Doesn't roll off the tongue as well as 2nd Generation Moraga (although I will concede it is "more" grammatically correct).
Ryan June 20, 2012 at 09:33 PM
"In Douglas Home we trust? Hmmm... I think not, but thanks for the invitation to your alternate reality. It only takes a quick read of the Patch's article: http://lamorinda.patch.com/articles/lamorinda-s-sports-fields-the-area-s-latest-political-poker-chips to see that fields are still a relevant and timely issue. But again, I know this is injecting facts into an area where evidently they don't belong." Where are the "facts" you purport in the linked article? Please copy in the line where it lists the # of fields in question, the # of rent-able time slots available, the # currently being rented, and the # on a waiting list for a vacancy to come up. Once that matrix is done then inject your facts here, we'll be breathlessly waiting for your report. Not only does the article contain ZERO facts on field use, it is basically a 9 paragraph question full of innuendo and theories, stuff that would get your post erased by JD if it was on the message board. The title of the article has 3 Question Marks in it, hardly a factual scientific study of the use of our Lamorinda fields. I could go out at the peak rental time, 3pm-8pm, and find space on almost any field to let my dogs out to chase a ball, but not RLP because you know that would be dangerous and disrespectful to others.
Sue Haas June 21, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Interesting. Here are even more questions marks for you McGuff: why the screen name? It implies you are in law enforcement. Are you? You posted several times on the Kirsten Cunnane thread implying inside information of that case but you never came forward with your reasons for making those accusations. Why not? You call several school officials and teachers *morally bankrupt* but do so from behind your screen name. Why? If you believed what you were saying and could prove it why would you need to hide??? Just a few more questions for you to work on.
Douglas Home June 21, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Here's a news flash for you McGruff. I really didn't expect you to trust in me (nor do I really care). You see, I spoke with the people of this town and you did not. It's that simple. If you think that any significant percentage of Moragans are in favor of another soccer field over.... well....pretty much anything.....it is your reality that is in serious question. To be fair, if you pitted another soccer field against a McDonald's or massage parlor.....you might squeak out of narrow victory. There is a goodly percentage of the population out there that are so afraid of being manipulated that they assume everyone is telling them lies. I'd bet that the vast majority of these people hide behind fake names, too. The funny part is that these are the people who are most easily manipulated because their reactions are always predictable. But don't trust me....ask any politician or trial attorney.
Jon Chambers June 21, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Fritz, thanks for sharing information about the Eclipse lease at RLP. I wasn't aware of the lease, but I'm not surprised. Eclipse has been public about its interest in using RLP as a practice facility--as have other youth sports groups, including LMYA, MOL, LMSC, and EuroSoccer. Letters from each of these groups expressing interest in using RLP for practices were included with the packet of correspondence relating to RLP distributed at the May 9 TC meeting. With apparent resolution at that meeting, it's not surprising that the field was leased. Note that the Eclipse lease is not contingent on construction of a new field, or any development whatsoever at RLP. Eclipse just wants to practice on the turf that exists today--as they did in 2011. Also, as you note, the lease agreement trumps the current off-leash hours arrangement, which illustrates quite clearly why a spatial separation solution needs to be completed, ASAP. Under plan D2, soccer practice and off-leash activities could have peacefully coexisted in different, spatially separated, areas of the park. But due to the referendum, the field lease arrangement with Eclipse trumps use of RLP by off-leash advocates. I guess the off-leash advocates could consider leasing the field themselves--but their approach seems to be to consistently argue for the right to use the park, without any duty to pay for it. Let's find a reasonable compromise to this dispute. It has been dragging on far too long.
Ryan June 21, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Mr. Home, I agreed with you: That the needs of Lamorinda in regards to sports fields have been met. I quoted 2G's response to your article and attempted to refute it.
Ryan June 21, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Sue, stay on point please, the thread is not about my screen name it is about RLP and its issues. Please don't hijack it with another attempt to get someone on here to come out from behind their screen name. Seriously unless the rules change or if someone goes over the line in their post then JD can handle it. Again, there is no breakdown of field space and who is not being served by the current fields in Moraga and the surrounding areas. Why does RLP have to be rented out anyway? If space is so limited then Moraga should charge an incredible premium for these teams to use RLP since it was not designed for anything other than recreational use.
Jon Chambers June 21, 2012 at 03:31 PM
JQC, I'm not sure I track your argument. I've said many times "I'd be pleased to see enough field space for two teams to practice, and perhaps scrimmage." I've also said that I have not "ever argued for a permanent or lined soccer field at RLP." See my post from June 9 (two up) for an example. I don't know who 2nd Gen is, can't help you there. I'm pretty sure I know who JQC is. As I posted in reply to Fritz, I wasn't aware of the Eclipse rental of RLP, but I'm not surprised by it either. There is a real field shortage in Moraga, particularly for after-school practice times in the fall. Note that there are no rentals on weekends (which is when games are held), so my point about RLP being used for practices/scrimmages only, with no need for lines seems true. The Eclipse rental for practice times illustrates why a spatial separation approach that would permit concurrent use of the park by sports groups and off-leash users makes sense. If the referendum initiative had not delayed progress on D2, the conflict with off-leash hours could have been avoided. Are you arguing that Eclipse shouldn't have been allowed to rent the turf? Or that somehow the Eclipse rental prevented LM Dogs from renting the turf? I get the sense that you don't want RLP used by anyone except off-leash dogs and their owner, and you don't want LM Dogs to pay for its use of the park.
Lissa Sorensen June 21, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Interesting development. I will say that while I have found many of the arguments for off leash hours more than a little over the top I am surprised that the park is being rented out to the soccer clubs. It's beginning to sound as if we've taken a quiet little neighborhood park, addressed and removed one potential nuisance and replaced it with another.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop June 21, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Gone fishin' (for factoids). Remember, there's an election coming. Off line dialogues welcome, contact info in profile. Congodog
2nd Generation Moraga June 21, 2012 at 05:38 PM
JQC: Thanks for your interest in my posts. To clarify a couple of your questions: 1) I have no relation to Mr. Chambers, or to any soccer related organization. 2) If you have interest in who I am, please review my profile, which will provide all the relevant information regarding my background. 3) My interest in this thread is as a Town of Moraga Citizen, and user of RLP. I have a direct interest in insuring that RLP use accommodates ALL potential users, not simply off-leash dog users (or soccer users).
2nd Generation Moraga June 21, 2012 at 06:08 PM
McGruff: The point in attaching the article from a couple weeks ago was to point out to Mr. Home that the "fields issue" is far from settled, and is in fact still "an issue" today. The "facts" I reference is the article itself (as a "fact" that the fields subject is currently relevant). I'd suggest you direct any complaints or questions regarding the article itself to the writer or JD. Regarding your ability to go out during peak field use and find an "open" field during the summer - I'll leave that to your "sleuthing" skills -- however that assertion runs counter to most of the information (factual and anecdotal) that has been reported.
2nd Generation Moraga June 22, 2012 at 01:50 AM
JQC: now you are taking the off-leash faction down the well worn road of character assasination and conspiracy building - how refreshing.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop June 22, 2012 at 02:37 PM
JQ, Responded yesterday with kind words about the Elipse folks but apparently the censure blade is extremely sharp these days. Elipse principals being unaware of Elipse activity regarding this issue seems strange, but everything about this entire brouhaha has been darn near paranormal anyway. The people in question are fine folks that happen to be passionate about 'youth soccer'; agree with them or not, I would expect them to play fair.
Douglas Home June 24, 2012 at 03:57 AM
On second read...it seems you did. Sorry about that Crime Doggie. Carry on :)
penny whiting June 25, 2012 at 05:53 PM
For ALL the folks with opinions - it remains true that in just a few days over 1800 people agreed that off leash hours for dog owners should remain until the entire town decides or the council lets it alone... I do NOT own a dog, BUT DO live in Moraga - 25 +yrs, & though I don't post here ( Mr. Chambers seems to find fault with those who are "new" to posting ) - I believe the dog owners are correct when they try to gain a "fair" use of this park for ALL of the community,including them. penny
2nd Generation Moraga June 25, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Ms. Whiting:creating a one acre section of the park that is fenced and provides all-day off leash use certainly seems "fair". It provides the off-leash faction with unrestricted hours - and provides the rest of us with a park we can enjoy without having to worry about poop, or untrained animals running amuck. Can you explain how that "compromise" is unfair?
J.D. O'Connor (Editor) June 25, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Morning, Penny... and welcome. To be fair, I don't believe Jon Chambers (and others) find fault in first time posters. What they find fault in are those who come in under assumed names for "post and run" comments. We welcome first time posters -- and we especially appreciate those who do so under their own names. So, thanks...
Jon Chambers June 25, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Penny, welcome to Patch. I'm sorry you misunderstood my comment above. I have no problem with new posters on Patch. I do have an issue with people who have long been regular Patch posters, but then set up a new account under an assumed name so that they can post anonymously, without giving the other Patch users an opportunity to see how their current comments compare to their prior posts. This was my issue with JQC. I think virtually all posters to Patch would like to see "fair" use of the park. The hard part is determining what is "fair". Town Council approved a relatively large and completely dedicated section of the park for all day off-leash use, with four of five councilmembers supporting the proposal. Off-leash users were the only group to get a dedicated portion of the park-there was no dedicated area proposed or approved for soccer or any other sport. Apparently the dedicated off-leash area was not large enough to satisfy some in the dog community, which led to the petition and referendum. Again, I'm sorry you misunderstood my comment. All opinions are valid and welcome.
penny whiting June 25, 2012 at 08:12 PM
For the record - this issue has brought out some very skewed descriptions of what went on in the town council mtg. etc. Should there be off leash or no in a small, community park, which has housed same for (30?) years. I DID attend the Town Council Mtg the night a decison was "promised"... The community group assigned to look into this - consisting of a majority of NON dog owners - came up with a Compromise plan for a Fenced dog park, and even suggested they would be willing to donate funds to defray the costs...I HEARD this with my OWN ears.. ( I attended so I could hear everything first hand). I was APPALLED by three of the council who dismissed the efforts of this appointed committee. They "tabled " the final decision by trying to close the park to any off leash use for an "indeterminate time " -!? There had been a "rebuttal" proposal by a " dissenting view" ( a Mr. Chambers)... proposing a MUCH smaller fenced area, pointing out how this could then accomodate TWO SOCCER fields. I had NOT been aware that Soccer was part of the issue for use of the park.. but he left no grey area on that point. Though a novice - I was saddened to witness the council discounting the very proposal they had assigned this committee to come up with - after much time and compromise ! No one I spoke with about this could understand all the animus, either... It seems appropriate that the town decide - which is all the "dog folks" attempted to ensure with their petitions. Democracy at work.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop June 25, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Ms Penny, I believe you have the situation well in hand. 'Tis a shame the TC has such a hard time carrying out their constituency's mandates! For the unenlightened, a constituency is a body of voters that elects an individual that has committed to represent their point of view if elected. That's why they foolishly refer to them as 'representatives'. Chameleon might more accurately describe a few of ours. I am disappointed and dismayed by the lack of principle exhibited by some of our Council members. Might be time to dis-appoint some of them. Wink - wink, Nod -nod, know what I mean?
Nancy Lee June 25, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Everyone remembers things a different way. Usually their way.
bryan June 25, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Are *you* going to run Fritz? And what's with the return of the Congobog commentary JD?????
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop June 26, 2012 at 02:48 AM
bryan, Congodog went to obedience classes and socialization seminars and is currently working on agility training. Why all the question marks???????? As for running, I am far too intelligent, well spoken and principled. I am, however, working on taking myself too seriously, but anyone that knows me sees that as an utter waste of time. Too honest, humble and centered and my tongue is more like a knife than a fork! "And if elected, I will fix the roads, balance the budget, make certain the MOFD returns to earth re staffing and retirement, no new domicile to be built until Wilder Road is extended to the Moraga Barn, will reconfigure "Rheem as Business/Professional center and the Moraga Center will be shopping centric. Big Box must go along with Mickey "Ds", RLP will remain a dog off lead park with some adjustment to hours of use and a Meditation Center that require no fixed facility, Youth Soccer will be the focus of an International study to decide if it really is "all about the parents", Mayoral ascension process will return to traditional system with future deviation from established procedures resulting in immediate dismissal from Town Council, TC appointed special committees will produce at least two viable alternate courses of action compelling the TC to choose one or the other, for just for a few examples. I will definitely mandate that our Park Maintenance Crews be educated as to identifying the dreaded artichoke thistle and remove them from all public land.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop June 26, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Has anyone actually read the attached pdf file of the 12 week lease the Town granted the East Bay Elipse Soccer Club? It was signed on MARCH 9th, 2012! They have been playing the dog issue like a Stradivarius having got their cleats in the door and the TC in their pocket long ago! Never too late, boys and girls. Watch Elipse principals VERY CLOSELY from here forward. They are driven and organized and most importantly, well funded. I still do not think the overly regimented, based on adult soccer organization models, is good for children of those tender years. And I am not alone. Studies to follow as claim's not hollow! CDog
Scott Bowhay June 26, 2012 at 05:24 AM
Congo...speaking of hazards needing abatement, you left out the part about promising no more people's faces being ripped off at RLP like that chimpanzee did in Connecticut in 2009...(Ken Chew, Town Council meeting, 12/14/2011). Also, don't forget to promise to reopen the Moraga Barn, old school style, and maybe bringing a Sports Bar to town as a backup...
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop June 26, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Mr. Bowhay, Points well made and taken. While I understand such a pressing issue as Golden Retrievers run amok in the RLP 'Sanctuary' (I plan to adjust the naming convention to more closely reflect its true purpose) can tend to absorb a great deal of TC time and energy. As a condition of my presence herein, I must refrain from referring to specific TC members and while this apparently monumental non sequitur (referring to chimpanzees [Pan troglodytes] as a potential RLP threat) seems a bit much, one cannot be too sure. If elected, only Homo Sapiens and Canis lupus familiaris shall be allowed in the Sanctuary if accompanied by a child. Every attempt shall also be made to keep the Sanctuary 'wildlife-free'. I recently had a hand in solving a recent case of littering (discarded Buteo lineatus [Red Shouldered Hawk] fledgling) and know full well the urgency which must be applied to the wildlife 'problem'.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop June 27, 2012 at 02:56 PM
CRITICAL MEETING OF TOWN COUNCIL THIS EVENING. I implore the good folks of Moraga, regardless of where you are on the issue, to come listen to your neighbors express themselves to the Council. More importantly, I ask you to listen with as discerning an ear as you can muster to the offerings of the Council-members. These folks have a lot to say about the quality of your life here in Moraga, and it is good to be certain that your life is in the right hands. A discerning ear, one that reads between the lines and one that keeps the cold, hard light of reality on their every word. It will be revealing, I assure you.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop June 28, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I would like to propose that Rancho Laguna Park be designated a "Common Green". Common Green: An urban park including flexible open spaces with an open lawn area that serves as a recreation and social focal point for Moraga. The central lawn will be the main focus of the park, designed with multiple “rooms” offering a mix of complementary uses and large enough to support multiple simultaneous activities. The Common Green functions as unscheduled open space for uses such as picnicking and unstructured play, or for randomly scheduled public gatherings, performances and special events. The Common Green includes off-leash dog hours, community garden plots, landscaping, gathering areas, amphitheaters, space for public art, and/or hardscape areas. Recreational amenities may be incorporated as complementary facilities, but do not predominate. Examples of recreational facilities include tot lots and playgrounds, natural habitat informational areas, fitness courses and paved trails. Organized sports requiring scheduling, referees, coaches, uniforms will not be permitted as they tend to dominate such spaces and are a deterrent to activity driven by spontaneity and creative imagination. Moraga's school facilities represent ample flat lawn areas for organized sports. By establishing such a designation, the Town sets aside and protects a precious jewel of public land that represents and pays homage to our innate ability to enjoy unstructured leisure time.
J.D. O'Connor (Editor) June 28, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Folks: New story and video on last night's meeting here: http://patch.com/A-v9x3


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »