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October 4, 2009

Hot pursuit of the "No on Measure I" billboard truck as it cruises around the Creek, spreading its anti-Neiman Marcus message


As some of you have suspected, I don't have much of a life and don't have better ways to spend my time. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been so easily distracted Sunday afternoon on my way to Safeway to pick up groceries for dinner.

I was going east on Newell Avenue, and up ahead (!)I see one of these billboard trucks that I heard that the RAMPARTWC backers were going to hire to visually broadcast to Walnut Creek voters the message that they should vote "no" on Measure I November 3.

Measure I would allow Broadway Plaza to build a new 92,000-square-foot department store--a Neiman Marcus, we have been told--on the site of the former David M. Brian store.

RAMPARTWC opposes Measure I because they believe the design of the new department store violates the city's General Plan and would bring unneeded traffic and parking congestion to downtown. RAMPART stands for "We Need Less Traffic and More Parking in downtown Walnut Creek." RAMPART supporters also point out that there is no guarantee that Neiman Marcus, which is facing financial woes in the recession, would come to Walnut Creek.

Anyway, I see the truck and decide I'm going to follow it and see where it goes. It makes a left onto South Broadway, and continues north, past Safeway, where I was going to shop, and on through Mt. Diablo Boulevard. It continues past the new library under construction and Civic Park.

Then, at Civic, it makes a left. I'm now right behind the truck, and will stay behind it for the next 45 minutes.

We take a right on North California Boulevard, and go north, along to where California merges with North Main.

Now, we're on North Main, and we stay on North Main for a while. I think the driver has figured out that I'm tailing him, especially when I signal left, just after he signals left, then I suddenly signal right, after he suddenly signals right, to turn onto Treat Boulevard.

Going east on Treat, the truck, even though it is not the most agile of vehicles, moves in and out of lanes. Maybe so the driver can see if he is being pursued by some Crazy woman in a busted up old Camry.

I wonder why we don't make that right at Bancroft, but instead go up Treat, past De La Salle and Ygnacio Valley high schools. We've crossed into Concord, right? Then, he makes the right onto Oak Grove Road, and goes northeast. I follow until we hit Ygnacio Valley Road.
Right turn. We go all the way west on Ygnacio Valley Road, past Shadelands, Heather Farm, John Muir Medical Center, and back into downtown. The truck continues on Ygnacio Valley Road past the BART station, then makes a sudden left, just before the Interstate 680 overpass, onto Oakland Boulevard.


We continue onto Oakland Boulevard, then left onto Trinity Avenue, then back to North California, where we make a right. It's at this point that I lose the truck temporarily. My car gets stuck at a stoplight as the truck makes its way south on California Boulevard.

At no point does the truck turn and move in to cruise closer to Broadway Plaza, the eye of the storm in this epic battle over allowing a new luxury retail department store to come to Walnut Creek's retail heart. Rather, the truck driver seems determined to keep his vehicle skirting the outskirts of downtown and of Broadway Plaza.

I catch up with the truck again, after it has turned left onto Newell, and then left again on South Broadway, where, just shy of Vic Stewart's, the truck pulls over to the side of the road. Th driver just hangs there for a bit, sitting in the cab of truck.

Maybe that's it? He's done for the afternoon? Or, he's just taking a break. Or he's calling into RAMPARTWC headquarters to report that he's being followed--maybe, he thinks, by one of those "Yes on Measure I" folks.

I continue on my way to grocery shop, and I think that about about one the mhe messages plastered on the billboard and touted by No on I residents. They say they worry about a new Broadway Plaza development because they think, perhaps correctly, that a new department store will add more traffic and congestion to Walnut Creek's streets and parking garage.

Yet, the No on I folks hire this truck to ride what are possibly multiple circuits around dowtown--adding to downtown's congestion.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought Walnut Creek has a no cruising ordinance . Why is WCPD not enforcing it? We really don't need gas guzzling trucks to drive around the city for no other need than advertisement.

Anonymous said...

You ARE crazy!

Wish I was a passenger with you on that day. I could hang out the window and take pictures, shout obscenities, throw eggs, or whatever. Are you taking applications for a crazy co-pilot?

Anonymous said...

This whole thing is out of control on both sides. This is making WC look silly over an over-priced store? I would never shop there, not interested and now stay away from WC shopping. Internet shopping is better :)

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:16 I beg to differ. This is not about a store and/or whether you plan to shop there. This is a question whether the develeopment of a city as Walnut Creek should be decided by the elected City Counsel or by an outside developer who wants to protect his business ventures in Concord and San Ramon.

Anonymous said...

RAMPART's latest ad in the WC Journal and the mobile billboard are terrible. The messages are not put together well, they don't make sense. It's beginning to look like desperation for them.
It's well known this is not an argument from concerned citizens but from the competition.

Anonymous said...

Cutting edge design is not the trademark of this organization.

Can't you pay someone $10/hr to do this?!?!? Geez!

obiwan said...

Maybe the billboard truck didn't spend much time around Broadway Plaza because Broadway Plaza isn't the best place to encounter Walnut Creek voters. I live in Walnut Creek, but if I need a new pair of pants, and I can't find them at Ross, I drive out to Kohl's in Pleasant Hill. Although several of my neighbors support NM, I've yet to meet anyone who will admit to being affluent enough to shop there.

Elizabeth said...

Enough already! It should be built, end of story! Not that I would probably shop there, but come on, it would add to the Creek I think. The Sun Valley mall people think that they will lose customers if it is built???UHH I don't think the customers at Sun Valley Mall are the same demographics as here. I don't get their problem! They already moved David M. Brian and shifted everything around....they should just build the darn thing.

Vote yes!!!:)

Anonymous said...

What an irony to read of concerns about one gas guzzling truck circling the town on a tempory basis. According to Yes on I advocates, NM will create 150 new jobs and $400,000 increased revenue all of which translates to more traffic. I for one prefer a temporary traffic interruption to the permanent traffic mess this project will create.

Anonymous said...

How nice of the Yes on I/Macerich corporatists to not only proposing to congest downtown for their profits, but now litter the town with their huge, plastic visual polluting signs. Why doesn't this out of town company mind their own business and leave the city to follow its General Plan.

Anonymous said...

11:18 I guess you must be mistaken Maecerich actually has a business in Walnut Creek. The out of town company without any legitimate business interest in Walnut Creek is Taubman who tries to dictate to the people in Walnut Creek what they can build or not.

Anonymous said...

"According to Yes on I advocates, NM will create 150 new jobs and $400,000 increased revenue all of which translates to more traffic. I for one prefer a temporary traffic interruption to the permanent traffic mess this project will create."

But according to No on I it will not generate 150 new jobs and/or $400,000 is increased revenue. Which according to you would not generate a permanent traffic mess? I guess No on I can't really pass up any argument even if they are mutually incompatible.

Since Taubman is so concerned about traffic I guess they will reduce the number of stores in Sunvalley mall to allow the all the people in the 680 corridor to enjoy less traffic. What a nice bunch of people they are.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:18 or with other words "Traffic congestion" for you is only an argument when it helps you, but you have little concern for it if it hurts you.

It seems good to know where the RAMPARTWC folks are comming from.

And by the way why are there no suporter names other than Taubman listed on the No on I website? Probably because they are pretty much all not from Walnut Creek.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting how Macerich is not mentioning Neiman Marcus in their latest fliers. Perhaps their polling suggests that residents are not that crazy about the Walnut Creek/Neiman Marcus idea or perhaps Neiman Marcus won't be coming at all.

Anonymous said...

Well, not the Almond'Shuey neighborhood is under attack, a protected neighborhood in the GP with a development that will require a GP amendment. Just like NM and the Tice Valley condos. But don't worry, the city is going to have more listening sessions with number one, preserving the neighborhoods.

What a bunch of duplicitous liars.

Creeksters get what they elected......

http://www.contracostatimes.com/top-stories/ci_13473745

Soccer Mom said...

Readers,
I have contacted Al Abrams, the political consultant for RAMPART (Residents and Advocates for More Parking and Reduced Traffic) regarding the Measure I vote.

As you can read in prior posts, I have expressed certain views on this issue. These views have evolved over time.

Whatever...

For the sake of debate about this issue in our community, I thought it would be useful to contact someone from the No on Measure I side.

With regard to my post about the "No on Measure I" billboard truck, Mr. Abrams had this to say to me, via e-mail (and he gave me permission to reprint this in this comment):

"Interesting that you headline the mobile billboard as 'Anti-Neiman Marcus.' The store isn't mentioned anywhere on the truck and rarely, if ever, mentioned in the NO on Measure I advertising.

"Ironically, it's barely mentioned at all in the Yes on Measure I literature either. (I wonder why!)

"Broadway Plaza, which wrote and is heavily financing Yes on Measure I, doesn't want you to vote on a Neiman Marcus store. They know they'd lose that vote with the public on that count. Neiman Marcus didn't poll well with the voters who have already rejected the Broadway Plaza expanison project three times.

"So, Broadway Plaza wants to make this a vote to support a shopping center. They don't want the voters to focus on the horrible impacts Broadway Plaza will bring to downtown once they're allowed to dramatically enlarge their retail center. So they send out mailers with pictures of babies in strollers, dogs being walked, young people smiling and faces of happy customers, and ask you to "Support Broadway Plaza", a shopping center, on a ballot.

"Huh? Are you serious?

"The RAMPART citizens want the voters to understand the reality of their deep concerns about dramatically more traffic, reduced available customer parking and tens of thousands of cars that will be coming into downtown Walnut Creek to an expanded Broadway Plaza when there's no new parking spaces being built downtown by the developer. You won't find that mentioned either on the Yes mailers.

"That's enough to vote NO on Measure I, in my book.

"The RAMPART citizens are not against Neiman Marcus. They actually would welcome the store if reasonable planning for parking and traffic were in place first. They're experienced enough as former Mayors to know what the lack of new customer parking is going to do to downtown if the store is built as planned. It's a nightmare scenario and the voters should be warned of the consequences of Meaure I passing.

"By the way, Measure I doesn't even specify Neiman Marcus to be built at the corner of Main and Mt Diablo. Broadway Plaza, once they get the approvals for their large expansion, can put in any retailer they want. It's a sweetheart deal that gives away the heart of downtown Walnut Creek to a developer without any checks or balances -- not even an environmental review.

"And once it's in place, there's nothing anyone can do to change Measure I, not even the City Council which has revoked all of its approvals for the project. Measure I will be permanent law, written and financed by the Broadway Plaza developer.

"Is that smart planning?"

Anonymous said...

Wait, there's more!

Broadway Plaza declined to 'participate' in the generation of the WC GP 2025. Councilwoman Rainey had previously introduced expansion limits of 75,000 square feet/year in response to citizen outcry about excessive growth in the shopping center, which the council agreed to at an 'emergency' session. It passed.

The proposed project requires a GP amendment. The council can legally approve these on their whim. Getting such a project through the GP process would have been tedious with likely EIR requirements, etc, so MaceRICH stepped back and waited for the ease of a mere council vote. Curious minds wonder if city planning types had any 'advice' on this issue?..........Miss Walker can advise that new EIR's are unnecessary because the 'proposed project' is not 'significantly' different than what is currently there now. This is a check off review, and it takes a court challenge to effect review of this decision, and then it only applies if the 'process' was deficient. Well, the writing is on the wall on that, isn't it.

The issue behind the current battle is that a few citizens of WC do realize what is actually going on behind the Save BP crap, Almond Shuey most acutely, but Walden area, St. Marks Church, San Miguel, Parkmead, etc.

The dog and pony show, paid for by the Chamber of Profit and their lackeys who pay for the election of their pawns, operates behind the scenes. A listening forum is underway, discussing the same topics worked on and agree to in the GP. But why not occupy the citizens with fog of what has already been written with future facilitated ideas, all while the 'amendments' are filed. With the help of 'staff', whom are paid with our tax dollars to bypass the public process that we just paid millions to accomplish.

This is Rovian to the nth degree.

Where is someone willing to 'commit journalism' when we need it.

Soccer Mom, following a truck around town is a waste of your time. If you want a story, it's here, just get your head a bit into what going on and your blog could actually be important.

Anonymous said...

Intrigue and surveillance in the 'burbs!

This can't help but remind me of the wonderful bittersweet Scottish comedy "Comfort and Joy," in which a radio personality in a midlife crisis (NOT that Soccer Mom is at midlife or going through a midlife crisis! I'm just summarizing the film plot) started tailing an ice cream truck and got caught up in a turf war between the rival ice cream companies, Mr. Bunny and Mr. McCool (sort of a Mafia spoof on that level). Great film. Has a Christmas hook, but it's wonderful viewing any time of the year.

See clips here:
("Is that blood?" "No, it's just raspberry essence.")
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHMFooKZsFs

and "A Visit to Mr. Bunny:"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B67lAtNS8j8&feature=PlayList&p=5F4A83C5FF80E3B7&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=6

Anonymous said...

Wow -- Al Abrams is even crazier than I thought. If this is truly his writing I'm totally speechless ....

Soccer Mom said...

I do need to respond to Anon 8:13 p.m. and the comments about "intrigue and surveillance in the burbs" and the film, "Comfort and Joy":

That's sweet and funny, and I saw Comfort and Joy a while back. And I remember, like you, that it was a clever but bittersweet comedy. Bill Forsythe? Of "Local Hero" fame?

Am I going through a mid-life crisis? Hmmm.

Thanks for the YouTube references. I'll need to check them out.

Anonymous said...

No, SM, you don't Need to respond to Anything. Especially Anything of significance.

But, you are Soccer Mom.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:19pm,

I sgree with the moniker "Crazy Al" Abrams.

Too bad he's getting rich by creating all this dissension in WC.

Anonymous said...

hey, biased Soccer Mom,

Why don't you title you article, 'spreading the anti-General Plan message.'

Well, that's what this is about. Defanging the GP, which we paid Millions to enact, but now are ignoring by GP amendments.

You aren't a 'journalist', past or present. You are a lackey for the chamber of walnut creek.

Do you live in the County????

Fess up. Then stand up.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 9:39,

You should sue Soccer Mom!

Sounds like you're the one that is actually "Crazy in Suburbia".

Anonymous said...

9:56: Your comment is meaningless. Like your IQ.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I am a little confused. My impression is that Measure I changes the rules about parking throughout downtown and NOT just for Neiman Marcus. Does anyone know if this is true? If it is, well --- I'll support the "no" side of the equation. I support Nieman Marcus building a store, but I **don't** support giving a blank check to develpers throughout the downtown area. Please ... what's the scoop here?

Anonymous said...

Is this really about building a Nieman Marcus story or is it about changing general plan requirements for the entire downtown area?

Anonymous said...

Walnut Creek is so silly!

Anonymous said...

Good discussion at City Council tonight. No doubt the Yes on Measure I is the correct choice. Very convincing citizen input.

Too bad that Taubman Corporation keeps misleading some of us.

Anonymous said...

What a waste of gas, Soccer Mom!

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:25 AM: It's plain old ridiculous and shallow that our city leaders waste their time on such frivolity. I am certain that the city has indeed issues and initiatives that are more meaningful to the quality of life of its citizens (taxpayers)!

Anonymous said...

Soccer Mom,
Absentee ballots are arriving in mailboxes of permanent absentee voters. I just opened mine and voted Yes on Measure I.