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November 19, 2009

Could the Neiman Marcus battle really, truly, finally be over?

After a resounding defeat in the November 3 election, opponents of plans to expand Broadway Plaza with a new 92,000-square-foot department store have droppped their lawsuit against the city.

The Contra Costa Times Elisabeth Nardi reports that plaintiffs Ed Dimmick, Ann Hinshaw, and Selma King asked a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge to dismiss their lawsuit, which claimed that the environmental impact report for the proposed Neiman Marcus failed to properly analyze the traffic and parking effects of the project.

Although 71 percent of Walnut Creek voters said "yes" to Measure I, allowing the new department store project to go forward, I wondered, and perhaps some others did, too, whether these election results really signaled the end of this long, ugly, costly civic battle.

Dimmick, Hinshaw, and King had proven themselves to be pretty feisty opponents to this project, and they had the deep-pocket financial backing of Taubman Centers, the owners of Sunvalley shopping mall. Surely, I thought, there would be another legal challenge to the project in their--and our--future.

Well, the Times says this request to dismiss the lawsuit means that "the last remaining stand" against Neiman Marcus has "disappeared." King acknowledged that "there isn't anything else we can do." She also patted herself and her co-plaintiffs on the back: "We fought a good fight as best as we could."

But ... the plaintiffs asked that the suit be dismissed "without prejudice"--which doesn't stop the plaintiffs from filing again in the future, if, as King said, "anything comes up at all that's going in the opposite direction (of what was approved)."

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

71% of the people who voted, or 71%of Walnut Creek voters? Are there really only 21,398 registered voters in WC, with a population of, according to your website, 63,000 (as of 2000).

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:20,
55% of the registered voters cast ballots. That is an unusually high voting percentage for an off-year election. Of those voters, over 71% voted yes on Measure I.

Anonymous said...

11:37

Yes, it was an unusally high voter turnout which can be explained by the fact that all issues being voted upon were local.

School bonds, Congressional seat and Measure I obviously all had big followings, hence the high turnout.

How big was the absentee vote? Does anyone know?

Nice to see that people actually care about issues that have local impact.

Anonymous said...

Hello 12:14,
I'm 11:37 and I did some research for you at the county election department website, which is easy to find with a Google search.
Looking at just the Measure I results, the absentee vote was 15,835 vs. election day vote of 8,207. Measure I won with 70.6% of the absentee ballots and 73.0% of election day ballots.
The county elections website has an amazing level of detail. You can examine results for each candidate or ballot measure on a precinct level basis and even see maps of the results by precinct. Measure I passed easily in every precinct of Walnut Creek, including those inhabited by Selma King and Ed Dimmick, the chief in-town opponents. The REAL opponent, Taubman Corporation was unsuccessful in buying this election.
Walnut Creek voters are to be congratulated for supporting Measures G, H and I so strongly.

Soccer Mom said...

11:37 a.m.
Thanks for doing that research. I was going to, but didn't have a chance. You're right. The county elections office does have lots of interesting information.

Anonymous said...

1:56 PM......

You say that "Taubman Corporation was unsuccessful in buying this election".

Could you also say that Macerich WAS successful in buying this election?

Seems that they outspent Taubman by a very large sum of money. So why does that make them the "good guys" on this issue?

Susie

Anonymous said...

When do we find out how much Macerich and Taubman spent?

Anonymous said...

Final books close on Dec. 31st with report due sometime in January.

It will be interesting to know how much David McCalou spent on newspaper advertising that was never identified (as required by law) as supporting the pro side of Measure I. We will never know.

Does anyone know if the value of the in-kind donation of Yes on I headquarters space (old David M building) was reported in pre-election reports?

All sorts to things out there so we may never really know the true amount spent by all sides of this campaign.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susie 1:56,

Sure, Macerich spent more than Taubman but they have a long-term commitment to Walnut Creek, whereas Taubman simply wants to destroy our downtown so that they can build in San Ramon. Taubman Corp. is run by the Federal Criminal Albert Taubman who has actually done prison time for price fixing with Sotheby's. We don't need the likes of Al Taubman running our city.

In addition to the pro-Measure I funding by Macerich, community members contributed about $50K to the pro effort through Yes for Walnut Creek. The anti-Walnut Creek forces showed their true nature. None of them gave a single penny to the effort against Measure I. If they had, they would have had to report it on Form 460 available at the City Clerk's office.
The true spending on the Yes on I campaign was the thousands of hours of time donated by local citizens to turn the tide of this election.

Anonymous said...

7:12
Susie here.....the work of the Measure I volunteers is very admirable to be sure and I applaud them. But, please don't overlook the expenditure of well over 1 million by Macerich to convince the voters of Walnut Creek that they need a Neiman Marcus to survive and maintain the quality of life in their town. I received at least 10 slick mailings before the election from the Yes committee. Macerich was involved for the very same reason Taubman was.....the bottom line without real consideration for the town in which is does business. Riding in on a white horse with loving thoughts to save the day they did not do.

I also applaud the citizens who stood up against tremendous odds by putting their names and reputations on the line for something they really believed in. They will forever be vilified by those they opposed and have been cast as "naysayers" and nutcases. All of the local opponents who you seem to dismiss so quickly, have contributed over the years to the benefit of their city by their past service. They deserve our appreciation for their actions. At the end of the day, Walnut Creek got a much better plan for the site in question.

Let us now all move on to the future by being more aware of the actions of our city commissions and council in regards to maintaining the integrity of our general plan and the preservation of our wonderful town.

Susie

Anonymous said...

Hi Susie,

I am not impressed with the leading naysayers, regardless of their contributions dacades ago. They aligned themselves with enemies of our city. Now, I hope they acknowledge the victory of the strong majority of Walnut Creek residents.

Personally I feel that Macerich could have spent nothing on their campaign because the grassroots organization would have provided a convincing victory for Measure I anyway. However the Yes vote might have slipped to the mid-60s.

Anon 11:37

Anonymous said...

Some would say that the enemy is among us in this city. They are the ones who don't live here, raise their children here or expect to retire here. Thus they have no empathy or respect for those who do. In a word, most developers of grand buildings and crowded housing units.

The enemy is the greedy who have no regard for the beauty, peacefulness and longterm affects that their actions cast upon our city.

The enemy is not those who truly care about our city even though we may disagree with their views.

The election is over, the people have spoken.

Know your enemy and don't be blindly led by those who have something to gain by the actions of the enemy.