Hercules Town Hall Meeting to Talk Property Sales

The city will hold a town hall meeting Thursday to discuss the liquidation of city properties.

After requests by residents wanting more information on Hercules land negotiations, the city will hold a Town Hall meeting to discuss city-owned property sales.

City Manager Steve Duran said the meeting will mainly focus on the properties -- Victoria Crescent and Parcel C -- but it will also touch on Hercules' 2012-13 budget and Hercules retail.

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 10, 2012, 7:00 p.m., , Council Chambers, 111 Civic Drive, Hercules, CA  94547

Sal May 09, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Hope the Hercules Police Chief can spare an extra bullet proof vest for the City Manager! Lets hope that the residence show up with the mindset of actually trying to help and come up with logical solutions instead of pulling out their usual anitcs...you know, pitchforks and tossing out verbal assaults and tongue lashings towards staff! Will these be televised, I need to Tivo it so I can watch it later.
Glenn Abraham May 09, 2012 at 11:43 PM
We'll all be better off if Steve Duran and "staff" and the various developers stay away. This town hall meeting was not proposed in order to provide a forum for Steve Duran to try to sell us, again, on what he's already decided he wants to do regardless of what the community wants. This meeting is to be for residents to ask questions of councilmembers, and for councilmembers to provide answers, without any councilmember or city manager inventing new rules of procedure to stifle true discussion, as those rules of procedure are (mis-)used in the public comments portion of ordinary council meetings. Myrna is the only councilmember whom I know WANTS to provide answers. We need this town hall meeting so that she, and any councilmembers who share her views on transparency, can tell us what the hell this council, and its city manager, have been up to, and why.
Giorgio C. May 10, 2012 at 12:19 AM
This meeting format reminds me of my union meetings and my HOA meetings. I go because I want to speak to the elected board as that is the chain-of-command. But at these meetings are always the contracted or hired staff, so it sometimes becomes hostile. I say to my elected President "Please consider another property management company" or "Please find another labor consulting firm" and next thing you know it is fireworks because the folks I am talking about are sitting right there with the elected board. My HOA is actually pretty decent, but still, an opportunity to speak with elected folks only would be nice. Regarding my union, they now get to answer before an administrative law judge next week:>) It didn't have to be that way. I propose there be a moderator, perhaps dressed like a clown, or mime, who reminds people to be courteous and respectful.
Phil Simmons May 10, 2012 at 12:41 AM
I'm going with the usual antics.
Toni Leance May 10, 2012 at 04:42 PM
The council has still not listened to the citizens we do not want more presentations by developers or their reps we want to speak to the council directly. I see on the agenda that is exactly what they are doing. The townhall is a farce it is just a vehicle for more propaganda from Duran and Mayor Romano.
Don Kuehne May 10, 2012 at 05:47 PM
The reason the City purchased several of the properties under discussion was to have more control over future development of these sites. The Council wanted to have development that was consistent with the General Plan and long-term vision for our City. Parcel C, for example, was owned by Lewis Co. in 2005. Lewis brought in Wal-Mart but was unable to negotiate a deal acceptable to the community. Lewis sold the property to Wal-Mart but the City continued to oppose Wal-Mart plans for a superstore and tried to take the land by eminent domain. Eventually, Wal-Mart lost interest and put the property up for sale. The City purchased Parcel C from Wal-Mart in early 2009 at the then current market value of approximately $14 million, which has since declined to the present level.
Don Kuehne May 10, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I believe the City should look for some big development opportunities that will provide significant tax revenues. Last year there were inquiries about a possible medical center, Costco, and new Lawrence Berkeley Lab site. The City should be open and receptive to unique opportunities that will help move us forward again. Take Walnut Creek, for example, which is interested in getting George Lucas Films to fill their empty commercial space.
Glenn Abraham May 10, 2012 at 06:08 PM
If that's true, then it's time for another recall.
Glenn Abraham May 11, 2012 at 07:07 AM
Tonight's town hall meeting was GREAT. That's the headline. I can think of ways in which I would have tweaked it to make it better, but this was the first time that the new council has made the community feel a part of the decisionmaking process, and they handled it well, and in the latter portion, very well. The speakers who occupied the first hour were informative and valuable; it was not a sales pitch. The question & answer phase was, at first, dominated by Steve Duran, which may have given the impression that it was he who was actually running the city; but, I think the low level of early participation by the councilmembers was due to their disinclination to speak. Later, they DID speak, all of them. They presented a lot of valuable information, and they acted as if the opinions of the community actually did matter to them...though more to some than others. I spoke at length with Myrna, Steve Duran, Dan, and even Gérard. My sense is that all (all but one) felt that the openness, and the give and take, of the meeting was a valuable thing, and that all (all but one) were interested in holding more such meetings. I'm posting this now to suggest that others who attended tonight's meeting make your feelings known to the councilmembers and city manager. I think that more of these can only be good.
Dn May 11, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Given your writings on the Patch, for what it's worth, it is nice to read that you and Gerard had a chance to chat. Nice.
Jeffrey Boore May 11, 2012 at 04:56 PM
The city did not need to buy those properties in order to maintain control over them. The appropriate role of any city is to exercise control by zoning and city codes, not to act as a developer for the purpose of generating revenue. The unethical part was the spending of the 2007 bond money borrowed for waterfront development infrastructure on those hair-brained schemes. If that money had been spent as budgeted, we would not be in this financial mess. It is galling that the former city council members remain unable to admit these things even now that their disastrous effects are manifest.


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