When the AVCA takes a Position
by Bob Boydston, AVCA Past President
It has been noted in the newspaper that the AVCA takes controversial positions. I would like to explain the procedure that AVCA goes through in arriving at a position.
The most important thing is the Environmental Impact Report, EIR. From this document the necessary information is obtained to form a basis for a decision. Then a public hearing is held by AVCA to hear both sides of any argument for or against a change that affects the Almaden community. The AVCA Board then votes for or against. The AVCA E-Loop, which has almost 400 email addresses of people living in the Almaden Valley, is polled for their vote after being given the arguments that the AVCA Board used to decide.
AVCA then presents these findings to the newspaper, and the President of AVCA makes a presentation at the Planning Commission and City Council public forums. The City Council members are sent E-MAIL summaries of the AVCA position beforehand, with the Board and E-Loop vote results.
AVCA is not trying to take minority positions; it is taking positions that sometimes go against the majority. Recent examples are the AVCA positions against the location of the Sports Complex and in favor of the Winfield Bridge. The City Council voted the opposite to these positions.
In the case of the Sports Complex, the EIR was clear that there was not enough ground water in the area to support 35 acres of turf grass. The fact that the final plan was scaled back to five acres of grass plus 15 acres of artificial turf is an acknowledgment of that fact. The narrow two-lane road to the Complex is also a matter of concern. AVCA does not envy the new District Ten Representative who has to manage this project through.
With regard to the Winfield Bridge, there are 15,000 homes in the Almaden Valley. The bulk of the people living in these homes enter the Almaden Valley at the Coleman/Almaden intersection. At peak hours, according to the EIR, this intersection is congested to the extent that traffic is 142% of road capacity. The bridge would reduce this congestion by 24%. The San Jose Planning Department reported that the bridge would pay for itself in eight years.
One feature of the Winfield Bridge plan was to widen McAbee to four lanes from two. The Bridge does not increase the traffic on McAbee, so there is no reason for this part of the plan. AVCA went on record as opposed to the McAbee widening, but in favor of the Bridge. The Planning Department took the same position at their presentation to AVCA.
Some say by taking positions not in the majority, AVCA is turning public support against it. It is our intention to take positions as we see them; to tell the other side of the story, if necessary. If we first sampled public opinion and then would take the majority side, we would be a “me too” organization and serve no purpose