• Blog

    SunCal Responds to Allegations of Endangering Large Burrowing Owl Colony in Dublin, CA

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    The Alameda Creek Alliance recently leveled a claim that Dublin Crossing developer SunCal would be destroying one of the largest burrowing owl colonies in Alameda County if residential development at Camp Parks moves forward. SunCal representative Joe Aguirre could not disagree with that serious allegation more. “Our plan for development of the Dublin Crossing community is sensitive to wildlife and the environment, and we are striving to ensure that the burrowing owl population in this area continues to be viable,” said Aguirre. “Working with the state and Federal regulatory agencies, we have an extensive mitigation strategy, built into our Environmental Impact Report, for the burrowing owls which includes new habitat construction away from the project area to help direct these owls to more viable habitat.”

    The City of Dublin’s land exchange with the U.S. military will allow residential and commercial development on 189 acres of mostly open grassland at Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training Area. Alameda Creek Alliance fears that the residential development will threaten one of the few remaining breeding colonies of burrowing owls in Alameda County. Other than the burrowing owl population at Altamont Pass, the colony at Camp Parks is the largest in Alameda County and the Livermore-Amador Valley.

    “Burrowing owls get their name from the fact that they live underground in abandoned burrows that were originally dug by small mammals like ground squirrels and other rodents,” explained Aguirre. ” To help clarify concerns about potential impacts on the owls’ habitat, it is important to note that it is not effective to preserve the burrows themselves, as the owls are known to eventually abandon burrows after the burrows become naturally fouled. Typically for this species, an owl will move on to another burrow once the bird no longer finds acceptable conditions in its current burrow.”

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    Camp Parks, just north of the East Dublin BART station, is one of the few remaining relatively undeveloped portions of the Livermore-Amador Valley. The U.S. military transferred 189 acres of public land at the southern end of the Camp Parks military training facility to the City of Dublin for urban development. This exchange is among the largest-ever military reserve property exchange agreements executed by the Department of Defense. SunCal, one of the nation’s largest land developers, is planning six major development projects at Camp Parks called Dublin Crossing, which includes nearly 2,000 homes. In exchange for the 189 acres, SunCal agreed to construct new military facilities worth $66M.

    “From a natural resource perspective, the Dublin Crossing development is environmentally responsible, as it increases park and open space; it avoids a number of special status species and habitats found in outlying areas; it reduces habitat fragmentation; and it provides needed housing and services close to public transportation and jobs,” said Aguirre.

  • Blog

    PG&E Accused of “Stealing From the Poor to Give to the Rich” with Latest Rate Increases

    In two weeks, most PG&E customers in Dublin and the rest of California can expect to see a 10% increase in their gas and electricity bills. PG&E uses a complex electrical rate plan with four tiers of billing. The plan charges progressively higher rates for each tier. Effective June 20th, PG&E will reduce rates for high-usage Tier 4 customers by 17.6%. For the typical customers in Dublin, CA, the more electricity you use, the higher the rate you pay. A recent ruling by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) seeks to narrow the gap between the low-usage and high-usage customers. To offset the reduction for the high-usage users, according to ABC Channel 7, PG&E will be raising rates on most customers by roughly 10%.

    Following the upcoming rate hike for most customers, PG&E will also be increasing rates by about 30% for their low-income users enrolled in the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program. PG&E will implement the rate increase on their low-income customers by creating a third Tier in the CARE program. “These changes will continue to encourage energy conservation with rates that increase the more a customer uses. They will also put our average CARE rate at around the same level it was in 1991 after two decades of virtually no increases,” said Tom Bottorff, PG&E’s senior vice president of regulatory relations. According to PG&E’s website, rate increases for residents enrolled in the CARE program will not go into effect until November 1st. This increase is expected to upset many ratepayer and senior advocates.

    “Many people at this point are choosing between paying for food, or paying for medicine. Any increase, even just a little bit, could be very harmful,” said Laurence Steinberg of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living. According to Katie Worth of the SF Examiner, many ratepayers and customer advocates have characterized the approved rate changes as effectively stealing from the poor to give to the rich. “We are supposed to be encouraging people to use less energy. We are supposed to be encouraging people to cut carbon emissions. You don’t do that by raising their rates for using less. You do that by rewarding them for using less,” said TURN Executive Director Mark Toney.

    For customers who think they will have difficulty paying their bills, PG&E offers information on payment plans on its website. Information is also available on the Family Electric Rate Assistance plan.

  • Blog

    East & West Dublin BART Corridor Enhancement Underway

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    The East and West Dublin BART Corridor Enhancement Project is underway with several of the aesthetic elements designed to improve the visual appeal of the Dublin Boulevard corridor and link neighborhoods through the transit-oriented area already installed. In 2005, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission granted the City of Dublin $3.4M of Federal Transportation Enhancement Activities fund for the approval of high-density housing near the East and West Dublin BART stations. Enhancements recommended in the Corridor Enhancement Project include median markers, wayfinding signs, city monument signs, and the gateway feature called the Eternal Ribbon at the southeastern corner of Dougherty Road and Dublin Boulevard.

    Designed by the firm of Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey, the Eternal Ribbon will be viewed daily by more than 60,000 motorists passing through the intersection. It is intended to announce arrival into the City and create a sense of place and excitement. The total cost of the project was approximately $3.7 million, with the balance coming from gas tax funds, not the City’s local property tax or sales tax revenue. This funding provides another example of why cities like Dublin have approved high-density and affordable housing projects. The State and Federal money is simply too hard to pass up.

    Other improvements anticipated to be constructed include:

    • New median landscaping along Dublin Boulevard across the frontage of the proposed Historic Park near Donlon Way
    • Decorative median railings
    • New Bus Shelters
    • Sidewalk Widening
    • Bike Trail Improvements

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  • Blog

    Craft Beer Enthusiasts Flock to See What’s on Tap in Livermore, CA

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    Livemore’s Tap 25 is building a strong reputation for delivering some of the finest brews in Northern California. Customers have given Tap 25 a 4.5 star rating on Yelp since its opening just last year. Located at the Blacksmith Square in Downtown Livermore, Tap 25 offers customers both indoor seating and an outdoor beer garden to quench their thirst on warm and sunny days. “We (rotate) 25 handles of the rare, the favorite and the crazy flavors that make up this beer revolution,” wrote Tap 25’s proprietors on their website.

    Every Thursday from 5:00PM to 10:00PM is Dice Night at Tap 25. Order a pint or a flight of beers. If an odd number is rolled, a 50% discount is immediately applied to the order. “This place is simply off the charts. Incredibly priced craft beers that are hard to find,” shared Yelper Dustin C. “Every beer I’ve tried here was great, served in the proper glassware and at proper temperatures.”

    Some customer favorites at Tap 25 include:

    Sudwerk Hefeweizen, 4.7% from Davis, CA
    An unfiltered Bavarian style wheat beer with a distinctive aroma and flavor profile true to the style; spicy, slightly fruity, dry and refreshing.

    North Coast Red Seal Ale 5.5% Fort Bragg, CA Malt and hops are beautifully married in this full-bodied, copper-red Pale Ale. It is generously hopped for a long, spicy finish. An easy drinking Pale Ale.

    Firestone Walker Double Jack 9.5% from Paso Robles, CA
    This Imperial IPA features a big malty middle to cloak the high alcohol and mouth puckering hop bitterness. Huge tangerine, grapefruit and juicy fruit aroma blossom over the herbal blue basil and malt earthiness of this aggressive beer.

    High Water Old & In The Way, 10.5% from Belmont, CA
    Brewed in the traditional English Barley Wine Style, it has bold flavors of toffee, treacle and caramel. Let this one warm up to fully experience the depth and complexity in this beer.

    Tap 25 will be participating in the San Francisco Beer Week from February 10th through February 18th, during which customers will have a chance to meet five different brewers:

    • Tuesday, February 14th: Valentine’s Day with Firestone Brewing Co. (Special Opening)
    • Wednesday, February 15th: Grand Teton Brewing Co.
    • Thursday, February 16th: Sudwerk Brewing Co.
    • Friday, February 17th: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
    • Saturday, February 18th: Ale Industries

    Tap 25 is located at 25 South Livermore Avenue, Suite 107, at the Blacksmith Square in Downtown Livermore. It is open from Wednesdays to Saturdays from Noon to 10:00PM and Sundays from Noon to 8:00PM.

  • Blog

    City of Dublin, CA Launches Shop Local Holiday Facebook Campaign

    The City of Dublin, CA has partnered with the Dublin Chamber of Commerce to launch a Shop Local Holiday Campaign via Facebook. The goal of the campaign is to encourage and increase shopping around Dublin through the holidays. The campaign is a Dublin Chamber of Commerce led initiative that the City is supporting. The Chamber has launched a Facebook page designated for the Shop Local Holiday Campaign where businesses will be able to add their business profile, store promotions, product features, and store events.

    Followers to the Facebook page will be notified of new postings and will be able to “like” an announcement or event. The information will then be displayed on followers’ personal profiles sharing the information with their network base and further promoting the campaign’s goal. Businesses with their own Facebook page will also be able to display the information on their site.

    As explained in the classic Around Dublin Blog article titled the Virtuous Cycle of Buying From Locally-owned Businesses, when we spend that $1 at Dublin-based businesses, that dollar can become so much more thanks to an economic principle called “The Multiplier Effect.” The Multiplier effect describes the ripple effect local spending can have as businesses and their employees in turn spend their earnings in the same area, createing a virtuous cycle where a higher percentage of every dollar spent at locally-owned businesses gets redeployed back into the local community.

    For additional information, please contact Hazel Wetherford, (925) 833-6650, City of Dublin.

  • Blog

    Dublin CA August Condo and Town Home Sales Report

    If you are looking at homes for sale in Dublin, CA, please visit our Dublin Homes and Real Estate page. This page features information on homes and new homes and condos for sale as well as community information and Dublin school API scores.

    A total of 30 condos and town homes sold in August 2014 compared to 31 in August 2013. The highest sale price for condos and town homes in Dublin was $777,998 on Tralee Village Drive. That condo sold at $338 a square foot. The lowest sale price for Dublin condo and town homes was $245,000 on Maguire Way. That home is a Below Market Rate unit with income and resale restrictions.

    The average days on market for Dublin condos and town homes was 34 with an average list price of $523,577 at $365 a square foot. The average sale price was $527,448 at $367 a square foot.

    This Dublin Real Estate market report includes addresses, list price and selling price.

    For more specific information about the real estate market for Dublin neighborhoods, please contact Vickie Nagy, Buyer Representation Specialist and your Dublin Real Estate Broker at (925) 407-7987 or vickie@LiveDublinCA.com.

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    Blog

    San Francisco Giants Parade: BART is Ready

    San Francisco Giants fans in and around Dublin, CA are ready to join the ticker tape parade on Friday, October 31st. BART is prepared to carry hundreds of thousands of baseball fans to Downtown San Francisco this Halloween to celebrate the Giants World Series seventh game win. Using every available train possible, BART will run its rush hour service all day. To ensure that everyone can get home safely, trains will run until 2:00AM. Trains to and from the city will be at maximum length and frequency.

    About 100 extra BART employees in yellow vests will be stationed throughout the system to help with crowd control and to assist passengers. BART Police will have extra patrols and extra train technicians were also on hand just in case. Ticket sales tables will be set up at Fremont, Dublin, Bay Point and Millbrae stations to help speed up ticket purchases.

    Large crowds are expected and passengers should anticipate long lines and crowded trains. BART will have additional staff on hand to help customers who need assistance and offer crowd control. BART officials are urging fans to buy their roundtrip tickets or load up their Clipper® cards before Friday’s ticker tape parade in San Francisco.

  • Blog

    Dublin Police Services Looking for Missing Man

    Dublin Police Services Looking for Missing Man
    Dublin Police Services is requesting help to find a missing Dublin resident. Jorge Arroyo is described as a 72-year-old Hispanic male, who is 5’6” and 160 pounds, with grey hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a brown jacket and blue jeans. Mr. Arroyo was not carrying any money or credit cards. Mr. Arroyo does not have a car and does not drive; however, he is known to walk extended distances of over 10 miles in a day.

    On February 3, 2011, around 3:00PM, Dublin resident Jorge Arroyo left his home for a walk to the Emerald Glen Park. Family members reported Mr. Arroyo as missing when he had not returned home by 10:00PM on Thursday, February 3, 2011. Dublin Police immediately began a search for Mr. Arroyo and have broadcast his description to Law Enforcement agencies asking for assistance in locating him. Dublin Police is still conducting an active search for Mr. Arroyo and contacting businesses in the area looking for anyone who may have seen him.

    An extensive search was conducted by members of the Dublin Police, and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit. Residents are asked to contact Dublin Police at (925)462-1212 or their local Law Enforcement if they see Mr. Arroyo or have any information regarding his whereabouts.

  • Blog

    Christmas Fantasies Come Alive at Widmer World in Pleasanton, CA

    Christmas Fantasies Come Alive at Widmer World in Pleasanton, CA

    Tucked away just off of Santa Rita Road at 3671 Chelsea Court in Pleasanton, CA Bob and Sue Widmer have built a strong reputation over the past four decades for wowing Tri-Valley residents with their Christmas lights, games, scenes, and other fantastically imaginative creations. Every Christmas since 1980, the Widmers have transformed their happy home into “Widmer World” with the help of friends and other family members. Visiting Widmer World brings back memories of the uber-festive and charmingly decorated Griswold Family Home in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

    Some of the highlights of Widmer World over the past few years include Disney Alley, Arctic Penguin Scene with Snow, Electronic Light Shows, Toy Shop with Snowy and the Drifters, The Nativity, Candy Shoppe, Reindeer Coin Toss, Train Town, Widmer World Theatre, and Santa’s Golfland.

    Santa Claus will be making a special appearance at Widmer World on Friday, December 23rd from 6:00PM-8:00PM for complimentary photos with kids.

    “Decorating has involved all of our family and takes hundreds of hours to prepare the scenery for our December opening,” share the Widmers on their website. “We normally start repairs and painting in July and start working on the back yard scenes in early November.”

    “This place puts all the other light displays to shame! This is not a place to drive by, you must get out of the car and walk around the side yard to see all the amazing displays,” shared Chris K. of Dublin in his Yelp review.

    Visiting Widmer World this year could even help win $100,000 for the Pleasanton Unified School District. Visitors simply need to check out the home and then vote for Widmer World in the Patch Deck the House contest. “Your vote could just make us the winner,” wrote the Widmers

  • Blog

    MythBusters to Continue Experimenting with Public Safety in Dublin, CA

    MythBusters to Continue Experimenting with Public Safety in Dublin, CA
    Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern held a public meeting in Dublin, CA over the weekend to explain the circumstances behind the wayward projectile that penetrated a home, tore up the roof of another, and finally landed in a minivan. The cannon shot was part of an experiment to see if cannonballs could really penetrate castle walls. Roughly 50 residents attended the forum. The official panel included representatives from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the MythBusters. While Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti and city staff were in attendance, they kept their distance from the panel.

    The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Was Here First

    Sheriff Ahern began the meeting by giving all the attendees a history lesson. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has been at its current location long before Dublin was incorporated as a city. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office was not responsible for approving the homes that have been built nearby. Sheriff Ahern then defended the relationship between the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and MythBusters. According to Sheriff Ahern, MythBusters has provided revenue for Alameda County over the years in exchange for the use of the Alameda County Bomb Disposal Range. MythBusters paid Alameda County $20,000 last year alone for such a privilege.

    Sheriff Ahern has suspended all non-emergency activities at the Alameda County Bomb Disposal Range until the completion of an investigation by Dublin Police Services, in collaboration with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the MythBusters. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office currently runs Dublin Police Services for the City of Dublin by contract. No formal inquiry by an independent agency is currently planned.

    The Show Must Go On

    The public meeting on Saturday was a star-studded event attended by key members of the MythBusters team including executive producer Dan Tapster and show hosts Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, Tory Belleci, Grant Imahara, and Kari Byron. “We will never ever shoot a cannon on this facility again,” proclaimed show producer Tapster, who reportedly descended upon Dublin in a Rolls Royce.

    Many Dublin residents were not convinced by Tapster’s promise. “Everybody should understand my concern and my anger,” said a Creekview Drive resident going by the name of James. “My concern is not that it is done safely – it is that it is done at all. This is my neighborhood.” A Dublin Ranch resident followed by telling Sheriff Ahern and show producer Tapster that the cannonball misfire “was a foreseeable accident” and that the MythBusters should move the zany experiments to the less populated “Gold Country.”

    The same resident also articulated how she now fears for the lives of her children. Sensing that the tide was quickly turning against the MythBusters, Tapster took the podium to let impacted residents know he has children of his own and can relate to their safety concerns. Still, the show must go on, and MythBusters needs the public to believe that it is doing everything possible to set things right.

    Unmoved by Tapster’s attempts to sway the audience, another resident going by the name of Paulreminded everyone that “this time we got lucky. If [he] knew what was going on at that area, [he] would not have bought here twelve years ago.” Paul later confided in private that he knows of neighbors who have moved out of Dublin, because their dogs would go “crazy” whenever guns were fired and bombs exploded at the nearby Alameda County Bomb Disposal Range.

    A Supporting Cast of Characters

    The MythBusters saved comments from supporters for the very end. A gun shop owner in West Dublin expressed general approval of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the MythBusters and added that he would like to see experiments by the MythBusters continue in Dublin. The gun shop owner was later seen sharing laughs and heartily shaking hands with an Alameda County officer.

    The MythBusters also brought in fans from beyond Dublin’s borders. An Alameda County resident who does not live in Dublin gave a long speech in support of the MythBusters antics. Wearing a patriotic flag shirt with a Mount Rushmore depiction around his belly, the non-resident tried to draw a connection between the MythBusters experiments and the glory of democracy.

    Crediting the MythBusters with his son’s love for science, this MythBusters fan boy implied that East Dublin residents should learn to live with the revelation of this public safety risk for the sake of America and be grateful for the attention the city has garnered thanks to the MythBusters.

    Dressed in a festive black “Nightmare Before Christmas” ensemble, a woman who claimed to be a Dublin Ranch resident testified that she was made aware of the proximity of both the Alameda County Regional Training Center and the Alameda County Bomb Disposal Range through the full disclosure provided by the builders. The woman also accused concerned residents of being “hysterical” over an accident in which no one got hurt.

    All-America City of Dublin Unprepared for Emergency

    The City of Dublin waited 20 hours before coming out with an official statement that directed all questions and concerns to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. According to Mayor Sbranti, the City of Dublin waited partly because it was learning about what happened the same time as everyone else. To date, the City of Dublin has not assumed any responsibility for notifying residents regarding activities on Alameda County Sheriff’s Office properties that may negatively impact their neighborhoods.

    The City of Dublin and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office have provided residents due notice regarding homeland security exercises conducted by government agents trained in the armed forces before; however, they feel differently when “heavy artillery” operated by civilian television personalities is involved.

    The only active role Dublin City Hall has played so far is using its CodeRED Emergency Notification System to let residents know about the public meeting on Saturday. Given its passive role at the public meeting, the All-America City of Dublin is not in any position to guarantee that the same thing will not happen again within its borders.

    Money Makes the MythBusters Go ‘Round

    Money was the common theme in public statements from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, the MythBusters, and their supporters at the meeting this past Saturday. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office took part in the MythBusters cannonball experiment that went horribly awry, because it needed the money.

    By promising to continue their relationship in Dublin, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and MythBusters have shown that they are merely paying lip service to public safety. Given that nothing will change, residents are encouraged to subscribe to MythBusters’ official twitter feed, so they may get out of the way for the next filming. As promised by the MythBusters, “failure is always an option.” The question now is not if, but when another “foreseeable accident” will happen in Dublin.