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Open Letter: Development Referendum Effort Flawed By Lies

At Tuesday night's City Council meeting, Albany resident Francesco Papalia told officials, during public comment, he was concerned that a recent referendum effort appeared to constitute voter fraud. His remarks appear below.

Albany Patch welcomes guest columns and letters to the editor via email at albany@patch.com. Click the "Keep me posted" button below this story for an alert when we write about proposed development at University Village.

Dear Mayor Javandel, City Council Members and City Attorney Craig Labadie:

I am formally requesting that you pursue any and all legal remedies available to address what I consider gross voter fraud and deception on the part of those who gathered signatures on behalf of the regarding the Whole Foods Project.

I am attaching two documents that were handed out by the signature solicitors. The first was given to me at the at the beginning of the signature gathering.

Catherine Sutton was at the table and gave this first document to the man who solicited my signature. He gave it to me as their official information sheet. It contained the following question and answer:

“What about the promised $200,000 in tax revenue for our city?”
“Any tax dollars would be offset by the increased use of city services, i.e. police, firefighters and paramedics to attend to the rise in calls characteristic of such large complexes.”      

This is a lie.

The Fiscal Impact Analysis done for the project predicts a gross revenue of $466,156 per year and a net revenue of $204,442 after deducting for Police, Fire, EMS and other General Fund expenses. That is a $204,000 false statement. I will not address tonight the rest of the flyer that was filled misinformation, distortions of fact and wild accusations about the project. I will let this one gross lie about the $204,000 of net revenue to the General Fund per year to show how little they relied on the truth to get people to sign.

At the end of the flyer it says: “Call Tarina or Eric at (510) 326-5259
Your Neighbor at ______________             www.keepalbanylocal.com”

I believe that this lie constitutes a fraudulent inducement to sign a petition. That alone should lead to invalidation of the process.

The second document was handed out at the on Tuesday August 7, 2012, and it states:

“The projected annual tax revenues of $200,000 to Albany will not cover the increased cost to city services.”                

Another version of the same lie.

These flyers do not mention the projected additional yearly parcel tax payments to the School District. Nor does it mention the one-time Arts Fund fee of $1,491,000 and other Development Fees including a $560,000 development impact fee to the School District. These are just inconvenient truths to some people.

People are entitled to their opinions when soliciting signatures for a referendum but not their own facts.

We need protection from this kind of deceit and lies when someone comes to our door and asks us to sign a petition. We need your protection.

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Click the "Keep me posted" button below for an update when we publish future items on the Whole Foods project. Learn about the proposed Whole Foods and senior housing development here.

Michael Barnes September 11, 2012 at 09:40 PM
The city has some good census data on their website. According to the 2000 census, Albany is only 61 percent white, with a median income of $55K: http://www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page=60
Michael Barnes September 11, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Francesco, And this: http://www.acphd.org/data-reports/reports-by-topic/asthma.aspx
Alan Riffer September 12, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Michael et al - Here is a Patch article that provides some 2010 Census info. http://albany.patch.com/articles/us-census-albany-grows-by-127-becomes-more-diverse Whites are down to 55%, with Asians and Hispanics increasing.
MYC September 12, 2012 at 05:38 AM
How about simply, "wealthy healthy," or "healthy wealthy," and leave race out of it? I get your point, though, wealth does help one achieve better health and encourage one to pursue a healthy lifestyle and create the leisure time to ponder meaning in life, that and education.
Ellie September 14, 2012 at 12:02 AM
"we are acting from a sincere concern about the future of Albany as a small town. " Welcome to Albany where "progressive" means a desire to prevent progress.

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