A major concern exists in my perception regarding the library in Oakley. The downtown issue, including the library, is again causing us to lose focus on the highest priority needs of Oakley residents. The construction of the library was a part of the Montgomery plan for Oakley. The last election clearly indicated people were not enamored with Montgomery, or his plans for downtown Oakley. However, there are those who stand tall in defense of the Montgomery direction.

            Supervisor Diane Burgis has been a part of the Montgomery plan since its inception. Her support commenced when she sat of the Oakley City Council dais. She strongly supports the concept of building an Oakley Library on the County O’Hara Ave property, which will certainly be a cause for higher taxes to build. In my perception, it is the wrong location for the edifice. A better location would to put it in the location where a three hundred space parking lot is being built for the train platform.

            Supervisor Burgis supported the building of the parking lot. She also, because of her affiliation with the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA) supports the train platform, which is now costing eight million dollars just to design. (SJJPA is responsible for placing the train platform in the middle of downtown.)

            However, Supervisor Burgis will not pay the county fair-share for the expansion of Bethel Island Rd or Cypress Rd. That expansion is being funded by the City of Oakley for the emergency benefit of Oakley Residents who reside in the Summer Lakes area. The road expansion will also ensure safety of Bethel Island residents, as well as other county residents in the area.

            Supervisor Burgis also will not consider funding an extension of Bethel Island Road to Delta Road, which would be another escape route in times of disaster for residents in the area. In addition, Supervisor Burgis is demanding 2.7 million dollars from the City of Oakley for the reconstruction of the Bethel Island Road bridge. I cannot find how this benefits Oakley residents, but the demand for such a payment exists.

            My thoughts we need to put aside these “dream things” and concentrate on the safety of residents on the East Side of Oakley. Following the completion on those safety necessities, which are needed yesterday, we can come back to studying the Montgomery concept of downtown. Supervisor Burgis could support us in those efforts also.      

George Fuller, MPA, MA

City Councilmember, City of Oakley

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