Will the City Council of Oakley continue to protect its children Tuesday night, April 11, 2023? A year ago, the council said to a McDonald’s drive-thru at Laurel Plaza. So, then there was an election during which two candidates now sitting on the dais received extraordinary contributions, including Matt Beinke, with Ohara Properties, from Oakley developers., Those developers demand completion of the drive-thru. So, no surprise in my mind that the issue has appeared twice recently. The last time it came up, the council put it off until the Contra Costa Superior Court Judge ruled on the lawsuit that Ohara Properties pushed onto the City of Oakley. The ruling date is April 17.

            So, now in a panic, some of those on the dais want us to decide the issue before April 17. If the council approves the drive-thru, then the lawsuit goes away. McDonald’s goes into Laurel Plaza no matter what the judge may think. Gee, I wonder what they know that we do not. We should hold everything over until the judge issues her ruling and decide how to proceed.

            The original purpose of returning it to the dais so soon was “the City can’t afford the legal fees.” Yes, we do have the sale of surplus property in the City, which will adequately fund a legal defense, which, in my perspective, would be the best path for the City to follow.

             However, people involved in bringing it to the dais again are stepping up, and the vote intends to give Matt Beinke another bite at the apple. Mr. Beinke REALLY WANTS THE DRIVE-THRU BUILT, no matter what. Mr. Palmquist and Mr. Hetrick, two superintendents, have declared the area of the drive-thru a danger to the health and well-being of the children of Oakley. Two superintendents of the Oakley Union School District (OUESD) have written that the drive-thru would be a structure that would threaten the safety and well-being of the elementary school children. The superintendents complied with California Education Code 44808, which dictates that they should ensure the safety of Oakley’s children outside the school when on public grounds in the vicinity of the school, which includes public streets. The legislature indicated that the superintendents, based on their education, experience, and training, have the expertise to determine unsafe conditions outside the school.

            A link to their letters and a link to CaEdCode 44808 are below.

The interlopers arriving in Oakley, Matt Beinke, who resides in Danville, and his experts, who, to the best of my knowledge, live outside of Oakley, have declared that the OUESD superintendents do not know anything about the community outside the schoolhouse doors, and then limited information about what is going on inside the schools. The demeaning and derisory remarks about the superintendents’ abilities are speculation. The implication is “they know what is best for Oakley, and the Oakley City Council should get out of their way.” Beinke and his experts have said at the council podium that they have not talked with school officials concerning the drive-thru and have no intention of asking for their input.

            In reviewing the CEQA documents, Beinke and his experts failed to allow for the variable of the school input and what they might relay. The intentional removal of consideration of the variable makes their studies unreliable and without validity. Thus they should not be considered in assessing permission to build the drive-thru.

            Derek Cole wrote a memo to attach to the agenda. It says council members should not rely on speculation when making a decision. Such memos are very unusual this late in the agenda review. I see it aimed at those who failed to learn more of what the superintendents had to offer in the best interests of OUESD.

            In recent years America has failed to protect elementary school children as they attended classes. Oakley residents can beging to change that situation by holding their City Council accountable for the safety of Oakley children. It is the American thing to do!!

            A link to Mr. Cole’s memo is below.

George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA 

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