In the weekly feature called "e-views," we invite readers to answer a question via email.
Last week's question:
Concerned about the noise, traffic and quality-of-life issues that a planned 17-acre Los Medanos College satellite campus could bring to surrounding neighborhoods, a group of residents is lobbying the college for a change in the newly planned location behind Trilogy in Brentwood. Some are suggesting a move to a larger site near a proposed eBART station on Laurel Road in Oakley. Do you think the new Brentwood site is adequate or should a larger campus be planned elsewhere?
THE SITE DOESN'T matter -- education does. Why doesn't East County have a university?
HAVE BEEN LOOKING forward to the educational and cultural opportunities a college campus would provide in Brentwood, and also the influence of young people and ideas it would bring to our community.
A CAMPUS IN Brentwood is vital to future business opportunities and the labor force it would create. The location is well-placed to serve Oakley, Brentwood and Discovery Bay. Seventeen acres is a start, and I am sure the college will look for expansion as the money is available. This area could be served by Tri Delta Transit, therefore reducing the traffic impacts. No matter where the campus is located, there will always be those who will find objections.
THE PROPOSED 17-ACRE location for a community college campus at Trilogy is a poor choice because it is too small, and will increase traffic problems and noise to surrounding residential neighborhoods. Such a campus will have no room for expansion in the future. I (and other Brentwood residents) are concerned about the increase in traffic and noise at adjacent neighborhoods by 5,000 students driving to and from such a remote campus six days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. A better location for a new campus would be east of SR-4 (formerly Highway 4 Bypass) at Laurel, which would provide a larger site (110 acres) and easier access, while at the same time serving three communities: Antioch, Brentwood and Oakley.
AS I TALK with hundreds of voters and residents within the college board's fifth ward (Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Pittsburg and unincorporated Bay Point, Bethel Island, Clyde and Knightsen), the Pittsburg, Bay Point and Clyde residents really like the 110-acre Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, which has doubled in size since it opened in 1975, but they want more courses offered. Far East County residents are pleased the overcrowded downtown Brentwood center on Sand Creek Road will be moved, but they want a full 110-acre community college like LMC in a central location, not a cannot-be-expanded 17-acre campus in Trilogy at the southern end of Brentwood. As a fifth ward college board candidate for the Nov. 6 election, my top priority for far East County is to have the college district hold public hearings in far East County to let the residents say what campus they want, so everyone in far East County with an opinion can be heard.
I AM A resident of Brentwood, and this is a wonderful community. Building an eBART and a community college will change this calm and peaceful community -- not in the best ways. I do not support the construction of the eBART and the community college.
AS A BRENTWOOD resident, we enjoy the type of community that we live in. Building an eBART and a college behind our house will change everything in a bad way, dramatically. We do not support this project.
I UNDERSTAND THIS 17 acres was not the originally intended site for the campus in the hills of Brentwood, and that because the city could earn more funds by allowing the developer to build homes on the larger parcel of land, the parcels were switched. Maybe that was the right decision at the time in order to increase funds -- something the city of Brentwood has surely benefited from during these years of recession. However, I don't believe that 17 acres is a reasonable choice to install a campus. It doesn't at all allow for future growth. I think the money for the college would be far better invested in an area large enough to allow for future expansion.
Additionally, I don't really think that the furthest out point in Brentwood is strategically the best place to put a college. A more central location, I think, would serve all areas better. Plus, I don't think eBART intends to come out to the Brentwood foothills, so if the college were placed in an area easily accessible by eBART, it would be much better for students and teachers, and promote expansion of the campus and jobs!
In addition, the Brentwood foothills have some of the most highly valued real estate in the immediate area, and an increase in traffic, fast food services and other things a college campus might bring with it, might not be in the best interests of the residents or the city of Brentwood's tax base, which stands to increase as property values hopefully eventually rise.
So in closing, I really do think that a college should be centrally located, easy to access by public and private transportation, and built on grounds where expansion is at least feasible in the future. Any other decision would be, well, short sighted.
This week's question:
Now that the East Contra Costa Fire District has received a $7.8 million grant to restore some services and rehire firefighters for two years, what do you think can be done to maintain this AFTER the grant expires?
Email your response to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please limit responses to a few sentences, and be sure to include your full name and city of residence. Not all responses will be published. Note: Please respond before Monday.