After becoming a member of Twitter last week, I was pleased to see either through it or Facebook, a blog post of a fellow Brentwood citizen, Carrisa Pillow. Not only does she report on the City Council meetings, she is now running for a position on that Council. I say, good for her! We NEED women on that council!
I have lived in Brentwood since 2004 but have lived in the Bay Area for most of 40 years (with occasional moves here and there). Back in 1976, when we lived in Concord, my then mother-in-law and sister-in-law went with my children and me to Brentwood to pick apricots. This was my first visit and I fell in love with the town. Then it was a small farming community. During the 80's, I came out here for fruit and vegetables during summer picking season, and I could see the development starting to take place. I lived in Antioch then and the growth of Antioch had already doubled much to my alarm! I commuted to Martinez and Walnut Creek on Highway 4 and kept asking the question of my friends: how are all these people going to get to work? There was no industry out here except farming. Some of the manufacturing that was in Antioch were either shutting down or cutting way back. The blue-collar jobs were disappearing and the white-collar commuters were moving out here.
There was good reason for it - land/property and therefore, homes were reasonable to buy. We bought our first house in 1980 in Antioch for 79K (which was a bit high even then but that is another story).
By 1990, and some personal changes, my new husband and I bought a home in Mira Vista Hills for (I think) $134K. Of course, it is a bigger and newer home but still, that is a huge jump. Meanwhile, Lone Tree Way which was a two-lane country road was changing dramatically and homes were being built as rapidly as could be. I was shocked just to see how close together they were then and that's nothing compared to what I see in Brentwood today.
I moved away to San Luis Obispo county in 1997 and returned in 2001. I could not believe what had happened to Antioch and was appalled at what was happening to Brentwood! My husband and I moved to a condo in Antioch but the population changes, budget cuts, etc. made us both feel unsafe. My daughter and her husband bought a home out here and we moved here in 2004. I still shake my head at what is happening to Antioch. I don't understand it at all. However, there was so much building out here, I wondered, is this going to be another Antioch? Well, we all know what happened to the economy but, frankly, I think that the slow down in developments out here was the only thing that saved Brentwood.
It gave all of us a chance to take a breath and start asking some hard questions. A lot of seniors, like my husband and I, were concerned and we don't even have children in schools here! I don't want the City Council to become like other government agencies that only think of who helped them get elected. I hope that is not happening here so please don't think I am accusing the Council of it - just hope it isn't. I wondered, however, when the Council decided that the new Civic Center had to be so huge! I didn't understand how Oakley was able to build their new Center for a fraction of what Brentwood paid. I still don't and I am not happy at what happened to the city park. I truly feel the City reneged on the commitment made to the woman who donated the land.
I did get a chance to meet Steve Barr when he was running for City Council and was pleased to discuss my concerns with him as did my husband. So far, so good but I am still uneasy at the decisions made not just by him but by the entire Council. For these reasons, I am happy that Carissa is running and I hope to meet her too. I plan on attending a Council meeting soon depending on my health. Please be sure and read her blog post dated June 12 for her description of events that took place. I hope to have more input on the Council soon.