Saturday, September 16th 8:00am
Arroyo Mocho @ Holmes St & Mocho St., Livermore
Friends of the Vineyards participated in the Coastal Clean Up activities that took place throughout the Bay Area on September 16th. The volunteers gathered along the Arroyo Mocho where they joined with local cub scouts to clean up a section of the arroyo. Participants gathered up numerous loads of trash and tracked the types and number of items located for scientific research purposes.
Among the most unusual items located were a hardbound Webster's Dictionary, a ceramic castle, half a pink ukelele, and a Christmas decoration. Everyone agreed it was a fun way to support our community.
The Alameda County landfill on Vasco Road has a Committee that disperses funds collected as mitigation for the collection and burial of trash on Vasco Road. This public entity, named Altamont Landfill Open Space Committee (ALOSC) supports preservation of lands in Eastern Alameda County having significant value for protecting native biological biodiversity and wildlife habitat, or significant value for visual character and/or non-motorized recreation.
This Committee is ready and prepared to act on the opportunity to use its funds to ensure the permanent preservation of Tesla Park by offering to purchase the land from the State Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division. The following local State Senators and State Assembly Members have all jumped on board and offered to sign a letter to the Director of State Parks asking her to approve selling Tesla Park to a local entity such as East Bay Regional Parks to preserve it forever.
cc: Alameda County BOS
Livermore City Council
With all of these key people backing this proposal, we're feeling confident that the sale will be allowed to go through. Stay connected to see how this issue will pan out.
Tesla Park is a place of irreplaceable biodiversity, history, and beauty, and this land needs to be preserved as a legacy of our region’s natural and cultural heritage.
Senator Glazer and Assembly Member Baker have taken a step proposed by Friends of Tesla Park (FOTP) to support the purchase of Tesla from State Parks through the Altamont Landfill Open Space Committee (ALOSC). In May, Senator Glazer and Assembly Member Baker sent a joint letter to the Director of State Parks, Lisa Mangat, asking her to encourage the off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division to consider this proposal. This is one way to ensure Tesla is permanently protected from high impact motorized usage. FOTP hopes Senator Glazer and Assembly Member Baker will continue to work with local stakeholders and the East Bay Legislative delegation to permanently protect Tesla through purchase by the ALOSC or other means.
Friends of the Vineyards is strongly against destruction of this sensitive land and has supported its protection for several years. It is now time to save Tesla Park once and for all.
On Sunday May 21st, Friends of the Vineyards hosted a hike, cave tour, and lunch for our members.
The event began with a “gentle” hike through parts of Sycamore Grove Park guided by LARPD Ranger Dawn Soles. Much of the focus of the hike as discussed with the group centered on the water damage caused by the heavy rains and flooding in the Park earlier this year. Dawn’s comments were very informative and tied together much of the visible and tangible evidence that still remains in the Park.
Following the hike, the group moved across the street for a tour of the caves at Wente Vineyards accompanied by some wine tasting at our stops along the way in the caves. Once again we had a very amicable, knowledgeable, and informative guide who related the history of the Wente family, the caves, and the winery. One interesting aspect was how the winery managed to stay afloat during Prohibition (making sacramental wine). The tour ended with a stop in their home herb and vegetable garden that services the restaurant. Afterwards, the group enjoyed an alfresco box lunch on a little patio between the caves and the tasting room. Of course, wine was included. All our attendees really enjoyed the day.
The FOV scholarship awards for 2017 were awarded at Las Positas College on May 17th. With your help, we gave out one for Enology (Elizabeth Refsnider) and one for Viticulture (Ryan Hunt). They were both quite thankful for the awards, and are both currently already working in the local wine industry, with plans to go further once they graduate. We wish them success in the future and can't wait to see how they can help the Livermore Valley wine country continue to thrive!
May 6-7, 2017 | Downtown Livermore, CA
The Friends of the Vineyards (FOV) was one of over 300 vendors that set up and managed a booth on Saturday, May 6th and Sunday, May 7th at the Livermore Wine Country Downtown Street Festival. This festival is one of the largest in the East Bay with over 150,000 people attending and celebrates wine, craft beers, arts, crafts, dining, and entertainment in the downtown charm of Livermore.
Our FOV Directors managed the booth and were able to explain to our visitors who we are and what we do. It was fun talking to our guests about our efforts to preserve open space, agriculture land, our wine industry, and our trails. We were also able to explain urban growth boundaries and the South Livermore Area Plan and how they work together to help us protect our valuable land, precious water, trails, and endangered species. We have only one planet and we must all work together to preserve it.
Friends of the Vineyards joined with Friends of Tesla Park and numerous other organizations to oppose the expansion of the Carnegie Off-Highway Vehicle Park into the Tesla Area. During 2016, FOV was involved in the effort to challenge the severely flawed Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared by the State Off-Highway Vehicle Division. We submitted comments to both the draft and final EIRs. FOV President Tammy Reus attended and spoke at the hearing before the OHV Commission. The Commissioners voted to approve the EIR, which was not a surprise. The EIR is now being challenged in court by the Friends of Tesla Park, Alameda County, and three other organizations. FOV is supporting this effort through financial contributions to assist with the litigation.
In related developments, the current legislation governing the state Off-Highway Vehicle parks is due to expire at the end of 2017. There are competing bills making their way through the legislature to address the program. The much-needed reform legislation supported by FOV is called SB 249. The authors of the reform legislation are:
· Association of Responsible Recreation (ARR)
· California Native Plant Society
· California Wilderness Coalition (CalWild)
· Center for Biological Diversity
· Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation
· Defenders of Wildlife
· Friends of Tesla Park
· Sierra Club California
· The Wilderness Society
SB 249 addresses resource protection, the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division integration with the State Parks Department, fuel tax funding, enforcement, and the future sunset of the bill. While we hope there can be technical amendments and corrections made before the legislative committee process begins, this bill nonetheless represents a positive step for resource protection and rational state policy if enacted. FOV will let you know how you can help as the legislative process moves forward.
January 30th, 2017 | Livermore Public Library, Civic Center
The meeting began with President Tammy Reus and Treasurer Don Milanese giving a report on the successes of 2016, including support to such issues and organizations as Friends of Tesla Park, the Tri-Valley Conservancy, Dubliners for Change, and opposing the waiver to Measure D for the conditional use permit requested by the Sikh Temple.
Tammy provided some welcoming remarks to the approximately 40 people in attendance, including Board members. Some of the events noted included the Page Mill scholarship fund raiser, the annual holiday party, participation in the Wine Country Festival, and the hike and Wente cave tour/lunch.
We were also able to announce the results of our board elections with the reinstatement of Meredith Sarboraria and Dr. Neal Ely as Directors. During the meeting the guest speaker, Mr. Dick Finn, gave an interesting and engaging talk titled “History of Tri-Valley Vineyards.” The talk focused on the development and early years of the grape growing and wine making in the Valley up through about the turn of the 20th Century. His talk was well received and drew a number of questions.
December 18th, 2016 2:00 PM | Mertes Center for the Arts, Las Positas College
The FOV Holiday Party was a joyous success with wine, and music by violinist Jim Hurley.
The party was held at Las Positas College Mertes Center for the Arts, which was fitting as we tasted wine made from the college along with wines from Rodrigue Molyneaux Winery, owned by our board member Nancy Rodrigue, and Rubino Winery, owned by Mike Callahan. All wines were graciously donated by winemakers.
Eighty members and guests came together on a beautiful winter day to celebrate the season and were treated to an afternoon of delectable appetizers and desserts provided by the board.
Raffle winners won wine packages: a Wente Vintage Poster and a handmade quilt.
Proceeds from the event were donated to the Las Positas Viticulture & Enology program and Friends of Tesla Park.
The Fight to Protect it in 2016
In 2016, Friends of the Vineyards opposed the issuance of a conditional use permit for a religious facility on a parcel outside the Alameda County Urban Growth Boundary. It is our position that the use violates County Measure D, which precludes urban land uses outside the urban growth boundary.
Friends of the Vineyards joined with Friends of Livermore and the Sierra Club to oppose the application before the County Board of Supervisors. Friends of the Vineyards Directors Monica DePalmo and Meredith Sarboraria attended the hearing and spoke on behalf of FOV. Despite our best efforts, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the permit with conditions, including a requirement that a portion of the property be devoted to agricultural use.
Friends of the Vineyards is working with the Tri-Valley Conservancy to monitor the property and ensure that the conditions are being met. Up to now, the County Board has voted to strictly enforce Measure D, but their action has now set a precedent to allow unauthorized uses outside the urban growth boundary. This decision may lead others to apply for exceptions to Measure D requirements. We are very concerned about this prospect and will seek to follow this issue closely.
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