Sunnyvale Council_Don’t Sell Raynor Activity Center

Letter to the Sunnyvale Council members_Courtesy Tap Merrick

Dear Sunnyvale Council members,

The City’s planned sale of the Raynor Activity Center (RAC) on Tuesday, November 19th, 2013, is wrong and I urge the Council to reconsider.

First, It is my understanding that this property was originally purchased through a bond offering that came before the voters around 1979.  I believe that this bond offering limited the sale and use of proceeds from any sale to a few specific and limited choices, but did not allow for funding a branch library.  Please identify what those choices are as part of the City’s presentation.

Second, according to the terms of this 1979 purchase from SCUSD, I believe that there are certain limitations placed on Sunnyvale to limit it’s ability to sell this property in future years because it was purchased at a discount from market value.

Third, it is my understanding that SCUSD is interested in repurchasing this school for it’s own use but that the SCUSD was not made aware of this sale in a timely manner to be able to bid on it.

From the Fact Checker section of my campaign website:

“Griffith brags about opening up two new parks (Seven Seas and Santa Real, now Swegles, Parks) while expanding Orchard Gardens Park.  Fact: Seven Seas Park and the three houses at Orchard Gardens Park were actually purchased in 1981 by the City.  Only the one acre Swegles Park is actually new, given as an in-lieu-of fee, and apparently now under some reconsideration.  Fact: Park acreage will actually decline under Griffith’s tenure by 3.0 acres as the result of the planned sale of the Raynor Activity Center (3.7 acres) and the three houses at Murphy Park (0.3 acres).  Acreage could shrink even farther, by up to 14 acres, if the City and Council get their wish to move the Civic Center (City Hall, Library and Police Station) over to the Community Center, destroying much of the pool and perhaps the orchard.  Fact:  On Griffith’s blog he mentions that the three houses to be torn down amount to 0.5 acres, while I would argue that these three houses approximate the .3 acres housing at Murphy Park.

To my utter amazement, in an interview we both had with the Mercury News editor (Barbara Marshman), Griffith stated that the Lakewood neighborhood (Griffith’s neighborhood) only had a small amount of school park acreage as compared to Raynor Park.  Regarding Parks and Open Space, his most glaring misstatements were in regard to comparing his neighborhood parks (in Lakewood Neighborhood) to my neighborhood parks (in Raynor neighborhood).

Appendix R, Chart of Open Space Acreage in Neighborhood, from the Parks and Recreation Department’s Open Space and Recreation Sub-Element, published around 2005 or 06 shows the details.  Mr. Griffith minimized his park lands by only using schools and parks, but leaving out “special use acreage.”  I will have to admit that it isn’t fair to penalize a neighborhood for having the dump, so let’s take out this acreage (52.0 acres).  Then we need to add in the additional 6.0 acres Mr. Griffith is bragging about.  That brings his acreage down to 223.96 acres, divided by the 2000 population, equals 13.57 acres per thousand.

Now let’s look at Raynor.  Mr. Griffith claimed that our neighborhood had too many parks.  He wanted to add in the 26 acres at Peterson Middle School and the 10 acres at the old Patrick Henry School, as well as another 6 acres at Laurelwood School.  You will notice that on Sunnyvale’s official Appendix R, these three are not even listed.  That is because Sunnyvale has refused to sign Peterson and Patrick Henry up into the City’s 25-year contract fields maintenance program it has with absolutely every other public school owned site in Sunnyvale, including those now being rented out to private schools (some six or more sites).

11 of Peterson’s acres have now been turned into a community garden called Full Circle Farm.  The football field is now a practice field for the Sabercats arena football team’s exclusive use.  The remaining field space is so blocked off it is never used by the community for youth soccer or baseball.

The ten acres at Patrick Henry are in an exclusive arrangement with the Sunnyvale Alliance Soccer Club that must maintain the fields and pay rent.  The remaining six acres are located in Santa Clara, and are not made available to youth or adult sports.  Including only Sunnyvale’s 2010 population of approximately 5148 people gives 2.14 acres per thousand.  Using the actual population of the census tract 7,684), which includes the portion of Santa Clara west of Lawrence Expressway, gives the Raynor Park neighborhood 1.432 acres per thousand.  If you add in the additional 1,000 people moving in to what used to be called Santa Clara Square at the southwest corner of El Camino and Lawrence in 2016, the number comes down even farther, to 1.27 acres per thousand.”

Mr. Griffith has been playing fast and loose with many of his facts and statistics.  During the Candidate forum sponsored by Lakewood Village Neighborhood Association, Mr. Griffith stated that no city property had been sold this year, implying, from that statement, that no city property would be sold off.  He made that statement with the intention of confusing the voters into thinking that he wouldn’t be voting to sell off any land that I had mentioned (including RAC and Murphy Park).  Ms. Martin-Millius and Mr. Jim Davis were in attendance at this forum and heard Mr. Griffith issue his deception.

In a landslide election contest, helped by some $400,000 from the Big Developer slate, the Birdland and Raynor Park neighborhoods strongly support protecting their neighborhood by voting so overwhelmingly for me against Mr. Griffith, for Mr. Frazer over Mr. Larsson and Mr. Hoffman over Mr. Hendricks.  Unlike the LinkedIn issue, where only two neighbors had shown up to protest that development, our neighborhood has previously brought in hundreds of citizens to voice their concerns and disapproval over the Council’s actions.

Please, do not sell RAC.  This is an action designed to please only one council member, Mr. Griffith.  There are other alternatives available to building his library.

Thank you for your consideration.


Tap Merrick


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