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Closing Access to Mt Diablo S. Gate - Again

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Old 06-12-18, 02:17 PM
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Closing Access to Mt Diablo S. Gate - Again

Whoops, sorry about that title spelling...

Lawsuit has been filed in CCC Court to prohibit bicycle access on Calle Arroyo and Alameda Diablo roads leading to S. Gate, to call these roads private property, deny access through Diablo County Club to cyclists. Bike East Bay .org has joined the lawsuit, fighting for ongoing cyclist access.

They are asking cyclists to sign the petition at the link below, I would cut and paste the article I received via email but I got a moderator warning last time I did... so,go find the story yourself...petition link below:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1rG3...requested=true


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Old 06-12-18, 02:33 PM
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Oh, I should give props to Kyle Smith, an associate attorney at Bay Area Bicycle Law firm, for assisting BikeEastBay on a pro bono basis in fighting this lawsuit. .
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Old 06-12-18, 03:14 PM
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Old 06-12-18, 04:23 PM
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I thought this has been hashed out already. I think prathmann has posted about this issue in here before, someone explain how they can continue to sue over this, when it has already been determined the roads are for public use.

Here's a direct link to the Bike East Bay article:
https://bikeeastbay.org/news/bike-east-bay-goes-court

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Old 06-12-18, 05:25 PM
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OP, where was that sign? Did you see others? I remember recently there were signs posted again on Calle Arroyo but not Alameda Diablo. I guess I'm trying to get a handle on exactly where the problem is. I've never had any issue on AD, the only signs I've seen previously (quite a while ago now) were at the intersection of AD and La Cadena. I usually don't ride all the way to the main cut-through, normally I use a secondary cut through at the end of Calle Los Calledos, but I've also gone straight through La Cadena and then exited back out on Diablo Road. I can normally ride fast enough on AD (even uphill) to keep cars behind me, because of all those speed humps, so I don't think I'm much of a hooligan cyclist clogging the roads and talking loudly... Just wondering if there is a less contentious route that avoids some of the problem residents.
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Old 06-12-18, 06:01 PM
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Here's an article from back in April. I'm assuming this is the same suit, and that it's just now going to court. Based on this article, and the fact that Bike East Bay rarely goes to court, I'm assuming this is a a rather easy case to win. The news article states the country club received $600,000+ in public money last year. How in the hell do those people think they can call the roads private?!

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.mercurynews.com/2018/04/16/no-cyclists-allowed-country-club-residents-seeks-to-block-cut-through-traffic-to-mt-diablo/amp/
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Old 06-12-18, 06:04 PM
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Is it really a private road?
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Old 06-12-18, 06:23 PM
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The form is easy to fill out - just some questions about how often, when, and how many people you ride through there with.

Also, named as defendants in the lawsuit are Diablo Country Club and other Calle Arroyo owners. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim that Calle Arroyo is a strictly private street that is not subject to a public right-of-way, and demand that the DCSD prevent public access.
They're even suing their own neighbors!
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Old 06-12-18, 06:27 PM
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I fixed the title. That's fine to post the email here.

I'll include this link to the local (Concord/Pittsburg/Clayton) bicycle groups I'm in. Do you mind if I copy paste your original post (including the email) in the groups? So it explains to the members?
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Old 06-12-18, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
I
I'll include this link to the local (Concord/Pittsburg/Clayton) bicycle groups I'm in. Do you mind if I copy paste your original post (including the email) in the groups? So it explains to the members?
- I saw the sign last Thursday when I was riding up there. don't remember what corner.
- Permission granted to repost.
- The email text follows, if it pastes correctly..here goes:

Defend Bike Routes to Mount Diablo


Should bicyclists be allowed to ride through Diablo Country Club on their way up to Mount Diablo? A local homeowner insists no and has filed suit in Contra Costa County Superior Court asking that publicly accessible roads in Diablo be declared private and closed off to the public, including bicyclists.Bike East Bay has joined the lawsuit to defend your right to use Calle Arroyo and Alameda Diablo roads to access Mt. Diablo State Park. You can support the case by filling out this short input form collecting how bicyclists have used these roads for years. Have you ridden through Diablo Country Club as an individual or as part of a group?

Thank you to Bike East Bay board member Kyle Smith of Bay Area Bicycle Law for his pro bono expertise, making it possible for Bike East Bay to be involved in this case.
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Old 06-12-18, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Is it really a private road?
Diablo also receives county tax money to maintain the roads, said Bob Campbell, the auditor-controller for Contra Costa County. Last year, that amounted to $663,871, he said. This year, it’s expected to be $683,000. Campbell was explicit in his definition of those monies: “They are public funds.”

I'd have to say no, based on this alone. Not sure how a community can receive public money designated for roadway maintenance, then call them private...
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Old 06-13-18, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by cthenn View Post
Diablo also receives county tax money to maintain the roads, said Bob Campbell, the auditor-controller for Contra Costa County. Last year, that amounted to $663,871, he said. This year, it’s expected to be $683,000. Campbell was explicit in his definition of those monies: “They are public funds.”

I'd have to say no, based on this alone. Not sure how a community can receive public money designated for roadway maintenance, then call them private...
Based on this, I'd have to agree with you.
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Old 06-13-18, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cthenn View Post
Diablo also receives county tax money to maintain the roads, said Bob Campbell, the auditor-controller for Contra Costa County. Last year, that amounted to $663,871, he said. This year, it’s expected to be $683,000. Campbell was explicit in his definition of those monies: “They are public funds.”

I'd have to say no, based on this alone. Not sure how a community can receive public money designated for roadway maintenance, then call them private...
Do you know the title or,better yet, the case number of the law suit (i.e., "Smith v. Bicyclists", Case No. 18-XY-123456 or something similar)? Even just the last name of the plaintiff would probably be enough. I'd like to see if I can dig it up on the CoCo Superior Court website.

Also, people, it is probably best if we not - repeat, not - discuss this here in a public forum. It does no good for defending the case and has the potential to do real harm, as everything anyone says here is discoverable. One inartfully stated comment could be taken as an "admission" that the plaintiff will attempt to use in support of his case. Even if nothing comes of it, it is an extra headache for Kyle Smith to deal with.
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Old 06-13-18, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
Do you know the title or,better yet, the case number of the law suit (i.e., "Smith v. Bicyclists", Case No. 18-XY-123456 or something similar)?
C17-02529

All the links and such, including to actual filing docs, are at this page: Diablo Community Service District in Diablo, Ca
It essentially wants the Court to declare Calle Arroyo a private road and require the District to police it to keep out trespassers.

For the record - I always ride safely and courteously in there - just like every other neighborhood I ride through.

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Old 06-13-18, 11:10 AM
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Perfect. Thanks, @DiabloScott.
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Old 06-13-18, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
Perfect. Thanks, @DiabloScott.
I'm not nearly as aware of the conditions on the easy side of The Mountain but I've been following this issue as long as anyone.
  • Legally though, and without making any comments about the merits of the case: the District is the defendant; and Bike East Bay et al are just sort of witnesses or concerned parties providing evidence and testimony - is that right?
  • This is listed as a "complaint" - is that a subset of "suit" or is it different from a suit somehow?
  • Would it be normal for the defendants/ DCSD to file a response to a complaint like this with counter "Prayers for Damages" and causes of action? An example might be that they could require the complainants to stop putting up private property signs and such if the judge rules against the complaint? Or are they limited to just responding to the actual items in the complaint? I'm assuming they wouldn't want to counter-sue (if that's really a thing).

Gratuitous Diablo photo just because.
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Old 06-13-18, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
  • Legally though, and without making any comments about the merits of the case: the District is the defendant; and Bike East Bay et al are just sort of witnesses or concerned parties providing evidence and testimony - is that right?
  • This is listed as a "complaint" - is that a subset of "suit" or is it different from a suit somehow?
  • Would it be normal for the defendants/ DCSD to file a response to a complaint like this with counter "Prayers for Damages" and causes of action? An example might be that they could require the complainants to stop putting up private property signs and such if the judge rules against the complaint? Or are they limited to just responding to the actual items in the complaint? I'm assuming they wouldn't want to counter-sue (if that's really a thing).
Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
Also, people, it is probably best if we not - repeat, not - discuss this here in a public forum. It does no good for defending the case and has the potential to do real harm, as everything anyone says here is discoverable. .
I think bikingshearer makes a good point; we are all now alerted to this action and we should pass this information on to interested parties. But, we should leave the rest to a private or judicial forum.
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Old 06-13-18, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
I'm not nearly as aware of the conditions on the easy side of The Mountain but I've been following this issue as long as anyone.
  • Legally though, and without making any comments about the merits of the case: the District is the defendant; and Bike East Bay et al are just sort of witnesses or concerned parties providing evidence and testimony - is that right?
The plaintiffs are four sets of property owners along Calle Arroyo. The original defendants were the Diablo Community Services District and the remaining property owners along Calle Arroyo. Bike East Bay has asked, and the Court has permitted them, to intervene as a defendant. This happened about a week ago. Bike East Bay is now more that a witness or interested by-stander; it is a party to the actual lawsuit. It's as if they had been sued in the first place. (In non-legal terms, its called "putting your money where your mouth is.")
  • This is listed as a "complaint" - is that a subset of "suit" or is it different from a suit somehow?
The "Complaint" is the document that starts the lawsuit. It is what lays out what it is the plaintiffs are complaining about and what they want.
  • Would it be normal for the defendants/ DCSD to file a response to a complaint like this with counter "Prayers for Damages" and causes of action? An example might be that they could require the complainants to stop putting up private property signs and such if the judge rules against the complaint? Or are they limited to just responding to the actual items in the complaint? I'm assuming they wouldn't want to counter-sue (if that's really a thing).
Yes, it is normal for DCSD to file an Answer, and they have done so. It looks like the other property owner defendants did not file answers; if it has not happened already, defaults will be entered against them, which means they cannot contest the suit. I'm not surprised they would not, because it really is no skin off their noses no matter how the suit comes out. .The lawsuit really is not about the other Calle Arroyo property owners; they were added for technical legal reasons not worth going into here.

I do not know what relief DCSD asked for, because Contra Costa Superior's on-line system lets you see a description of what was filed but, unlike some other courts, does not let you download copies of what was filed. Without having seen it, I can pretty much guarantee that the Answer asks that the Plaintiffs be denied any relief of any kind and that DCSD recovers its costs (a statutory term of art that usually does not include attorney fees; if there is a basis for either side to recover attorney fees if they win, I haven't seen it). I doubt if they asked for any other relief, but I can't be certain.

Yes, counter-suing is a thing - it happens all the time - and a Cross-Complaint is the document you file to do it. I did not see anything in the on-line record to suggest DCSD or anyone else has filed a Cross-Complaint.
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Old 06-13-18, 03:56 PM
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Excellent info in here. Thanks. I kind of figured Calle Arroyo was the problem area. Honestly, not sure why riders choose that road anyway. Yes, if you ride on the bike trail, for some reason it ends at Calle Arroyo, and you have to cross over back onto Diablo Rd for about 300 feet, then merge into the left turn lane onto Alameda Diablo. But, C.A. is a narrower, windier road without speed humps, so cars easily cue up behind riders. It's actually much more difficult to pass on that road than it is A.D. Also, with the speed humps on A.D., it's possible to keep in front of cars, even going the "uphill" direction toward South Gate. I much prefer the A.D. way, even if it means dealing with 300 feet of very dangerous and busy Diablo Road.

Also, it seems to avoid the residences of the most vocal anti-cycling crowd. I don't have issues with drivers on the route I've ridden.

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Old 06-13-18, 04:02 PM
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One other point. I have seen on many occasions, CCCo sheriff deputies patrolling those roads, looking for stop sign violators. How can those roads possibly be deemed as private if they have public agency police patrolling the roads? When the Canyon Rd bridge was out, there were issues in Moraga CC with those residents, and "too many cyclists" using that dirt cut through off of one of their (actual) private roads. However, MCC had (actual) private security guards patrol those roads, not Moraga PD. In fact, Moraga PD would not intervene in the cyclist issue because it was clearly a private matter. I've seen the private security guard vehicles driving around in MCC. So how can Diablo CC say they are private roads, when they receive PUBLIC money for road maintenance, and County sheriff patrols them?
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Old 06-13-18, 06:33 PM
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Beautiful neighborhood, but boy those neighbors...
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