Howard Neely, who has served on several Pleasanton commissions and committees since moving here in 1966, announced this weekend that he is dropping out of the race for City Council.
Because his decision comes after the municipal election ballot has been printed, his name will still appear on the Nov. 4 ballot for City Council.
"I had many goals for Pleasanton, which I had hoped to get implemented in the next four years," Neely said.
Among these, are building an extension of Stoneridge Drive through Staples Ranch to connect Pleasanton to El Charro Road and Livermore, and building a three-story parking garage next to the ACE train station on a 3-acre parcel across from the Pleasanton Library that is now owned by the city of San Francisco.
Neely, who had campaigned vigorously over the last three months, including talking to prospective voters from a colorfully decorated booth he had at the last two First Wednesday night street parties on Main Street, said he is leaving the campaign for personal reasons.
"During the last 30 days, two circumstances have greatly complicated my retirement life," Neely said. "My wife Kathleen must move to a second home in northern California's Arroyo Grande with cooler climate for medical reasons. Also, I am the lone remaining board member of a residence home for 14 mentally handicapped in Sonora, and must work to form a new board."
Neely, who served on the Parks and Recreation Commission, now is a member of the Task Force for Senior Housing and was a member of the city's Housing Commission. A retired high school teacher, he recently received the Ed Kinney Patriots Award, which was given by the Museum On Main.
"I feel this particular race is very important for Pleasanton because the past City Councils have not been following our General Plan with respect to road configurations," Neely said. "Our traffic circulation is quite poor and the signal synchronization does not exist. Too many local groups have those tails wagging the dog with respect to not letting through streets in their neighborhoods. The simple answer is the more roads that go through, the less traffic there is on the main arteries."
"Having Stoneridge Drive go through to El Charro Road is an absolute must for more reasons than just traffic," he added. "Our city coffers need the sales taxes from the car dealers and the other new businesses (planned for Staples Ranch), plus all the activities of the Sharks Center. (Alameda County) Supervisor Scott Haggerty has said he will spearhead the county to fund Stoneridge...which would save Pleasanton millions of dollars. Somehow this makes practical sense."
He also called on the future council to create a large area on the east side for more affordable housing and to consider forming a Historical Commission, similar to Dublin's.
"I want to thank all of my supporters and request that they vote for City Council candidate Jerry Pentin, who is more aligned with my views than the two incumbent candidates," Neely said.
Candidates seeking council seats in the Nov. 4 municipal election are incumbent council members Cindy McGovern and Matt Sullivan, both seeking re-election to second four-year terms, and businessman and Parks and Recreation Commission Jerry Pentin.
Mayor Jennifer Hosterman is seeking re-election to a third two-year term. She is challenged by businessman and former Councilman Steve Brozosky, who lost to Hosterman by 188 votes in the 2006 election.