News


Hosterman cites city's progress in her last 'State of City' address

Pleasanton in 'great shape' financially, commercially, on quality of life issues, mayor says

Mayor Jennifer Hosterman delivered her last "State of the City" address Wednesday, and what a way to go out.

Talking about the city's achievements over the past eight years she has held the mayor's post, her message was one that mayors in most cities would give their right arm to emulate.

Her remarks were made at a special luncheon sponsored by the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce in the Pleasanton Marriott Hotel.

The city's finances weathered the recession in good order, Hosterman said, with millions of dollars still in reserves and at a time when both sales taxes are increasing and property tax revenue has stabilized. New businesses, including Safeway, Clorox, as well as those recently opened in Stoneridge Shopping Center and downtown Pleasanton, have added to shopper choices and job opportunities. At year's end, the unemployment rate in Pleasanton was 5.2%, well under the state's overall jobless rate of 11.1% and the country's 8.3%.

She said the 124-acre underdeveloped land at the far northeast corner of the city, called Staples Ranch, was annexed into the city and work is now under way on its first major development, the multi-million-dollar Stoneridge Creek retirement community that will offer as many as 650 homes and apartments in a full-service housing, health and recreation center.

Despite a sluggish economy during the last few years, Hosterman the office vacancy rate has dropped below 20% and is near zero downtown, where vacant stores dotted the landscape only three years ago. Nordstrom and the Pleasanton Hotel underwent major renovations with a number of new restaurants moving to Pleasanton. These include Handles Gastropub and others downtown, the Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang's, Buckhorn Grill and an expanded California Pizza Kitchen at the mall, and the popular Habit Burger at Gateway Center, which is part of the new Safeway complex.

Housing issues dominated much of the City Council's business in 2010-11, Hosterman said, with task forces, commission and council members spending hundreds of hours in public meetings and hearings to meet court- and state-ordered mandates to provide more housing for low-to-moderate income families, so-called workforce housing.

She recalled that once satisfied with a slow-growth strategy after the housing boom of the 1980s and early 1990s, voters approved a housing cap of 29,000 housing units in 1996 with the council slowing the pace of new building permits to 350 or less per year.

Hosterman said that after Urban Habitat, an affordable housing coalition, successfully sued Pleasanton to failing to meet its fair share of needed housing, the council rescinded the housing cap and met the court's order earlier this month, rezoning 73 acres for enough high-density housing to accommodate another 3,200 residents.

Even so, she worked hard during her two terms in office to make sure public amenities continued to improve with more parks put to use. These included the restoration and opening of the Alviso Adobe Community Park on Foothill Road, renovation of both the Amador Theater on Santa Rita Road and the Veterans Memorial Building downtown and, of course, the construction and opening of the $10-million Firehouse Arts Center, also downtown.

An avid environmentalist, who co-chairs the U.S. Council of Mayors' Water Council, also took credit for leading the adoptions of a Climate Action Plan two weeks ago and, before that, the launch of a Solar Cities program to educate the public about the benefits of solar energy. Even electric vehicle charging stations were added to the environmental mix several months ago.

She asked: "Who would have thought when I was elected mayor in 2004 that one day there would electric vehicle charging stations in downtown Pleasanton and at City Hall?

"As you can see, the work of your city continues, even in these challenging times," Hosterman said "It has been my greatest pleasure to serve as your mayor for the past eight years. I feel confident that at the end of my term, we today have a better, stronger, and more self-sufficient Pleasanton than we had in 2004."

"We have been through a lot and learned a lot together," she added. "Thank you for giving me this remarkable opportunity."

Because of term limits, Hosterman's term as mayor ends next Dec. 4 when the winner of the Nov. 6 mayoral election will be sworn in to succeed her.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2012 at 8:30 am

Not one mention of the fact that Pleasanton's pension liability grew from ZERO dollars to $137 Million over this period. And it is still growing.

Don't be surprised by the continued decrease of city services and facilities required to cover this deficit.

Disappointing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by P*town Truth Teller
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2012 at 8:58 am

Wow--all of the comments were eliminated as there were against this paper's darling's - Hostermann, Thorne and Cook-Kalio. Maybe a real paper needs to expose what this paper is doing. I guess the good news is that a large segment of P*town isn't buying the b.s.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by 37 yr resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2012 at 9:14 am

She did a good job, by and large. Those who want to bash her should look in the mirror!

If they do, they won't like what they see.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2012 at 9:31 am

I have nothing personally against Mayor Hosterman. Overall, I believe she is a good person and wants the best for the city. I do believe she caters too much to public employee unions. She is a smart woman and realizes that she can't cross public employee unions if she has any hope at the next level.

But it is a disservice to the future of this city to try to avoid (sweep aside, ignore, downplay, etc.) the largest fiscal issue we have ever faced as a city.

A fiscal issue that threatens to undermine future quality of this city.

A fiscal issue that continues to grow today even with the new employment contracts.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by rd
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Feb 24, 2012 at 9:51 am

No wonder politicians have such low ratings.She is a perfect example of what is wrong with politics--it all comes down to the money.
For years she was against Stoneridge extension, then the chamber and Haggerty throw her some money and she does a 180 .
As far a Wal-Mart goes she emailed me when the rumors first started and she swore she would never support putting in a Walmart store..in fact she said she hated Walmart and it would never see the light of day..Last council meeting i see she voted for it .
Her years of being mayor have been filled with one lie after the other--like all politicians thy go where the money is --she is no different
sure looks like her pet project at staples ranch has been a total disaster..auto dealer , hockey ,shopping plaza all down the tubes--
She has been nothing more that a stooge for big buisness

Goodbye and good riddance


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Theo Jueneman
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 24, 2012 at 11:43 am

I think overall she did a good job except for her being corrupt and bought off by the unions. And coronating her husband was a real slap to businesses in Ptown and especially everyone who know him. The liabilities really bother me, though, and what it means to future generations. I've already purchased land in Oklahoma for my kids and grandkids to escape the tsunami of debt these liabilities are going to pile upon us, but now I understand those liabilities will be chasing future generations across state lines.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2012 at 10:42 am

Just keep electing people like her so the city goes down the tubes and individual rights are not respected.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Carl
a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I voted for her in 2008, but I won't be voting for her in 2012. Let's get someone in who will give us all a complete refund on the taxes we paid for our Socialist Republic of Pleasanton these past years. I want my money back! Send her back to the commune where she and her phoney hubby came from.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 25, 2012 at 9:32 pm

She did a great job as our mayor. As I drive by all the empty business locations, review our current finance problem related to pensions, see how bad it is to get from point A to B in Pleasanton because of traffic lights that are not in sync or people trying to avoid the pot holes. Worthless


 +   Like this comment
Posted by wow
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Have you been to other cities? Have you all been affected by this economy? What kind of services are you missing? Police? Fire? Park and Rec? Clean Water? Are you living in the same place I am living?

There is a difference in current debt and unfunded future liability. If you own a house you have an unfunded future liability. You may have a monthly balanced budget but you still have an unfunded future liability. If you don't, you live differently than most of the rest of us and good for you!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Research
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Feb 27, 2012 at 9:07 am

I am appalled that "wondering" is asking for everyone else to do the research for him/her on a public forum instead of making a simple phone call to the school, researching the "We the People" program or making a direct inquiry. The fact as to why this is being done in a public forum seems pretty obvious. "wondering" IMHO, I would love to see you put your interest and energy into a positive perspective and help the school through volunteerism. You'll find that it is not evil nor does it have some corrupt agenda. The "we the people program has existed at Amador Valley from close to 20 years and you want to blow it up to make a point about fairness? I'm sure there must be some other venue for you to spew you venum esspecially if you really don't have a student involved like you claim. Get a life. P.S. I have no current connection or students at AVHS.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by P*town Truth Teller
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm

> Thug club open to out-of-towners where people get shot
> Acres rezoned for low-income housing that nobody wans
> Mall has more vacancy than it has in years
> Teacher gets caught dealing drugs at Foothill and doesn't get fired

Yep--she's doing great!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Wow - It is important to understand that the current unfunded liability of $137 Million is for city services already consumed. If you included the projected future unfunded liability portion, the total number would be much larger.

Because we as a city decided not to deal with the unfunded liability issue until late in the game, future citizens will have to pay that $137m and will essentially be paying for services we enjoyed. This is like living beyond your means and putting it all on credit and then your kids being forced to pay for the bill when it comes due.

While this is not all Hosterman's fault, she sat on the Council and/or served as Mayor during all but one year of the period where Pleasanton's employee personnel costs/liabilities were growing out of control.

Even today with the new employee contracts, our unfunded liability continues to grow. We have even stopped digging the hole deeper.

If Hosterman were forced to include this cost in Pleasanton's annual budget, I don't think there would have been one year where we would have had a balanced budget. Not one year.

This is why it is quite disingenuous for Hosterman, the Council and city management to claim the fiscal prudence high ground that they are.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Theo Jueneman
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 27, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Unfunded liabilities continue to haunt us with the threat of an unfunded liability tsunami that will inundate all expenses not sucked up by the whole unfunded liability matter. With unfunded liabilities increasing we either stop or not stop digging the whole of unfunded liabilities even deeper than it is. I've done the math. If you support unfunded liabilities you are a person to be pitied. I pity you. Why aren't the stop lights synchronized????


 +   Like this comment
Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Clearly a facetious and diversionary comment with the hope of distracting people from thinking critically about our unfunded liability issue.

The longer we look the other way, the larger the problem will grow. It is not going away until we deal with it in an honest and comprehensive way.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 28, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Has Stockton gone bankrupt yet?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by really
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm

GX seems to know something that clearly EVERYONE else has missed. . .completely ignores state law, contracts, the economy and the fact that the people on the council live here too. There is no upside in purposely ignoring a problem.

His myopic focus on a real issue to the exclusion of EVERYTHING else is counterproductive.

Unfunded liabilities need to be addressed. . .along with a myriad of other issues. How does GX propose this be done? EASY to complain.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Really - Please help me understand what the "real issue" is from your perspective?

I am very curious to learn how it stacks up against our unfunded liability problem - a problem that is $137 million and growing. A problem that is nine years old. A problem that continues to crowd out other key city expenditures (library upgrade, road paving, etc.).

A problem that public employee unions, city management and many of the city council would hope that the public would forget about.

Trust me, I've been doing much to solve this problem. And the reason is I'd like to keep Pleasanton the way it is and not have it be sucked dry by an overly generous public pension program that allows city employees to retire with multi-million dollar packages.


Please do help me understand what the "real issue" is.


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