The four are: former Councilman Steve Brozosky, former Planning Commissioner Mary Roberts, and current Planning Commissioners Anne Fox and Greg O'Connor. As of press time at 5 p.m. Wednesday, none of the five, including Hosterman, had actually turned in their filing papers. Each candidate must submit signatures from 20 voters registered in Pleasanton, a statement about themselves and their candidacy, and a $25 filing fee to City Clerk Karen Diaz. An additional $250 fee is required if candidates want their ballot statement published in the ballot information material to be sent out by the Alameda County Registrar.
Hosterman, who is leaving today for a two-week vacation in Hawaii, said she has been too busy to put her election statement together, although she hopes to have it ready before she leaves with the help of her campaign manager, Angela Ramirez Holmes.
In extensive interviews with the Weekly and a statement sent by Greg O'Connor, Hosterman's challengers explained why they want her voted out of office. All agreed that a key issue in the election will be Hosterman's support of the Oak Grove project, a 51-home development in the hills above Kottinger Ranch which the council voted 4-1 to approved last fall. As part of the approval, the landowners agreed to give nearly 500 acres of their property to the city free of charge for public use along with a new four-wheel drive fire-fighting vehicle and $1 million in to be used for traffic mitigation.
O'Connor, Brozosky, Roberts and Fox then backed a signature-gathering effort by a group called Save Pleasanton's Hills to overturn the council's action. That effort, led by former councilwoman and mayoral candidate Kay Ayala, was nullified by an Alameda County Superior Court judge, an action that the coalition is now appealing.
Next, the four Hosterman challengers also supported the coalition's successful drive to place an initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot that would ban most hilltop developments and reinforce the city's voter-mandated 29,000-unit housing band. The council last month placed a competing measure on the Nov. 4 ballot that could accomplish the same goals, but over time. That action was approved in a 3-2 vote, again with Hosterman's support.
Roberts said she didn't take particular notice of the Save Pleasanton's Hills coalition until she saw people driving by and shouting rude comments at Ayala when she was seeking signatures on her petition.
"It was just intimidation, plain and simple," Roberts said. "I'm opposed to the process that was followed in approving the Oak Grove project and I'm opposed to the council majority's approval to place an initiative on the ballot to compete with the citizens' initiative.
"I'm also opposed to reelecting Jennifer as mayor," Roberts said. "I'm going to take her on in the mayoral election of from the council floor, one way or another."
"Whether the council agreed with the citizens' initiative or not, the council members should have argued the merits of the initiative and let the voters decide," Brozosky said. "But by putting their own initiative on the ballot, they've created divisiveness."
"They're saying that the 5,000 people who signed this initiative don't know what they're talking about and they're going to save them," he added. "I think that's arrogance."
Asked if the two competing initiatives will be the focus of the campaign, Brozosky said it would be the process more than the measures that would be debated.
"I think in the mayor and council races, the debate may be less on the merit of the initiatives and more on the process of your government participating with you as opposed to working against you," he said. "It's not that easy to collect 5,000 signatures. It takes a lot of people and dedicated time to go out there and talk to people and collect signatures. The council should respect that process instead of saying that it just takes three of us to put something on the ballot
"Whether they intended to do it or not, the council majority was saying that you can't fight City Hall. I don't think that encourages participation. I believe that's an abuse of power."
Planning Commissioner Anne Fox said she is considering challenging Mayor Jennifer Hosterman for the city's top elective post to bring back slow-growth policies that would support more affordable and "reasonably-sized" homes as Pleasanton moves forward towards build-out.
"While acting as mayor, Jennifer Hosterman has morphed from a slow growth City Council member to completely caving in to the wishes of developer groups who by virtue of their money, power and campaign contributions carry far more influence right now in Pleasanton than ordinary citizens," Fox told the Weekly.
"So one of the things that I want to change is the pro-growth composition of the council that right now represents a real imbalance between what the people want us to do and government's direction," she added.
Fox said she is "shocked that the current mayor, so intent on approving big developer projects, either does not understand planning or just chooses to ignore it."
"I have five years of expertise from the Planning Commission and have a track record to prove that I listen to residents and do not cave into big-money developers," Fox said. "At the City Council level, 'planning' is now done under the table, and decisions are made along partisan lines long before the public hearing."
"There are professional political consultants/lobbyists hired by the developers that are influencing every decision on the City Council that happen to be the same professional political advisors to the mayor," she added. "Residents are being shut out of the process and there is a disproportionate influence of developers on our now pro-growth majority council."
A supporter of the Save Pleasanton's Hills citizens' coalition, Fox also supports the group's initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot that would ban most development on steep hillsides and ridges. In addition, she supports the coalition's efforts to overturn a decision by the council last year that authorized the Oak Grove housing plan. The coalitions' signature-gathering effort was ruled invalid in a court decision earlier this year. The coalition is appealing that decision.
"I have consistently voted no on projects on top of ridges, on top of hills, and against those 9,000 to 13,000-square-foot monstrosities," Fox said.
As mayor, Fox said she would lead a City Council "that would more truly reflect the slow-growth views of the Pleasanton electorate."
O'Connor said there are several reasons why he has considered running for mayor.
"Over the past four years, (Hosterman) has moved further away from the environmental individual I believed her to be. She has voted to place large-scale homes on the top of our ridgelines and hilltops, has failed to improve city traffic congestion as promised and has been less than respectful to the Pleasanton residents that have initiated hillside protections."
"Mayor Hosterman has voted against protecting the right of the citizens to
referend projects by failing to join the Oak Grove referendum appeal as recommended by the city attorney and she has refused to listen to the will of the people by placing a competing initiative to the Save Pleasanton's Hills and Housing Cap initiative on the November ballot, even though the city manager recommended against doing so."
In the City Council race, four candidates have indicated their interest in the two seats that will be available on Nov. 4. The first four-year terms of council members Matt Sullivan and Cindy McGovern expire Dec. 2, when a new council will be seated. Sullivan filed for reelection this week, following businessman Jerry Pentin, who filed to seek one of the council seats a week ago. McGovern is expected to file for reelection before today's deadline along with former Parks and Recreation Commissioner Howard Neely.
In prepared material for his campaign, Sullivan states:
"When first elected four years ago, my goals were to provide good government for the people of Pleasanton, to enhance our quality of life and preserve our small-town character, to address our challenges and solve problems in a collaborative way, and to join with the community to plan for a future that is environmentally and economically sustainable, with fairness and opportunity for all our citizens.
"While I believe progress has been made and much has been accomplished under my leadership over the past four years, these goals may be more important today. I am very excited about Pleasanton's future and the opportunities before us."
For regular updates on the municipal and Pleasanton school board contests, check the Weekly's daily news pages at www.pleasantonweekly.com.