After losing to Jennifer Hosterman by 188 votes in the mayor's race two years ago, businessman Steve Brozosky will try again, responding, as he said, to hundreds of phone calls and emails asking that he bring change.
A City Councilman from 2002-2006, Brozosky is now a member of the Pleasanton school board. Brozosky led the argument against seeking a parcel tax this year to provide funds for a shrinking school budget. He persuaded other board members to hold off on the tax proposal until the state's budget impact on schools could be clarified and until the economy improves.
While a councilmember, Brozosky championed funding the $10-million Firehouse Arts Center and an early agreement with Supervisor Scott Haggerty and the county board to start planning for the development of Staples Ranch, a 126-acre tract southwest of the I-580-El Charro Road interchange owned by the county.
Brozosky cited three major issues he would tackle as mayor: better community relations, traffic improvements and housing.
"There's this feeling now that if you go to a council meeting that you're not really being listened to," Brozosky said. "The mayor especially seems to have made up her mind on what she wants to do and the public commentary is really just there more for a formality, but the decision is already made.
Brozosky recalled that former Mayor Tom Pico always allowed the public ample time to make their statements at council meetings, and even engaged them in dialogue to be sure their points were clearly understood by the council and city staff.
Brozosky said the public is also frustrated over the failure of the Hosterman administration to make any headway on resolving traffic congestion, a promise in the last election campaign.
"When you have a traffic department of only 2-1/2 people--with one designated to planning and the other full-time employee to maintenance, you have less than one person who responsible for traffic coordination for the whole city," he said. "Traffic signals aren't working the way they should be which is causing drivers to find alternate routes through residential neighborhoods."
Brozosky said he tried as a councilman to move traffic concerns to the top of the council's priority list, but it is still swallowed up by a list that has 77 priority items.
Brozosky supports Measure PP, sponsored by the Save Pleasanton's Hills citizen's coalition on the ballot. That measure would impose an immediate ban on most hillside development, unlike a council-supported competing initiative, Measure QQ, which would require the council to initiate studies on the issue with the possibility of a similar outcome later.
Brozosky said the council's 4-1 vote to approve the Oak Grove housing project in the hills above Kottinger Ranch led citizens to put forward PP.
"When the Planning Commission rejected the Environmental Impact Report for Oak Grove, the council went ahead and approved it on its own and also the development plan," Brozosky said. "There were groups of people who came to the council meeting and said they lived up there and they were told that they were not allowed to go to meetings being held to discuss Oak Grove."
Another component of Measure PP is its language to clarify and enforce the voter-mandated housing cap of 29,000 units. Sponsors of PP have claimed that the city is skirting the cap by exempting some apartments designed for seniors or others in high density dwellings from counting towards the cap.
Brozosky noted that when voters approved the housing cap in 1996, the measure failed to define just what a housing unit is.
"The city says that if there's no definition, then we can define a housing unit to be whatever we want it to be," he added. "To me, that's sneaky at best and is not respecting what voters wanted."
Brozosky's campaign website is www.brozosky.com.
With Pleasanton's new General Plan update nearing approval, Mayor Jennifer Hosterman is asking voters to re-elect her to a third two-year term so that she can work to implement key parts of the plan she helped write, especially the energy and water conservation elements that she believes will sustain the quality of life issues she supports.
The update was started in 2003, a year after Hosterman was elected to the City Council. She became Pleasanton's first female mayor in 2004. An advocate of environmental safeguards and reducing carbon footprints, she has pressed for energy and water elements in the new plan, expected to be approved in March 2009 and covering the years 2005-2025.
Hosterman also cited her work in getting approval and funding for the Firehouse Arts Center as a major accomplishment. It was Hosterman, too, who successfully negotiated with Supervisor Scott Haggerty to buy the downtown railroad corridor, which will provide more than 400 parking spaces and make the additional space needed to build the firehouse and later to supplement its patrons' parking needs.
As a member of the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency (CMA), Hosterman has worked with other mayors and regional leaders to help ease traffic congestion.
"In order to handle traffic problems in Pleasanton, we also have to address regional traffic conditions, including cut-through traffic," she said.
"Some of this is happening already with the recent start of construction of carpool lanes on eastbound 580 and truck passing lanes on Route 84," she added. "I'm real proud of working with others on obtaining funds for the $170-million project to put in our new eastbound carpool lanes on 580, which will give us major traffic relief during the afternoon commute hours."
At the insistence of agency members and other Tri-Valley mayors, Hosterman is also moving toward endorsing the extension of Stoneridge Drive through Staples Ranch to El Charro Road in Livermore, a plan strongly opposed by many in the nearby Mohr-Martin neighborhood. Hosterman said she wants the extension built in conjunction with other regional improvements, including the completion of Jack London Boulevard to El Charro and the Stoneridge extension and the completion of Dublin Boulevard on the north side of I-580 to Livermore.
Hosterman said her re-election would also help expedite developing Staples Ranch. The 126-acre undeveloped parcel is owned by Alameda County and Hosterman has been mayor during the time the county has been seeking city approval to develop the land with a new auto row, a 600-800-unit adult and senior care complex, a 16-20 store retail center and a four-sheet ice rink.
Hosterman is also working towards boosting downtown, which has seen some businesses close.
"The reality is that our vacancy rate is somewhere between 5-6 percent which is normal and health for any downtown. So we're ok," she said.
Hosterman added that she's not worried about new retail centers in Livermore and Dublin.
"We enjoy a very special niche and architectural mix on Main Street that no one can duplicate. It's extremely attractive, extremely appealing, and we're able to generate a tremendous amount of downtown traffic which is good not only for our community as a whole but for our individual merchants."
An opponent of Measure PP, Hosterman encouraged voters to vote for the City Council's Measure QQ so efforts to develop a hillside protection ordinance can be done through the regular "good government" public hearing processes. As for the 29,000-unit, voter-mandated housing cap, Hosterman said she expects a legal challenge to the law by an affordable housing coalition to prevail.
"If housing cap becomes null and void, the result will be that we will truly embrace smart growth concepts and look at developments of higher densities and infill projects which will meet the greater need of our diverse community," she said.
Hosterman's campaign website is www.jenniferhosterman.com.
Councilwoman Cindy McGovern, who is running for her second term, said she chose to run because she has a lot of unfinished work on issues that prevail in the city.
McGovern, a retired cardiac and intensive nurse, has lived here for more than three decades. She was a trustee on the Pleasanton Unified School District board from 1993-2003 and served on the Tri-Valley Transportation Triangle Policy Advisory Committee from 2005-2007 as well as a current member of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority.
Many issues the city is grappling with jump out at her, but No. 1 has to be traffic. McGovern said it's crucial that children, adults and seniors feel safe to walk, ride and enjoy the outdoors, but more importantly that traffic doesn't get any worse. That's why she does not support extending Stoneridge Drive to connect with Livermore until a solution is reached on improvements to State Route 84.
McGovern cited a letter that the Alameda County Local Agency Formation Committee (LAFCo) sent to the city that states the extension would serve as a "major parallel facility to the I-580 corridor.
"I'm not looking to put the traffic through Pleasanton for relief of the I-580 corridor," she said. "I'm looking at putting Stoneridge Drive through for the people of Pleasanton to use and I'm hoping at some point that the region will decide that 84 is important."
Another issue dear to her heart is hillside protection. She supports Measure PP on the ballot, which would protect ridgelines from development.
"I'm not only supportive of it for the protection of the ridgelines but also for the protection of the housing cap," she said. "We need to have a true definition that goes along with the state and federal government of what a housing unit is."
Advocacy for children is an issue that got McGovern into politics. Two central issues she'd like to tackle are implementing background checks on people who teach city programs for children; and developing guidelines for childcare facilities to address the increasing number of proposals.
McGovern said she would like to encourage public participation in the city's governmental process. Residents shouldn't be discouraged from appealing a project or decision, she said. Lastly, McGovern said she would like to continue to encourage the city to work with the Dublin San Ramon Services District to reach an agreement to bring recycled water to Staples Ranch and into Pleasanton, saying it's time for the city to start using it's own recycled water.
McGovern's campaign website is www.reelectcindymcgovern.com.
Parks and Recreation Commissioner Jerry Pentin decided to run for one of two open seats on the City Council to put his experience and knowledge of city processes to work and after some "gentle nudging" from supporters.
"I want the community today to stay this way," he said, "and to be this type of community for the next generation."
Citing his enthusiasm for the city he's called home for the past 17 years, he has identified areas of focus were he to be elected, the first being traffic circulation, making Pleasanton a better regional partner. Saying it's a matter of "if, not when" regarding the extension of Stoneridge Drive, Pentin said Pleasanton has been an "obstructionist" by not being a better regional traffic partner and threatening to take the extension off the general plan.
As vice-chair of the Pleasanton Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Pentin sees value in making the city more accessible by biking and walking. While not an immediate improvement to traffic conditions, combining alternative modes of transportation along with traffic light coordination and other theories could improve street congestion, he said.
Pentin has been involved with Staples Ranch since early on, aligning with the Pleasanton First organization. He then saw the project through commission meetings and both public and City Council workshops.
An advocate for open space and access to it, he said that in the past he has tried to stay out of the fray with the initiative.
"I support the Oak Grove project and have from the beginning," he said. "I think it's a template we can use. Two-thousand acres to use is a great idea."
His goal in relation to the initiatives is developing a hillside ridge ordinance through an open process. Once created, people could speak out on it and let the voters mandate the ordinance.
A small business owner himself, Pentin is pro-business and said he hopes to grow more businesses as well as keep the ones currently operating.
Pentin owns Spring Street Studios, a media production company. A member of Rotary International for the past 24 years, he served as Pleasanton North Rotary Club president from 2005-2006 and was named Rotarian of the Year in 2007. In addition to serving in the United States Marine Corps, he graduated from Chabot College in Hayward.
When asked why Pleasanton residents should vote, he said, "What I say, I mean and what I mean, I do."
Pentin's campaign website is www.pentin.com.
With a goal to provide representative government to the people, Councilman Matt Sullivan is running for a second term on the City Council.
Sullivan was first elected to the council in 2004 and was a planning commissioner from 1998 to 2004. He was also involved in the Pleasanton Energy Committee and West Las Positas Interchange Committee. He is a senior program manager for an energy efficiency and renewable energy engineering consulting firm in San Francisco and has lived here since 1994.
Sullivan said he is proud of his role in working with the council toward finalizing and adopting the city's new General Plan.
"This new general plan is very important because we have some new policies in there, which are the energy element and a water element," he said. "Sustainability is one of the most important issues, especially as we get to buildout, so we need to look ahead and really plan our future."
Sullivan said he supports the Stoneridge Drive extension only after other transportation improvements are made to State Route 84, Interstate 580 and extending Dublin Boulevard east to El Charro Road.
"All these things need to fit together because if we just extend Stoneridge Drive now, it's not going to help Pleasanton," Sullivan said. "It's not going to help the other parts of town that are suffering."
Another debate in the forefront are the competing hillside protection measures, PP and QQ. Sullivan supports the citizen-backed PP and said he thinks a majority on the council is making a mistake in putting forward QQ.
"In a lot of ways, it's really a bigger issue than hillside development," he said. "Our citizens have come forward and put a couple things on the ballot because they weren't happy with the way the council was dealing with hillside developments and one of them was a referendum of Oak Grove, which is still in the courts."
Sullivan added that while he doesn't completely agree with PP, he supports citizens' rights to petition their local government.
"By putting a competing and confusing initiative on the ballot with the intent of defeating the citizens' initiative at the request of hillside developers is just the wrong thing to do," he said of the city's measure.
Other issues he supports include adding more affordable housing, enforcing the voter-mandated 29,000-unit housing cap, complete a city bicycle and pedestrian master plan that's under way and conduct a study on eastern Pleasanton for the chain of lakes for open space opportunities.
Sullivan's campaign website is www.electmattsullivan.com.