Most troubling was a complaint by former Planning Commissioner Mary Roberts that a passerby threw a lighted firecracker at a man waving an Obama for President sign at Valley Avenue and Hopyard Road. Roberts, along with mayoral candidate Steve Brozosky and Councilwoman Cindy McGovern, who is seeking re-election, were waving their own signs across the intersection when they heard a loud explosion.
"There was a loud puff and my ears hurt," Roberts said. "Others felt the same thing. Someone in the military might have recognized the sound but I didn't. I've lived in Pleasanton for 37 years and was never in combat."
Police later found evidence of an explosive device at the scene, but have so far made no arrests.
"I'm concerned about political yard signs being taken and about vandalism," she told the council. "One home displaying a McCain-Palin sign was recently pelted with tomatoes. People ought to realize that if they take a sign, that's theft, and anyone who sees something like this going on, should call police right away,"
Roberts followed a lively, hour-long discussion by others, including proponents of Measure PP, the citizens' initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot that would, if approved, immediately bar construction on hillsides with 25 percent slopes or greater, and strengthen the city's 29,000-unit housing cap law.
Paul Martens and his wife Karen were the most outspoken, criticizing campaign contributions by developers and others to the Measure QQ campaign. Measure QQ, placed on the Nov. 4 ballot by a majority on the City Council, would also seek to restrict hillside development, but only after public hearings and environmental reviews.
"Presidential candidates are giving money to ACORN, which is under investigation for (improper) voter registrations," Paul Martens said. "It's despicable what these people are doing. Now I wonder if it's hitting little old sleepy Pleasanton where I find out that PG&E has given $5,000 to the Chamber of Commerce, where Greenbriar Homes has paid $10,000 to the Measure QQ campaign, and where the Homebuilders of Northern California have also given $10,000 to the QQ campaign."
"This seems like an outrageous amount of money," he added. "I urge voters when they go to the polls on Nov. 4 to follow the money to see if these outsiders and insiders are buying influence."
Karen Martens said Hosterman and councilmembers Jerry Thorne and Cheryl Cook-Kallio, who voted to put Measure QQ on the ballot, ignored the wishes of 5,000 registered voters who sponsored Measure PP.
"So on a vote of 3-2, you said 'no' to 5,000 who wanted this initiative," Martens said. "The money coming in to support Measure QQ includes the $10,000 from Greenbriar of Fremont and another $10,000 from the Homebuilders of San Ramon. No one has given more than $500 at a time to the Measure PP campaign."
Richard Pugh, also a supporter of the PP measure, seemed more conciliatory. He said the Measure QQ effort, put on the ballot with good intentions by the council majority, "has gotten hijacked by developers, which was probably not your intention."
"I thought the purpose of QQ was to seek citizen support for an alternative measure, but it seems to have gotten lost and taken over by developers," Pugh said. "So you who are sponsoring it should take a look at that."
Brozosky, speaking in favor of Measure PP, accused the proponents of QQ of making false statements in campaign materials with regard to PP and its impact on Pleasanton.
"It's not necessary to lie," he told the council. "That's not good for voters. The advertisements in support of QQ feature the same people who opposed the Bernal initiative (in 2002) and would have allowed homes to be built on Bernal."
In other action, the council:
* Commended the 12-year-old players of the Pleasanton American Little League All Stars and their coaches for carrying the Pleasanton banner to the league's western semifinals in August.
* Issued a proclamation to have the city observe Veterans Day on Nov. 11 and to join the VFW and American Legion in their Veterans Day parade, to be held on Nov. 2.
The council also heard from Fred Norman, who said that 400 American cities, counties and states have now adopted measures to officially oppose the war in Iraq, but not Pleasanton.