Pleasanton Weekly

Column - March 5, 2010

Another Hosterman helping to make downtown thrive

by Jeb Bing

Another Hosterman has taken a leadership position in Pleasanton. Michael Hosterman, an attorney with offices downtown and whose wife is Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, has been chosen chairman of the Downtown Vitality Committee, a part of the Pleasanton Downtown Association where he also is a board member and former president. Mike Hosterman, a personal injury attorney, has been active in the downtown since moving his practice from San Jose to Main Street in 1990, and later to Peters Avenue, where his office is now located. Shortly after opening his office, he was hit with a fee he had to pay to the PDA, a quasi-public assessment district that all businesses located downtown must join. Curious, he decided to attend a few meetings to see just how his assessment was being used and, like so many here whose curiosity gets the best of them, he was quickly given committee and task force assignments that continue to this day.

That seems fine with Hosterman, who has become one of the most visible lawyers in town, always handling the beer garden booth placement and other activities during the popular summertime First Wednesday events. As a member of downtown Rotary, he also joins in community service projects, including luncheons at the Pleasanton Senior Center and chairing the club's annual Spirit Run. Downtown events have increased since he was first elected to the PDA board, where he served as president in 2000 and worked with the group's new executive director at the time, Craig Scharton, to launch the First Wednesdays.

In his new role as chairman of the Downtown Vitality Committee, Hosterman is focusing on programs under way or being planned to invigorate the downtown with new businesses and entertainment. With other PDA members, he has visited other picturesque and perhaps more profitable downtowns in San Luis Obispo, Menlo Park and Walnut Creek. Although, neither Hosterman nor others now in charge of the PDA want any large chain or department stores such as those found in Walnut Creek or Dublin moving to Main Street. Scharton, he recalls, liked to point out that the most viable -- and profitable -- downtowns usually had a Victoria's Secret lingerie store to attract younger shoppers. When a similar-type lingerie store moved to Angela Street a few years ago, some merchants complained that it was too racy for their more traditional customers. In the end, the store closed and moved to Livermore for lack of business. Still, Hosterman doesn't think it hurts to watch what others are doing to spur business activity downtown, which is why he supports a type of "Right to do Business" ordinance for the district, similar to one that's been enacted in Livermore. The idea is to establish entertainment standards relating to noise and hours that would apply to all PDA members. As it is now, he says, restaurants such as Barone's or Redcoats must go through extensive reviews to have their applications for late night dancing and other entertainment approved, often a six-month-long process through the city's Planning Commission and City Council. If the proposed ordinance had been in place earlier, a restaurant once located in the Train Station building on First Street might still be in business. It closed after neighborhood complaints and a compassionate city government stopped its popular nighttime events.

With the city's $10-million Firehouse Arts Center scheduled to open on Railroad Avenue in September, Hosterman's committee is considering steps to be taken to make it easier for bars and restaurants that might want to move here to serve crowds moving onto Railroad, Division and Main Street after evening performances. The DVC's plan is to beautify Division Street, possibly even turning it into a cobblestone walkway between Main and Railroad Avenue, connecting pedestrian traffic between downtown businesses and the new theater. Those ideas from the DVC will be among others presented to the hospitality organization's seminar scheduled for March 30. The core groups established to consider downtown improvements are in the community involvement, safety, business development, entertainment and hospitality categories. Hosterman will be part of a "walk-along" planned for the organization, with a report expected later on what can be done to attract more shoppers to downtown Pleasanton.

The Hostermans moved to Pleasanton in 1987 with their three daughters, Heather, now 29; Sarah, who is 27, and Meghan, 24, who just graduated from San Jose State University last Saturday. Although .Jennifer Hosterman thrives in politics, that's not an interest Mike Hosterman shares. An avid golfer as part of a men's group at Callippe Preserve Golf Course, he also hosts card parties at his office on a monthly basis: poker the fourth Fridays and Hearts on the second Thursdays. He also leads the regional Business Builders networking group that meets twice a month in Dublin, and is a regular at the racetrack at the Alameda County Fairgrounds when the horses are running and at other racetracks as well. He attribute his love of the sport to his younger years when his family moved from city to city, and coincidentally he insisted, near racetracks. These included tracks in Arlington Heights, Ill.; Bay Meadows in San Mateo; Santa Anita in southern California's Arcadia, and Hollywood Park near UCLA, which he attended for two years. He then transferred to Berkeley, where he completed his undergraduate work, and also took advantage of races at nearby Golden Gate Fields.

In fact, it was a Golden Gate Fields where he first met Jennifer on April 15, 1980. They were married three months later.


Posted by PR Machine for Hosterman, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 5, 2010 at 1:59 pm

What is the PW - a PR Machine for the Hosterman family? Is it a conflict of interest for the mayor to vote on proposals from the Downtown Association? Corrupt politics as usual in P-town!

Posted by shadowbozo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2010 at 5:28 pm

shadowbozo is a registered user.

Great. Just what Pleasaton needs, another Berkeley socialist.

Will the fun never end.

Posted by Mike Hosterman, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 5, 2010 at 8:21 pm

I went to school in Berkeley at UC. Your comment tells me "shadow" that you are a "bozo". FYI PR, I own no property in the downtown. I am just interested in making it better. Someday, you should volunteer to do something. Is it is more fun just to criticize. You are pathetic.

Posted by Kelly, a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Mar 6, 2010 at 12:16 am

WOW! Mayor Hostermann's husband insulting Pleasanton citizens "bozo" and "pathetic". The Weekly in bed with the Unions and the the Mayor enlisting a conflict of interest with her husband running the downtown association. Volunteerism? No, it's nothing more than growing big government and keeping it all in the family, Chicago style politics...

Posted by Grip?, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 6, 2010 at 4:09 am

Get a GRIP, that's NOT Mr Hostermans post!

Posted by shadowbozo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2010 at 7:23 pm

shadowbozo is a registered user.

If you went to UC, how come you didn't stay in Berkeley? If you like living in a third world country you should have stayed there.

You can call me pathetic all you want. I have been called worse. To make downtown better, stop turning it into a yuppie paradise.

Posted by MainStreetDiva, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 6, 2010 at 9:03 pm

MainStreetDiva is a registered user.

I, too, have concerns about a possible conflict of interest here.

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 7, 2010 at 12:56 am

"Personal injury attorney" - I've often heard this occupation refered to as "ambulance chaser", but I'm sure that doesn't fit here. After all, everyone needs an attorney from time to time...:)

Hey, is it still "no cussing week"???

Posted by Jack, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 7, 2010 at 8:51 am

Three kinds of people in the world:
Those who make things happen...
Those who watch things happen...
And those who wonder what happened...
The Hostermans are in the first category. Most bloggers fall into category 2 and 3...

Posted by Correction, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Actually, for the first category "those who make things happen," at least for Mrs. Hosterman it should read "those who take the credit when others actually make things happen"

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm

There's quite a difference between "those that make things happen" and "those that make things happen correctly"...

Posted by Unsure, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2010 at 9:13 pm

From a post above:
"Posted by Mike Hosterman, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2010 at 8:21 pm

I went to school in Berkeley at UC. Your comment tells me "shadow" that you are a "bozo". FYI PR, I own no property in the downtown. I am just interested in making it better. Someday, you should volunteer to do something. Is it is more fun just to criticize. You are pathetic

And then:

"Posted by Grip?, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2010 at 4:09 am

Get a GRIP, that's NOT Mr Hostermans post!"

From my humble perspective as an ordinary citizen of this town, I've only had one encounter with Mr. Hosterman. That was a couple of years ago, in a checkout line at Safeway. I had unloaded all my groceries onto the checkout belt, and was waiting for the transaction in front of me to end, before my turn. The groceries had all been rung up, and things would normally have moved along, yet the man in front of me was waving some coupons at the cashier, and she took them and I heard her say "hmmm, these are expired". Well, the man in front of me began protesting and then told the cashier that she was wrong and and asked her if she knew who he was. A conversation ensued, and finally, he demanded to have the manager come over. After a wait, the manager came, looked at the coupons, looked at the man in front of me in line, and told the cashier to accept the coupons, even though they were out of date. She looked flustered, but did what she was told by her manager. When he left, and it was my turn, I greeted her and sympathized with her experience with a problem customer. She confided that it was the husband of the mayor...

Posted by Ray, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 8, 2010 at 10:32 am

I love how going to UC Berkeley now a bad thing. Most conservative rednecks that post on here don't have the IQ to get in UC Berkeley, so I can understand their resentfulness. I guess you have to go to Southwest Alabama Bible Tech (Palin Campus) to get respect in this forum.

Posted by Coupongate!, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Mar 8, 2010 at 10:34 am

And yet the FBI refused to investigate "Coupongate"? The conspiracy deepens....

Posted by coupongate lover, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2010 at 4:55 pm

in regards to coupongate....i would say its no secret that the hostermans are extremely fiscally conservative...after all, pleasanton has a huge fiscal surplus, while other cities in the region, like dublin, are in the hole by the millions, white mountain house can't even afford to keep streetlights on all night. I guess fiscal responsibility runs in the family! Coupongate ensues!

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Mar 8, 2010 at 7:53 pm

lots of jealous bug in Ptown who have all day to complain...ho-hum

tee hee hee, tee hee hee...

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