Pleasanton Weekly

Cover Story - December 31, 2010

2010 - what a year

Remembering it all, from January storms to election results to end-of-year happenings

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Where did 2010 go? This sentiment seems to be on the tip of everyone's tongue. Look over the following month-to-month breakdown of events in Pleasanton and you will see that it was an action-packed year.

Now on to 2011, which begins delightfully as 1-1-11. It has to be a great one!


* Pleasanton's Economic Development Manager Pamela Ott predicts that businesses will do better in 2010 after weathering the storm of 2009.

* Pleasanton Unified School District realizes it will need to cut another $6.9 million from its expenditures, for a total of $8 million, after Gov. Schwarzenegger releases his updated budget Jan. 8.

* Bowlers come to area for Professional Bowlers Association tournament in Dublin.

* Pleasanton hires new City Attorney Jonathan Lowell, who comes from the city of San Luis Obispo.

* School district holds series of meetings to discuss school finances with nearly 200 concerned community members.

* Storm knocks over two large trees -- a coastal redwood and a spruce -- smashing them into a cinderblock wall on Valley Avenue.

* Office opens off Koll Center Parkway for 2010 Census count in Pleasanton.

* ValleyCare Medical Center opens new floor with 24 beds as part of its $10 million expansion.

* Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Zolfarelli retires from heading up the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department.

* The Pleasanton Weekly celebrates its 10th anniversary.


* Pleasanton Rotary Club, schools and others hold fundraisers to benefit victims of the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti.

* Labor dispute begins at Castlewood Country Club involving about 65 full-time and part-time employees over their new contract.

* The Pleasanton Public Library holds a blood drive, saying it will be an annual winter and summer event.

* Pleasanton PTA Council kicks off a petition drive to lower the super majority requirement for a parcel tax.

* Friends hold a fundraiser to send family of cancer-stricken Geoff Haskell, 35, a former youth pastor at Centerpointe Presbyterian Church, to Disneyland.

* City Council places Oak Grove referendum on June 8 ballot to decide if 51 homes can be built at the end of Hearst Drive.

* Amador Valley High freshman Evelyn Gonzalez killed by Union Pacific freight train near the high school in an apparent suicide. In response, the School District makes counselors available for students and holds community forum for parents.


* Nob Hill Foods closes its Pleasanton supermarket on Santa Rita Road.

* Museum On Main is chosen to join the 2010 Conservation Assessment Program.

* Alameda County Fairgrounds is polling place for 1,400 registered Iraqi voters.

* Downtown welcomes new mural on side of Valley Plumbing's Home Center on Peters Avenue at Rose.

* Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch rules that Pleasanton's 14-year housing cap is invalid.

* Mountain lion allegedly is spotted in a Ruby Hill yard on Paladin Way.

* The Livermore-Amador Valley Transit Authority, which operates WHEELS buses in Pleasanton, receives $780,000 in federal stimulus funds.


* Mayors from the four Tri-Valley cities -- Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon -- vote to stay on the board of TV30.

* Pleasanton Seahawks achieve USSA Swimming Level 4 Club Recognition status, the highest awarded.

* Pleasanton kicks off major marketing survey among residents to make a long-range plan for a more robust image and memorable shopping experience.

* Artist Seward Johnson installs 11 life-size, lifelike statues throughout downtown, much to the delight of residents and visitors.

* Museum On Main launches new monthly program to introduce preschoolers to books and people and cultures in their community.

* Pleasanton Community Concert Band celebrates turning 35.

* Ranch 99 opens a branch of its Asian markets in Rose Pavilion.

* Report from Pleasanton Police Department shows major crimes at a 22-year low.

* City Council votes to settle, not fight, the ruling that the city's 29,000-unit housing cap is in violation of state law.


* Pleasanton Unified School District hires new Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi, who has been Superintendent of Instruction for the Fremont Unified School District for the last two years.

* Rick Pickering, chief executive officer of the Alameda County Agricultural Fair Association, is named a Distinguished Eagle Scout.

* Marla Silversmith, who teaches the life skills class at Amador Valley High, is selected as the School District's Teacher of the Year.

* More than 700 supporters of Hope Hospice turn out to Hike for Hope in the Sunol Regional Wilderness, raising $80,000.

* Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department names Jim Miguel as the new fire chief, coming from the Modesto Fire Department.


* Three Pleasanton principals opt for retirement: Donlon Elementary's Marc Schweitzer; Hart Middle School's Steve Maher; and Amador Valley High's Bill Coupe Jr.

* Pleasanton Poet Laureate Deborah Grossman presents "Poetry Rocks in Many Languages" at the Century House.

* Voters reject southeast hills project known as Oak Grove, Measure D, with 54.3% casting ballots against it after a record $514,000 high is pumped into the Yes on D campaign by the Frederic Lin Family. The opposition raised just under $7,000.

* Lin family files lawsuit to be able to proceed with Oak Grove project, saying that in 2007 the City Council approved an ordinance to OK a development agreement.

* Alameda County Fair runs June 23-July 11 with the theme," Come Out and Play!" Horse racing continues to be one of the biggest draws.

* Pleasanton School Board, principals and vice principals meet to discuss new ways to deal with the district's expulsions and suspensions. An increase in drinking and drugs on campus had led to 33 expulsions and 604 suspensions in the 2009-10 year out of a student population of 14,839.


* More than 70 fairgoers are stung when a yellow jacket nest is disturbed during a July 2 fireworks show at the Fair. Those stung, some multiple times, are treated by firefighters.

* Pleasanton enjoys an old-fashioned July 4th at Lions Wayside Park at its all-volunteer event, "Celebrating Freedom and its Evolution since the Revolution."

* Money Magazine ranks Pleasanton No. 63 nationwide in best cities to live in, citing its good climate, low crime and excellent schools, recreation programs and facilities.

* Pleasanton's own golfer Paula Creamer becomes the U.S. Women's Open champion after winning July 11 at the Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh, Pa.


* Pleasanton-based staffing company, Aptitude Staffing Solutions, is accused of not paying workers.

* Thirty-six neighborhoods participate in National Night Out with potlucks, ice cream socials and music.

* Volunteers hold East Bay Stand Down at the Alameda County Fairgrounds over four-day weekend to provide medical and legal services for more than 700 needy veterans as well as clean sleeping bags, clothes, shoes and more.

* Museum On Main gives out its first Heritage Awards at its annual fundraiser, "Brothels, Bar Rooms and Bandits."

* City Council agrees to pay $1.9 million in legal fees to two affordable housing coalitions since it scuttled the city's voter-approved 1996 housing cap designed to prevent runaway resident growth.

* City Council OKs development on 124-acre Staples Ranch, bringing smiles to scores of seniors who look forward to the Stoneridge Creek retirement community on the site. One holdup was residents protesting extending Stoneridge Drive through Staples to connect to El Charro Road.


* Pleasanton's Joey Bernardi, U.S. Under-21 bocce ball champs, travels to Italy to participate in the international championships.

* Valley Humane Society breaks ground for a new 5,000-square-foot facility at its site on Nevada Street where it's been operating out of a portable since 2006.

* Ingrid Cuffe, 16, a junior at Foothill High, reigns as Rowell Ranch Jr. Rodeo Queen.

* Pleasanton hires Los Angeles law firm to defend the city against lawsuit by the Lin family regarding Oak Grove development.

* Stunning new $10 million Firehouse Arts Center opens on Railroad Avenue with a Friday night gala and an all-day Saturday community celebration.

* Clorox announces plans to move 700 workers to 26-acre campus of former Washington Mutual Bank.

* Toll express lane opens on Interstate 680 on the Sunol Grade, the first of its kind in the area.

* Pleasanton and Livermore city councils vote to jointly lobby federal representatives to phase out older, noisy jets, and to establish a community forum to discuss noise and flyover issues from the Livermore Municipal Airport.

* Stoneridge Shopping Center celebrates 30 years since opening in 1980. In that time it has grown to 165 stores with more opening this year.


* Pioneer Cemetery offers plots, giving priority to Pleasanton residents as well as non-residents who have a spouse or partner already buried there.

* The 2010 Mayor's Award for meritorious service goes to retired educators and philanthropists Nancy and Gary Harrington for donating dramatic features to the Firehouse Arts Center as well as art in other parts of town.

* Mayor Jennifer Hosterman hosts U.S. Conference of Mayors Water Council with keynote speaker Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

* City Council OK's new Safeway superstore on Valley and Bernal avenues near I-680 in a vote of 4-1 with Councilman Matt Sullivan against it.

* Congressman Jerry McNerney announces that $10 million in stimulus funds are heading to Pleasanton to be used for transportation, including closing the gap in the Iron Horse Trail.

* Pleasanton ranks 14th on a list of priciest real estate markets, with an average sales price of $896,488.

* Foothill High student Quentin Martin raises an 823-pound pumpkin, which he enters into the contest at Half Moon Bay. The winning pumpkin weighs in at 1,535 pounds.

* MerchantArts Walks begins on Main Street, a monthly event with businesses exhibiting art and offering hors d'oeuvres and other attractions to shoppers.

* Green Scene Fair is held in Pleasanton, sponsored by the city and Hacienda Business Park, with 75 vendors to give people ideas on how to reduce their carbon footprints.

* Pleasanton launches "shop local" program to urge residents and visitors to support local businesses.


* Pleasanton voters keep Mayor Jennifer Hosterman over challenger Councilwoman Cindy McGovern, as well as council incumbents Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Jerry Thorne over challengers Karla Brown and Fred Watson

* In the school board race, voters choose Joan Laursen and Jeff Bowser for the two open positions, with Sandy Piderit coming in third.

* Police Chief Michael Fraser retires as head of the Pleasanton Police Department after 30 years on the job, including the last three as chief.

* Veterans Day Parade up Main Street pays tribute to the Navy and marches on despite falling rain.

* Pleasanton Unified School District board hears results of a parcel tax survey that concludes residents would support it if it emphasizes academic instruction.

* Craig Semmelmeyer, whose Main Street Property Services developed the popular Tully's Coffee Shop site at Main and Angela streets, purchases the building at 234 Main St. and begins plans to renovate.

* The lockout at Castlewood Country Club enters into its ninth month with management and UniteHERE local 2850 farther apart than ever.

* Downtown Pleasanton hosts Friday night "Magical Holiday Evening" followed by Saturday morning "Earlier than the Bird" shopping to jumpstart holiday shopping.

* Educators and parents begin a look into whether Pleasanton expects too much from its young people with a showing of the movie, "Race to Nowhere."

* Hacienda Task Force wraps up 10 months of work on development standards and design guidelines for an 850-unit, transit-oriented housing project in Hacienda Business Park.


* Pleasanton amends city's code with reference to the California Green Building Standards Cod, known as CALGreen before it goes into effect Jan. 1.

* Pleasanton Military Families Support Group collects, packages and sends out a record 260 packages to troops in war zones overseas.

* Jury selection begins in Alameda Superior Court for Ernest Scherer III, accused of the brutal murders of his father Ernie Scherer Jr. and his mother Charlene Abendroth in Castlewood in February 2009.

* Chabad of the Tri-Valley lights a nine-foot menorah constructed of blue and white balloons at Stoneridge Shopping Center on the first night of Hanukkah.

* Little Chorkie (cross between a Chihuahua and a Yorkie) named Cookie is reunited with his owner after they are separated after a car accident, thanks to a story posted at


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