Fox and Roberts are opposed to the Oak Grove housing project that Hosterman, with two others on the council, approved, and believe the council majority have veered away from slow-growth policies they endorse and that the City Council once enforced.
"Frankly, I think I'd make a better mayor than our current mayor," said Roberts, who served on the planning commission for eight years.
Fox, who chaired the commission last year, was appointed as a commission alternate in October 2003 by former Mayor Tom Pico. She was named a full member in December 2004 when Planning Commissioner Matt Sullivan was elected to the City Council.
Greg O'Connor, now an alternate on the Planning Commission, has also taken our papers to file as a candidate for mayor, but has not yet committed to run.
Besides their opposition to Oak Grove, both Fox and Roberts are active members of the Save Pleasanton's Hills citizens' coalition, which is being championed by former Councilwoman Kay Ayala. Ayala, who served eight years on the council, lost to Hosterman in the 2004 mayor's race.
Even with as many as three opponents trying to unseat her, Hosterman talked this week about pursuing a fourth term after she wins this one. First elected to the council in 2002 and elected mayor in 2004 and again in 2006, she told the Weekly that she has been asked to serve as vice-chair of the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency in September for a two-year term, and then could be the agency's chair for the following two years as she completes her fourth and final term as mayor.
"It would be very beneficial to have the chair of this important road-funding agency come from the ranks of the mayors in the Tri-Valley," Hosterman said. "It would give me a chance to make sure there's adequate funding to widen Hwy. 84 between I-580 and I-680 that would be a major benefit in reducing cut-through traffic in Pleasanton."
But Fox wants her out and believes she will have support from those backing the citizens' coalition as well as others who are unhappy over Hosterman's move into what Fox calls "the developers' camp."
"While acting as the mayor, Jennifer Hosterman has morphed from a slow-growth City Council member to completely caving in to the wishes of the developer groups who by virtue of their campaign contributions and their money and their power carry a lot more influence right now in Pleasanton than ordinary citizens," Fox said. "The pro-growth composition of the council right now represents a real imbalance between what the local people want us to do and what government is doing."
Fox and Robert have both been particularly agitated by Hosterman's and the council majority's decision to proceed on approving the Oak Grove housing project without the Planning Commission's recommendation or its review of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on how the project could affect Pleasanton's southeast hills.
The council voted 4-1 last November to approve the Oak Grove plan, giving the go-ahead for a public 496-acre nature park and 51 custom home lots at the end of Hearst Drive in the hills above Kottinger Ranch and Vintage Hills. The plan evolved during a four-year review process that included nine public hearings and was favored by the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Trails Ad Hoc Committee, the Housing Commission and the council, but not by the Planning Commission.
Within days, Kay Ayala, an outspoken opponent of Oak Grove, formed the Save Pleasanton's Hills coalition and, with other opponents of the Oak Grove project, including Roberts and Fox, gathered more than 5,000 signatures aimed at forcing a referendum seeking to overturn the council's action. The coalition's efforts, however, were blocked by an Alameda County Superior Court judge who ruled in favor of a suit by Oak Grove developers Jennifer Lin and her brother Frederic that the signatures were improperly collected.
The citizen's coalition has appealed that decision in the state Court of Appeal.
In the meantime, the coalition also filed a similar petition, collecting again more than 5,000 signatures, to place an initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot that would block future development on steep hillsides and also tighten the rules governing how housing units are counted. That initiative, along with a competing measure drafted by Hosterman and the council majority, will face off on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Roberts and Fox, as active participants in the coalition, could benefit by getting many of the votes of the 5,000 registered voters who signed the two petitions.
Roberts objected to the process that Hosterman and the council majority followed in approving Oak Grove. She said many were not notified of public and private meetings about the plan and that it was wrong for the council to approve it without a recommendation from the Planning Commission. She also has questioned the permanency of the land agreement the city has signed with developers Jennifer Lin and her brother Frederic, arguing that an 'in perpetuity" agreement with an elected government body, such as the council, may not mean forever.
Fox said that unlike Hosterman, she would never take political contributions from developers and would work to return the council to slow-growth decisions.
"Now we have a government of developers, by developers and for developers," Fox said. "As mayor, I would make sure that if anyone has influence on the city government, it's the people who live here."