I attended and spoke at the city of Pleasanton's Unfunded Pension Liability workshop on Tuesday. It was a great exchange of information and I feel the citizens, workers and City Council are now fully aware of the serious situation our city is facing regarding pensions. Thank you to the council and staff for this meeting.
The meeting, however, did raise a new concern around this issue: civility. Mayor Jennifer Hosterman emphasized the need for civility at the beginning of the meeting. My observation during the meeting was that both sides of the issue were extremely civil. Of course, there was passion from both sides, but conviction and passion does not mean uncivil.
In my opinion, the only example of uncivil behavior came at the end. Bart Hughes returned to the podium to ask additional questions per his (and my) understanding of the process. I was taken aback by Mayor Hosterman's repeated attempts to prevent Mr. Hughes from asking his questions. I consider Mayor Hosterman's behavior in this regard toward a citizen and constituent extremely uncivil. Being the speaker following Mr. Hughes, this outburst from the mayor intimidated and flustered me. Rather than ask my legitimate questions on the issues, I gave a brief statement and retreated, a bit rattled.
I advise all those who are chanting the "civility" mantra to understand that having a discussion where parties may not agree is not uncivil, but adopting actions or techniques intended to silence the discourse is most uncivil.
Need residents downtown workshop
Thanks to a Letter to the Editor in the Jan. 28 edition, "Need reason to go downtown," I was once again reminded that we do need to put all of our thinking caps on to help fend off the slow but seemingly inevitable downturn of business and its implications for all of us.
The problem is the lack of activities during the day. Our Main Street is looking like a mouth with bad tooth decay, showing gaping holes in the row of businesses along Main Street. There is definitely an imbalance of business enterprises. Why is there such a monoculture of banks, beauty parlors and Italian eateries?
I am hoping that we residents create a lobby and make suggestions on what businesses to bring downtown. The downtown butcher is a great start. If we only had a grocery store, I would be able to leave my car in the garage. (Wasn't the world's first Safeway on Main Street?)
For those who would drive to frequent our lively downtown of the future, a parking garage is needed. At the busy Saturday market times we see how much traffic Pleasanton can get.
I would like to suggest that we form a workshop like I have seen done at other occasions and have all of us try and sort out this downtown problem. Not just the Chamber of Commerce and city officials, not just the downtown association, but all of us who want to have Pleasanton survive next to much more vibrant communities like Livermore and Dublin.