I was at last week's Pleasanton City Council meeting in which numerous residents addressed the council about their concerns over plans to construct a Wal-Mart in the former Nob Hill shopping center.
I am pleased to learn that the council is willing to hold a "Community Input Session" on the Wal-Mart. However, I am concerned that they are going to do this after Wal-Mart has submitted its plans for approval. This should be done in advance, so it would give the residents a say as to if and how the store is ever built.
It does no one any good to have a community meeting if the decision has already been made. That's why we are encouraging the mayor and City Council to immediately adopt a law that allows for public input and discretionary reviews before any decisions are made about the density of the use. We hope the council heard our concerns and will take action.
It came as little surprise to me when I read in Pleasanton Weekly that Urban Habitat is sponsoring a seminar on redistricting. Urban Habitat has a larger political agenda than affordable housing. If you wondered why they didn't sue Palo Alto or Piedmont -- communities that are a lot more expensive than Pleasanton with less affordable housing -- the answer is simple: Those communities already vote Democrat.
Urban Habitat, construction unions and low-income housing developers are all in cahoots with the Democrat party. In addition to having a purportedly unbiased redistricting commission that seems to favor Democrats, Urban Habitat's proactive gerrymandering strategy means sending more low-income or no-income folks to Pleasanton to change our demographics and ensure Democrats continue to dominate the political landscape.
While members of our City Council can feign anger over the Urban Habitat lawsuit, it's obvious that many are part of this machine and ready to do their bidding -- all while shrugging their shoulders and telling the taxpaying citizens of Pleasanton that their hands are tied.
I was disappointed by City Council and the mayor last week when they did not address the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) that some of us asked for during the public comment period of their meeting last week. Instead the mayor spent five minutes criticizing the semantics of a flier distributed by our group.
If the city or Wal-Mart were more transparent from the beginning this would not have been an issue. We just want the council to adopt the CUP so we can study the impacts Wal-Mart may have. Wal-Mart has been hiding its plans for months so it's hard to imagine it will voluntarily study the impacts to traffic. If the mayor is thinking about running for Congress she better rethink her support of Wal-Mart now.
Social Security facts
It was unsettling to see all the respondents to your latest Streetwise buy into the conservative disinformation machine's relentless distortions about the solvency of Social Security.
Unlike Medicaid, Social Security has no major long-term structural flaws. It's solvent and will be there for us, our children and grandchildren. Yes, there's a need for modest tinkering, such as the need to eventually raise the retirement age from 65 to 67, if both parties can muster the political will. But to suggest that the system is broken and will run out of money merely perpetuates the agenda that conservatives have had against the program since its passage in 1935.
In fact, without any changes, Social Security -- a pay-as-you-go program -- will be fully funded through 2037, and the trust fund holds a $2.5 trillion surplus, funded by Treasury bonds, according to the Associated Press. If nothing changes in the next 26 years, Social Security would still collect enough in payroll taxes to pay out about 78 percent of benefits, according to the Social Security Administration.
People, please stop buying into such scare tactics. Facts should matter.