I have watched, first with some amusement that has turned to consternation, the development of a seemingly personal feud between the Pleasanton Weekly and Councilman Matt Sullivan, which seems to have become particularly rancorous over the past months of the Walmart supermarket debate.
Personally, I am ambivalent about the issue itself. I don't particularly care for what I've heard of some of Walmart's business practices. But if they want to open a store and there is enough community support, I don't see it as the end of the world.
But my ambivalence is born of not knowing much of the issues on the subject, and I don't expect everyone, particularly those more educated on those issues, to see things my way, or so simplistically. Further, for those that don't, I don't expect them to do or say nothing about why they don't, and certainly not if they are an elected official whose civic duty is to act on what he or she sees is the best for the community, and the constituency that elected them.
Whether that action leads to a popular opinion or not, I would hope our officials follow the principles that got them elected. That path may lead to an opinion that is not of the majority, or the Weekly's, but I expect more of the paper than to castigate and cast aspersions on a councilman for having and defending his, and an apparent sizeable number, who agree with him.
Sullivan shines a light
We owe thanks to Councilman Matt Sullivan for his efforts to shine a light on Walmart's bad business practices (something the local conservative newspapers fail to do).
Do we want good-paying jobs in our local grocery stores or low-paid Walmart workers with few or no benefits and the profits sent to the Walton family billionaires in Arkansas? The Walton net worth equals $102.7 billion, or, for perspective, the net worth of six members of the Walton family equals the net worth of the entire bottom 30% of American families. WWJD?
And it is right to ask about the influence of the Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber is anti-union, opposes minimum-wage increases, sides with Big Oil on climate-change issues, and is now working with the tobacco companies to stop Proposition 29, the tax on tobacco).
Matt Sullivan is speaking up for local workers and local businesses. Matt would make a good mayor.
Thanks, Mom and Dad
What an honor to be among those at the luncheon May 9 celebrating the winners of the "2012 Juanita Haugen Community of Character Award," which included Debra Mitchell, Janet Liang and the Pleasanton Military Families. The applause and then the kind words and thank you from Kelly Dulka, chairperson of the luncheon, were reward enough.
Special thanks to my family for its help, support, and patience, and especially to my wife Hildegard for her love, strength and caring. I give credit to my Mom and Dad for many of the values I try to live by. My Dad, Carl, served with the YMCA for 45 years, retiring as the executive director of the Stockton "Y." He taught me to swim, lead songs and get involved helping others. He believed that the YMCA is the best family/youth organization in the country and would have liked this year's YMCA goals of Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility.
My Mom, Barbara, who graduated from Stanford when only about 500 women attended, expected the family to eat dinner together, and made sure my brother, sister and I played piano. She taught ninth-grade English/speech, history and leadership in Stockton, and organized a campaign to build a vehicle and pedestrian overpass over the railroad tracks in Stockton to help kids get to school that is still used.
Dad died at age 90 and his epithet reads: "Pray not for easy lives, but to be stronger men and women." Mom died last year at age 98, and her epithet reads: "Climb High, Climb Far, Your Goal the Sky, Your Aim a Star.
I say: "Thank you, Mom and Dad." They reply: "You're welcome."