http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/10/26/letters


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - October 26, 2012

Letters

DeMarcus staying positive

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank the Pleasanton Weekly for running its retraction (Around Pleasanton, page 3) of last week's factual inaccuracies. I respect journalists concerned with getting it right.

I believe in infill housing. I believe in meeting the housing needs of seniors. Those who have given so much to our community over the decades should be able to live out their lives here if they wish.

Nine-and-a-half years ago I consulted with a developer whose project met this criteria. It proposed to convert a fallow shopping center into senior housing, in a location served by public transit.

This was the only project I ever did transportation consulting for Jim Tong or Charter Properties. I have never been a direct employee of either. Once the council decided, I resumed consulting but only for public agencies on transportation related matters.

All of this was publicly disclosed to The Independent newspaper in my interview with them and others. I am proud to say that because of my views on protection of the ridgeline, infill housing, support for the environment, addressing our air quality and respect for the urban limit line I received the endorsement of The Independent Newspaper which has long been a champion on these issues.

I would like to also thank the majority of the local campaigns in Pleasanton that have concentrated on issues and their solutions, rather than degenerating into innuendo, rumors, lies and hearsay. I will continue to remain positive, and focus on how we can improve the Quality of Life for us all.

If you would like to learn more of my campaign, please visit us online at www.DeMarcus forCouncil.com.

Erlene DeMarcus, candidate for Pleasanton City Council

Support Brown, Thorne

Dear Editor,

Karla Brown for City Council and Jerry Thorne for mayor are the two best candidates to represent the residents of Pleasanton.

Neither supports Measure B1, the transportation sales tax, because it would become a permanent tax plus authorizes $1 billion in bond debt with automatic reauthorization in perpetuity. This tax and debt would be passed on to our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren as it has no sunset clause. Plus a permanent tax has no accountability as they never have to prove to the taxpayers they are spending the money wisely.

Neither Brown nor Thorne will accept money from public employee unions. While another candidate makes a point that giving money to her gives access, Thorne and Brown will meet with anyone no matter if they donated to their campaign or not.

The rational of not accepting city employee union money and support is legitimate. Employees of the city are represented by unions. In a representative democracy, the residents are meant to be represented by their elected officials. When elected officials accept money and support from the unions they negotiate contracts with, they tip the scales toward the employees and away from the taxpayers like you and me. That generates a clear conflict of interest when negotiating to find fair solutions for both the hardworking employees and the city's hardworking taxpayers.

One only need to look at the State of California to see how problematic it is to address labor cost issues with the public employee unions' influence and money.

Steve Brozosky

Stark out of touch

Dear Editor,

I manage a local real estate office in Pleasanton. During my 20 years in the real estate industry, I have helped many families buy homes in Pleasanton, Livermore and the Tri-Valley area. A few months back, I had the opportunity to see and listen to Congressman Pete Stark at a local Realtors Marketing Meeting. I asked Rep. Stark what his thoughts are about the elimination of the home mortgage interest deduction. I as well as many of the attendees were shocked and dismayed when Rep. Stark responded with bewilderment, asking why is the mortgage interest deduction a concern to Realtors.

I am deeply concerned by how out of touch Rep. Stark is on the mortgage interest deduction that was established in 1913 and how important it is to help families realize the American Dream of home ownership.

Tri-Valley families deserve a Member of Congress who knows the issues and will stand up to protect the mortgage interest deduction and private home-ownership rights.

Larry Spiteri

Thorne: outstanding choice

Dear Editor,

Having worked with Jerry Thorne for a number of years on Pleasanton's Community of Character Collaborative Board, I know him to be a man of integrity, motivated by nothing more than a sincere desire to maintain and strengthen the quality of life that we love and enjoy in Pleasanton. A man who cares about a safe and enriching life in which families and individuals can strengthen and thrive.

Many cities are faced with bankruptcy. It is important for Pleasanton to have a leader that knows how to work with businesses and work to have a balanced and strong local economy. Jerry has had experience in the business world as well as two terms on the City Council that provide him with the knowledge and vision so important for our city to be financially strong.

In the many years of service to Pleasanton, Jerry has worked to help maintain the wonderful quality of life we enjoy in Pleasanton. As you look at our beautiful parks and sports venues, it is important to know that Jerry had a part in bringing many to Pleasanton.

Jerry will devote his full time to the job of mayor. It is a rare individual that gives his full time, "heart and soul," to his city at a time in his life that offers him a multitude of choices. Jerry deserves to serve as our mayor, and he will be an outstanding choice.

Joanne Gunson

Yes on Measure I

Dear Editor,

My thanks to your paper for your informative and balanced coverage of the numerous ballot issues.

I write to urge readers to vote Yes for Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Measure I to provide funds to restore course offerings that were reduced nearly 15%. Because of decreased funding during budget years 2009-10 through 2012-13, the colleges were unable to serve several thousand students. Over the past three years Las Positas College slashed 323 sections, losing 13,334 seats. Chabot reduced 591 sections, losing 25,402 seats. Those cuts have had a huge effect for students looking to transfer to a four-year university or continue their career training.

Chabot and Las Positas colleges serve as a safety net for students who otherwise could not afford college. Chabot College and Las Positas College offer essential career training through degree and certificate programs in areas such as nursing, science, automotive technology, biology, healthcare management, computer science and many others. Over the past three years, nearly 5,000 students have received a degree or certificate through Chabot College or Las Positas College.

Measure I would levy a flat $28 on each parcel within the district annually for a period of six years. Measure I will provide $5.6 million annually, which will enable the colleges to use some band-aides to get through the 2012-13 budget year and start to fill the holes for the 2013-14 budget year.

Patrick M. Lofft

Standing up for Thorne

Dear Editor,

It isn't often that a candidate for public office fits the position like a pair of comfortable shoes. I'm speaking of Jerry Thorne, who is seeking the mayor of Pleasanton post. In my opinion Jerry has every qualification necessary to lead our city. He's already a guardian of our city finances; he knows the importance of maintaining a balanced budget without cutting essential services and being able to spend money on capital projects.

As a citizen, it has been my pleasure to watch Jerry at work fulltime for us. Jerry has always done his homework and been ready to ask staff the right questions. As a Parks and Recreation Commissioner, it has been my experience to watch Jerry continue his efforts from his days in that position to preserve our quality of life in Pleasanton with the more than 1,100 acres of open space and 42 landscaped parks to hike, bike and enjoy.

Jerry Thorne is standing up for Pleasanton. I stand up for Jerry Thorne as our next mayor.

Kurt Kummer

Stark scammed the system

Dear Editor,

Hopefully, voters in the 15th District will not blindly vote for Pete Stark. If one examines his record over the last decade, one sees a person that has scammed the system and short changed his constituents.

So far this election year he accused opponent Eric Swalwell of taking bribes without evidence; he later apologized. He accused a local opinion columnist of donating to his opponent without evidence; he later apologized. He also berated former state Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico for endorsing his opponent, including threatening his family and livelihood, according to Torrico.

Some prominent local Democrats, led by former Rep. Ellen Tauscher and former state Senate leader Don Perata, have publicly endorsed Swalwell as have newspapers. As a result Stark has refused to debate, saying it was because he will be asked "stupid" questions.

Let's examine his track record further. The office of Congressional Ethics U.S. House of Representatives investigated Pete Stark in November 2009 for alleged violation regarding listing the house he owns in Harwood, Md., as his principal residence on Maryland tax forms for tax credits and to cap his home assessment at no more than 10%. Also, his financial disclosure form shows he has assets worth as much as about $30 million, yet his three minor children are collecting benefits from Social Security. He was passed over unanimously by his own party to become chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

Stark definitely is not the kind of person that should be representing the 15th district.

Dave Johnson

My vote and why

Dear Editor,

Many folks have asked me who I am voting for on Nov. 6. Having served on the Planning Commission for many years, I have had a unique opportunity to observe those who are running. I will be voting for Jerry Thorne for mayor, and Karla Brown and Jerry Pentin for council.

I have known each of them for many years; Jerry Thorne has a keen understanding of both the fiscal and logistical challenges that the city faces. He also respects the will of the people and once done, brings people together and moves on. A skill that we desperately need.

Karla represents an independent voice. She has been active in our community affairs for years. As a professional Realtor, she understands how to preserve our "Pleasanton Community" and will continue to ensure that our city grows and prospers.

Jerry Pentin is a successful local business person and understands the challenge of balancing growth and regulation. He always does his homework and is well prepared and will make a long-term contribution to the success of our council.

I encourage you to vote for Thorne, Brown and Pentin and bring a new era to our City Council.

Philip Blank

Pentin for council

Dear Editor,

As a longtime Pleasanton resident and father of two young boys, I feel it is important to have the right city representatives who continue to make Pleasanton a great place to live and raise a family. I have known Jerry Pentin for over 17 years and been impressed with his role in our community. I have seen him as a dedicated volunteer in and around town and a tremendous advocate for our parks as a Parks and Recreation Commissioner. I have also seen him support other worthy causes, especially around education. His foundation, "Cycling for Civics," annually raises money to help the local schools fund different programs including "Mock Trial." He has supported, both with his time and his money, the Bridge of Opportunity foundation which funds college scholarships to foster kids.

Jerry Pentin brings to Pleasanton that which I would hope all representatives could bring: He has a vision for making this a great place to live, a passion for Pleasanton, and the skill set to achieve that vision. Please vote Jerry Pentin for City Council.

Bryan Gillette

Keep fox out of hen house

Dear Editor,

Karla Brown is my choice for City Council, and Jerry Thorne is the only choice as mayor in my opinion.

Facts you should know before voting:

1. There are two outstanding lawsuits filed by the Lin/Tong developers against the city of Pleasanton trying to circumvent the 60% of Pleasanton voters who voted and approved protection of our ridgelines from housing.

2. City Council candidate Erlene De Marcus has been a consultant for the Lin/Tong developers.

3. Lin/Tong developers have given extraordinary funding to Erlene De Marcus' campaign for City Council.

If you elect Erlene DeMarcus, you will have a Tong/Lin consultant in a position to reverse the will of the people and in closed negotiation sessions of your city.

Please do not let the fox in our henhouse. Vote Karla Brown for City Council and Jerry Thorne for Mayor to keep our house clean.

Kay Ayala, City Council 1996-2004)

Big money politics

Dear Editor,

I just received an 8.5-inch by 11-inch color brochure in the mail today from Erlene DeMarcus for City Council, the paid consultant of the Lins/Tongs on the citizen-referended Oak Grove development. So, I went to her website to check out her donors. Her most recent CA460 form (campaign finances) shows in excess of $8,000 from the Lin and Tong families, as well as an additional $8,000 from others in development and construction businesses; that's over 50% of her donations. Of similar interest, 73% of her campaign dollars came from outside Pleasanton. She was willing to bulldoze our ridgelines for the Oak Grove developers, so I will not be voting for her.

Instead, I will be voting for Karla Brown to join our City Council. Karla was instrumental in stopping Oak Grove and placing a hillside initiative on the ballot, which Pleasanton voters overwhelmingly passed. She is the only candidate actively seeking to preserve our slow/smart growth policies and she is willing to tackle our unfunded city debt. Join me: Vote for Karla Brown for City Council.

Janet Winter

Preserving open space

Dear Editor,

Karla Brown is running for Pleasanton City Council. She is the only candidate that supported protection of our ridgelines and co-authored Measure PP to ensure that protection (the other candidates supported a competing measure to confuse voters). Today, she continues the battle to preserve our small town feel and our quality of life as the only candidate expressly committed to a slow/smart growth policy.

Karla has lived in Pleasanton for 20 years, been a Pleasanton businesswoman for 10 years, and her three children all attended our public schools (now two college grads and one attending college). Karla is committed to Pleasanton and will work for you, the citizens of Pleasanton.

Greg O'Connor

Yes on A1 for your zoo

Dear Editor,

After graduating from Foothill High School, I went on to earn degrees in both biology and environmental studies. I am currently a master's student and work at the Oakland Zoo. I am the only employee who has worked in both departments that are majorly impacted by Measure A1: the Animal Care, Conservation and Research Department and the Education Department.

Oakland Zoo rescues animals that have been confiscated, given up, used for animal testing and could be euthanized, and that have special medical needs. We are included in Species Survival Programs, and we volunteer our time to work out in the field on projects and fund money for species including the California condor and mountain lions.

The amount of time our zookeepers spend caring for their animals is incredible. As frequently happens in nonprofits, we are short-staffed, but we still have pushed to be leaders in animal care.

I have taught children who have never seen wild animals, families who cannot afford meals, troubled youths, and extremely gifted and well-off students. We provide free programs to poor children and have also been to senior centers, women's shelters, and schools in the Tri-Valley. Science programs in California schools have been struggling, and we provide a unique experience.

Measure A1 would allow us to expand our educational programs and allow us to provide a sanctuary to more animals and upgrade our current exhibits. This is your zoo, and your children's zoo. Please vote yes on A1.

Jen Jelincic

Parcel tax adds up

Dear Editor,

Please read your sample ballot carefully for measure A1-- Support for the Oakland Zoo. Let me state that I am a fan of zoos. However, while it asks $12 per year for each property parcel of single family home or apartment project and each condominium, it is $ 72 per year for every non residential parcel. Countywide that is a lot of money. If you or any investment entity owns, for example, five parcels whether improved or not that is a $ 360 yearly increase in property taxes.

Please think seriously before you vote.

Brad Hirst

Vote for Karla Brown

Dear Editor,

I am supporting Karla Brown for Pleasanton City Council. Karla is a person who studies issues carefully, seeks input from others, and makes the best decisions possible. She will listen to the community and will act in the best interest of the people. Karla is smart, knowledgeable, articulate and dedicated. She is passionate about doing what is right for the citizens of Pleasanton. Please join me in voting for Karla Brown for Pleasanton City Council on Nov. 6.

Valerie Arkin, School Board Trustee, Pleasanton Unified School District

No on Measure A1

Dear Editor,

Measure A1 stands out as an imperative to make your vote count. According to the Oakland Zoo's recent glossy mailer, this parcel tax provides for improvements to current infrastructure and "humane animal care." What the mailer does not say is that this measure is also about building a big expansion into unspoiled Knowland Park.

Currently there are plans to build a theme park focusing on native California mountain lion, grizzly bear, wolves and other animals (some of which disappeared due to lack of habitat). The plans also include construction of a visitor building, offices and a restaurant built right on the ridge that has a magnificent view of the Bay. This construction project is planned outside of current zoo boundaries and would be placed in what is now known as Knowland Park. This public park is one of the most biologically diverse parks in the East Bay hills, and actually provides essential habitat for an incredible number of living wild animals with the same rights to be cared for as the zoo's caged exotic animals.

The zoo campaign signs say, "It's your zoo." More important: It's your park, access is free, the view is yours; the peace and quiet, open space, plants, bugs, birds, small and large animals are still there. Your vote will send a message to zoo executives to leave Knowland Park for us all.

Vote No on Measure A1.

Carol Castro

Cook-Kallio for mayor

Dear Editor,

I am a small business owner of a restaurant in Pleasanton. When I first opened there were difficulties in getting permits, particularly for the sign for my restaurant. I was frustrated because my husband and I had never had such trouble. I called Cheryl Cook-Kallio and she explained why all businesses were having such trouble at the time and she helped us get the permits we needed. I really appreciate the effort and the time she took to help us out. I have seen her in action many times since and she works hard to help everyone. We need people like Cheryl Cook-Kallio in office. As a small business owner I urge you to vote for Cook-Kallio for mayor.

Moina Shaiq, Anarkalee Restaurant

Cook-Kallio's relationships

Dear Editor,

It is particularly important and significant that we cooperate regionally, now that after decades of shared legislative representation on both state and federal levels, we have a real opportunity with the re-districting to make a difference and be heard. This election is the first true look at how the newly drawn districts affect the totality of Pleasanton's elected officials.

I believe Cheryl Cook-Kallio is the one to carry the message for the city to all other entities. Not only is she the slam dunk, better orator than her opponent, she has spent her whole career building bridges (even when negotiating to take back from unions). Alameda County's Measure B1 is an example of her potential. As a voter/consumer in a work force that relies on regional transportation resources to engage in a robust and satisfying life here in Pleasanton we need those projects built. Cheryl has established a regional network.

Many of Cheryl's relationships were built during her educational commitment to government, not while she's been on City Council. Cheryl's background in economics and government are not just majors or university degrees on her resume, she practices her chosen academic passion. In the 15 years that I have known her, well before she ran for public office, she lived and breathed the practical and necessary. She's not afraid of hard work. She's available and produces results. Pleasanton needs Cook-Kallio.

Kathleen Wat

Creaky talking points

Dear Editor,

If you ask me, the mayor's race presents an easy choice. Cheryl Cook-Kallio gives us a genuine set of qualifications and strong attributes. Her opponent gives us a creaky set of talking points.

Mark Lewis

Vote for Brown, Thorne

Dear Editor,

We need our next elected members of the Pleasanton City Council to be focused on managing the city's business and challenges. That's why Karla Brown for City Council and Vice Mayor Jerry Thorne for mayor are the right choices in November. Karla and Jerry are well grounded in Pleasanton issues and have focused their efforts locally. Karla, endorsed by the Sierra Club, is a local businesswoman well known for her grassroots effort to ensure that our pristine ridgelines surrounding this city are preserved. She was a proponent of a ridgeline preservation ordinance that was overwhelmingly adopted by the voters.

Jerry has made a big impact during his 21 years of active civic service through his grassroots effort as then vice president of the Pleasanton Seahawks for the construction of a 50-meter pool for the public. He then initiated a grassroots petition effort to build sports fields at Bernal Community Park. Not only has he improved the opportunities for youth in the community, he personally welcomes the brave men and women from the military returning to this community after serving overseas.

Both can be counted on to tackle local challenges now like pension reform, budgetary control, quality of life and environmental protection, but not be distracted by engaging in partisan politics with a focus on seeking future county and statewide elected positions. Please be sure to vote for our local Pleasanton team: Karla Brown for City Council and Jerry Thorne for Mayor.

Richard Pugh

Flexible, courageous

Dear Editor,

This week I marked my ballot for mayor and voted for Cheryl Cook-Kallio. Neighbors and friends have asked me why, so here are my reasons. Cheryl would make an excellent mayor. First, she is exceedingly knowledgeable in governmental matters, as a high school government teacher for 30 years explaining complex issues like local housing elements and city pension demands to sharp teenagers in her classrooms. At the same time she has been serving as a City Council member and vice mayor for Pleasanton. It is clear that she is hard working and efficient and knows the issues --she is experienced.

I have observed her skill at problem solving and negotiating, and I think she will put that to good use as mayor when she is faced with the inevitable differences of opinion that will come before her. She is a listener, and makes herself available to everyone who contacts her office on a city matter. Flexible, she is good at working out compromises, which is an important skill in our city government. She does not lack for courage, and will speak up for the common good of Pleasanton in the important issues which we will face in the years ahead: employee compensation and pensions, jobs-housing balance, transportation, State Route 84, open space, and good relations with the business community and our neighboring cities. Cheryl is already respected beyond Pleasanton. It would be a wise decision to select her as our next mayor.

Patricia Belding

Thorne stands out

Dear Editor,

One candidate stands out in terms of service to his community, having served as a Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Commissioner for 10 years. That candidate is Jerry Thorne.

Only one candidate has done the following things for our community: served seven years on the Board of Directors of the Pleasanton Seahawks youth swim team (two of them as president), co-authored the successful ballot initiative "Save our Community Park" (Bernal property), consistently attended U.S. Service Member homecoming events even when it is not an election year, and regularly volunteered time at Pleasanton's Museum on Main. That candidate is Jerry Thorne.

Only one candidate can legitimately claim to be actively involved in Pleasanton's Community of Character and is currently a member of its board. Only one has served as president of the California League of Cities, East Bay Division, has served in the U.S. Armed Forces (Army), and is a founding and current member of Pleasanton Sentinels of Freedom, an organization that assists returning injured veterans in finding employment and housing. That candidate is Jerry Thorne.

In this election when Pleasanton is in need of a mayor with a proven track record of broad community service, genuine concern for the welfare of Pleasanton residents, and an uncompromised position to deal with financial challenges faced by the city, only one candidate has those qualifications. That candidate is Jerry Thorne.

Jeff Narum

Positive relationships

Dear Editor,

Pleasanton deserves a Mayor like Cheryl Cook-Kallio.

During her six years on the City Council Cheryl Cook-Kallio has shown a superior leadership ability to tackle controversial issues, listen to all stakeholders, do her homework and bring people together to resolve conflict.

She makes herself accessible to residents of Pleasanton. I've seen her give her personal cell-phone number to people she's known for five minutes so they could reach her directly.

One of her biggest strengths is the fact she has long-standing positive working relationships not only with officials of neighboring communities but also with officials at the state and national level as proved by the long list of those officials who have endorsed her. Pleasanton isn't an island. We are impacted by decisions made by surrounding cities, and the state and national governments. Having long established positive relationships with the decision makers can only help our goal of keeping Pleasanton the wonderful city we know.

I urge you to vote for Cheryl Cook-Kallio for mayor.

Sharon Piekarski

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