http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2013/04/19/letters


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - April 19, 2013

Letters

Passion for pianos

Dear Editor,

One of the things that's so great about putting on a big event like The Big Draw is that it takes a multitude of people from all over the community. And one of the things that is so hard about an event like this is that not everyone gets adequately credited and thanked.

From the beginning, The Big Draw has been a community effort, supported by the city of Pleasanton, the Civics Art Commission, Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council, Pleasanton Downtown Association, artists, teachers, musicians, merchants and more. Nothing would have happened without these groups and individuals, and everything is happening because of them.

In particular, the pianos that will be on Main Street was an idea that outgoing Civic Arts Commissioner Howard Seebach had long wanted to see happen. It is because of Howard's passion for this idea that the Civic Arts Commission personally took on the coordination of the pianos that will be on downtown Main Street from May 3-13. Howard and the other Civic Arts Commissioners operate behind the scenes to make art happen in Pleasanton. And those of us in the community are all thankful for what they accomplish on our behalf.

Jill Vellinger, Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council

Distressed by downtown

Dear Editor,

I am distressed to read Cold Stone has been chased from downtown, a hardware store will occupy the former Domus site, and the 1st Hunan Chinese Restaurant has closed. What are the property owners/managers and Pleasanton Downtown Association thinking?

The downtown has become less and less desirable, confirming what I have heard from Realtors: Everyone is moving to Livermore. We will no longer ride our bikes downtown for an ice cream treat, or to dine across from a hardware store, or to enjoy an authentic Chinese dinner. Who wants to watch pickup trucks driving in and out of a parking lot while seated outside for a meal? And butternut-squash ice cream -- pleazzzz, and for a hefty price.

We need more variety in our dining/shopping options. There is nothing wrong with chain stores; people flock to them for obvious reasons, and they can be as quaint as the buildings available. Kids will always be a part of a town -- perhaps a walking patrol officer is the answer for the "rude" and the "spoiled." Santana Row in San Jose has both chains and a walking patrol, and people drive for miles to enjoy the ambiance.

I am suddenly feeling remorse for remodeling my home a few months ago. We have asked the question over the 16-1/2 years we have lived here, "Why do we stay?" It was because of the downtown and the family atmosphere at local establishments. What do we tell ourselves now? Or is it finally time to read the writing on the wall and make a change while the market is hot?

Pamela Hendrickson

Narum in action

Dear Editor,

Several people have asked me which candidate I am recommending for City Council in the May election, and I have responded that I think the best candidate is Kathy Narum.

Kathy has lived in Pleasanton over 17 years, and her two girls have gone through the Pleasanton schools. The family took part in the Seahawks swim team, and Kathy gave a lot of time and leadership to the city's swim efforts.

I first saw her in action on the Bernal Property Task Force and then on the Planning Commission. She is a good listener and an experienced analyst of city problems. If she is elected, I know she will be open to communication from the people of Pleasanton and ready to work out reasonable solutions to the issues that face our city.

Kathy is the candidate with experience, and that counts the most on Election Day, so please consider her for your vote for City Council.

Patricia Belding

Sanwong has my vote

Dear Editor,

I was at the Candidates Forum last week and, after hearing all four of the candidates speak, I am confident that Olivia Sanwong is the right choice.

This is why I am voting for Olivia:

* My husband, Srikant, and I have known Olivia since high school. She has always been passionate, a hard worker and willing to listen to people with varying points of view.

* Olivia has worked hard to be qualified to help lead our city. She has met with civic and community leaders around Pleasanton. She has researched the issues that have faced us in the past and has researched topics that may affect us in the future. She has researched how other cities have solved similar issues. She has drawn on her experience in the high-tech industry and her education to formulate ideas that we can consider.

* Olivia is from the X/Y Generation and her father is from Thailand. Her family moved to Pleasanton in 1981, and she is a product of our schools, community parks and programs, and tight-knit atmosphere. She was recently appointed by Congressman Eric Swalwell to the Women's Advisory Committee. She sits on several city committees, has been helping the We the People Team from Amador, and volunteers at the Museum on Main and Tri-Valley Haven. She represents a section of the community not currently found on our City Council.

Olivia is passionate about Pleasanton. She has a positive attitude. She has creative ideas for our city. She has common sense. She is a hard worker. Olivia Sanwong has my vote for City Council.

Christina Nystrom Mantha

Miller is best

Dear Editor,

We have some challenges in Pleasanton, and I feel that David Miller is the best council candidate to take these challenges on.

Pleasanton, along with many cities in California, has a huge unfunded liability with public employee retirement benefits. David understands the crisis and has been talking about it for some time and working on solutions that are fair to both the taxpayer and the employees. It is one thing to acknowledge the problem, it is another to truly educate yourself and work on solutions. David has done the latter. He knows that if not dealt with promptly, we are leaving a huge debt to his and our kids.

There are outside forces that are trying to ram high-density housing into Pleasanton, against the residents' wishes. While some leaders just accept this, David does not and will be there to fight it. David knows that the character of Pleasanton would change, traffic would increase, and schools will become significantly overcrowded. While previous development has paid its fair share to mitigate impacts on local infrastructure, the new proposed high-density housing will not. Current residents, like you and I, are expected to pay more to "subsidize" the new growth. Bad enough we will have increased traffic and overcrowded schools but current residents will have to also pay more for this "privilege."

David is not accepting campaign contributions from public employee unions or land developers. David values transparency in government and does not accept contributions from special interests. He clearly wants to earn the trust of the residents.

Please join me in voting for David Miller for Pleasanton City Council.

Steve Brozosky, Former City Council member

Experience matters

Dear Editor,

Please join me in voting for Kathy Narum for City Council. Kathy has spent more than a decade participating in city of Pleasanton committees, task forces and commissions. Her hands-on experience in getting results in the public government sector sets her apart from the other candidates. I know this because I've worked in the corporate world for many years, and when I started volunteering on committees and now as a Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Commissioner, I quickly recognized that my more experienced colleagues were more efficient in getting better results for the residents of Pleasanton because they understood the process and the internal working of government. That's the kind of experience Kathy Narum will bring to the council.

Kathy's years of working with residents, elected officials and city staff make her the best candidate in this race. Kathy already understands the issues facing our city, the costs, the scope, the timelines and all of the elements that go into making sound decisions. I encourage other candidates to recognize that they should first volunteer for committees and task forces -- and not start their public service by running for City Council.

Experience matters. Vote for Kathy Narum.

Herb Ritter

Endorsing Sanwong

Dear Editor,

I really hoped to see the paper take an honest stand and endorse Olivia Sanwong for City Council. Kathy Narum's views are already well represented on the council, and I am concerned Kathy is too cozy with the mayor and Jerry Pentin.

The City Council seat is a living, breathing office and not a lifetime achievement award. Olivia would represent the 20, 30 and 40 somethings in Pleasanton and inject enthusiasm and high-tech know how into the council.

I was very impressed with Olivia at the forum last week and hoped the paper would endorse her candidacy.

Marty Peck

Responsible growth

Dear Editor,

I have read with interest in our local publications the information offered by the various candidates running for the vacant Pleasanton City Council seat.

Each of the candidates offers their approach to guiding Pleasanton's future. Each includes in that future "responsible growth." But, interestingly enough, none actually defines what they mean by responsible growth.When I read further, I noticed that Kathy Narum has accepted campaign donations from Ponderosa Homes II Inc., James Tong, Charter Properties, etc.

I guess we know where her loyalties lie and who will guide her definition of responsible growth.

Edward Janas

Sanwong qualities

Dear Editor,

I'm writing to express my wish that the Pleasanton Weekly had endorsed Olivia Sanwong for City Council. Olivia combines all of the best qualities a resident of Pleasanton could want in a councilperson. She is principled, intelligent, hardworking and works well in building consensus. She is steeped in the traditions and history of Pleasanton due to her childhood and love of the city, but thanks to her travels and education knows what change the future can bring. She therefore is uniquely equipped to help maintain the tradition of Pleasanton while helping the city adapt to changing times.

David Loughnot, AVHS, Class of 1996

Narum results-oriented

Dear Editor,

As mayor of the city of Pleasanton I am frequently called upon to give my personal opinions on items pertinent to civic matters including candidates for elected office. Therefore, I must speak out in favor of Kathy Narum for the vacant Pleasanton City Council seat.

Kathy's experience as a Parks and Recreation Commissioner and Planning Commissioner as well as the other leadership roles that she has played on behalf of our community including six task forces, the Seahawks swim team and RAGE soccer show a results-oriented candidate. This is experience that we need on the council going forward.

Further, Kathy has proven herself to be an independent thinker who thoroughly evaluates a situation and makes decisions based on the benefit to the community as a whole. She does not make decisions based on who did or did not support her or on political ideology. Kathy and I may not always agree on things, but I have found her to be open minded and willing to listen to all points of view.

I look forward to our citizenry reviewing her considerable record and voting Kathy Narum for City Council.

Mayor Jerry Thorne

Why to choose Miller

Dear Editor,

People ask my why I support David Miller in his quest to become a Pleasanton City Councilman. The answer is simple, respect. Yes, respect for the hardship of his journey through life and the achievements he has accumulated. Born in humble surroundings in Arkansas, his struggles to overcome life's inequities and the personal awards he achieved in doing so are noteworthy. I hear others echo the same desires. They however demand respect, decry inequalities, beg for inclusiveness and seek redistribution of wealth they did not earn. You have heard it just as I have. And I say if you want my respect, earn it by deed not by word.

In order to restore a culture that is fast eroding we must start small and at the grass roots. And the Pleasanton City Council and small city councils like it are the beginning. This current omnipotent government of ours has lost touch with reality and has certainly lost its creditability due to over influence of special interest groups. You said, in the last two election cycles, that you all wanted hope and change. Well, you have your wish in front of you, now act on it. Remember that this country was built from the ground up, not vice versa as some would have you believe.

William H. Mallery

Narum looks at both sides

Dear Editor,

I would encourage Pleasanton voters to mail in their ballots and vote for Kathy Narum, who has been endorsed by the Pleasanton Weekly, Valley Times and Tri-Valley Herald. I served on the Planning Commission with Kathy, and while we did not always agree on issues, she looks at both sides of an issue before coming to a decision.

Pleasanton and County voters adopted an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) in 1996 and 2000 respectively. In order to move those boundaries to expand Pleasanton outside the city and county Urban Growth Boundary, a public vote of the citizens of Pleasanton is required. Right now, the city is planning to build roads, infrastructure and housing subdivisions outside the city and county Urban Growth Boundary and sidestep the voters, breaching the voter-approved Urban Growth Boundary without the voters' permission. This must be stopped.

Please mail in your ballot and vote for Kathy Narum.

Anne Fox

Fresh new voice

Dear Editor,

With the ridgeline settled it is time to shift our focus from planning to economic development in order to meet increasing demands on city services. As a member of the Economic Vitality Committee and an MBA, Olivia Sanwong has the financial experience Pleasanton needs to promote fiscal sustainability and approach pension reform.

Olivia understands Pleasanton schools and families because she is a product of this community. Olivia supports Pleasanton schools putting her ideals into action as a tireless volunteer with the We the People program at Amador Valley High. You might remember Olivia because she likely taught your children to swim at the Aquatic Center.

Retire tired ideas. Reject special interests and big campaign money's influence in local elections. Olivia is a fresh new voice for Pleasanton representing our growing diversity and the future for our young families.

Susan Piekarski

Voting for Miller

Dear Editor,

Like many residents of Pleasanton, I have been extremely disappointed with local government over the past few years. Instead of representing the interests of the ordinary people, I have seen our City Council bounce between catering to government employee special interests and helping the special interests of big developers, who want to duplicate Dublin's development in Pleasanton. What happened to the days when our government was by us and for us, the people? A prime example is this shortened, screwy City Council election. You'd think the mayor and City Council don't want me to vote. They couldn't have made it any easier to lose a ballot or forget to vote.

For the upcoming City Council election we have both a Big Government candidate backed by the public unions, and a hand-picked Big Developer supported candidate, too. Fortunately, there is also a "we the people" candidate in the race, David Miller, who has refused contributions from both the unions or the developers. He brings his 25 years of business experience and a fresh perspective and a citizen's voice to city government. David is an independent thinker and will fairly represent the people of Pleasanton, and stand up to the special interests. I want my vote to count. That's why I'm voting for David Miller.

Kevin Daniel

Kathy for council

Dear Editor,

Kathy Narum's qualifications to be on the City Council are outstanding. She began her involvement with city government several years ago, first on the Parks and Recreation Commission and then for the past six years on the Planning Commission. This experience has given her an invaluable knowledge of the concerns and interests of the residents of Pleasanton as well as an understanding of the working relationship between the city's commissions and the City Council.

During the 17 years Kathy has lived in Pleasanton, she has also been actively involved with the community through the Seahawks swim team and RAGE soccer boards. In addition, she has served on six city task forces, including as current co-chair of the East Pleasanton Specific Plan and formerly on the Downtown Hospitality Guideline Task Force.

Kathy's top priorities are the city's fiscal responsibility and increasing city revenues. She would work to update the Hacienda Business Park's plan to attract more business which, in turn, would enable the city to include more park area and recreational opportunities in the capital improvement budget.

Kathy is well prepared to study the issues coming before the City Council and she has demonstrated the ability to work well with others. Her experience, community involvement and willingness to listen make her an outstanding candidate.

Barbara Hempill

Financial reality

Dear Editor,

I encouraged David Miller to run for City Council years ago and thank him for stepping forward for this short term seat on Pleasanton City Council (the winner will have to run again in November 2014).

Pleasanton faces an unfunded liability of about $160 million for employee pension and retiree health care programs. David has worked for years on this issue, appearing before the City Council numerous times encouraging them to take action. David knows that for traditional pension plans to work, the promised benefit levels must be affordable and the accounting practices and actuarial assumptions must be reasonable. David Miller knows it's time to face financial reality and has the courage to lead the way.

I thank all four candidates for stepping up but I believe David Miller is an independent thinker who has the intelligence and courage to tackle this No. 1 issue in Pleasanton. Give him 18 months to prove he is up to the job.

Send your mail-in ballot for David Miller for Pleasanton City Council today.

Kay Ayala

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