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Mayor names Jerry Pentin to replace Anne Fox on Planning Commission

Original post made on Apr 8, 2009

Anne Fox, a member of the city Planning Commission for the last 5-1/2 years, was booted off the commission Tuesday night in a 3-2 vote of the City Council that instead agreed with Mayor Jennifer Hosterman's request to replace her with local businessman Jerry Pentin.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 8, 2009, 10:43 AM

Comments (50)

Posted by West Side Observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 8, 2009 at 11:18 am

Bravo Mayor Hosterman.

Posted by John, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 8, 2009 at 11:22 am

This was long overdue. I too say Bravo!

Posted by Carol, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 8, 2009 at 11:47 am

What do you want to bet that the developer who wanted to build mansions on the lawn of nursing home up the hill on Neal St. that Fox single-handedly halted will be resubmitting their application shortly to the "we vote yes on everything" Planning Commission. The only person actually capable of uttering the words "I'd like to make a motion to deny this particular development" is now off of the Planning Commission. I'll bet Home Depot is lining up their paperwork as well. They'll be back too.

What is the point of having any oversight board if they vote yes on every ridiculous development proposal?

Posted by Vinelander, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Apr 8, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Carol - Don't be so bitter. Anne Fox has been an obstructionist for way too long.

Posted by doglover, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 12:22 pm

doglover is a registered user.

A 3-2 vote hardly justifies the adjective "booted."

Anne Fox, a member of the city Planning Commission for the last 5-1/2 years, was booted off the commission Tuesday night in a 3-2 vote of the City Council that instead agreed with Mayor Jennifer Hosterman's request to replace her with local businessman Jerry Pentin.

Posted by T.R. Ollman, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 8, 2009 at 12:31 pm

It doesn't say "unanimously booted," just "booted," so no, no problem with the word. It's also a verb, by the way.

Posted by Timothy T, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 8, 2009 at 12:51 pm

I have to imagine that Anne saw this coming. Not only was she hostile with most of the people she had to work with on a regular basis, but she turned former supporters in to enemies.

She does have excellent research capabilities but she mostly used it to be contrary and divisive rather than really solve the problems. Very few are going to miss her.

As far as Home Depot, that was killed at the City Council level, so it's rather moot to bring it in to a Planning Commission conversation.

Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 8, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Well, it seems that the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce's well-oiled political machine, with their hefty contributions to the campaigns of Mayor Hosterman and Council Members Thorne and Cook-Kallio, are continuing to get their money's worth. The Council majority's very public witch-hunt to remove Anne Fox from her Planning Commission job has finally concluded.

The replacement of Ms. Fox with Jerry Pentin, another politician supported by the Chamber of Commerce, has made it clear that individuals who do not agree with Council majority positions will be removed from our city government. Diversity of opinion is not respected. A person's right to stand up, support and speak out about those issues they feel have an impact on their life will not be tolerated.

Politics and campaign contributions have definitely trumped character in this community!

Posted by doglover, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Sorry, booted is a verb....but seemed like a rather unusual choice given that the council voted - why not just say voted off?

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 8, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Something is not clear to me from the article because I don't know the process. Did Anne Fox have to reapply for the position in order to be reappointed and did she do this?

Posted by What about Greg!, a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 8, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Anne would have had to apply again. According to the rules, Anne Fox could be re-appointed by the mayor without going through the interview process (assuming council approval), but given what just happened that was not likely.

The sad part is Greg O'Conner. He attends almost all of the meetings as an alternate and has served the city well. What does he get for his efforts - nada. A mayor who appoints people who are not qualified (BTW, Jerry P is qualified but in the past, there have been appointments suddenly withdrawn due to qualification issues) or who are politically sponsored. I guess the consolation prize for City Council when you are backed by the Chamber is a spot on the Planning Commission. Now you have three pro growth commissioners (Pentin, Olson and Naram) and two moderates (Pierce and Blank). OK developers - come on down!!!

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Thanks for the answer about the process. Does anyone know if Anne had indicated to the City that she was interested in the job? I'm wondering because I heard she might run for City Council next year and thus it would seem strange to re-apply for another four year term.

Posted by Democracy, anyone?, a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Apr 8, 2009 at 2:04 pm

One person's obstructionist is another's champion of democracy. We have lost an important voice and diversity of opinion in our city government. If anyone thinks that 5-0 slam-dunk rubber-stamp approvals are good you must be part of the Chamber money-machine that made it happen. Don't forget, you only get the kind of government you deserve.

Posted by Mac, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 8, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Why does Jeb continue to use words like "booted off"? That does not add to the news worthy of the article. It is only intended to be a way ti "dig" into a person. If Jeb can say this then we should see an article "Weekly President lashes out at Jeb for unprofessional conduct." I go back to an earlier post, the newspaper should be reporting the news and not making the news. Using a term like "booted out" does not add to the news content.

On the issue of Anne, I have seen her in action at the Planning Commission for many years. She uncovers things that staff members "did not know about" and takes her job seriously. Nobody does more work than Anne to get the information necessary before voting on an item. It looks like the mayor is getting what she wants, a chamber supported planning commission. This is almost the same as having developers on the planning commission. The public should not expect to have any project turned down, just like our neighbors in Dublin. I would expect the only projects that could be turned down are those who have spoken out against the mayor. I remember the mayor telling me once, "I expect your support because remember you have a project coming before the city soon."

Posted by biased beyond belief, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Anne Fox should have been reappointed to her position. A member of a city commission is rarely not appointed. I don't know if it's ever happened before. If there were solid reasons why someone should be removed (i.e. not doing their job), that's one thing. But just because they don't have to agree with the Mayor on everything is not right. I agree with the poster about Greg O'Connor. He has been passed over for the permanent position three times now. There is no reason that he shouldn't have been promoted to permanent. That is what an alternate expects and Greg has done a fine job. This has nothing to do with Jerry P. This is all about political bias. The Mayor and 2 city council members should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by Pete, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 3:41 pm

You ran with Jennifer in 2004, what did you expect Matt? That is a valid question. Maybe a meeting at Peet's coffee will explain it. Of course it is political.

Posted by What about Greg!, a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 8, 2009 at 3:49 pm

It is not too surprising actually.

"We" elected a very pro development group of folks to the council (Jerry, Cheryl and now Jennifer) and they have appointed a very pro development group of folks to the Planning Commission. She probably would have "booted" Blank off as well but that might have been a bit much - even for her.

We got what we voted for!

Posted by Vinelander, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 8, 2009 at 6:05 pm

All you Anne Fox lovers can vote for her in 2 years when she runs for City Council.

Posted by Chris, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 8, 2009 at 6:50 pm

I am a slow growth advocate, but Anne Fox was an obstructionist and all too predictable how she would come down on every issue. I am however not sure if Jerry Pentin was the best choice as her replacement.

Posted by Anne Fox Fan, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 6:50 pm

Will definitely vote for Anne!

Posted by What about Greg!, a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 8, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Anne is simply not electable. Too polarizing. While well meaning, her agenda's, like the present city council, are too obvious. We need folks on the council who can think INDEPENDENTLY of the slow growth folks and INDPENDENTLY of the pro development folks and make rational moderate decisions that are in the best interests of the city. Unfortunately, politics rarely favors moderates or thinkers...but rather those who make and keep promises to interest groups that can raise money and operate political machines...sad but true.

Posted by CantWaitforYourNextBallotInitiative, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 8, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Hey, I'd sign any petition that Ann Fox circulates in a nanosecond and trust her votes are good votes. I met her a few times, and she knows I love the Pleasanton hills&ridges. She called me up and asked me to review the draft language that was being worked on by the committee that eventually became the save the hills measure. Imagine that, community outreach to a regular resident like me, to get my opinion. Too bad the mayor and two council members have sour grapes because PP won over QQ.

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 8, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Can someone corroborate that Ann Fox WANTED to be re-appointed?

Anyways, for the Ann Fox and Greg O'Connor fan club, you should read their work of art called the Voters Deserve A Voice Initiative. They filed it with the city, but there appears to be no action on it by them to date. It would mandate voter referenda on certain zoning actions and thereby circumvent the state constitution and state law in this respect, and this mandate would be found in the General Plan as an amendment put there by the initiative process! Wow! Legislative actions now will be put in the General Plan rather than codified where they are normally found! Before you vote for these two in future elections, please read this initiative and then judge their understanding of the process of law in our democracy.

Now you also know why Greg O'Connor was passed over with Jerry Pentin.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 8, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Why is the city council using physical violence to replace Ann? I do not agree with violence in any manner. I hope she wasn't injured.

Posted by Tom, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 8, 2009 at 9:57 pm

As a previous supporter of Hosterman this is so disappointing.
Ann has my respect....Hosterman used to.

Posted by Vinelander, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Apr 8, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Leadership is making the tough decisions. That is why Pleasanton is the envy of all the other cities in the Bay Area.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 8, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Whoever thinks the empty storefronts of Pleasanton are an envy for the whole Bay Area, is living in a completely separate realm of existence. Sounds like a soundbite from the State of the City address.

I read a hilarious article in THE ONION called "The only way to get out of this crisis is to build MORE houses." Here it is Web Link Sounds like this is Pleasanton's solution. Build MORE MANSIONS. What an excellent idea!

Posted by West Side Observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 9, 2009 at 8:28 am

Also, one person's moderate thinking person is another person's anti-capitalist obstructionist. Goodbye to Ms. Fox. There are too many instances of the Red Legged Frog people on committees and commissions working against the interests of the city after decisions were made. Ms. Fox was among the first to step up with a threat of a referendum or a lawsuit on Staples Ranch.

Posted by David Walden, a resident of Verona
on Apr 9, 2009 at 8:38 am

Jerry Pentin is a great addition to the planning commission. He is a good thinker and well respected for rational decisions.

Posted by Dominic Di Blasio, a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 9, 2009 at 8:48 am

Dominic Di Blasio is a registered user.

Lots of opinions here, I would like some facts if on the following:

What issues has Anne Fox been divisive on? Discourse is healthy and the idea that someone is not good for an appointment because they don't agree with the positions of the appointer is short sided.
What exactly makes this a political appointment? I would like to know what political party Fox and Pentin belong to...
What did Anne Fox accomplish in her role when she had this position?


Posted by PW, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2009 at 8:56 am

Yea! for Mayor Hosterman, et al for replacing an obstructionist....a horrible cancer...from her position and replacing it with a respected individual who understands what it really takes to make a city 'envied'. While we patronize these half-dozen obstructionists (I would list them but last time PW deleted my list), cities such as Livermore have taken off on a positive flight to becoming the new envy of the East Bay. Enough is enough! Get real those who swim in the same pod as Cindy McGovern and Matt al! Ptown is dying because of these few and all the demands of the beatened horse they seek. The valuable time that it takes to appease them has cost Ptown SIGNIFICANTLY already. What a price we have paid.

Posted by Jill Rancis, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 9, 2009 at 9:08 am

Its always the Mayor and her two henchpersons. Seriously, someone has got to start investigating the nature of these three being pawns to developers. As the old saying goes, FOLLOW THE MONEY. And voters, wake up! Give these three the boot when they come up for re-election. Better yet, let's recall them!!!

Posted by Tom, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 9, 2009 at 9:27 am

Congratulations Council. You finally got rite of that obstructionist.
To bad we can't remove Matt, who is the same mold. Keep up the good work Jennifer.

Posted by dancermom, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 9, 2009 at 9:46 am

Oh no!! Say it ain't so... one by one, any opposing viewpoints are getting "booted." As a former Hosterman supporter (but no longer) I am disappointed. Looks like we will end up building anything and everything! Let's hope the economy keeps the developers at bay if the City government can't.

Posted by Furdog, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 9, 2009 at 10:09 am

It's about time our council took this matter and squashed it! See ya Anne Fox.....good riddens!

Matt S. you're next!!!

Posted by West Side Observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 9, 2009 at 1:21 pm

You know, the evil, hit-and-run, greedy developer stuff was relevant 30 years ago when Hacienda Business Park was a pond sporting duck blinds. Today, it is pretty irrelevant. The Staples Ranch proposal, fronting I-580 and El Charro Road, has no neighborhood intrusions. Oak Grove is 51 homes near a FREE 500-acre city park and has minimal negative impact on any neighborhoods. Mix use proposals in Hacienda Business Park will not affect any neighborhoods. The Bernal proposals are approved and will have no neighborhood impacts. The Chain of Lakes is not conducive to much development but, at the very best, might support a resort style development involving residential and recreation uses ala Shadow Cliffs (and we share the area with Livermore that does not cotton too much to development either). The remaining proposed development that will drive these obstructionists to the referendum ballot box is the 46-acre Merritt property on Foothill Road—they have already defeated one Merritt proposal and they will surely go for number two. However, the point is that Pleasanton has little to be developed. The obstructionists should pack up and head out to the San Joaquin Valley to see how many evil developers they can bankrupt or, at the very least, stymie in their evil capitalistic efforts.

Posted by Walter, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Well, its about time! What an obstructionist to the entire process. Anne Fox was more political than ANYONE in our City government, she wasted so much taxpayer money fighting issues where she was overruled 4 to 1 in many situations. She is the WORST government worker I've run across in years. In summary, all I can say is GOOD RIDDANCE!

Posted by What about Greg!, a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 9, 2009 at 5:05 pm


While many of us disagreed with Ann, at least she volunteered her time freely and tried to make a difference. She uncovered things (that City Staff sometimes missed) that no one knew about and that make life better for many people in the City.

It is easy to cast aspersions of folks from the sidelines. For example, Walter, how do you volunteer your time to the City? The Planning Commmission will no doubt have vacancies coming up in the future. Perhaps you would like to apply? Ann was not a worker - she was a volunteer and while you may disagree with her politics, you owe her your respect for taking the time...which is more than most people do...

Posted by interesting. . ., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2009 at 8:28 pm


I followed the money and found some interesting things. Richard Pugh (Anne Fox's husband) gave $1,000 to Cindy McGovern in the last election plus Anne Fox gave McGovern another $250. In addition, Greg O'Connor gave McGovern and Sullivan each $500. Sullivan received $450 from Anne Fox's husband as well. Interesting that both McGovern and Sullivan opposed the Mayor's appointments to the Planning Commission when one considers campaign contributions they both received.

While I was following the money, I noticed both McGovern and Sullivan received donations from folks involved with the lawsuit to stop the extenstion of Stoneridge Dr. This includes donations from John Carroll who actively solicited money to fund the lawsuit, Mark Emerson, Brian Arkin and Judith Geiselman. (Remember how both voted!)

I'll let you draw your own conclusions but frankly I find the above a bit troubling considering the votes.

Posted by Vinelander, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Apr 9, 2009 at 11:53 pm

You guys are beating a dead horse. Get over it. Anne Fox is gone. Jerry Pentin is the future. He will be the next City Council member . . . in 4 years when Matt and Cindy are termed out. He will not run against Cheryl or Jerry Thorne. Anne Fox will fade into oblivion. Probably Greg O'Connor, too.

Posted by Jill Rancis, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:28 am

Dear "interesting",

When we talk about "follow the money",we're not talking about piddling $250 and $1000 political contributions. We're talking about major payola that never sees the light of day. People of Pleasanton need to be worried about Mayors and Councilmembers that campaign on a "controlled growth" platform, vote that way for a period of time, and then do a complete turnaround and vote for virtually any development.

Posted by Follow the Money?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:29 am

If you're serious about following the money, let's look at Hosterman's filings just since July 2008:

Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce PAC $6,400
James Tong (Oak Grove and Staples Ranch developer) $2,600
Marty Inderbitzen (Attorney representing Oak Grove developers) $600
Senior Village Living (Staples Ranch developer) $750
Belinda Sarich (owner of Vineyard Corridor Mega-Mansion approved by Council) $15,000
California Real Estate PAC $1,500
California Apartment Assoc PAC $3,000
Owners of Pleasanton Garbage Service $1,600

Hosterman paid almost $24,000 to political consultant Angela Ramirez-Holmes to manage her mayoral campaign (who also managed Cheryl Cook-Kallio's campaign in 2006). Holmes is also a Democratic Party operative. Overall in 2008 she raised $43,000 in campaign contributions and spent $39,000. Her competitor in the 2008 mayor's race, Steve Brozosky, spent $12,000. So much for grass-roots politics in Pleasanton.

This is just a sampling and you can see it on the City of Pleasanton web site.

Web Link

Posted by justthefacts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Common on, Brozosky spent on the order of $80,000 when he ran in 2006 for Mayor. He only raised $12,000 in the past election because one individual who raised most of the $80,000 in 2006 was so disturbed by Steve's political flipflopping between 2006 and 2008 that he refused to raise money for him in the 2008 election. BTW, $80,000 set the record for the most money spent in an election in the history of Pleasanton--so much for grass-roots politics in Pleasanton.

Let's make sure the entire story is told if we're going to talk about following the money.

Posted by more info, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Apr 10, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Political consultant Holmes is also the Second VP of Communications for Pleasanton PTA Council. Pleasanton PTA Council president Joan Laursen is one of the two executive officers of Save Plesanton Schools.
Follow the money, and follow the connections.

Posted by Helen, a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 10, 2009 at 5:00 pm

to Interesting:
Yes, it is interesting to follow the money. The Planning Commission and City Council now have a majority of pro-Chamber people who will approve anything. That is why Hosterman wouldn't promote O'Connor and instead bypassed him, yet again. How can anyone say what she did isn't political? The Chamber will fund all of those people. Has an alternate Commissioner ever been passed over for someone new? Can anyone tell me if that has EVER happened? To my knowledge, it hasn't. It's not something that's done, but with this Mayor, she feels she can do what she wants.

This goes hand in hand with the Stoneridge ext lawsuit. The lawsuit is based on the fact that the council broke the law. The law states that there has to be an EIR in order to address the mitigations of any project. The lawsuit is not stopping the extension. It is asking the city to (as law requires) to address the impacts to neighbors as well as wildlife. Keep in mind, there are TWO schools on Stoneridge (Mohr Elem and Hacienda private school), one large park (Nielsen), a large youth gymnasium (at the Catholic church) as well as many homes, most of which are high density. Don't you think an EIR should be done to see how these will be affected (AND IT'S REQUIRED BY LAW)???????

Posted by who's manning the blogs?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 5:03 pm

PW staff (Gina, Jeb,etc):

Someone on this blog just called Anne Fox "a horrible cancer". How come that isn't something objectionable but talking against the parcel tax is?

Can you at least TRY to be unbiased?

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Is no one able to answer my earlier question as to whether or not Anne Fox re-applied for the position?

Posted by interesting. . ., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 6:05 pm


I think if you talk to most candidates, they would not consider $1250, $450 or $500 campaign donations piddly. You indicate that the Mayor and certain City council members are "receiving major payola that never sees the light of day". That would be a violation of campaign finance laws. If you know of something specific, please elaborate or contact the commission that oversees campaign finance. Otherwise, if you can't or are unwilling to back up your claims then please just stick to the facts of what's in campaign disclosures and deal in inuendos.

Helen, I believe that former Mayor Tarver didn't reappoint at least one person to the Planning Commisssion and there may have been another person he didn't reappoint to another Commission or passed over.

I don't understand your comment the Chamber will fund all those people, refering to Planning Commissioners. Fund them for what? The only one who has run for office is Pentin although O'Connor took out papers to run for Mayor but didn't file them in the last election. How many of them are even members of the Chamber?

You and I have a difference of opinion about Stoneridge Dr. Its been studied for 20 years. All the information is there--perhaps just not a neat package. I don't understand why the traffic on Valley with two schools and a large gym is okay but not okay for Stoneridge.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 10, 2009 at 8:35 pm

I'd hate to see Pleasanton becomes like Livermore (or Fremont, Dublin, even San Jose) or any other poorly planned big, sprawling town with high crime, bad infrastructure. I was hoping Pleasanton would stay small and quiet like other Bay Area town (Los Gatos, Los Altos, Palo Alto, Lafayette, Orinda). Do those towns still argue about development?

Posted by my turn, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 11, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Dear neighbor,

I would be that those cities you listed do talk a lot about development in various forms. Some of them are "built out" and others are likely conflicted over what sorts of remodels/conversions should be allowed. Pleasanton has already "sprawled" to some degree with Happy Valley, Kottinger Ranch, Ruby Hill, etc. Now, we have an Urban Growth Boundary which we did not have when these developments were entitled.

Your fear of becoming like Livermore, Fremont, Dublin, or San Jose doen't make any sense. Fremont wasn't planned - it was formed by mergingseveral townships. Indeed, it is a mess of a city. Dublin...OK I get your point about Dublin. San Jose is major city with an international airport. Livermore seems like a well planned community to me - nice downtown, wine county, jobs, but a little rough around the edges.

Pleasanton can't get that much bigger and the city process makes it so difficult to even replace your own roof I doubt much is going to change.

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