Town Square

Post a New Topic

OPINION: Vice Mayor is about democracy -- or the lack of it

Original post made on Dec 16, 2011

By Matt Sullivan

Readers of the Pleasanton Weekly may wonder why the selection of Vice Mayor generates so much excitement and probably think "why doesn't the City Council grow up and take care of business?" As with many things in politics there is much more to the story.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, December 16, 2011, 7:32 AM

Comments (26)

Posted by Paul, a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 16, 2011 at 8:26 am

There is a bottom line here.

No matter who the mayor or vice mayor is, or how they achieved their positions, a vote by anybody on the council still counts as only one vote. If there is a majority faction as Sullivan suggests (Hosterman, Cook-Kallio, Thorne), and you don't agree with its views, the solution is to vote one or more of them out. Do your homework at the next election and vote for the councilmembers that support your position. The Vice Mayor issue is small by comparison.

Posted by Tom, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 16, 2011 at 8:37 am

Well said Matt! It shouldn't have to be so hard to get the right things done in Pleasanton.

Posted by Shirley, a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 16, 2011 at 9:19 am

Soooooooo glad Hoterman is going out!! Enough of her...

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2011 at 9:21 am

The much more to the story is only the fact that all levels of. Government are so polarized that nothing can get done and disfunction reigns!

One vote is one vote no matter how Matt would like it counted. I am sure Matt has his own "special interests" that also only represent 20% of the electorate.

No one represents the middle anymore. Vote and get the middle in power!

Posted by dknute, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 16, 2011 at 9:23 am

Just wondering why Matt waited so long to 'let us in on this'. Isn't he terming off the council this year?, he waits til now to tell us this little secret?
What has Matthew done lately to offer a solution to the matter? Voting is still months away. What can be done now?

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 16, 2011 at 9:36 am

Stacey is a registered user.

The whole issue was highly politicized by all factions. One minute everyone was laughing and having a good time over drawing aces and the next minute the daggers were out. Hosterman didn't have to abdicate picking someone. There was no common understanding of what constituted "fair".

Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2011 at 9:52 am

Matt is so correct here. But while Hosterman is on her way out, the other two who are in lock step with the special interests are both running for Mayor. And they announced it over a year before the election. That tells you how much push they are getting from the PACs and developers. Those three have consistently voted against the citizens initiatives and remember they even put a confusing initiative on the ballot to try and confuse the voters into not protecting the hillsides. We need somebody else to run. I used to go to Council meetings because they used to listen to the public. Now, they cut the time down so people think they are speaking to the Council but rather they are just talking and the council is not listening. There is no sense in going to the meetings it seems because the majority have already made up their mind.

Posted by Peter, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 16, 2011 at 10:00 am

The comment from Matt omits that the discussion started with Mayor Hosterman offering to rotate the Vice Mayor's job each quarter so none of the potential mayoral candidates would have an unfair advantage in the election because of their Vice Mayor title. That seemed like a fair approach to me.

Posted by Matt, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2011 at 10:57 am

Matt has consistently been against everything. He was ineffective because he saw the downside of every idea and none of the upside.

Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2011 at 11:00 am

Peter, are you saying that we should never have a one year term of Vice-Mayor every other year since there is an election every other year and any one of the Council members can run for Mayor?

Since the average voter in Pleasanton does not know who the Vice Mayor is, I suggest that if any Council Member was a Vice-Mayor during their term, they can put on their campaign credentials "Vice-Mayor Pleasanton" and leave off the year. There is no unfair advantage there. However I would also suggest that any Council Member that is running for Mayor in a safe seat should put in a disclaimer that if they win that there will be a subsequent special election at the cost of the taxpayers to fill their vacated council seat.

Posted by Oak Hill Observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 16, 2011 at 11:09 am

Matt Sullivan has always been a victim and a whiner. His radical, far-left associations are his special interests that do not represent the "larger" Pleasanton community. You can also see that he is a class-warfare liberal from his 1%--99% Media/Democrat talking points.

I am tired of having whiners "fighting" for me or anyone else for that matter.

Don't let the door hit you on the fanny on your way out, Matt.

Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Oak Hill Observer, your unkind words do not surprise me. You are on the Recreation Commission aren't you? I am sure that as soon as Matt Sullivan is not in office, the West Las Positas Interchange will be slammed through. Then you will be regretting your harsh words.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Stoneridge
on Dec 16, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Mr. Sullivan, why don't you run for Mayor?

Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2011 at 10:02 am

If getting Matt Sullivan out of office will get the W. Las Positas interchange built sooner, I'll try a little harder to make that happen.

Posted by curious, a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Didn't Matt receive a substantial campaign contribution from Mary Hayashi in 2008? Given that she doesn't live in Pleasanton and only represented a small part of the City isn't that a bit of special interest?

Seems like there's always two sides to a story. . .

Posted by Curious, a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm

And wasn't the real issue here that the Mayor wanted to appoint her side-kick for a second year as Vice Mayor but knew she didn't have 3 votes to make it happen? So instead of asking who isn't planning to run for Mayor and suggesting that person as Vice Mayor she gave up her leadership position and left it up to the 4 Council members to decide.

We all need to remember the reason for term limits. It was to allow for a change of leadership every so often to give everyone a level playing field. Having someone who has announced they intend to run for Mayor as Vice Mayor would give them a distinct advantage. My guess is that if either Matt or Cindy would have said "I'm not planning to run for Mayor" they would have been appointed to Vice Mayor. Seems pretty clear from this article that we can look forward to Matt Sullivan running for Mayor.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 17, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"My guess is that if either Matt or Cindy would have said "I'm not planning to run for Mayor" they would have been appointed to Vice Mayor."

One faction's idea of fair was different from another's. It would not have been fair if Matt or Cindy got appointed just because they had not announced an intention to run for mayor. The crisis of fairness was created by not rotating the position amongst all Councillors. Perhaps the most fair method to resolve the crisis would have been to draw the ace.

Posted by Joey, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2011 at 10:09 pm

What will the ballot say? Vice mayor? or councilmember for everyone?

Posted by June, a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Sullivan is out of touch. Maybe his next editorial is to have an Occupy Pleasanton movement. Didnt it take over seven years of intense public input before the General Plan was approved. It takes several years to get the Housing Element approved, again with alot of public input. In fact, Pleasanton is known for its comprehensive public review and input process. Its an insult to say the public doesnt have a say at City Hall when there are literally hundreds of resident volunteers on different committees, commissions, task forces and ad hoc committees. Sounds like the same old tired script. He never has any positive solutions. Time for him to retire

Posted by Advocate for Democracy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Councilmember Sullivan is wrong about what democracy is and isn't. According to him if he disagrees it is undemocratic. If it is his idea then it must be democratic, oh wait that doesn't work because he ADVOCATED for the Oak Grove project, worked with the neighborhood and the developer, voted on a 4-1 in favor and them spread lies and innuendos about how the lack of transparency led to this blight of a development because he changed his mind. Just one example of just say NO Matt.

This is a representative democracy. Every resident deserves a voice. One thing great about this council is that they represent every faction of the city. One voice does not mean more than another. These accusations about being bought and paid for are ridiculous. This is a city council that makes very little money and has the responsibility of making huge decisions about the future of this city.

It is easy to complain and it must be difficult to be on the downside of a 3-2 vote. It is even worse to have done the homework over years and be on the upside of a 4-1 vote and let unelected special interest individuals influence you to change your mind. (two of the three people who launched that citizens initiative had economic interests in seeing the project NOT built. Does that count as "special interests"?)

It is sad. Watch the council meetings. Matt is a bully. He is personal and toxic when he assumes another councilmember disagrees with him. He is not being transparent or democratic in his approach. If he was, he would work toward compromise and consensus. He is the main reason why the council looks polarized. He has no interest in anyones' opinion but his own. It is sad. He has spent a lot of time serving this community and it is too bad that his inability to see has caused him to miss the point of democracy.

Curious is right. Check the public record. Both Sullivan and McGovern took $500 from Hayashi. Hmmm. . .

Posted by Huh?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Every resident deserves a voice, yes indeed. Too bad that the majority of the city council along with the mayor only listen to non-resident land speculators and corporate interests and PACs

[P.S. If there was actually democracy in Pleasanton where council members and the mayor represent the public, Oak Grove would have never been approved, because the voting public in Pleasanton does not support building subdivisions in the ridgelands regardless of where the ridgelands happen to be (east, north, west, south).
But when the mayor and the majority of the city council decides to represent the Lins and Charter Properties (not one of them residents of Pleasanton), who collectively have poured several million dollars of campaign muscle into supporting development-friendly politicians and fighting open space initiatives, that certainly is the testament to the fact that representative democracy does not exist in Pleasanton right now.]

Posted by Advocate for Democracy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Oak Grove was an example of representative democracy and direct democracy. You are right that the majority of registered voters who voted during that election voted against the development and almost 500 acres of open space. Not even a majority of registered people voted in that election. But that doesn't matter. It also didn't matter that the PAC who supported NO never did file FPPC filings, that two of the three had economic interests that were their own and the third one was mad because the developer had donated to Hosterman during the previous mayoral election and therefore she lost for mayor. She accepted money from the same source in the previous council election.

Nothing is as simple as this editorial. Easy to complain, hard to find solutions. Sullivan is not the first politician who has made his reputation based on I vote NO on everything. Under a democracy and a capitalistic society people still have property rights.We are not a one issue community. . .but the tail sure wags the dog sometimes!

Posted by Huh?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I checked into some of your assertions after I looked up what 'FPPC filings' stands for (you've got to be some political operative or one of their lackeys or spin doctors because hardly anyone including me knows what 'FPPC filings' even means).

For instance, you said that regarding Oak Grove those who "supported NO never did file FPPC filings." That is fiction. I just looked and there are 16 FPPC filings that are in plain sight posted on the city's website . . .Web Link

No wonder no one trusts politicians who post anonymously and political operatives. Advocate for Democracy, why don't you do your own Guest Opinion and sign your real name or tell us your real name? And back up your assertions with some data next time.

Posted by GX, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2011 at 9:41 pm

If the Council truly represented the citizens of Pleasanton, there is no way they would have allowed employee compensation and retirement costs to get so out of control.

They have had eight years to deal with this issue and are only now taking very small baby steps because the problem can no longer be ignored. And even today with the baby steps they are taking, the unfunded liability is still growing.

We are seven months past the end of the previous Police contract and still no new contract. Why? The longer this goes on, the more acute the unfunded liability problem becomes.

Why does it take concerned citizens to point out this obvious problem and force the Council to find the courage to deal with it? Where is the democratic representation in this?

It is clear from the results of the Council's decision/non-decisions that public employee unions are the special interest group that are at the top of the food chain in Pleasanton and the rest of us will be the poorer for this.

Posted by curious, a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm

GX, are you aware that Matt is the Council member advocating for Project Labor Agreements (PAL) for the upcoming projects? Are you also aware that he was the Council member who asked that there be a resolution supporting the Castlewood union workers even though Castlewood is not in Pleasanton? (Joined by Cook-Kallio a member of the teacher's union.)

Are unions not special interest groups as well. . .there is more to this story then Sullivan chose to tell in his guest editorial.

Huh, I think what they're refering to is that ads were paid for by Allen Roberts, a property owner bordering the Oak Grove property, that were supposed to be declared given the cost of them. Roberts never filed the appropriate paperwork despite receiving a letter from the Fair Political Practices Committee to do so.

Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2011 at 7:43 am


Huh? Is that your real name? I googled it, but nobody named Huh lives in this area. Come on, come clean, you're really Jerry McNerney, posting anonymously aren't you? Huh? You're not..!! Boy, am I confused. I know what FPPC means, but don't understand what HUH means.

What I do know is that Matt Sullivan is a whiner and doesn't deserve Anybody's vote. Huh? I'm referring to Fred Anybody, who does know what the initials FPPC stand for. (Fred's pretty smart.)

Huh -- Gotta go now - I'm really confused, but still have to be at my desk at City Hall in 20 minutes.

Arroyo Ayala

If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Understanding Early Decision in College Admissions
By Elizabeth LaScala | 1 comment | 2,277 views

New heights for NIMBYs
By Tim Hunt | 31 comments | 1,480 views

Weekly, TV30 to host Pleasanton mayoral, city council candidates' forum
By Gina Channell-Allen | 2 comments | 1,004 views

Earthquake Insurance
By Roz Rogoff | 4 comments | 810 views