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What have you done?

Original post made by Curious, Del Prado, on Aug 13, 2014

If you have spent any time reading the Town Square Forum on the Pleasanton Weekly site, you probably have noticed many posters who continually post the negative, the complaints about this and that, and routinely attack each other. What does this accomplish you may ask? I can only speculate, but I believe there are those posters who simply like to stir the pot, not really believing in what they are writing, but rather deriving entertainment value from the ensuing debate. Then there are the posters who I think are sad, frustrated with something in their lives, and looking to blame someone or something else. Often I see this rage directed at "them" or "moonbats" or "liberals" or "righties" or "conservatives" or "the city". All these are large segments of our society and city. I'm not sure who "them" are suppose to be nor "the city". Are we not all the city? Our officials in city government are elected by us and directed by us through our voting and input. We are all these groups and we are the city. We define who "the city" is.

Here's a challenge, rather than coming on to this Forum and spewing forth rage, anger, and hate or complaining about this or that or attacking one part of our community or city government, let's change the dialog to one of solutions and how we change our town and community for the better. Let this thread be a place where we capture ideas for change and what have we done to make our city a great place to live and raise our children. I'll start and I hope many of you will follow my lead.

What have I done today to make Pleasanton a better place:

1. While walking my dog, I picked up trash along the Arroyo trail.
2. I bought the lady behind me in line at Starbucks her coffee.
3. I picked up the trash left behind by the garbage trucks this morning and pushed my neighbors trash cans back into his side yard.
4. I led a mini memorial for Robin Williams with my workout group simply asking for everyone to relate their favorite Robin Williams movie or show or joke.

Now it is your turn. Don't let me down.

Comments (26)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Corky Meunsingrider
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Aug 13, 2014 at 10:06 am

I took out the trash that had been building up for months in my kitchen.


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Posted by So what?
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Aug 13, 2014 at 10:46 am

You have no right to judge or make assumptions about all the users!!!! How dare you insult us! I can tell you are not a regular here... probably because you are scared of learning the truth about your pretty little Obama


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Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Aug 13, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Curious,
In May of this year Helen introduced a topic called "Morale in our School District" questioning why morale seemed lower than usual. A great topic that brought out the usual rants that certainly had no basis in humor like most of those above.

I thought then, and still do, that the problem is much larger and more invasive than just PUSD. My posting in response to Helen's topic seems to fit here as well.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I've lived in Pleasanton going on 25 years now. My youngest grandchild graduates out of the PUSD this coming June. Frankly, I think morale in Pleasanton, not just the schools, has been on a decline since way before the Walnut Grove fiasco, although the mis-handling of that situation certainly exacerbated and highlighted the issues we have with our superintendent and board.

For several years now, some residents (and some non-residents who post here frequently) have decided that vitriol and name-calling are the only way to address one another; that the roots of all evil in Pleasanton are our teachers, police and fire personnel, as well as anyone with a different point of view from the poster; that anyone who looks like they may be from somewhere else doesn't fit in our community; that, as one poster recently said, it's a good thing we don't have more "poor kids" in our schools because they would only drag the "affluent kids" down. Shoot (pun intended), another poster recently stated that anyone who had a different point of view than he did should be the recipient of "a few well-placed bullets".

Frankly, if the kind of "discussions" that takes place on this blog are held in homes, it's no wonder that the negativity spills over into our community, onto our kids and into the schools. It's insidious and dangerous.

Do our teachers, police and fire personnel try to stay above the fray and continue to perform the critical jobs they have? I think most absolutely do. However, they're only human, and anonymous, consistent name-calling and generalizations that attempt to strip them of the value they bring to our community, has to affect their morale. Is there a place for rational, coherent discussions about pensions and salaries? Absolutely! Adults, take it to the City Council. Don't like the outcome? Exercise your vote.

Is the Superintendent and School Board mis-managing the trust we've given them? Attend a meeting and speak out to the Board. Don't like the outcome? Exercise your vote. For example, Jeff Bowser is running for County Superintendent of Schools; don't like his handling of school issues? Don't vote for him in June.

Can diversity be a little scary? Certainly. So make an effort to get to know people as individuals. Let go of those pre-conceptions. Who knows, you might make a new friend.

Do we live in an affluent community? Absolutely. Does that automatically make "affluent kids" better, smarter, nicer that "poor kids"? Absolutely not. It just makes us lucky, and should make us appreciative.

Attitude and feelings of worth start in the home and carry into the schools and beyond. Parents, neighbors, friends, teachers, city and school administrators, police and fire personnel - we all have a responsibility in boosting and protecting the morale of both our community and our kids.

Knowing the atmosphere of this blog, I'm guessing I'll be accused of nefarious plots against humanity, or, at the very least, having my head in a dark place (LOL), but I never said it was going to be easy.


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Posted by Jan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Well said Billie! Thanks for taking the time to share. I love the funny posts that are obvious jokes, we could all use a little more humor, but the angry ones are so very angry sometimes and unproductive. Keeping it positive in this amazing, wonderful town for the sake of my kids and others! Happy hump day


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Posted by Duh
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 13, 2014 at 3:16 pm



@ Curious, I is called Freedom of Speech which is what YOU are doing as well. You also have the right not to read their comments.

@ Billie Everyone loves reading your War and Peace blogs said no one ever. Diversity is only scary if you live in Pleasanton. That is the most ridiculous statement.


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Posted by Corky
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Aug 13, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Corky,
Boy, you nailed it Billie. We live in such a glorious city, and it's just a shame that a few bad apples brings us down so. Just think if we could get rid of our incompetent school superintendent - because everyone knows what a fiasco this all has been - and getting rid of the selfish unions and especially the bad teachers in PUSD would be even better.

Then we could really truly enjoy our affluence. And face it, we could be even more affluent if it wasn't for those darned union teacher pensions. SIGH! If we could only truly enjoy the true affluence we have, not having to compromise with the blood-sucking unionists - oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound so negative, because some of them are really good people, even though they're a bit greedy. It's just that most of them....

Well, about our diversity, let's just say that in this town we would have even more to appreciate if we could just keep the Oakland riff-raff out of the city. I really like our new traffic cameras which, in a sense, ask visitors to smile for the camera in our diversity-embracing city.

So, c'mon everyone. Try to be more rational, and overall morale will elevate everywhere, except where we need to cut pensions and union influence. But, all in all, I'm hopeful you'll all be positive like I am. Oh, and if you really detest the incompetent school board members like I do, there are two really sweet newcomers who could use your vote. They're certainly going to get mine.

With warmest regards, truly
Corky


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Posted by Melanie
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Aug 13, 2014 at 11:39 pm

I'll tell you what I do. I bust my butt day after day and pay thousands in income and property taxes to contribute. I'm sorry I cannot pick up trash on the side of the road since I am a single mom working my butt off to live in community and to raise my children here. I have resided her for over 20 years with a property tax bill of over $12,000 per year. I'm also a good parent to other children and am the official taxi when the kids want to go out for some good clean fun.

Do not judge me for not doing what you have decided meets the "what have you done?" requirement. I do enough, thank you, even if I hadn't been room mom over and over and given probably thousands in donations or buying stuff I don't need to support our schools and other kids activities. And have done so not just for my kids, but for all the kids that were part of whatever cause they were raising money for.

Quit judging and realize most of us do contribute as much as we can. And just because it doesn't look like how you contribute doesn't mean it's of any less value.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 14, 2014 at 9:21 am

@ Melanie- Please go back and re-read my original post. Where did I judge? I simply posted my observation for why I think there is so much negativity on these Forums. I want to change the dialog from one of complaining to one of offering ideas for change. I gave examples of what I did in 1 day that I felt changed our community for the better. Maybe my simple gestures did nothing at all, but at the very least, the gestures were meant to challenge our community to think more positively.

You seem to take offense to my challenge of being more positive and offering solutions. You are certainly entitled to your opinions, but living with the anger you displayed in your post directed at some anonymous poster, cannot be a healthy and happy way to live your life.


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Posted by Registered Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2014 at 9:42 am

Thanks, Curious. There is plenty of opportunity on other threads and other web forums to vent and vilify. Nice to see a thread with a positive call to action.

We have cut our water use, and we'll see in the next billing cycle if we've met the 25% reduction goal or not. We shop locally whenever possible, and by "locally" I don't mean just Stoneridge Mall. We enrolled in PG&E's "Smart" metering system so that our power usage can be adjusted automatically during those high-demand days. We support sports in Pleasanton with our dollars and our time, and it's clear that the overall support from parents like us is beneficial to our youth. I haven't bought anybody coffee lately, that was a good one, thanks for sharing.


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Posted by Formerly Dan from BC
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Aug 14, 2014 at 11:28 am

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

"You seem to take offense to my challenge of being more positive and offering solutions."

Yep, no judging there...

Maybe a better approach would be to respond with something a little more positive to Melanies' plight, since that's what the thread seems to be about? Are her contributions not every bit as important as your own?

I'm not snarking, I just find this a very odd response.



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Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Aug 14, 2014 at 2:33 pm

I agree with Curious. Too much negativity here. As for Melanie's plight, complaining about income and property taxes? Just about all of us pay income taxes. Property taxes, too. And the fact that she has paid property taxes here in Pleasanton for over 20 years means that she has owned a Pleasanton house which has appreciated in value for two decades with relatively low property taxes due to Prop 13. She is in a position of envy for many renters residing in Pleasanton who have little hope of ever being able to afford a Pleasanton house. One of those cases where you can look at the glass as being half-full or half-empty.

As for me, I often pick up any stray bottles and trash on the sidewalk I happen to see when returning from a walk and throw it into my trash bin. A few months ago in San Francisco, I helped an old woman in a parking lot replace the flat tire on her car. And I did all that while continuing to pay my income and property taxes!


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Posted by It never ends
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 14, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Curious and Damon; you seem to be practicing exactly what Curious complained about in his original post. Why is Melanie attacked because she has lived her for 20 years? Why is she made to feel that she hasn't contributed enough for paying her taxes and providing volunteer time and supplies to the schools? It's great that you're out picking up trash and helping little old ladies but why put down what others do?


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Posted by Corky
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Aug 14, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Scrambled eggs anyone?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Aug 14, 2014 at 7:10 pm

@"It never ends"

I wasn't "attacking" Melanie. I was just putting her comments in perspective:

She griped that she pays income and property taxes. I pointed out that many all of us pay income and property taxes. (Agree or disagree?)

She griped that she has lived here in Pleasanton paid property taxes for over 20 years. I pointed out that if she bought a Pleasanton house over 20 years ago that she has enjoyed a considerable gain in property value while having a relatively small increase in property taxes thanks to Prop 13. (Agree or disagree?).

I would have kept quiet about Melanie's post but was spurred on to respond to it because she accused Curious of "judging" her when he did nothing of the sort, and because she started griping about paying Prop 13 - level property taxes for over 20-years on her million dollar plus Pleasanton house. Yeah, cry me a river.


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Posted by It never ends
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 14, 2014 at 7:28 pm

From the original post: "If you have spent any time reading the Town Square Forum on the Pleasanton Weekly site, you probably have noticed many posters who continually post the negative, the complaints about this and that, and routinely attack each other."

I didn't interpret her comments as gripes that she pays property taxes. Re-read your posts and think about what those say. Who's griping and whining?

Be grateful for what you have and don't begrudge others for what they have.


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Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 14, 2014 at 7:32 pm

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Damon, how do you know her house is worth a million +? And even if it is worth that much, what's it to you and why the petty jealousy and envy? Or, are you one of those entitlement fools who voted for the president with the lowest approval ratings in several decades?
Your claim of picking up bottles and helping old ladies is totally diminished by your vindictive attitude toward those that have worked hard to attain at higher standard of living than you apparently can attain. Cry me a river.....


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Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Aug 14, 2014 at 7:51 pm

@liberalism: "Damon, how do you know her house is worth a million +?"

She said that she pays over $12K annually in property taxes. Under Prop 13, annual property tax increases are limited to 2%. An annual 2% per year increase compounded over 20 years works out to a factor of 1.48, which means the property tax around 20 years ago was about $8.1K. The property tax at the time of purchase is around 1.25% of the purchase price, which means that the house purchase price 20 years ago was about $650K (in 1994 dollars). The Bay Area median price of a house has approximately doubled in the last 20 years, so that means that the current value of the house today is in the range of $1.3M.

OK, enough of arithmetic. Back to the original question of Curious: What have you (and "It never Ends") done to make Pleasanton a better place?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Does sound like Melanie has a nice house.

What have I done? I've mainly stayed out of jail.


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Posted by Melanie
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Aug 14, 2014 at 10:23 pm

No, I was not griping about paying taxes and was just stating that the taxes I pay are in part how I contribute. The volunteer and other work associated with my children and schools is also not complaining and is another way I gladly contribute.

I think we need a property tax lesson on here as each time you buy a house, the property taxes are based on that home's purchase price and have nothing to do with prop 13 except after the fact and as the value goes up, prop 13 protects the homeowner from a change in the initial propert tax basis. You can only transfer your property tax one time and I do not meet eligibility requirements. To calculate propert taxes you take purchase price X 1.25% and then divide by 12 which will give you a pretty good estimate. The comments about this assume I live in the same home from the first one I bought 20+ years ago which would be inaccurate. I've given you information on how to calculate property taxes so you could easily determine about how much I paid for my house knowing I pay over $1,000 per month in property taxes. Not complaining.....just stating the facts.

Those claiming not to judge seem to be the most judgmental IMHO. It's not my place to tell others how they should contribute just like no one should try to judge the amount and type of contributions I make. What kind of city would this be if we lacked people able to think for themselves and give in the ways they are passionate about? The diversity in which the people of this town contribute adds to the overall character of the community. I wouldn't live anywhere else.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2014 at 5:18 am

You stand in line for coffee?


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Posted by Formerly Dan from BC
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Aug 15, 2014 at 6:23 am

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

"What have you done?"

The title itself is judgmental. I picture someone looking over their glasses asking me that question. Ugh!

I don't need to publicize my good deeds, I just do them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by REALLY
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Aug 15, 2014 at 6:51 am

I pay my taxes and I gave a homeless man a bottle of whiskey and a pack of cigarettes.


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Posted by Fn Suite
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 15, 2014 at 10:14 am

Really - That's the spirit!


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Posted by caywen
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 15, 2014 at 12:03 pm

caywen is a registered user.

I left a couple of bad yelp reviews for sub-par local businesses. I also did a rain dance, and I try to not waste ketchup at my local burger joint.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Don Key
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm

sounds like Melanie's house is underwater and she can't move.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Melanie
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Aug 15, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Wrong again. Definitely not under water. As I said, I'm here because there's nowhere else I'd rather live and I'm willing to pay the price to do so in a home we love. Not sure what I said that would imply I'm under water, but certainly a huge chunk of pleasanton's residents pay alot more than I do in property taxes so I'm not complaining, again, just the facts.


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