One of Pleasanton's favorite neighboring politicians--former Dublin mayor Janet Lockhart--has just been named executive director of the Dublin Partners in Education, a non-profit organization much like the Pleasanton Partnerships in Education that is dedicated to helping schools. Lockhart is a perfect choice for the DPIE in its work with Supt. Stephen Hanke of the Dublin Unified School District to find more than $3 million to restore budget shortfalls caused by cutbacks in state funding.
As mayor from 2000-2008, Lockhart established good and close-working relations with Sacramento legislators and the California Senate and Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. She's joined the mayors of Pleasanton, Livermore, San Ramon and Danville on trips to both capitals and has successfully brought millions of dollars in federal and state assistance to highway, affordable housing and other public projects in fast-growing Dublin.
Last November, when she was termed out as mayor, with Councilman Tim Sbranti succeeding her in the mayoral election, Lockhart campaigned vigorously for Measure L, a Dublin parcel tax that passed with about 72 percent of the vote and is now bringing approximately $1 million a year for specific services and programs in the Dublin school district. As a result, that district is able to better respond to the impact of this year's drastic and ongoing state budget cuts.
Lockhart brings to DPIE strong leadership experience, great connections and an enthusiasm for education. A former DPIE board member and a former Dublin small business owner as well as being an extremely popular and inspirational elected government officials, Lockhart will help connect and broaden DPIE's support network. She has strong ties to the business community and numerous civic organizations that no doubt will soon be getting calls from Lockhart to pitch in for Dublin schools. No doubt many of these will be Pleasanton, Livermore and San Ramon businesses whose customers and business interests have Dublin addresses and probably children in that city's school system.
As one of the fastest growing communities in California, Dublin's thriving business sector understands the connection between educational excellence, business success and good property values. Even in this recession and with foreclosures moderating, home sales are soaring compared to other Tri-Valley cities. Looking at sales figures for Dublin in the past two months, Realtor Roy Dronkers, president of the Valley Marketing Association, told fellow agent: "It's unbelievable!"
It's also good to see Lockhart keeping her hands in a public role. Although not a political organization, the DPIE is influential in almost every aspect of Dublin interests, from its close association to Hanke and the Dublin school board, to City Hall, to the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and to the city's growing number of social and business organizations. Among its business supporters are Sybase, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Diablo and Crow Canyon country clubs and the city of Dublin.
Lockhart has strong ties to Pleasanton, as well, and in more recent years has become chummier with Mayor Jennifer Hosterman after she and a majority of the Pleasanton council started supporting the efforts of other Tri-Valley cities to expand and extend major roadways between their cities, including extending Stoneridge Drive to El Charro Road and Livermore. With that agreement, Lockhart persuaded her council to become more aggressive in seeking state and federal funding to expand Hwy. 84 between the 580 and 680 freeways, a high priority for Pleasanton.
As chairwoman of the TV30 board of directors while mayor of Dublin, Lockhart also was instrumental in trimming the community broadcast system's bloated expenditures to a firmly controlled budget, sparing the four cities it serves--Pleasanton, Livermore, San Ramon and Dublin--from having to take another quarter-million-dollars from their general funds in the current fiscal year, as they had to do in the two previous years to keep that station on the air. She brought in Melissa Tench-Stevens as executive director to remake the station with less costly but still quality programming, keeping the station in Pleasanton.
Among her other accomplishments are Hacienda Crossings, a vibrant retail center at Hacienda Drive and the freeway, and hundreds of apartments and condos within walking distance of the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station, which she calls smart growth. She has also championed the funding and development of the new West Dublin-Pleasanton BART station now under construction over the 580 freeway, near the Foothill Road-San Ramon Boulevard overpass.
A known problem solver, perhaps Lockhart's greatest influence on Dublin and the Tri-Valley has been her cooperative work with neighboring cities. Once involved in onerous lawsuits over land use, traffic and development, Lockhart met with Mayors Tom Pico of Pleasanton and Marshall Kamena of Livermore to form a three-city compact. She's built on that relationship with Hosterman, and there's no reason her spirited, persuasive approach won't bring the financial support needed for Dublin schools and perhaps provide guidelines for our own city's PPIE to follow in its newly-announced fundraising campaign for the Pleasanton school district.