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Pleasanton Has Grown Up

Original post made by Daniel on Jul 21, 2012

My daughter came home to visit us after about 5 years living back East. After a few days, she came up to me and said, "Pleasanton has become a metropolitan city."


She's a successful corporate lawyer, and is a proud product of the Pleasanton educational system at the time. We've lived in Pleasanton a long time. We initially moved here because it was a quaint town, with values that seemed warm and inviting. I guess you could say, it was a nice place to live and raise a family. We knew that something was happening we just couldn't put our fingers on it. My daughter gave us the insight we needed. Here's what she said:

Pleasanton is busy all the time. Vineyard has six lanes. There use to be a beautiful drive in the back roads to Livermore with deer, turkeys and trees. Now it's all McMansions. Sure, there's Main Street, but after that it's corporate headquarters, and a huge increase in population density that made her feel that she was still back East. Safway was a zoo (thank goodness for Raley's). Pleasanton's population diversity rivals San Francisco, and it's just not "mellow" anymore. She did say it at least remained one of the cleanest cities she's seen. Anyway, she went on and on about the growth of Pleasanton.

I just want to know other Pleasanton residents feel. Am I crazy to think that "quaint" no longer applies to my town. Or is my daughter too caught up in being a legal beagle back East to stop and smell the roses.

Comments (21)

Posted by Jim Freeman , a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2012 at 10:00 am

Your daughter's observations are inane. Pleasanton is not a metropolis (seen any skyscrapers, opera houses, financial districts, universities, auto malls, homeless, high-rises, or major industrial buildings around town lately?). Neither is the population density anything like a metropolitan area.

And diversity on a par with San Francisco? Yeah, right. Where's our Chinatown? Our Mission District? Our Castro? Do you really think there's a statistically significant African-American presence in our community? Sure, there are more Asians of various nationalities than 20 years ago, but on the whole they're culturally congruent with Pleasanton's established white-collar, upper-middle-class suburban culture. This is a conservative, largely white, Tea Party town, and has been since long before there was a Tea Party.

Congratulations on your kid being a high-powered lawyer, but I don't think she's seeing Pleasanton as it really is.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 22, 2012 at 11:34 am

Sandy is a registered user.

The whole country has grown. The small town where I went to school on the east coast was 6,000 people back then (1970) and it's over 20,000 now. They still try to call themselves a village, but that seems a big stretch to me. They have stoplights rather than stop signs, two grocery stores instead of one, and a Target.

I guess Pleasanton used to be more like Los Gatos or Saratoga? They were all about 20,000 people 40 years ago. Pleasanton has grown a lot more rapidly than they did.

Today, we are a small city -- 70,000 people and still growing (but more slowly). On the other hand, we are smaller than Santa Clara (115,000) or Berkeley (114,000) or Fremont (215,000) and definitely not Oakland or San Jose or San Francisco.

I still think of Pleasanton as a big town rather than a small city, though. We still have open spaces around us (I have seen turkeys driving to LIvermore, and deer driving to Sunol), unlike Santa Clara or Berkeley or Fremont, where there's no undeveloped land between them and the next city over. Main Street and the downtown area are still charming, and Pleasanton is still a great place to raise a family.


Posted by Nurse Shark, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jul 22, 2012 at 11:52 am

Turkeys and deer driving?! That's crazy talk, Sandy. Cougars, though? Definitely.


Posted by Julie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Julie is a registered user.

Pleasanton has changed a lot in the mere 12 years I have lived here. When I moved here much of the area at Stanley and Bernal was empty land. Now there's a fire station, synagogue (?), retail buildings, restaurants, etc. The area across from the fair grounds was open space and now it's full of houses, another fire station, more retail, etc. Tons more houses have gone up between Ruby Hill and the garden center on Vineyard. I moved here from San Francisco and wasn't accustomed to being around so many caucasians (I am "white" myself).

I agree with Jim, though. This city is hardly "Metropolitan". And the diversity rivals that of San Francisco? That's just hilarious. Not only is S.F. more diverse racially, but in all other areas where humans can differ: in politics, sexual orientation, culture, socio-economic status, education, etc. etc. etc. I like Jim's term of "culturally congruent" - that is so true. And, even with all the housing that has gone up, it's *nothing* like the neighbourhood where I grew up. Out my bedroom window it was literally a "sea" of attached houses and apartments for miles all the way out to the ocean. The only "open space" I could glimpse were the trees of Golden Gate Park!

The only point I agree on is the cleanliness. I do appreciate that this is a pretty clean city. I'll admit it...though I feel sorry for homeless people, I do enjoy having a downtown where I don't have to constantly bear witness to their plight by observing them in every doorway and corner, and being asked for money every few blocks. That is what the downtown of a true Metropolitan City is like! I also feel safe here - in any neighbourhood. Not true in S.F. There are places there I would not venture near in broad daylight.

And I still encounter deer and turkeys while I am driving - both here and in Dublin. This is definitely still a suburb, and a very nice place to live and raise a family.


Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Yes Pleasanton has changed, but it is far far far from a metropolitan city. Pleasanton isn't even close to as diverse as other cities in its own county (Union City, Fremont, Oakland, etc), never mind SF.

Daniel, you live here - can't you tell for yourself?


Posted by StudEnt, a resident of Downtown
on Jul 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm

"Pleasanton's population diversity rivals San Francisco, and it's just not "mellow" anymore. "

Guess that means there are fewer Americans left in town?


My daughter came home to visit us after about 5 years living back East. After a few days, she came up to me and said, "Pleasanton has become a metropolitan city."

Probably she doesn't want to come to where her parents are! Who knows how the parents are. Lots of kids want to go to college that is not near where their parents stay. Does that give any clue?


Posted by Steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jul 23, 2012 at 7:09 am

Just wait until the low income housing goes up. Why just yesterday I saw two people who should be in Oakland walking down Main like they live here. Once upon a time, Americans defended themselves against 'diversity'. What happened to decensy?


Posted by liberalism is a disease, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 23, 2012 at 8:34 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Anyone venture out to the Sportspark over the weekend? Talk about diversity, it was like a 3rd world country, similar to berserkely or S.F. Fun to visit, but not to live in, especially if you like to leave your windows open at night.
Be grateful for what you have and if you you somehow want to make Pleasanton into S.F., go move there. One big city in the bay area, with all the problems that go along with it, is enough.


Posted by homer, a resident of Downtown
on Jul 23, 2012 at 8:43 am

I think she needs to get out a little more. JS


Posted by pTownLover, a resident of Amador Estates
on Jul 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm

@liberalism


"Anyone venture out to the Sportspark over the weekend? Talk about diversity, it was like a 3rd world country, similar to berserkely or S.F. Fun to visit, but not to live in, especially if you like to leave your windows open at night. "

you mean they were not all of the same preferred color as you?


Posted by franco, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jul 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm

franco is a registered user.

What is the definition of a "metropolitan city"? The one I grew up in had different ethnic neighborhoods. Neighborhood churches/synagods and stores that reflected the constituency of the neighborhood. Language spoken. I don't see any of that in Pleasanton. Never did in 33 years living here. Maybe today's metropolitan cities no longer have any of this.


Posted by sarcasm, a resident of Downtown
on Jul 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Just a case of a daughter being sarcastic and not wanting to come back close to her parents I guess


Posted by Maynard, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Not white enough, is part of what you're saying.
So go somewhere whiter.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jul 24, 2012 at 7:09 am

"So go somewhere whiter."

Care to give me some alternatives? I no theirs a place or two in Alabama, and maybe a few Mormon componds in Utah. But Id sure like to have a short list for my future consideration.


Posted by jasper, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 24, 2012 at 8:28 am

good one, steve-0


Posted by Julie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2012 at 9:06 am

Julie is a registered user.

Why is "diversity" somehow always linked to "crime" on these boards? I lived for 27 years in the city of S.F. and never had a single crime committed against me. In less than a year of living here (in a much less "diverse" town, especially a decade ago) the hub caps of my car were stolen. People of all races commit crimes, including white people!


Posted by liberalism is a disease, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 24, 2012 at 10:13 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Julie, consider yourself lucky when you lived in S.F. Of course, if you were in Pacific Heights, your chances of staying safe were much higher than living in the Tenderloin, but you never mentioned what district you lived in.
I'm sure I can identify statistics that confirm that lower income and minority neighborhoods (which usually go hand in hand) have higher crime rates. And yes, white people commit crimes, too (i.e the meth labs in Livermore that one of our local teachers like to visit).
Now that you live in 'another Pleasanton neighborhood' (wherever that is) maybe you should be parking in your garage to protect your car from those evil white people.


Posted by Julie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2012 at 10:47 am

Julie is a registered user.

I lived in a middle class neighbourhood, but unlike some people, I didn't remain in my own little bubble. I ventured often into various parts of the city - not generally the upper class ones, though also not generally the Tenderloin. In every location though, I was the racial minority and again...no crimes committed against me.

In the post above you make a direct link between "diversity" and crime. My point is that it's not "diversity" itself that should be linked to crime. It's much more complex than that & I think has more to do with money than the colour of one's skin. The diversity I see happening in Pleasanton is not of the low-income, desperate type. I see educated, financially stable people moving here - just like always, only now not all of them are of European decent.

And when I take measures to protect myself from crime (e.g. locking my door) the colour of a potential perp doesn't even enter my mind. It's a general sense that some people are bad, desperate, whatever...and I don't want to be an easy target.

I live in what's considered a very nice Pleasanton neighbourhood, I simply don't advertise it here. And, the one time I feared for my safety on my nice, quiet street was in fact from a WHITE neighbour. I was so glad when they moved out - the "other white" who moved in have been WAY classier, nicer, quieter, etc. than their predecessors.


Posted by lessismore, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I still feel Ptown is great place to live ans raise a family. But in the 10 plus years I have lived in Ptown a lot has changed. But when I go back to the small town I called home it has also changed. They now have a traffic lights and a small police department. The fields I played pickup baseball and football now have houses. Where I hunted and fished as a kid is now housing developments.

But the one big change is kids today are to busy and pushed to hard. So maybe it's not Ptown changing maybe it the parents who changed. May the parents need to slow down and let the kid's be kid's and bring back the feeling of when we were kids.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Julie, after reading the post above your last one, one wonders if Liberalism is really what is a disease. LOL!


Posted by 20 yr resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I agree P-town has changed since we moved here 20 years ago. I'll have to admit, we moved from an urban area that was as culturally diverse as SF and all I saw was white-middle-class America. But over the last 20 years there has developed a wonderful culturally diverse community here, while still holding on to many of the nicer qualities of middle-class-suburban America. The school district is still excellent, the Downtown Association and City Council still connect residents through parades, community events, and history of P-town. Yes, there's more people, houses and traffic, but I still see turkey's and deer back by the quarries and on Foothill Dr. I still am able to somewhat drive senic backroads (albeit with more subdivisions) out to South Livermore. Vineyard is still a pretty drive. Every town changes, one just notices it more when they live away from it. I barely recognize the "little" town I grew up in 30 years ago, when I go back. Maybe because your daughter isn't "connected" to the town anymore, she is more sensitive to what she sees as "busy-ness" than she did when she grew up here.


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