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Pleasanton candidates show support for new senior housing

Original post made on Sep 6, 2012

For Chinese unable to speak or understand English, Pleasanton's first candidates' forum was the place to be.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 6, 2012, 7:54 AM

Comments (30)

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Posted by Frank Lynn
a resident of Valley Trails
on Sep 6, 2012 at 8:24 am

I would think that most elderly Chinese folks who can't speak English wouldn't be American Citizens, and therefore wouldn't be able to vote. Most likely they moved to Pleasanton to be closer to their working-age children and grandchildren. So it's actually nice to see that mayoral and council candidates are looking to serve the needs of the greater community without caring about whether or not it wins them a vote.


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Posted by Learn
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 6, 2012 at 9:03 am

You come to live in America, learn to speak english!!!! What a concept.


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Posted by annonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2012 at 9:15 am

People who speak English as a second language often have complex or speedy narrative translated because it is easier to understand when the information is dense. The Chinese speaking group at the debate are American citizens.


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Posted by Becky Dennis
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Sep 6, 2012 at 9:42 am

You are correct, Frank. Learn should learn.

The law is that to become a US citizen you must learn to speak English. However, there are exceptions for some older applicants:

Web Link

Many older Chinese people from Taiwan and Hong Kong immigrated (fled) to the U.S. to live with their families when those islands were given over to Communist China's governance. I think this was fine with most of English speaking America:-)


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Posted by Tennessee Jed
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Sep 6, 2012 at 10:06 am

Beckey, you are right about that except for the part of Taiwan being given over to the ChiComm's. As far as I know, it is still an Independent Nation, that is if you ask a Taiwanese citizen.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2012 at 10:57 am

I think it is great that older immigrants are interested in the community they live in.


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Posted by Senior native
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2012 at 11:24 am

I thought speaking English was a requirement to become a citizen...after 5 years of studying.
I was born in CA, speak english, a senior, no pension, no family, but did work to provide myself a home that needs everything done to it. You mean I have to provide a new home for them first ??


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Readers of the article I bet were motivated by how the article was written and the Chinese reference in the headline. The purpose of the meeting was senior housing in Pleasanton. Not sure how invitations are sent out and to whom they were sent, but does sound like each non English speaking person should of brought their own interpreter. Heaven forbid any were hearing impaired.


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Posted by senior native
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm

So Becky, that means they were TOO OLD to 'LEARN' English, are they EVEN CITIZENS ?...Do we even CHECK ?? Shouldn't this special housing be for people who have 'paid in' for several decades ??? Are there
ANY standards at all?? It should be private churches, not public taxes, unless we require the same number of 'quarters' as social security. Surely you wouldn't expect them to 'get off the boat' and have seniors like myself pay for them, when I'm not sitting as well off as most of their families... If they came here later in life, it is because of 'family'.
As the mass of seniors expands, we will be fighting with childhood friends over spaces, so do not expect us to provide for elderly 'newcomers'.... whose children probably said they would care for their parents. Back to the drawing board, before going public.


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Posted by senior native
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm

"Candidates' are always SO generous with OPM ??
(other people's money).
These candidates would not get my votes.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Where is the PROOF that foreigners who live in Plutonia don't speak or understand english? Proof...we're waiting...get a move one!

tee hee hee, tee hee hee


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Posted by jack
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2012 at 10:09 am

and who paid for the interpreter?!?! If they spoke English we wouldn't have to hire anyone and the meeting would of been over faster.

No matter the age, if you can't speak English or understand English you should learn.


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Posted by senior native
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Let's get Becky's response. She says our Federal government excuses older people from MEETING citizenship requirements...just let's them in. We need to check that, and does that mean we say 'step right up; for all the taxpayer goodies provided by taxpayers for citizens ? ? Does it? Should it? Or are there beds for all the seniors of the world? Good to know I don't have to asssume any responsibility for myself. Being a senior, I beginning to worry, myself.
Now churches have total freedom to do anything they want with THEIR
TAXFREE dollars. But, it seems churches are becoming some of the biggest crusaders and beggars of taxpayer dollars, which they would have the right to IF ONLY THEY were taxpayers too. Let them put their money where their mouths are, and stay OUT of taxpayer's pockets. I admire any church's generosity...but, not interference on how or to whom taxpayer dollars shall be spent.
Back home, I'm still waiting for the reply to 'our' standard's for residents of 'our' senior's housing.
I remember a senior from England, who had moved here because of Castlewood family. It made me wonder just how long was she, personally, a US taxpayer prior to getting ahead of others in the senior line...considering my own Mother at that time.
These are all questions that need to be discussed and answered.
It's bad enough when there is a shortage of affordable college seats, that go to illegals, and we 'grant' them money to attend. Now, as a senior, I learn, after working without any pension
for years, but saving for myself, that I need to stand in line behind seniors, who came here 'too old to learn English.
Something's wrong here. Should Becky be working for a 'private' group with excess donations to dispense. That would not be this case. Churches need to step up, or shut up. And not being an official, Becky shouldn't be voluntaring with taxpayer money.


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Posted by Pleasanton republican
a resident of Stoneridge
on Sep 7, 2012 at 9:58 pm

If you are a senior, have lived in US for at least 5 years (I think), you are allowed to use your native language for the citizenship exam. Since Chinese is not a Germanic language, it is very difficult for Chinese elderlies to learn English (as well as other Asian and Middle Eastern natives). Most of these elderly immigrants who came to this country legally, had to work in low pay non-skilled jobs, often 1.5 jobs. Saving money to meet their American dream is their priority, which is owning a home. How would they have time to study? Put yourself in their shoes. If you were more than 50 years old, and immigrated to Asia/Middle East/Africa, would you be able to learn these languages?

They pay taxes, property taxes, etc. They don't steal, and they don't milk the system. They are trying to integrate into the main stream. Aren't these gentle sweet elderlies better than native born welfare recipients who speak perfect English, get up at 11am and do nothing!


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Posted by Liz
a resident of California Reflections
on Sep 9, 2012 at 10:52 am

Of course they milk the system, they have a strong cultural network. They do not pay taxes they are brought over as senior citizens and put on social security. Elderly new immigrants are becoming the majority of Pleasanton senior housing. Becky said it is discriminating to give priority to Pleasanton residents.
I brought my elder parent to apply for the lottery for Pleasanton Gardens housing. There was a chinese interpreter there and we were the only non chinese. Our 25 years of paying taxes in Pleasanton gave us no priority over new immigrant applicants from Oakland.


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Posted by Becky Dennis
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Sep 9, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Liz - I'm sorry your elder parent didn't fare well in the Kottinger Place lottery. Unfortunately, the Federal laws that govern HUD funded senior housing prohibit the City from granting a priority to the parents of Pleasanton residents, and require a lottery to determine who may move in to these scarce very low income units. This scarcity is the main reason that the City wants to redevelop the Kottinger Place site with more units.

HUD senior housing is funded by your (and everyone's) Federal taxes, not your local property taxes, although the City can contribute money from its Lower Income Housing Fund to facilitate new affordable senior housing development. The money in this fund comes from fees charged to commercial and residential builders when the City approves their projects for construction.

There is also non-HUD, affordable, senior housing in Pleasanton which may have different rules for filling vacancies in terms of priority for Pleasanton residents and their families. You can find them listed on the City's website: Web Link


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Posted by Liz
a resident of California Reflections
on Sep 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm

And yet there is HUD funded Asian exclusive housing in Oakland.
A lot of City dollars have gone into Kottinger Place, with no priority for residents.
Becky can you tell us how much of our local housing dollars (what %) are needed for the renovation of the project, that will not give a priority to Pleasanton residents?
I do not believe it would be a priority for City resources if residents really understood that it no longer serves residents of Pleasanton.


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Posted by Becky Dennis
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Sep 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Hi, Liz -

I don't know the answers to all your questions. However, I do know that Ridgeview Commons senior housing (200units) and Parkview Assisted Living (senior 102 units) do give priority to Pleasanton seniors. Kottinger Place has 50 units. I wasn't able to find information on the other senior complexes today. Also, below market rate for sale housing opportuniies offered by the City gives a higher priority to Pleasanton residents.

I can't tell you whether or not the redeveloped Kottinger Place will give Pleasanton residents priority. It might well be able to since its funding will have a different structure, which could allow the City that latitude. Also, I do not know how many of the Asian residents of Kottinger Place come from Pleasanton households.We do have a growing Asian population here in town. They have aging parents and grandparents like everyone else.


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Posted by senior native
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Yes, We have many very smart, very high income Asian couples here, and their aging parents are here, who transer their money to their wealthy kids, then push our native, not so well off parents out of opportunities.
Becky, you should really work with a charitable group and put some or your sizable charitable dollars to use..you really should, and really should stop trying to redistribute taxpayer dollars, and working against native seniors, who don't have money to transfer to their not so wealthy, middle-class workers. Shouldn't we have equal chances?? got a thought


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Posted by Liz
a resident of California Reflections
on Sep 10, 2012 at 9:26 am

"Becky, you should really work with a charitable group"
Becky is on the board of the organization that runs Kottinger Place, she has watched the transition in demographic to become predominately Asian. It is understood that applicants funds are transfered and hidden to qualify for subsidy.
Becky, you would not know the number of residents who came from Pleasanton because that is not asked. I am certain that the percentage of Asian residents in Kottinger is extremely disproportionate to our Pleasanton population. And yet Kottinger Place has received significant funding from the City of Pleaseanton. How much of the renovation of the project will come from the City of Pleasanton? I do not believe the structure will be any different because there will still be some HUD funding. This project will suck up all City housing funds for decades and not serve Pleasanton Residents.
Are our local candidates so ignorant or are they just pandering?


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Posted by justwondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2012 at 10:11 am

Just a question--i noticed a large newer mercedes parked in one of the parking stalls when i went to this forum. How are residents qualified to determine/meet low income? It would seem that any one who can afford a mercedes with insurance and maintenance expenses shouldn't qualify for low income senior housing--especially when there appears to be such a shortage of it. I also noticed a couple of other pretty nice looking cars parked in the stalls as well but the mercedes really stood out.


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Posted by senior native
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2012 at 10:21 am

Yes Liz, I know she's on the board. That's why I suggested she might be more appropriately suited at a facility that is solely operated with private funds, as opposed to taxpayer funds.


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Posted by Becky Dennis
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Sep 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

Dear Liz and Senior Native,

I'm not on the "board" of Kottinger Place.

The City of Pleasanton Housing Authority, the Pleasanton Housing Commission, and Pleasanton's housing department staff have responsibility for managing Kottinger Place. If you need guaranteed accurate information on the current rental policies and demographics, those are the folks to ask.

I do chair the Kottinger Redevelopment Task Force. Our meetings are open to the public, and you are welcome to come ask questions and share your thoughts about any improvements you would like to see made. Getting input from Pleasanton residents is one of our assigned tasks. Detailed information about possibilities for project financing are also part of our discussions.

Dear Just Wondering,

None of the cars you observed at the forum belonged to Kottinger Place residents. The forum wasn't held at Kottinger Place. It was held at Pleasanton Gardens, which is owned and managed by a non-profit founded by local churches before Kottinger Place was built. It is currently managed by American Baptist Homes of the West. I used to serve on their board.


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Posted by justwondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2012 at 11:37 am

Becky, sorry, the cars i mentioned were parked in marked stalls as i walked into wherever the forum was held--i guess Pleasanton Gardens. Something doesn't seem right with expensive cars in subsidized housing.


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Posted by Liz
a resident of California Reflections
on Sep 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Becky ,
Please share with the Kottinger Redevelopment Task Force, that there is concern in the community that the proposed project will deplete City housing resources, to serve non Pleasanton residents.


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Posted by Becky Dennis
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Sep 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Thanks, Liz. I will.


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Posted by Lee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Since Becky is on the redevelopment task force, can she post the information on the demographics of current residents at Kottinger Place and Pleasanton Garden? She indicates the City of Pleasanton Housing Authority, the Pleasanton Housing Commission, and Pleasanton's housing department staff are the folks to ask, but it would be great if she could obtain the information on the demographics and the application criteria and post it here. I don't understand how people that qualify for those housing opportunities could possibly be BMW or Merceder drivers, unless of course, the city is not verifying the bank accounts and wealth held by these individuals. Are they?


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Posted by Becky Dennis
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Sep 11, 2012 at 2:04 am

Lee -

HUD requires extensive income and asset verification as part of the Kottinger Place and Pleasanton Gardens application process. I believe HUD also requires management to verify tenants' income eligibility annually. But, you should check the accuracy of my information with the Housing Commission.

Most Pleasanton Gardens residents are quite elderly, and many don't drive or own cars. Maybe the "suspicious" vehicles people observed belonged to visitors. I have trouble believing that wealthy 80-somethings are trying to cheat their way into the oldest, most spartan, low income apartments in Pleasamton when they can rent newer, more comfortable, affordable senior apartments with better amenities for just a little more.


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Posted by Liz
a resident of California Reflections
on Sep 11, 2012 at 8:22 am

I do believe assets are hidden within families but income and asset verification is done. I agree with Becky that if there is great wealth they would likely live elsewhere. I think the greatest disservice is to not give priority to Pleasanton residents. We could never meet the need of all seniors and to take on that fiscal burden is unreasonable. In addition it leaves low income Pleasanton seniors out in the cold.

I think our local politicians need to look more closely at this project.
I do not support this redevelopment project the way it is proposed.


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Posted by senior native
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 9:05 am

Lee, their very wwalthy 'families' are the 'registered' owners, and they could have provided parents housing also....instead of us taxpayers.


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