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Pleasanton school board goes out of town to hire new principals for schools here

Original post made on May 15, 2013

The Pleasanton school district Tuesday hired Jason Krolikowski (in photo), an assistant principal from the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, as Foothill High's new principal to replace John Dwyer, who's taking a position as principal of Lynbrook High School in San Jose.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 2:07 PM

Comments (46)

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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 15, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I am disappointed to hear that Mr Bull has not been placed as Principal of Amador. If he has applied (as we all were sure he would), he is the only candidate that is qualified to lead our school. As the VP he has been assuming many of the Principal roles and this transistion would be seemless. Let's not miss an opportunity to keep talented people in the Pleasanton Unified system.


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Posted by Agree
a resident of Birdland
on May 15, 2013 at 4:23 pm

I totally agree with concerned parent. Mr. Bull would be Amador's best choice, and I will be very disappointed if he is not our next Principal.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Birdland
on May 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm

I'm assuming he applied and wasn't appointed. Who could be better that Mr Bull?


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Posted by nancy s.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2013 at 6:08 pm

I thought Lori Vella would step into a Principal position at one of the high schools.


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Posted by Seeing a trend
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on May 15, 2013 at 7:29 pm

So this has become all too common with the current leaders of the PUSD. As a student, there was not a more qualified person for the Principal position than Mr. Bull. I even overheard Mr. Hansen personally endorse Mr. Bull to take over. Another screw up by PUSD....wonder why all the administrators are jumping ship....


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Posted by Clyde
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 15, 2013 at 9:03 pm

They need to bring in someone with a track record of success, 15 years or more experience as a principal, and someone who gets to know students as individuals.

The last thing the Governing Board needs is some principal that is so bad that the Governing Board will have to spend their days, nights and weekends fielding complaint phone calls from parents and students. Also, the last thing anyone needs at this school is someone with a rocky record shipped over from some other school (shuffled from one school to the next) or someone with just 2-3 years experience as a principal.

They need to bring in someone who has had the equivalent experience and success as Hansen. Pleasanton high school students deserve someone of the same caliber and experience as Hansen.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2013 at 9:20 pm

No one with 15 years of experience as a Principal is going to look to make a lateral jump to Amador. There is only one Jim Hansen. They just need to get new blood in here that will keep the momentum going.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Foothill High School
on May 15, 2013 at 10:13 pm

I'm a Foothill parent and am concerned about this selection. Mr. Krolikowski has never been a principal and the school he comes from as a VICE principal seems to have less than half the number of students that Foothill has. Further, he seems to be a bit of a job hopper. He has seven years total in a VICE principal capacity, but at three different schools. One year in Richmond, three years in Martinez and three years in San Ramon. And now he's moving again. This suggests he'll only stick around until something better comes along. SMH.

I'm sorry, but our students and this city deserve principals with experience running a school and one that is as large as ours is. This person lacks this experience and is coming from a much smaller school.

It angers me with what we pay in property taxes in this town that we can't do better than this. Why couldn't we recruit a seasoned principal from another school just as Mr. Dwyer was recruited out of our school. This selection lacks the number of years in overall administrative experience and doesn't have a day of experience running a school as a principal.

Yeah, not impressed. Seems like they are taking more time to find the right candidate for Amador. We have family and friends at Amador, and while I feel let down for my own children, I can only hope they are doing better for Amador. If they are playing favorites as I suspect, maybe we'll just transfer over to Amador.

I don't know Mr. Bull, but I sure wish they would have put him at Foothill if they weren't going to promote him at Amador. At least he has experience in our district and in a school the size of Amador and Foothill. He seems to be a far better candidate in both total years experience, with large student populations and in our district. Hmmmmm.


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Posted by Clyde
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 15, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Jim Hansen was a principal at the Valley High continuation school, Dublin High, and Wells Middle School before becoming to Harvest Park, where he spent 11 years as principal. He has spent the last 3 years at Amador.

There are many candidates out there like Jim Hansen that have had an amazing track record of 15 years as principal. That is the type of experience needed at Amador. And Amador needs the personality of Jim Hansen who is a people person, knows practically every students' name and promotes a welcoming atmosphere at the school.

No one needs a principal that acts like students, parents and the communities are some sort of enemy.

Also, before coming to Harvest Park, Hansen could have been seen as a job hopper too -- 3 schools. But he stayed 11 years at Harvest Park. I think the person selected at Foothill should be given a chance.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Foothill High School
on May 15, 2013 at 11:24 pm

@Clyde:

Okay, how about giving him a chance at Amador instead of Foothill? You've pointed out how much experience Mr. Hanson has and why he is great when the person you say should be given a chance has none of the same experience. Sorry, but my children aren't to be guinea pigs to see if this person works out. I pay way too much to live here to have my children be experiments. They should have hired someone with more experience plain and simple.

And by the way, I wouldn't want to push this person off on Amador. If he is lacking what Foothill kids need then he's not good enough for Amador either. Mark my words though, Amador will end up with someone with far more experience. Amador will either promote someone within which would have experience with the student body and district or they'll hire someone with several years experience in a principal role from a large school. Frankly, I hope that's what happens. Just because Foothill kids will have someone without the necessary experience doesn't mean the same should be true for Amador.


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Posted by Julie
a resident of Foothill High School
on May 16, 2013 at 4:42 am

Foothill has always been the "step child" of PUSD and the old guard of Pleasanton. Just look at the reporting here in the Pleasanton Weekly, falling all over every AVHS concern and event and pretending to cover FHS in the same manner, so obvious that Amador news has a much higher priority!

Now watch this comment board be closed;)


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Posted by Fight for your right!
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on May 16, 2013 at 8:30 am

Change is never easy. I for one am excited to have someone from outside the district come into the principal role at Foothill. Fresh blood, fresh outlook. So what if the school he came from isn't as big. At some schools the VPs do more with the students than principals so let's give this guy a chance before he is pinned to the wall. Maybe he can turn around the office staff at the school, some of whom should retire and be replaced.

Let's bring Foothill morale back up and make it a better place for staff and students.

As for Foothill being the step-child of the district...maybe they do have a bit more coverage. But what is being covered? Huge events that the students have excelled at! Maybe Foothill needs to step up its game in some areas! Let's not pit the schools against each other. It is a large district and all the students and staff deserve great leadership.

I for one will be giving the new Foothill principal a chance.

Now, let's see if we can get a principal at Donlon to stay longer than a year!


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Posted by Member
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 16, 2013 at 8:34 am

Mr. Bull and Ben Fobert were finalists for the position. Neither were chosen because the district office wants a "yes" man to kowtow to their policy. Bull and Fobert's biggest flaw was actually listening to staff before making decisions, something the district does not want. And no, trolls, that does not mean they do what the staff wants. It just means they listen to all of the vested parties before implementing a decision. Amador's staff is one of the best in the area. There is a reason it is #171 in the nation and Foothill isn't even on the list.


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Posted by Mama Falcon
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on May 16, 2013 at 8:52 am

I am very dubious about the Foothill principal appointment. This is a big, prestigious school in the ranking and comparative scheme of things (correction to AVHS Member, Foothill is on the list just not as far up as AVHS), so why are we not hiring someone with more experience and a more impressive background? Jason Krolikowski may be great and I hope is wildly successful, but seriously it's a crap shoot and our kids deserve better. For most of the kids, SFSU and CSEB are not even the schools to which they aspire so Jason Krolikowski's educational background alone is of concern in a school that sends a lot of graduates to top schools. I have no doubt that Amador will get a better deal. Aileen Parsons is a great choice for PMS. She has proven herself very capable here and has earned her principal stripes at Fallon. The underlying concern of course is with the district administration and the poor job it's doing. You lot need to buck up and start giving us value for the extraordinary amount of money we pump into your coffers. For shame!


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Posted by Member
a resident of Foothill High School
on May 16, 2013 at 9:31 am

Just to clarify a few inaccuracies listed by the comments about Mr. Krolikowski.
1. Dougherty Valley High School has 2,200 students. Last I checked, Foothill has 2,200 students.
2. Dougherty Valley High School's API is almost 30 points higher than Foothill's, so maybe Mr. Krolikowski can bring some of what works to our school.
3. If you are going to complain about Mr. Krolikowski having no experience as a Principal, you should apply that theory to almost any position in any workforce. Do you think Mr. Hansen had any experience before his FIRST principal job? Probably not, and now he is a legend.

I hope Mr. Krolikowski does not read too heavily into the comments on these boards, as the negativity does not represent who we are as a school and community.


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Posted by falcon parent
a resident of Foothill High School
on May 16, 2013 at 9:34 am

Wow... we p-towners sound like whiny, entitled snobs. I will be giving the new principal a chance. The hiring process was robust and involved the community and district personnel with several rounds of panel interviews. The panels must have seen something in Mr K to make that choice. Principals with "Hansen's experience" are being recruited by districts with much higher pay grades and perks than what PUSD offers. As we know in the corporate world, change is inevitable and its good. So is fresh blood and a diverse background/experience.


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Posted by Clyde
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 16, 2013 at 10:06 am

Member from Amador Valley, you must be a District employee or administrator to have all of that inside information that you are posting on a public blog. What is unfortunate is the lack of professionalism from the District that comes across by these type of posts. Why does every PUSD thread end up with some District insider sitting there during business hours sharing all of the District's dirty laundry with the world?

That said, I suspect the Board who interacts with the community on a regular basis has information from the community that they receive on a regular basis that indicated that they needed to find someone more qualified for the job.

I doubt any of the selection committee of community members (so who was on the committee -- tell us since you are spilling the beans) or district staff (so who was on the committee from the district too -- tell us, yes!) are privy to the information that the members of the Board must receive from the community as feedback on a regular basis.




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Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Posted by Member, a member of the Foothill High School community, 3 hours ago

Just to clarify a few inaccuracies listed by the comments about Mr. Krolikowski.


1. Dougherty Valley High School has 2,200 students. Last I checked, Foothill has 2,200 students.


2. Dougherty Valley High School's API is almost 30 points higher than Foothill's, so maybe Mr. Krolikowski can bring some of what works to our school.


3. If you are going to complain about Mr. Krolikowski having no experience as a Principal, you should apply that theory to almost any position in any workforce. Do you think Mr. Hansen had any experience before his FIRST principal job? Probably not, and now he is a legend.



I hope Mr. Krolikowski does not read too heavily into the comments on these boards, as the negativity does not represent who we are as a school and community.











EXACTLY! Welcome Jason!


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Posted by foothill parent
a resident of Del Prado
on May 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm

I'm excited about the appointment of the new principal. Teachers at Foothill are too! Coming from San Ramon Unified, I'm confident he is strong on professionalism and curriculum, and perhaps can share some ideas about how to increase community spirit at Foothill.
Secondly, I'd like to correct the comment made about Amador 'being on the list of top rated schools, while Foothill isn't even on it'. Not true! It IS on the list; the US News rankings. The more recent ranking was done by Newsweek, and I believe received the ranking due to the special needs/EL population. Facts are - Amador has a higher population of those subgroups. If you want to compare schools, take a look at where this year's class of graduates will be studying next year. Foothill's group is pretty darn impressive, and the staff and administration have nothing to be ashamed of.


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Posted by Donlon Parent
a resident of Valley Trails
on May 16, 2013 at 6:12 pm

For goodness sake, can they get someone into Donlon that can stay for more than one year?? It is ridiculous what they've put the students and parents through for the past 5 years. A combination of both bad hires and unfortunate circumstances has led to a revolving door situation that is taking a toll on everyone. Get it right this time, please!


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Posted by Anna L
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 16, 2013 at 8:14 pm

@Donlon Parent:

With all this talk about the Foothill principal, it seems we've lost sight of the huge issue that exists with the revolving door on the principal's office at Donlon. It's outrageous that you all have see so much turnover. They need to find a suitable replacement that will stay even if they have to offer higher pay. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace a principal FIVE times in five years. This money is far better spent luring a candidate away from another school that will sign a contract to stay a certain number of years. I don't care if contracts aren't the norm when teachers have contracts that protect their jobs. It's time to put students first. This revolving door is a black mark on Pleasanton in general and could ultimately impact real estate values.


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Posted by Parent of AV Students
a resident of Ruby Hill
on May 16, 2013 at 8:48 pm

I am very disappointed that Mr. Bull was not appointed. What an incredible leader and model for our students. I know many of the faculty and staff at Amador, and they are very displeased with the district's decision and they fell like they have been left out of the decision making process. I think it is time to reevaluate the Superintendent and Assistant Superintedents positions. It seems as if very poor decisions that are not in the best interest of our children are not considered. Amador is one of the best schools in the nation and they want to bring someone from the outside in to change everything. I will be at the next Board meeting, and hope many parents, students, and teachers will be there too to demand accountability by our elected Board. The district personnel is only looking out for their own interests. Shame on them!


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 16, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

"This money is far better spent luring a candidate away from another school that will sign a contract to stay a certain number of years."

I can't speak to what is going on at Donlon, but I am fairly certain principals have one year contracts. Multiple year contracts are a double-edged sword. Unless a principal is evaluated out of their job, a mediocre principal with a multi-year contract would have to be paid out for any remaining time (or some larger portion of it) if the district/parents were unhappy.


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Posted by Libertarian
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 16, 2013 at 11:22 pm

It's better to hire a mediocre candidate who's ready and willing to work with a one year contract than to hire a stellar candidate who might insist on a multi-year contract. As Kathleen suggests, this makes sense from a dollar and cents standpoint.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 17, 2013 at 12:11 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I was just pointing out a potential issue. I had a three year contract when I worked here, so I am not against them.


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Posted by Libertarian
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 17, 2013 at 1:02 am

Yeah, me too. Those multiyear contracts are okay for me, it's the other guys I have a problem with. And point remains: We can hire better principals if with stick to the one-year contracts. Yep, makes sense to me.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 17, 2013 at 9:04 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Lib, You might consider relaxing just enough to undo the knots you tie yourself into.


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Posted by Donlon Parent
a resident of Valley Trails
on May 17, 2013 at 11:15 am

Perhaps a new principal every year isn't harmful financially to the district (I really wouldn't know all about that), but the effects on the teachers, students, and parents at the school and the hindrance to progress (no one can accomplish much in one year!) is quite harmful. Let's take a little more care with this hire, folks, okay? Isn't Amy Simione back in town? ;)


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Posted by av parent
a resident of Birdland
on May 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm

We need to attend the next board meeting to let them know that this isn't ok. We are 4 weeks away from summer and there is no time to transition in a new principal unlike foothill. Also email the board. Let our voices be heard like the csr parents. They got what they wanted, we can too.


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Posted by AVParent
a resident of Amador Estates
on May 17, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Mr. Bull is a great vp but there are some staff (my neighbor teaches there) who were very concerned about him possibly supervising his wife and the fact that he is very new to the job. She also mentioned that he has a lot of close personal friends on the staff. Honestly, after hearing that sounds like the district made the right choice on passing. I' don't think he should be handling the discipline of his friends. That is not a good position to put him in. When I asked why the district did not hire him for foothill she said he did not want to work there.
I think he's a great vp but in light of this information I think the district made the correct, professional call. I'm confident a great principal will be located.


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Posted by Another AV Parent
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on May 17, 2013 at 8:45 pm

I agree with AVParent. I am involved at the site and there is a very big contingency of pro-Bull teachers who are angry that he did not get hired. I do think he is a very good vice principal. I am leery of how much these teachers are fighting for him and how openly they are advocating. I have to wonder if he would feel some sort of allegiance to all of his friends if he were placed in the role of principal. The whole campaign has been very unprofessional but, in my experience, this is the way a lot of AVteachers behave, they are very unprofessional.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 17, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Well I guess there is an opening in San Ramon so everyone can go apply there.


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Posted by Teacher
a resident of Avila
on May 18, 2013 at 2:28 pm

It is "unprofessional" for the Amador teachers to voice their opinion? What has been unprofessional about it? Have you been on the campus?

Your comment is clearly uninformed. You have no clue of what is happening on the campus and the real opinion of the majority of the staff. It is so sad to see this "my sister's neighbor's cousin works with someone who talked to someone who works there 1 day a week for 1 hour" and assume that it MUST be true if someone said it.

You don't know Mr. Bull, you don't know the staff, and you clearly don't understand the professional relationship that the Amador staff has with each other and with Mr. Bull.


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Posted by Proud Pleasantonian
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm

I applaud the district management and board for not accepting mediocrity for our students. If it takes another round of looking, or another two rounds of looking then so be it. I am not comfortable with the staff rallying for an insider. They are just looking for someone to protect their interests. Typical union thug behavior.
Thank you PUSD management and board for protecting the needs of the students and looking for a principal that has no history with this staff.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on May 18, 2013 at 6:20 pm

I agree with Proud Pleasantonian. How can union thug teachers be trusted with anything? They have no judgment but only do what the thugs in the union office tell them to do. When they've given my kids bad grades in the past I always just assume it's because they are too busy aggitating for higher salaries or trying to get a union stooge elected to the city counsel.

The proof is in the pudding. How many of hundreds of schools are ranked higher than this one?

We need to bring in a strick task master who will keep the incompetant union yahoos in line.


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Posted by Bob's my name
a resident of Beratlis Place
on May 18, 2013 at 6:26 pm

So teacher tell me how the majority of the staff feels since you are the spokesperson. What about the minority? Maybe there are others who agree with them but are afraid to speak up for fear of retribution if a certain person becomes principal. Amador is a pretty great scho thanks to the parents not the teachers. And since we elect the school board they get to decide not the teachers.


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Posted by Ruby Hiller
a resident of Ruby Hill
on May 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm

If any of the above statements are true then the school board did the right thing. We need outside talent in this district to broaden perspectives.
A talented superb administrator will be located because that is what we as a community demand and I, for one, am happy that the board is listening to us instead of the employees. We are not out of place to question where the true interests of the teachers lie.


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Posted by Libertarian
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2013 at 12:28 am

Can't we just hear the clomp-clomp of heavy boots marching across Germany's farmland? And the authoritarianism, probably forced upon poor Ruby from being schooled in a strict, rural Nebraska school house. Top down, suspicious of any possibility of or potential for genuine collaborative workings between teachers and administration. No, better to whip the union thug teachers into shape until their will conforms with test expectations and test expectations alone.


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Posted by Martha
a resident of Birdland
on May 19, 2013 at 9:07 am

There seems to be some internal struggle if you just read what the teachers say and then what others are saying. The teachers are afraid of a "yes man"? To me that is a red flag. I would like to see the hiring of a principal that can work with all invested parties including the district management. At least from the teachers posting here I get the feeling that they think the district is the enemy. Whatever the case that is not a good relationship between staff and management. The teachers must have felt comfort in that their choice for principal would continue operating in that mode. I am not anti-union and I don't think teachers are evil but I do want all parties that my tax dollars pay for to work together.


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Posted by Nany
a resident of Birdland
on May 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm

It's a shame that Amador can't have what it should have had three years ago, someone who knows Pleasanton and more specificially high school curriculum and Amador culture and students. Could have been Rick Sira or VP at the time Rhea Brandon but no they gave us Jim Hansen so he could do his three years with a higher pension buyout. Yes he can shake hands and smile but NO HS experience. What is it that's he's done for Amador that we need another principal like him? But hey he can retire with more money. I guess he deserves that hunh? So here Amador here is again, we had a chance with presumbly candidates that were vetted by the district but in the end they weren't good enough. And by reposting, what makes they more qualified then the first time. I think that perhaps in her third year Ms. Ahmadi is no longer able to fake it and things are falling apart. As for Mr. Bull not being able to supervise or be on campus with his wife, he's been doing it for the past two years and I've heard of no uproar of favoritism, just a job well done. The district has lost three principals lately, how many more well qualified administrators are they going to lose?


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Posted by Truther
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm

There is a contingency of teachers who are uncomfortable with the relationship between principal and wife. Perhaps they are a minority but it seems that the district office agreed with them. Vice principals have no power to discipline employees but principals do. In the end it is better to err on the side of caution for the district. Why mix up all that personal relationship business? I am sure Mr. Bull can be the principal of another school in Pleasanton if he is as good as he seems to be.


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Posted by Martha
a resident of Birdland
on May 19, 2013 at 4:40 pm

What has Hansen done for Amador in three years?
Let's look at the API 2010-883, 2011-893, 2012-900. To me he has done a lot to increase test scores and our property values. But, let me guess he had nothing to do with that? No, it was all the teachers. Not our kids, not the principal's leadership, just teachers. They know all and cause all things good anything bad is to be blamed on the public or the district management.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2013 at 8:12 pm

What makes them think they will get better applicants next time? Clearly Pleasanton is not the district it once was- great administrators are hardly flocking here.Quite the opposite!


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Posted by !@*&^
a resident of Birdland
on May 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm

QUIT WHINING!!!


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Amador Estates
on May 22, 2013 at 7:46 am

!@*&^, caring about our kids and having genuine concern about the leadership in this district is not whining.


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Posted by PUSD Insider
a resident of Birdland
on May 24, 2013 at 12:22 am

API scores go up when more students enroll in AP classes - regardless of their readiness and REGARDLESS OF HOW THEY ACTUALLY PERFORM. So guess what our district officials want... more AP classes, and more kids who can't hack the rigor signing up for them all under the guise of EQUITY. Amador has higher API scores because they get more sign-ups, but if you look closer (which no one here generally does), guess which school actually gets better scores on AP tests...

Spoiler alert. It's Foothill. Same on STAR tests. Look it up.


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