Mayors outraged by vice president's snub Editor's Blog, posted by Jeb Bing, editor of the Pleasanton Weekly, on Jul 10, 2009 at 12:58 pm Jeb Bing is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Many of the country's mayors--including our own Mayor Jennifer Hosterman-- are hopping mad over being snubbed at their recent convention in Providence, R.I. by Vice President Joe Biden and others in the Obama administration. This top-level delegation that had been given top billing on a meeting dealing with stimulus funds and other federal aid desperately needed by many cities thought that a group of firefighters waving signs across from the city's convention center were pickets, so they refused to cross the lines. As Hosterman learned, and what Biden's aides should have told him, this fringe group of protestors was part of a bargaining unit that was having a labor dispute with the convention's host, Providence Mayor David Cicilline. Because the union is in binding arbitration over its contract, it's barred from picketing or striking, and the sign wavers were simply among many others who use the U.S. Conference of Mayors' annual meeting to demonstrate for their causes.
Hosterman sits on a number of the U.S. Mayors conference committees that support Obama and Democratic Party platforms and positions. Thrilled by the election of a Democratic, big-city oriented president who's already created a new White House Office of Urban Affairs, she felt the administration's decision to boycott the mayors' conference came as a bracing rebuke. The timing couldn't have been worse with many mayors disappointed already by concerns that their cities are being short-changed on receiving stimulus funds for transportation and housing. Along with mayors and representatives from other Tri-Valley cities, including Livermore and Dublin, Hosterman has traveled to Washington, D.C. to seek funds for local projects. Mayors from the larger cities, including Democratic strongholds of Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami, told Hosterman and others at the convention that they are facing the most troubling economic times since the Great Depression. They had looked forward to meeting with the Obama team to develop programs and approaches that would enable all cities to provide and maintain services for their residents.
Hosterman said this was the first time in 77 years that a president's team has not joined the mayors at their conference and said the snub sets a dangerous precedent. The mayors' meeting is a magnet for any organization or agency that has a beef, including unions, and that by honoring a demand by the International Association of Firefighters not to participate in the meeting, the president and Biden have left themselves open to demands by other groups that will now add the mayors' conference to their list of where to be most effective in raising their protests. Because of the economic downturn, the city of Pleasanton has made painful decisions in order to balance its budget while continuing to provide services to many who have lost their jobs and are in danger of losing their homes. The Pleasanton school district is being forced to lay off valued employees. Neighboring cities are facing the same difficulties. This was not a convention the administration should have snubbed, Hosterman said, and there are many disappointed mayors and city councils around the country that had hoped to hear positive news from the mayors' meeting with the Obama group.
Hosterman said the mayors' outrage reached Washington almost immediately and Obama since has sent invitations to her and other mayors to travel to the capital for a special meeting with the administration. She said she won't ask taxpayers who paid for her Providence trip to foot the bill again for a "make up" dialogue. She hopes the president will personally meet with the mayors next year.
Even without Biden and his entourage, Hosterman found the mayors' meeting productive, especially in its workshops and programs on issues of prime concern to Pleasanton, including energy conservation, green building, climate control and cost-cutting measures. Hosterman, the City Council and City Manager Nelson Fialho spend increasing amounts of their time making sure the municipal budget stays balanced while maintaining basic quality of life measures. Already 950 mayors, including Hosterman, have signed onto the "Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement," which pledges that they will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their cities by 2012.
After the conference closed, Hosterman and several other mayors took up an offer by Cicilline to tour Providence and provide a bit of help on a park being built at one of the city's new urban renewal projects. That "bit of help" had the mayors carting dirt, sand and more to various parts of the park while Hosterman, dressed in a new pantsuit and wearing heels, shoveled mulch into the wheelbarrows. Just wish I had been there with a camera!
Posted by This is news?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jul 10, 2009 at 1:04 pm
The Ultimate Entitlement Program: Public Official.
Give me a break, Hosterman, stop puffing yourself up - you're not that important. You're not. You may think of yourself more highly than you ought to, but you shouldn't have made the trip and wasted the money WE DON'T HAVE this year, not next. Why do you feel the need to be "honored"?
Jeb, Don't worry about missing out. We can hear your claps for Hosterman far and wide and I'm sure they rang out on the East Coast as well.
Posted by Unemployed, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jul 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm
I am not a supporter of our present mayor but I have speak out because I can't believe the blind support the bloggers is showing to the existing administration. How blind can you be! The fact that the current administration did this just shows that they have their own agenda. So stop dumping on our mayor - this is bigger issue than you can see.
Posted by Really? I maean really???, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jul 11, 2009 at 11:57 am
Hosterman is just another "tic" among the "political" many who sees herself "important enough to be considered "snubbed". Give me a break. Most in this town have been ignoring her and her agenda. But given our local media here (Bing can you hear me?) you'd never know that!
Posted by Sensible taxpayer, a resident of the Vineyard Avenue neighborhood, on Jul 11, 2009 at 12:16 pm
Boy, I wonder if the "slap" the U.S. mayors received will translate into some positive action at home? While Jeb has been known to embelish a story or two with a pinch of drama, if this one is accurate you've got to ask yourself a question.
Would Mayor Hosterman ever have the nerve to cross "her" picketing firefighter's or police here in P-town? Cities all over California are in trouble due to the outrageous retirement packages these (greedy?)union reps ask for and receive-Vallejo went bankrupt as I recall-because the "candidate" then elected official loves the support they receive from these vocal/active voter/supporters.
Rarely it seems do these mayors stand up for the taxpayers, Mayor Hosterman included given past experience.
Let's hope that the mayor returns with a little more backbone than she left with.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Jul 12, 2009 at 10:12 am
Hosterman had no business using OUR money for another of her infamous boondoggles. No matter what happened, right or wrong, she should not have been there. She does nothing for this town yet thinks it is just fine to tramp all over the country at our expense. Jennifer, go play with your bird. You give a whole new meaning to the term "bird brained".
Posted by Nancy, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Jul 14, 2009 at 10:27 pm
In case you are not paying attention, Pleasanton is weathering our economic storm pretty well. New storefronts downtown directly counter the charge that main street is a ghost town. Federal stimulus funds are going to those who lobby for the funds. So, why can't Pleasanton be at the table?
Keep up the good work Jennifer. Naysayers seem to show up on the anonymous blogs.
Posted by Vienna, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jul 24, 2009 at 12:31 pm
This sounds like the case of a pebble stopping the entire train. In what world does a mayor not know how to determine a true picket line from a bunch of people holding signs? If there is incompetence at the level of entering a building – how can we believe that REALLY HARD decisions are being handled any differently?
Posted by jacob and alma, a resident of the Canyon Oaks neighborhood, on Nov 30, 2010 at 6:14 am
Sounds like a bunch of Tea Party sour grapes going on. I think Jenny won 4 times over the mediocore, angry, opponents she has faced. By the way, who is paying for the Lin's lawsuit? Kay, Karla, Cindy, maybe little "ridge dwelling" Stevie. Who is next? You go Jennifer, knowing that you were probably the best mayor Pleasanton has had.
Posted by Don, a resident of the Ironwood neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2011 at 9:59 am
It is very evident from recent heated council meetings or workshops that there is a bitter part of our population that continues to express themselves in ways unbecoming of an adult. The other side of the coin is that is what a democratic society is all about. I support Mayor Hosterman fully & appreciate her efforts to protect our citizens.