Town Square

Post a New Topic

CRONYISM

Original post made by Kim, Val Vista, on Jan 26, 2008

The origin of Mayor's Hosterman's hawk complaint have beeen political and perhaps not nice but the way that Hosterman responded to it is the bottom line. A public figure knows her actions come under greater scrutiny, this is a condition a person in public office must be prepared to accept. While it may not have come to the City's attention if it had it been in anyone else's backyard, keeping a hawk is not allowed in Pleasanton. Hosterman should have shown more respect for her office and not dragged the City Staff, Planning Commission, and fellow Council members into the difficult position she put them in. As Mayor of Pleasanton she should be held to a higher standard, pointing blame at the complainant and saying "he started it" is beneath her position and childish. Hosterman should have asked one of her fellow non-Pleasanton hawk handlers to care for the bird until it was ready for release, then pursued the process for changing the ordinance as any other citizen would have been asked to do. The time spent by city staff and the City Council as well as the regional embarrassment is the fault of Hosterman. Far worse is the ugly position that she put Pleasanton city staff and her council in. There is no question the outcome to allow her to keep the bird was favoritism. Justifying it because of the political origin does not excuse the "I am above the law" arrogance demonstrated by Hosterman and three council members that voted to give her an exception. I feel shame for my city and concern that my elected officials do not hold themselves to a higher standard.

Comments (30)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2008 at 10:45 am

Hosterman's "I Am Above The Law" arrogance is exceeded only by those who apparently liked what she had to say enough to vote her into the office she now holds.

Remember -- before her we had Pico...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 26, 2008 at 3:28 pm

Just a general info question. What exactly was this hawks injury that required it to be cared for and taught to hunt for its self. I read somewhere it was captured at/near the Oakland Airport. Was it a hawk vs plane mishap.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Kim,

So, you latched onto the "held to a higher standard" soundbite, huh? I'm really curious how you are able to blame Hosterman for dragging the City Staff, Planning Commission, and Council members into this. I'm even more curious as to where you're getting these "he started it" accusations you're saying that Hosterman supposedly made or is that just some belief you have.

What about all the citizens that spoke in favor of Hosterman at the Council meeting? Are they displaying cronyism too? Am I displaying cronyism here now in writing this when I didn't even vote for Hosterman?

I also think you're way off base with the "I am above the law" stuff. If that were truly the attitude displayed by Hosterman then why would she go out of her way to get all the appropriate State and Federal licenses? I don't think the facts support your claims of cronyism.

I think Cook-Kallio got it right when she said that the law as originally written didn't anticipate this sort of animal but that the intent was to allow such a conditional use.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ellen
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 26, 2008 at 6:31 pm

Jerry, in the application that Hosterman submitted (part of the staff report on the web site) she stated the bird had West Nile Virus and that she had treated it with antibiotics. This in itself is a bit scary as there is no treatment for West Nile Virus and I think most people know that you cannot treat a virus with antibiotics anyway. So if the bird "did" have West Nile Virus, is she subjecting others to the risk of catching this virus and then by releasing the bird is she putting a contagious bird out there which can infect others?

Stacey (or was it Angela, I forget), the letter had it right that the mayor knew that her hawk was not a listed use and although she could verify it or have the laws changed, she did not do that but instead took a chance in this not being noticed. Not a very smart thing for an elected official to do. I think her interpretation of the law is the reason why she cannot pass the California bar exam. I heard that she has taken it and failed 5 or 6 times already.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2008 at 7:54 pm

There is no _human_ treatment for West Nile Virus. Other animals do have treatments for it. For example, there was a horse vaccine created for it long before the disease became a concern in California.

Ellen, what letter?

BTW, lots of people try and fail at the bar exam just as lots of people try and don't do well on the LSAT. Getting into lawyering is pretty tough.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by francis
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2008 at 8:23 pm

BTW stacey is not angela


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ellen
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 26, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Stacey, there is no treatment for West Nile Virus for animals or human. There are vaccines to prevent it (like you mention for horses) but once you get it there is no treatment. Also, antibiotics are for bacterial infections and not for viruses. Hosterman said she treated the virus with antibiotics. Ask any doctor and you will know that you cannot treat a virus with antibiotics.

The letter I was referring to the letter to the editor in the paper which is what started this topic. Sorry but I should have spelled out letter.

Yes, people fail the bar exam but Hosterman did go to law school. I know it is hard to pass the bar exam but somebody who goes to law school and passes but then takes the bar exam and fails 5 or 6 times is not a good thing. I think there is a connection between her failing the bar exam multiple times, which shows she does not understand the law, and her interpreting the local law and feeling she is above it. An elected official that can pass the bar would not be taking the chance, or using the judgement, that Hosterman has. It is no wonder that people do not trust politicians. I felt that way for state and federal politics but did not think those in the local politics were as bad but I have been proven wrong with our mayor. It is embarrasing for our city. Maybe I was naive but I did not think our previous mayors (Pico, Tarver, Mercer) would have had this bad of judgement. No mater what you felt about them on their issues, they had decent judgment and would not have put their fellow council members in the uncomfortable position like our mayor has or made us the laughing stock of the region.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 27, 2008 at 1:05 am

Thanks Ellen....

Am I wrong, didn't the Alameda County Health Dept inform the public it wasn't wise to touch a sick or dead bird found in their yard and the proper authorities should be contacted for instructions since it could be infected with West Nile.

Was the hawk kept in her backyard while she was treating it with antibiotics/whatever. Since it would be infected and the virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, if, by chance, a mosquito came in contact with the hawk and proceded to bite her family members or neighbors wouldn't there be a chance the virus could be passed to them.

I understand she has the proper federal and state permits but why would any Health Dept allow her keep this hawk if it was known to be infected. Surely when she discovered the hawk suffered from the virus she would have contacted the proper authorities. This virus is nothing to play around with, it can be deadly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kim
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 27, 2008 at 9:21 am

This is not about the bird for me.
I am uncomfortable when my elected officials can not see that they must set themselves to a higher standard. I know it is difficult but it is what they accept by being in an elected office.
A past Pleasanton council person showed great respect for her position some years ago when a backyard shed came under excess scrutiny. She felt it was much ado about nothing but chose to dismantle and follow the permit process. As unreasonable as it seemed she said she did not want the public to perceive she was asking for preferential treatment.
I am disappointed we did not see similar respectful behavior with this issue. All but one of our council lost some of my respect with this issue. I also don't like the way some citizens are treated with disrespect at the podium.
I address this hoping some thought will be given to the importance of the responsibility that is accepted when holding an elected position in Pleasanton.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 27, 2008 at 9:25 am

I'm writing because I think there are a lot of questions being asked here that anyone with access to the Internet can find the answers for. So here's some things I looked up:

1) Web Link Some info on West Nile Virus in Raptors from an Oregon bird center. Now this is to answer the initial question Ellen asked above regarding potential risks. "Recovered birds may have cleared the virus or they may have become asymptomatic carriers - there is no way of knowing. We can never say "never," but it is assumed that once a bird recovers from WNV infection there should be little chance of its being a source of virus to vectors or directly to other birds. However, we do not know much at this time about the possibility of persistent WNV infections in birds: i.e., birds that become acutely infected followed by a chronic infection until there is a relapse at some time in the future to make virus available again for mosquito transmission. As a guideline, it is recommended that "recovered" birds be held inside for two weeks after they have recovered, not so much to prevent them being a source of virus to mosquitoes, but mostly to make sure they won't relapse...it is thought by researchers that recovered birds should have very low virus counts in their blood - probably not enough to be an immediate infection source."

2) Web Link Hosterman's "Narrative" for the permit application states: "she had a serious infection, West Nile Virus, and I had her treated with antibiotics. Additionally I provide her with vitamins which enhance her feet and talon health." The language here is vague. We can't tell whether Hosterman meant that Ariel had an infection _and_ WNV or if WNV was the infection. Even so, if the only infection Ariel had was viral, it is still possible for a patient to pick up a secondary opportunistic bacterial infection and that is perhaps what the antibiotics were for. Of course most people understand that antibiotics do nothing for viral infections, yet I still wouldn't readily question or second-guess the use of antibiotics in treating Ariel here. Hosterman would have had to take Ariel to a vet in order to get the right treatment or even to get the blood test to determine that there was WNV.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 27, 2008 at 9:33 am

Kim,

I think you missed the part in the staff report that says applicants for such conditional use permits can keep the thing they are applying for while the application is being considered. You keep claiming the mayor got preferential treatment without seeing also that it would have been preferential to deny the permit because she is the mayor and must be held to a higher standard. That's what really got me when watching the council meeting, when Kay Ayala could say in one breath not to give preferential treatment to the mayor but then ask that Hosterman be held to a higher standard!

It sounds like the past Pleasanton council member you are referring to didn't follow any permitting process in the first place, unlike Hosterman who obtained correct permits for the building of the mew and then applied for the conditional use permit. Therefore, I just don't see how your example is analogous to this one. Do you know if the shed was up to code or not?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kim
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 27, 2008 at 10:50 am

Stacy,

The analogy of the past council person demonstrates someone who was willing to make a concession out of respect for the position she held in our community.

I would hope my elected official would take a higher road and not risk compromising my community. I would have hoped my Council would not have risked the perception of favoritism.

I don't mean to upset you by expressing my concern for protecting the integrity of our process of citizen participation. You sound like this is very personal to you.

I address this hoping some thought will be given to the importance of the responsibility that is accepted when holding an elected position in Pleasanton.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ellen
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 27, 2008 at 12:29 pm

Angela/Stacey/others,
Nothing in the staff report says that somebody have operate in an illegal condition. She did not have the conditional use permit. It would be anarchy if people were allowed to do whatever they wanted AND THEN apply for a conditonal use permit. What you are saying is you are essentially granted a conditional use permit until you apply for one. That is completely wrong and the mayor knew it. Our city allows certain businesses in a neighborhood under a conditional use permit (e.g., a large day care). Under your interpretation, somebody could open up the large day care center first and then apply for a conditional use permit later. That is not how the laws work.

The staff report might have said that they allowed the mayor to keep her bird while she was processing the permit but if any normal resident went into city hall and said they wanted to have an animal in their yard that required a conditional use permit, they would have been told to apply for the permit first and after it is approved you can keep the animal. They would not have told them to get the animal and then apply for the conditional use permit and hope for the best.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 27, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Ellen,
I believe that is wrong. I don't remember if it were in the staff report or something Donna Decker had said during the council meeting, but I distinctly remember it being said. But there is precedent here. During the Pleasanton Chicken Wars the applicant was allowed to keep the chickens during the time the application was being processed.

Kim,
The reason I'm addressing this is because I believe the law needs to be applied equally. And if the Mayor were denied the CUP because she is Mayor I would have seen that as the law not being applied equally. It would have also closed the door on other citizens who would want to do the same thing with falconry, which is not fair.

Who is Angela?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kim
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 27, 2008 at 2:24 pm


Stacey,

You seem to be too personally invested to understand my point.

I beleive our elected officials should avoid anything that will have an appearance of an abuse of their position.

Hosterman should have asked one of her fellow non-Pleasanton hawk handlers to care for the bird until it was ready for release, then pursued the process for changing the ordinance as any other citizen would have been asked to do. The time spent by city staff and the City Council as well as the regional embarrassment is the fault of Hosterman. Far worse is the ugly position that she put Pleasanton city staff and her council in. There is no question the outcome to allow her to keep the bird was favoritism.


I address this hoping some thought will be given to the importance of the responsibility that is accepted when holding an elected position in Pleasanton.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 27, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Give it a rest Kim. Perfect justice does not rule the world. If you don't appreciate the underbelly of politics, go find your bottle and go to your room. Sour grapes?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sue
a resident of Happy Valley
on Jan 28, 2008 at 8:07 am


Cholo you are why we lock our doors at night.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 28, 2008 at 9:51 am

People should lock their doors at night! You say "we". Are you a multiple?

Tee hee hee...tee hee hee...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 28, 2008 at 9:54 am

ps I hear that there's a guy name "Sue" living on the FRINGES of Happy Valley neighborhood! Tee hee hee...tee hee hee...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 29, 2008 at 8:00 am

Kim,
I understand what you wrote well enough. Look again at what you wrote:

1) "There is no question the outcome to allow her to keep the bird was favoritism"
2) "As Mayor of Pleasanton she should be held to a higher standard"

Both 1 and 2 are forms of "preferential treatment". In number 1 you are saying you are disgusted by the preferential treatment you see (favoritism). In number 2 you say we need to apply preferential treatment (a higher standard) because she is the Mayor. If you really mean to say both 1 and 2, then you are (perhaps unknowingly) applying a double standard. I don't agree with that. I believe absolutely no preferential treatment should be given. This is why thankfully Lady Justice wears a blindfold, so the law can be applied equally. Of course in practice this doesn't always happen sadly (like we see with racial situations), but I would prefer to stick to the equality principle.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PToWN94566
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jan 29, 2008 at 8:42 pm

I think we should all get over it and move on. She's allowed to have her bird for the time being so life is continuing with or without you


 +   Like this comment
Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 29, 2008 at 9:31 pm

Reading this thread leads me to the conclusion that Stacey and Cholo seem to have a grip on the reality of the hawk thing.

Cholo chides everyone and therefore challenges their thinking while Stacey presents logical arguments backed by facts for which she presents her references.

But for their efforts they both seem to be attacked for their supposed motives or whatever, like its "personal".

In a separate thread I pointed out the hypocrisy of "don't give treat her special because she is the mayor, but on the other hand, hold her to a higher standard because she is a mayor". It's laughable and this thread perpetuates the hypocrisy. They just don't like the mayor. It's so obvious.

I vote we move on to other subjects.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PTownNeedsHelp-Badly
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 30, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Had I known that I was voting for someone for public office that apparently gets her kicks out of feeding live small animals to her pet hawk in her backyard, I would never have voted for her. I'm glad I know it now, but wish I had known it then. If it had been a private citizen, like you or me, not only would we would not have been able to keep the hawk, we'd find ourselves arrested for animal cruelty.

In fact, the wikipedia entry for "Animal Cruelty" that is here

Web Link

says

"More recently, the video sharing site YouTube has been criticized for hosting thousands of videos of real life animal cruelty, especially the feeding of one animal to another for the purposes of entertainment and spectacle. In spite of these videos being flagged as inappropriate by many users, YouTube has generally failed to take the same policing actions to remove them that they have with videos containing copyright infringement or sexual content."

Everyone knows if any resident of Pleasanton had been caught feeding live animals like rabbits and quail to a pet wild animal in their backyard, they'd be hauled away in handcuffs.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eileen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm

She can rationalize her behavior in any number of ways, but the point is that our mayor, rather than holding herself to the highest standard of integrity, chose instead to put her own interests above those of our city. She made her choice and now all of us will have to live with her selfish and unethical decision. Shame on the mayor and on the councilmembers who did not stand up for what is right.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 31, 2008 at 8:16 am

Here here Miss Eileen! Incidentally, are your standards in all matters higher than Mt. Everest? Just asking.

Eat some nice refried bean for lunch, you'll feel better...toot toot


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 31, 2008 at 8:17 am

Correction: second line - beans


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kim
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 31, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Eileen, finally someone gets it!

Repeat:
She can rationalize her behavior in any number of ways, but the point is that our mayor, rather than holding herself to the highest standard of integrity, chose instead to put her own interests above those of our city. She made her choice and now all of us will have to live with her selfish and unethical decision. Shame on the mayor and on the councilmembers who did not stand up for what is right.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sue
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 2, 2008 at 7:51 am

All humor aside, when will this "injured" bird be set free? Isn't it healed by now? I don't know all of the local lawys, but I would not want it just the other side of my fence!

Perhaps the mayor and her lawyer husband should buy 5 acres and move to a rural area.... perhaps Livermore?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 2, 2008 at 9:53 am

Sue...behave yourself! You have some nerve suggesting that the mayor moving to Livermore. As a spokesperson for the City of Livermore, I request that the Mayor of Pleasanton remain in her present digs.

If I ever find a hawk down in my neighborhood, it will rolled around in some cornmeal, baked and served with polenta...get the pic Sue?

Lots of my neighbors would think nothing of cooking it up! There's no knowing what the cooks at the Red Coat would do? Or, the Agora Bistro!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jeb Bing
editor of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Feb 4, 2008 at 5:35 am

Jeb Bing is a registered user.

This topic has run its course. Thanks for posting.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Hayward NAACP officials threaten blog posters
By Tim Hunt | 21 comments | 1,790 views

Not so speedy trial
By Roz Rogoff | 4 comments | 1,274 views

Duck!
By Tom Cushing | 1 comment | 283 views