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Former Mayor Ben Tarver dead at 63

Original post made on Jan 5, 2010

Ben Tarver, active in Pleasanton politics for nearly 20 years and the city's mayor from 1992-2000, died yesterday in Penn Valley, Calif., where he lived with his wife Jeanie. He was 63.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 1:31 PM

Comments (33)

Posted by Jerry Pentin, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2010 at 2:06 pm

My thoughts and prayers to the Tarver Family.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 5, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

How sad to hear. Mr. Tarver definitely left a legacy in Pleasanton. Condolences to the family.

Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Tarver was Pleasanton's last great Mayor. I am saddened to hear of his passing -- especially when the city he so dearly loved is becoming something he fought so hard against -- a cookie cutter town with nothing but back-to-back housing.

Rest in Peace, Ben Tarver. There are those of us who loved what you stood for and wish others had embraced your legacy.

Posted by Raised in Del Prado, a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 5, 2010 at 9:06 pm

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Ben Tarver.

I echo the sentiment from "Another Gatetree Resident" who said, "There are those of us who loved what you stood for and wish others had embraced your legacy."

Posted by Julie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2010 at 11:47 pm

What sad news, Ben gave a lot to this community.

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 6, 2010 at 12:27 am

Mayor Tarver brought sanity to Pleasanton when it was needed...

Rest in peace, your accomplishments will long be remembered...

Posted by respectful of the lost, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 6, 2010 at 12:33 am

Although I respect anyone who would dedicate nearly 20 years of their life to a volunteer elected position with the city, I disagree with the notion that Mr. Tarver's vision for Pleasanton was in every citizen's best interest. We have become a "world class" community IN SPITE of both Ben Tarver's and Tom Pico's leadership role on the Planning Commission and City Council.

I remember Mr. Tarver taking his break from the council dais to smoke, and I'm certain that's what led to his premature death at such a young age. I hope others will heed this warning. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones.

Posted by R, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jan 6, 2010 at 8:18 am

a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood

How inconsiderate you are. I can only hope that when you pass away no one says unkind things about you.

Posted by R, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jan 6, 2010 at 8:20 am

Mr . Tarver did great things for Pleasanton. Some of you like " a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood" may not have lived I Pleasanton long enough to know how far this city has come.
Bless the Tarver family at this difficult time.
Shame on those who can not be kind to a greaving family and community.

Posted by Robert, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Jan 6, 2010 at 8:21 am

My thoughts and prayers to the Tarver family. Ben Tarver was a good citizen and a good mayor who looked out for Pleasanton's future. He will be missed.

Posted by Elise McQuilliam, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 6, 2010 at 8:34 am

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Tarver family and kids.

Posted by DL, a resident of Danville
on Jan 6, 2010 at 8:40 am

This is truly a shock to hear. Ben was a stellar Mayor for Pleasanton, during the years I had lived there. My condolences goes out to all his family and friends.

Posted by SJ, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 6, 2010 at 9:17 am

Ben Tarver was in my opinion the best mayor we had. He saved our city from looking like Dublin with the measures he enacted. He was never afraid to say what he meant, and did so in a respectful way. I always found him articulate at Council meetings and he certainly understood the issues. He will be missed. Condolences to his family...

Posted by dublinmike, a resident of Dublin
on Jan 6, 2010 at 9:52 am

SJ, actually, I agree with you to some degree. But, please keep in mind that Dublin did not have 100 years to learn from it's mistakes as Pleasanton has. My family moved to Livermore when I was a toddler 1956 and I know something about Pleasanton and Livermore's recent history. The planning along with redevelopment wasn't pretty sometimes. So, take it easy on the self-righteous demagoguery.

I see by the comments above, as during his leadership tenure, his controversy remains. But, leaders that lead are usually that way. They have ideas you may not agree with but at least people like Mr Tarver got out there to do something.

My condolences to his family. I trust they are proud of him.

Posted by SMD, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 6, 2010 at 11:14 am

Although I didn't agree with Mr. Tarvers politics or the way he conducted business, I appreciate all that he did for the City. He gave of himself and that is a generous gift. It is not easy to be in the public eye and my heart goes out to his friends and family. May he rest in peace forever.

Posted by Pete, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2010 at 11:52 am

Mayor Tarver understood the opportunity that existed in Pleasanton. Attemping to make every person competent in their own attempt to contribute, in my opinion, was one of his strengths. Rest in peace.

Posted by Jay, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 6, 2010 at 12:15 pm

I was a frequent participant in city council meetings when there were issues that affected me. One of the things I was always impressed with Mr. Tarver was having conversations with those who spoke at the podium at a council meeting. If you brought up some new facts or ideas, he would engage in conversation and have a discussion between the speaker, the Council, and staff. You knew you were being heard. Even if the Council did not vote the way you wanted, you had respect for the decisions being made. I have stopped going to Council meetings as it is obvious that the current council has already made up their mind and see the open meeting as a requirement but a waste of time. You get up there now, have up to 3 minutes for your monologue, and the mayor says "next". I do not have my ideas validated and if I have questions I am told they will be asked of staff after everybody speaks, and the questions are then dropped. I have resigned myself to the fact that the public opinions do not matter now, so I do not go to council meetings anymore, as I am guaranteed frustration.

Sorry to get off on a tangent but I admired Ben Tarver for what he did for the community and how he truly engaged and listened to the community, even if he sometimes voted differently than I would have.

Posted by Katie-O, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Our hearts go out to the Tarver family.

Ben Tarver had a number of major accomplishments during his tenure as Mayor. His crowning achievement was slowing the growth of Pleasanton. In that regard, he particularly stood out as the only one of the Dream Team that stood up to the developers over time. One of the other two did a complete flip-flop (one wonders what kind of grease caused that) and the other became a lobbyist for developers. The City was certainly better managed during his time in office than with our current Council and Hippie Mayor.

Ben, you were solid as a rock and we are going to miss you.

Posted by Me, a resident of Walnut Hills
on Jan 6, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Our hearts and prayers go out to Mr. Tarver's family. Sharing the news with my father was not easy. God Bless.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 6, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Which is it? Penn Valley or Paradise California? The news is conflicting, even on the other Embarcadero publishing websites.

Posted by Jennifer Pearce, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Tarver family.

Posted by Me, a resident of Walnut Hills
on Jan 6, 2010 at 3:00 pm

@rs: the view of Pleasanton from your glass house must be pretty!

A father, a grandfather, a husband and a friend died.

Posted by old but remembers, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jan 6, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Have we forgot Ken Mercer? Easily the best Mayor ever in P-Town and the one of the creator's of modern Pleasanton. When he was Mayor we were the only city in California that had a budget surplus. After him people became pro-growther's and no-growthers and that's what we still have today. Planned progress was his platform. I will not comment on what I thought of Ben Tarver the politician, and I didn't know him as a man but my best wishes go out to his family

Posted by Native, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jan 6, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Rest in peace.
To the family and friends of Mr. Tarver, my deepest condolences.

I hope those reading these comments dismiss those written by 'lost of Stoneridge' and 'rs of Pleasanton Valley'. They are cowardly and insensitive. Shame on them and those who can't be kind during this difficult time for the family, friends and community.

Posted by Frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 6, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I once refereed one of his team's adult soccer games at a tournament here in Pleasanton... he played hard and well...

Posted by dublinmike, a resident of Dublin
on Jan 6, 2010 at 8:44 pm

The thing I find interesting between Mayors Mercer and Tarver is their diametrically opposed philosophies regarding Pleasanton's future, but yet they had many things in common...Pleasanton.

One was perceived as "no-growth" and the other as "business friendly." But, at the end of the day they cared enough to get involved. And, they cared about the much bigger picture, the Tri-Valley.

We have others in our Tri-Valley that we should appreciate, whether they are in Dublin or Livermore, or in San Ramon. We are much better off for their participation.

Posted by Lisa, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Wish we had him back....
Hosterman sucks.

Posted by work friend, a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2010 at 6:33 pm

I had the pleasure to work with Ben for many years. He had the same qualities at work as he did in politics. I didn't always agree with him but it was great to work with him on projects and resolve problems to reach a goal that was to improve what we had. I am sorry to hear of his passing.

Posted by Paulette, a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 7, 2010 at 11:01 pm

I'm so sorry to hear that Ben Tarver died at such a young age. I remember him as a person who was very kind and who had a pleasant smile and personality. He also had a knack for commanding respect from the community. I think it's because he often reflected what many of us wanted for our community - a little less building and a lot more protecting of the open spaces. And, he had an amiable personality. Even if he didn't agree with people, he was always polite and friendly. It makes me happy to know that he opposed Ruby Hills; for, one of my favorite birdwatching watershed areas was destroyed when Ruby Hills was built. I'm still heartbroken over that. I remember feeling sad when the city council voted term limits and he had to leave office. I think if they hadn't done that, he would've been able to stay mayor of Pleasanton for as long as he wanted. People really did like him alot.

Posted by Diane, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 9, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I always looked forward to the City Council meetings on our local TV Channel when Ben Tarver was mayor of Pleasanton. He impressed me with his ability to understand different points of view -- he was able to come up with solutions that satisfied most of the people most of the time. Thanks to his efforts, I think I was more easily able to become a resident of Pleasanton, not just someone who payed a mortgage and taxes. My sincere condolences to his family.

Posted by Nancy of Boulder, a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2010 at 2:12 pm

As a former city employee, I liked him then and voted for him. He thought and fought for the same things I did. Open space, pristine ridge line, fiscal controls, clean water and most important to me then, financial accountability. Not all happened but Pleasanton is for the better because of him. The city is STILL in good fiscal shape. Amazing. Rest in peace, Ben.

Posted by Gary Schwaegerle, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 12, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Gary Schwaegerle is a registered user.

Our Condolences & Sympathy to the Tarver Family. Life is Precious and can be so short. We had some great conversations. Thanks Ben for appointing me to the Affordable - Housing Commission in 1996. Sincerely Gary Schwaegerle & Family

Posted by Curt, a resident of another community
on Feb 6, 2011 at 10:37 am

I've not lived in Pleasanton for many years. However, during my nearly two decades of residence, I worked closely with Ben on the massive general plan change (most people considered it a refendum on Hacienda) that allowed for Pleasanton to change from a more quiet residential community into the job center of the East Bay. Ben supported the citizens group that won a law suit against the developers and City Council.

Over the past 18 years, we lost touch. Regardless, I am so saddened by Ben's passing. Ben worked tirelessly in those early days. We shared ideas and participated on community committees. He developed from an exceptonal person to an exceptional leader and I always admired him.

Although I just found out about him passing away, my hopes for peace go to his family and to Pleasanton for holding on to his legacy.

He deserves a park to be named after him.

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