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Pleasanton Council duties go well beyond Tuesday nights

Original post made on Jan 4, 2013

Future Pleasanton City Council candidates who think that serving on the council means two Tuesday nights a month on the Civic Center dais might want to look at the newly-published list of additional duties before throwing their hats in the ring.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 4, 2013, 7:27 AM

Comments (7)

Posted by Fred, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I had no idea our Mayor and ouncil folks were involved in this many outside committees. No wonder people that work full-time cannot do this job, and there are only a handful of people that have the spare time to run for office. The City askes the most of our Mayor which limits the candidate pool to retired folks (Thorne is retired, or Cook-Kallio who said in the paper that she would retire if she elected Mayor), or college students like Hosterman. Slim pickings for sure.


Posted by Tennessee Jed, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jan 5, 2013 at 8:04 am

That's amazing! No wonder nothing ever gets done in Pleasanton,

I spent my whole working career going to meetings where attendance was usually mandatory, with groups ranging from 20 to 30 attendees. 99% of everything that was disseminated in those meetings could have been accomplished with a simple hallway conversation around the water cooler during break time.

When so many compartmentalized groups get together for meetings to conduct strategy sessions and to outline goals, it's inevitable that the micro-focused attention during these meetings, usually leaving those not the focus of those discussions, thinking about jelly donuts or something. No wonder nothing ever gets done in Pleasanton.

Hey! City Council! How about repaving Old Stanley Boulevard before you sojourn to some exotic locale to participate in some nonsensical committee exercise!


Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Elected officials can do their job, even with holding a fulltime job, if they prioritize their time. Once of the best mayors we had to halt the out of control housing in the city was Ben Tarver, and he had a fulltime job, which was not in Pleasanton. There are a ton of committees out there, but I think most of them are just a waste of time. Much of the city staff goes to those committee meetings. If the elected officials, who are essentially a part-time volunteer job, communicate their policies to the paid staff who are attending the meetings anyway, the staff can represent the city.

The elected officials sometimes forget that we have a council/city manager form of government in Pleasanton. The elected officials set the policy and the well-paid city manager makes it happen. If the council sticks to policy, and does not micro-manage the implementation of the policy, the elected official does not need to spend all of their time in meetings.

Most of the time the elected officials want to be on all of those committees so that they can add them to their resume. We have seen in the past that even our previous mayor was on a lot of committees but the committee minutes show that she rarely attended a meeting. This is not uncommon. The committees are usually for the personal gain of the elected officials, and of no real benefit to the citizens.

I suggest that if we continue all these meetings and committees that the minutes of every meeting need to be on a single website for the public to see what their elected officials are really doing. It would be easy to list the committees that each of the elected officials are on and then for each of those committees post the minutes. Then the public can see if there is really a benefit for our elected officials to be part of the committee and attend the meetings.


Posted by Casey, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Dear Local- Ben Tarver has not be Pleasanton's Mayor for over 12 years now, and I am sure you know that things change. This city used to have 4 or more candidates run for office at each election, but now there is barely enough to cover the number of open seats. We celebrate when 2 people run for Mayor, which is not right.

I agree with Fred, something is broken if we must limit the pool to retired folks, part-time workers or stay-at-home moms to run for such important positions. Full-time workers are the exception, not the rule.


Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm

I think the major barrier to running is the cost of campaigning, not the time it takes once you are there. I think it costs over $1,000 just to file with your voter statement in the voter handbook since you are required to have it translated to all the languages of the county, whether you want it or not. That is just to get started. Based on the last election, it took about $16,000 for a council seat and over $35,000 for a mayor seat. Then to add to that you have the PACs in Pleasanton which were not there 10 years ago. They are throwing their money around to control their special interests. 10-12 years ago there were no PACs, very little money actually coming from developers, and the city unions were not involved in the campaign.

The committees and meetings are all optional. Some people are retired and want to participate in everything, whether it is productive or not. Others who have fulltime jobs can always choose to limit the committees they are on. So the amount of time on all those committees should not be a factor.

Somebody who works fulltime want to make sure they are not wasting their time by running for office. If you are not connected with a developer or a PAC, and you see that others are raising $16,000 for their campaign and you think you will only have around $8,000 in campaign contributions from local families, you are being outspent 2:1. A good business person will conclude that their odds would not be that great.


Posted by The Cult of Meeting Mania, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2013 at 9:46 pm

The reason there are so many liaison committee meetings is that if elected officials are tied up in meetings all day and night, they will very soon lose touch with the constituents that elected them in the first place. Their contacts with actual living, breathing human beings becomes, other than their families:

1. the city manager
2. the city staff
3. city staff and elected officials of neighboring cities/districts

This means the elected officials who are in meetings all day and night are too busy and exhausted to actually return phone calls and emails of constituents, are too busy and exhausted to actually read the fine print in all those reports they need to read, and end up isolated and rubber-stamping everything like robots.


Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2013 at 10:06 pm

These committees are just like taxes and programs, they never go away, they just get added to.

Some of these committees can just go away, some can meet less frequently.

Like state previously, the council and mayor's job is to set policy and have the paid staff implement. If done right, the council and mayor is a part-time 'job'. If the staff cannot follow the policy direction, replace the staff.


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