Sullivan, McGovern wrong on senior complexes
Your readers must have questions after reading Pleasanton City Councilman Matt Sullivan's letter ("Motivations questioned," Pleasanton Weekly, Nov. 12) responding to a column that I wrote in the Tri-Valley Herald on Oct. 24. If your readers would like to read it, they can go to www.trivalleyherald.com.
Let me summarize the comments that Councilman Sullivan was reacting to:
* I criticized Councilwoman Cindy McGovern for her comments last December after reviewing the task force report that analyzed what to do with the Pleasanton Gardens and Kottinger Place senior housing projects. Both complexes provide housing for low or very-low income senior citizens. The task force worked for more than five years to develop a recommendation to consolidate operations in a new and larger complex on the Kottinger Place site. McGovern trashed the task force's work and offered her opinion of what should be done. I criticized her for disregarding the work of volunteers and what I believe is her misunderstanding of the situation at Pleasanton Gardens.
* I also criticized Sullivan's gratuitous shot at the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, which, incidentally, backed the three candidates the citizens re-elected. I pointed out that taxes on business produce 60 percent of the revenue for the city and asked whether an anti-business posture was the correct position in these most challenging economic times.
Turning to Sullivan's letter to the Weekly, let me offer the following comments:
* Sullivan labels Pleasanton Gardens as "privately owned." The complex is owned by a nonprofit corporation that was formed more than 40 years ago by a consortium of four Pleasanton churches. The nonprofit obtained property and developed housing for the seniors with very low incomes (average rent is about $230 per month). The task force studied both properties because leaders recognized the structures were going to need to be rehabilitated or new buildings constructed.
* Councilwoman McGovern has said the units at both sites can be rehabilitated to serve frail seniors. She is simply wrong. The buildings were constructed cheaply more than 40 years ago and cannot be rehabilitated to accommodate disabled seniors or seniors who need help with mobility. In addition, they are very energy inefficient. To spend money fixing up a project that cannot meet the Americans with Disabilities Act is both impractical and immoral.
* If the city and Pleasanton Gardens can jointly agree on a project, our nonprofit would contribute a very valuable piece of property that the city could use as it sees fit. Our board has the fiduciary responsible to ensure this asset is used to benefit low-income seniors, the more the better, because the need is growing.
* Most of my columns indicate that I am the principal with Hunt Enterprises, a communications and government affairs firm, as well as the publisher of ACES, Northern California's premier golf lifestyle magazine and the former editor and associate publisher of the Tri-Valley Herald. The firm's government affairs function has involved introducing companies that want to invest in Pleasanton to elected and other city officials. Readers may want to ask Councilman Sullivan what's wrong with bringing investors to Pleasanton.
Tim Hunt is Principal, Hunt Enterprises and a director of the Pleasanton Gardens Corp.