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About this blog: A longtime newspaperman, I have been editor of the Pleasanton Weekly since it was launched Jan. 28, 2000. I was a reporter and Neighborhood News editor at the Chicago Tribune for 13 years, and previously a reporter for the Advance...  (More)

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Hosterman's city skills going viral

Uploaded: Feb 9, 2013
Some of us thought that Jennifer Hosterman traveled a lot when she was Pleasanton's mayor, a post she left just two months ago when she was termed out of office after more than 10 years on the City Council, including eight as mayor. Today, we'd be hard-pressed to ever find her at home except for those rare opportunities she has to sprint with her favorite pets Sarraqa, a Harris' hawk, and Faith Eleanor May, her black Labrador retriever.

Here in the photo is Hosterman with Sarraqa joining friends Jana Barkley and Michael Pociecha and their birds of prey in an outing in the East Bay hills.

As mayor, Hosterman was active in the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and in recent years she co-chaired its water resource council. That took her on speaking engagements to Chicago, Providence and other large cities, even to Berlin and Stockholm where she spoke on water issues. Building on those experiences and contacts, she found herself in demand as a leading conduit to many in the country's municipal leadership positions. Now out of a political office, herself, she is seizing on those contacts with vigor as a national consultant on water, storm sewer and other infrastructure issues that are of major concern to cities across the country.

Last week, she was in Milwaukee, meeting with 26 mayors and their staffs who want her help in finding government and private sector funds to help them rebuild their aging sewers and water pipes and systems. Next week, she'll be in Chattanooga and a week later in Florida. Working under her own flagship of Jennifer Hosterman Consultancy, she is sponsored by a multitude of vendors who are in the business of rebuilding utility systems but need her help in finding construction and financing opportunities that she is addressing.

During her meetings with municipal leaders, Hosterman has found their cities have major infrastructure problems, lean budgets and ratepayers unable to shoulder any more of the burden to pay the cost of repairs. Some old sewer systems in eastern cities still have wooden conveyances; others have not expanded their systems for decades despite doubling and tripling their populations. The federal government, she argues, has done little to fund the huge infrastructure replacement and repair costs so she is taking the lead in generating financial support from her numerous private sector contacts.

Perhaps Hosterman's best skill, as we remember from her political successes in Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley, is the ability to bring opposite sides together to solve city and regional problems. She did this in her work on regional transportation issues, land development and joining other mayors in lobbying state and federal representatives in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Using this talent, she is now bringing city and regional leaders together in other parts of the country to provide them with the means to design, build, operate, maintain and finance their aging infrastructure projects from Westchester County, N.Y., to water agencies needing help in Arizona.

What she hasn't forgotten is her zeal as a caretaker of the environment. Remember, this is a woman who while mayor of Pleasanton marched with peace groups on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, went to Canada to protest oil drilling and favored a resolution by her own City Council stating the city's opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But when it came to keeping Pleasanton in the forefront of green building, solar powered municipal buildings and quality-of-life rules and regulations, she gained a national reputation that now serves her well in her new career.
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