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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Pleasanton enjoys an enviable financial position

Uploaded: Feb 10, 2015

Retiring Pleasanton finance director Emily Wagner had nothing but good news for the City Council in her final briefing.
The city is in an enviable financial position—one that is the result of a premier location, consistent and conservative financial management and quality planning more than 30 years ago. There's also been continuity in the city manager's office—only three people have served in that seat since the approval process for Hacienda Business Park back in the early 1980s.
Last week's edition of the Pleasanton Weekly highlighted some comparisons between Livermore, Walnut Creek and Pleasanton. Walnut Creek, incidentally, is considered the retail mecca of the East Bay. Pleasanton's sales tax revenue tops Walnut Creek's at $21.7 million to $21.4 (Livermore, bolstered by the factory outlet center as well as many auto dealers) hits $25.3 million.
What sets Pleasanton's revenues apart is property tax, which is more than three times Walnut Creek's at $51.4 million. Property tax revenues are a more stable source, although a tanking real estate market like we saw in 2008-2011, eventually will have an effect as cities in the eastern Contra Costa County and the San Joaquin Valley know all too well.
The other number I noted was average household income: $123,509 for Pleasanton; $103,351 for Livermore compared to $88,257 for Walnut Creek.
Those numbers reflect location—Pleasanton, in particular, has been a magnet for family-oriented technology professionals working in the Silicon Valley. If you drive I-680 north from San Jose, it's the first community that combines excellent schools with a high quality of life and plenty of amenities. You can see the results, particularly any Monday morning, with motorists backed in in the right lane on Sunol Boulevard back to the Raley's shopping center as they wait to get on southbound I-680.
The other thing we have seen in the last couple of years is luxury commuter buses taking workers south to work. Several companies have contracted with the fairgrounds so their staff can use some of the huge parking lot at the satellite wagering facility.

The post office recently delivered what looked like a campaign mailer from U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of Dublin.
The glossy piece was headlined, "Staying Accountable to You: Results from My First-Term in Congress."
It would do a campaign consultant proud—attractive layout and numbers carefully selected to tout Swalwell's performance. Perhaps the most important number and why, if he keeps a similar pace, he likely can hold the job as long as he wants it: 1,250 community events and meetings he attended.
The mailer, produced at taxpayer expense, demonstrated again the inherent advantages of being an incumbent.

What is it worth to you?


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