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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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City Council makes the right decision for Valley Trails

Uploaded: May 9, 2017
It was great to see the City Council unanimously approve Ponderosa Homes’ application to replace the Evangelical Free Church in Valley Trails with homes that complete the neighborhood. It is the best use for that land and frees up the church to move to a new building.

The unanimous vote was a testimony to the great job that the Ponderosa team did working with the neighborhood residents to understand concerns and then work to alleviate them. The park includes restrooms because the neighbors wanted those facilities. The residents also will have access once a month to the new clubhouse.

Over the years, Pleasanton-based Ponderosa has won approvals and built a number of infill projects in existing neighborhoods. That skill has served the firm well because there simply are not that many fresh sites for development in the city.

Build some flexibility into your schedule this week to experience the toll the War on Terror has taken on Californians.
Las Positas College in Livermore, which has a stellar program for veterans, is hosting the photo memorial for fallen Californians through Saturday. It’s open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in room 1726 on the Livermore campus. It’s open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The word from Todd Steffan, who leads the veteran’s program, is visitors have found the photo memorial a memorable experience. The California memorial is one of 19 nation-wide. It shows both military and personal photos of the fallen.

Assemblywoman Catharine Baker reached out to her constituents last week, asking their opinion about the University of California and its president’s office after the State Auditor released a scathing report. She serves on two committees with UC oversight responsibility. The audit determined that the office had a secret $175 million fund and was paying excessive salaries and benefits with very high administrative costs.
UC President Janet Napolitano, the first politician instead of academic to hold the position, disputed some of the findings, but it’s no secret that she and legislators have not gotten along well.
Among the questions Baker asked was whether UC should rescind its first tuition increase in five years—the governor and the Legislature had cut a deal to put more general fund money into the university in exchange for a tuition freeze. She also asked about the secret fund and the excessive salaries and whether the Legislature should issue subpoenas to determine if the office did interfere with the auditor’s efforts.
No question that UC executives and other employees are richly compensated and there needs to be top-to-bottom analysis of the entire system aimed at slashing administrative overhead so funds go to teaching students and significant research. Please emphasize significant research—there’s plenty of the other kind that gets funded.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 9, 2017 at 2:30 pm

Ponderosa did a good job in coming up with a great project. Finally there is a great development coming into the neighborhood. Ponderosa deserves a lot of credit for coming up with an outstanding design and working well with the neighborhood.

Had Pleasanton schools not chosen to sell or abandon 90% of the sites they identified/acquired in 1965-1968 that their consultants at the time indicated were needed to support an eventual population of 90,000 - - - which was 4 high schools, 5 middle schools (6-8), 7 K-8 schools and 16 K-5 schools - - - I'm certain Pleasanton would have had a system of walkable neighborhood schools and a much larger student enrollment base than the 14,000 or so students.

However, that did not happen because Pleasanton schools got rid of the land and seemed to get in some major fight with most developers during the last few decades.

Interesting that when you look at Tracy and combine the school districts in that city with a current population of around 85,000 and similar square miles as Pleasanton, where the school districts did NOT abandon or sell their land or have major fights with developers, the number of existing schools per category almost exactly match the projections of the number of Pleasanton schools needed for a population of 90,000.

Also Tracy is in the planning phases of two brand new elementary schools in the Ellis and Tracy Hills developments which will be K-8s. Also the student enrollment in Tracy is over 20,000 when you combine Jefferson, Tracy Joint Unified, and schools in the Tracy boundaries managed by Banta and New Jerusalem, 6,000 more students than Pleasanton.

If only Pleasanton schools had stuck with and executed the 1965 master schools plan neighborhoods like Valley Trails, Mission Hills/Junipero, Fairlands, Pleasanton Valley, Vineyard/Crellin with gaping holes from unbuilt schools would have never happened.

Posted by RU Kiddingmii, a resident of Valley Trails,
on May 10, 2017 at 4:35 pm

RU Kiddingmii is a registered user.

Tim-yes Ponderosa did a good job. However, most of the credit for the project should really go to the Valley Trails Advocacy Group. Truth be told, it was their design, their amenities and their persistent efforts with the neighborhood and the city. This group spend literally hundreds of hours advocating for this project, reworking the site plan, working through the differences and other efforts in order to have a project that benefited the greater neighborhood and the city as a whole.

Posted by Joseph190, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows,
on May 11, 2017 at 3:44 am

Joseph190 is a registered user.

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