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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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Celebrating the life of one of Pleasanton's true characters

Uploaded: Feb 27, 2020




Friends and family celebrated the life of one of Pleasanton’s true characters, Howard Neely, on Feb. 16 at the Veteran’s Hall.

Howard died at the age of 87 in December. Pleasanton was once known for its “characters” not as a community of character. Howard certainly was one of them. He had a firm opinion on almost anything and, once he decided he wanted to see something done, he was relentless in pushing it forward.

Retired Assistant City Manager Steven Bocien summed him up well when he discussed his advocacy for buying more land next to the city’s senior affordable housing project Kottinger Place. Steve politely resisted those suggestions until the time came when the land was available and the city moved ahead. Today, there’s a new senior housing project, Kottinger Gardens, located on both sides of Kottinger that Howard helped push forward. More than twice as many low-income seniors now have quality housing.

He served on both the Parks and Recreation Commission and the housing authority.

Howard also pushed hard for the Pioneer Cemetery—along with others—to be taken over by the city. Fittingly, he is buried there after living in the city for 53 years.

In April, Stockton will celebrate its annual Asparagus festival.
It would be more appropriate to hold a funeral for the crop that used to characterize agriculture in the fertile Delta soil around Stockton. For many years, the city was liked to call itself the “Asparagus Capital of the World.”
The Packer, an industry magazine, reported acerage growing the spring vegetable was dropping by 10 to 15 percent annually and that was before the Legislature passed the plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and eliminate an overtime exemption for agricultural workers.
According to the San Joaquin County agricultural commissioner, there were 23,600 acres devoted to asparagus 20 years ago. Just 10 years later, it has dropped to just 6,600 and by 2018 it was just 1,030 acres valued at $11 million.
Imports from Peru and Mexico have replaced the labor-intensive crop in California. Farmers have increasingly turned to almonds. The acreage has doubled from 2000 to 2018 and the crop was valued at $516 million in 2018.

We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?

Comments

 +   5 people like this
Posted by Karl Aitken, a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on Feb 27, 2020 at 11:57 am

I think a similar situation exists in Patterson regarding apricots. They now come from Turkey and orchards have been replaced with almonds.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by David, a resident of Alisal Elementary School,
on Feb 27, 2020 at 1:42 pm

David is a registered user.

Nice to hear about long time residents who had vision. Thank you Howard for working hard to secure senior housing for our community. Now lets get more needed senior housing in the East Pleasanton planning process instead of saying no to everything and having no vision.

Almonds and other nut trees were once a primary crop and were replaced by vineyards and other row crops. Glad to see they are slowly being introduced along with oranges. Lets


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