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By Tim Hunt

Karin Mohr's legacy

Uploaded: Nov 14, 2013

Former Pleasanton City Council woman Karin Mohr died Monday after falling from a ladder while cleaning the rain gutters at her home last week.

Her untimely death shocked her family and those close to her. She was 74 and—please note—felt physically capable of cleaning her own gutters. Good friends of mine strongly suggest retiring the ladder for hanging your own Christmas lights and cleaning your own gutters when you hit the big 5-0.

Karin served four terms on the City Council in critical years from 1982 to 1996 and helped shape the Pleasanton that so many people enjoy today.
The council in those years shared a common vision. Stoneridge Mall had opened a year before and had started to stabilize the city's revenues. When Proposition 13 passed overwhelmingly in 1978 to slash property taxes and limit increases, the city had to turn off half of the street lights and cut back dramatically to balance its budget. You would never know that today.

What set Karin apart from her colleagues was that she ran for the council on one issue—getting the 18-wheelers off of First Street. In those days, Highway 84 was a two-lane, windy road that was better suited to running cattle than handling gravel trucks.
The gravel trucks from the quarries along Stanley Boulevard took First Street to either southbound Interstate 680 or Niles Canyon. It was ugly, but that was what had been for decades.

Karin ran on banning the trucks and, after winning a seat, succeeded in convincing her colleagues to ban the gravel trucks. Naturally, the gravel companies sued, but the settlement was reached that took the trucks out of downtown Pleasanton. Those folks living along First Street and whining about automobile traffic should thank their lucky stars that she was elected and fulfilled her campaign promise. The ban also extended the life of windshields for many motorists.

That important, but single issue aside, she became a steady vote for the vision of Pleasanton as a job center. During her tenure, the council approved Hacienda Business Park, Bernal Business Park, Signature Center and the Reynolds-Brown park that included Home Depot, the surrounding retail as well as single-story offices. What once was winter ducking hunting land between Hopyard Road and Santa Rita Road became the largest master-planned business park in Northern California.

She and her colleagues also approved the higher density housing in a few locations to help serve those job centers.

Their collective vision, meshed with that of the developers (most notably Joe Callahan of Hacienda) has resulted in a city with a revenue flow that other city leaders envy. When Signature Properties came along in the 1990s with the Ruby Hill Country Club, the city had CEO-level housing, although I do remember joking with the East Bay Community Foundation leadership that Ruby Hill was affordable housing for Silicon Valley executives looking for a family-friendly community with quality public education who could not afford Saratoga or Los Gatos.

Karin was a member of the council that approved that path to Pleasanton's future. Those residents who enjoy it today owe her—and her council colleagues—a thank you for a job well done.