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By Tim Hunt

Pleasanton council wisely reverses course

Uploaded: Jun 9, 2015

Good call, upon further review, by the Pleasanton City Council last week.
The council, when apprised that the advisory election on planning for the eastside could cost the city more than $500,000, decided to abandon that notion. If they really want to know how the public feels about the eastside planning, they can get an accurate poll for about 1 percent of that cost.
More importantly, given the uncertain statewide water situation, taking a breather is sound policy.
Stopping the process entirely is not. The landowners have invested more than $1 million to date. A plan is just that---a plan. Entitlements, if any, can come later when we have our collective arms around the water situation and can update traffic and schools.
Student population is an interesting challenge. During the planning for both the Dougherty Valley in San Ramon and east Dublin, staff and officials used the best projections possible and both flat out missed on school population in those new areas. Pleasanton had a similar challenge a few years back when young families moved into existing homes as long-time residents moved on. That created a population bubble.
To cope with the overflow of students, the city of Dublin already took the unprecedented step of giving the school district an additional parcel of land for a new school on the eastside, while the one remaining homebuilder in the Dougherty Valley, then Shapell Homes, donated a parcel to the San Ramon school district for a new school. Since then, Toll Brothers bought Shapell.
Both districts, in their projections, estimated students based upon their history and the best data available. It turns out that families are larger or multiple families are living in the same house, thus the demand for more schools.

It is a time of transition for Barbara Saba, the founding executive director of the Valley Pregnancy Center.
Barbara left a secure corporate job to answer God's call to serve women with unexpected pregnancies. That was in 1988 when the fledgling non-profit had an 800-square-foot office and $500 in the bank.
When she retires on Oct. 1, she leaves an organization is excellent condition and one that is expanding its services to women and the fathers of their babies. The center now is housed in a modern office building at Stoneridge Mall and has 6,800 square feet. It turned a big corner when it became a fully licensed medical facility in 2004.
At Barbara's recommendation, the board has selected Dr. Frank Burger, a former seven-year board member, as her successor. He will join the team on July 1 as president and work alongside CEO Barbara until she retires in October.

Another notable and planned retirement will take place this month when Shelby McNamara leaves as the CEO of the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Stepping into that role is Shelley Despotakis, currently director of membership and communication for the Livermore Chamber of Commerce. Shelley is the daughter of late Pleasanton Mayor Ken Mercer. She brings a mix of private sector and non-profit sector experience to her new role. Previously, she was the manager of ValleyCare Health System's charitable foundation—a role her dad also held along with other responsibilities.
Shelby served four years in her current tenure, which is her second go-around in Danville. She held the same position from 2000-2003 and also was president of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce.
She will join her husband, Vince, founder and former owner of the popular Dublin steakhouse of the same name, full-time in their mountain home.