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By Tim Hunt

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.