Former City Councilman Steve Brozosky may try again to unseat Mayor Jennifer Hosterman for the city's top elected post in what could be a repeat of the feisty political campaign two years ago that gave Hosterman the edge by just 188 votes.
Brozosky, who is on vacation with his wife Annie and one of their two daughters Richelle, said in an interview that he will decide early next week if he wants to challenge Hosterman again.
"I've been urged by many to run again and so I've taken out the papers required so that I can file to seek the mayor's office by the Aug. 8 filing deadline if I decide to run," Brozosky said.
Besides Brozosky, four others also have taken out papers to run for mayor: Hosterman, former Planning Commissioner Mary Roberts and two current members of the Planning Commission, Anne Fox and Greg O'Connor.
Brozosky, currently a member of the Pleasanton school board who plans to leave that position in November, said he doesn't think the current council majority, including Hosterman, is listening to the people who voted them into office. He cited the council majority's decision to ignore the Save Pleasanton's Hills 5,000-voter-strong coalition's initiative to block hillside development as evidence that citizens' demands are not being heard by the majority.
Instead, he said, the majority voted to put a competing measure on the Nov. 4 ballot that could confuse voters.
Hosterman and council members Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Jerry Thorne voted to place the competing council measure on the ballot. Council members Cindy McGovern and Matt Sullivan voted against the plan.
"Whether they agreed with the citizens' initiative or not, the council members should have argued the merits of the initiative and let the voters decide," Brozosky said. "But by putting their own initiative on the ballot, they've created divisiveness."
"They're saying that the 5,000 people who signed this initiative don't know what they're talking about and they're going to save them," he added. "I think that's arrogance."
Asked if the two competing initiatives will be the focus of the campaign, Brozosky said it would be the process more than the measures that would be debated.
"I think in the mayor and council races, the debate may be less on the merit of the initiatives and more on the process of your government participating with you as opposed to working against you," he said. "It's not that easy to collect 5,000 signatures. It takes a lot of people and dedicated time to go out there and talk to people and collect signatures. The council should respect that process instead of saying that it just takes three of us to put something on the ballot
"Whether they intended to do it or not, the council majority was saying that you can't fight City Hall. I don't think that encourages participation. I believe that's an abuse of power."
Brozosky said that as mayor, he would work to change that. He would let citizens who are addressing the council speak longer and would encourage dialogue between those speakers and the lawmakers.
"The difference between letting someone speak and listening to them is very different," he said. "Right now, people are being allowed three minutes but they don't feel they're being listened to. If you have something happening in town and you think it's affecting your quality of life, you want to be listened to and actually have a dialogue. People don't feel like they're being heard. They're frustrated."
"I want people to come to council meetings and feel they are part of this community," he added. "Just the chance to go up and speak is not enough."
Brozosky believes that his experience as a councilman for four years and more recently his service on the school board make him well-qualified to serve as Pleasanton's mayor. While on the council, he championed measures to appropriate $6 million to help build the Firehouse Arts Center, which is now under construction, and to mediate with his friend Scott Haggerty, Alameda County supervisor, differences the city was having over development plans for Staples Ranch, which also are now under way.
On the school board, Brozosky dealt with the budget shortfall caused by a cutback in state funding projections, yet persuaded the board to hold off on suggestions by some board members to seek a parcel tax to make up for any shortfalls.
"Some were saying the sky is falling, but I said let's calm down and try not to over-react," he said. "I've been through financial crises in my own business and also have a good understanding of the financial needs both in city government and the school district."
Active with the Tulancingo sister-city group and local 4-H clubs, Brozosky is slated to be president of the downtown Rotary Club of Pleasanton next year. He currently is in charge of the club's Interact program at Amador Valley High School, where his daughter Richelle will be a junior in the coming school year. Another daughter, Robin, will be going into her senior year at UC Santa Barbara.