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EDITORIAL: Fiscally prudent council stays

Election leaves in place experienced council to handle challenges ahead

The re-election Tuesday of Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and council members Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Jerry Thorne leaves in place all five members of Pleasanton's governing board who have now been serving together for four years and will continue for two more.

This is the council that has produced a Firehouse Arts Center to help invigorate our downtown, restored the historic Veterans Memorial Building, built lighted baseball fields for youth sports on the Bernal property, and turned the old Alviso Adobe on Foothill Road into an unmatched complex showing major periods of California's history.

Most recently, this same council approved plans by Safeway to build one of its largest supermarkets at I-680 near the Fairgrounds, which will be a prototype for innovative retailing studies at the company's nearby Pleasanton headquarters.

This council also approved a major expansion by Clorox to move more than 1,000 employees to its new campus here next year, and multi-million-dollar projects to be built starting next year on Staples Ranch, the biggest development since Hacienda Business Park was approved in the 1980s. These will bring millions of dollars in new tax revenue to our city.

This is also the same council that has been working together on new housing requirements resulting from a legal settlement with Urban Habitat, an affordable housing coalition. A council-appointed Hacienda Task Force is developing strategies and plans to satisfy those requirements with the current council already considering new growth management and climate action policies to restrain Pleasanton's growth and improve its environment.

Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and Councilwoman Cindy McGovern, who just competed at the ballot box over the mayor's position, can now resume their close working relationship on housing issues facing our city.

While the current council deserves credit for the many capital improvements we've seen in recent years, it's even more important to note that the city of Pleasanton has a balanced $151 million budget for fiscal 2010-11 and has set aside approximately $25 million in a "rainy day" fund to meet any sudden financial emergencies.

The council's fiscal success comes at a time when neighboring cities are faced with severe service and personnel cutbacks because of budget shortfalls. With the economic downturn continuing, we're pleased that a council that has demonstrated solid and unified fiscal responsibility will stay in place.

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Don
a resident of Ironwood
on Nov 5, 2010 at 9:00 am

I am pleased with the outcome of the local election which is almost complete. We should be thankful that we live in a city with elected leaders who are honest. Some of our neighboring cities have been paying huge salaries to their leaders, but not here. We have a beautiful city here with a lot to offer. We want to keep it that way.


Like this comment
Posted by GX
a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 5, 2010 at 9:52 am

I recommend you investigate Pleasanton's finances before you characterize them as fiscally prudent.

They have ignored the looming public employee entitlement crisis for at least 6 years because they are afraid to confront public unions. During this time, entitlements have exploded.

Here are some facts:
- An incremental $46M has been siphoned off from city services over the past 6 years to pay for incremental entitlement costs
- We spend an extra $10M/year compared to 6 years ago to pay for entitlement costs
- Entitlement costs are growing at 700% of baseline and eats up nearly 10% of our budget
- Their rules just enabled Fraser, our chief of police for 3 years, to retire at 56 from a desk job with a retirement package of $4.9M+ (NPV)

Where is the fiscal responsibility in all of this?


Like this comment
Posted by Stunned
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 5, 2010 at 11:45 am

GX--where do you get your facts and figures as I would like to verify.


Like this comment
Posted by GX
a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 5, 2010 at 12:10 pm

I got them directly from the City. I am more than happy to share the information with you so you can verify for yourself. Any thoughts on how I could email the information to you? I'm sure neither of us want to broadcast our emails on this forum. You could contact Emily Wagner or Nelson directly and ask for the "entitlement spreadsheet" as it was Emily who prepared it for me.

I have been pestering PW to shed light on this issue for over a year, but they continue to ignore the problem as it grows. I want to get the facts out there so people can be informed and form their own opinions on the issue.

Neither the City Council nor management has the backbone to deal with this issue in a manner that is fair to all citizens and employees of Pleasanton.

BTW, I spoke of this issue at the last City Council meeting and plan to do the same at the next 11/16 meeting.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Keep it up GX. We need more of these issues exposed. Things aren't as rosy as the PW "reports". Oh, and all the City Council accomplishments mentioned above are nice to haves but I still can't get across town in less than 30 minutes.


Like this comment
Posted by Real test is coming
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Let's not get carried away. The REAL test is now coming to a head !
IF they deal with tomorrow, then we'll judge if they are really fiscally responsible.
Don't forget, they created the problems of today, which so far they have ignored. We'll see if they got Tuesday's universal message. They got lucky on McGovern's extremism...that doesn't mean they are on a fiscally responsible course ! Let's hope they are, or they'll hear us roar !


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