Citizens' groups hosting Tri-Valley candidates forum tonight

'Tri-Valley at a Crossroads' theme of discussion at Firehouse Arts Center

Three citizens' advocacy groups from Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore will host a "Tri-Valley at a Crossroads" candidates' forum from 6-9 p.m. tonight at the Firehouse Arts Center in downtown Pleasanton.

The event, which will be moderated by KPIX-TV news reporter Juliette Goodrich, is free to the public.

The three citizen advocacy groups holding the forum are, Friends of Livermore at and Dubliners for Change at The public can submit questions for candidates at these organizations, clicking on the "Contact Us" option after reaching the websites.

Kelly Cousins, president of and the key organizer of the forum, said all mayoral and city council candidates have been invited to participate in the event, with initial questions to focus on the rapid development that has taken place over the past five years in the Tri-Valley.

Candidates in Dublin are Mayor David Haubert, seeking re-election, and challenger Shawn Costello. For City Council are incumbent Doreen Wehrenberg, and candidates Mona Lisa Ballesteros, Arun K. Goel and Melissa Hernandez Strah.

Candidates in Livermore are Mayor: John Marchand, seeking re-election and running unopposed, and for City Council: Incumbents Stewart Gary and Laureen Turner, and challengers Robert Carling, Bob Coomber, Chester Moore and John Stein.

Candidates in Pleasanton are Mayor Jerry Thorne, seeking re-election, and challenger Julie Testa. For Council: Incumbents Karla Brown and Jerry Pentin, and challenger Herb Ritter.

"The Tri-Valley region, anchored by the once agrarian cities of Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton, has exploded with growth over the past decade and is projected to continue as one of the fastest-growing corridors in California over the next 20 years," Cousins said.

She said that proximity to the job centers of the Silicon Valley and San Francisco, BART and major freeway access, and high achieving school districts are among the many amenities that have contributed to the rapid growth of the region.

Among the specific concerns to be discussed at the forum will be school overcrowding in Dublin and a proposed new IKEA store along the I-580 corridor and accompanying traffic congestion.

The issues facing candidates in Livermore will include downtown development, traffic and water.

Pleasanton candidates will be asked about Measure MM, an initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot dealing with a proposed economic development zone on Johnson Drive that is the possible site of a Costco store and city's plans to loan $6 million in public funds to develop the project. Other issues to be discussed are traffic congestion both within Pleasanton and on the adjoining freeways and the city government's plan to build a new library and civic center on the Bernal property.

"The enormous demand for housing and the accelerated rate of growth in the Tri-Valley region finds residents battling new issues such as traffic, overcrowded schools, and maintaining a rural quality of life," Cousins said. "People move to this region seeking an alternative to a metropolitan environment, yet the difference between suburban and urban is fading quickly."

"How can we mitigate these challenges yet still bridge the need for new housing?" Cousins asked. "These are some of the key issues facing our elected officials and candidates seeking office."

The schedule for Thursday evening's forum has Dublin candidates up first, from 6-6:45 p.m., Pleasanton candidates will follow from 7-7:45, and Livermore candidates will close the forum from 8-8:45 p.m.

For more information about the event, email

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3 people like this
Posted by S. Pfaff
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2016 at 11:40 am

I am looking forward to hearing what all the Pleasanton candidates say at this forum, learning about their past performance and their plans for the future. I hope they will give concrete and specific responses. Many of my friends don't know anything about them and didn't come to the earlier forum. They just throw away all the political ads.

I think we should all take this opportunity to learn about our government and be involved - this is a privilege most people in this world do not have. Don't take it for granted! And, of course, it is the responsibility of the candidates to be actively engaged in events like this one.

16 people like this
Posted by Mike W.
a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 5, 2016 at 11:55 am

Mike W. is a registered user.

This article quotes that Costco will loan $6 million and use public funds to develop the project. It is correct that public funds will be used for development of the Costco project- but, the amount is far greater than $6 million.

Since the City of Pleasanton would not reveal the true negotiations, the "Pleasanton Citizens for Responsible Growth" requested documents under the California Information Act. Here is what was learned from emails between Nelson Fialho, Pleasanton City Manager and Mike Dobrota, Costco, Regional Manager:

$10,767,006 Pleasanton Contribution to the project through borrowing from Costco over 25 years (includes interest)

$ 5,335,000 Pleasanton Contribution to the project using Traffic Impacts Reserve Funds

$16,102,006 Total Pleasanton Contribution to the project as of April 1, 2016

$ 3,170,000 Additional Pleasanton Contribution refund to Nearon "open to consideration" , April 5, 2016 email

$19,272,006 Total Pleasanton Contribution to the project, if this additional consideration given, as described April 5

These are public funds: using current reserves, borrowing and future revenues. This has been determined, to most likely be, the second worst deal ever made in the United States by a city to secure a Costco. Should the project costs increase, as is most certain, the Pleasanton taxpayer contribution will increase.

14 people like this
Posted by res1
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Oct 5, 2016 at 12:00 pm

res1 is a registered user.

Great idea these groups have. I am so excited to see the people put this together for Pleasanton. To date the only organized voting group was the BACPAC (or what they really should be called "back pocket") as they have been successful in getting city leaders in the back pockets of the developers. Time for an organization to try and take control back to the residents.

14 people like this
Posted by res1
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Oct 5, 2016 at 12:06 pm

res1 is a registered user.

For Costco, it sounds like the city taxpayers will be significantly subsidizing Costco. First taking money from the Traffic Fund reserve, which the money could be used to fix existing traffic problems plus bike and pedestrian safety, and a "loan" that is really a finance gimmick as Costco will not be paying the city back but rather the city will be using the potential sales tax revenue from Costco to repay the loan. That sales tax revenue would typically be going to help pay for police, fire, libraries, and street maintenance will instead be used to to pay off the loan. It is really a gift to Costco and not a loan to Costco. How can any candidate support this corporate hand-out?

8 people like this
Posted by Dave J.
a resident of Parkside
on Oct 5, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Dave J. is a registered user.

"How can any candidate support this corporate hand-out?"

You answered this in your first blog, when you aptly named the BACPAC "back pocket". "They have been successful in getting city leaders in the back pocket of the developers".

I think you have your own answer!

13 people like this
Posted by M. Smith
a resident of Val Vista
on Oct 5, 2016 at 2:06 pm

M. Smith is a registered user.

Ok, I know this isn't all about Measure MM which I support and will most definitely vote YES- but, my goodness this is a lot of money and a very bad deal for Pleasanton. I will attend, and be most interested in the Pleasanton candidates' answers.

Anyone supporting "No", either is too financially ignorant to represent us; or as res1 says, "deep in the pockets of the developers". I would like to know who they are, and to hear their justification now that we have the documents to prove this corrupt deal.

I wish we could vote on a new City Manager too! He must be deep into their pockets too!

Plan to be on front row! Look for Mary.

2 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Oct 5, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Too bad is a mouthpiece for Karla and Testa. Hardly unbiased.

Whatever happened to the League of Women Voters forum?

8 people like this
Posted by Dave J.
a resident of Parkside
on Oct 5, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Dave J. is a registered user.

@ Julie
Too bad the others are a mouthpiece for the Chamber, developers, BACPAC, EDGER (secret committe for Chamber).
Developer money goes to Chamber, then to BACPAC, then to candidates they control.
Follow the money. You criticize the two candidates who are not endorsed by the Chamber.

For that reason, I will vote for them. And YES ON MM. THIS CORRUPTION MUST STOP.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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