Tri-Valley mayors show solidarity on joint-city issues

Folks in Washington 'always impressed' to see 5 mayors together

The mayors of the greater Tri-Valley—Danville, Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton and San Ramon—credit their collaboration and cooperation for recent successes in regional improvements in transportation, air and water quality, housing and increased state and federal assistance for projects that are benefiting the area.

The mayors spoke at the Tri-Valley Mayors' Summit held Oct. 26, an annual event sponsored by the Chambers of Commerce in the five cities and moderated by State Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-16th).

The mayors talked about efforts to work together on regional issues, including trips they make annually to Washington, D.C., to meet with federal staffs and Congressional leaders.

"These trips are effective in impressing Washington that we're united in pursuing federal help in our region," said Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne. "These folks are always impressed when they see five mayors walking into their offices together. That's not something they're used to seeing."

Agreeing with Thorne were the other mayors at the summit: Bill Clarkson of San Ramon, David Haubert of Dublin, John Marchand of Livermore and Karen Stepper of Danville.

As a result of these efforts, the mayors cited millions of dollars that have been earmarked for Tri-Valley projects ranging from the new carpool and toll lanes to assistance in funding affordable housing projects that are helping those who work in the Tri-Valley to also live here.

"Still, we cannot build our way out of the traffic problems all of our cities face," said Marchand. "Even for the many who live here, it's not where they work."

Even with federal and state aid, Marchand said a mega-regional approach is needed stretching from San Jose to Sacramento to help with workforce housing, job locations and traffic. Extending BART to Livermore will help and he wants the mayors to create a regional rail group to get that done.

In addition to seeking more federal support for a commuter rail extension, Thorne also plans to stress the need to fund the completion of Hwy. 84 between I-580 and I-680. Work is underway to make Hwy. 84 a four-lane expressway from I-580 to Ruby Hill in Pleasanton, but funds are needed to complete the extension.

The mayors said their cities not only weathered the recent recession, but have come out with stronger and growing economies.

"San Ramon has been recognized by Money magazine as the No. 1 place to live in California," Clarkson said. "We have a new city center rising, new restaurants and new high tech companies."

Haubert said Dublin is attracting new businesses to be closer to the thousands in their workforces that now live in the city's expanding residential complexes. IKEA, the Swedish home furnishings store, plans to build a new outlet in Dublin with Kaiser Permanente also planning to build a new medical facility there,

Stepper said Danville has a number of "entrepreneurs" relocating to the town to take advantage of its growing housing base.

"We're a changing community that become very different in recent years," she said. "Still, we will continue to be a great place to live."

This year's Tri-Valley Mayors' Summit was hosted by the Livermore Valley Chamber of Commerce at Wente Vineyards.

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