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Tim Talk: Hot election season expected in Dublin

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The fall election season is shaping up to be an interesting one locally, particularly in Dublin where Dubliners United can be expected to mount a serious challenge to existing city policies.

Incumbent Councilman Arun Goel, who has a safe seat, already has announced he plans to challenge Mayor David Haubert, who has been elected mayor three times and will be seeking his fourth and final two-year term. For Goel, it's a perfect time to challenge him from a safe seat.

There will be one open seat on the council because appointed Councilwoman Janine Thalblum has pledged not to seek re-election. She was appointed in April to replace longtime Councilman Don Biddle after he passed away from cancer last winter.

Councilman Abe Gupta has announced his plans to seek re-election, and the leader of Dubliners United, Bobby Khullar, announced his candidacy for council recently.

This Saturday, Shawn Kumagai will formally open his campaign for council with a kickoff at Alamo Creek Park. He's a master chief petty officer in the Navy Reserve, the highest rank for an enlisted man. He is a design consultant for a Bay Area utility company as well as a founding member of the Lambda Democratic Club of Contra Costa County and secretary of the API Caucus of the California Democratic Party.

The press release announcing his candidacy noted that, if elected, he would be the first openly gay council member in Dublin. His kickoff will include remarks from Democrat activists including State Controller Betty Yee, El Cerrito Mayor Gabe Quinto and former Pleasanton Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio.

That makes three candidates for two seats on the council, with plenty of time for others to enter the race before filing closes next month.

Khullar set up this council run by leading the recall campaigns against Biddle (who was termed out in November), Gupta and school trustee Dan Cunningham. Since the petitions were not submitted to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters' Office until early July and that office has 30 days to verify the signatures, it's possible that the deadline for the November ballot will pass before any action can be taken.

The recalls of Gupta and Biddle obviously are moot, but Cunningham will have two years remaining on his term in November. It would be sadly ironic if the signature verifications take enough time that the recall vote cannot make the November ballot. That would require the school district to foot the bill for a special election to decide the recall question as well as select a replacement if Cunningham is recalled.

The seats of trustees Megan Rouse and Dan Cherrier are already on the November ballot.

Much of the angst driving the unhappiness and frustration that Dubliners United tapped into stems from overcrowded schools and then is focused on the City Council as it continues to implement plans for East Dublin that were approved more than a decade ago. That's why the council settled the suit filed by developer UDR after the council rejected its plans for its 220-unit Ashton development next to the East Dublin BART station.

UDR had invested more than $1 million to maintain the original development agreement and then was stunned when the council rejected the project. The firm filed the lawsuit shortly thereafter, and the parties reached a settlement that requires the city to approve the 220-unit project with a five-year development agreement. In exchange, the city will receive $600,000 in a community benefit fee that will go to Don Biddle Community Park.

As he announced his candidacy for council, Khullar resigned as the head of the recall movement. Gupta criticizes Khullar for using the recall to organize a group of supporters for his November run. It took a long time from the December recall announcement, after Dublin Citizens became a formal political action group, for the process to unwind. The group stretched out gathering signatures over months, so any election would be November or later.

So, stay tuned this fall -- it promises to be a hot election in Dublin. That will be unusual in a city that generally has followed a consistent policy path since it incorporated in 1981.

Editor's note: Journalist Tim Hunt has written columns on the Tri-Valley community for more than 40 years. He grew up in the valley and lives in Pleasanton. His "Tim Talk" blog appears twice a week at PleasantonWeekly.com.

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Like this comment
Posted by Carol McCormick
a resident of Ironwood
on Jul 23, 2018 at 9:57 am

I don't have a comment.

4 people like this
Posted by Dublin resident
a resident of Dublin
on Jul 23, 2018 at 8:23 pm

Bobby Khullar for council! Arun Goel for mayor---and Dan Cherrier for school board NOT status quo. Shawn K. was co-author of resolution to make Dublin a Sanctuary City which was defeated 5-0 unanimously at Council. Shawn is too new to our city to understand the needs. I believe Shawn as as well as the female running, Jean J. is in favor of Ikea. Mr Haubert has NOT taken a stance against Ikea. The current mayor has not delivered a downtown plan, nor slowed down the non-vested housing. He was on school board before council and was part of the vote that did away with the originally planned second high school. Haubert is only concerned with higher office and campaign contributions, as he planned to run for State Assembly. Do NOT vote status quo!

4 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 23, 2018 at 8:38 pm

Dublin is fortunate Eric Swalwell is no longer on the city council.
If he was, Dublin would be a sanctuary city!

Like this comment
Posted by James
a resident of Las Positas Garden Homes
on Jul 25, 2018 at 4:17 pm

Hi Tim; I think you are wrong on Thaiblum. She was appointed in april so how could she seek re-election when she was not elected in the first place? She was appointed. She has decided to not seek an elected position.

2 people like this
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Dublin
on Jul 27, 2018 at 5:56 pm

Not only is this current city council just blindly approving EVERY hiding project (even when the planning commission rarely rejects a plan), but then they don't hold the developer to any standard of helping the city. NO INFRASTRUCTURE, NO SCHOOLS, no ensuring at least that their plans make sense.
Case in point, the new enormous community being built on Dublin Blvd. AT LEAST they could have told the developers as part of that plan they had to extend Central Parkway over to Dougherty Road to provide at least a tiny bit of traffic relief. No instead they are extending it half way into the development where it just ends. People WILL use that as an alternate to stay off Dublin Blvd and now this means they will be a lot of traffic driving through small neighborhood roads with children on them. Recipe for disaster.
Allowing ANOTHER intersection on Dublin Blvd when they built Whole Foods when there are already two existing entrances. Why?
Trying to make the existing 4&5 lane West Dublin portion of Dublin Blvd into a promised "walkable downtown" because they continually allow rezoning of prime commercial real estate into residential.
Their latest approval means we will have 85ft tall apartment buildings next to 580 & the Bart station. Up next on their agenda ruining the the last two pieces of prime commercial real estate in the city one an approx 70 acre parcel of Dublin Blvd and Tassajara is certainly destined to now be used for residential and the other is the best commercial property for drawing in people to Dublin on Bart (leaving their additional traffic at home). Instead the council wants to put an Ikea there which will draw traffic from all over the region. People won't be coming to get their furniture on Bart that's for sure.
Unfortunately Dublin may have gotten organized to late to fix anything in this city. All those decisions could easily be rushed through and finalized before election changes happen. Same with the school board it is really almost to late already and the current board although they say otherwise seems certain to do what they can to kill all possibilities of a second high school in the city again before any recalls or elections can take place.

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