David Nagler, who stepped down last week as chair of the Pleasanton Planning Commission, and his wife Tracy Dunne, the city's public information officer, are moving to Carmichael, a suburb in the greater Sacramento area where they still own a home.
They moved to Pleasanton 12 years ago from Sacramento, where Nagler was a lobbyist to numerous statewide organizations and companies before joining Audentes Therapeutics, Inc., a San Francisco-based biotechnology company. He has been the firm's senior vice president of human resources and corporate affairs.
Dunne moved with her family to Carmichael from Michigan while in high school. She earned a master's degree from Sacramento State, taught for a while and then took a job as a legislative researcher with a Sacramento lobbying law firm, where she met Nagler.
Later, she served as a communications specialist with state agencies and the State Assembly before being named director of communications for former Gov. Gray Davis.
While Dunne parlayed her years in government communications to gain the city's public relations post in Pleasanton, Nagler found the time from his corporate responsibilities to fill a vacancy on the city's Planning Commission.
He did this, he said, because from his very upbringing he learned to appreciate community and public service. His mother was the first woman to be elected to the board of trustees for the San Mateo school district. Nagler remembers walking neighborhoods as she sought voter support.
Later, as president of the school board, she led the campaign for school busing to better integrate public schools -- enduring a bitter community fight that Nagler said gave him the "backbone" to serve on the sometimes similarly contentious Pleasanton Planning Commission.
"So, when I was growing up, I just naturally gravitated toward public service. And here I am," Nagler said.
Nagler is known for sitting quietly, hand on head, as petitioners state their cases before the Pleasanton Planning Commission, whether to add a second floor to their home or open an outdoor preschool in a quiet residential neighborhood.
"I use my corporate experience to figure out what's the key issue before the commission," Nagler said. "I don't allow myself to be influenced by the emotions in the room or what people are claiming to be true, but may not be."
"I also don't let a packed hall sway my decision because the people who show up at a public hearing often are the most involved in the issue, the most emotional and the most opinionated," he added.
Still, Nagler listened to these speakers because, he explained, as they also tend to be the most informed on the issues. It's just his job as an appointed planning commissioner to apply his best thinking to deciding what the public policy should be and what's best for the "breadth" of the community.
Nagler likes the independent thinking that comes with service at the local government level, where partisan politics is not allowed.
He also believes the Brown Act serves local government well by requiring that meetings of three or more on a five-member board be noticed and held in public. The law has ended so-called backroom deals.
While Nagler leaves behind a legacy of a deep-thinking, fair-minded planning commissioner, Dunne's departure leaves a void in a city communications effort she has successfully led, serving as a public spokeswoman for Pleasanton with hundreds of press releases, colorful publications, newsletters and photos.
They'll both will be remembered ... and missed.