Pleasanton's future looks bright, and our best days are ahead. After nearly four months as your mayor, I am proud to report that our economy is growing, we have a vibrant downtown, residents 16 and older are eligible for COVID vaccines, and local schools now offer in-classroom learning.
These milestones will help us to recover and thrive.
When I was elected to office, COVID vaccines were not available. Police officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses and those in the healthcare field joined daycare providers, food service, grocery clerks, farmworkers and others in putting themselves and their families at severe health risk for the greater good.
Although my words of appreciation may seem small, the feeling in my heart is enormous. I truly appreciate those who took these enormous risks, and for the courage and support of our residents during this challenging period. Thank you all!
I also applaud the immense support from our nonprofit organizations and our own city staff to aid those with food insecurity within our community. I had a glimpse of their critical work while serving as a volunteer for both Meals on Wheels and Culinary Angels, which provide healthy meals to seniors and those facing major medical challenges.
Even during normal times, mental health is a struggle for many. After working with Axis Community Health over the past few months, short-term mental health support is now available to the public, through funding from Alameda County, Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin.
As your mayor, I attended hundreds of meetings in the past months, mostly by Zoom. I had never heard of Zoom before COVID, but now I use it almost daily. Your City Council has focused on supporting this community during the pandemic with zero-interest business loans and rental grants for those at risk of losing their homes.
Earlier this year, I interviewed some of our downtown business owners through "Spotlight" talks with shop owners, giving them an opportunity to describe how they started their business, and why Pleasanton's Main Street is an excellent location. They are fun to watch and posted on the PDA website.
Recently, I was proud to attend the ribbon-cutting of a new restaurant, tour the newly remodeled Lucky California grocery store (opening in early May) and stand with the founders of 10x Genomics as they plan for a major expansion in Pleasanton. Confidence and businesses are growing.
I also approved 30 letters to our state legislators AGAINST drastic changes to our future housing mandates, and in favor of reasonable housing goals with less density.
Over the last four months, I have met hundreds of residents during safety and educational events, small business owners, business developers, homebuilders, youth and many of our local Scouts.
During both 2020 and 2021, we reiterated that racial hate has NO place in Pleasanton. We are proud of our "Community of Character" motto, and we stand side-by-side against all forms of hate.
Recently Police Chief David Swing and I spoke to a large crowd on Zoom to offer suggestions for increasing personal safety, tools on how to carefully respond as a bystander and how to engage the help of the Pleasanton Police Department (the video is on social media). We know to call 9-1-1 for help, but have you added the non-emergency police number 925-931-5100 to your contact list?
As mayor, I see a brighter and healthier future ahead. Safety protocols are still required, so please wear a mask, wash your hands and maintain proper social distancing. Join me as we safely return to shopping, dining, school, working and playing in Pleasanton!
Editor's note: Karla Brown is the mayor of Pleasanton. She was sworn into office on Dec. 15, winning election on the mayoral ballot in November after serving two full terms on the City Council.