Recently the Pleasanton City Council conducted its annual review of work plan priorities for the current and coming year. As part of the process, city staff recommends tasks for a number of subject areas, and the council votes to assign priority levels, from A through D, for each task. Each councilmember also has the option to propose tasks not on the staff proposed list.
Mayor Karla Brown brought forth as a high priority the idea that the city should take on full responsibility for organizing and conducting Leadership Pleasanton annually, thus removing the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce from the key, shared role it has played in the program for years.
The mayor believes the program should be free with the city bearing the full cost. And she and one additional councilmember believe only the chamber decides program contents and who can attend.
Leadership Pleasanton for years has operated on a first-come, first-served basis. There are a limited number of positions available each year due to logistics. The program involves travel to various venues as attendees learn about city and community functions. The program doesn't just happen in a classroom. If one signs up too late, they are free to sign up for the following year.
Content is decided each year by a joint committee of city and chamber staff based on surveys completed by prior year graduates. And attaching a cost to attend ensures those in attendance are serious about learning more about their city.
Here's a "shout out" to Councilwoman Valerie Arkin who during the discussion indicated she is a graduate of Leadership Pleasanton. She liked the program and found it beneficial, as did I when I attended in 2005.
The vote was 3-2 in favor of reviewing the program giving the review a priority B. While Arkin voted in the majority, she was clear she was voting only to review, not to eliminate or operate without Chamber of Commerce involvement.
It's distressing to learn two of our councilmembers fail to see value in city-chamber collaboration for a program as important as Leadership Pleasanton. Perhaps they don't believe what they say about the value of business to Pleasanton.
If you're not sure where the chamber stands on issues important to Pleasanton, visit the chamber's website at Pleasanton.org. Click on "Business Advocacy" and then "Pleasanton 2025: A Community Vision." Hopefully you will agree the chamber is an important stakeholder in Pleasanton's quality of life.
Editor's note: Arne Olson served on the Pleasanton City Council from 2014 to 2018. He completed the Leadership Pleasanton program in 2005.