News

Downtown split proposed for Pleasanton election map

Two representatives for Hacienda Business Park also discussed

Pleasanton's downtown area could be represented by two city council members in the future, an idea also floated for another area at the Pleasanton City Council meeting on Tuesday.

During the Jan. 18 public hearing on the city's transition from at-large to district-based municipal elections, Councilmember Kathy Narum said, "I'd like to see one option where Main Street is put into two different districts. I think since that's really the heart of the city, having two people represent it is good, particularly if you have a conflict."

"If it's only represented by one person and they have a conflict (of interest), they're out, and so I think it's important to have two people there," Narum said.

Starting in the November general election, the city will be divided into four separate council districts, with each district represented by one council member elected by voters living in those boundaries. Each council member will be required to live in the district they represent, but the position of mayor will remain elected at-large.

Using state and federal guidelines, the council will create four districts, each with approximately 20,000 residents. The districts are ideally "geographically contiguous," and "bounded by natural and artificial barriers, by streets, or by the boundaries of the city," among other criteria.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

In addition to how boundaries should look, residents gave the council feedback on Tuesday about which communities of interest they think should remain intact. Communities of interest are local populations that share common interests such as speaking another language besides the one spoken by the community at-large. Political parties, incumbents or political candidates are not considered communities of interest.

One resident said there should be a district centered around downtown, and added that "slicing the city up into slices like a pizza would group me with people who are less similar to me, rather than a central circle district around downtown with other districts on the exterior."

Councilmember Jack Balch said he "hadn't specifically thought about downtown one way or the other, but I think it would be wise to consider a map with the downtown going together… or the downtown split."

Mayor Karla Brown supported splitting the representation for downtown, which she called "the gem of our community."

"It is the iconic view when people see Pleasanton," Brown said. "When people come to Pleasanton, they often dine in downtown and they think of that as our label for what our community is." Brown also said Hacienda Business Park is "a very powerful bloc that should have two representatives."

"It's a very large area; it's a powerful voting bloc because it's under a single management," Brown added.

Councilmember Julie Testa said, "The suggestion to split up Main Street because of the possibility of the conflict and, therefore, leaving downtown without representation applies to every neighborhood."

"If you're going to consider that, then we in fact should split every neighborhood in Pleasanton, so that just doesn't really make sense," Testa said.

Following Tuesday's hearing, the city's hired demographer will create one or more draft maps, which will be posted for public comment and review at two more hearings on Feb. 3 and 24.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Get uninterrupted access to important local city government news. Become a member today.

Downtown split proposed for Pleasanton election map

Two representatives for Hacienda Business Park also discussed

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 12:35 pm

Pleasanton's downtown area could be represented by two city council members in the future, an idea also floated for another area at the Pleasanton City Council meeting on Tuesday.

During the Jan. 18 public hearing on the city's transition from at-large to district-based municipal elections, Councilmember Kathy Narum said, "I'd like to see one option where Main Street is put into two different districts. I think since that's really the heart of the city, having two people represent it is good, particularly if you have a conflict."

"If it's only represented by one person and they have a conflict (of interest), they're out, and so I think it's important to have two people there," Narum said.

Starting in the November general election, the city will be divided into four separate council districts, with each district represented by one council member elected by voters living in those boundaries. Each council member will be required to live in the district they represent, but the position of mayor will remain elected at-large.

Using state and federal guidelines, the council will create four districts, each with approximately 20,000 residents. The districts are ideally "geographically contiguous," and "bounded by natural and artificial barriers, by streets, or by the boundaries of the city," among other criteria.

In addition to how boundaries should look, residents gave the council feedback on Tuesday about which communities of interest they think should remain intact. Communities of interest are local populations that share common interests such as speaking another language besides the one spoken by the community at-large. Political parties, incumbents or political candidates are not considered communities of interest.

One resident said there should be a district centered around downtown, and added that "slicing the city up into slices like a pizza would group me with people who are less similar to me, rather than a central circle district around downtown with other districts on the exterior."

Councilmember Jack Balch said he "hadn't specifically thought about downtown one way or the other, but I think it would be wise to consider a map with the downtown going together… or the downtown split."

Mayor Karla Brown supported splitting the representation for downtown, which she called "the gem of our community."

"It is the iconic view when people see Pleasanton," Brown said. "When people come to Pleasanton, they often dine in downtown and they think of that as our label for what our community is." Brown also said Hacienda Business Park is "a very powerful bloc that should have two representatives."

"It's a very large area; it's a powerful voting bloc because it's under a single management," Brown added.

Councilmember Julie Testa said, "The suggestion to split up Main Street because of the possibility of the conflict and, therefore, leaving downtown without representation applies to every neighborhood."

"If you're going to consider that, then we in fact should split every neighborhood in Pleasanton, so that just doesn't really make sense," Testa said.

Following Tuesday's hearing, the city's hired demographer will create one or more draft maps, which will be posted for public comment and review at two more hearings on Feb. 3 and 24.

Comments

Michael Austin
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 19, 2022 at 4:34 pm
Michael Austin , Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2022 at 4:34 pm

City administration provided maps for voters to make their choice for Pleasanton redistricting. I followed through with that opportunity given the directions below.

1. Draw a line around a single district or a full four district plan.
2. Each district should have between 18,975 and 20,974 people.
3. Email a picture or scan to [email protected]
I completed my version for the redistricting and provided four districts with population within the numbers stated:
1. North Pleasanton - 20,179 people.
2. East Pleasanton - 19,499 people.
3. Central Pleasanton - 19,248 people.
4. Southwest Pleasanton - 20,169 people.
I suggested these could be numbered with the sequence the were developed.
Central Pleasanton district one, East Pleasanton district two, North Pleasanton district three and Southwest Pleasanton district four.

I sent copies to all council members. Councilmember Valarie Arkin acknowledged receipt with an email. Mayor Karla Brown acknowledged receipt with an email. All other council members ignored me. Mayor Brown held my map up at the meeting to indicate response from the public she received. Valarie Arkin remarked she "received map with jagged lines". The map provided by city administration was jagged. I guess Valarie anticipates square corners and perfect ovals.

SB 9 and Sb 10 had considerable discussion last night. I was impressed with Jack Balch summary. He asked questions that were not answered, and questions he asked could not be answered because Pleasanton city attorney and acting city manager were not prepared to answer. Jack, "my questions are greeted with silence" and response to Jack was "haven't researched or studied that matter". The acting city manager is responsible for agenizing council meetings. However, he could not answer questions from council members because he was not prepared. Pleasanton city attorney knew the agenda for the council meeting. However, he could not answer questions from council members.



Michael Austin
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 19, 2022 at 4:37 pm
Michael Austin , Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2022 at 4:37 pm

The acting city manager and the current city attorney should be replaced with professional women who prepare and can answer questions. I recommend Catherine Baker for city attorney, and I recommend Condo Lisa rice for city manager.


dknute
Registered user
Golden Eagle
on Jan 20, 2022 at 10:56 am
dknute, Golden Eagle
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2022 at 10:56 am

Sounds like you're getting closer and closer to what I initially recommended.....and it was simple!..
My offer still stands...maybe not so much alone as you all first thought!... :-)


CWM
Registered user
Stoneridge
on Jan 20, 2022 at 4:49 pm
CWM, Stoneridge
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2022 at 4:49 pm

Why are we doing this? Do we have a segment of our community that is under served? Do the people living in Vintage Hill's get better or less service than those that live in the Fairland's neighborhood? I think not. Are we now officially a "woke" community. Seems to me that in my 50 years of living in Pleasanton the system that we now have has served this community quite well. If its not broken there is no need to fix it.


Bryan
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:40 am
Bryan, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:40 am

I thought it was really strange that Mayor Brown and Councilmember Narum both advocated for Downtown to have multiple representatives. Districts should represent people, not business. According to census data, the downtown neighborhood has about 3,000 people, making up around 3% of Pleasanton's 80,000 residents. Even if it is the "heart of the city," its not clear for me why downtown deserves any extra representation compared to other city residents.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.