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Pleasanton City Council candidates debate

Housing, water supply, public safety among key issues at Weekly election forum

Full video of the Pleasanton City Council candidate forum, moderated by the Pleasanton Weekly on Sept. 12. (Video by Roberta Gonzales Productions)

New housing developments, the drinking water supply and public safety were just some of the topics that five Pleasanton City Council candidates running in the November election addressed during a public forum this week.

Participating in the live two-hour event in the council chambers at the Pleasanton Civic Center were newcomer candidates Jeff Nibert and Dean Wallace running for City Council District 1 and incumbent Councilmember Julie Testa and challengers Joel Liu and Jamie Yee for District 3.

The Nov. 8 general election will be Pleasanton's first time following a district-based format for City Council seats, with District 1 representing the northwest Pleasanton neighborhoods and District 3 representing the southwestern part of the city.

Both positions are four-year terms on the City Council. At least one seat is guaranteed to change over as current Councilmember Kathy Narum is termed out this year.

Presented by the Pleasanton Weekly on Monday evening, the forum was hosted in-person along with a livestream option and moderated by Weekly publisher Gina Channell Wilcox and editor Jeremy Walsh.

The candidates for Pleasanton City Council are (from left) Joel Liu in District 3, Jeff Nibert in District 1, Julie Testa in District 3, Dean Wallace in District 1 and Jamie Yee in District 3. (Photo by Christian Trujano)

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All five candidates answered questions at the same time, regardless of district, during the debate. "While only voters in districts 1 and 3 will be able to cast a ballot for their preferred candidate, council members represent the entire city," Wilcox told the audience. "It's important that all residents get to know the candidates and hear about their views, values and vision for the city's future."

Map shows boundaries for Pleasanton City Council election districts. 2022 marks the first year for the city under district-based elections. District 1 in the northwest (shown in blue) and District 3 in the southwest (in yellow) are on the ballot this year. (Image courtesy City of Pleasanton)

District 1 candidates

Finding places in Pleasanton to build affordable housing units in order to meet the state's mandated Regional Housing Needs Allocation is going to be one of the top priorities for the upcoming City Council.

Jeff Nibert, challenger for District 1. (Photo by Christian Trujano)

Nibert, a 35-year resident of Pleasanton and a current member of the city's Planning Commission, said he does support affordable housing in areas where it makes sense.

"We all agree that more affordable housing is needed, and I support the increased developments of affordable housing in places where it's appropriate and makes sense," Nibert said. "The city has already been successful with affordable housing, and we will do more."

Find out what's on the ballot in Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin.

Find out what's on the ballot in Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin.

But what he said he does not agree with is the state taking away the city's local control.

"Working as a planning commissioner, I see our hardworking staff in the planning department," Nibert said. "They are very capable of doing the work to implement standard processes and to make sure that permit conditions are complied with. The state has taken that local expertise away from Pleasanton."

He said taking away those standard processes of city and public review allows developers to "just check off the boxes and the city must give them a permit."

He said it allows projects such as the proposed Harrison Street development -- a five-story, mixed-use building on the edge of downtown with no onsite parking -- to get approved even though the majority of the community have issues with the height and lack of parking.

"That monstrosity in Harrison Street should never be built. Of course, it probably will," Nibert said. "This is more appropriate at another location. There are other places in Pleasanton where we could use that type of policy. This is not it."

On the other side of the argument, however, was Wallace who is running for the same District 1 seat.

Wallace, a 22-year resident of the Tri-Valley and a political staffer who currently works as a district director for Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Berkeley), said he wanted to run in this year's election mainly to shift the tone regarding affordable housing.

Dean Wallace, challenger for District 1. (Photo by Christian Trujano)

He cited a recent study done by the city of Pleasanton that he said showed that the No. 1 priority for Pleasanton residents was the lack of affordable housing and the cost of living in the city. He said in the same survey, 70% of respondents said the cost of housing in Pleasanton was a serious or very serious concern.

"When it comes to building affordable housing in the city, the city has failed," Wallace said.

He said he supports a balanced and well-planned-out affordable housing plan in Pleasanton and that the only reason the city lost its local control to projects like the Harrison Street project is because the city did not do enough in the last five years to meet its state housing goals.

"(Senate Bill) 35, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017. That's five years ago," Wallace said. "The city is now at five years to take the steps needed so that a project like Harrison Street wouldn't happen in the first place."

He said in SB 35, there is a provision that says if the city meets its housing goals and needs, those types of projects would not be allowed to be streamlined.

"I think it's a failure on the city's part ... to take proactive measures to make sure a project like that doesn't happen," Wallace said. "The city could have been engaging with the developer a long time ago to make sure that whatever is built there is done in a way that makes sense for that community."

District 1 candidates Jeff Nibert (left) and Dean Wallace (right) pose during a City Council candidate forum on Monday. (Photo by Christian Trujano)

Both Wallace and Nibert did agree on other topics discussed in the forum including the focus on getting clean, non-contaminated water to residents and maintaining the city's public safety.

"I think this is one of the most important questions that we're going to face this election cycle, when it comes to PFAS or the forever chemicals that are seeping into our water supply," Wallace said.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have been widely used and long-lasting chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time.

In recent years, city officials have discovered PFAS in the city's groundwater supply facilities -- specifically in the city-maintained wells -- and have been working to address the problem. The council recently pressed pause on a PFAS treatment and wells rehabilitation project to weigh out other options like outsourcing the rest of its water needs to regional water providers such as the Zone 7 Water Agency.

"I think that given all the uncertainties that currently exist around what an acceptable level is, what the cost will be, what's currently in the water, I think that pause was a good thing," Wallace said. "I support looking into all the possible solutions to this problem, which includes blending of water, greater treatment of water or looking for new supplies of water."

Nibert said that being an engineer and a project manager would give him the experience to tackle such a large project.

He said that he also agrees with the decision to pause the treatment project because the city needs to consider things such as the cost of the project -- which was last projected by the city to cost $46 million -- resources and the scope of the project.

"I support the decision of the council to take a pause right now and take a look at what the alternatives are and the regional water quality supply alternatives," Nibert said. "In the meantime, the treatment option remains the plan. It's still a viable option, and it's one that I would support if it is indeed selected."

Both District 1 candidates also concurred that the city's police department is doing a good job in maintaining public safety and that there is no need for additional oversight apart from the City Council with input from the recently formed Police Chief's Advisory Board.

"The effectiveness of the Police Chief's Advisory Board is something that I have heard very good things about," Nibert said. "In regard to community policing, I'm so proud of the efforts that our police departments and our police professionals have made in terms of getting out there among the public and establishing relations to improve not only the image, but to convey to people the good work that is being done."

Wallace said that he will pledge to preserve funding for our public safety and school resource officers and said that even though he doesn't think it's necessary, if the need for more police oversight arises he will be the first to call for more reporting.

Map shows the area covered by Pleasanton City Council District 1. (Image courtesy City of Pleasanton)

District 3 candidates

The competitors for City Council District 3 -- Liu, Testa and Yee -- all had different views on residential growth in Pleasanton and how the city should balance new affordable housing.

Yee, a former Pleasanton school board trustee for 12 years, said she supports affordable housing done right and that even though the city must retain its local control, it should look to build more workforce housing.

"Workforce housing is something that I've been a huge advocate for many, many years," Yee said. "Being on the school board, it was painfully obvious to us that teachers did not live in our community."

Jamie Yee, challenger for District 3. (Photo by Christian Trujano)

She also said she hears a lot from parents who are worried they won't be able to live near their grandchildren because their children can't move back to Pleasanton due to the high housing costs.

"I think the council really needs to balance what is required by the state and our desire to have more affordable housing," Yee said. "I really believe that if we have a functional council that can work together, we can figure out ways to make that happen."

Liu, chair of the city's Committee on Energy and the Environment, also said that the city needs more workforce housing for the teachers and firefighters who can't afford to live in Pleasanton but added that the city needs to retain its local control. He used the Harrison Street project, which he lives near, as an example of poor policy-making with SB 35.

"Housing is a very critical issue in our city," Liu said. "We do need housing for teachers, firefighters, and many other working families, but the location of that policy is wrong."

Joel Liu, challenger for District 3. (Photo by Christian Trujano)

He said the city needs to work to regain its local control to maintain Pleasanton's history of well-executed planning and to work with legislators to find solutions so similar future projects can be avoided.

Testa, who is in her fourth year serving on the City Council, agreed to every candidate's point of maintaining local control, but she took it a step further in saying that the city needs to fight more against the state's mandated housing laws.

"In our last RHNA cycle, we actually built 370 affordable housing units," she said. "In fact, Pleasanton built a higher percentage of our affordable housing than any other city in Alameda County."

But Testa said that was still not enough to meet the state's housing demands.

"The state housing numbers are unrealistic," she said. "The state has to help us with the funding because we've been set up to fail. They know we do not have the $1.5 billion in subsidy that would be required to build our RHNA affordable housing requirements."

Julie Testa, incumbent for District 3. (Photo by Christian Trujano)

She said she has been working with a group coalition of elected officials from several California cities to fight back against the state's Department of Housing and Community Development so projects like Harrison Street won't happen again.

She argued that a state legislative audit shows the RHNA numbers are incorrect and that the city must do everything to push back against giving up its local control.

"Only 29 cities out of the entire state actually were able to meet their affordable housing goals. Only 29 across the state, and those were cities that were so small that they had tiny, tiny little numbers," Testa said. "We have been set up to fail. All cities are being set up to fail with these mandates because they want the ministerial streamlining."

But Yee, much like District 1 candidate Wallace, said that SB 35 only penalizes cities that didn't do their job, like Pleasanton.

"We had five years to come up with the numbers in the plan and that didn't happen, so the city actually gave up its control," Yee said.

However, she did have a problem with the Harrison Street project in that the main reason the state chose that location is because of the close transportation option of the ACE train, which Yee said made no sense given that the train doesn't run outside of commute times.

She said weaving that fact into some type of provision at the state level could help in pushing back the project.

Treating PFAS in the city's wells and overall water safety is a top priority for all three District 3 candidates.

Both Liu and Yee said it was a good idea for Testa and the rest of the current council to halt the treatment and well rehabilitation project in order to assess other options.

"I think the pause was a good idea only because my experience in making really tough decisions has to do with making sure that you have that data, and I feel we're at a place right now where there's just not enough known about it and all the different options aren't really brought forward yet," Yee said.

District 3 candidates (from left) Joel Liu, Julie Testa and Jamie Yee. (Photo by Christian Trujano)

She and Liu said the city needs to work more closely with Zone 7 to address the aging wells and find different solutions to get safe water for Pleasanton residents.

"There should be no PFAS in our water. It's a man-made chemical," Testa added, saying that with the shutdown of one well means the city will most likely shut down its other wells.

"We do have short-term options and that would be to purchase water, more water instead of just 80% from Zone 7," Testa said. The city previously used its wells to distribute the other 20% to its residents.

The safety of the community was another top priority for the three candidates with Liu saying it would be his main focus if elected.

"Public safety is my number one priority in my platform," Liu said.

He said he supports Assembly Bill 481, which allows the council to approve police use of military-like equipment, saying it's important for officers to be well-equipped for any situation but that they should also be educating the public on how the equipment is meant to keep them safe.

Testa also said she likes the idea of being responsible for that usage of equipment but, unlike every other candidate on the forum, said that there should be police oversight, just not by the City Council.

"I don't think the City Council should be the oversight," Testa said. "I do believe that we need a professional oversight body. It should be an independent auditor. There are other cities that use independent auditors and it gives community members a place to turn when there's a concern."

Yee said she supports the current Police Chief's Advisory Board so that residents have more of a one-on-one connection with the chief but feels like any more would be too micromanaging.

Map shows the area covered by Pleasanton City Council District 3. (Image courtesy City of Pleasanton)

Other key topics addressed in questions to all five candidates included Stoneridge Shopping Center redevelopment planning, the city's Climate Action Plan 2.0, traffic congestion, and the transition and turnover in the city's administrative ranks including new City Manager Gerry Beaudin.

See the candidates' responses to all questions in the forum video created by Roberta Gonzales Productions and available on the Pleasanton Weekly's YouTube page.

Editor's note: Because of technical difficulties, the first seven minutes of the Pleasanton City Council candidates' forum held Monday were not recorded, including District 3 candidate Joel Liu's opening statement. We have added a recorded version of Liu's statement to the YouTube video, as well as improving the audio of the recording.

District 1 and District 3 candidates for the upcoming Nov. 8 election participate in a forum Monday evening where they discuss issues like housing and safe water in Pleasanton. (Photo by Christian Trujano)

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Pleasanton City Council candidates debate

Housing, water supply, public safety among key issues at Weekly election forum

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Sep 14, 2022, 9:59 pm

New housing developments, the drinking water supply and public safety were just some of the topics that five Pleasanton City Council candidates running in the November election addressed during a public forum this week.

Participating in the live two-hour event in the council chambers at the Pleasanton Civic Center were newcomer candidates Jeff Nibert and Dean Wallace running for City Council District 1 and incumbent Councilmember Julie Testa and challengers Joel Liu and Jamie Yee for District 3.

The Nov. 8 general election will be Pleasanton's first time following a district-based format for City Council seats, with District 1 representing the northwest Pleasanton neighborhoods and District 3 representing the southwestern part of the city.

Both positions are four-year terms on the City Council. At least one seat is guaranteed to change over as current Councilmember Kathy Narum is termed out this year.

Presented by the Pleasanton Weekly on Monday evening, the forum was hosted in-person along with a livestream option and moderated by Weekly publisher Gina Channell Wilcox and editor Jeremy Walsh.

All five candidates answered questions at the same time, regardless of district, during the debate. "While only voters in districts 1 and 3 will be able to cast a ballot for their preferred candidate, council members represent the entire city," Wilcox told the audience. "It's important that all residents get to know the candidates and hear about their views, values and vision for the city's future."

District 1 candidates

Finding places in Pleasanton to build affordable housing units in order to meet the state's mandated Regional Housing Needs Allocation is going to be one of the top priorities for the upcoming City Council.

Nibert, a 35-year resident of Pleasanton and a current member of the city's Planning Commission, said he does support affordable housing in areas where it makes sense.

"We all agree that more affordable housing is needed, and I support the increased developments of affordable housing in places where it's appropriate and makes sense," Nibert said. "The city has already been successful with affordable housing, and we will do more."

But what he said he does not agree with is the state taking away the city's local control.

"Working as a planning commissioner, I see our hardworking staff in the planning department," Nibert said. "They are very capable of doing the work to implement standard processes and to make sure that permit conditions are complied with. The state has taken that local expertise away from Pleasanton."

He said taking away those standard processes of city and public review allows developers to "just check off the boxes and the city must give them a permit."

He said it allows projects such as the proposed Harrison Street development -- a five-story, mixed-use building on the edge of downtown with no onsite parking -- to get approved even though the majority of the community have issues with the height and lack of parking.

"That monstrosity in Harrison Street should never be built. Of course, it probably will," Nibert said. "This is more appropriate at another location. There are other places in Pleasanton where we could use that type of policy. This is not it."

On the other side of the argument, however, was Wallace who is running for the same District 1 seat.

Wallace, a 22-year resident of the Tri-Valley and a political staffer who currently works as a district director for Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Berkeley), said he wanted to run in this year's election mainly to shift the tone regarding affordable housing.

He cited a recent study done by the city of Pleasanton that he said showed that the No. 1 priority for Pleasanton residents was the lack of affordable housing and the cost of living in the city. He said in the same survey, 70% of respondents said the cost of housing in Pleasanton was a serious or very serious concern.

"When it comes to building affordable housing in the city, the city has failed," Wallace said.

He said he supports a balanced and well-planned-out affordable housing plan in Pleasanton and that the only reason the city lost its local control to projects like the Harrison Street project is because the city did not do enough in the last five years to meet its state housing goals.

"(Senate Bill) 35, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017. That's five years ago," Wallace said. "The city is now at five years to take the steps needed so that a project like Harrison Street wouldn't happen in the first place."

He said in SB 35, there is a provision that says if the city meets its housing goals and needs, those types of projects would not be allowed to be streamlined.

"I think it's a failure on the city's part ... to take proactive measures to make sure a project like that doesn't happen," Wallace said. "The city could have been engaging with the developer a long time ago to make sure that whatever is built there is done in a way that makes sense for that community."

Both Wallace and Nibert did agree on other topics discussed in the forum including the focus on getting clean, non-contaminated water to residents and maintaining the city's public safety.

"I think this is one of the most important questions that we're going to face this election cycle, when it comes to PFAS or the forever chemicals that are seeping into our water supply," Wallace said.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have been widely used and long-lasting chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time.

In recent years, city officials have discovered PFAS in the city's groundwater supply facilities -- specifically in the city-maintained wells -- and have been working to address the problem. The council recently pressed pause on a PFAS treatment and wells rehabilitation project to weigh out other options like outsourcing the rest of its water needs to regional water providers such as the Zone 7 Water Agency.

"I think that given all the uncertainties that currently exist around what an acceptable level is, what the cost will be, what's currently in the water, I think that pause was a good thing," Wallace said. "I support looking into all the possible solutions to this problem, which includes blending of water, greater treatment of water or looking for new supplies of water."

Nibert said that being an engineer and a project manager would give him the experience to tackle such a large project.

He said that he also agrees with the decision to pause the treatment project because the city needs to consider things such as the cost of the project -- which was last projected by the city to cost $46 million -- resources and the scope of the project.

"I support the decision of the council to take a pause right now and take a look at what the alternatives are and the regional water quality supply alternatives," Nibert said. "In the meantime, the treatment option remains the plan. It's still a viable option, and it's one that I would support if it is indeed selected."

Both District 1 candidates also concurred that the city's police department is doing a good job in maintaining public safety and that there is no need for additional oversight apart from the City Council with input from the recently formed Police Chief's Advisory Board.

"The effectiveness of the Police Chief's Advisory Board is something that I have heard very good things about," Nibert said. "In regard to community policing, I'm so proud of the efforts that our police departments and our police professionals have made in terms of getting out there among the public and establishing relations to improve not only the image, but to convey to people the good work that is being done."

Wallace said that he will pledge to preserve funding for our public safety and school resource officers and said that even though he doesn't think it's necessary, if the need for more police oversight arises he will be the first to call for more reporting.

District 3 candidates

The competitors for City Council District 3 -- Liu, Testa and Yee -- all had different views on residential growth in Pleasanton and how the city should balance new affordable housing.

Yee, a former Pleasanton school board trustee for 12 years, said she supports affordable housing done right and that even though the city must retain its local control, it should look to build more workforce housing.

"Workforce housing is something that I've been a huge advocate for many, many years," Yee said. "Being on the school board, it was painfully obvious to us that teachers did not live in our community."

She also said she hears a lot from parents who are worried they won't be able to live near their grandchildren because their children can't move back to Pleasanton due to the high housing costs.

"I think the council really needs to balance what is required by the state and our desire to have more affordable housing," Yee said. "I really believe that if we have a functional council that can work together, we can figure out ways to make that happen."

Liu, chair of the city's Committee on Energy and the Environment, also said that the city needs more workforce housing for the teachers and firefighters who can't afford to live in Pleasanton but added that the city needs to retain its local control. He used the Harrison Street project, which he lives near, as an example of poor policy-making with SB 35.

"Housing is a very critical issue in our city," Liu said. "We do need housing for teachers, firefighters, and many other working families, but the location of that policy is wrong."

He said the city needs to work to regain its local control to maintain Pleasanton's history of well-executed planning and to work with legislators to find solutions so similar future projects can be avoided.

Testa, who is in her fourth year serving on the City Council, agreed to every candidate's point of maintaining local control, but she took it a step further in saying that the city needs to fight more against the state's mandated housing laws.

"In our last RHNA cycle, we actually built 370 affordable housing units," she said. "In fact, Pleasanton built a higher percentage of our affordable housing than any other city in Alameda County."

But Testa said that was still not enough to meet the state's housing demands.

"The state housing numbers are unrealistic," she said. "The state has to help us with the funding because we've been set up to fail. They know we do not have the $1.5 billion in subsidy that would be required to build our RHNA affordable housing requirements."

She said she has been working with a group coalition of elected officials from several California cities to fight back against the state's Department of Housing and Community Development so projects like Harrison Street won't happen again.

She argued that a state legislative audit shows the RHNA numbers are incorrect and that the city must do everything to push back against giving up its local control.

"Only 29 cities out of the entire state actually were able to meet their affordable housing goals. Only 29 across the state, and those were cities that were so small that they had tiny, tiny little numbers," Testa said. "We have been set up to fail. All cities are being set up to fail with these mandates because they want the ministerial streamlining."

But Yee, much like District 1 candidate Wallace, said that SB 35 only penalizes cities that didn't do their job, like Pleasanton.

"We had five years to come up with the numbers in the plan and that didn't happen, so the city actually gave up its control," Yee said.

However, she did have a problem with the Harrison Street project in that the main reason the state chose that location is because of the close transportation option of the ACE train, which Yee said made no sense given that the train doesn't run outside of commute times.

She said weaving that fact into some type of provision at the state level could help in pushing back the project.

Treating PFAS in the city's wells and overall water safety is a top priority for all three District 3 candidates.

Both Liu and Yee said it was a good idea for Testa and the rest of the current council to halt the treatment and well rehabilitation project in order to assess other options.

"I think the pause was a good idea only because my experience in making really tough decisions has to do with making sure that you have that data, and I feel we're at a place right now where there's just not enough known about it and all the different options aren't really brought forward yet," Yee said.

She and Liu said the city needs to work more closely with Zone 7 to address the aging wells and find different solutions to get safe water for Pleasanton residents.

"There should be no PFAS in our water. It's a man-made chemical," Testa added, saying that with the shutdown of one well means the city will most likely shut down its other wells.

"We do have short-term options and that would be to purchase water, more water instead of just 80% from Zone 7," Testa said. The city previously used its wells to distribute the other 20% to its residents.

The safety of the community was another top priority for the three candidates with Liu saying it would be his main focus if elected.

"Public safety is my number one priority in my platform," Liu said.

He said he supports Assembly Bill 481, which allows the council to approve police use of military-like equipment, saying it's important for officers to be well-equipped for any situation but that they should also be educating the public on how the equipment is meant to keep them safe.

Testa also said she likes the idea of being responsible for that usage of equipment but, unlike every other candidate on the forum, said that there should be police oversight, just not by the City Council.

"I don't think the City Council should be the oversight," Testa said. "I do believe that we need a professional oversight body. It should be an independent auditor. There are other cities that use independent auditors and it gives community members a place to turn when there's a concern."

Yee said she supports the current Police Chief's Advisory Board so that residents have more of a one-on-one connection with the chief but feels like any more would be too micromanaging.

Other key topics addressed in questions to all five candidates included Stoneridge Shopping Center redevelopment planning, the city's Climate Action Plan 2.0, traffic congestion, and the transition and turnover in the city's administrative ranks including new City Manager Gerry Beaudin.

See the candidates' responses to all questions in the forum video created by Roberta Gonzales Productions and available on the Pleasanton Weekly's YouTube page.

Editor's note: Because of technical difficulties, the first seven minutes of the Pleasanton City Council candidates' forum held Monday were not recorded, including District 3 candidate Joel Liu's opening statement. We have added a recorded version of Liu's statement to the YouTube video, as well as improving the audio of the recording.

Comments

keeknlinda
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Sep 15, 2022 at 11:55 am
keeknlinda, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2022 at 11:55 am

Thanks to Pleasanton Weekly for recognizing the importance of local elections and introducing the voters to the candidates for those positions. Especially thanks for presenting it in video format, so we can re-examine points we may have missed on the first viewing. Now more than ever before, we the people must inform ourselves before we mark that ballot. Without the extraordinary lengths to which you've gone in presenting these forums for all the tri-valley voters, we would have fewer opportunities to really learn who the candidates are and what they stand for. Bravo, team. This is the role journalism is meant to fulfill in our daily lives.


Michael Austin
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 15, 2022 at 10:20 pm
Michael Austin , Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2022 at 10:20 pm

I did not realize there was a candidate forum until I saw this article on the Weekly. So, I clicked on the link and watched the two-hour forum, screen went black for a period, then the volume was lost for a period.

(Removed because it focused on personal attributes and not the candidate's stance on the issues or other statements to determine his qualifications.) Nibert seemed to be candidate for assembly with attacking Dean Wallace employer.

Testa said crime was down in Pleasanton. (Removed pending verification.) Testa's police oversight demand is ludicrous. The chief of police is the police department oversight, reports to the council.

(Removed because it focused on personal attributes and not the candidate's stance on the issues or other statements to determine her qualifications.) Jamie Yee described this candidate forum as "sick fun."

Two candidates stand out, Dean Wallace and Joel Liu. Dean Wallace will represent district one very well, Joel Liu will represent district three very well. I support these two candidates for city council.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Sep 16, 2022 at 8:51 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 8:51 am

A correction, Michael. The chief of police does not report to the council, but to the city manager. There does need to be some oversight, such as the independent group I believe Palo Alto uses so corrections and changes can be proposed.


Michael Austin
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 16, 2022 at 9:19 am
Michael Austin , Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 9:19 am

To the council through the city manager.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Sep 16, 2022 at 12:45 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 12:45 pm

Unless things have changed, the council has little to do, or is even informed, with the day to day operations. They get some communications and a yearly report. It isn’t oversight.


Karla Brown
Registered user
Downtown
on Sep 16, 2022 at 1:10 pm
Karla Brown, Downtown
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 1:10 pm

Thank you Gina and Jeremy for the opportunity to learn more about all 5 candidates for Pleasanton's city council 2022. I have been in their seats, and televised interviews with surprise questions can be quite challenging. I thought all 5 candidates did a good job of expressing their goals for Pleasanton, and should be commended. All of these candidates that have the kind of values that makes them want to get involved, and to support the city of Pleasanton as a wonderful place to live and work, and actually run for office.

There are many factors I would consider before endorsing or voting for a candidate, but honestly none of them would include chair movement or being nervous during an interview. I would expect a little nervousness because public speaking commonly makes people a bit uncomfortable.

I know I am not alone when I say, these 5 Pleasanton residents deserve respect, not petty criticism.


Michael Austin
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 16, 2022 at 2:39 pm
Michael Austin , Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 2:39 pm

In job interview, body language is noted when receiving, answering questions. One wants to know how well a candidate will hold together in a crisis.

That is why candidate Wallace and candidate Liu stood out in this forum. The two of them were eager for questions, their eagerness to serve, their confidence was obvious.


Michael Austin
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 16, 2022 at 5:24 pm
Michael Austin , Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 5:24 pm

(Removed because it places blame where it does not necessarily belong. While the detection of contaminates in water came about during the current council's term, it does not mean the contaminates weren't present before.)


Karla Brown
Registered user
Downtown
on Sep 16, 2022 at 6:28 pm
Karla Brown, Downtown
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 6:28 pm

Mr. Austin- I would suggest you reread the Pleasanton Weekly in better detail. It is an excellent source of actions the city and the Zone 7 Water Agency have taken to provide clean safe drinking water to our residents. Another source of information is the supplier for over 80% of the city's water supplies, Zone 7.

For a technical source of information is the City of Pleasanton's website using the link below. In addition, I supported the city joining a lawsuit against the chemical manufacturers. Here is an excerpt of a policy I 100% supported in subcommittee, and at the city council:

"Pleasanton test results showed detection of PFOS above the Response Level for Well 8. Upon receipt of these results, the City placed Well 8 on Emergency Standby Status and has not operated since the beginning of June 2019."

"Zone 7 has been blending groundwater wells and/or treating groundwater at their Mocho Groundwater Demineralization Facility to ensure that all drinking water is below Response Levels before being delivered to Pleasanton’s water distribution system. Zone 7 test results showed no detection of PFOA and PFOS in their treated surface water supplies."

The PFAS chemicals, often referred to as Forever Chemicals, are tested as Parts per Trillion. As soon as they were identified in our well 8, the well was shut down and has not operated since. At the direction of the Mayor and Council, the city continues to work with our water engineers, zone 7 engineers, outside experts, and state law makers. I personally spoke to Congressman Swalwell about funding, and he has earmarked $2.5M in federal funds to help remediate and remove the PFAS on one of his bills going through the process at this time. I along with my Mayors of the Tri-Valley are advocated for state funding. In my meetings with the EPA earlier this year, much of the funding for PFAS removal will go to the States for allocation.

Web Link


Michael Austin
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 16, 2022 at 8:04 pm
Michael Austin , Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 8:04 pm

A lot of good work by a lot of other good people.
I appreciate all of them.


keeknlinda
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Sep 16, 2022 at 10:22 pm
keeknlinda, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2022 at 10:22 pm

Kathleen, I believe you will find that under the latest police policies, the Chief does report directly to City Council every 6 months. In fact, it is on the agenda for next Tuesday's council meeting.
There is no need for another oversight group. Council requested the bi-annual reporting and it was implemented immediately.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Sep 17, 2022 at 8:03 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Sep 17, 2022 at 8:03 am

I am glad the council gets two reports. It is not oversight, which I believe all police departments need. There are retired policemen providing the service—one of their own. Again, they are involved in day to day operations and can suggest changes to the system, if warranted.


keeknlinda
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Sep 17, 2022 at 10:24 am
keeknlinda, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Sep 17, 2022 at 10:24 am

Kathleen, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Candidates Joel Liu and Dean Wallace both stated that should a need arise, it could be addressed, but since there is no need, the City Manager and City Council perform a two-layer oversight function in Pleasanton and our police department policies are regularly monitored, there is no need.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Sep 17, 2022 at 11:12 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Sep 17, 2022 at 11:12 am

Hmmmm. The city’s insurance company paid $5.? Million to a family for a death of their son . . . and we don’t need oversight?


keeknlinda
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Sep 17, 2022 at 12:19 pm
keeknlinda, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Sep 17, 2022 at 12:19 pm

Policies have been changed as a result of that tragic event. The department was immediately responsive to council, public meetings were held and yes, city council oversight worked perfectly, swiftly, and effectively.


Bay Area Native
Registered user
Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 17, 2022 at 2:56 pm
Bay Area Native, Pleasanton Valley
Registered user
on Sep 17, 2022 at 2:56 pm

It gets old seeing one individual constantly criticizing others while he fails to run for public office himself. If he runs he will discover how much the community as a whole values his opinions and candidate endorsements.

Running for local office is not easy. Campaigning in and of itself requires huge time and emotional commitments for fundraising, interviews, public appearances, securing endorsements, etc. Serving once elected requires significant time plus being subjected to criticism from people who often don’t understand the facts of the issue they complain about. It’s remarkable anyone runs for local offices anymore because it’s certainly not for the money.

Talk is cheap. Run yourself since you are so enlightened.

Thanks to PW for facilitating the debate and thank you to all of the candidates for running. I would enjoy seeing PW follow-up by fact checking some of the candidates’ statements. I think there were a few factually incorrect statements on some of the key issues.


Karla Brown
Registered user
Downtown
on Sep 18, 2022 at 4:16 pm
Karla Brown, Downtown
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2022 at 4:16 pm

Mr. Austin's angry, rude and disrespectful responses to a reasonable question, prohibit many thoughtful Pleasanton residents from using the Town Square. Why does the Pleasanton Weekly continue to allow him unfettered access to your website? The use of his name should not grant him the ability to be disrespectful to others.

I decided to post after I read his insulting words about some of the city council candidates actions during their panel interview. Why is this acceptable? He rarely offers a reasonable discussion about issues, instead he takes personal jabs, he is meanspirited and he is unkind. He should be blocked from posting.


Just Another Resident
Registered user
Del Prado
on Sep 19, 2022 at 9:55 am
Just Another Resident, Del Prado
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2022 at 9:55 am

Interesting to hear the Pleasanton mayor advocating for suppression of free speech.

Word to the wise, Mayor Brown: Be careful with what you say on the Internet. You may be running uncontested, but you still need to be able to count to 3 to get anything done in this town.


Mica
Registered user
Alisal Elementary School
on Sep 19, 2022 at 12:25 pm
Mica, Alisal Elementary School
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2022 at 12:25 pm

I have lived in Pleasanton for 30 years. For a long time the elected counsel always talked about slow growth which was really no growth and always approving housing at a very low density if at all. That was in part due to a large NIMBY segment of our town. How the pendulum has swung. If we had addressed housing in an appropriate and thoughtful way throughout the years we would not be faced with losing local control and mandates for affordable housing. The anti-housing began with Mayor Ben Tarver, and other counsel members such as Matt Sullivan and many others some of which on the council presently lacked leader ship. I still remember the nice senior care housing facility on Stoneridge being reduceed in the number of needed apartments because of neighbors a rosd the street worried about losing part of their distant view. Now our city has to build really high density like Dublin to catch up and meet its fair share of amount of affordable housing comply with the state. The city blew it and now we are faced with losing local control in order to provide housing


Matt Sullivan
Registered user
Stoneridge
on Sep 19, 2022 at 3:09 pm
Matt Sullivan, Stoneridge
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2022 at 3:09 pm

(Portion removed) ... many, many others over the years because I have interfered with their demand for a Costco. They provide no value to a discussion or a policy debate, only personal attacks. And Karla is also right that these attacks deter people from posting for fear of attack. This is political intimidation, and as I mentioned in the other thread, is a form of fascism. But at least (removed) uses his real name.

I won't suggest that the PW ban these people from the blog, but I would encourage strong guidelines against intimidation and remove posts that violate this. After all, free speech doesn't mean you can scream "fire" in a crowded theatre.

This blog could serve a useful purpose for legitimate political or social debate but not while it's controlled by a few toxic individuals who try to limit others' views.


Karl A
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2022 at 3:29 pm
Karl A, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2022 at 3:29 pm

Mr. Sullivan

I don’t believe my outlining your activities over the last 15 or so years constitutes a ‘personal attack’.

I’ve only identified the issues Costco and others before Costco where you have taken the path of attacking the people who disagree with you. Stating facts is not an attack.

Anybody can do a Google search and validate what I have highlighted. The great thing about the internet is everything you do is stored as 0’s and 1’s in the memory of a server in some data center located somewhere in the world.

The real issue that needs to be addressed is you think it is ok to personally attack others. I guess you think being an ex-city council member means it is ok for you to act the way you do.

Any reasonable person who goes back and reviews all of your posts will see your attacks contribute very little to the conversation.

I suggest the PW brings in an independent person to review all of your posts and letters over the last 15 years to pass judgement on how much you have contributed to Pleasanton in a positive, helpful way.

A little self awareness or emotional intelligence on your part might help you learn how to contribute to conversations in a more positive way.


Matt Sullivan
Registered user
Stoneridge
on Sep 19, 2022 at 4:06 pm
Matt Sullivan, Stoneridge
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2022 at 4:06 pm

Karl A - you are confusing legitimate criticism of elected officials with personal attacks. I have criticized the ACTIONS of these officials many times, which is my right and responsibility in q democracy. I don't attack them as a person, which is what you and your pals do as a form of intimidation. A perfect example is your condescending post just now "A little self awareness or emotional intelligence on your part might help you learn how to contribute to conversations in a more positive way" and your continuing insinuations that I am mentally ill. THOSE are personal attacks.


Karl A
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2022 at 4:53 pm
Karl A, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2022 at 4:53 pm

Mr. Sullivan
I’ll sign off with one more condescending comment (or by your definition an attack)- sharing the definition of a bully, which you have been with the people who disagree with you your entire political career:
Avoids and denies responsibility for the consequences of that behavior (abdication and denial are hallmarks in bullying) through denial, blaming others and feigning victimhood. Is unable and unwilling to recognize the effect and harm the behavior has on others. Is unable and unwilling to conceptualize a better way to behave.

After 50 years I will be leaving Pleasanton. I will miss my friends but definitely will not miss you nor the highly negative political environment Pleasanton is now drowning in.

I’ve never been a member of Costco, but with the endless recommendations you have made to try the hotdogs, I may join just for that.

Hope you have a more positive future.


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