I applaud the Pleasanton Weekly for noting the urgency of a community debate on policing in Pleasanton in their recent editorial.
A June 14 online forum on "Racial Inequity in City Governance and Policing" organized by Unify Livermore provided the first opportunity for such a debate. The event was intended to encompass all the Tri-Valley and include the mayors and police chiefs of Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton. Indeed, the Dublin and Livermore mayors and chiefs of police, as well as Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, all participated in the forum.
Although Pleasanton Councilwoman Julie Testa also participated, Pleasanton's mayor and police chief missed a valuable opportunity to be part of this dialogue, which presented very poor optics for our city. In addition, I came away with less information about policing in our community as compared to Dublin and Livermore because of their absence.
As a result of the online forum, the Weekly's editorial, and citizen's speaking out at the June meeting of the city council, a special meeting of the Pleasanton city council is scheduled for July 14 with a single agenda item of policing (action plan), although residents are limited to three minutes to speak. A community listening session open to the public with an open mic format is also tentatively scheduled for July 21.
It is critical that residents of Pleasanton show up and make their voices heard at these meetings. We need to maintain momentum so that this timely issue doesn't just fade away.
-- Ward Kanowsky
One solution to chronic underfunding
The economic crisis is hitting everyone hard, and Californians -- including local governments and school districts -- are facing unprecedented budget shortfalls. We've appreciated Gov. Newsom's leadership, but current budget proposals could mean more devastating cuts to historically underfunded communities, particularly those of color.
As we face these hardships, many corporations benefit from tax loopholes that drain resources from communities of color. The very resources that would correct decades of disinvestment. This is unacceptable. In November, we can change that.
The Schools & Communities First initiative, which qualified for the ballot after garnering 1.7 million signatures of support, means $12 billion every year for critical local services like hospitals and schools by closing corporate tax loopholes -- while protecting homeowners and residents, small businesses, and agriculture from any changes.
Our analysis shows that 94% of the revenue would come from only 10% of the most under-assessed commercial and industrial properties in the state -- meaning a fraction of top corporations would finally pay their fair share.
We can't afford corporate tax loopholes at the expense of our schools and communities.
-- Kristen Sison
Virus deaths by city
Why has no investigative reporting been done of the Alameda County Health Department failing to tell people which cities have had coronavirus deaths. The department is putting peoples' health at risk by not keeping them informed.
-- Mike Robertson
Congress should protect our elections
Do you know who's voting by mail this election? Donald Trump. And do you know who's making it harder for everyone else in the country to vote by mail in the middle of a global pandemic? That's right -- Donald Trump.
He and other White House officials have gone on record with false claims against mail-in voting, even though it's one of the safest options for us to cast our ballots as the country recovers from this pandemic.
In the face of Trump's hypocrisy, I expect Congress to do the right thing and provide both economic relief and expanded funding for no-excuse absentee voting, early voting, and other options to make voting safer this November. These are all commonsense reforms that a vast majority of Americans support and changes that would help increase voter participation during and after this crisis.
Even though Congress allocated some funds to help states implement these voting reforms, without an additional $3.6 billion in election assistance funding, some voters may not be able to make their voices heard during one of the most important elections of our lifetime.
We must prevent a situation where voters are forced to choose between protecting their health and casting a ballot -- no matter what Trump says.
Congress has the ability to act right now and we need to make sure our representatives know that anything less than immediate action is unacceptable.
-- Freyja Pettersen
Break the Outbreak
I want to inform Tri-Valley residents of a youth nonprofit that I'm a part of called Break the Outbreak (BTOB).
With more than 10 chapters across three states, BTOB is dedicated to supporting establishments heavily affected by the pandemic. We use donations to build face masks, shields, care packages and other protective equipment for businesses and their workers.
All our materials are high-quality and thoroughly sanitized. Our clients include Rigatoni's, Baja Fresh, Boba Guys, Tandoori Pizza and Pleasanton farmers' markets. In just three months, we have created and donated over $3,500 worth of supplies to communities in the Tri-Valley Area and beyond.
The coronavirus outbreak presents a daily threat to our city's most vulnerable population. Behind the recent hike in coronavirus cases are the lax in social distancing guidelines, masks usage, and sanitation. Thousands of people of all ages are at risk. Through social media and virtual outreach, we hope to alleviate the consequences of COVID-19 and establish meaningful engagement among city residents.
To learn more about Break the Outbreak, please visit our website at breaktheoutbreak.org or our social accounts on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
-- Kanchan Naik
Karla Brown for mayor
Join me and vote Karla Brown for mayor 2020. I have supported Karla on her first two wins for council and now I support her for mayor.
Karla has worked for eight years on the City Council fighting for slow and smart growth policies, ridgeline and hillside protection, and safe and clean drinking water. She wants to preserve our charming downtown, and does not support converting downtown restaurants and shops into multi-story housing!
I often see Karla Brown and her friends supporting veterans and the American Legion events in Pleasanton. She told me many members of her family have served in the military, including her father who was an Air Force pilot in WWII and her brother who served in the Navy with a construction battalion in Vietnam.
Karla supported the Wounded Warrior fundraiser at Wente Vineyards, and I often see her at the Veterans' Hall with friends at events like Beer, Brats and Bingo, Turkey Bingo, Bunny Bingo and more.
Karla Brown is a proven leader who loves Pleasanton and our veterans. She is the right candidate to serve as Pleasanton's mayor in 2020.
-- Sharon Morris
Congress must fund vote-by-mail in every state
The impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on all of our lives is clear. Even as some states begin to recover or even reopen, many of us are still worried for the health and well-being of our families, friends and colleagues.
But I'm also worried about the impact this crisis will have on our elections. After seeing how it impacted elections already this year in places like Wisconsin and Georgia, I'm scared this pandemic will jeopardize Americans' ability to vote in-person in the 2020 election.
While some states are taking steps to help people vote safely, Trump and his administration are going to great lengths to make mail-in voting seem like a voter-fraud scheme -- even though Trump himself votes by mail. It's clear Congress needs to intervene and focus on what's right for the American people in every state: expanding vote-by-mail and other voting options.
To keep voters safe, we need our representatives in the House and Senate to provide states with emergency funding to ensure that every eligible American can safely cast their ballot through the mail, that they can register to vote online, and that any in-person polling places are safe for voters and poll workers.
For this election, we must protect every eligible voter's right to have a say in who is in office. The leaders we elect in 2020 can take actions that improve the health and well-being of all Americans, or put us at further risk.
Nothing less than our democracy is at stake.
-- Katarina Amadora
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