Gina Channell Wilcox's Around the Valley column on March 3 left out facts about the Pleasanton City Council vote to drop the plan to reroute Kottinger Creek from the master plan for Delucchi and Lions Wayside Parks.
Ms. Wilcox didn't reveal that the plan to reroute the creek would cost $14 million and didn't mention that the council does plan to spend $1.9 million to rebuild the bandstand and make other improvements.
She criticized councilmembers for spending $2 million to restore the Century House without fully funding park improvements. In fact, that $2 million came from surplus money.
Later she wrote, "I can't help but wonder if the decision was influenced by friends of the majority. For example, Christine Bourg, who thanked the council during an August meeting for funding the Century House project, lives on Second Street." This statement is illogical.
Just because I live on Second Street and am friends with some of the councilmembers has nothing to do with the park vote. I never spoke to any councilmember about the park plan, yet the article implies that I influenced them. Reading this, residents might conclude that I bear some responsibility for the no vote. I was never contacted by Ms. Wilcox to check her facts.
I called Ms. Wilcox after the article appeared. She said that she may have "extrapolated" that I influenced the park decision. She also agreed that $14 million was too much for the city to pay for creek rerouting, but this wasn't included in her article.
I asked her to clarify that I did not influence the council's decision. Ms. Wilcox agreed to do so in her next column.
-- Christine Bourg
(Editor's note: A central theme to the March 3 column was that the council majority scrapped the master plan concept as opposed to sending it back to staff for a way to lower the costs.)
The city of Pleasanton is lucky to have such a wonderful downtown and space to host concerts. Whether the city should spend a couple million to revamp the stage and pave a parking lot where Express Liquors used to be or to spend $10 million or more to completely remodel the park and relocate a creek is a matter of City Council priority.
It was discussed openly and their logic for voting the way they did was apparent and does not invite one to wonder. But I can't help but wonder why your March 3 column gratuitously added my name in a speculative way and suggested I influenced that decision. I can't help but wonder why you didn't satisfy your curiosity by contacting me directly.
Had you asked, you would have learned that I had absolutely zero conversations or communication with anyone on council or city staff about that issue, publicly or privately. As you didn't, I'm left to answer questions from fellow citizens and neighbors on an issue I had no involvement in.
If your comments directed at me have to do with the PUSD site in the Housing Element, let me be crystal clear and repeat what you could have heard me say by attending the public meeting.
The PUSD site is different than every other site in the Housing Element, as that land ultimately belongs to the people, the taxpayers. The people should have more of a say in what happens on that site. Nearly all comments received, including those from members of the district who appeared at the planning commission meeting agreed and prioritized teacher housing.
My comments at the meeting and recommendation was to zone for a lower density at the PUSD site with the option to increase the density once a suitable plan for teacher housing was submitted.
Attracting and retaining talented, happy, and motivated educators and school staff by offering workforce housing should be a top priority for every person who has a stake in that piece of land. If you are reading this and you pay taxes — that means you.
-- Matthew Gaidos