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Pleasanton Weekly

News - August 8, 2008

Deadline today to run for City Council, Pleasanton mayor

Hosterman to face opposition from anti-Oak Grove development group

by Jeb Bing

With the deadline for filing election papers set for 5 p.m. today, the mayoral and City Council races are down to the wire, with Mayor Jennifer Hosterman expected to face challenges from at least one of four candidates who share similar views on hilltop housing projects and how City Council meetings should be conducted.

The four are: former Councilman Steve Brozosky, former Planning Commissioner Mary Roberts, and current Planning Commissioners Anne Fox and Greg O'Connor. As of press time at 5 p.m. Wednesday, none of the five, including Hosterman, had actually turned in their filing papers. Each candidate must submit signatures from 20 voters registered in Pleasanton, a statement about themselves and their candidacy, and a $25 filing fee to City Clerk Karen Diaz. An additional $250 fee is required if candidates want their ballot statement published in the ballot information material to be sent out by the Alameda County Registrar.

Hosterman, who is leaving today for a two-week vacation in Hawaii, said she has been too busy to put her election statement together, although she hopes to have it ready before she leaves with the help of her campaign manager, Angela Ramirez Holmes.

In extensive interviews with the Weekly and a statement sent by Greg O'Connor, Hosterman's challengers explained why they want her voted out of office. All agreed that a key issue in the election will be Hosterman's support of the Oak Grove project, a 51-home development in the hills above Kottinger Ranch which the council voted 4-1 to approved last fall. As part of the approval, the landowners agreed to give nearly 500 acres of their property to the city free of charge for public use along with a new four-wheel drive fire-fighting vehicle and $1 million in to be used for traffic mitigation.

O'Connor, Brozosky, Roberts and Fox then backed a signature-gathering effort by a group called Save Pleasanton's Hills to overturn the council's action. That effort, led by former councilwoman and mayoral candidate Kay Ayala, was nullified by an Alameda County Superior Court judge, an action that the coalition is now appealing.

Next, the four Hosterman challengers also supported the coalition's successful drive to place an initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot that would ban most hilltop developments and reinforce the city's voter-mandated 29,000-unit housing band. The council last month placed a competing measure on the Nov. 4 ballot that could accomplish the same goals, but over time. That action was approved in a 3-2 vote, again with Hosterman's support.

Roberts said she didn't take particular notice of the Save Pleasanton's Hills coalition until she saw people driving by and shouting rude comments at Ayala when she was seeking signatures on her petition.

"It was just intimidation, plain and simple," Roberts said. "I'm opposed to the process that was followed in approving the Oak Grove project and I'm opposed to the council majority's approval to place an initiative on the ballot to compete with the citizens' initiative.

"I'm also opposed to reelecting Jennifer as mayor," Roberts said. "I'm going to take her on in the mayoral election of from the council floor, one way or another."

Brozosky agreed:

"Whether the council agreed with the citizens' initiative or not, the council members should have argued the merits of the initiative and let the voters decide," Brozosky said. "But by putting their own initiative on the ballot, they've created divisiveness."

"They're saying that the 5,000 people who signed this initiative don't know what they're talking about and they're going to save them," he added. "I think that's arrogance."

Asked if the two competing initiatives will be the focus of the campaign, Brozosky said it would be the process more than the measures that would be debated.

"I think in the mayor and council races, the debate may be less on the merit of the initiatives and more on the process of your government participating with you as opposed to working against you," he said. "It's not that easy to collect 5,000 signatures. It takes a lot of people and dedicated time to go out there and talk to people and collect signatures. The council should respect that process instead of saying that it just takes three of us to put something on the ballot

"Whether they intended to do it or not, the council majority was saying that you can't fight City Hall. I don't think that encourages participation. I believe that's an abuse of power."

Planning Commissioner Anne Fox said she is considering challenging Mayor Jennifer Hosterman for the city's top elective post to bring back slow-growth policies that would support more affordable and "reasonably-sized" homes as Pleasanton moves forward towards build-out.

"While acting as mayor, Jennifer Hosterman has morphed from a slow growth City Council member to completely caving in to the wishes of developer groups who by virtue of their money, power and campaign contributions carry far more influence right now in Pleasanton than ordinary citizens," Fox told the Weekly.

"So one of the things that I want to change is the pro-growth composition of the council that right now represents a real imbalance between what the people want us to do and government's direction," she added.

Fox said she is "shocked that the current mayor, so intent on approving big developer projects, either does not understand planning or just chooses to ignore it."

"I have five years of expertise from the Planning Commission and have a track record to prove that I listen to residents and do not cave into big-money developers," Fox said. "At the City Council level, 'planning' is now done under the table, and decisions are made along partisan lines long before the public hearing."

"There are professional political consultants/lobbyists hired by the developers that are influencing every decision on the City Council that happen to be the same professional political advisors to the mayor," she added. "Residents are being shut out of the process and there is a disproportionate influence of developers on our now pro-growth majority council."

A supporter of the Save Pleasanton's Hills citizens' coalition, Fox also supports the group's initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot that would ban most development on steep hillsides and ridges. In addition, she supports the coalition's efforts to overturn a decision by the council last year that authorized the Oak Grove housing plan. The coalitions' signature-gathering effort was ruled invalid in a court decision earlier this year. The coalition is appealing that decision.

"I have consistently voted no on projects on top of ridges, on top of hills, and against those 9,000 to 13,000-square-foot monstrosities," Fox said.

As mayor, Fox said she would lead a City Council "that would more truly reflect the slow-growth views of the Pleasanton electorate."

O'Connor said there are several reasons why he has considered running for mayor.

"Over the past four years, (Hosterman) has moved further away from the environmental individual I believed her to be. She has voted to place large-scale homes on the top of our ridgelines and hilltops, has failed to improve city traffic congestion as promised and has been less than respectful to the Pleasanton residents that have initiated hillside protections."

"Mayor Hosterman has voted against protecting the right of the citizens to

referend projects by failing to join the Oak Grove referendum appeal as recommended by the city attorney and she has refused to listen to the will of the people by placing a competing initiative to the Save Pleasanton's Hills and Housing Cap initiative on the November ballot, even though the city manager recommended against doing so."

In the City Council race, four candidates have indicated their interest in the two seats that will be available on Nov. 4. The first four-year terms of council members Matt Sullivan and Cindy McGovern expire Dec. 2, when a new council will be seated. Sullivan filed for reelection this week, following businessman Jerry Pentin, who filed to seek one of the council seats a week ago. McGovern is expected to file for reelection before today's deadline along with former Parks and Recreation Commissioner Howard Neely.

In prepared material for his campaign, Sullivan states:

"When first elected four years ago, my goals were to provide good government for the people of Pleasanton, to enhance our quality of life and preserve our small-town character, to address our challenges and solve problems in a collaborative way, and to join with the community to plan for a future that is environmentally and economically sustainable, with fairness and opportunity for all our citizens.

"While I believe progress has been made and much has been accomplished under my leadership over the past four years, these goals may be more important today. I am very excited about Pleasanton's future and the opportunities before us."

For regular updates on the municipal and Pleasanton school board contests, check the Weekly's daily news pages at


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 8, 2008 at 7:34 am

At the risk of sounding like a cliche, this article is not "fair and balanced". More than half of the article cites quotes from Hosterman's opposition on issues. Where are the quotes from Hosterman?

Posted by Rush Limbaugh, a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2008 at 10:22 am

We all know Steve Brozosky and Roberts will protect our hillsides through the expansion of water slides on hillsides. There is no doubt Brozosky will keep up his commitment to citizens by taking large sums of money from developers (see 2006 election) and using Karl Rove-like politcal tactics. I would also like to squelch the rumor that Brozosky played the part of "Larry Appleton" on the 1980's sitcom Perfect Strangers, that was a different guy, they just look similar.

Web Link

Web Link

Posted by Nick, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Aug 8, 2008 at 11:08 am

My family was looking forward to the improved waterslides and are sorry the project is unlikely to get built.
Fortunately the BMX park was completed. My kids and our neighbors kids use the BMX park, it is always full of kids getting exercise on weekends and after school. A true asset for our Pleasanton kids.

Posted by Liz, a resident of Stoneridge
on Aug 9, 2008 at 8:58 am

Steve Brozosky is a bad choice. He had a conflict of interest when he was a council member. He was also on the transit board (Wheels) and while on the board, his company Government Outreach provided service to the agency. Isn't something like that supposed to go out to bid?

Posted by Brozosky for Mayor, a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 9, 2008 at 10:16 am

That was such a weak baseless accusation then, and now it is just transparent and pathetic.

The fact that Brozosky saw a problem and found a way to create software to remedy the problem speaks to his value as a community leader. It sums up the type of leadership he showed on city council and on school board. Steve has been one of the most solution oriented representatives we have had in Pleasanton.

I think he should use his creation of the government software as an example of his effectiveness during his campaign.

Brozosky has my vote.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 9, 2008 at 10:32 am

Did Brozosky make money on creating software for public use? Community leaders don't normally make money off the public like that. Anyone can make software that addresses a public problem. Brozosky isn't special in that regard.

How about the dud wireless network downtown that Brozosky supported? That's just a solution looking for a problem that didn't exist. Exactly how is the greater Pleasanton citizenry benefited by a wireless network only accessible downtown (well, not accessible yet!)?

Posted by Brozosky for Mayor, a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 9, 2008 at 11:26 am

I remember a LTE from a person that worked with Brozosky on the software. He made it clear, the software was developed for, and given for free to Wheels and the livermore Airport.
I also participated on the Pleasanton Youth Master Plan and Steve developed the software for the youth website PTOWN411 (for free).
I know first hand of Brozosky's effectiveness.

"Anyone can make software that addresses a public problem. Brozosky isn't special in that regard."
Stacey you always diminish the efforts of other but I have never heard of anything you have done for the community.

Brozosky has stood out in his effectiveness in this community.
I am glad he is running for Mayor.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 9, 2008 at 12:08 pm

OK, so Brozosky didn't make money on the project is what you're saying. That's what I was asking. I noticed you dodged my questions regarding the wireless network, which was paid for by taxpayer money.

Posted by Don, a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 9, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Stacey, I guess you do not have all the details on the wireless network. The downtown wireless network was a project being worked on by the city to allow the public safety personnel to get access to the city network in case of an emergency. Brozosky suggested that this technology could also support a public network.

Being a businessman, Brozosky realized the advantage of having wireless downtown so business people could use their laptops while dining with prospects which would improve commerce for downtown. It also allows our merchants during downtown festivals to be able to do credit card transactions. Brozosky used his experience and innovation to benefit the community.

This wireless network was enthusiastically supported by the city staff as well as the Pleasanton Downtown Association. I was at an event where Hosterman gave a speech about something in the city and she even publically thanked Brozosky for his forsight.

I remember others saying we should have wireless in the whole city and Brozosky spoke out against that. He said we should not be competing against the private sector for that plus it would cost the city a significant amount of money to install and maintain plus the technology would become obsolete quickly. Brozosky was so right about that. The cities that are trying to put in wireless in the whole city have their projects failing.

Posted by Brozosky for Mayor, a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 9, 2008 at 12:58 pm


I did not dodge anything. I do not pretend to know everything, I answered what I have knowledge of.
I don't know of Steve's involvement on the wireless. It does however seen absurd to blame someone that has not been on council for two years for something that I believe was supported by the entire council and was probably contracted to professionals.
It still seems like a good idea. I hope if there is a problem with it they resolve it.

Involved citizen.
Brozosky for Mayor supporter.

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 9, 2008 at 1:01 pm

This statement does not make any sense:

"The downtown wireless network was a project being worked on by the city to allow the public safety personnel to get access to the city network in case of an emergency."

The statement doesn't make sense. The cops and fire need a downtown wireless network. But they don't need one for the rest of the city. What's wrong with their existing communication networks? Sounds like the poster is making things up as he goes along.

Posted by Don, a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 9, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Frank, before you knock somebody else information, you should check it out. The downtown network is there to increase the size of the emergency operations center (EOC) in case of a large problem/disaster. It would be difficult to get everybody into a single building. This allows police and other city officials to access the city network from the downtown area whether through laptops or police vehicles.

The police and fire do have their own frequencies for dispatch/communication but that is different than accessing the city network.

I am sure the staff report for this item is still online, or you can call the City Manager to verify this information. I am not sure why you think I would make something like this up. Geez, somebody tries to answer a question based on real knowledge and then gets personally attacked. Frank, please fill us in on what you find out from the City Manager. We all wait for your fact check.

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 9, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Saying that this doesn't make any sense is NOT a personal attack. You folks seem to have excessively thin skins because if someone raises a challenge to a statement you write, you immediately take it personally.

What you write above still really does not quite answer the point I raise about why only a network throughout the downtown area and not limited only to a smaller radius around the civic center complex. And why does the gathering point have to be around the civic center complex as opposed to more remote points in the city? And, no, I won't go study the city meeting minutes to get answers to what appears to be another city's folly with wireless networks.

Posted by Don, a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 9, 2008 at 4:42 pm


"Sounds like the poster is making things up as he goes along."

That sounds like a personal attack to me. Sorry if I overreacted but in re-reading it, it still sounds like a personal attack.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 9, 2008 at 10:02 pm

Thanks for the information. That whole thing occurred during a time that I wasn't interested in paying attention to local issues (hadn't yet invested in a future here) so I only have a fuzzy recollection of it, but I remember Brozosky's name being attached to it. I remember thinking at the time that it was a solution looking for a problem and I'm still of that opinion. I took my laptop downtown about 2 months ago. I was able to connect to the Pleasanton wireless APs but there was no network available. I understand it is in "beta" still and not accessible. I did note the large number of other wireless networks downtown!

Brozosky for Mayor wrote earlier: "Stacey you always diminish the efforts of other but I have never heard of anything you have done for the community."

Unfortunately the validity of my (or your) arguments are never dependent upon whatever I (or you) have done or haven't done. Thankfully it is a Constitutional right for every citizen to be able to criticize elected officials; past, present, and future. No citizen ever needs to be able to be elected President, Mayor, etc. to earn the right to criticize the President, Mayor, etc.. No exceptions in this case either. Who cares what you've done?

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 9, 2008 at 10:34 pm

So, still no answer on why Brozosky promoted this effort by the city to provide emergency access to city network servers into an expanded downtown network. A limited wireless network in the vicinty of the city building complex is not equivalent to a downtown network for the casual laptop users downing their morning brew at Tullys. But businessman Brozosky thought what a good thing it was to expand this into some sort of city-subsidized wider network to all of downtown? Sounds like the same sort of folly pursued by many other jurisdictions, all of which are failing. Vote for businessman Brozosky!!!!

Posted by Liz, a resident of Stoneridge
on Aug 10, 2008 at 10:37 pm

Regardless if he gave it to the bus company or not, it's still conflict of interest and he's not a good choice for the mayor. I have met him in person one time and I felt he was dishonest.

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Aug 11, 2008 at 12:38 am

Come on now Liz, you shouldn't make a charge like that("I have met him in person one time and I felt he was dishonest")without an explaination(Well, you can around here, I guess. It's done all the time). A one time "in person" meeting and he leaves the impression
he's dishonest - How so? Don't leave us wondering!!!! Inquiring voters want to know.....:)

Also, how does giving something free of charge, with no strings attached, become a "conflict of interest"???

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 11, 2008 at 7:15 am

I agree with Jerry. Liz should explain her reasoning.

Posted by Greg, a resident of Birdland
on Aug 11, 2008 at 7:38 am

I think Liz is either a desperate supporter of Hosterman or too absurd to waste time responding to.

Posted by Linda, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2008 at 8:44 am

I don't understand Franks question. Supporting the downtown business community while creating a service for Pleasanton residents while enjoying our downtown sounds like an appropriate expenditure of City resource to me.

I can only think of one person that would have reason to make such a baseless libelous comment as the one made by Liz(?).............

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 11, 2008 at 9:31 pm

The whole issue about creating a wireless network has to do with siting ACCESS POINTS. This posting is an attempt to state some facts for Linda about wireless networks and how extending one to the whole downtown area, while the city only needed an limited range, may not make much sense based upon costs, therein rendering Brozosky's position as maybe not so smart as Linda thinks it is.

If you ever set up a wireless network in your house, you will understand what I write.

Each wireless access point has a limited range. Each wireless access point is hardwired to a router. Maybe about 100 feet or so is the range of the wireless connection. 4 watts of EIRP goes only so far. To extend these access points to the Pleasanton downtown area from the civic center greatly increases the cost and its complexity of the total network. After all, the city workers don't need to be at Tully's during the emergency. Hardwiring to each wireless access point is usually required or a wireless bridge design is needed to eliminate the wiring, and thus increases the complexity of the network, and therefore its overall costs.

So, if the city for emergency purposes designed a network for its users to arrive in the area around city hall and the police station, this cost would be minimal. To extend this same network out to a range that included, for example, the Rose Hotel, the cost would escalate substantially. And, remember, this would only benefit downtown and not the majority of residents throughout the city.

So, if Brozosky, the businessman, thought this was such a good idea, it is arguable whether the idea is good or just another folly that cities engage in promoted by their elected representatives.

Posted by Linda, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2008 at 10:20 pm

Thank you for the explanation. I guess when I first heard about the wireless I felt good thinking it was for me and you and any of us that may be downtown enjoying our cities ambiance. I don't resent that it does not come near my home, I feel I do get benefit if I want to. I have no idea of the cost but I can't imagine that it is too much in the scheme of things.

I often feel our tax dollars don't come back to us enough. I have always paid too much for my kids to do activities through the city programs . Other cities make the programs more affordable. Pleasanton has a cost recovery policy where if I sign up for any program the cost will factor in the use of facility and administration time, which I feel I have already paid for with my taxes. I was once told they must do so to pay the salary levels and benefits. Our City employees do retire young.

So I will say thank you to whoever is responsible for the convenience of being able to use my lap top while I sip my coffee.

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Aug 11, 2008 at 10:20 pm

If I'm not mistaken, Mayor Hosterman, some time ago on a TV30 Mayors Report, was praising this system as a "Down Town System" and she mentioned a person would be able to connect while doing business or having coffee/lunch downtown. I believe she said someone was working on it at that time.

With todays technology, what would one gestimate the cost to get such a system up and running. If it's within means and will benefit citizens and business people, I say go for it. We've probably piddled away city funds on less desirable things than this.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 11, 2008 at 10:36 pm

You've been able to connect? I couldn't connect to anything on the Internet.

In the grand scheme of things, it didn't cost that much, given that it only covers downtown. To me it is dumb not because of any fiscal impact, but because it doesn't really do anything perceptibly useful. It was like someone said "Hey cool! Wifi!" and then looked for a way to justify it.

"Hey cool! Lollipops! That will help prevent citizen blood sugar levels from getting too low!"