Keep the Tri-Valley coalition together | May 18, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - May 18, 2012

Keep the Tri-Valley coalition together

Just as the coalition of Tri-Valley cities is enthusiastically backing a new marketing campaign by the Tri-Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau to attract more visitors to our region, we hear rumblings from some business and city leaders in San Ramon that they want out. In a resolution approved 5-0 by the San Ramon City Council last week, the city is asking CVB's president and CEO Grant Raeside to return all funds collected from San Ramon hotels or to make sure that they are used strictly to market and promote San Ramon. The push comes from Tom David, area general manager of San Ramon Marriott, the city's largest hotel, who complained that while San Ramon hotels generate 25% of the fees used by the CVB, they're not seeing the benefit. Both Reaside and the other cities that are part of the CVB program -- Danville, Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton -- plan to reject the request and San Ramon could likely withdraw from the aggressive area marketing program.

There's more. San Ramon leaders also want to stop using city funds to finance TV30, the community broadcast system that covers city council meetings, including San Ramon's, and produces popular features, such as San Ramon Life. Besides forcing the station's three other sponsors -- Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton -- to contribute more to TV30, San Ramon would likely lose its hometown coverage and the mayor's seat on its board of directors.

San Ramon has also indicated that it may withdraw from iGATE, a two-year-old technology combine that is already being widely acclaimed for its startup incubators for tech-savvy entrepreneurs. By cancelling out its $25,000 annual membership, iGATE's programs that could benefit Bishop Ranch and other San Ramon enterprises would probably go to other locations.

Former Mayor Abram Wilson was a strong supporter of the Tri-Valley coalition, meeting frequently with the mayors of the other four cities that make up this unique group. They traveled to Washington each year to meet with those in Congress who represent this area and with the staffs and directors of many federal agencies who help us out in terms of transportation, housing and development dollars. It's been a good, working lobbying group that has been productive in gaining recognition for the Tri-Valley, which both the cities and the CVB believe deserves better notice.

The Tri-Valley cities will hold their quarterly meeting next month with San Ramon hosting the group. Let's hope the coalition stays in place.