Your suicide issue was powerful and very necessary. The coverage and respect that you showed to the survivors was gracious. The list of warning signs and ways to help those poor souls threatening suicide was open and serious. It was sad to read a few days later that a young teacher in Richmond allegedly took his own life. Suicide can no longer be a hush hush and roll your eyes subject, especially for our young citizens.
Thank for the courage to bring this subject to the front page.
-Editors note: The teacher who commited suicide worked at Albany Middle School, not in Richmond.
Educating Mr. Williams
I would like to invite Mr. Bill Williams, who faults PUSD teachers because he met one teenager who hadn't heard of the Space Shuttle (Sept. 28 Letters to the Editor, "What Shuttle?"), to shadow me for a week in my job as English teacher at Foothill High. I would like him to see the richness of the topics we cover as we discuss great literature, plus the depth of the skills we practice. I would like him to see how hard my students work, how sincerely they wrestle with humanity's biggest questions, and how nobly some of them struggle to do so despite less than ideal home situations.
I would like Mr. Williams to follow me outside of school as I spend hours away from my own children to correct papers thoughtfully so my students have a rich education. I invite him to come with me to Office Max, where I spend hundreds of my own dollars each year for basic classroom supplies that the district cannot afford to provide.
While Mr. Williams is with me, he will hear me gush continually about how deeply I love each of my students, how profoundly they enrich my life, how much potential I see in each of them, and how sincerely I want to help them grow into their best, most thoughtful selves -- the kind of educated human beings our world so desperately needs.
Alas, when our week is over, we may discover the Space Shuttle Endeavor topic never arose. At that point only will I accept his criticism.
Heather Richey, English teacher, Foothill High School
Force of nature
Cheryl Cook-Kallio is a force of nature. Fortunately for Pleasanton, her dynamism is guided by an internal compass that reflects the best of human values. We heartily endorse her candidacy for mayor -- an endorsement based on decades of knowing Cheryl in a wide range of roles.
Our relationship began almost 35 years ago, as she entered the teaching profession. She worked for us as a teacher, reading clinician and manager. We watched as she integrated motherhood and teaching in ways that were remarkable -- demonstrating competencies in both roles that remain high-water marks in our careers. While parenting four amazing children into responsible, productive adulthood, she grew a career in education respected throughout the state and recognized nationally.
Many people would content themselves with such an impressive personal and professional record. Not Cheryl. A life-long advocate for children and learning, she rededicated herself to public service, focusing her high-octane dynamism on her hometown of Pleasanton.
Cheryl's record as a citizen leader/advocate is clearly demonstrated by her six-plus years of dedicated public service. We have remained among her greatest supporters because we know what fuels her dynamism: Cheryl cares. Never -- throughout the three decades we have known her -- have we seen her make a self-serving decision. It is always about others, be them kids, colleagues, parents or entire communities.
We urge you to support our friend Cheryl Cook-Kallio in her bid for mayor. Her intelligent, informed and caring leadership will result in high-water marks for the city and its citizens.
Bill and Becky Radulovich
No on B1
Sales tax in California is 7.25%, the highest in the nation. Alameda County's is 8.75%. Measure B1 brings it to 9.25%. This .5% tax will be in perpetuity. Our current tax rate is punitive and we are going to make it worse. Plus we will force people to shop in surrounding counties where they will pay a lower sales tax. Why not go to Costco Danville rather than Livermore?
The purpose of this tax is to improve transportation, highways, etc., and create jobs. What's not being said is that through prevailing wages and project labor agreements (PLA's) these jobs will all be union. The unions only represent 15% of the workforce if California; 85% of the workers do not belong to unions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, 85% of the workforce has to pay this punitive tax so the unions can enjoy more work at higher wages. Do you wonder why every union-sympathetic politician and every union in Alameda County is supporting this tax?
Please vote No on B1. Give the taxpayer a break, keep people shopping in Alameda County and please, think about 85% of the people that don't belong to a union.
Why I support Thorne
I support Jerry Thorne for mayor:
* With the upcoming development of the Bernal property, Jerry Thorne as our mayor would draw upon his Parks and Recreation experience to guide our city in realizing this $14 million project.
* Thorne knows how to promote viewpoint exchanges among diverse groups -- for example, the arts groups and the sports leaders -- in order to get consensus through meetings, discussions, emails, phone calls. I was in awe when he garnered many sports and arts groups together to ensure that the City Council launch Stage 1 on the Bernal Property.
* Thorne is level-headed and is fiscally wise. His wide business and volunteer experience will ensure that Pleasanton gets the most for its investments in our community and will develop our rich quality of life -- what Pleasanton expects of its leaders.
* As Parks and Recreation Commissioner and as City Councilman, Thorne has an impressive track record: He supported and helped us realize the Dolores Bengtson 50-meter pool, the Alviso Adobe Park, the Firehouse Arts Center, the Renovation of the Gingerbread Preschool, and the Veterans Hall restoration.
* Thorne's vision for Pleasanton is focused upon a balanced budget, city and corporate collaboration with the schools, traffic mitigation, support for veterans and their families, and resolving city pension issues.
Thorne is a doer, a careful listener and decision maker. He moves forward -- once issues are accurately defined -- with steady vision, a commitment to our city and a desire to see the job done. Let's make Jerry Thorne our next mayor.
Vote for Karla Brown
If you have attended any of the candidates' debates then you already know Karla Brown comes prepared. She studies the issues, provides hard facts, and clearly explains her positions.
The Sierra Club endorsed Karla because of her desire to protect open spaces and the ridges in Pleasanton. She is the only slow and smart growth candidate. Lots of housing is being forced upon Pleasanton, so it is critical to ensure that the housing that does get built is appropriate, efficiently designed, and conforms to Pleasanton's high standards.
Pleasanton has been paying more money into PERS than required, and still our unfunded liability continues to grow, so you know we have a serious problem. Karla is not here to play the blame game, but she is here to sit down with both sides and figure out a way to make the budget sustainable. Public employees may have earned a good pension, but if the city can't afford to pay for what has been promised, then what? Sustainability is critical! Kicking the unfunded liability can down the road is not responsible, reasonable or moral.
Karla opposes Measure B1, not because of the planned projects but because there is no sunset clause. Once planned projects are completed, then politicians have free reign to spend the money. Measure B1 is a regressive tax and is disproportionately hard on the poor.
Please vote for Karla Brown.
Pentin is best
Please join us in electing Jerry Pentin to Pleasanton City Council.
Observing four candidate forums, it is clear that Jerry is the most capable and experienced of the three active candidates (Mike Harris has dropped out). He will have the fastest start up time and will serve the community at a high level sooner than the other candidates. Jerry has already performed very well in the recreational and property planning aspects of local government. He is enthusiastic. He is self employed, knowledgeable and prudent in budget and fiscal matters.
All three active candidates are good and have the best interest of the entire community at heart, but Jerry Pentin is the best for all concerned.
Brad and Sandra Hirst
Clear choice for mayor
Pleasanton's choice between two qualified candidates for mayor bears directly on what the city will look like in the future. Strangely, discussions of this choice frequently point to Measure B, a county-wide tax measure where everyone in the county gets exactly one vote. The choice for mayor might be better informed if voters looked at issues closer to home. For example, how would the candidates approach something thorny, like resolving the long-term budget?
Conventional "business practices" would be one method: canceling pensions, reducing benefits, cutting staff, and selling off assets. Let's see -- there's police, fire, water and sewer, streets, sports fields, the aquatic center, golf course, etc. The tricky part is: How much can you cut what without compromising those parts of our quality of life that you appreciate most? How much crime can we tolerate? How many fires do we really need to put out? Do the sports fields really need to look so nice?
Another approach would be to work together with the city and residents to find responsible paths forward. Government, after all, is the way that everyone comes together to achieve things that none of us can do alone -- those things that make life better for all of us. Cheryl Cook-Kallio represents the working-together approach to ensuring the quality of life that we all enjoy in Pleasanton. Please vote for Cheryl Cook-Kallio.
Please vote Jerry Thorne for mayor of the city of Pleasanton on Nov. 6. Jerry served as a Parks and Recreation commissioner for 10 years and strongly supports the city's park and recreation facilities and programs. Jerry was instrumental in the city acquiring the Bernal property and continues to work so that it benefits everyone, from kids to seniors.
Jerry believes we should honor the commitments we have made -- he has continued to work toward the goal of a sustainable public employee pension program -- one that is affordable and funded. The "Great Recession" has challenged much of "normal"; Jerry has been active, involved and, most importantly, engaged.
Jerry's leadership draws upon a great many experiences, from being a former business executive to his broad community and volunteer service resume and military service. He truly is a voice of honesty, experience, and confidence in our community and beyond.
Jack O. Balch
Karla, a creative thinker
We strongly support Karla Brown for Pleasanton City Council. Karla believes that we need to preserve the charm of our unique Historic Downtown, its surrounding neighborhoods and vintage homes. As an active member of PHA (Pleasanton Heritage Association), Karla has worked with the group to publish a monthly newsletter. She believes growth should be slow and smart. Protection of our ridgelines and open space are also important issues for Karla. She led the effort to put ridgeline protection before voters, who voted overwhelmingly for strict protections.
Karla is an open-minded, creative thinker, whose willingness to listen to all citizens will enable her to work with other council members to maintain our quality of life, while working cooperatively with neighboring cities regarding traffic, water quality and regional land uses.
Vote for Karla Brown on Nov. 6.
Brian and Christine Bourg
Cook-Kallio deserves vote
Cheryl Cook-Kallio deserves your support for Pleasanton mayor in the upcoming election. She has demonstrated top notch leadership, she is not afraid to take on the tough issues, is supported by almost all other locally elected officials in our surrounding area, and will be a full time mayor for Pleasanton.
Cheryl demonstrated her leadership when she tackled the Stoneridge Drive road improvements issue when no other person on the City Council would take it on. Her efforts led the City Council in making decisions which have now allowed the road to be under construction.
She is a known leader among other elected and appointed people, ranging from state officials, county officials and locally elected officials in the five city sub-region we live in.
As a former mayor and very involved elected official when I was in office, I have watched Cheryl as she has learned the system, and gained the respect of other officials.
I ask you to vote for Cheryl in the November election; we need her proven leadership.