Pleasanton Peace Foundation heading our way | October 26, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Column - October 26, 2012

Pleasanton Peace Foundation heading our way

by Jeb Bing

Peace activist Fred Norman, a frequent speaker at Pleasanton City Council meetings where he has called for action on ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has finally won the lawmakers' support, sort of. It's been years, certainly as long as the current council has served together over the last six years, that Norman has urged council members to "do something," to take a stand on the wars, either by voting to say they support the wars or that they oppose them, "but just do something." And with consistency, council members decided informally that there just weren't the votes to do anything.

Now, after all of Norman's pleas and ongoing support from Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and Councilman Matt Sullivan, a third supporting vote from Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio gave the local antiwar movement a start. While nixing more official city-connected proposals, the council asked City Manager Nelson Fialho and his staff to provide administrative help and financial support to create a nonprofit foundation to promote peaceful measures here and throughout the country. However, once formed, the organization will function independently and not be associated with the city.

Norman, Sullivan and others were disappointed, but that's the best support they were able to get from the current council. With only days remaining before Hosterman, Sullivan and Councilwoman Cindy McGovern leave their posts because of term limits, to be replaced on Dec. 4 by candidates who win in the Nov. 6 municipal election, a 3-2 vote might be the best the peace proponents can hope for. It was certainly better than "kicking it down the road" to the next council, as Sullivan put it, when someone suggested letting the new mayor and council decide if "peace" should be a priority of the new local government.

It remains to be seen how much public support an independently operated, nonprofit peace foundation will receive in Pleasanton. Except for a few fellow speakers, Norman has not had much support in his regular council appeals, reported both in this newspaper and on Community Television's council broadcasts on Channel 29. Five years ago, 14 speakers made their way to the lectern at the start of the Feb. 6, 2007, council meeting to protest a proposal to hold even a public meeting on the wars. Those in the packed chambers burst into applause as the presentations were made.

Councilman Jerry Thorne and McGovern voted against using public funds to set up an independent peace foundation. Even though it would carry forth on its own once established, both felt that the organization will become a political voice that might take on the appearance of being views from Pleasanton. With a number of Pleasanton men and women now serving in Afghanistan and many more back from the war zones there and in Iraq, the city government shouldn't take stands on national issues it can't control, they said.

Others, especially Hosterman and Sullivan, called for a stronger voice, arguing that a city commission with the same standing as the city's Planning Commission or Housing Commission would have more authority in addressing issues related to peace. Berkeley has its Peace and Justice Commission and the city of Cambridge has a Commission on Nuclear Disarmament and Peace Education, to name a few. By having a similar commission here, its work would be elevated to the importance that full-fledged commissions enjoy, with full staff support, adequate funding and the ability to advise the council on its direction, interaction and support of peaceful measures.

If not a commission, at least create an ad hoc committee or task force with a clearly defined focus on peace, they argued. As an example, a task force could be formed to develop and carry out a number of programs identified by Norman and his supporters, such as sponsoring writing contests on peace or developing educational programs in cooperation with the school district on anti-violence measures.

Although the independent, non-city-affiliated peace foundation appears to be the best the current council could approve, Hosterman, for one, holds out hope for much more in the future.

"This is a marvelous idea whose time has come and has the potential of showing who we are as a community," she said. "In the years ahead, this foundation may evolve into a full-time standing commission for Pleasanton."


In my column last week ("How much does a City Council seat cost?"), I reported on remarks former Councilwoman Kay Ayala and others made at the Oct. 9 City Council meeting about campaign donations. I wrote that council candidate Erlene DeMarcus works for investor/developer James Tong when Ayala actually said that DeMarcus had been a paid consultant for Tong, not an employee, some 10 years ago. I also reported that Tong still had his offices on Hopyard Road. DeMarcus supporter Chris Grey said Tong's offices have moved to Dublin.


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair
on Oct 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Six years ago when Cheryl was running for city council for the first time, I asked her how she viewed the actions of our current mayor in bringing the mayor's favorite national and international issues before the Pleasanton City Council. She responsed that doing so was clearly inappropriate, that the city council was established to deal with city and local issues. She went on to describe the purposes of state and federal government as that appropriate place. Cheryl reminded me that she understood this because she taught civics and history at the high school level. She kept her word and I supported her reelection in 2010. This article indicates that she has broken her promise and now sides with Jennifer Hosterman on such matters. We should keep this in mind as we approach election day.

Posted by Patriotic Warrior, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2012 at 3:49 am

Doug is right. There is no place for antiwar activists in our local govt. We voted for them to bring in Walmart, not express citizen dissatisfaction with innocents abroad being zapped by our drone attacks. Good thinking, Doug. Your values are our values. Truly.

Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2012 at 5:51 am

Hmmm, sarcasm from the "Patriotic Warrior" so early in the morning.

My two cents: I think it's a waste of the Council's limited time to spend discussing items that are decided at a Federal level. If you're unhappy with the direction that the government is taking us, make your feelings known at the ballot box.

Posted by justwondering, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2012 at 7:54 am

What's worse is that i believe part of the vote included seeding the foundation with $25,000 or so of City money to get it set up. If the City is so flush with money, they should give some of it to the school district or put it towards the unfunded pension liability. I'm glad McGovern & Thorne had the sense to vote what's right and not what's politically expediant given the election is less then 2 weeks away.

Posted by Mittens, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2012 at 8:38 am

Pathetic warrior, please petition your local city govt workers to get Obama to stop the drone attacks on muslime terrorists. After all, pacifists must use all avenues to stop the persecution of jihadis that want to kill us and end our way of life.
After all, look at all the good our hippy mayor did by whining about us trying to stop terrorism half a world away.

Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair
on Oct 27, 2012 at 11:32 am

Patriotic Warrior: My comment had nothing to do with Walmart, drone attacks or our right to express our opinion anywhere. It had only to do with whether a politian running for mayor stands by her word. Cheryl Cook-Kallio did not not stand by her pledge. While I am disappointed, others seem to be happy about this. That is also disappointing.

Posted by Cheryl Cook-Kallio, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Oct 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Please call me if you have a question about my vote on an issue.Thhis vote had absolutely nothing to do with being for or against the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. This article does not represent what happened at the council meeting. Fred Norman requested that we look into a peace organization of some sort. (In contrast to a resolution against war.) The council agreed in a previous meeting.

I voted to support a peace committee open to all points of view, NOT sponsored by the city. There was talk about the city helping the committee set up non profit status. No money was approved although there was some talk about minor financial help. (I think $2000 was mentioned by staff, that was not part of the motion.)

My comments included supporting this as a vehicle for all people to express their support for peace in a non political way. I also stated that I would only support this committee if it was used for that purpose. I did it in the same spirit that brought Doug Miller and Fred Norman together to write the expression of support that each councilmember reads at the end of a council meeting honoring our servicemen and women.

Doug, my conversation with you centered around my opposition to a city sponsored resolution asking for an end to the War in Afghanistan. I am remain opposed to council action of that sort for the reasons I expressed in 2006. I see no harm in supporting residents who want to work toward peace in a non political way on their own time without staff support. I also think helping a group out seeking non-profit status is appropriate. The city did that for the Community of Character also.

I don't understand any opposition to non political expressions of peace.

Posted by Stunned !, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I am outraged this was rammed through in one meeting. I was not aware of any of this inappropriate chatter happening. The chatter would be fine, if the community had been allowed warming for input.
I just now watched the meeting on 29. I am shocked this happened without any community discussion. NOW I'm really terrified at the kind of 'discussions' this group is going to push. They did indicate they would be 'political at times'..really ???? So let's tear Peaceful Pleasanton apart like a piece of red meat with Pleasanton being transformed into Berkeley in a 10 minute council discussion and split vote of 3/2. NOT, overwhelming support....certainly did not even solicit community support....warning of horrors to come.
Now, to the MONEY.
In the same meeting The City passed providing housing for seniors $$$$$. With more union 'retirements' more $$$$$, and now when this POLITICAL group gets SUED by crazy groups, more taxpayer $$$ get sucked right OUT of town. Selfish Sullivan wanted this NOW for his legacy....It going to be set up like a "foundation" that like the TRI-VALLEY FOUNDATION of crooks. So we're getting into bed with this Fred Norman just because he pestered every council meeting. So all you need is frequency and longevity and you too can ram a personal cause, and legal liabilities on to 'the City'. (us)
The whole thing is so Berkeley, and so inappropriate. Cindy actually did something right by saying the vote should not happen without more consideration.
Then John Carroll, yikes! another 'fringe type' activist (and on Karla's committee!) is going all in on this Berkeley pacifist activist 'city of pleasanton foundation'. ! !
I cannot process this! How can this ' political protest' group NOW be under the legal umbrella of peaceful Pleasanton. This is truly outrageous, unnecessary, and inappropriate to allow our city to be 'used' and an insult to all residents of Pleasanton to be thrown under the bus, to legitimize a purely political protest group.

Posted by annonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2012 at 7:31 am

It was on the agenda. It was announced before hand! If you want to comment on something that goes before the city council, check the agenda before hand and comment.
It is a committee, nothing more and this is what outrages you? a Peace committee?

Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair
on Oct 28, 2012 at 8:19 am

Cheryl, please go back and reread my two comments at the top of this column. Your response is a perfect illustration of obfuscation. Our conversation before you were elected in 2006 was not about any resolution before the city council. You weren’t on the council yet and the issue had not been placed on the agenda. Instead, we discussed a simple principle: Should the city council entertain issues outside the scope of city government? You emphatically said “no”. You emphasized that because you are a civics teacher you understand which level of government is the appropriate level for a particular issue. In my opinion, you broke that pledge or promise with this recent vote. Your vote opens the door to other potential issues that are outside the scope of city business. What is the harm you ask? You waste the time of many people with issues that cannot be resolved at the city level. Further, these issues bring unnecessary divisiveness into the city council. Why would you want to do that? Your point that Fred asked for support for a ‘peace commission’ rather than an antiwar resolution is a distinction without a difference. To those on the left, these are all code words that define the solution. And, of course, this is very political. This is an argument about national defense and foreign policy. Had Fred asked for support for a commission on “national defense” that might suggest less bias. But, of course, this is still outside the scope of city government. This matter is one reason why I do not support you for mayor.

Posted by Citizen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I agree with Doug Miller. The resolution about opposing war was in mid 2007, well after Cheryl was elected.

Cheryl is full of obfuscation including claiming the Greenbelt Alliance supported Oak Grove, which it never ever did. I'll be voting for Thorne.

Posted by Fact Checker, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm

The Greenbelt Alliance endorsed Measure QQ.

Posted by Fact checker 2, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2012 at 10:01 pm

There was no resolution dealing with the war one way or the other.

Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm

If she supported Oak Grove, she has my vote.

Posted by Stunned !, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2012 at 11:11 pm

I know the process. Anything so far out of the mainstream normal 'charge' of Council's range and scope, usually has a bit of discussion in the community, here in Town Square, or at least a few people are in the know....not just fringe folks, who would be more suited to Berkeley..... Those who move here have made tacit acceptance to 'fit in' and not be pests.
This thread is about the Council's newly ramrodded 'Pleasanton Peace
Foundation ! ! ...pushed by pests!

Posted by Patriotic Warrior, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2012 at 6:11 am

Okay, I understand. The Republican guy who differs from Bush because "Bush was then and now is now," is about to get thrashed at the polls. Four more years of having a black dude in the White House. So, anybody for having a petulant tantrum over a peace committee? Doug Miller and Arroyo/LibisDis/stunned are having a losers' meeting in a popular ptown phone booth. They have room for a couple more crybabies.

Posted by Stunned !, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm

So Warrior, who's the 'Bush guy'. Obviously, from your lack of logic, just names and name calling, you are using Dems like Obama strategy, 'if you can't talk principles or issues, just distract and distort, and trash your opponent'....just keep diverting and distracting rather discuss the issue at hand. Obviously void of logic or defense. Why, if you or anyone liked Pleasanton enough to move here, where we were friendly, did you bring in personal political campaigns to start a war in our city, with your DIVISION of national politics in to our LOCAL government and friendships. Take your protests to streets of Berkeley, not to our Pleasanton neighborhoods.
Shame on outgoing politicians to inject, legitimize and provide costly city services to a political activist, with no purpose except 'using' out city as a forum for person political's probably illegal to boot. Pleasanton has hundreds of clubs and organizations to serve every personal and political cause, most aren't cras, arrogant, or low enough to abuse city officials, of course most city officials, who are suppose to represent THE City, aren't low enough to offer our city as cover for a political front group. shame on Cheryl, Matt, and Jennifer flipping off the community as a whole.

Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Stunned wrote: "Anything so far out of the mainstream normal 'charge' of Council's range and scope"

So you'd agree then that the whole Community of Character thing was out of scope? Or any sort of government grant for starting non-profits or other types of business for that matter?

Posted by Patriotic Warrior, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I never made reference to 'Bush guy'. Stunned needs to learn how to read. What? Too late? Too much hatred? You're probably right.

Posted by Sam, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2012 at 5:53 pm

This city council has no business wasting our taxpayer money on this. When they master managing our little city, then they can create a private foundation with their personal funds, that has nothing to do with our city.

Posted by Stunned !, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Not a blanket yes or no. Norman started this as a political protest, which is highly inappropriate to run through city council. It's still for the same purpose...very wrong. Non-profits?? what, like Tri-Valley??? What is the liability on each of these. It's just best to not go there. There is a very long list of unnecessary, inappropriate, and scam grants.... Just tread lightly. This one is inappropriate.
As big or bigger is the fact that it was outgoing members pushing it onto the next...into perpetuity ! Wrong on all points.

Posted by Rick, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Councilmember Cook-Kallio. In part, you said this above:

“I also think helping a group out seeking non-profit status is appropriate.”

The reason we have a council is outlined in a brief statement on the Council’s Own Website:
“The City Council, comprised of the Mayor and four City Councilmembers, is the governing body of the city, with all the regulatory and corporate powers of a municipal corporation provided under California State Law. In general, the Council supervises the operations of the City government by establishing policies and programs and appropriating funds for each service function.”

Explain to me why our city council should vote on any kind of ‘peace motion’, on behalf of its citizens?

And – why now? Because Matt and Jennifer are leaving – so we better do it now or it will never get done by a new council? If it was so important for you, why haven’t you championed this before?

Your partisan values are beginning to show more and more clearly as time goes on. War is terrible. We all want Peace. And, I for one, want a council to SUPERVISE AND MANAGE THE CITY GOVERNMENT”……PERIOD!

You just ensured my Vote for Mr. Thorne

Posted by and the debt rises, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Maybe if this group of lame ducks would have kept they eye on the $130,000,000 unfunded city debt instead of the Peace Commission, the city would be in a better financial state.