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on May 27, 2011
Brilliant! Beautifully worded! Thanks!
The letters by the opposition are limited to 250 words in newspapers. You cannot get a solution in that space. I know that many of those opposed have contacted the board and district with some solutions but the district ignored them and decided to just go after raising more money. In fact many of those who were against the previous parcel tax (Measure G) two years ago did contact the board after that failed attempt to work on solutions but there was no interest from the board.
I agree with the statement "This destructive attitude must be replaced by constructive solutions for the problems that we all face today." Failure to work on constructive solutions by the district has been destructive. Personally I do not think the board has any interest in discussing these solutions. They are too close to the union, and in one case sleeping with the union, to force change.
If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck that about says it all. How much more money are they going to spend on another parcel tax and how do they find the time with all this sleeping together between board and union? They must think Bill Clinton is a god or something. Enough is enough! No on Parcel ABCDEFGHIJKLMN and the rest of the alphebet.
Your comments about sleeping with the union is offensive and just the type of rhetoric that does not allow civil discussion.
Certainly those solutions could have been conveyed in a variety of ways rather than letters to the editor. It is easy to complain. Much more difficult to be constructive.
You give way to much power to the union. Class size has gone up, the number of days taught have gone down, and pay raises with the exception of longevity increments have been taken away. Teachers pay for their own benefits and those increases have more than swallowed any pay increases over the last number of years. Teachers pay into their retirement and do not receive social security.
If this is closeness, I would venture to say that the district got the upper hand in this relationship.
It is just as possible that the proposed solutions were not viable. How does one make up thousands of dollars that were cut by the state AFTER the money was spent on programs. Oh, by the way, paying teachers is delivering the program. They are the ones who TEACH the students.
The blame heaped on the school sites when year after year, the staff is doing more with less is counter intuitive.
It's very simple. You threaten to take more taxes from us, we're going to push back and try to exact the heaviest pound of flesh we can from the union teachers. This is all a Marxist plot to redistribute the wealth in Pleasanton. Using your children that way. Shame on you. No way no how.
Here's a constructive solution:
Manage your school district with what you have. The taxpayers bucket is empty. There is no more. You cannot spend indiscriminately and then come back for more.. any more.
The administrators are paid big bucks to administer. ADMINISTER!
The Board, Cabinet and teachers union knew about these.........
You fools just can't get the picture. You want solutions? Cut teachers salaries. Cut teachers pensions. Eliminate S and C. Eliminate tenure. Eliminate the union. Do you need more? What is wrong with you??? I send my kids to private schools. Why should I spend my money on you fools? Get off your ooompittyahdah and make something of your lives. Your kids will begin to respect you.
Ah, so let's see if I can summarize the opposition in < 250 words:
Socialist. Teacher's Union. Liberal. Step & Column. Pension. Part-time job.
Ok, that's 10 words. Just repeat 25x and you'll be under the maximum.
If you have extra room, loudly proclaim that you're remaining anonymous because some teacher has it in for your kid. Nice.
The trouble is all govt is bad except military when prez is Republican not Dem - just ask Jimmy Carter about his "rescue mission". Government doesnt solve problems it makes them. That goes for schools to. With all the regulation and affirmative action it is no wonder everything is a mess. I'm taxed to death! No parcel tax! 20% pay cut for the new police chief! And I'm just getting started!
Check it out. it would take some work and you would actually have to do some research but you pay less now than you have in the past. Schools are a tremendous bargain. Add up the amount that used to go to schools. You pay more for child care.
You live in this country and enjoy all the opportunities of living in a free country. Part of that freedom is ensured because of the opportunities education provides.
What service provided by the government would you like to give up? The roads you drive on? The infrastructure? Defense? Police services? Fire? Medicare? Social Security? Parks? Libraries? Traffic lights? Code enforcement? CIA? FBI? Diplomacy? Commerce? The legal system? Animal control? Veteran Affairs? . . . Just saying!
"this position is reminiscent of a medieval doctor's prescription: "The floggings will continue until the patient improves."
Yep, about sums it up!
I don't think you have to lower teacher's salary. The problem is the raises going on when there is no money to pay for the raises. If expenses are going up but income is not going up at the same level from the state, something has to give. As has been said many times before, we have a structural problem. Many of those who have been opponents of a new tax have spoken with the board on the structural issues. The board feels that the structural issues can be resolved by just increasing taxes. That will not solve the problem long term however.
To "Hmmm", we have a school board member who is supposed to be negotiating in behalf of the residents but is married to a teacher who is on the union negotiation team. You don't think that is a problem?
"As has been said many times before, we have a structural problem."
"That will not solve the problem long term however."
But you're wrong. This isn't a long term problem. Pleasanton has had step and column raises for decades and hasn't had a problem until the great recession of 2008. As the economy recovers and revenues increase, the problem will go away. This is a short term problem caused by a once in a lifetime global recession.
I don't think your characterization is accurate. The spouse is not on the negotiating team but is a union representative. There are and have been anti union school board members. Maybe this is balance?
I am married and I don't always agree with my spouse. In fact sometimes I am on the opposite side of the planet in opinion. It is a generalization that should not be made. I have heard the board member speak on a number of occasions and would not come away thinking that he is in the pocket of the union.
Based on the recent Supreme Court case mandating that California reduce its prison population, it seems that prisoners have more protection than students.
Finally it takes three to make policy.
"There are and have been anti union school board members." I don't think there are any anti union school board members there now.
When the negotiation with the union can affect the income of a school board member, there is a problem. Obvious conflict of interest.
On structural issues, yes, Pleasanton has had step and column raises for decades but the spread from low to high salary has increased, making a structural issue. When the economy was doing well, the district spent all the money that came in. If you do that, you are going to have problems with the economy does not do well, like now. We also used to have a much higher reserve. The reserve was lowered and spent during good economic times, that also caused problems.
Simple math, if expenses go up automatically each year but income does not, you are in trouble and you have a structural problem. We have this now.
"Simple math, if expenses go up automatically each year but income does not, you are in trouble and you have a structural problem. "
Because of the worst recession in 60 years. No "reserve" the district ever kept in the past would have been enough to cover for a recession this deep.
"if expenses go up automatically each year but income does not, you are in trouble and you have a structural problem."
No we don't. We had the worst recession in 60 years. "Income" will be going up as the economy eventually recovers. There is no structural problem, only a short term problem caused by the global financial crisis.
Concerned: you are wrong. It IS structural. We would be going thru the same process now regardless of the recession ! ! ! Warnings were out 5 years ago ! ! They were ignored in the name of politics, unions, and greed....The politicians who put this crap in place have now admitted that projecting the numbers 'accurately' we would be experiencing the same steps and procedures, but to a slightly less degree & cost....but the 'system' is flawed.
The issue with school budgets is that they have to be spent on the students in school at the time. There is a statutory limit on reserves. The money is for students in school and can't be saved for a rainy day. Dependency on the state that says one thing in September and another in January has made planning impossible.
"When the negotiation with the union can affect the income of a school board member, there is a problem. Obvious conflict of interest."
I find it ironic that the only way the income of the teachers have been affected by any action of the board is that it went down and for all teachers not just one.
'"There are and have been anti union school board members." I don't think there are any anti union school board members there now'
I don't think there are any who are in the unions' pocket either. On another note there does seem to be some on the board who don't understand schools or the education system.
There have been programs adopted by the school district from the county that has directly affected the income of another board member and no one seems concerned about that.
It is insulting to think that the small amount of money in either issue would unduly influence someone willing to serve this community. What possible motivation do public servants have other than to serve. In this community, especially lately, the reward you get for serving your community is nasty innuendos and accusations, personal attacks and meanness.
I checked the other blogs. You don't see any of this anger and outright nastiness. It is flat out embarrassing to see this as the face of our city.
I have a solution:
Perhaps we need to create a taxpayer funded position to deal with the "anger and outright nastiness" that Hmmm cites.
Like the White House is doing, these posts could be policed. This would deter any comments that are "flat out embarrassing" or "offensive". Then the "face of our city" would give the appearance that we are all on board!!!
To 'Hmmm' - Did you check 'the other blogs'? Read this recent thread about school academic stress on the Palo Alto Town Square (Web Link). You'll see the same characteristics as Pleasanton Town Square threads. Deleted entries, personal attacks, parents who stay anonymous for fear of teacher reprisals against their kids, generalizations about groups and more. The face of Palo Alto is the same as the face of Pleasanton in this regard.
Hmm...Palo Alto, anti-teacher rhetoric, tireless effort to undermine Pleasanton's successful school system...
Start Afresh, are you Kathleen Reugsegger posting under another name?
Palo Alto? Boy I feel better about it now!
although this should be obvious, there IS a difference in having a difference of opinion based on fact and making unfounded accusations and justifying them because one has a right to their opinion. One does have a right to an opinion but when we move away from evidence and get distracted by personalities we loose the opportunity to solve the real problem.
I only post under my name. I'm sure that can be verified.
Hmmm, "The issue with school budgets is that they have to be spent on the students in school at the time. "
Absolutely not true! Our district used to have a 7%+ reserve and that was widdled away. The only regulation on reserves is it has to be at least 3% or you have to do a special declaration.
Over the years there has been talk about raising the reserves but the unions were strongly against it. They always felt that a reserve meant the union members were not being paid enough. "Money in the bank means it is not in their pockets."
"I don't think there are any who are in the unions' pocket either. " That is not a true statement. When one of the board members has personal income come from the a union member, that sounds like they are in that pocket.
One reason the board panders to the unions is the union representatives are present at every board meeting and even have reserved time at the board meeting to speak. Would be good to have other community members and taxpayers come speak at a meeting. But I guess the board would restrict their comments to one minute; while having no time limit for the unions like we have now, as recently seen.
Who are you getting personal income from through your spouse? Really? That's your point? So what if the board member was related to a principal? or vendor that did business with the school district? Or perhaps works for an entity of the county with whom the school district contracts? Really?
It is still unclear to me why having representation for a group of people is a bad thing. Unions look after things like class size, working conditions, and proper credentialing in addition to salaries. Competitive salaries help ensure that you have the best of the profession apply here.
The union in Pleasanton has barely been effective at all. They gave up benefits in exchange for higher salaries so that they would benefit when they retire only to see their salaries go down. All of the gains they have made over the last ten years or so have been eaten up by the rising cost of health care which they have to pay out of their own pockets. When compared to other cities they are just slightly above average in a community that is the most affluent midsize city's in the country but has some of the highest test scores.
Community members may speak at every board meeting. In addition everyone at the board meeting is a tax payer. The tax payers are not a separate entity.
I don't get this teaching bashing. I just don't get it. You pay more for childcare than you have taken out for property taxes for education. Everyone can point to a bad teacher but everyone can point to an excellent teacher at the same time. In some cases, a teacher that wasn't good for one gets through to another. In bad times a teacher's job gets harder, less resources and more students in a class.
You really don't think teachers deserve what they are paid? Have you ever been in a classroom for any length of time or watched a teacher prepare? This underlying hostility toward a group of people for the most part who do the job because they find value in the children of this community is so disappointing.
Bad teachers, then fire them. Union or not, if the principal does his or her due diligence it can be done. No one wants to teach next to a bad teacher. But you or your neighbors' anectdotal account should not be used to paint an entire profession in this city that has made this district one of the best in the nation, not just the state.
Teachers didn't create this mess. Unions didn't create it. The economy did not collapse because we are paying veteran teachers, 20 plus years of experience, $95,000 a year in the most affluent mid size city in the country.
Teachers, thank you for what you have done for my children. They are grown and on their own and I still support what you do for the community because we all benefit in the long run.
The bottom line is that the california economy is in the tank, we are taxed in this state beyond belief, most pay $2700 dollars per year for education including both of the school bonds in this city, trying to pass a parcel tax in this city is not going to happen and the longer it goes the more of us do not have kids in the schools anymore, PUSC is very well aware of this. You want more money for the school and teachers raises in addition to what they already make? donate your own money because none is coming from us as we are tapped out.
"We would be going thru the same process now regardless of the recession "
Show me the numbers. Just putting three exclamation points after your sentence doesn't make it true. I've seen no evidence of this whatsoever.
"but to a slightly less degree & cost....but the 'system' is flawed."
What "system"? Are you talking about the state or PUSD? You're just making a bunch of vague statements.
"I'm sure that can be verified."
No, you are wrong about this. It can't be easily verified. I don't mind taking you on your word that you only post here under your name, but you are making a statement about technology when you say it can "be verified". Verifying that would be quite difficult. It would be very easy for someone to post anonymously here and disguise the fact.
"is city is not going to happen and the longer it goes the more of us do not have kids in the schools anymore"
So are you saying people without children in the schools won't support a parcel tax? I wouldn't be to sure about that. I know more and more who would. Also, there will be many more young parents with children moving into the new affordable housing units being built in Pleasanton. I think you'll see a lot of support for a parcel tax from them. In fact, those parents alone would have easily made the difference needed to pass measure E. I'm also seeing more support for a parcel tax as time passes. Measure E did better than Measure G. The next one is quite likely to pass.
If the PUSC were to put another parcel tax up for a vote and potentially waste another 400K the members of the board might as well submit their letters of resignation, as a matter of fact it might be viewed as misuse of public funds. They might be walking a very slippery slope. I think more and more parcel owners in this town no longer have children in the school system and over time this number will grow.
"I think more and more parcel owners in this town no longer have children in the school system and over time this number will grow."
Ah, but you have that backward. More and more younger families with children are moving to Pleasanton, and that will be accelerated as large numbers of affordable housing units are built as mandated by law. Measure E did better than Measure G. It very nearly passed. The new families in the new affordable developments will easily be enough to get a school parcel tax passed.
the time has come and gone for a parcel tax and so much money has been wasted trying to get one. i voted for both measures g and e but if another ballot goes up i will vote no. i think the best way to raise the money is through a use fee or something like it. taxes are already allocated for education in california and we also have 2 school bonds so the public at large is already saddled with to much. i will donate my money if asked to a use fee when i sign my kids up each year and it seems the most fair way to go.
PUSD already asks for donations from parents when they register their children for school. You may be new to Pleasanton or not yet have children in the schools, and that is why you didn't know that. There is no legal way to make that mandatory without a change in the California constitution. As I already said, Pleasanton will likely soon pass a parcel tax as the demographics change significantly with the building of large numbers of affordable housing units in Pleasanton.
no i am not new to the area but the fees we pay are not a use fee but rather for band, sports, et al. I think we are smarter than a one trick pony by going for a parcel tax again hoping it will pass but rather we must try some new creative way to raise funds for the schools and the kids and not for the teachers nor their union. i would be happy to pay a 200 dollar per child fee as long as the funds go to the kids and schools and not the teachers. it will be years before those affordable housing units are built and occupied.
CP, thought I saw something posted that said the PW would be able to crossmatch IP addresses. I do know people post with more than one name. I also thought I saw a sister paper remove posts because it was one person posting under multiple names. I hope my word is enough then.
IP addresses don't identify a browser. Many services use a pool of addresses from which a particular HTTP request will choose its source address. Many can also share the same IP address, so the policy of using an IP address as an identifier is misguided. It doesn't work.
"no i am not new to the area but the fees we pay are not a use fee but rather for band, sports, et al."
PPIE asks us for a donation when we register for school. Those donations are voluntary use fees and can be used for anything that PPIE can fund. As I said, there is no way to have a mandatory use fee. It would violate the California constitution. We are not a one trick pony. By the way, those housing units may come sooner than you think.
CP, here's a link to a post being removed Web Link You can see why I thought it possible. It's easy for you to know more than I do on this topic.
Are you a teacher? You seem to be most interested in generating revenue that can support the teachers rather than the kids. Here is a question for you. Would you support a voter measure, H, I ,J, or K which stipulated in the language that the money would be set up in an escrow and under no circumstances should be used for teacher raises, step and column, or benefits in anyway?
So you would buy a program and then not pay teachers to use it? Really, I don't understand. How would that work? Teachers are the ones who support the kids. How would you do this without paying teachers? This is a school right?
I am confused.
No very simple question and no reason for confusion. Would you support an initiative which would not allow the proceeds to be used to give teachers raises? I am beginning to believe this has nothing to do with our kids and everything to do with rewarding the teachers and their union. What is your answer? Teachers make the same amount of money just no raises. I can hardly wait for your answer CP.
Still on the raise thing huh Boner? I haven't received a bonus ever, nor a raise in four years. I'm frozen on the salary schedule. Also gave back $4000 last year to save the programs I teach. Just wondering how my job and situation has nothing to do with the kids? Many in the private sector are back to raises and bonuses- I guess by your standards I can justify saying all private sector workers are getting this? To keep throwing out that all teachers are getting raises is certainly not being truthful to this community.
I am happy to answer your question. No, I am not and never have been a teacher. I have no financial ties to PUSD, other than being a tax payer, donor, and volunteer. I want what is best for my children. My family moved to Pleasanton for the schools, and we aren't ready to give up on them yet. We moved from a district that had pretty bad schools, so I have first hand knowledge of what good and bad schools can be like. I have no interest at all in sending the teacher's union any kind of message.
Same question for you and would like an answer. Would you support and vote for a measure for the schools which stipulated that the money from the passing of the measure could not be used for teachers raises or benefits? All the money had to go to the kids. What is your answer?
Happy to answer that too. No, I would not support that. But if you had read these forums over the past six months, you would already know that was my position, and you would know the reasons. At any rate, welcome to these forums, and I encourage you to learn more about these issues and find out more about your community.
Good morning CP,
So in a nutshell the two previous measures were really about supplying money for teachers raises in order to keep a steady flow of money coming in so that they could continue to get raises without laying off lower seniority teachers to fund the raises for the older teachers? It seems to me that during these times the teachers union would be more supportive of protecting ALL teachers jobs by skipping raises for a few years until the economy recovers. I guess now I know why these measures failed and knowing what I know now I would not vote for them either.
Hi again Boner,
"So in a nutshell the two previous measures were really about ... fund the raises for the older teachers"
No, that was not what they were about. If you go back and read what I posted on those other threads, I provided my rational for supporting those measures. You may not understand that older teachers who have gotten all their step and column raises do have their salaries frozen. They cannot get raises anymore. In other threads I gave a number of reasons why I don't support freezing step and column for teachers.
I hope you get to spend more time working with the schools here in Pleasanton. When I first volunteered in my child's second grade class, it was a real eye opener. I've gotten to know a lot more about our schools and our teachers.
Dear CP -
I think what many of us in the private sector have been concerned about is that automatic raises are given to public sector workers when that does not happen widely in the private sector. What was really troubling was public sector workers (not just teachers) getting their automatic raises during a serious economic downturn, when the private sector workers were not getting raises, were taking cuts in pay and benefits and in many cases losing their jobs. Public sector workers were out of sync with the economic reality of the time. In addition, the unions prefered to lay off members than have them take a cut in pay or not get their raises. Very greedy of them. In my company, we were asked to give up money and benefits to help fellow workers keep their jobs.
On top of that, the school district came to ask us for more money at a time when many of us don't have it. I'm not inclined to give up money that could go towards my retirement to make sure the public employees get their confortable retirement.
In the priviate sector, it is not unusual for more experienced workers to not got raises - we used to call it "posturized in your quartile", meaning you were already making as much as the business could afford to pay you for the job you were doing.
Personally, I have had one 3% raise in 10 years and in 30 years of working have never received an "automatic" pay raise. It time for the public secto and unions to join our reality.
Public employees need to join the real world.
Private sector worker- what we are really concerned about is the incredible lack of recognition or even acknowledgement of understanding that teachers ARE frozen on the salary schedule, and not complaining about it, teachers voluntarily reduced their salary to save jobs, and did not complain about it, teachers continue to absorb the $20 million in cuts our district has taken by paying for materials out of pocket- something the private sector does not have to do, and have never complained about it. For those who read this as a complaint- this is another attempt to share the truth when posters like the one above continue to post information that is not reality in the schools.
Not every private sector employee has experienced what you described- I know plenty who continued with their annual bonus and raise, triple that number now as profits in companies rise. I wonder why you expect something different from teachers.
Maybe the problem is you refuse to see the truth and reality about what we have been through in the past years, to say we need to join reality is certainly one of the biggest ironies I've heard- maybe you need to come to my classroom to see the reality first hand. Oh and bring some pencils when you come, I run out of them about every two weeks.
I know people who have told me the same as Mary says. They did Yes on G and Yes on E, but it will be No on F and anything else from the alphabet soup. They all talk about the deceitful timing of a mail ballot without all the information that came after it was nearly closing time, and they were very unhappy to discover that the money could be routed to salaries after they were told it would not be. I like Boner's idea of only for ecrow reserves. That would be the only condition that I'd vote for a parcel tax ever again.
Dear CP -
When I see experienced teacher salaries at over $100K per year - or should I say "school year" - as reported on the Tri-Valley Herald website, I don't think teachers are as underpaid as they like to cry about. If you were to divide my salary by the number of hours I work and compare it to the same for many teachers, they make more per hour than I do.
As far as supplying pencils to your class, why aren't parents providing the needed supplies for your students if you don't have them? I have been a regular supporter of the schools through cash donations to the Amador Civics Class, buying coupons from baseball players (and throwing them out becasue I won't use them) and any number of other fund raisers that come up.
As far as your comments about the many private sector workers you know who get bonuses, etc., I would say you should expand your sample size as the results of your study do not accruately reflect what "normal" is. Or maybe that's too much to ask given the terrible math skills our kids graduate with (and probably reflect the skills of their teachers).
Dear " Private Sector Worked",
Why are you asking me about "supplying pencils to your class". I'm not a teacher, and I never said anything about pencils.
" Or maybe that's too much to ask given the terrible math skills our kids graduate with (and probably reflect the skills of their teachers)."
Maybe you're getting all your information on Pleasanton schools from what you hear on right wing talk radio or something? Pleasanton kids graduate with excellent math skills. Check the API scores. We moved to Pleasanton for the schools, as many families do.
And by the way, I've worked in the "Private Sector" all my life, and I have gotten an number of raises, bonuses, stock options, discounted stock and bonuses over the years. That includes a substantial raise this year, as many other Pleasanton residents have.
What's the deal with you? One 3% raise in 10 years? Sounds like you were either way over paid or incompetent. My advice to you would be to lay off the talk radio and work on polishing up your job skills. It will be a more effective use of your time.
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