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Citizens' coalition seeks city correspondence on Costco issue

Original post made on Aug 22, 2016

A coalition called Pleasanton Citizens for Responsible Growth today requested records for correspondence between city officials and representatives of efforts to build a Costco membership store on Johnson Drive.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 22, 2016, 10:59 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by big tobacco, big oil, Wall Street nightmare
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2016 at 11:38 am

I find that Jerry Thorne's investments in Big Tobacco, Big Oil, nefarious Wall Street brokerage forms fined for fraud during the Global Recession/Meltdown, and Nuclear Reactors (Babcock and Wilcox) plus both Costco and Costco Wholesale extremely disturbing.

His portfolio including his investment involving the cigarette industry are all available on the State website called Fair Political Practices Commission. Look under the Form 700 search.

He should resign before he brings anymore damage to this city. I think this type of insider wheeling and dealing is in a word disgusting.

Posted by Jeff
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Aug 22, 2016 at 12:51 pm

This reads like a press release from your typical Bernie-Bot, which is exactly what it is.

Posted by Vinelander
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Aug 22, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Let's not over react people. All those that are voicing their disapproval over this Costco affair are directly affected. Bill Wheeler because he owns Black Tie next door, the Shell station on Hopyard because they want to continue selling over priced gasoline, Matt Sullivan because he lives nearby. For once, let's think about the benefits to the entire City of Pleasanton. Using the naysayers logic we would have no car dealerships in the city. Car dealerships that generate huge sales taxes to city coffers.

Posted by What a mess
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 22, 2016 at 2:05 pm

Arne Olsen's form 700 has a lump sum of stock holdings called simply Personal Investments and he fails to disclose to the state and people any of the business entities in which he holds a financial interest.

Jerry Thorne participated in govt decisions for a corporate entity for which he holds not one but two sets of financial interests. He must resign. Elected officials participating in govt decisions in which they hold a financial interest is illegal.

Posted by Bob A.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Bob A. is a registered user.

This Coalition of Citizens has nothing to do with the Initiative Group or Bill Wheeler.

They are seeking TRANSPARENCY.

Since April of 2014, City Leaders including Mayor Thorne have been meeting regarding Costco. We deserve to know what has been promised and what influence special interests have played, including the Chamber of Commerce which is funded by major corporations and developers.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 22, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

No, it's a witch hunt. Put the focus on what a fair/equitable deal is. Instead of an email review, formatting a coalition on structuring the deal that makes sense for Pleasanton to get costco.

Pulling for communication records gets this decision on the best Pleasanton solution nowhere.

Posted by Lisa S.
a resident of Stoneridge
on Aug 22, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Lisa S. is a registered user.


1) City officials first meet with Nearon/ Costco April 2014
2) Less than 50 notices sent to homeowners and businesses of proposed JDEDZ, Iincluding "club retail"
3) Only 2 townhall meetings. First: October, 2015. Second: November 2015. Packed. All spoke against Costco.
4) Nearon says at a special Chamber of Commerce Meeting "Costco is Here"on January 13, 2016
5) City Council and City Manager repeatedly asked for transparency on negotiations with Costco since November 2015; nothing!
6) First Council Meeting April 12, 2016 - attended by 250 people. 90% of speakers against Costco. Council votes to move forward with Costco approval (42 emails and letters against Costco)
7) Mayor Thorne admits Costco stock ownership, recuses himself, July 19, 2016. Council votes to write the ballot arguments in favor of Costco. Council orders new study.
8) Campaign Manager for Mayor Thorne attempts a coverup, July 22 in a Pleasanton Weekly blog.
9) Council meeting regarding new study (which was funded by the developer), August 16, 2016. Initiative consultant analysis disregarded.
10) Ballot arguments in favor of Costco written and signed by 2 Council Members and Mayor Thorne's Campaign Manager, August 18


Posted by res1
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 22, 2016 at 8:14 pm

res1 is a registered user.

While I am not defending Thorne, I think the press release exaggerates when it says that "owned a significant number of Costco stock shares." He has between $2,000 and $20,000 in Costco stock. That is not significant. Not saying it should be ignored but I do not like it when people greatly exaggerates things. It just makes you look bad.

The 700 form was quite sloppy in that there are at least two companies listed twice in he disclosure; Costco and Walt Disney. So not sure if it is repeated accidentally or multiple accounts and he could not figure out how to add the two numbers.

I was also taken aback from the posting above indicating that Thorne's campaign manager signed the ballot arguments for Costco after Thorne was not allowed to do so for a conflict of interest. That is still a conflict of interest and minimally shows bad judgement. He is using his position to push Costco. Having his campaign manager sign it shows that he does not get it. I just lost some respect for him. First asking the City Attorney if he could sell his Costco holdings that he had since 2012, or before, so he could vote and advocate for Costco, and then having his campaign manager sign the ballot arguments. What is he thinking? Nobody pushes things that hard unless there is something else going on that we do not know about.

And then politicians wonder why the public does not trust them. Looks like part of the brain dies after somebody serves a couple of terms in office.

As for the city document request, you should ask them for all 700 forms since Thorne was first on the Council. Wonder what else we might see?

Posted by Lisa
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Aug 22, 2016 at 10:16 pm

Lisa is a registered user.

Dont we ALL or most of us have stocks in our 401k or have personal investments??? And (the other) Lisa outlines some but not all of the public meetings and notices about the planning process. Except there was additional notifications and meetings about the EIR. Hardly a covert process. I think you can get involved and have input regarding your position without mis-aligning people over what sounds like trumped up accusations. And I meant that PUN as well.

Posted by Lisa S.
a resident of Stoneridge
on Aug 22, 2016 at 10:41 pm

Lisa S. is a registered user.

I love what res1 said about Mayor Thorne : " Nobody pushes things that hard unless there is something else going on that we do not know about."


Posted by hoops
a resident of Mohr Park
on Aug 23, 2016 at 11:09 am

hoops is a registered user.

Gosh....What can one say.So the mayor owns some Costco stock like millions of other people.To think that has anything to do with this reflects total ignorance of the stock market and how opening a new Costco in Pleasanton would effect his stock value.
This whole issue is simply one of self interest by people like black tie limo acting like their motive is what is good for Pleasanton instead of their selfish self interest. [Removed because it was off topic]

Posted by Rick1
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Rick1 is a registered user.

Suggesting the mayor resign for owning stock of companies you don't along with accusing him taking an action based on what I calculate to be around 50 shares of stock is over the top. while I don't always agree with the council's decision and have spoken in opposition to their decisions, I respect their willingness to serve. I wouldn't want to be in their shoes in what is becoming a decided unPleasanton like place. Any chance of toning down the personal attacks and focusing on the issues

Posted by JJ
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Aug 23, 2016 at 12:13 pm

JJ is a registered user.

It is my understanding that this coalition is a separate group, and not tied to Black Tie.

Requesting public records on a 2- 21/2 year project, which in my opinion, has lacked transparency is not uncommon and good for the City. The City has been through this before. The City Manager and Mayor have both been repeatedly asked for details of negotiations with Costco ; they have been denied. This coalition's request will help determine if there are problems. It's not a bad thing.

Owning stock is not the issue for Mayor Thorne. Owning stock in Costco and continuing to participate in the outcome of the City's the decisions on the issue -- this is against FPPC rules and laws.

Let's hope for the best for our City.

Posted by Val
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 23, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Val is a registered user.

I agree! Why all the whining? The request for documents may clear people; or, it may show improprieties. We don't know.
This new coalition has done us a favor.
Our leaders cannot operate effectively under suspicion. Lets clear them, or get rid of them!

We also need to make sure that deals are not influenced by special interests with secret committees. My personal opinion is that our elected officials answer more to the Chamber of Commerce than to us. Attending meetings, speaking, sending emails, writing letters does no good when the decision has already been made. The Chamber hosted a meeting in January. Nearon said "Costco is here!" This was 3 months before the first "public" Council meeting.

Posted by JJ
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Aug 25, 2016 at 1:23 pm

JJ is a registered user.

Tim Hunt gives a blog on this subject. Interesting reading -- but, lacks investigative reporting.

Web Link

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