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Guest Opinion: Sacramento's war on the suburbs

Original post made on Aug 10, 2020

This year, a package of housing bills that remove local public input, override local development standards and negate environmental protections, among other harmful consequences, is rushing through Sacramento under cover of COVID-19.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 10, 2020, 3:41 PM

Comments (36)

65 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 10, 2020 at 8:29 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

"What can you do?"
Nothing...you voted for these communists and now you are getting what you asked for.


56 people like this
Posted by fackchecker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2020 at 9:25 pm

fackchecker is a registered user.

Californians need to wake up at the ballot box. We get what we vote for.


19 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 10, 2020 at 9:35 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I wrote in this Forum ten years ago that the Pleasanton Ridge will be developed.

This is after the voters approved measure not to develop the Pleasanton ridge.

I also advocated for the Lin Family to develop a Cattle feed lot when the measure was defeated.

Now, with this new legislation, the Lin family and anyone else, can develop the Pleasanton Ridge as it suits the individual wants.


14 people like this
Posted by Ndna Jnz
a resident of Mohr Park
on Aug 11, 2020 at 11:24 am

Ndna Jnz is a registered user.

Instead of complaining about who was voted in, why not email or call your legislators AND the Governor, and urge them to vote against or veto these bills – especially during this time of incredible economic uncertainty? Or, are you too busy watching TV and would just rather complain here?


19 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2020 at 11:58 am

Bill is a registered user.

You do realize that when people vote the majority wins right? That means your neighbors overwhelming supported the things you are complaining about. There are no communists in California. Just proud Americans who care about thier communities enough to realize their needs to be housing for all not just those wealthy enough to afford bay area prices. Everyone deserves a plave to call home that they can afford.


41 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 11, 2020 at 1:08 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

These are legislative moves, not voter approved moves. We may have voted them into office, but we don’t necessarily agree with everything they do, and we should say so if we do or do not. We should be careful what we wish for—apartments that are affordable, certainly. Homes with granny flats, maybe, maybe not. We need to have a local voice in what does or does not get built.


10 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 11, 2020 at 4:12 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

In response to Ndna Jaz:

I emailed Twenty-Five questions to four of the school board candidates for PUSD board. Two of those candidates responded.

I emailed Twelve questions to Four candidates for Pleasanton city council, two of them responded and answered my questions.

I emailed Twelve questions to three candidates for Pleasanton city mayor election.
None of them have responded to me with answers to my questions.

These people are not elected yet, and they are not responsive to this home owner, small business owner and property tax payer.

Visit those candidates web sites and look at who have endorsed them. That is where you direct your attention, by way of boycotting their businesses. Challenge them with debate for their endorsement.

I will be spending my money and my time to defeat all of those candidates that did not respond with answers to my questions.


28 people like this
Posted by Candyce Roberts
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 11, 2020 at 6:52 pm

Candyce Roberts is a registered user.

I saw the President sign an executive order that outlawed the law Obama gave us forcing cities to reengineer communities racially and build high density units in single home areas. Julie Testa should address this to make the issue clear. The Biden goal is to take away funding from cities for things such as road construction if they don't build low cost high density units in the midst of single family homes. This is what the President was against. So what is the difference in what Testa is talking about? Is California going to flaunt the President's Executive order or is it something entirely different?


46 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 11, 2020 at 8:02 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

"There are no communists un California. Just proud Americans...."

Unbelievable...and that's why communism has taken over the democrat party.


3 people like this
Posted by Linda Kelly
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 11, 2020 at 11:48 pm

Linda Kelly is a registered user.

Michael Austin, would you be so good as to share your twelve questions with us? And just how long ago did you email those questions?

Since the filing deadline was only last Friday, maybe you're expecting a bit much for them to answer you instantly. And you haven't given us enough information to make a judgment call as to whether the questions were relevant.


6 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 12, 2020 at 7:12 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Hi Linda Kelly:

I emailed those questions to the announced candidates eight weeks ago. The late filing candidate for mayor I emailed to him ten days ago.

The weekly has those questions and were going to publish them in this edition of letters to the editor, but due to space confines did not. If space is available this next edition, they will be there.

The Weekly did publish my Twenty-Five questions for the school board candidtaes.


2 people like this
Posted by Linda Kelly
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 12, 2020 at 8:37 am

Linda Kelly is a registered user.

If the Weekly has those questions, I'm willing to trust they will consider them seriously for their individual interviews with the candidates. In my experience, they are fair and work hard at presenting an opportunity for all candidates to answer questions. I understand we want what we want when we want it and we want it right now, I'm as guilty as the next guy/gal, but sometimes we just have to wait until the time is right.
Looks like this is one of those times.


16 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Aug 12, 2020 at 9:40 am

Grumpy is a registered user.

Look, the right answer is to call now to put pressure on elected officials to stop this, and if that fails, to contribute to a campaign to overturn them as propositions on the ballot.

The discussion about “communism” is the reason why people don’t like these comment sections. It has nothing to do with the actual situation, just people venting. And venting is valuable, but can get in the way when the venters start shouting down the rest.


15 people like this
Posted by FrequentWalkerMiles
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2020 at 10:33 am

FrequentWalkerMiles is a registered user.

If Mrs. Testa genuinely doesn’t know why Glazer voted yes and yet still thinks people contacting Bauer-Kahn makes any difference, she is showing her lack of aptitude in politics. Without an effective opposition party at the state level the legislative process is a different ball game than the traditional American politics process.


10 people like this
Posted by Candyce Roberts
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 12, 2020 at 3:39 pm

Candyce Roberts is a registered user.

The Pleasanton Weekly has requested that people use their real names so encourage respectful interaction. Let's all please do this.


10 people like this
Posted by Linda Kelly
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 12, 2020 at 8:10 pm

Linda Kelly is a registered user.

Candyce Roberts, you are correct, but the Weekly has also recognized that some users may want to respond to sensitive issues under a pseudonym, on especially sensitive issues. As I'm following this, I'm seeing pretty much respectful comments, even from those using pseudonyms. They are of necessity registered with the moderators, who are good at monitoring and removing offensive posts should it become necessary. Their real names are known to the moderators, and I trust those moderators to keep things on an even keel.
And if anyone objects to a post, he/she can either email the moderator or report objectionable content from that post. I have always found them to be responsibly responsive and reasonable.


5 people like this
Posted by Nicki
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Aug 14, 2020 at 10:14 am

Nicki is a registered user.

@Michael Austin: You would be much appreciated if you would list those questions, if PW doesn't, either on this forum, or as a guest columnist. I would love to see those questions..Also, the answers and names of the people responding, with their responses. Exactly what we voters need and want to learn.


3 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 14, 2020 at 10:23 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Those question are published in the letters to the editor column today. Two weeks ago my questions for the school board election were also posted in the letters to the editor column

I will be posting parts of the responses I have received, some of it negatively, some of it positively.

One of the candidates provided a scathing email response. Another candidate responded I did not support the Costco build and I did not vote for it, also that same candidate stated, I would love to declare Pleasanton a sanctuary city.


6 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2020 at 4:51 pm

BobB is a registered user.

If they can override local development standards to get more cell towers built, I'm all for it. Sprint and T-Mobile coverage is barely acceptable. AT&T is useless.


10 people like this
Posted by PamA
a resident of Ironwood
on Aug 15, 2020 at 10:02 pm

PamA is a registered user.

Accessory dwelling units (ADU) are affordable-by-design aka "granny flats" small homes that will provide needed market-rate housing for our seniors and young adults who cant afford the rents here. Many new homes do offer casitas which are very popular. Ms Testa laments the ordinance benefits luxury home builders because ADUs are not required to be affordable and exempts building fees. So I wonder if she supports ADUs if they were income-restricted with a subsidized rent? The fee reductions are intended mostly for existing homeowners with older homes trying to add an ADU to their large property. Having mom or my adult kid live in a ADU in my backyard is better than living inside my house or moving away. Keep in mind, ADUs are still subject to fire and building codes which do specify setbacks.


19 people like this
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Castlewood
on Aug 16, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

Instead of saying no to these solutions to affordable housing, how about offering solutions?

We built an addition over our garage. Our son lives there and pays us rent. He can not afford rent in areas within commuting distance of his office.

NIMBY has been around for as long as I can remember (60 years old). It has clearly not worked to solve affordable housing problem.

It is a luxury to have a house in a city like Pleasanton. We should all be for creating opportunities for good hardworking people Like police officers, teachers, healthcare workers to share with us in our great city.

Some of this NIMBY attitude is also racist attitude. The racists among us are afraid there will be a lot black and brown people becoming their neighbors.


17 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 16, 2020 at 4:31 pm

Jake Waters is a registered user.

@Kevin

Nice job @Kevin, jump right to the race card when you have nothing intelligent to offer. How is anybody racist here who gives their opinion? Gives us examples, or are you projecting. People who have overused, overplayed, and nauseated us with the term only do it to keep others silent.


10 people like this
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Castlewood
on Aug 16, 2020 at 5:57 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

I said some of us are against low income housing because of not wanting black and brown people as neighbors. I did not say you or the author or anyone on this board.

Similar to people who are against BART station because it makes it easy for People from Oakland and other “undesirable” locations to come to the city.

I have a lot of biases but race is not one them. At least you did not call me communist like James Michael up there. Thank you!


9 people like this
Posted by PamelaA
a resident of Ironwood
on Aug 16, 2020 at 7:00 pm

PamelaA is a registered user.

I am guffawed that Councilmember Testa is given a spotlight opinion column in our local paper and with all the issues facing us choses to pick on ADUs. How about our Main Street surviving, loss of revenue, providing social services for food and housing, etc. She should be talking about how we as a region are going to address affordability and providing housing for people leaving even more expensive SF now that they can work from home. How about transportation funding colaboration with other agencies There is a plethora of other "big thinking" issues our elected officials should be addressing.


10 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 16, 2020 at 9:20 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

@ Jake Waters:

Are you aware, that one of the candidates for Pleasanton city mayor wants to declare the city of Pleasanton a sanctuary city?


6 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 17, 2020 at 9:01 am

Jake Waters is a registered user.

@Michael Austin

I’m aware of a lot of the political issues confronting Pleasanton to make it more in line with the philosophy of San Francisco and Los Angeles. We are not insulated from social unrest or the politics that are ever destroying the rest of the state. Those of us that came here, for whatever reason 25 years ago (others much longer or were raised here), see that vision and purpose fading away. The Social Justice Warriors are working hard to upend this community, and have it resemble the values of the surrendering city life. Reports of Antifa and BLM terrorizing the suburbs in many of the cities throughout this country are on the rise. True, it is all political, and yes it is about the election.

Be cognitive of the mass exodus of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica and more. Sacramento isn’t spared either with the homelessness growing throughout their counties. Reports are coming out that there is a mass movement of wealthy people leaving the area and the state as a whole. The budget losses are expected to impact the cities. Perhaps that will help support the drive to defund the police in order to shore up loses from those departing. Then there is the mismanagement of the virus through Newsom’s directives that are destroying the economy here in this once beautiful state. I’m concerned of the political agenda of some of these people running for office in our town. As social issues rise in neighboring large cities, it may be difficult to stop the hands of time. But, maybe that is the plan. This unrest is well financed, well staffed, and motivated. Law Enforcement is being told to stand down, except to enforce issues tied to the virus.

I am thankful that my family is prepared and capable of leaving the state. Never thought it was a reality


2 people like this
Posted by PamelaA
a resident of Ironwood
on Aug 17, 2020 at 8:12 pm

PamelaA is a registered user.

Which mayorial candidate supports sanctuary city status?


9 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 17, 2020 at 8:52 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Candidate for mayor Monith Ilavarasan in answering my questions, had this response.

"Alameda county is already a sanctuary county, but I would love nothing more to re-affirm that and declare Pleasanton a sanctuary city".

Regarding the Costco build supported by large majority of registered voters in Pleasanton, Mayor candidate Monith Ilavarasan had this response.

"I did not support the Costco build in Pleasanton and I did not vote for it".

I will follow up with more responses from this candidate as well as the other candidates.


12 people like this
Posted by Nicki
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Aug 18, 2020 at 1:34 pm

Nicki is a registered user.

Thanks, very much, Michael Austin for that information..I will now cross off Monith Ilavarasan from my vote. I hope the Pleasanton Weekly publishes all the questions ad answers and notes which candidates did NOT answer. GOSH, I hope every voter reads your list of questions and answers. Good to know these things and often not disclosed by the sample ballots.


10 people like this
Posted by PamelaA
a resident of Ironwood
on Aug 19, 2020 at 12:50 pm

PamelaA is a registered user.

This is no time to have to train a resident(s) who wants to be a council member. Get appointed to a task force, committee or commission first and learn about the City regulations and policies. There are well intentioned people who want to do public service, and our community would be best served if they started their commitment to studying issues 2 -4 years before running for an elected position to be best informed .


5 people like this
Posted by RonnieF
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Aug 21, 2020 at 4:39 pm

RonnieF is a registered user.

@ Kathleen Ruegsegger
I agree with your comments however we HAVE had a local say in what gets built and what doesn’t for decades which is why the legislators and State have recently sponsored fairly aggressive housing bills to meet the challenge of providing affordable housing. We all know the acronym NIMBY. If local leaders had not caved and either allowed higher densities and/or provided incentives (instead of always voting no on housing), we collectively would not be in this housing shortage mess. Thanks to the no-growth and slow-growth council members which is code for NO housing, now all the mandated units will be built at even higher densities and crammed into the remaining land left. This was so predictable, we just did not know when.


1 person likes this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 21, 2020 at 5:46 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

It isn’t predictable. There are so many variables, and they include the pandemic, let alone reasonable growth practices. We are not San Jose or Oakland and can manage whatever is coming. I want people who will think and ask questions before slapping up housing. By me there is a 350 apartment unit complex that also brought with it a nice shopping center. What I can’t abide is the developer paying $5MM to the city to stave off affordable apartments. Look to people who will listen to the people. That would include Nancy Allen.

There has not been a response regarding Jack Balch and whether he will recuse himself and how often. It is a major concern.


Like this comment
Posted by RonnieF
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Aug 22, 2020 at 1:16 am

RonnieF is a registered user.

@ Kathleen Ruegsegger
The money went into the City’s Affordable Housing fund to probably reduce rents elsewhere on older existing apartments from the low income to very low income residents which is the real need. Setting aside some 60 income restricted units in new apartment construction probably made the project financially too risky. Plus the City would have lost substantial building fees and ongoing revenues from sales tax if the development was not approved. To note, I can see the impracticality of setting aside affordable units in an upper end apartment complex because the builder’s loss would be passed to the market rate paying tenants. So you have essentially higher and low income levels only. Imagine you pay say a $ 3,000.00 rent while the guy next door pays a subsidized rent of $ 1,000.00 for the identical unit and amenities (pool and exercise room). You may not know actually which units are subsidized but you do know there are 60. Well intentioned regulations are not always practical so I understand paying the 5.5M fee would be better way to address affordable housing by subsidizing existing rental stock.


6 people like this
Posted by RonnieF
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Aug 22, 2020 at 1:25 am

RonnieF is a registered user.

Kathleen, one more comment before I bid you good night. Since WHEN has Pleasanton ever allowed housing to be slapped up as you said? In 30 years, all I have seen is the meetings upon meetings over months and more often years before housing proposals are allowed or denied? It’s good to have public input and involve the community, but c’mon, slapping up housing has never happened in this town. The City took 8 years to adopt a General Plan!!


10 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2020 at 4:28 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Thank you RonnieF for pointing out this town is full of NIMBYs and BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything). I will vote for and campaign for and send money to any candidate that promises to support regular growth (not slow growth or no growth). The high density housing near public transit is a good start. We need more of it, and more affordable housing too. And why not Costco?

And build some more cell towers. What the hell? Who in their right mind would oppose building more cell towers, and yet both T-Mobile and AT&T had towers and antennas blocked in the last 20 years in Pleasanton and Dublin because of objections from city government. Who writes our asinine regulations anyway? No cell towers visible from freeways? As if this is some kind of problem?

"According to Thorne, the threat to local control moved him, Dublin Mayor David Haubert and Livermore Mayor John Marchand to back HR 530..." HR 530 -- The Orwellianly named "Accelerating Wireless Broadband Development by Empowering Local Communities Act of 2019" It should be named "Obstructing Wireless Broadband by Empowering Local Communities Act". Jerry Thorne and David Haubert are both part of the problem. They seem like good people but they need to knock this off.

Web Link

Too much local control is the problem in California and across America. High speed rail from Sacramento through San Francisco to LA and San Diego should be complete by now! BART should ring the bay and be clean, safe, on time, and affordable! But no! More local control! What a bunch of nonsense. These mayors and local governments should be ashamed of themselves.


2 people like this
Posted by RonnieF
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Aug 23, 2020 at 4:55 pm

RonnieF is a registered user.

@BobB. Yes, What about buildings and neighborhood plans designed by community residents taking years. Usually flawed but hallelujah enough to finally approve. And, add the layers of different and competing public agencies which delay important infrastructure because each is fighting for their own control. On the train however, let’s start tomorrow in the interim by adding one north and one south bound lane in the InterState 5 median! That would end up being one passing, one travel, and one truck lane. HEAVEN


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