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Pleasanton Candidates For Council and Mayor

Original post made by Michael Austin, Pleasanton Meadows, on Aug 18, 2020

Candidate Karla Brown to my Sanctuary city question:

I have not forgotten that Pleasanton is the home of Kate Steinle's family, who suffered loss from this controversial legislation.

Many argue there is no clear definition of what is a "sanctuary city" truly means. Most believe it is a city that limits its cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agents to protect law abiding immigrants from deportation. Conversely, any person suspected of committing a serious crime risks deportation.

While I do not favor going into schools and homes to oust illegal immigrants and their children, I strongly believe that anyone who breaks the law must be deported after due process.

Karla Brown on the Costco build:

I supported and voted to build Costco. However, I am disappointed the EIR was NOT done correctly the first time. I am also concerned that the hotels that are paying 1/3 of the infrastructure expenses may want to delay paying their portion and delay building their hotels until the economy is stronger. This will be a gamechanger.

Prior to declaring himself as a candidate for mayor, Jerry Pentin assured me that he would not support any action to declare Pleasanton a sanctuary city.

Jerry Pentin also assured me that he supported the Costco Build in Pleasanton and did vote for approval of the Costco build.

After declaring himself as a candidate for mayor, Monith Ilavarasan informed me that "Alameda County is already a sanctuary county, but I would love nothing more to re-affirm that and declare Pleasanton a sanctuary city".

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

Comments (23)

1 person likes this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 18, 2020 at 2:59 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

City council candidate Nancy Allen:
On the Costco Build in Pleasanton:

"Yes, I want to keep our tax dollars in Pleasanton and is an amenity to many residents who drive to other cities to shop at Costco:.

Sanctuary city Question:

I have not and will not support any efforts to make Pleasanton a sanctuary city".

City council candidate Jack Balch on Costco build and sanctuary city question:

"Yes, I support the Costco".
"I voted no on MM".

"My current position is that while I hope for compassion for people, I do not support the sanctuary city concept and believe it undermines the rule of law when groups select which laws they'll enforce - it cuts both ways, but we should be changing bad laws, not selecting between them based upon who's in the chair".


2 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 18, 2020 at 5:31 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Do you think our main street/downtown is healthy and successful? If not, what would you do to change that?

Karla Brown Response:

Main street is not fully healthy or fully successful. I view main street as a window into Pleasanton's financial health and wealth. Although many of us adore downtown, it represents much more than an historic Main Street with old buildings. Pleasanton's Main Street is populated with many small business owners that are risking their own homes, while they pursue a job that will allow them to own and run their own business. I respect and support their decisions. Often Main Street landowners require extremely high rents that are not conducive to supporting new and small businesses. As you know COVID's shelter-in-place has been extremely hard on shops, salons, and restaurants.

After COVID restrictions are lifted, I would like to offer our downtown businesses a facade improvement loan, with assistance of a specialized architect funded by the city. Many buildings are tired and worn out, it is time to reinvest in our downtown and restore Pleasanton's best symbol of good health and wealth. The facelift should be conducted in a coordinated manner - similar to Livermore's recent updating. I know the professional that Livermore hired, and she lives her in Pleasanton. I am sure she could work with us to improve and restore its health and success.

And finally, vacant buildings should not be allowed to remain vacant for years, We need an incentive program that has teeth in it to require buildings to be rented out and occupied much faster. We must also have Economic Development reach out to regional businesses and see if thay are interested in expanding in Pleasanton.

Monith Ilavarasan response:

At the moment main street/downtown is not healthy. When I walk down main street I see numerous "for lease" signs where small businesses once stood. To me, every "for lease" sign signals two things.
A small business that was not able to get the support it needed to weather COVID-19.
An opportunity for an entrepreneur to build a small business and serve the community. To change this, I would do two key things.

Ensure our existing small businesses get the support they need through no interest loans to weather the effects of CVID-19.

Challenge the dominance of corporate landlords extracting infeasible rent and profit sharing agreements which prevent the average small business owner from moving in.

Note: If a candidate response is not written here, it is because that candidate did not respond to answer my questions.


2 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 18, 2020 at 7:04 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

Is the question of a sanctuary city even relevant anymore, especially in the Bay Area. This is a Sanctuary State...end of debate.


49 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 18, 2020 at 9:05 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

The debate has not ended!

What is relevant, Kate Steinle would still have life if there had been no sanctuary city legislation.

There are hundreds of family's grieving all across America because of the sanctuary city legislation.


11 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 19, 2020 at 9:52 am

James Michael is a registered user.

Michael Austin, you are right. I think I wasn't quite clear on what I meant by "end of debate". What I meant was that since Cal. has declared itself a sanctuary state and since Pleasanton is part of the state then Pleasanton is, therefore, a sanctuary city so there is no debate about Pleasanton being a sanctuary city...it is by default. Pleasanton needs to declare itself a NON Sanctuary City. And, of course, the sanctuary debate is far from over. If the democrat party wins control in Nov. they will declare this a sanctuary country and then Canada will build a wall to keep Americans out.


4 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 19, 2020 at 11:14 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

It should be noted that if everyone submitted questions to candidates, it would be difficult or impossible to respond. While Michael has submitted good questions, whether a candidate chooses to respond or not is not reason to vote for or against them.


14 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 19, 2020 at 11:34 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I agree with what you have said Kathleen.

However, I will not vote for any candidate that did not answer my questions.

If a candidate is not response to me when campaigning, candidate will not be responsive to me if elected.

Candidates should be responsive in order to gain votes that would elect them.


12 people like this
Posted by Linda Kelly
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 19, 2020 at 11:49 am

Linda Kelly is a registered user.

If one is to question a candidate for office...just about any office...one must ask whether that candidate has voted in previous elections. If the answer is "no", then that candidate hasn't shown enough interest in the process to warrant my vote.


Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 19, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Candidate Question:
Do you think our main street/downtown is health and successful? If not, what would you do to change that?

City Council Candidate Nancy Allen response:

Our downtown is the heart of Pleasanton. We need to maintain our small-town character while we continue to increase our downtown vibrancy.

Currently. our businesses are struggling with the economic impacts of COVID-19. I support strategies to help these businesses that the council has adopted such as closing downtown streets on weekends and a modest small business loan program.

Looking beyond COVID-19, we need to do more to increase our vibrancy. Many residents say they are spending more time in Livermore than Pleasanton because they wanted more entertainment options and later night offerings, more restaurant choices with outdoor dining, and increased parking. They also commented that they enjoyed Blacksmith Square in Livermore has and would something similar. I would like to see us close our downtown streets possibly once a month post COVID-19 and possibly have a mid-week Farmers Market.

Ultimately, it will be the property and business owners who need to make most of the changes though. But the city can play a role in being part of strategic discussions about the future and dealing with things we control, such as zoning, public parking, streets, etc.

I advocated for the plan to support requiring retail businesses on the ground floor of Main Street properties. I think this will drive more pedestrian activity and vibrancy over time.

In terms of housing, many Pleasanton residents want to move downtown. I support the addition of new, and more compact housing downtown in our residentially zoned downtown neighborhoods consistent with our specific plan. This will also help us to create increased vibrancy.

City Council Candidate Jack Balch response:

Has been historically successful, but faces continued challenges, especially in COVID-19 world. We should see COVID-19 as an opportunity to reinvent our downtown-such as possible closure of Main Street on weekends.

We must change perception that City of Pleasanton is 'difficult to work with' to more of 'mutual cooperation'.

Implement some of the policies identified in the Downtown Specific Plan such as creating a pedestrian zone on division from Main to Railroad.

Looking for parking solutions - both short and long term.


13 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2020 at 2:51 pm

Pete is a registered user.

If the Augustine St./Old Bernal Rd. corner development is an indicator of our future development downtown, with frontal of house almost hanging over the sidewalk area... and this being approved by current candidates...no vote from my family.
If, as we say, people consider our downtown as the heart of our city, perhaps, they do not venture to far from downtown to interact. Schools, Community/people at large, parks, neighborhoods collectively would present a better case.
And Mike, Thank You for questions, they helped, if I vote, to narrow my choices.
And Mike, those who read your posts know, you only needed to ask one question to candidates for your benefit to vote for them. Do you, or do you not support Costco? But thanks for questions.


4 people like this
Posted by Pamela
a resident of Ironwood
on Aug 19, 2020 at 8:23 pm

Pamela is a registered user.

I noted Karla Brown supports a facade improvement loan for downtown stores. I believe it’s not a new idea and has been available. A big assist would be the City helping to reduce sewer connection fees which the City has always resisted.


8 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 19, 2020 at 8:48 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

THIS IS AN OPEN FORUM:

Pleasanton voters visit here:

Any candidate for city council and for city mayor can jump in here anytime with point-counterpoint.

It is not necessary that you did or did not answered my questions. If you want to get elected, this is where you start.


12 people like this
Posted by Nicki
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Aug 20, 2020 at 10:02 am

Nicki is a registered user.

KARLA BROWN:
"Many argue there is no clear definition of what is a "sanctuary city" truly means. Most believe it is a city that limits its cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agents to protect law abiding immigrants from deportation. "

HUH? How can you call ILLEGAL immigrants, "law abiding immigrants?"


7 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 20, 2020 at 10:13 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Nicki, watch the news (PBS Newshour in our home) and see what these people are trying to escape. Some have crossed the Darien Gap in Columbia/Panama. These people are looking for a better life. For those who are in our country, the majority are working in the lowliest jobs and are law abiding. At least stop and think about what conditions are like in their home countries that make them travel here rather than stay where they are. Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 20, 2020 at 2:16 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

Katleen R

It's good to be compassionate. America is a compassionate country and that's why this illegal immigration has gone on for way too long. I have compassion for these people too but I also have family members that have been trying to get here LEGALLY for a long long time. They are still waiting in line. So keep watching PBS and listening to NPR.


3 people like this
Posted by Al Bronzini
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 20, 2020 at 2:22 pm

Al Bronzini is a registered user.

I own a building on Main St. Downtown Pleasanton. I operated my furniture store at that location from1984-to 1994
Since that time I have had it leased to two excellent tenants. Cattelan’s Antique Furniture for fourteen years and most recently to RICK’S PICKS for ten years.
I have been a Downtown supporter ever since I went into business on Main St. In 1984
It is a wonderful building which has had many upgrades.
It would be an excellent location for a retail business.
I am a reasonable individual, to do business with. I’ve never lost a tenant due to high rents., I understand the difficulty in going into business in these times, however it could also be seen as an opportunity to tie up a Main St. location at an affordable rent.

Al Bronzini 510-612-2339
Or Mike Carey 925-963-0569
Mike Carey


15 people like this
Posted by Carl
a resident of Stoneridge
on Aug 20, 2020 at 3:10 pm

Carl is a registered user.

Kathleen R
We have laws for a reason and your compassion does not override them. If you don't like the laws then have them changed. There are people all over the world that live in just terrible conditions, and yes I've been there to see it, but we can't take them all in, that is why we have immigration laws.
Have you been to Oakland or San Francisco in the past few years? They are quickly looking like third world countries with all of the homeless on the streets. We need to fix our own problems before we get overrun with illegal immigrants. You can call it by any name your like, but illegal is illegal.


4 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 20, 2020 at 4:29 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

James and Carl, I believed there was a path before the virus to help these people. Many come to our borders and fill the paperwork and wait. Not everyone is illegal.


29 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 20, 2020 at 9:50 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Prior to the last city council election I received email confirmation from all seated city council members and the city manager with the exception of Mayor Jerry Thorne who has never responded to me, that they are unanimous to not considering any action to declare Pleasanton a sanctuary city.

Jerry Thorne always votes with the majority, so I state unanimous!

Julie Testa was elected in the interim, she has not responded to me regarding her opinion for sanctuary city question.

The majority of the current seated city council support a no sanctuary city declaration for Pleasanton.

Some of those council members are current candidates for city mayor, not all of the candidates for mayor responded to my questions, because of that, viewer and voter criticism should also be directed to all candidates for mayor, because they all share the same opinion.

Directing abuse, criticism, towards one candidate, who demonstrated the courage to stand up here and state her opinion is absolutely unfair, while her opponent is absent in this exchange.


4 people like this
Posted by Linda Kelly
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 21, 2020 at 12:47 am

Linda Kelly is a registered user.

Mayoral and Council candidates will all be interviewed by the Weekly editorial staff and those interviews will be made public well in advance of the November 3 election.


1 person likes this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 22, 2020 at 4:34 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Candidate question: = What is more important for our city right now: Building new homes and commercial space or rehabbing/expanding/better utilizing our exiting homes and store fronts?

City Council Candidate Jack Balch response:

All important, balanced approach to success.
We have jobs/housing imbalance where you can't live and work in our community (thinking teacher, police officers, health care workers, etc.)
We don't have much land for further development other than the east side as we approach build out. We need to look at infill projects such as the Irby Ranch as well as rehabbing existing housing/commercial to reflect community needs and a balance.

City Council Candidate Nancy Allen response.

Now that Pleasanton is pretty much built out, I think it is more important to maintain, rehab and better utilize what we have today.

The city has control over our assets but has less control over the buildings owned by private landlords if they meet city code requirements.

In terms of city assets. I recommend the city council set a policy about what 1% of our capitol budget we will allocate toward maintaining/rehabbing what we have vs. adding new assets. And then have a 5-10 year look at priorities for these expenditures.

A couple examples:

CIVIC CENTER - We should create an option to upgrade our city offices and reimagine our library within downtown vs, - spend $200M to build a new Civic Center at Bernal Park.

CENTURY HOUSE - this house has been closed to the public for several years due to bein unsafe to occupy. The house requires a complete upgrade at about $3M to be safe but no money is currently allocated for this upgrade. We need creative options for thinking abut Century House long term so we provide the greatest value to our community.



1 person likes this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 23, 2020 at 11:27 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Candidate Question: - What's more important for our city right now: Building new homes and commercial space or rehabbing/expanding/better utilizing our existing homes and store fronts?

Mayor candidate Monith Ilavarasan response:

Building new homes:
Essential workers do not have a place to live in the very city they help run. A case study done by UC Berkeley has shown that out of 49,000 people who work in Pleasanton, 45,000 people commute from out of the city. Even in time of COVID-19 this leads to jam packed highways as thousands of people use our roadways to commute. On top of that, I find it deeply troubling that our teachers, nurses, and service workers cannot live in the same city in which they serve the populace. Many of my friends are health care workers, and they cannot afford to rent within Pleasanton, let alone buy a home anytime in the reasonable future. These are the people who have shown themselves to be heroes in the past few months, and yet they cannot live in our community. I strongly believe the solution to this is to build more affordable housing so all workers, especially those who serve our community, have a place in our town.

Building new commercial space:
Taking a drive down Stoneridge Avenue you once again see "foe lease" sign after "for lease" sign. In my view, our number one priority is to ensure that Pleasanton becomes an attractive place for small to medium sized businesses so that all this commercial land is utilized and we can increase the tax base of our city. With regards to commercial space, it is most important "ot" rehab & better utilize our existing space.

Mayor Candidate Karla Brown response:

Step 1 rehab existing down town business buildings with new facades and new energy downtown as noted in question #1 Step 2, rehab of existing house inventory occurs normally when a house sells. I have seen home values rise around a recent home that was rehabilitated to sell. I do not consider this a government task.

I support new/more commercial space, satellite corporate offices, e-warehousing, and business parks, Livermore has been extremely successful with Oaks Business Park for local jobs to support their economy and it will diversify our tax base. Too many Pleasanton residents are subjected to "super commuting" of 2 hours each way. I want to encourage more local businesses that offer a reasonable living wage and allow Pleasanton/Tri-Valley residents an opportunity to live and work locally. Parents are home for dinner, can volunteer in their community and help raise their own children. These are basic quality of life improvements when residents can reclaim 3-4 hours per day from thae wasteland of commuting.


22 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 23, 2020 at 8:08 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

When questions are provided to the candidate in writing.

The candidate responds in like manner in writing, that candidate is putting it all out there.

That candidate has great courage and exhibits the necessary leadership that our community will need over the next four years and continuing.


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