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Leadership Pleasanton at the crossroads

Original post made on Aug 11, 2021

Several Pleasanton City Council members have proposed overhauling the long-running Leadership Pleasanton program and having the city directly manage it instead of the intense involvement of the Chamber of Commerce.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 10, 2021, 9:58 PM

Comments (8)

Posted by Jan Batcheller
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 11, 2021 at 9:55 am

Jan Batcheller is a registered user.

With all of the pressing issues facing the City of Pleasanton, I cannot imagine why the City Council is taking up the issue of Leadership Pleasanton. The cost to the City is miniscule compared to other costs, i.e. consultants the City uses on a regular basis. The benefit to the City of Pleasanton is immense.
As an alumna of Leadership Pleasanton, I want it known that there is absolutely nothing elitist about the program. It is promoted year round and applicants are accepted on a first come, first serve basis. It also offers scholarships for the course, as needed. Leadership Pleasanton covers many subjects such as water, schools, the press and justice. The Chamber of Commerce initiated the program and has done a wonderful job of maintaining and updating the program as needed. I toured the Federal Women's prison in Dublin.
I highly recommend Leadership Pleasanton to every resident interested in learning more about our region.
To City Council: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Posted by Shelley
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 11, 2021 at 10:49 am

Shelley is a registered user.

As an Alumna of Leadership Livermore, San Ramon Valley & Pleasanton, I clearly believe in the Leadership Program! Joining Leadership Pleasanton was one of the best decisions that I have made. As a life-long resident, I didn't think that I could learn more about my business community - boy was I wrong! Leadership Pleasanton not only demonstrates how a City is run, but it demonstrates the local school district, hospitals, Fire & Police, Hacienda Business Park and local business. I appreciate that each member pays for the class - a little skin in the game ensures perceived value and is good for the soul. With so many issues facing the City of Pleasanton today, I am confused as to why the City Council would want to take on the Leadership Pleasanton program? If you want to have a program fully focused on the City of Pleasanton... my suggestion would be to start your own program. I agree with Jan Batcheller - If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Posted by Louis Astbury
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Aug 11, 2021 at 11:01 am

Louis Astbury is a registered user.

It would be nice if the program could be more accessible and affordable to the general citizenry, and not just those that can take off a workday every week. With the rise in the use of Zoom, the program could be developed via virtual classes in order to be more affordable and convenient for the citizens of Pleasanton. Maybe the class size could be bigger through the use of Zoom or other technologies. I recently was involved with a continuing education program during COVID lock downs. We found that organizing high quality presenters, panel discussions, and workshops was much easier via Zoom. For example, getting a presenter from state government in Sacramento regarding regulatory issues would be much easier without the travel requirement. Of course some in person events could be still held for some face-to-face interaction.

Also the Chamber should not select the candidates.

Posted by Janeen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2021 at 1:02 pm

Janeen is a registered user.

I am an alumna of Leadership Pleasanton, and the value I received from this 9 month class is invaluable. The Chamber does not "select" the candidates. Rather, the candidates are automatically admitted into the class in the order the applications come in, until the class is full. Once a class is full, applicants are put at the top of the following year's class, if they would like. Also, the day long classes are once a month, not once a week. Class participants visit Local Schools, Callippe Golf Course, Pleasanton's Operations Service Center, Water Treatment Facilities, Hacienda Business Park, Santa Rita Jail, the Women's Detention Facility, Firehouse Arts Center, Alviso Adobe, Museum on Main, City Council Chambers, and more. Not all, but many of those tours can't happen in the evening when places are closed. And, scholarships are available for those participants who perhaps aren't sent to class by their employer. In fact, I was on a scholarship when I attended and am grateful it was available to me.

As a member of the Leadership Pleasanton Steering Committee, I can tell you that we read every single evaluation and comment by participants after each class. We then discuss and tweak classes as needed, given what the feedback is.

I feel strongly, as the above commenters said, that given City Council has so many things to manage of a much higher priority, I just don't understand why this is even being discussed when it is already such a successful program that the participants love. I suggest that the Mayor and City Council members that have never attended, sign up the the next class before discussing this topic again. See for yourself how incredible and well thought-out it is.

Posted by Jan Batcheller
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 11, 2021 at 1:04 pm

Jan Batcheller is a registered user.

The Chamber does NOT select the candidates. All participants are accepted on a first come, first serve basis. Constructive suggestions are well received.

Posted by John Cooke
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 12, 2021 at 10:31 am

John Cooke is a registered user.

The Chamber has had undue influence with the city and a long cozy relationship with the City Manager. This program in just another example of the Chamber, with a pro-growth agenda, having influence on who is groomed to take positions on committees, commissions, and fund their candidacies for city council or even the mayor’s office. The Chamber is not voted into office so let's make sure that all their dealings are kept open, and contracts vetted and approved by the city in public meetings. I did not know this was going on for 32 years, the same amount of time I've lived in the city. Since when does an outside organization come to "educate" the citizenry about their own government at the City's expense? Why doesn't the Chamber do it on their own coin, at their offices with their resources and personnel? I do not expect the Chamber to be any different from their main office at the federal level, where they happen to be the largest lobbyist to the US Government, but do it an open manner for all to see in Pleasanton. I think the city should propose to educate us about the Chamber and charge them $10K/yr. to do so? And by the way, the past contracts with the city clearly stipulated that the Chamber selected who could participate, although that may not be in the latest contract, it doesn't mean they don't have their say on the final determination of who is chosen.

Posted by Jan Batcheller
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 12, 2021 at 11:13 am

Jan Batcheller is a registered user.

I don't know where you got your information, John Cooke, but it is mostly incorrect. The Chamber does not have a cozy relationship with the City of Pleasanton but it is convivial. The Chamber exists to support business and create community in Pleasanton. The Chamber initiated Leadership Pleasanton as a community resource for those wishing to learn more about our region and to encourage community involvement and did it "on their own coin". The City of Pleasanton became a sponsor after several years. Leadership Pleasanton isn't just about government. It is about schools, health care, safety, water and other aspects of the region.
The Chamber elects officers from its membership like most organizations. The Chamber has very few outside contracts. Its work is handled in the Chamber office. You are welcome to visit the Chamber office and speak with any of the wonderful staff. I think if you do, you will find good folks willing to assist you with any information you seek.
By the way, I am a 47 year resident of Pleasanton and owned two businesses downtown during that time. In the future, please be sure of the facts you are presenting.

Posted by John Cooke
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 12, 2021 at 1:19 pm

John Cooke is a registered user.

I like to speak for myself, use data and form my own opinions. It appears that Jan Batcheller speaks for the Chamber and their intentions. There is nothing that Jan Batcheller can dispute in my comment, as the Chamber did charge the city $10K, not once, but twice in 2019 and a total of $21.8K in 2016 for this very program. There were two checks for $10K each issued by the city to the Chamber for Leadership Pleasanton on 7/26/19 (check no. 26046) and 11/05/19 (check No. 27669). In 2016 $21,800 was paid for Leadership Pleasanton (check No. 2544 for $11,800 & check No. 3870 for $10,000). In 2018 one $10K check was issued for Leadership Pleasanton and and another for $10K was for Beyond the Cloud event (checks No. 18220 & 19213); again in 2017 $20K invoiced and paid (checks No. 10180 and 12443) for Leadership Pleasanton and Beyond the Cloud. I was just floored to know these programs have existed for years and were not aired out or approved by the City Council. For those of you with a curious mind you can request this information either in person at the City's main office or through the City's website. There is nothing more empowering than arming oneself with the facts.

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