My name is Dean Wallace, and some of you may know that I'm currently running to represent District 1 on the Pleasanton City Council in District 1.
I wanted to write a quick post here in response to a small group of folks who have decided to expend a great amount of time and energy engaging in personal attacks against me. These attacks include a strong implication that – despite my having lived in the Tri-Valley for the better part of two decades, despite my having helped to elect many of our local elected leaders, and despite my having now earned the endorsement of so many of Pleasanton's respected community leaders and organizations – that despite all of that, that I'm still somehow "not from 'round here." And that I am thus not a worthy enough member of this community to run for City Council.
While the rumors are true: I am, in fact, a graduate of Dublin High School -- Class of 2004. I'm sorry. I hope you don't hold that against me -- I've always seen the Tri-Valley as a community in which most of us have friends in neighboring cities. We visit and shop at different locations across the Tri-Valley. I've tabled at the Pleasanton Farmers Market numerous times over the past 20 years. I used to read and do homework at Tully's before it was Peet's. In high school I went on dinner dates in downtown Pleasanton. My mother worked at the Sephora in the Stoneridge Mall for over 10 years. And I've chosen to make Pleasanton my home because I love the neighborhood I currently live in. Those are the facts.
Now, while I really do wish that I could say to you with a straight face that none of the lies and personal attacks bother me – because I know who I am, and I know the truth – the fact is, they do bother me. They bother me *because* I know the truth. Because I know they're wrong. Because I know who I am. And because I know my story.
Our community deserves so much more than that. We deserve better than that level of unadulterated cynicism from our elected leaders. That's why I'm running for City Council.
But I do want to take a moment to correct the record, and to share a few thoughts and reflections about who I am, what motivates me to do this work, why I'm running for City Council, and why I'd be honored to earn the trust – and votes – of the residents of District 1 to represent them on the Pleasanton City Council.
My Story --
My story is that of a first-generation immigrant – and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities that this country has given me and my family. I was born in Dublin, Ireland to an Irish father and a Mexican mother. We moved to the United States when I was just three. My father started out as a carpenter in New York City, and I spent my early childhood years in the suburbs of northern New Jersey. My family first moved here to the Tri-Valley way back in August of 2000 – just before I started my freshman year of high school. And I’ve called the Tri-Valley home ever since.
Public service, a belief in the importance of civic participation, and a pride in the American citizenship that I had to earn – these are the values and principles that have come to define my path in life. To that end, September 27, 2011 was one of the proudest days of my life. It was the day that I took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States and became an American citizen. That day was so important to me because it was the day on which I finally earned the right that I had spent so much of the previous decade making sure that others didn’t waste and take for granted: the right to vote.
My belief in the importance of people participating in our democracy, and in never taking their right to vote for granted – a right we’re so fortunate to have – continues to drive the work that I do on a daily basis. And it’s these values and principles – of public service, civic participation, and pride in citizenship – that have motivated me throughout this campaign for Pleasanton City Council.
Why I’m running for Pleasanton City Council --
I’m running to bring a forward-looking perspective to the Pleasanton City Council – that of someone who has lived in the Tri-Valley for 22 years, went to high school here, and came back after college to live close to my mom. I have a first-hand understanding of the challenges facing our working families and young professionals – especially when it comes to the unsustainably high cost of housing and rent in Pleasanton. This is a perspective that our City Council currently lacks. That needs to change. I’m running to represent District 1 on the Pleasanton City Council because it’s time for our younger generations to step up and help lead.
As you know, this is the first year that Pleasanton is conducting a district-based election. District 1 comprises the northwest portion of the City, and it is the most socioeconomically and ethnically diverse district in the City of Pleasanton. It’s home to more immigrant families than any other district in Pleasanton. And as a first-generation immigrant, and son of immigrants, I’m so proud of our neighborhood’s diversity.
District 1 is also generationally diverse – it is home to some of Pleasanton’s most established single-family neighborhoods, but also many of our largest apartment communities. In fact, a full quarter of residents in Pleasanton are renters, and I am a renter myself. I moved to Pleasanton because I enjoy the safety of our neighborhood, how dog-friendly and walkable it is (I have two doggos), and because of our city’s strong sense of community.
And I’m running because I believe, fundamentally, that everyone deserves to have the ability to live close to where they work – in a home that they can actually afford to live in. I believe that our City needs to be doing much more to address the high cost of housing, and must make more of an effort to support our younger generations – especially our future graduates of Foothill, Amador, and Village high schools. Our students deserve to be able to envision a future where they can continue to live and thrive here in Pleasanton, too. To be able to come back home after college, like I’ve been fortunate enough to do. It isn’t easy. But it doesn’t have to be this hard. We need to create more affordable housing – especially workforce housing – for our teachers, our first responders, and our younger workers.
We are at a critical, and exciting, moment in Pleasanton’s history. Over the next few years our City Council will shape the future of our City. It will need to find solutions to our water needs and serious infrastructure challenges, and it will lead in reimagining the future of the Stoneridge Mall. I’d be so honored to earn your vote to play a role in that process – and to earn your trust to help improve the lives of our City’s working families, retirees, and younger generations.
Our Campaign --
I bring with me to this campaign over a decade of work experience serving the residents of Pleasanton and the East Bay – in policy, political, and public service roles. This experience means that I also bring with me significant working, and personal, relationships with many of our leaders here in Pleasanton, the Tri-Valley, and our broader East Bay region. These regional relationships will assist me in working with our neighbors to address many of the major issues we face – issues that require regional collaboration, such as addressing our water, infrastructure, and transportation needs.
My professional experience provides me with the skills needed to reach out to, listen to, and engage with a diverse set of community members. I believe that it is this experience that is my greatest strength, and distinguishes me from my opponent in this race. And I’m so excited about the possibility of getting to put these skills, experience, and relationships to work on behalf of Pleasanton’s residents.
To that end, I’m very proud of the broad and diverse coalition of supporters we have been able to assemble for my campaign for Pleasanton City Council – supporters who come from a wide variety of political perspectives. I have support from lifelong Democrats, and lifelong Republicans. Because I’ve found that, when it comes to local issues, we all want the same thing for our families: to live in a safe community with a high quality of life.
It would be an incredible honor to serve the residents of our home district, District 1, on the Pleasanton City Council. If you live in District 1, hope I can earn your vote on Tuesday.
You can learn more about my campaign on my website at www.DeanWallace.com.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration.