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Guest Opinion: Council majority acted irresponsibly with our democracy

Original post made on Jun 15, 2023

The Pleasanton City Council in a 3-2 vote endorsed a draft initiative put forth by Our Neighborhood Voices, even though it was a marked draft, not in final form, and has not been vetted by the AG. This is problematic on several fronts.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 14, 2023, 3:24 PM

Comments (14)

Posted by Jan Batcheller
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 15, 2023 at 10:08 am

Jan Batcheller is a registered user.

Thank you, Cheryl, for a cogent summary of this matter. You have clearly stated the problem this current City Council is attempting to create.
I remember well when a previous City Council tried to rebuff the State of California. I did not work out well for us then.
I agree completely with your thesis.

Posted by Mike
a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 15, 2023 at 11:58 am

Mike is a registered user.

Pleasanton's leadership has been out of touch with the community's needs. NIMBY is the problem. The desire to keep Pleasanton a bastion of single-family homes on 1/4 acre lots is what has driven leadership because that keeps housing prices high which makes Pleasanton an elitist gated community; gated by wealth and earnings. Pleasanton needs more housing options at all price ranges. The city needs to look at unconventional ways to increase housing beyond MIL cottages on existing properties. Mixed-use zoning and housing with retail and light industrial should be strongly considered. Pleasanton is a community and must welcome all into the community. Not just the richest.

Posted by runningguy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 15, 2023 at 5:03 pm

runningguy is a registered user.

I find myself in agreement with Cook-Kallio's arguments. As it stands, the proposition marks a drastic shift from our established system of governance. It would permit cities to effectively disregard state laws they disagree with, leading to disorder and confusion, and hindering the state's ability to efficiently tackle crucial issues like housing and transportation.

The council majority's choice to endorse this proposition is equally concerning. There was a glaring absence of due diligence on their part. They failed to vet the proposition or seek review from the Attorney General, choosing instead to back it in hopes of gaining more authority.

I think Cook-Kallio hits the nail on the head. We're not an isolated entity - we are part of a broader community, and we carry responsibilities towards our neighbors and state. We cannot simply turn a blind eye to the challenges we face as a community. It requires collective effort and collaboration to find effective solutions.

Posted by MsVic
a resident of Mission Park
on Jun 15, 2023 at 6:27 pm

MsVic is a registered user.

This is just another pet project, this one is Council Member Julie Testa’s. Apparently she didn’t learn anything from history. Recall time?

Posted by Doug Miller
a resident of Ironwood
on Jun 15, 2023 at 11:15 pm

Doug Miller is a registered user.

This is significant. Now three former Pleasanton City Council members have spoken up about the current council and their poor choice of priorities.

Former city council member Cheryl Cook-Kallio was a career history and civics high school teacher. She just gave us a great civics and history lesson.

Last week former city council member Matt Sullivan wrote to the Weekly with similar concerns.

And at last week former city council member Arne Olson told council members that "I'm not sure voters are going to forget about this."

Council members are now paying attention. It is time to step up the pressure. Please attend upcoming city council meetings and write to our city council at:

The next city council meeting is Tuesday June 20th starting at 7:00 PM at 200 Old Bernal.

Posted by PTown Rez
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 16, 2023 at 8:47 am

PTown Rez is a registered user.

So, my take aways from this article and some of the following comments are:
1) Some people want you to believe that YOUR quality of life is not something worth fighting for.
2) Some people believe that YOU serve the government....Just shut up and pay your taxes.

I've discussed this issue with many a neighbor and fellow Pleasanton resident. While most agree with limiting the growth of Pleasanton, on occasion I'll find someone who supports hyper-growth and this is how the conversations usually go.

Them: We can't go against state law it supersedes city law.
Me: So, you also oppose sanctuary cities?
Them: (Silence)

Them: We might have to pay fines if we lose the legal battle.
Me: We just approved $400M for Pleasanton Schools. How much do you need, we'll pay it.
Them: (Silence)

Them: We need affordable housing.
Me: What price is affordable?
Them: sure.
Me: Okay, never mind. Why do we *NEED* "affordable housing" in Pleasanton? What is the compelling need of the city and its residents to have high density housing? What problem is being solved for the residents of Pleasanton by adding more housing?
Them: (Silence)

This last election cycle there was an open City Council seat in Pleasanton District 1 between Jeff Nibert (slow growth advocate) and Dean Wallace (hyper growth advocate).

Quoting from the Pleasanton Weekly article headlined "Slow-growth candidates dominate Pleasanton City Council election."

"Nibert, a 35-year resident of Pleasanton, took a strong lead of almost a 2:1 margin on Election Night and has maintained it as of Thursday with 63.04% of votes, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters' Office."

So, what we have here are elected representatives actually going out to serve what the people who elected them asked them to do....and a whole lot of whining by those whose opinions were soundly rejected and defeated on election night.

Posted by Bay Area Native
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 16, 2023 at 12:55 pm

Bay Area Native is a registered user.

While Jeff Nibert easily defeated Dean Wallace the same cannot be said for Julie Testa. Almost 60% of voters in Testa’s District voted against her. District 3 voters overwhelmingly rejected Testa and her policies.

Posted by PTown Rez
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 17, 2023 at 9:24 am

PTown Rez is a registered user.

Bay Area Native - She exceeded the next closes candidate by over 10%; a factor that cannot be ignored. Tough to conclude the the elected candidate was the least desirable, but I do understand the position of not being elected by a majority.

I took time to look at the other candidate's websites and neither one even addressed the growth issue. This tells me they either knew it was a losing position to support hyper growth or were tone deaf to the sentiments of the Pleasanton voter's primary concerns. Testa made it a common talking point.

Had it been a 2 candidate race between Testa and Yee it would have been interesting to watch, and maybe this will play out in future elections.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 17, 2023 at 10:13 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

My opinion district 3 election.

Joel Liu was clearly the best qualified candidate in that race.
Jamie Yee got in to assure Testa would be reelected.

If the race was between Joel Liu and Julie Testa, Joel Liu would have been elected.

Mayor Brown, Valery Arkin and Juie Testa Jerrymandered the districts to get Testa into district 3. It almost backfired on them.

Posted by Bay Area Native
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 17, 2023 at 2:25 pm

Bay Area Native is a registered user.

"Jamie Yee got in to assure Testa would be reelected." Could not be further from the truth and reminds me of a quote from Lincoln about knowing when to remain silent.

Factually Joel Liu was the least qualified candidate (Committee member experience versus Testa's experience as a Commissioner and City Council member, Yee's experience as a PUSD Trustee, Commissioner and employment with Alameda County). Nice guy and kudos to Mr. Liu for running but not the most qualified.

Posted by keeknlinda
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 17, 2023 at 5:38 pm

keeknlinda is a registered user.

@Bay Area Native, only Jamie Yee can speak regarding her intent. The result was a split vote that elected Julie Testa.

Factually, Testa was never a Commissioner. An outspoken advocate and failed council candidate before being elected, but never a Commissioner.

Factually, Joel Liu was the least recognizable name on the ballot yet he received only 10% fewer votes than winner Testa. Though lesser experienced politically, his community engagement and firsthand knowledge of a largely unrepresented segment of our diverse city are without flaw.

He knows, understands, and practices both the Brown Act and parliamentary procedure rules with little confusion or repeated need for clarification.

Factually, the election is over, the principals are seated, and we are left to move forward with those who got the votes. We are allowed to be uneasy.

Next council meeting, Tuesday, June 20, 7:00 PM In council chambers, on Channel 30 Community TV, YouTube or check city website for the full agenda and a link to Zoom.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 17, 2023 at 6:08 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Post Lincoln:

Opinion: Justice Luise Brandeis - Whitney V. California 1927.

"If there be time to expose through discussion, the falsehoods and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."

Posted by Bay Area Native
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 17, 2023 at 8:54 pm

Bay Area Native is a registered user.

Not a fan of Testa but she did in fact serve 11 years as a Human Services Commissioner. Testa unsuccessfully ran for Mayor, not City Council as you state, before being elected to City Council the first time. And yes only Jamie can confirm that she intended to unseat Testa but anyone who spoke with her while she was campaigning knows this.

As I said, Joel is a good guy and I respect him for running. Your own post states that he is less experienced, which is what I stated, so not sure why you felt the need for a mean spirited, angry, rant that contained factually incorrect information.

Posted by keeknlinda
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 20, 2023 at 11:17 am

keeknlinda is a registered user.

@Bay Area Native, I stand corrected. I didn't intend it as a rant, but perhaps it was. Triggered by frustration at Testa's own too frequent expressions of confusion--her words, not mine--on agenda items all councilmembers should have become familiar with in the lead-up to the discussion.

Having watched them both conduct themselves in public meetings, I stand by Joel as exhibiting more experience in that arena.

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