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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Campaigns for 2014 getting serious

Uploaded: Oct 17, 2013

Elections in 2014 are still months away, but candidates, particularly those who face primaries, are in full campaign mode.

Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, who is running for the 16th Assembly seat currently held by Joan Buchanan who will be termed out in 2014, will be the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Garre' Winery in Livermore this month.

It's hosted by the Pleasanton Garbage and Amador Valley Industry partners Bob Molinaro and Tony Macchiano along with Bob's daughter, Gena Cardera and Gordon Galvan. The Pleasanton folks likely are grateful for Sbranti's support along the way as they captured the exclusive contract to service Dublin.

California cities favor the franchise agreements with one provider, which makes the competitive bid process critical. For contrast, it was striking in Denver to see three or four companies aggressively competing for the trash business across the city. It was a free enterprise model that contrasts sharply with the command-and-regulate model that most cities here use.

In Pleasanton, Mayor Jerry Thorne has announced his re-election campaign with a fundraiser set for the morning of Nov. 14. When he won election to the mayor's role from his City Council seat in 2012, he announced earlier in the fall, prompting fellow Council Member Cheryl Cook-Kallio to declare her candidacy. Jerry prevailed in the general election more than a year later.

One campaign promise coming true is the opening of Stoneridge Drive to connect with Jack London Boulevard in Livermore. The much-delayed project finally is being completed after the city and contractors dealt with the stringent rules governing construction in and around the arroyo that the street crosses.

The opening of the road will be a great relief for folks living at the Stoneridge Creek retirement community who have had to take the freeway to get into Pleasanton—they can use Jack London to get to Livermore or Fallon to get into Dublin.

Cheryl's election in 2006 when she campaigned for the extension proved to be the impetus to drive a split council vote (3-2) to restore the decades-old general plan to connect the two roads instead of making the Stoneridge thoroughfare a cul-de-sac.
That connection, plus the extension of Dublin Boulevard to connect with North Canyons Parkway in Livermore will substantially improve options for valley residents to move around.

When I worked in Hacienda Business Park and had to go to Livermore, I had no realistic choice but Interstate 580. Nothing will change until the thoroughfares north and south of I-580 connect.

My choices mid-day, if I was headed to the South Livermore Valley or Ruby Hill, improved greatly once the Isabel Avenue (Highway 84) corridor was improved. (Note: all bets are off during the afternoon commute)

That trip improved with the full interchange and will get even better once the current road expansion is finished—to say nothing of the I-580 improvements. If the specific plan for the eastern side of Pleasanton moves ahead, it includes connecting El Charro Road to Stanley Boulevard, another key link for efficient traffic movement.

Incidentally, the city of Livermore or CalTrans deserves lots of credit for casting images into the retaining walls (grape vines at Stanley Boulevard) to add a visual interest instead of a boring concrete wall.

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