Councilwoman Brown easily defeated Councilman Jerry Pentin and three others in the five-candidate race to succeed Mayor Jerry Thorne. Thorne, Brown and Pentin were all termed out.
Jack Balch and Valerie Arkin won the two open council seats. It’s expected that Brown, Arkin and incumbent Julie Testa will vote together (if you can draw any conclusion from those signs showing up together in the same yards).
Take, for instance, resuming planning for the 1,100 acres in East Pleasanton that Ponderosa Homes is leading. The council voted 3-2 in March for the process to get that moving (it already had been made a priority on the two-year work plan in 2019). Brown and Testa opposed that motion. The process has been stalemated with the city staff leadership holding the formal agreement for Ponderosa to pay for a staff planner to work on it. Where it goes from here is an open question.
There’s a definite time factor because the contract Ponderosa has with the other major landowner allows that company to walk away with 30 days notice. The land has existing industrial zoning so the firm could pull out of Ponderosa agreement if the city does not get the process going and then develop the land with warehouses. Warehouses are a hot land use, particularly in areas where last-mile delivery hubs can be operated.
From a Pleasanton standpoint, a carefully planned residential community with up to 500 units of affordable housing would serve better than a warehouse development like those big warehouses on Isabel Avenue in Livermore.
Notably, this is the first time a mayoral candidate backed by the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee has not won. When the chamber established the committee in the mid-2000s, the city council majority was composed of people who viewed residential development with skepticism—to put it mildly. When Brown and Arkin are sworn in, it will make the first time since then officials with their viewpoint controlled the council.
The Army sure is a family business for retired Lt. Col David Maurer who was the featured speaker at Las Positas College’s virtual Veteran’s Day observance Wednesday. Both of his parents served in World War II, his dad as an officer who fought in North Africa, Italy and in Europe during the Battle of the Bulge. He was a career officer and retired as a full colonel.
Growing up, David had his uniform and every time his dad got promoted, he was promoted—always a rank behind so he could use his father’s emblems. After graduating from Seton Hall University, he was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the Army’s Adjutant General Corps and served 22 years rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He’s worked in the private sector since retiring and maintains his love of the family business.
One son is an officer in the JAG Corp., while another serves in the military police. Maurer told one great story about his son’s promotion to captain. His captain bars went on one collar, while his dads were pinned on the other collar.
One highlight of the observance was English professor Jim Ott’s reading of veteran’s writings from his English class specifically for vets. They write 15 minutes a week in response to a prompt from Ott that range from a humorous experience to a sad experience to comparing civilian life to the military.