By Gina Channell Wilcox
Strength in numbersUploaded: Mar 18, 2022
Our region is unique in that the five communities that make up the Tri-Valley -- the cities of Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and San Ramon and the town of Danville -- collaborate instead of compete.
For example, it has become a tradition for the five mayors to attend an annual national mayors' conference. Over the years they have learned five people representing a good-sized region advocating for the same thing tends to carry more weight with legislators and, therefore, gets better results.
Also, because I-680 and/or I-580 traverse all Tri-Valley communities, a few decades ago the leaders created the Tri-Valley Transportation Council.
The Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance holds a very similar role for nonprofit organizations here, giving the leaders "opportunities to meet, collaborate, share resources, and strengthen each other as they work to raise community awareness and strive to achieve their missions," the mission statement reads.
Pleasanton Mayor Karla Brown, Livermore Mayor Bob Woerner, Dublin Mayor Melissa Hernandez, Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich and San Ramon Vice Mayor Sridhar Verose joined more than 100 nonprofit supporters during the "In Conversation with Tri-Valley Mayors 2022" virtual event March 10.
Despite being in two different counties, the synergy between the communities is undeniable, and their collaboration exemplifies an idea that TVNPA emphasizes -- "together, we're better".
Arnerich said the five communities started working together around 27 years ago with the formation of the transportation council.
"As time went on, we went to the point of actually doing lobbying together, hiring a joint lobbyist," Arnerich said. "We realized we have so many things that we have in common, but at the same time we really complement each other in terms of the assets (and) the aspirations of each of our own communities.
"We are very, very unique as five major metropolitan areas that's just under 400,000 in population, that we do find a shared value and a shared common cause."
That's pretty much what TVNPA is doing for nonprofits throughout the Valley -- bringing them together to find shared value and shared common causes.
Hernandez said the collaboration is also good for the nonprofits.
"For us to be able to work together and connect is greatly needed for our nonprofit community," she said. "They are our frontline workers bringing services directly to our residents. It's (the cities') job to create awareness of what our nonprofits do by promoting individuals' efforts and outreach."
Hernandez gave an example of what collaboration can do.
"Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton came together when we knew there was a need with regards to mental health," she said, adding that they knew the need for increased mental health service even before COVID. The three cities and Alameda County worked together with Axis Community Health to launch Axis Bridge Mental Health Urgent Care Center.
"Axis Bridge was created by the Axis team in response to the enormous need in the community for supportive mental health services, and to specifically assist families who do not know where to turn when an urgent mental health situation occurs," said Sue Compton, Axis Community Health CEO.
Available since July 2021 to residents in the cities of Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore who are experiencing an urgent mental health crisis, Axis Bridge is a pilot program that tries to fill substantial gaps in access to mental health services by offering an option to address a mental health crisis other than calling law enforcement or costly emergency room treatment.
Brown announced during the TVNPA meeting that she and others were made aware just that morning that $450,000 in federal funding for the Axis Bridge is on its way to the Tri-Valley.
Funding for the pilot program was one of nine Community Project Funding requests made by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Livermore) and approved by House Appropriations subcommittees in July 2021.
"Axis Bridge is supported by the cities of Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton, as well as Alameda County," Compton said. "The infusion of these federal funds helps to ensure the continuation -- and potentially -- the expansion of the program. We are incredibly grateful to the Tri-Valley cities for their support, and now, also much gratitude to Congressman Swalwell for the federal funds that will be directed to the program."