My unvarnished views on critical local issues
Refer to the short videos or write-ups below:
Let's talk about Housing...
Pleasanton is at a critical juncture for housing. Not only do we have to focus on more affordable housing for first-time home buyers and our fixed-income residents, like veterans and seniors, but if we don't, California state policies, such as the upcoming Residential Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) along with our state legislator’s emphasis on increased housing production bills, would enable the state to take over and implement housing solutions we can't control at the local level.
The 'no growth' mantra is not realistic or even possible. It shows a lack of imagination and blatantly ignores the need for honest dialogue and smart decisions. Ones that we can make without ruining the charm of Pleasanton, over-burdening our infrastructure, and bringing on costly litigation.
I am not ‘pro-growth'. But I am ‘pro-planning’ and ‘pro-compliance’. As Mayor, I will vouch for the absolute best housing solutions for our teachers, nurses, public servants and the developmentally disabled. I will fight the state on putting in more housing than reasonable. And I will only support a plan with community benefit.
Frankly, I want to pave the way for my own daughter and her peers to become homeowners. Imagine a Pleasanton where we control modest and meaningful change, that helps younger people and our older residents live in a safe, desirable community.
Let’s talk about the Pleasanton Police Department...
The murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police was tragic and reprehensible. And our community responded with protests and demands for transparency into our policing policies, which I support. We have to be clear about our expectations; we will not accept police brutality and we will not stand for racial injustice.
Let’s start by looking at our own city’s policing record which is all public record. Our department has already been implementing best community policing and de-escalation practices for years. In 2019, they responded to over 65,565 calls to service and only 0.06% of these calls required use of force. Based on city surveys, the majority of our residents support our police department with high satisfaction ratings.
Do I think our police department is great?
Yes I do.
Do I think they can do better?
Yes I do.
Do THEY think they can do better?
Which is why I requested a community forum that took place on July 14 with the Pleasanton PD. I read this into the record during our last council meeting that, at a minimum, our Police Department should implement:
1. A national use-of-force standard that emphasizes as reverence for life, de-escalation, a duty to intercede, proportional responses to dangerous incidents, and strong accountability provisions.
2. A national database of former police officers fired for gross misconduct that prevents other agencies from hiring them.
3. An early warning system to identify officers that may need more training and mentoring.
4. Ongoing and frequent training of police officers to build and refresh their skills to improve police and community outcomes
As your Mayor, I pledge to continue with this essential conversation to ensure that every resident is protected and served – equally.
Let’s talk business and economic opportunity...
Have you ever gone on a road trip and landed in Small Town, USA? And then realized at one point that it was probably a booming center…but now it’s old, worn and lost its edge? The buildings are empty and neglected, and you realize, I don’t need to stay here any longer.
Any city that doesn’t constantly adapt and attract newcomers will eventually decay. Any city that can’t provide affordable workforce housing will be stretched to keep their doors open.
And now, our business community is facing unprecedented hurdles from both Covid and a recession. We need to retain our businesses since they contribute over 60% to our general fund. I also know that the heart and soul of our community is our downtown; without this, Pleasanton would not be the same.
I'm proud to have supported our city creating the Business Support Program, earmarking 3 million dollars for small businesses during this difficult time. And I vouch that as Mayor, Pleasanton will remain a business-rich and jobs-rich target, and vibrant center for our workers and residents alike.
Let’s talk about safe drinking water...
This is a tough topic that can take a PhD in Chemistry to understand. Take comfort in the fact that I have a lot of knowledge and experience with this highly critical resource. While I have been on City Council, we successfully launched and expanded the city’s recycled water program, otherwise known as ‘purple pipe,’ for irrigation. This has saved hundreds of millions of gallons a year in drinking water.
Our main challenge with our wells is the detection of unregulated emerging contaminants known as PFAS (Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl substances); these caused us to shut down one of our wells last year. And while we can find safe solutions, there are no cheap and fast solutions to fix it.
We could buy more drinking water from Zone 7 - expensive. We could blend water from the shuttered tank with the healthier tanks – if we are convinced that this is safe. There are other methods to explore as well, such as Ion Exchange or Activated Carbon Treatment.
One of my first priorities as Mayor would be to expand recycled water since we have a ton of opportunity here. This expansion would allow us to conserve how much drinking water we need to purchase from Zone 7. We can extend purple pipe to Bernal Community Park (Patelco Sports Park/Oak Woodlands), Marilyn Kane Trail and eventually out to Callippe Golf Course.
And when we expand our recycled water, we win twice – we gain hundreds of millions of gallons of drinking water each year AND lower water bills to save money for our residents overall.
Let’s talk about our schools.
Pleasanton Unified School District is ranked #11 in the state. Our schools are one of the top reasons why families choose Pleasanton as their home.
As Mayor, I look forward to partnering with PUSD in a few areas; we already provide excellent kindergarten prep with our Gingerbread pre-school. The city also offers support with traffic mitigation, making it easier and safer for kids to get to school. I’ve assisted with proposing and hope to push through a Green Bike or 'Safe Routes to School Program' lane solution as part of the master plan.
Sadly, budget cuts are coming that could affect STEM and Career Tech Ed programs in the district. It’s my commitment to collaborate with PUSD on how the city can potentially keep these programs or come up with other ways to navigate through this difficult fiscal situation.
Let’s talk about one of the busiest municipal buildings in Pleasanton – our library.
There are over 43,000 active library card holders. In 2018, the library and civic arts programs hosted over 242,000 participants with an 89% satisfaction rate. That’s astounding! But… our library is at capacity since it is also doubling as the main community center in town.
We need to modernize our most valuable free resource that serves thousands of young families, students, and seniors each day. After participating on the Civic Center/Library Task Force, I no longer advocate for the proposed Bernal Civic Center plan, as the cost is beyond our reach. But it’s my belief that we can focus on solutions for a new Library and Community Center as well as retrofit the current City Library for future city uses such as a City Hall.
Let's talk about the Firehouse Arts Center.
The historic fire station in downtown Pleasanton was built in 1929 with bricks from a local brick foundry. The renovation had to follow guidelines set by the National Park Service for all adaptive reuses of historical buildings.
I was on the Firehouse Task Force from the beginning in 2006 to when it opened in September 2010. I was also a member of the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council, and later, its Foundation, that helped raise over a million dollars towards helping the completion of the facility. For opening night, I was proud to produce a video showing the transformation of the Firehouse Arts Center that played to all attendees (shameless plug; you can watch at votepentin.com/historical-videos)
I advocated that the new design go beyond brick and mortar; I proposed that the multi-purpose classrooms include wifi and networking, for art classes or community meetings. And to accommodate artists living in the digital world, I fought for an HD projector in the theatre, which was very expensive at the time. But I was extremely vocal for these digital enhancements since I understood the importance of having an arts center that could support talent who embraced technology and the digital age.
Personally, the Firehouse is the best metaphor for how I plan to lead Pleasanton into 2021 and beyond. Take a piece of our history, realize its worth, and modernize it to its best potential for the community to enjoy.
I can do this all day as Mayor.
Let's talk about Costco.
Am I for it?
Always have been, always will be.