Pleasanton Weekly

News - March 25, 2011

Bob Cordtz, the 'Matt Drudge of Pleasanton,' dies at age 85 producer, he ran for mayor in 2000

by Jeb Bing

Bob Cordtz, a longtime businessman and City Council watcher who was once called "the Matt Drudge of Pleasanton" for his lively, informative, online newsletter, died Sunday after a long illness. He was 85.

With his wife Joan, he owned two Victorian homes on West Angela Street, living in one and converting the other into a popular bed and breakfast. They served hundreds of visitors to Pleasanton over the 13 years they operated the business, selling that Victorian several years ago but continuing to live in the other.

Cordtz first got involved in Pleasanton political affairs in the late 1980s when some in city government wanted to redevelop part of downtown. That redevelopment would have included his two Victorian houses, an effort he fought successfully. For years after that, he was a regular commentator and observer at meetings of the City Council and commissions, and twice ran for the Zone 7 water board, losing each time. Disturbed that incumbent Mayor Tom Pico was running unopposed for reelection in 2000, Mr. Cordtz decided to run against him, losing that contest, too.

Called the master of "In your Face" journalism, Cordtz produced his online "newspaper" on a quarterly basis with the help of Jim Jordan, a marketing executive and former Sunset Magazine writer who turned it all into well-written text. At one time, their goal was to publish an issue after every council meeting. That's something Internet pundits would no doubt have enjoyed much more than the politicians.

Billed as "What else you need to know," the online publication included editorials, issue-oriented articles and even guest writers. It could also be quite irreverent, with headlines such as "Politically, Mayor Tom Pico fumbles the ball - big time," "Hosterman is scolded and she likes it," and "Haggerty fakes right, goes left."

He was just as hard on the City Council, giving it "F" scores on Bernal, the Callippe Preserve golf course, Staples Ranch, flood control, traffic and the West Las Positas interchange. When it came to subsidized housing, his publication called the council "elitist, unwilling to clutter the landscape with houses selling for less than $1 million."

With Mr. Cordtz's health declining from the effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, was produced less frequently. Its most recent issue, still online, comments on Councilman Jerry Thorne's re-election bid last year. Jordan said it's unlikely the online publication will continue.

Mr. Cordtz served in the Marines in World War II and after the war in repatriating efforts in China.

Besides his wife Joan, he is survived by their four children: Greg, Jeff and Lisa Cordtz and Cathy Waite, and six grandchildren. No services are planned although a special Mass will be celebrated later at St. Augustine Catholic Church.


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