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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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Downtown referendum appears headed to the ballot

Uploaded: Oct 25, 2018
It’s likely that Livermore residents will have another election next year after backers of the referendum challenging the downtown plan submitted 8,888 signatures.
The Friends of Livermore 2018 needed 5,079 valid signatures to bring the matter back to the City Council for adoption or to put it to a vote.
Backers claim the City Council ignored public input when it approved a plan for the former Lucky’s market site and thus cranked up the referendum campaign. What’s ironic is all five members of the City Council were elected with substantial financial and other backing from the Friends of Livermore and the weekly newspaper, The Independent.
Joan Seppala, owner and publisher of the Independent, and other leaders of the group were unable to convince the council to back their version of the plan. They cranked up the referendum drive and have apparently been successful with the signatures with the help of paid solicitors.
If you think you’ve seen and heard this before—you’re right. Joan readily turns her back and cuts off the finances if council members she backs do not follow her bidding. Exercise independent judgement and there goes Joan’s backing.
Friends of Livermore has operated as political action group and there’s no limit on contributions. The Seppala family and Jean King have poured tens of thousands of dollars into the committee in the last number of years. Contributions from individuals to candidate’s campaign are limited to $250.
Unlike the last several elections, the Friends of Livermore does not have a slate of candidates—in fact it started with none. Presumably because of his willingness to take another look at the downtown plan, council candidate Alan Brent Siler has been endorsed by the Independent—he’s the only candidate the paper is backing. Friends also have cranked up a paid call center to support his campaign.
That lasted until this week's edition when the paper rescinded its endorsement based upon comments he had made online (see below).
Instead, they have reached out to Rosemary Bartch who has not been running an active campaign. She did not participate in the Pleasanton Weekly's forum and said at the time she had withdrawn.
This week's Independent contained an interview (she wasn't included in earlier coverage because of her inactive campaign) plus an editorial recommending her.
Councilman Bob Woerner, who was backed by the friends last time, is on the outs and the paper decided not to recommend either Patricia Munro or Neal Pann.
For his part, Siler wanted none of the friends’ help and has a big disclaimer on his website pointing out that he did not ask for their help. He did seek and receive an endorsement from the Sierra Club. What’s unusual is that Siler is funding his own campaign and has chosen not to try and organize a support committee. He’s distributing his own signs he wrote in an email. He wrote he did accept an invitation from a couple of people for a meet-and-greet.
Siler’s candidacy came in for some criticism recently when council candidate Munro released a NextDoor web post exchange she had with him in February. She, with two colleagues, had organized a series of conversations to help people with different viewpoints sit down and discuss them. It was sponsored by Organizing for America—East Bay, the non-profit that was established in 2013 after Obama for America helped President Obama win re-election. It’s led by his former campaign manager.
Given that sponsorship, Siler declined to participate and then wrote, “I spent 10 years as a Marine in many different countries, some to protect people from getting slaughtered by people who share your ideology. I saw first had how someone who belonged to a different tribe were tortured and killed. Zionism constitutes a danger, both spiritual and physical, to the existence of people.”
Munro then asked him to explain his comment and Siler wrote, “Pat, I speak of my time in Africa, There, Africa, Zionism is replete with manifestations of deep hostility and contempt toward certain indigenous population, together with other practices form a society of discrimination, hate and genocide. This breaks the will of the affected population forcing them to flee their homeland.”
Munro wrote back, “This is very puzzling to me. Zionism has nothing to do with Africa—it simply refers to believing that Jews, as a people, have the same right to a state as does any other ethnicity. So I’m still not sure what you mean. But perhaps that is a discussion better taken off-line.”
When I asked why she raised the issue, Munro said, “The information was an example of bigoted speech against one particular group. There are other vulnerable groups in Livermore (Hispanic, LBGT, other races) that are at-risk for various types of discrimination. That’s where bigoted speech of any kind leads.”
When I emailed Siler to ask about his comments, he sent me back a detailed response. He wrote, “As written by many respondents from our community, it was uncovered that these meetings were being directly supported the Organizing for Action (OFA), and it was not to unite or listen to different ideas, it was to promote OFA's Identity Politics platform. This she would never admit too. Two of the 6 meetings took place and ended. Identity Politics ideology is meant to divide people not unite them, it is meant to pit nationalities, races, genders, and more against each other, and to fit people into categories and labels that overlook our shared humanity.
“My statements, and not as adequately written as it should have been for social media, was to reflect an experience when I was in the Marines and we were deployed to Africa to help protect and buffer fleeing ethnic groups from genocide, some who were of the Jewish, Catholics, Muslim and Christian faiths, some was because of the tribe they belonged too. My attempt was to draw the distinction between what took place there, people of different beliefs and customs, and how because of the "Identity Politics" they were singled out for persecution because they dare differ, similar as to how OFA operates and was the agenda behind the meetings. I could have deleted the post but then it would have been used against me in a different way.”
…” So as I reflect upon what was written, in haste and without clarity, I am not anti-Zionist, never have been and never will be. I have fought most of my adult life to protect those who are different in beliefs, customs or religion. I have long supported Israel independence and the right to protect their rights and way of life, much like I did as a Marine in 1990 at Be'er Sheva and later in Haifa. I did submit an apology to be published the community for my poorly crafted statement which has or did offended them. It was not my intent in any shape or form to discredit anyone of Jewish faith or beliefs. I have learned an important lesson to never to write in haste a response that is not clear in its intent.”
…” It is not until now, that we are both running for City Council, she begins to leak information which those who know me, shared with me her comments and do not believe what she has stated, for the hopes to call into question my core values by asking unsuspecting people to do her political dirty work. My Core values go well beyond her comprehension and are more deeply rooted in helping other and putting others before myself.”
Draw your own conclusions as the Independent makes a 180-degree pivot.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Cathy Gabor, a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on Oct 27, 2018 at 2:38 pm

Cathy Gabor is a registered user.

Honestly, I am disappointed with Tim Hunt's lack of fact-checking in this article. I was one of the co-organizers of “Looking for Our America: A Conversation," and I'd like to correct several facts.

First, there were four sessions planned and four sessions took place (the article falsely reports that six sessions were planned but that the event was abandoned after two sessions). I wish Tim Hunt had done a small amount of fact-checking instead of relying on (mis)information from someone (Siler) who neither planned nor attended the events.

As to the claim that this event was “meant to pit nationalities, races, genders and more against each other," nothing could be further from the truth. While the event did include participants of various races, ethnicities, ages (15 year olds to 80 year olds, in fact), we gathered to listen to one another's stories. One of the “rules" of these sessions was that participants had to repeat what others said (to gain clarity) before adding their own viewpoint. We often asked attendees to share a group member's story in order to foster better understanding across age, gender, ethnicity, etc. �" in other words, we practiced “walking in someone else's shoes."

Lastly, I want to address the fact that Tim Hunt did not gather any information about the sessions themselves and simply let Siler characterize them as a platform for left-wing “identity politics." The least Mr. Hunt could have done would be to list the names of the sessions and let readers decide for themselves if they were radically partisan or simply an effort to bring together Tri-Valley residents to listen instead of talking (or yelling) past one another. The sessions were titled:

“How do you define an American?"
“What American traditions and values make you most proud?"
“What should our government do for us and what should we do for America?" and
“What can we do to make a difference in our community."

I am a yearly subscriber to The Pleasanton Weekly, and frankly, I expect better from its journalists.

Posted by Jason Firth, a resident of another community,
on Oct 31, 2018 at 12:35 pm

To rebut Cathy's pathetic excuses, the talks organized by the leftwing radical progressive organization OFA, of which Patricia Munro was a "Fellow", (convenient she omits that detail, isn't it??), were really nothing but a thinly-veiled propaganda opportunity for an assault on the American ideal.

See, the OFA crew believes that being an American is nothing more than citizenship. A piece of paper...and really they don't even believe that.

These people are shills for mass immigration into the US...and they have absolutely no regard at all for the destructive forces unleashed by this process....and no concern for the American citizens who are harmed by it.

They believe that anyone can just run in here, sneak in here, and be American. Well...that's insane.

Only a true nutter believes that.

In reality, Americans do share a language, a culture, and a historical background, with each other.

OFA and other Marxists like them, for whatever reason...appear to hate the entire idea of Western Culture, and the European people who created this great civilization, and who created nations like the US.

They think that the US is NOT the home of the American people - that its for everyone in the world who wants to, to just flood in here to live with us. Well that is a FALSE claim, that is not why the nation was founded, its not the charter of the nation to allow that, and its not what the CITIZENS of this nation want.

Do not be fooled by kumbaya titles like "Looking for our America" (what the hell - who has to look, its right here! ), or "who is an American" (again, what the hell - a citizen is an American, not some invader that just managed to sneak in here and evade capture and defy the laws of the land).

I am SICK and DISGUSTED by these unAmerican subversives like Patricia Munro, Cathy Gabor, and all of their fellow America-haters. Their beliefs are aggressive and their methods are vile. I find them and their Marxist politics OFFENSIVE beyond description.

Posted by Sebastian Max, a resident of another community,
on Oct 31, 2018 at 12:57 pm

Thank you to Jason for sending me the link to this article.

Because he is aware that I have been tracking this leftwing group over the years. As a result, I have become well-acquainted with their operational methods and objectives. OFA is not just a "non-profit group". That would be like describing The Black Panthers as a "men's group".

Also, to expand on the OFA connections, not only was Patricia Munro a Fellow, but so was Cathy Gabor. And Evan Branning, who is another one of these agitators and who is now part of the group pretending to represent all of Livermore (Unify Livermore).

Anyone starting to see the connections yet?

They also were behind these "Families Belong Together" rallies held in the Tri-valley (them and other "OFA of the East Bay" members) - those are the events/protests organized by the "let them all in" crowd - as mentioned above as Jason put it - "shills for mass immigration"...and the ridiculous suggestion that criminals ought to be excused from the consequences of their crimes just because they have kids. Please...nobody buys this stupid ignorant argument - if you don't want to be separated from your family, OBEY THE LAW.

It is that simple. Stop apologizing for criminals!

I'll be back with more information later on how none of these people have ever had what I, and most working Americans, would call a "real job" in their lives, (which explains how they have so much free time for stirring up trouble!).

Posted by komal , a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Nov 15, 2018 at 11:35 pm

like for each of you to explain by return email in as much detail as possible, why you are considering another bond, and with continued detail explain what that bond will do for Pleasanton schools that previous bonds have not done for Pleasanton schools.
Thank you very Much,

Posted by unblocked games com, a resident of Charlotte Wood Middle School,
on Jan 19, 2019 at 4:37 pm

I think the voters should decide. Any time we can get the consensus of the voters on something like this �" something that affects so many people �" I'm all for it.

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