Goodbye to 2012 | December 28, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Cover Story - December 28, 2012

Goodbye to 2012

What a year it was in Pleasanton

Another year, another 52 Pleasanton Weeklies. Looking back over the past year's issues we see how much has happened in our city during 2012.

Many projects began this year that will be completed in 2013. The Stoneridge Creek retirement community, which broke ground in April, is scheduled to see its first residents moving in next August. The nearby bridge that will extend Stoneridge Drive to Jack London Boulevard in Livermore will be completed in the late summer; so far one lane is finished.

Enjoy this review of 2012 and keep reading throughout 2013 to keep abreast of everything that is happening in Pleasanton.


* The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) sponsor a regional planning meeting in Dublin, seeking comments on a blueprint-in-the-making for expanding transportation and housing throughout the nine counties in the Bay Area in a sustainable way over the next 25 years.

* Pleasanton City Council votes 4-0 to rezone 73 acres in various parts of the city to accommodate high-density housing that will be more affordable for those in the city's workforce and others who want to live here. This culminated one-and-a-half years of public discussion on how much land should be rezoned to meet orders by the Alameda County Superior Court and the state's Attorney General's Office to provide more housing.

* State Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (D-18th), who represents much of Pleasanton, pleads no contest Jan. 6 to a misdemeanor charge of shoplifting at a Neiman Marcus store in San Francisco's Union Square and was sentenced to three years probation. She issued an apology, saying she had intended to pay for the items.

* The courts decides that Steven Carlson, 44, the man charged in the 1984 killing of Tina Faelz, would be tried as an adult although he was 16 at the time of her murder when she was a 14-year-old Foothill High freshman.

* A record high of $150,000 was made in donations by readers to Weekly's Holiday Fund, which benefited local nonprofits, including Axis Community Health, Hope Hospice, Open Heart Kitchen, Valley Humane Society, ValleyCare Health System Foundation, REACH, Sandra J Wing Therapies and Senior Support Services of the Tri-Valley.

* City installs electric charging stations at the Civic Center with free charges to vehicles through April.

* School board OKs drug-sniffing dogs at high schools.


* The plight of Amador Valley grad Janet Liang launches drives for bone marrow match in her fight against leukemia.

* Pleasanton City Council discusses Walmart Neighborhood Market planned on at the site of the long-vacant Nob Hill supermarket on Santa Rita Road; residents show up to oppose it.

* East Bay Regional Park District announces that waterslides at Shadow Cliffs Recreation Area will not be open this summer due to need for extensive repairs.

* Dozens of parents attend school board meeting to urge board members not to cut the Barton Reading Program as they make necessary adjustments to the budget.

* Pleasanton City Council votes 5-0 to ban free plastic or paper bags at checkout counters starting Jan. 1, 2013. Stores can provide bags if they charge 10 cents per bag, a fee that will rise to 25 cents on Jan. 1, 2015.

* Workers locked out of Castlewood Country Club "occupy" Pleasanton, beginning downtown and marching to the club on Castlewood Drive, to mark the two-year anniversary since they have worked for the club after a dispute over health care costs.


* A week after the Pleasanton school board voted to slash more than $5.3 million in spending in anticipation of state cuts, the board made it real by eliminating 70 jobs.

* Steve Carlson, accused of murdering 14-year-old Tina Faelz in Pleasanton in 1984, pleads not guilty.

* Pleasanton Planning Commission votes 5-0 to allow a Walmart Neighborhood Market in the vacant former Nob Hill supermarket on Santa Rita Road. The decision was actually to deny an appeal by two residents who were contesting a decision that current zoning allows the store.

* Members of the Pleasanton Police Officers' Association begin contributing toward their pensions, due to a new contract between it and the city.

* Unions urge members and others at a Democratic Party rally to protest throughout the East Bay where operating permits for Walmart grocery stores are being considered.

* ValleyCare Health System opens new Urgent Care Center in Dublin's Gateway Medical Center, adding to that city's expanding health care focus along Dublin Boulevard and Tassajara Road.

* Pleasanton Downtown Association wants city to restrict the number of downtown banks so that more retailers can take the space, including seven corner locations that now have banks.

* East Bay Regional Park District decides to further study issue of waterslides at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area.


* Construction begins on Stoneridge Creek, a retirement community at Staples Ranch in northeast Pleasanton. It will include 635 independent living residences, 68 assisted living apartments with dedicated memory support areas and 73 skilled nursing beds.

* Tim Koopmann, a rancher in Sunol on the Pleasanton border, wins 2011 California Leopold Conservation Award for his effective land management practices.

* Ragin' Cajun annual fundraising event to benefit Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation raises $105,000, enough to provide 1,500 treatments to cancer sufferers.

* Grace Eunhea Kim, a 2007 graduate of Foothill High School, is among victims of mass shooting at Oikos University in Oakland.

* City Council puts Club NEO on probation and cuts the number of patrons allowed, after a shooting at the nightclub in January and earlier parking lot fights.

* City Council votes 5-0 to approve a multi-million-dollar housing project in Hacienda Business Park to be built by BRE, a national affordable housing developer.

* Two teens are arrested in 31 tire slashings in the Sutter Gate and Birdland neighborhoods. These vandals were apparently unconnected to the slashed tires on 28 cars in March in the Valley Trails neighborhood.


* Mother and daughter, Amy Burton-Freeman, 36, and Ainsley Freeman, 13, are found shot in their Stacey Court home; it was later ruled a murder-suicide.

* City Council votes 5-0 to place restrictions on banks, savings and loan associations and other financial institutions that want to open new facilities of Main Street.

* Pleasanton Unified School District names Amador Valley High School band director Jonathan Grantham as its teacher of the year.

* David Rice, the longtime president and director of the multimillion-dollar-funded Tri-Valley Community Foundation, is fired after an independent audit finds discrepancies in the organization's finances and reserves.

* After a three-hour meeting held May 7 at the Firehouse Arts Center to receive public feedback on Walmart opening Neighborhood Market on Santa Rita Road, Councilman Matt Sullivan blocks a final vote on a measure that would allow it.

* City Council gives final OK May 15 for Walmart Neighborhood Market, 4-1, after a half year of often rancorous discussions, because the new store fits the zoning code on the site.

* Deonna Zuffa, 43, is sentenced to one year in Santa Rita Jail for setting her home on fire in December 2008. She was also badly burned in the fire.

* City establishes East Pleasanton Specific Plan Task Force to guide elected officials and city staff in the development of a 1,000-acre area extending out from the intersection of Valley Avenue at Busch Road.

* Woman's body is found inside a 45-gallon trash can that was left on the side of a road in northwest Pleasanton.

* Grassfire in the hills above Amanda Place across Bernal from St. Augustine Catholic Church is quickly extinguished but not before causing major concerns for nearby residents.

* Amador Valley High girls softball team tops the East Bay Athletic League with an undefeated season and goes on to vie for the North Coast Section championship, where it reaches the finals.


* Tri-Valley Community Foundation looks at bankruptcy after investigations show it may be $3 million in debt.

* Pleasanton residents and officials pushed for the reopening of the waterslides at Shadow Cliffs in a joint meeting held midday Monday with city and East Bay Regional Park District representatives at the Vets Hall.

* Pleasanton ends fiscal year in strong financial shape; in a report to the City Council, Finance Director Emily Wagner says the city's revenues for FY 2011/12 should total $89,693,904, slightly more than $40,000 better than her projections showed.

* The Alameda County Fair opens June 20 with a new White Water ride that proves popular at opening day has record high temperatures.


* Independence Day fireworks return to Livermore, taking place at Las Positas College.

* Pig assault in the livestock barn at the Alameda County Fair lands 22-year-old man in jail, charged with public drunkenness.

* Public meetings held to discuss traffic concerns near Vintage Hills Elementary; weekday traffic on Palomino, Touriga drives tops 2,000 vehicles per day.

* Pleasanton developer and wife, Peter and Mona Branagh, killed in single engine plan crash in southern Utah.

* Pleasanton makes the national news when comedian Eddie Griffin and an audience member at Tommy T's Comedy Club toss drinks at each other, beginning when a joke about homosexuals offended a woman, per TMZ; no arrests were made.

* Amador Valley High Marching Band is chosen to appear in the Fiesta Bowl at the University Of Phoenix Stadium from Dec. 26-Jan. 1. Fundraising efforts begin immediately.

* Pleasanton resident Sarah Williams, 19, carries an Olympic Torch through the United Kingdom in advance of the Summer Games, an honor for her efforts to provide blankets for 15,000 foster children.


* City's new East Pleasanton Specific Plan Task Force holds its first meeting to begin process of determining how best to develop a 1,000-acre tract of land east of Valley Avenue along Stanley Boulevard.

* Pleasanton Downtown Association begins Cash Mobs downtown, gatherings of folks pledging to invade a local business and spend $20.

* Election filing period ends, with Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Jerry Thorne running for mayor; Karla Brown, Erlene DeMarcus and Jerry Pentin running for City Council; and three incumbent school board members unopposed. A fourth council candidate, Michael Harris, files but drops his bid before the election.

* Pleasanton ratifies new contract with firefighters in the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department that calls for them to begin paying 9% of their benefit costs starting July 2013.

* Labor judge rules in favor of locked-out Castlewood workers although country club can appeal decision.

* Museum on Main highlights struggles in California for equal rights, from the 19th century to now.

* A federal project is completed to restore Pleasanton's Arroyo de la Laguna after its lower five miles were affected by rapid development upstream.


* Pleasanton gives OK to start construction on a self-serve gas station and a new Starbucks with drive-through service next to the Safeway supermarket at Valley and Bernal next I-680.

* Concerned residents of Black Avenue pack City Council chamber for a meeting held by Pleasanton to address their traffic problems.

* The Bookstore closes its doors on Hopyard Road at Valley after 26 years of selling used books.

* School district board backs two competing education funding bills, Proposition 30, backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, and Prop 38, proposed by Molly Munger.

* City Council OKs a $15 million Bernal Community Park project to add more sports fields and created a wooded area to be called Oak Woodland on the 318-acre parcel near the lighted baseball field built two years ago.

* Amador Valley High's Matt Sweeney celebrates 25 years as head football coach.

* Tri-Valley Community Foundation files for Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy with more than $153,000 in debts, leaving some charities without funds owed them.


* Castlewood workers return to their jobs at the country club under the terms of their old contract.

* Pleasanton City Council votes 4-1 to add a new Housing Element commitment to the city's General Plan, a move that ended seven years of debate, lawsuits and confrontation with state authorities and an affordable housing coalition.

* City decides to raze two aging, subsidized senior housing complexes -- Pleasanton Gardens and Kottinger Place -- to be replaced with larger, upgraded apartment buildings that will accommodate nearly twice as many.

* East Bay Regional Park District begins to accept bids for a company to renovate and then run the waterslides at Shadow Cliffs; bids are due Dec. 20.

* New Leaf Community Markets, an independently owned grocer known for carrying locally grown, organic foods, plans to open a store at the Vintage Hills Shopping Center in mid-2013.

* School district's email system crashes, resulting in use of personal emails for a week and then new gmail accounts for all.

* East Bay Regional Park District opens bidding process for someone to save the waterslides, an effort supported by Pleasanton residents who have appeared at public meetings for the last year and a half to urge officials to keep the facility open and include it in long-range plans.


* November vote results in the election of Mayor Jerry Thorne, Councilwoman Karla Brown and Councilman Jerry Pentin.

* California passes Proposition 30, one of two dueling initiatives to benefit the schools, which will temporarily increase sales tax by one-fourth of a cent per dollar and raise income taxes for people who earn more than $250,000 per year.

* Kevin Walthers, president of Las Positas College, gives notice just 16 months after Chabot-Las Positas College Board of Trustees hired him in the second of two cross-country searches.

* Alamo Canal Trail link under Interstate-580 opens for non-motorized traffic, to connect the Centennial Trail in Pleasanton with Dublin.

* The Pleasanton Weekly and its sister online publications -- Dublin Tri-Valley Views, San Ramon Express and Danville Express -- presents the first Heroes of the Tri-Valley awards to eight people and groups in various categories.

* Police identify body found in trash can in Pleasanton in May as a 25-year-old Stockton woman and arrest a 30-year-old Stockton man.

* Council OKs splitting downtown into two districts to promote more late-night entertainment in the Main Street area but curb noise and operating hours for businesses closer to downtown homes and apartments.

* City has firm, Network Ltd., conduct phone survey of residents to get input for the new comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

* Paragon Outlets open in Livermore, near the Pleasanton border, causing huge traffic jams on Interstate 580.


* The torrential storm that kicks off December pauses for a few hours for Pleasanton to hold its annual Hometown Holidays Celebration -- a parade and tree-lighting.

* Garbage rates are increased by 5% to go into effect Jan. 1 to cover higher costs facing the Pleasanton Garbage Service company in handling commercial and residential refuses.


--Pleasanton Weekly staff


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