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Candidates air their positions at Chamber of Commerce forum

Original post made on Sep 12, 2016

Candidates for Pleasanton’s mayor and City Council positions sparred Friday over several key election issues, with those already holding these offices vowing to continue the work they’re doing and the one challenger saying he can do better.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 12, 2016, 9:45 AM

Comments (12)

Posted by Pleasanton voter
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2016 at 11:26 am

As the November 8 municipal election approaches, everyone should keep in mind that none of our elected officials could stop the high-density housing being built now--a hot topic these days for many.

For all who've lived in Pleasanton for any length of time but aren't familiar with the history behind this, Pleasanton's housing 'cap', enacted in 1996 to prevent massive housing developments and 'fast-track' building/growth, was challenged in state court earlier this decade by Gov. Jerry Brown and a San Francisco-based housing coalition, Urban Habitat, as being illegal, as it prevented Pleasanton from meeting its state-mandated housing requirements (known as the Regional Housing Needs Allocation, or RHNA).

Learn more about RHNA here: Web Link

Gov. Brown (who was CA Attorney General at the time), and Urban Habitat successfully sued the City of Pleasanton, with a state judge throwing out/invalidating Pleasanton's voter-approved housing cap, and ordering Pleasanton's elected officials, including Councilmember Karla Brown, et al, to rezone large, vacant parcels throughout Pleasanton to accommodate the high-density housing you see being built throughout our city.

No elected Pleasanton representatives, nor Mayoral candidate Julie Testa, nor Councilmember Karla Brown, other Councilmembers, current Mayor Jerry Thorne, the City Manager, nor any other Pleasanton elected or appointed official can reject or ignore accomodating state RHNA housing requirements.

In that regard, it's interesting to note that Councilmember Brown, in recently announcing her re-election bid, "vows to stop ‘runaway growth, high density housing that the city is not required to build’".

That's a very convenient disclaimer, or 'out' at the end for her, as she very well knows all of the above is fact, and that she also voted FOR the re-zoning of ALL of the parcels designated for high-density housing, and subsequently FOR the building of ALL of the "runaway growth, high density housing" that is currently being built on those parcels, representing what the city is required to build right now to satisfy that court decision and meet current RHNA requirements for Pleasanton.

Julie Testa, if elected, will face the same reality the current Mayor and Council have been dealing with ever since Pleasanton lost that lawsuit.

If you want real change, get rid of the politicians at the state level who insist on forcing high-density housing upon cities across California whose local residents don't want it.

It's state control vs. local control, and the state is winning this battle.

The only victory came when Assembly Bill (AB) 2522, sponsored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D) of Santa Monica, and supported by Gov. Brown, got killed in committee in Sacramento last April (In fact, Bloom himself pulled it from further consideration), after vehement opposition by the League of California Cities, including Pleasanton (via our currently elected officials, including Mayor Thorne), among other elected officials.

That bill, if it had passed this summer, known as the 'by-right' housing proposal, would have seriously curtailed, if not entirely eliminated, local control regarding local city governments' ability/authority to approve or disapprove of and manage their own local housing as proposed by developers. If developers met certain housing requirements in their development proposals, the state would, 'by right,' have the authority to force local governments to accept the development, regardless of whether the local government and its citizens wanted the development or not. It would have also allowed the state to ignore California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements and the protections it provides, along with bypassing Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs), for that matter.

Gov. Brown and Assemblymember Bloom also had planned/tried to include it/attach it as part of the 2016-17 budget bill, an effort which also failed.
Assemblymember Bloom has stated he plans to reintroduce this bill in the next legislative session, btw, so it's not going away.

So, neither Julie Testa, nor Councilmember Brown, for that matter, have any kind of 'magic wand' to wave to stop any housing that Pleasanton "is required to build."

Thus, despite some of the rhetoric you may be hearing, which makes for great positioning statements by telling people what they want to hear, it's just that--rhetoric, not based on the practical reality of what's going on.

This is what I'd keep in mind when voting at the local level, and most especially at the state level, come November 8, and beyond.

I know I will be.

Posted by res1
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 12, 2016 at 11:41 am

res1 is a registered user.

The city does not need to rezone any more properties into residential at this point as we have met, AND EXCEEDED, the RHNA number. All rezoning at this point is because the elected officials want the additional housing, and want to get it done before the residents figure this out.

I do agree that we need to pay attention to who we elect at the state level as they are the ones forcing housing down our throat. They will continue to do this until the bay area looks like the Los Angeles area. However, at the local level, we still have control now that we have exceeded the RHNA housing allocation numbers.

Posted by kmary1
a resident of Country Fair
on Sep 13, 2016 at 10:37 am

kmary1 is a registered user.

The next RHNA cycle is 2022-2030. With the explosive growth in employment in the city over the past few years, it's expected that the RHNA requirement will be higher than for the 2014-2022 period. Rather than panic at the last moment, which the City did for the last cycle, I'd rather they get out ahead of the expected number. Remember also, by the City's rules, they cannot build more than an average of 235 homes per year. Both Karla and Julie know this. Their position is just pandering to the uneducated.

Posted by res1
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 13, 2016 at 2:07 pm

res1 is a registered user.

So your solution is to build, build, build...

The RHNA numbers do not force us to build a certain number of units. It just has us identify available land and not put unreasonable barriers in the way for them being build. There would be no reason to panic. There is also no reason to panic and build right now so we have the houses in 2030.

As for growth management, great idea but there are too many loopholes. The council, at any time, can make exemptions. They do this all the time as part of the conditions of approval to exclude the development from growth management. The growth management only works when we have a council that believes in it. Currently we have a council that is approving like crazy. I am sure there is no connection between this and the 'donations' they get from developers and chamber of commerce for their campaigns...

Posted by Lisa S.
a resident of Stoneridge
on Sep 13, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Lisa S. is a registered user.

@ res1

You nailed it!

Posted by Alexis B
a resident of Mission Park
on Sep 14, 2016 at 7:09 am

Alexis B is a registered user.


RHNA in fact DOES require us to build. And all available land in 2020 will be subject to complying with the new numbers, which are expected to be big. So would you rather sit around and keep the land free of single family homes NOW, or put high-rise high-density apartments there in 5 years?

By the way, I've looked at the election "donations" you speak of from developers - you can view the donation list on the city's website. It is true that those local business organizations have donated (much like a bunch of other local businesses have).. but like $50-150. Not exactly controversial or scandalous.

Posted by res1
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 14, 2016 at 9:31 am

res1 is a registered user.

Alexis B, [removed]

Per ABAG "Cities are responsible for planning for the allocated amounts through their housing elements. There is no penalty if construction does not occur."

For donations, go online and after a quick look you will see these donations to Thorne:
Frank Capilla - Owner, Can-am Plumbing, $1,000
Ponderosa Homes, $250
Rental Housing Owners Assoc of Southern Alameda County, $1,000
California Real Estate PAC, $1,000
Sherri Hodnefield, Hodnefield Properties, $1000
Ponderosa Homes, another $250
South Bay Development, $500

Posted by Lisa S.
a resident of Stoneridge
on Sep 14, 2016 at 10:47 am

Lisa S. is a registered user.

@ res1
Excellent investigation! Looks like lots of real estate developers contributed to Mayor Thorne. Very interesting!

Posted by Alexis B
a resident of Mission Park
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:21 pm

Alexis B is a registered user.

@res1 -

c'mon.. these so-called controversial donations are hardly that. You really think he made some sort of back room deal with a plumber? And then put it in a public document for us all to see? really?!

Posted by Lisa S.
a resident of Stoneridge
on Sep 15, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Lisa S. is a registered user.

Is the plumber on the Chamber of Commerce BACPAC Committee?

Posted by res1
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 15, 2016 at 3:14 pm

res1 is a registered user.

I was told he used to be on the BACPAC but not sure any more. The BACPAC secret society club membership is not made public.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown

on Sep 16, 2016 at 12:10 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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