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Editorial: The time for the first community debate on policing in Pleasanton is now

Original post made on Jun 25, 2020

This precursor meeting some time in July, where the council will apparently try to limit public comment to only the draft action plan, seems unnecessary in concept and untenable in practice. Just start the full conversation now.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 25, 2020, 3:11 PM

Comments (30)

Posted by Zoë Fowler-Kimsey
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 25, 2020 at 8:18 pm

Thank you Pleasanton Weekly! Voices need to be heard, now rather than later. Change is necessary in policing nationwide, and we need to hear the community speak in a semi-formal setting to understand the scope of the concerns and ensure that the coming changes actually serve the people of Pleasanton and our neighbors. A listening session is a good start. Bravo.

Posted by PPDLUV
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2020 at 8:42 pm

We love our Pleasanton Police and are VERY grateful for all the years they have kept this whole community safe and functioning allowing our businesses and downtown to operate and keep patrons safe! Keep up the great work PPD!

Posted by Go
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2020 at 8:54 pm

Instigators and agitators can take their complaints about police elsewhere..go to Seattle....or Berkeley, on the way make sure to step over the poop on the street and urine in the gutter, and avoid the mental health challenged homeless laying on sidewalks with typhoid, they may get upset if you wake them. The Peace Officers in P town are awesome and keep us safe. There are WAY bigger problems in this town right now to focus the fact our kids may not be able to go to school! That’s why most people moved here...for the schools and safe environment to raise our kids!

Posted by Jessica Li
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 25, 2020 at 10:37 pm

Thank you Pleasanton Weekly for writing your best editorial ever. Thank you Councilmember Testa for bringing up this important issue, and stating you wanted a public discussion. I know the council has received hundreds of emails, maybe the city manager doesn’t read them or refuses to listen. You were elected to hear us, please do the right thing, Schedule a meeting and listen to us now! I was with thousands of Pleasanton residence at the peaceful protest. We will not be silenced.

Posted by Pierre Bierre
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 26, 2020 at 5:40 am

There is wisdom in the old adage "In the wake of a death or other major setback, refrain from making big decisions". My sense is that the pandemic and stay-at-home has had a dramatic effect on our perception of reality. Pre-Covid, we could count on our daily personal interactions outside the home to give grounding to reality -- a necessary counterpoint to the sensationalized media bombarding our senses. Three months of social isolation have undone that balance.

Which is the more accurate reality?....that which gets media coverage, or everything going on "out there" that doesn't?

The same ontological question needs to be asked about policing and race-relations in America. Do you trust the good/bad balance of information you're getting while hunkered down at home?

Should we attempt to redesign local policing this summer? I think not. We should put off the topic until post-Covid, when our perceptions will be less swayed by negative news bias.

Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 26, 2020 at 6:56 am

@ Pierre Bierre

Excellent perception and a point that needs special consideration. From everything we have witnessed and heard, you underscore the the need for reason with your comment.

‘Defunding’ or ‘reimagining’ law enforcement (the new talking point of liberals) requires pause, and a deep breath. People need to understand ‘what’ and ‘why’ this is happening. Exciting one’s emotions through manipulation appear to be at play. Do any of you understand the background and manifesto of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ organization? Here is some information: Web Link

If we are going to have a ‘conversation,’ we should avail ourselves to the data that supports the perceived problem, and that is what most people neglect to do. Politicians, locally and nationally, will not seek nor ask those questions, because they fear reprisals and losing power. They will appease or sidestep the depth of the conversation to avoid offending one group or another. Citizens should ask themselves if, in fact, the rhetoric is accurate, instead of emotionally falling in line with the groupthink.

The data doesn’t support the outrage we are experiencing today. This moment in time just didn’t ooze up from the pavement, it took decades in the making, with many moving parts to bring it to fruition. The conversation is a long one, but it will never occur if reason and understanding are shouted down.

Don’t be lectured as to what the problem is, or who is to be blamed. Ask specific questions from what you are being told, and find the data that does or doesn’t support the conclusion. I or anyone else can give you chapter and verse on this topic, but unless you do it for yourself you honestly won’t know.

Start questioning the rhetoric.

Posted by Libby Galt
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jun 26, 2020 at 6:59 am

Thank you for this powerful message that demands the voices of residents be heard. At this time, when many have been stripped of autonomy over almost every aspect of life, the need for involvement in local government is even more vital. I'm adding my voice as strongly asking for the opportunity to be heard.

Posted by Urmomz
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2020 at 8:17 am

Julie Testa needs to go. Her personal biases, her toxicity, and her irrationality are tearing the community apart.

Posted by Vincent Borgese
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 26, 2020 at 8:25 am

I have two words for the Pleasanton Police Department: THANK YOU!

Posted by Ray
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 26, 2020 at 9:27 am

Thanks Pleasanton Weekly for helping to shed light on the process to bring up conversations about various policing methods used in Pleasanton and elsewhere. Council Members Julie Testa and Karla Brown brought forward a motion to look at certain police policies at the May 19th City Council meeting and got a “No!” from Jerry Pentin and “ Let’s wait“ from Kathy Narum. My vote for a future mayor of Pleasanton who isn’t afraid to tackle critical and challenging issues goes to Karla Brown!

Posted by ridgerunner
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 26, 2020 at 9:32 am

GIve me a break. Pleasanton shouldn't fall into the left wing entitlement communist agenda of destroying the country. Pleasanton police do a fine job and aren't a problem. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Nation wide the police aren't a problem. The problem is people who opt to be criminals rather than contribute to society. Part of the occupational hazard of crime is that you might get caught, and you might get hurt, and you might die; that is a good deterrent. Of course cops should work by the rules within their guidelines, and 99.999+% of them do. It's a tough job and as in any collection of humans, there are some bad apples, but they are few.

The the Pleasanton police, and all law enforcement: Thank you. Thanks for the work you do. Stay safe.

Posted by Judith Seid
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 26, 2020 at 9:53 am

Thank you for this editorial. There is no sense in creating a plan before hearing from the residents of Pleasanton about what we want to see and why. We need to tell the City Council to let us have our say.

Posted by Lou Astbury
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jun 26, 2020 at 10:20 am

Great editorial. Let the people speak their minds. Certainly there will be points of view from all sides of the issue, but they should all be heard. I think constraining the initial discussion would not come off well and would result in a lot of comment censorship by the Mayor. Not a good look for Pleasanton.
"Defunding" is a very divisive slogan. I appreciate our men in blue, but it does not hurt to stop and re imagine how the police can protect us and themselves, but avoid excessive uses of force where we all lose.

Posted by MichaelB
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 26, 2020 at 10:42 am

""Defunding" is a very divisive slogan. I appreciate our men in blue, but it does not hurt to stop and re imagine how the police can protect us and themselves, but avoid excessive uses of force where we all lose."

Not a "slogan". It's reality from so called "progressive" cities and politicians.

Web Link

And it IS going to hurt if fewer resources are available to protect citizens/calls are not responded to because of the unproven claims of police departments/officers of being "systemically racist". Ever hear of the "Ferguson effect"?

Posted by Gale Naylor
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 26, 2020 at 10:59 am

Wow, Pleasanton Weekly! Thank you for such a thorough and courageous editorial. You are spot on in your comments and I applaud you for the depth and detail of this editorial. It exactly expresses my feelings. Bravo!

Posted by Mflana
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:04 am


I think that the Police Department - who train constantly - should come up with a draft. Everyone can read it who is interested. Then they can do a town meeting to discuss what is in the document and any concerns and questions. Believe it or not, they are more in tune with what police do on a daily basis. You may be asking questions and giving advice on things they already do and may even do better than what is requested by the public. Let's give some grace and some confidence to the police department to come up with information first. We as citizens of Pleasanton just need to take the time to read. Then we can ask questions or praise on what they are doing. Sounds reasonable?

Posted by Wendy Kimsey
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:45 am

Thank you Pleasanton Weekly! This is exactly what we need. I agree that it is an uncomfortable conversation for many, but is so necessary. Waiting (and stalling which it appears some of the City leadership is trying to do) will not help anyone. And thank you to Julie Testa, Karla Brown, and Mayor Jerry Thorne for wanting to give citizens voices and concerns an open forum. This is what democracy is all about!

Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:58 am

Bravo, Pleasanton Weekly Editor and Publisher! I have been critical of the PW editorial policy in the past, but this generation has brought new energy and insight to what journalism should be. The fact that the Weekly published an article on the death of Jacob Bauer and pursued a FOIA request to obtain the police body-cam videos of the incident (which the city wouldn’t provide) and published links for the public to see for themselves was (as someone else said) courageous. This editorial breaks all past practice of the PW being a mouthpiece for the old-guard Chamber of Commerce and development community and for those they own (via campaign contributions) in city government and is none the less courageous. For the first time I feel we have truly independent journalism in Pleasanton!

It’s very clear what is going on here. City government (with the exception of Councilmembers Testa and Brown who we owe a debt of gratitude for their leadership) has been very resistant to police reform and are attempting to frame and limit the conversation and steer the outcome to something superficial and more palatable to their desires. This is not a new strategy but has been used over and over again for many years to dilute public input and to get results acceptable to the Pleasanton Ruling Class (e.g. the Old Guard mentioned above). The overwhelming pressure from the public in an election year is the only reason they are reluctantly agreeing to this now, but they still want to control the outcome as articulated in this proposed process.

Local government – including the Police Department – should be under the control of the public, not city bureaucrats or the police themselves. Police are effectively an arm of state power, and that power in many cases has been expressed by violence against our own citizens (and non -citizens). This is a fundamental question of democracy (which means much more than just voting) and I encourage people to keep up the pressure to demand responsive government in Pleasanton.

Posted by Pleasanton bureaucrats want to censor the public
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2020 at 12:13 pm

It sounds like Pleasanton city staff want to be the Thought Police and severely limit and frame what its citizens are allowed to comment on. Pure censorship.

This is limiting the citizens First Amendment rights. Then the city seems to be putting forth some draft document without even getting public input. What a sham!

What is most disturbing about this charade is the attempted muzzling of the public. The public should be able to address whatever concerns it has about the policing in this town.

For instance, having the police go to elementary schools in PUSD and haul away young children that are K-2 grade students having a tantrum and put them in 72 hour psych holds without the parents' knowledge is appalling. This needs to stop. Now. Having parents have to go to Facebook when they go to report a potential crime that the police refuse to log as an incident is completely unacceptable as well. Why are parents and the citizens having to investigate incidents that the police refuse to log?

The broad area of police practices needs to be on the table without censorship from the city manager or a highly stage-managed set of so called public hearings. It seems like the city is hoping to avoid comments on the city's in-custody deaths. This is not right whatsoever. There needs to be a complete discussion on police practices.

Posted by Ward Kanowsky
a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 26, 2020 at 2:05 pm

Thank you, thank you, Pleasanton Weekly for the insightful editorial and keeping this critical issue top of mind. After attending (virtually) the June 16 city council meeting and seeing the policing item pulled from the agenda, I was concerned that delaying tactics around open discussion of the issue were being used in the hopes that people would lose interest. Fortunately, council members Testa and Brown will ensure that doesn't happen. Also, I'm happy to report that there is a growing movement among the citizenry to not only make sure the issue of policing in our community doesn't go away, but is subjected to a robust and transparent review by the people.

Posted by Walter
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2020 at 4:28 pm

I watched the City Council meeting. It appeared that the full City Council wanted to make sure concerns are listened to and that they can get information. They were trying to determine how to do this in the COVID-19 world! They even called for a special meeting on July 14th to try and do this! Anyone is welcome to speak on ANY topic during Open Session at any regular council meeting! I appreciate the facts.

We are lucky to have such dedicated men and women willing to serve in today's challenging times! Many in our department grew up in this area, live in our community, and shop at the same grocery store we do. There are people behind the badge that are willing to show up at your door to assist YOU in 4 minutes or less!

Posted by Bryant Annenberg
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 26, 2020 at 5:06 pm

@ Walter

I also watched the meeting on replay.

My understanding, As a point of order, during a SPECIAL MEETING, I do not thing there is a “meeting open to the public” Only the item on the SPECIAL MEETING agenda can be discussed and receive public comments.

“Meeting open to the public” segment is only part of a regular council meeting.

Posted by Nancy McGhee
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 26, 2020 at 5:59 pm

Thank you Pleasanton Weekly! You have nailed it. An opportunity for the citizens of Pleasanton to say what they think, express their concerns, put forth their ideas BEFORE the council takes any action is the way to go. HEAR us first, gather that info, THEN draft your draft.

Posted by Tom
a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 29, 2020 at 1:00 am

Change the description...delete “police officers”...Add “peace officers”.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2020 at 9:39 am

We strongly support the Pleasanton Police Department and can't wait to come out in force to the meeting to say THANK YOU AND KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

Posted by Jocelyn Combs
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:45 pm

Thank you for your thoughtful and impassioned editorial. I think it is very reasonable to hear from a Pleasanton residents before a process is put in place. The comments could change the process completely. We have a good city council that has taken on many contentious issues. I believe they are up to the challenge to move us forward on this issue - quickly!

Posted by Rich Buckley
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 1, 2020 at 10:02 am

7/1/2020 Pass This To Your Local Police Chief. Web Link


33:00 into Video. Working theory on how the deep state plans to take over the local police departments.

Webb predicted years ago, 45 major cities (based on the 45 encrypted Blackberry network) would be attacked by Antifa promoted violence.

The JTTF Plan was the Deep State strategy. The nice sounding agreement “The Strong Cities Agreement” But Trump didn’t sign it. Now the house is promoting HOUSE BILL 7120, which allows for the Federalizations Of Local Police Departments, in an attempt to remove emergency authority from POTUS and turn it over to Congress. In effect, Congress would then have Federalized local police departments.

Posted by Safety4us
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2020 at 6:40 pm

Thank you Rich, very insightful! Christopher Ray and the rest of the Antifa lovers in the FBI need to go....and local Police departments in California need to understand the push to undermine them by the radical left democrat politicians that want to get rid of our protective local police, yet keep their armed Congressional secret service for the Elite Politicians. DISARM CONGRESS SECRET SERVICE FIRST, before they dictate a word to our incredible Pleasanton Peace Officers!

Posted by Naveed Khan
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Jul 3, 2020 at 3:38 pm

More Police officers from the Minority communities would be a better representation. Ethnic mix of Police should roughly reflect the mix of the community. Same should be the case with Fire Fighters and School Teachers.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 3, 2020 at 5:06 pm

Twenty-Five years ago the Pleasanton police department represented the community mix Many of those years Pleasanton had a black police chief.

The population has changed, without any of the minority groups stepping forward to get the minimum requirements to be considered for the job, and then completing the necessary training.

The opportunity is there for them. They are not coming forward to compete for the position.

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