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Guest Opinion: Pleasanton politics -- Toxic just like the water

Original post made on Jun 8, 2023

I want the unfiltered truth, and these days, like clean and safe water, it's in short supply. Common decency also seems to be in short supply. Attempting to silence Jack Balch was not only irresponsible, but it was simply inexcusable.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 8, 2023, 5:53 AM

Comments (12)

Posted by MsVic
a resident of Mission Park
on Jun 8, 2023 at 8:41 am

MsVic is a registered user.

Only one small correction to the story above. There won’t be a third skate park, rather a 6.4 MILLION expansion of an existing park at Ken Mercer park. We have two skate parks in Pleasanton, one of which is in Val Vista. The Val Vista park is huge and rarely used. The Century House 4 MILLION spend won’t even fix it to a point where it can be used to bring in revenue. How many people will use the expanded skate park? No one will be able to use the Century House, only the grounds if you can find parking. How many people drink water? How many people rely on our understaffed police force? This council majority of 4 are proving they would rather push through their pet projects vs focusing on the major issues facing our city. And they hide behind smoke and mirrors staying money can’t be moved or loaned from the general fund to other funds such as the enterprise fund to fix our water issues. Even though that has been done in the past, most recently the loan that was made for the golf course.

Money that is needed to fix our water issues is approximately 46 million, this was the estimate from last September. It is likely more now because our council majority of 4 didn’t act at that time but paused it to hire costly consultants to tell them what to do. Funny zone 7 figured it out and are well underway with fixing their PFAS issues.

In total agreement with the author about the code of conduct meeting two weeks ago, I was ashamed of how the majority of 4 acted, trying to shame Vice Mayor Balch for exercising his first amendment rights just because he is often the dissenting vote. No one has the right to try to stop anyone’s first amendment right, it’s called Freedom of Speech Mayor Brown, Councilmembers Arkin, Nibert and Testa in case you didn’t learn that in high school civics class.

Elections have consequences and ours are proving embarrassing and disastrous.

Posted by keeknlinda
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 8, 2023 at 10:49 am

keeknlinda is a registered user.

While I agree with both previous commentators that Pleasanton is in the midst of some of the most toxic political rhetoric and actions I've seen in my 50-years as a Pleasantonian, I am compelled to point out that our water is not even close to the level of toxicity as that of Flint. The chemicals that are of concern bear no resemblance to those found in Flint's water, and the cause of Flint's problem (switching the source to river water resulting in pipe corrosion) was vastly different from the issues confronting Zone 7 and Pleasanton Water Utility. I drink, cook with, bathe in, water the garden and brush my teeth with, Pleasanton water. The only filter I use is the usual carbon cartridge filter on the fridge. Until scientific evidence informs me otherwise, I intend to continue that practice.
Many of you filter your water or drink bottled water. That's up to each of us to choose. It is important, though not to panic and accuse the council, however dysfunctional it is, of poisoning us. There are staff deficiencies that must be addressed, particularly in Water Operations. Correcting those deficiencies must be prioritized, and not balancing a budget by continuing to leave positions vacant. Changes are in order, the ball is in their court. We can only hope they are listening to these new voices they acknowledge they are hearing from.

Posted by MichaelB
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 8, 2023 at 11:04 am

MichaelB is a registered user.

"I am not just angry, but livid that four elected officials would dare attempt to suppress the First Amendment rights of Vice Mayor Balch. I'm outraged the mayor, who seems to have forgotten Pleasanton is a democracy, even called the meeting."

You can add the 2nd Amendment to the list too - for all residents.

The city council caved to Moms Demand Action (special interest group) with their feel good/useless "safe storage" law that did nothing to address the problems we currently have with guns on the streets of our cities. We were told it was a "problem" that there were several hundred accidental shootings involving children nationwide - in a nation of 330 million and widespread firearms ownership. A nonexistent "problem" but the city council wasted resources and time holding hearings and scolding residents about not doing enough to join the "guns are icky" herd.

The Supreme Court has already ruled that measures like these are unconstitutional as part of the 2008 Heller decision and the whole idea of self defense in your home (and of yourself) is have something available immediately, not later on.

Posted by ptown
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2023 at 11:05 am

ptown is a registered user.

Very well said, Ms. Fox. Thank you.

Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 8, 2023 at 11:12 am

Matt Sullivan is a registered user.

Anne was a Planning Commissioner (along with me) in the late '90s and early 2000s, so she knows how city government works and how it doesn't work. She is also renowned for her research expertise and this is not the first issue she has made more transparent. We need more like her in the community. Bravo Anne!

Posted by HowardC2
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Jun 8, 2023 at 12:10 pm

HowardC2 is a registered user.

The question in my mind is whether Jack Balch brought a flamethrower to a BBQ. If he did then the rest of the council has a right to censure him.
When people bring examples of Flint Michigan as their reference point, then it worth a little homework. Flint was a superfund site. PFAS were as high as 1236 .... our highest level is 77. over an order of magnitude less and most of our wells are within the state limits.
The extreme right seem to have the license to say inflammatory comments and then hide behind the 1st amendment. I don't condone this approach.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 8, 2023 at 12:14 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Arkins irrational, bizarre explanation for funding skate park while Pleasanton water issues will get barrowed money. Stating $5 million is not significant towards $45 million for water, should therefore go to skate park.

Nibert led the charge in prior council meeting to make Pleasanton's water issue number one priority, the entire council agreed, yet Nibert and the other three majority, Brown, Arkin, and Testa change the priority without resident input. They voted to approve the skate park and century house funding, ahead of the priority for Pleasanton water issues.

Posted by Just Another Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 8, 2023 at 1:27 pm

Just Another Resident is a registered user.

Thank you, Anne.

Posted by PtownRes
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 8, 2023 at 2:29 pm

PtownRes is a registered user.

Jack Balch asks excellent strategic questions that elevate the conversation to the right level about how to spend our precious dollars and resources for the most benefit to Pleasanton. I find his inquiries future looking, rationale and helpful.

SimpleArkin can't even string a sentence together that makes sense. She asks basic questions that have no impact on decisions. And when she tries to explain something, it sounds inane. She is by far the worst council member of the 5.

We need 4 more council members of Balch's quality and to vote out the rest.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 8, 2023 at 4:27 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I agree, Jack Balch has our backs.
Jack is following through with his oath to serve us.
The four others, Arkin, Testa, Brown, and Nibert are significantly hurting Pleasanton residents.

Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 8, 2023 at 4:57 pm

Matt Sullivan is a registered user.

Especially for those of us on the northwest side from their land use decisions! Except for Nibert, they are immune from voter backlash so it's easy to do. But with a 4-vote majority, he's expendable.

Posted by Doug Miller
a resident of Ironwood
on Jun 9, 2023 at 2:36 pm

Doug Miller is a registered user.

I didn't expect to be able to say that I agree with Matt Sullivan!

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