A June 14 online forum on Racial Inequity in City Governance and Policing provided an opportunity for an important community debate. The event, organized by Unify Livermore and moderated by Shana Peete from the Tri-Valley Non-Profit Alliance, was intended to encompass all of the Tri-Valley and include the mayors and police chiefs of Dublin, Livermore, and Pleasanton. Indeed, the Dublin and Livermore mayors and chiefs of police, as well as Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, participated in the forum. Pleasanton Councilwoman Julie Testa was also able to join.

However, Pleasanton’s mayor and police chief missed a valuable opportunity to be part of this dialogue, and this presented very poor optics for our city. In addition, I came away with less information because of their absence.

For example, there was a very robust discussion regarding how social services can support the police department. This led to the sensitive topic of defunding police departments. I would have had some sense of where Pleasanton stands on this issue if our mayor and police chief had been present. As a board member on the Tri-Valley chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness, Testa was able to speak extensively to how we address mental illness as a personal priority, but it was not a complete picture.

There will be more opportunities to have this discussion openly, with the citizens of Pleasanton present and engaged. At its June meeting, the Pleasanton City Council discussed conducting a town hall-style listening session on July 14 that would include a draft action plan on policing being developed by the city manager. I say, let us do it then!