On October 5, a candidate forum was held at the Dublin High School to discuss development issues and infrastructure challenges within the Tri-Valley. The event was hosted by Dubliners for Change, Friends of Livermore, Pleasanton Voters and the Tri-Valley Group Sierra Club. Kelly Cousins introduced Dick Schneider of the Sierra Club. He noted that the Tri-Valley group covers Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore, as well as the 200,000 acres of land from the San Joaquin County line to the Dublin-Pleasanton ridge line. The Club addresses city issues of growth and infrastructure, air and water quality, solid waste and waste water disposal, open space and agriculture and preservation of habitat for plants and wildlife.
Schneider introduced Christopher Schlies as the moderator, noting his activity in the Tri-Valley Conservancy and his 36 years as an active Sierra Club member.
Representatives of the host organization from each city spoke about why their organizations had been formed.
Pleasanton Voters’ representative Kelly Cousins noted that they were a non-partisan group with the goal of educating how new developments may negatively affect Pleasanton. They have the defined goal of preserving the ridgelines and open space, and protecting the voter approved Urban Growth Boundary. They are working to retain the best qualities of Pleasanton for future generations. This forum involves three communities in the region in a discussion about rapid growth and infrastructure needs, including traffic, water, school and maintaining the quality of life sought when moving to our communities.
Joseph Ledoux, Kathy Narum, Joe Streng and Julie Testa made their opening remarks.
Testa stated, “We have a responsibility to preserve our community for those who come next.” She supported slow and smart growth policies, and protecting Pleasanton’s small-town character. She has served as a Pleasanton City Commissioner and attended over 100 school board meetings advocating for better planning for growth and the increasing enrollment it will cause. She also attended statewide meetings to join with other communities to oppose state overreach, and bills mandating high density housing in Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley. “I stand for residents and not special interests,” she concluded.
Streng noted that during the time of growth, Pleasanton has “maintained the core of what really makes Pleasanton the best place to live in the Bay area, and that doesn’t happen by accident”. He remarked that the city staff and leaders have managed growth very well over the years. He served on the Park and Recreation and Bike-Pedestrian Trails Committees. “I serve because I love Pleasanton.”
Incumbent Narum said that while serving on the council, she has supported the opening of three parks, lowering garbage rates and updating the master plan. “We live in a wonderful community, but we can always improve the quality of life.” Her priorities are fiscal sustainability and environmental stewardship. The downtown specific plan update needs to be finished; police and fire need continued support; and collaboration with the school district needs to be ongoing. She wants to work on the new library and Civic Center, fiscal stability, environmental stewardship, expansion of recycled water for landscaping, and preserving open space. She will continue to maintain the small town feel and quality of life for the residents.
Ledoux remarked that he wants Pleasanton to remain safe and continue to have some of the best schools in the district. He stated he is unique because he comes from the public sector as a police officer and past fire-fighter. He believes that the City council needs to have a diverse viewpoint. He supports “mindful growth” and collaborating with the school district to attain the best teachers. “All of this should be accomplished while maintaining our Pleasanton charm.”
The first question concerned the downtown and the small-town feel. Moving the Civic Center and library to the Bernal park would vacate a large site in downtown. Candidates were asked, “Would you support three or more story buildings of residential - mixed commercial with housing zoning on a significant part of this site?”
Streng backed a “limited housing element” and the current planning process. People want to live in areas like downtown Pleasanton. He favored the three-story limit, but “if anything were to be built higher, it would have to have a significant community benefit”.
Narum noted that the current height limit in downtown is 40 feet; she does not want to increase it. She does not support residential on the ground floor, but rather active uses that would contribute to foot traffic. She only favored moving the library and community center, leaving the rest of City Hall for another day.
Ledoux also agreed with the three-story limit. That would certainly accomplish some of our housing problems. Enabling people to walk to places downtown would add to the economic vitality, which is the backbone of the community. He favored the repurposing of the library, which could become the City Hall.
Testa believes that a larger improved library and community center should move forward. She does not support most of the redevelopment program. The Bernal property was never intended to be City offices. Moving the police station would be expensive. “I don’t think the community would benefit from a lot of housing in the Civic Center.”
The next item for discussion concerned the land around the lakes and forests between Pleasanton and Livermore, over 1000 acres. An East Pleasanton Specific Plan is being considered for a portion of the area. The next council may allow its development in order to satisfy ABAG’s Regional Housing Needs and Assessments (RENA).
Narum favored starting planning for the Eastside in 2019 because a certified housing element is required by 2023. She does not want to see piece-meal development, but rather a comprehensive plan to get all the infrastructure needed to support all the development, such as a school and fire station. There are already two housing plans submitted to the county. She was also concerned about the traffic and possible cut though driving. She asked, “Does it make sense to connect El Charro to Stanley?”
Ledoux wanted to take time to determine what the final plan was going to look like. Alameda County already has plans to start housing developments, the first one at 300 units and if that goes forward, and we don’t have a say at the table, then it becomes piecemeal. If it becomes piecemeal all the infrastructure needed will probably not be in place. We need to keep it a community and not let parts of it be little housing units with other parts commercial and industrial.
Testa noted that over 1000 residents objected to the Eastside plan when introduced the last time. Wait until there is more information concerning what numbers are going to be required by the state and then plan.
Streng believed that restarting the planning process for the Eastside was appropriate. He said that we need to be thoughtful and careful when we plan and have a plan in place, because some developer may come forth with a plan and who knows what they may put there.
Next discussed were the environmental impact reports concerning the full extension of El Charro to Stanley Blvd.
Ledoux discussed the finishing of improvements to highway 84. If there were a cut through via El Charro to Stanley, it would alleviate some of the traffic on the city streets. El Charro could also be made into a less than ideal cut through with roundabouts or stop lights and other aspects of enforcement to keep traffic on the expressway.
Testa felt that extending El Charro would create “a lot of negative impacts”. It would bring more cut-through traffic to the community. Although designed to give regional relief, it would have local impacts on Pleasanton.
Streng does not currently support the extension of El Charro. It should be part of the Eastside planning process.
Narum wanted a study done to understand the impacts about whether this would help or harm the traffic problem in Pleasanton.
The next topic concerned a Pleasanton Voters Survey finding that the citizens of Pleasanton felt that too much growth was a concern. Candidates were asked whether they have ever campaigned or spoken against a business development or housing project in Pleasanton to control growth.
Streng could not think of a specific initiative he campaigned for or against except the Costco issue, which he voted for. He stated that it was not a housing development issue.
Testa noted that she opposed numerous issues over the last thirty years. Pleasanton schools are all impacted by housing growth. She has opposed numerous housing projects.
Ledoux mentioned the 300 houses proposed for the eastside and intimated that he would oppose them if not properly evaluated and planned.
Narum declared that previous councils had ignored the state mandates. If handled appropriately, the growth would have been much more even. She has not opposed any housing project, but has worked hard to reduce the number of units originally submitted. She mentioned other large projects that she would not feel comfortable approving.
Candidates were asked how they would vote as a councilmember to make available highly purified recycled potable water. It was noted that some residents refer to the process as “toilet to tap”.
Narum discussed the Round Table four years ago that concerned diversifying the water supply by including recycled potable water. The feasibility study is still not complete. She would not approve anything that would make the water unsafe. What are the safeguards, she asked.
Ledoux also wanted to wait and see the results of the study. “Having a single source of water supply for the city leaves us very vulnerable.”
Streng agreed that the water supply needed to be diversified. One feasibility study proved that the alternatives actually improved water quality. He wanted approval from the voters first.
Testa declared that at this time she would not support it. The science just isn’t there. We should not support the risks or the additional costs.
Moderator Schlies added his own question concerning the difficulty in downtown Pleasanton of finding a parking place. Ledoux suggested looking at the Bernal property to share a structure that could be jointly used by ACE, much as Livermore has for commuters during the day and on off hours when the downtown is thriving. At that time, the commuter traffic would be gone and the garage could be utilized for our downtown customers. He also suggested a trolley to shuttle people when needed. It could serve people attending events at the fairgrounds. He recommended using the right of way by the tracks for parking.
Streng mentioned other parking areas recently built as well as the right of way by the railroad tracks.. He supported a parking structure at the new library and civic center areas, and use of the land opposite the current library on the other side of the ACE tracks.
Testa noted that the paving of the railroad corridor has already been approved. We still need to work with ACE on a future shared space. In the downtown specific plan, a parking structure is shown where the proposed fixed use residential development is anticipated. That structure will fill up with the residents and the office space and leave little excess for the public.
Narum maintained that a priority of the council has been to fix the south end of the railway corridor. It is currently in design. Long term, the answer is a parking structure and use of the property across the street from the library. She also talked about a shuttle.
Streng led off the closing statements for the candidates. He said that his difference from the other candidates was his experience working with staff, running meetings, planning projects and getting lots of public input. He mentioned the importance of having someone there who knows how to build a consensus, someone who doesn’t have a deep-seated agenda or a rigid mind set. He stated that you need to be an active listener and find a way that works well for as many as possible.
Testa believed that Pleasanton has seen a huge threat with the state intrusion into the city’s zoning control. It doesn’t create workforce housing. It is going to put a strain on our infrastructure. The mandated 5-10 story buildings will dwarf the current community. We need strong representation among other communities having the same problems.
Narum summed up with “experience matters”. She cited her service on numerous committees, commissions and task forces, both locally and regionally. She said that her record of service demonstrates that she is deeply committed to the community. Her focus would be on overall quality of life, fiscal responsibility and environmental stewardship.
Ledoux noted that except for him, all the candidates come from a private sector background. He affirmed that his top priorities are the schools and crime. He has sat on taskforces dealing with homelessness and mental health problems. He stated that he is familiar with the need for transparency in his work. That should be transmitted to the city council so citizens could understand how decisions have been made.
Dubliners For Change representative Kerrie Chabot noted that they are a grass roots organization, a very diverse group. Most importantly , the group has developed a reputation of thinking “yes we can”. We have successfully passed two voter led initiatives to limit housing, worked for a second-high school, and believe in the development of a pedestrian friendly downtown. “We are Dubliners for a change, not the status quo.” We value political accountability, community involvement, open space, environment, and transparency.
Dublin Candidates for Mayor and City Council responded to questions next. This time, Moderator Schlies alternated the questions between the two mayoral candidates, incumbent David Haubert and Arun Goel, and the five council candidates, Shawn Costello, Jing Firmeza, Jean Josey, Bobby Khullar and Shawn Kumagai.
Haubert kicked off the opening remarks by stating, “We elect people of the people, for the people and by the people. I work for you. I’ve been humbled and honored to serve you. Dublin is a great place to live, work and raise a family. It does take strong leadership. The future of Dublin is even greater than it is today. It has been named by Money Magazine as one of the best places to live in America and also in California”.
Goel noted Dublin is an amazing place and it has developed phenomenally over the past few decades. He stated that he has a vested interest in Dublin. He compared Dublin “to jewelry that has been tarnished and near breaking. It needs help to become more sustainable. We can repair it and make it better, healthier, with more choices.” The problems are too much housing, not enough infrastructure and crowded schools.
Josey noted that she volunteered in the schools and youth organizations and served on the city’s sustainability task force. She is committed to bringing out the best in Dublin for all residents. Her focus is on maintaining high quality public safety, managing housing so that the schools can catch up with the influx of students at all levels, improving traffic issues and working with businesses in town. “I believe that when we all work together, we can bring out the best in Dublin now and in the future”.
Khullar introduced himself as a vested member of the community. He stated he was about making change and delivering change. He believes in 100 per cent grass roots, managed and maintained by only volunteers, zero contributions from developers now and going forward. He thinks the community can do better concerning public safety, economic viability, sustainable growth and transportation. Dublin’s growth is at a point where its infrastructure cannot support it.
Kumagai believed Dublin is facing some serious challenges, such as people being priced out of housing, the strain on the schools and people on one side of town not having access to services on the other side of town. He hopes to reduce the gap between what Dubliner’s want and the complex nature of city government.
Firmeza discussed his early life in the Philippines, noting he was very grateful for the opportunity this country has given him. We have a democracy.
Costello stated the reason he runs for council every year is “for you.” He is working to make all the sidewalks accessible for everybody. He said that he has been involved in having all the sidewalk ramps installed in Dublin. “I love to help people out.”
The next question was directed solely to the mayoral candidates. In May, Mayor Haubert called for a housing pause and suggested putting the IKEA vote on the ballot. Four months later, why have these two proposals not been implemented? Goel maintained that the housing pause came immediately after the approval of a big housing project that many of the Dublin citizens opposed. He stated that it was time to stop making campaign promises that we cannot keep. IKEA is coming in two weeks. That means it is already too late to go to the ballot.
Haubert replied that in 2013 and 2015, he initiated task forces to look at the East Dublin Specific Plan and Dublin’s General Plan. He was all for stopping and pausing to look at growth. As for putting IKEA on the ballot, it cannot be put there until it has come to the City Council, and at that time in two weeks, we will have the time to consider it.
The City Council candidates were asked what their vision was for Dublin’s transit-oriented developments.
Kumagai noted that in the transit development areas, there is a lack of walkable street facing retail. This is a disservice to the people who live there. This is not a transit village; it is just wall to wall condos.
Costello wanted to see the buildings constructed not just for the rich people, but also for the mid and low-income population.
Josey felt that retail and corporate job producers should be located near transit developments. We want commuters to come into Dublin, not go out of Dublin for jobs. Street facing development and revitalization of the downtown area should be approached.
Khullar recommended that transit developments should be areas in which to live, work and play. We need businesses to come into Dublin. He wants to focus on retail, commercial and pedestrian friendly areas.
Firmeza noted that transit-oriented areas are needed to spur ridership and ease congestion. It’s not happening right now. We need to form a commercial transit district. That’s the right thing to do because the region is changing. AB2923 has to be challenged.
Mayoral candidates were questioned, “Why, is Dublin considering changing the zoning for the project known as “At Dublin” to allow for 680 residential units when none of the units are vested and there are already problems with school crowding and traffic?”
Haubert was concerned about the crowding in the schools. The State of California is not giving the cities needed money for new schools. He spearheaded an effort to give the school district money to buy land for a second high school. In the “At Dublin” project, 261 are now vested. “I voted against the project twice. I do not support unvested housing.”
Goel stated that the 261 units brought forward by the developer were opposed by the community. Still, the council decided to study the project. He asked, “Why are we evaluating studies that we know the City of Dublin cannot afford to do?” The proper direction should have been given to the developers before they ever came forward with their plans.
City Council candidates responded to the following question, “The City is projecting a multimillion dollar budget deficit in a few years. What three specific actions would you support and attempt to enact to balance the budget on a sustainable basis?”
Khullar called this “the pending fiscal cliff”. We need not to look just at the revenue coming in; we need to look at the cost and expenditures. We need to attain grants.
Firmeza stated that he predicted this back in 2009. We need to improve our property tax base. We built six times more homes than Pleasanton, but with no change in our property taxes. We need to look to our sales tax and find other tax streams to find this revenue.
Josey noted there was no magic bullet. We are moving from a growth city to a maintenance city and we need to find ways to enhance revenues and evaluate expenses. Dublin contracts with only one service provider for all maintenance. We need to do a service by service breakdown and compare the costs with other cities. We need to increase our fees for service. Josey would not vote in favor of any capital projects that did not have a maintenance funding stream.
Kumagai stated that in recent years there had been a flattening of the sales tax revenue. In the next few years, the revenue stream coming from development will be decreasing a lot. We need to look at ways to attract different types of businesses to increase the sales tax monies and ways to trim the budget.
Costello replied that Dublin is already at max capacity and is already in a deficit. We have to make this city work together.
Mayoral candidates were asked, “Will you pledge that if you win, you will grandfather yourself into existing term limits regardless of what might be done prospectively to alter or eliminate term limits.” Dublin’s current term limits require that the mayor’s term is two years, the council member’s terms are four years staggered with no lengths of service being greater than eight consecutive years, including any combination of the positions.
Haubert noted that he knew of no other cities that had the same term limits. If you don’t like somebody, use the ballot box to remove them from office. He hoped the City of Dublin would change its term limits.
Goel stated, “For me, there’s no debate. Why change if I am already in. It’s simple, you elected us to do our job. I don’t think I need extra time.” He would welcome the grandfather clause.
Council candidates were reminded that in order to obtain an endorsement from a group, candidates are often required to provide the endorsing organization written responses to questions. Candidates were asked whether others should be able to see those questionnaires, and whether they would agree to release all the questionnaires that they have completed in the past two years.
Firmeza was not in favor of some endorsements that have occurred, like fire and police, since there may be conflicts of interest. He agreed with releasing questionnaires to the public.
Costello stated that he has some endorsements, but not as many as everyone else.
Kumagai noted that he believed in transparency in our government, so he was happy to publish all of his endorsement questionnaires.
Josey would be pleased to share any of her endorsement questionnaires with anyone. “It is really important to say what you mean and you are who you are.”
Khullar agreed he would release answers 100% of the time.
In his closing statement, Costello recommended slower driving and paying attention. He stated that he was “still for each one in this room.”
Kumagai noted, “We are stuck in binary thinking; it’s us or them. We have to get past these types of choices and start thinking in a holistic way to work on issues. If we bring a diverse group of people together with diverse ideas, we truly can solve any issue.”
Josey stated, “I am ready to be the kind of leader that Dublin needs. I support the residents across the community. This community deserves thoughtful common-sense leadership, people who are willing to ask tough questions, find common ground and make decisions that will stand the test of time.”
Khullar noted, “I am a citizen just like you. I have had public and private sector experience. I am the voice of change and change is hard. You can take the status quo or you can take the change, and if you want change and solutions delivered”, vote for me.
Firmeza noted that Sacramento is pushing us to the edge of a cliff. He mentioned AB2923. He believed it is a big problem and together we have to fix it.
Goel stated, “Dublin is great. However, we can do better. I will challenge the typical thoughts that approval is easy in Dublin. We need to bring new leadership into Dublin, which it currently does not have. Talk is cheap; mistakes impact us for generations.
Haubert said that he believes Dublin is already a great place to live, work and raise a family. Dublin is not broken. We are a prosperous wealthy city because we have sound fiscal management. We have great schools. He noted his votes against increased housing, for preserving open space, and for appropriate development. He would continue to work hard for the citizens and has proven leadership.
Friends of Livermore representative David Rounds started by saying that the Friends of Livermore is a community-based group that formed under a simple but powerful vision to have Livermore protect the urban growth boundary, prevent sprawl and preserve open space. Our organization has supported the revitalization of downtown. We have worked with the county to preserve open space through Measure D, to discourage exceptions to Measure D and to keep vigilant around challenges to the South Livermore agricultural area.
Livermore Mayoral candidates spoke next. City Council candidates were invited, but did not attend.
Joshua Laine noted that he was “carrying the voices of the families that are struggling to make ends meet, teachers who are underpaid, businesses about to go out of business and those living in bushes and streets.” He noted his federal government experience, legal, and business experience. He stated, “I bring long overdue young blood to our wonderful city with innovative resolutions to bring millions of dollars, while reducing taxes for our families. I am for a better quality of life. Out with the old and in with the new.”
Mayor John Marchand commented that in a survey last year, 95% of those surveyed agreed that Livermore was a great place to live, work and raise a family. That can only happen with strong leadership and smart planning. He wants to continue working to keep Livermore a place that we will be proud to have our children and grandchildren inherit. He understands how important commitment is whether in relationships or in government. It takes time and effort. He has represented Livermore on over 29 committees and commissions and has brought millions of dollars back to Livermore to support public safety and the transportation infrastructure.
The first question referenced Livermore’s urban growth boundary. Should there be some changes to Measure D?
Marchand noted that in 2002, he collected signatures for the boundary and in 2005, he ran for the council to stop the Livermore Valley Trails home project from coming into the area. He has worked with Dublin, LAFCO and other parties to protect open space. There should be no change without consulting the voters.
Laine absolutely supports the boundary and measure D. We should be focusing on the inside of Livermore, and the businesses, plazas and all the amenities we have.
The next question concerned increasing the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation areas into the neighboring Tesla Park. What do you want to see happen in the Tesla Park area and what would you do to achieve your vision?
Laine noted, “Fortunately, I grew up riding dirt bikes and three wheelers. I am an advocate for recreational parks and fun. It teaches our youth how to be environmentally conscious and how to drive. Carnegie is one small area where people have the right to pursue happiness.”
Marchand stated that Carnegie Park is actually the off-road park. He signed a letter from the Livermore City Council that supported the wildlife corridor in the Tesla Park area, also known as the Tesla Park Wilderness Region. Marchand opposed making it available to off-road vehicles.
The following question concerning the Livermore Downtown Center was divided into five parts.
Part one: Do you support Stockmen’s park?
Marchand absolutely supported Stockmen’s park and noted the total park area was 3.5 acres of open space.
Laine was also in agreement with it.
Part two: The rest of the green space runs through the housing area. There is a period of eight years to complete the housing project. Should the green space be between housing or should the city take the time to find a way to move a substantial number of the residential units off site to allow for a bigger public park?
Laine had grave concerns about the residential housing that was going downtown. He personally was not for it and believed that the downtown was for businesses and for beautification. The housing should be put somewhere else. We can renegotiate with the state.
Marchand replied that the City of Livermore purchased that land with affordable housing funds. Four hundred and twenty units were originally proposed. Now, some of that housing has been traded with the Stockmen’s Association. There were still 84 units required by the State, and a number of other units were required because of the use of affordable housing money. The deed restrictions on that land continue for 55 years. There is still an ability to move some of that housing to have more open space.
Part three: What is your assessment of the proposed Eastside Hotel in terms of its architecture, height and food and conference services?
Marchand replied that the community wanted to preserve the iconic character of downtown and preserve Blacksmith Square. The citizens put as priority number two Blacksmith Square, and the hotel as priority seven. The only way to meet the competing priorities was to put the hotel on the Eastside. There was consideration of a hotel restaurant competing with the already present downtown restaurants.
Laine liked where the hotel was positioned. He did not feel the architecture was appealing or resembled Livermore’s western theme.
Part four: What are your thoughts regarding the parking in the Downtown Plan?
Laine stated that clearly, he did not think there was enough ADA parking downtown. We can always use more parking, go another level. His opinion was that the parking at the hotel should just be for the hotel customers.
Marchand noted that the City is splitting the cost of the parking garage and there was going to be increased ADA parking. The amount of long term versus short term parking was still negotiable. He remarked that most of the conferences he attended were reached via Uber or shuttles. We don’t bring cars to hotels anymore.
Part five: Do you believe the Downtown Plan should be improved? Should residents have an opportunity to vote on the development through the referendum process?
Marchand referred to the referendum as a first amendment right. He would defend that and that people have the right to have their say. He stated the council heard the priorities. They heard the community, and in order to meet the competing priorities, this was the plan that was developed. He named many groups that came together to create this current plan.
Laine observed that the people who came out to give their opinion did. Unfortunately, it was only around 2000 people. That was not enough input, but we are out of time, and need to move forward with these plans.
The next question concerned homelessness in Livermore. What are your solutions?
Laine suggested working with business owners that have warehouses available. “We would round up the homeless and invite them to stay in these warehouses, and figure out whom we could hire to bring in some income for them.” We could also get them introduced into rehabilitation programs. It’s not okay to live out in a bush or under a pillar.
Marchand noted that as mayor he convened the first summit on regional homelessness. It discovered that over 40% of the homeless population had family in Livermore. “City governments will not be able to solve homelessness if families can’t solve it.” There are many homeless people who will not come off the street and many have mental health and substance abuse problems. Many of the homeless have jobs, but are not earning enough to afford housing. The city was also focused on helping veterans receive the benefits to which they are entitled. The city is building affordable housing for seniors and veterans and getting providers for wrap-around services to assure long time success.
A short answer question referred to supporting or opposing Measure U.
Marchand stated, “I absolutely oppose Measure U. It will cost the city $2 million a year and set up a whole new bureaucracy”.
Laine affirmed, “I do not support Measure U.”
Moderator Schlies remarked that there has been some discussion within the Tri-Valley Conservancy that it was time to revisit the lands being conserved by the South Livermore Valley plan first established 25 years ago. What are your views about sitting down with others involved and taking another look at that plan?
Laine noted he was “all ears” and would like to sit down with others to discuss preserving the land and possibly increasing some agriculture, cattle ranches, or just keeping it as it is.
Marchand noted that the critical mass has not yet been reached to preserve the long-term sustainability of the vineyards. His concern was that once you open something up, where do you stop? You need to be very careful and have very strong protections in place so control of the plan is not lost.
The next series of questions concerned whether Livermore is building too much housing or the right amount; how should the imbalance of housing and jobs in the Bay Area be addressed, as well as regional traffic issues.
Marchand began by stating that Livermore has a 1:1 jobs-housing balance. We’ve been very careful about that. Palo Alto, Emeryville have a 4-6:1 imbalance. We can’t control other cities. The state Measure 2923 actually exempts the three cities that are the contributors to the huge commutes and the rise in housing costs going all the way to Stockton. Livermore is bringing in manufacturing jobs and high paying jobs and some housing so those people can afford to live here. He mentioned he was on the committee connecting ACE to BART. We have committed that we will not grow beyond our infrastructure.
Laine asked, “Can we really build more houses? We need to revisit the general plan and match it up with the times. We do not have enough parking and a lot of roads in Livermore are being repaved without quality.” He stated that he was all about public transportation; however, he does not want BART out here now because it is not safe. It brings crime, unkemptness and other problems. He continued, “The 580 express lane was unconstitutional. The government had no business turning it into a lane where they could charge money.”
Marchand and Laine offered their closing statements. Marchand noted that under his leadership as mayor, things are getting done. During the extensive downtown process, the council listened carefully to the public’s priorities. His goals were to complete Livermorium plaza, celebrating the relationship between the laboratories, our city and the world, to cut the ribbon on our new emergency operations center, to ensure our infrastructure continues to meet the needs of our community for generations and to keep the city on sound financial footing. We are also looking for ways to create more housing for seniors, veterans and teachers.
Laine noted that the citizens are paying bills, can’t afford food, can’t get their children into schools and they are spending all their money on child care. He stressed focusing on families and our people first. He stated he could see so many holes and cover-ups on so many other issues that he knows he can do better. As mayor, he would bring youth, innovation and drive, because he gets things done.