There are nine hopefuls running for Dublin City Council.
Since Vice Mayor Arun Goel and Councilmember Melissa Hernandez decided to run for the mayor’s seat, there will be two vacant seats on the council. Current Dublin Mayor David Haubert is running for County Supervisor, District 1. The mayoral contest was featured in the Sept. 24 print edition, which is also available online.
The Independent reached out to all candidates via email and phone calls to make contact. Candidates are listed alphabetically. Their statements have been edited for length.
Although Shawn Costello has opinions on some of the issues facing Dubliners, his city council candidacy is focused primarily on one thing — being an example to other handicapped people that they should not feel intimidated about not being considered good enough to hold an office.
Costello has held committee positions, though nothing at a level comparable to that of a council seat.
“(I have) had a series of appointments to groups that make decisions about allowing grant money for handicapped transportation, or improvement of bus service,” he said. “I have been on Wheels’ committees for as long as 24 years, and on the county transportation Measure BB committee dating back to 2005.”
Costello has served as literally a ‘man in the street’ on the lookout for issues of traffic and street routes that impacted others in wheelchairs or traffic signals that did not allow much time for handicapped people or seniors to get across some of the city’s wide boulevards.
“The council always treated (me) respectfully and asked (me) to meet with staff to discuss the details,” he said. “My crowning achievement came when Mayor David Haubert appointed (me) to the city’s Human Services Commission in April 2018. It was my moment of joy.”
Now that he is on the ballot again, he does not expect to win, or even finish above the bottom rung, but showing others with handicaps that it can be done comes close to what he really wanted to do with his life — be a teacher.
“I am an insurance (real estate) broker and have been a business owner for more than 20 years,” said Deleon. “I have helped clients achieve their financial goals, while building a great career for myself in the process. My entrepreneurial mindset, executive leadership and perseverance in the face of a challenge, coupled with my confidence, compassion, integrity and desire to make a meaningful difference in my community makes me the best candidate and best fit to serve as a member of the Dublin City Council.”
If elected, Deleon would strive to help Dublin residents in the areas of housing and social justice.
“The first issue I’d focus on is housing,” she said. “I believe that every resident must have access to affordable housing. I will support solutions for our communities and residents that focus on smart planning strategies to facilitate the development of housing that is affordable and diverse in family circumstances, ages, lifestyles and budgets. Another key issue I’d work on is social justice. I will advocate for carefully crafted public policies that address systemic barriers and promote equity and access, foster inclusion and encourage diversity.”
Deleon also plans to address the economy.
“The third issue I’d prioritize is fair economic participation,” she said. “I am committed to supporting sustainable economic development that generates real jobs and prosperity with equal access and an equal opportunity to succeed for all members of our community.”
According to Hasni, his broad range of skills and experience make him a fit for council. He has a real estate background and founded a chain of fitness studios in five East Bay cities. Hasni said he is good at building consensus and bringing disparate groups and viewpoints together.
“(My) top priorities are putting together an economic recovery task force that includes the Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders to develop a framework for the city’s economic rebirth,” he said. “I want to ease the regulatory burdens on small business, so businesses incrementally and safely return to full operation.”
Hasni also would have sales tax holidays and other incentive programs to spur retail and restaurant sectors.
“The city’s small business assistance fund was a positive first step,” he said. “There should also be a rent stabilization program for businesses that are most severely impacted by COVID-19. The most vulnerable residents should be protected through such measures as increased meal delivery programs and safe social visits. We must come together as a community and support one another in these efforts.”
Hasni also believes the community, not developers, should drive growth; he would work to bring community members into the end-to-end development process. Additionally, he strongly supports Emerald High School, which he believes will be crucial to easing overcrowding in schools and increasing the affordable housing supply so more people can participate.
“I realize that affordable housing is a divisive issue, and I will work hard to build consensus within the community,” he said.
Hu is a first-generation immigrant who came to the U.S. 20 years ago to pursue a doctorate in architectural engineering. She specialized in green building technologies and environmental sustainability.
Hu currently owns a business bringing new technology and resources into traditional educational service and engages with a nonprofit charity that works with children in an Indian orphanage.
“(My) top priorities are to ensure Dublin’s smart and sustainable growth, provide public safety and security, and help local businesses and bring in high-paying jobs,” she said.
According to Hu, growth of the last 10 years can’t continue.
“Smart and sustainable growth is needed,” she said. It is not too late to do it, but we have to take actions now. My experiences in green building and environmental sustainability, and proven leadership in problem solving, will help bring solutions to this challenge.”
Hu said she has talked many high-tech managers and brainstormed how to bring them to Dublin. “Due to COVID-19, (managers) are more willing to relocate to suburbs,” she said. “Retaining businesses is important, as (I) know from owning one myself.”
Additionally, Hu wants to encourage solar energy in moderation.
“We should encourage solar panels within the city, but we need to evaluate case by case to see if solar panels are suitable for each case,” she said. “Some are feasible and work out financially for a homeowner, but some do not. Some homes don’t use much electricity, and their roofs don’t get much sun exposure.”
“I bring mature leadership through transparency and trust,” said McCorriston. “I have a strong understanding of our community’s needs, supported by my accomplished career in treasury and banking. I can provide solutions and timely responses to complex problems. What distinguishes me from other candidates is my ethics, transparency and approach to problem solving through teamwork, listening and respecting the views of others.”
McCorriston’s immediate priorities would be fiscal sustainability during the COVID-19 environment, sustaining our local businesses, supporting our residents with sufficient services and programs and creating local employment opportunities. Additionally, he would avoid increasing density that causes overdevelopment, traffic and a lack of housing affordability.
“With the above-mentioned priorities in mind, the city must include long-term strategies for our community’s natural resources and impact of future development efforts,” he said. “Physical space will be limited going forward, and we must mandate community programs designed to conserve water and power efficiency and encourage smart energy efficient development. Fixing the traffic congestion and capacity issues in our city's schools, resulting from years of growth initiatives, will require effective infrastructure management and dedicated collaborative efforts with our commissions and district representatives."
If elected, McCorriston plans to use his time on the council to help move the city forward in several areas.
“As a councilmember, my commitment to our community will include support of sound environmental conservation standards and natural resource sustainability; fiscally sustainable and intelligent development that is aligned with the needs of our growing and diverse community; business initiatives that promote local employment and use of local skilled labor for energy efficient development projects; and sustainability measures through close collaboration with city agencies and district representatives that ensure adequate resources for our schools,” he said.
“I grew up in this community, moving to the Tri-Valley area in 2004,” said Muppidi. “My family and I first lived near the Santa Rita and Tassajara exit, and now we live in West Dublin. Having lived on both sides of town, I understand perspectives of both East and West Dubliners, and these prior experiences will inform my decision-making in city council.”
In addition to a history in the area, Muppidi also holds experience in policy and economic development.
“I earned both my BA and MS from Stanford University, with coursework in economics, policy, and technology,” said Muppidi. “I previously worked at the federal level with the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Federal Reserve. Additionally, I have experience working across the aisle, as I bring an independent perspective. I have volunteered on Democratic political campaigns since 2010 and conducted research for the former US National Security Advisor, who previously served in a Republican administration.”
Muppidi believes that prior experience and independent thinking will be a good addition to the Dublin City Council.
“My top priorities are around local economic growth, pragmatic development, and downtown Dublin,” said Muppidi. “Small businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19, and unemployment has increased as a result of the economic crisis. We need to restore growth in Dublin. I will support local businesses to adjust to and recover from COVID-19. In the last two decades, the city has seen rapid growth, growing nearly 40%. We are now moving from a growth phase to a maintenance phase. Additionally, Dublin desperately needs a downtown center, like our Tri-Valley peers. Dubliners want a pedestrian-friendly retail space to enjoy our city's wonderful restaurants, bars, and shops. I'll work with the community to efficiently execute on the Preferred Vision plan, so our residents can enjoy a pedestrian-friendly downtown and spend time in the public square with friends and family.”
“I’ve worked directly with Joe Callahan for years when he developed Hacienda Business Park from 1988 to 1993, DeSilva Gates on the Callahan DeSilva Vallejo Waterfront project before the recession, and for Stonebrae LP as a contract administrator for the massive infrastructure construction, joint trench and utility connections,” said Plants.
If elected, she plans to draw on her many years living and working in the city.
“I’ve lived in Dublin for 40 years — since 1980 — and watched it all unfold,” she said. “I’ve also been on the Dublin Planning Commission since May 2019, as an alternate. As a councilmember, my top priorities would be a long overdue general plan review, preferably by a third-party consultant, and to get the (environmental impact report) updated, also preferably by a third-party consultant. How I would address this depends on the outcome of the election.”
According to Plants, the city needs serious help moving forward in a positive direction.
“When Dublin became incorporated, it took nine years to create the general plan and get it on the ballot,” she said. “Fast forward 30 years … still no impressive destination projects, pack and stack housing, lack of Class ‘A’ offices, and the problems of two BART stations and overcrowding. We get a fancy waterpark failure and lots of expensive public art. Dublin has an identity crisis.”
“Over the past 15 years, I have been serving our communities in three main areas — providing access to health care to underserved communities; backing STEM tutoring, coaching, and mentoring for our youth; and participating in community leadership and volunteering,” said Qaadri. “As a seasoned and proven executive, I have held multiple leadership roles in business development, commercial operations, strategic planning and product development. My professional experiences in managing complex and substantial budgets, generating new growth for our businesses, and implementing new and innovative technologies, paired with my community involvement, makes me the best choice for city councilmember.”
Qaadri’s top priorities of focus are safety and traffic, resilience and preparedness, and economic and environmental sustainability.
“In terms of public safety, we need to initiate public community oversight, creating much needed checks and balances,” he said. “In terms of traffic, we need to ensure access to safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable transport systems for everyone, improving our road safety by expanding public transport. We also need to prepare, prevent, respond to, and recover from the pandemic by supporting local businesses and community-driven solutions. We should also provide evidence-based solutions and knowledge to make informed decisions and mitigate economic impact while initiating recovery.”
Finally, Qaadri wants to move the city toward a more secure future.
“We need to create a more sustainable Dublin, by creating business opportunities, safe and affordable housing, and building a resilient community and economy,” he said.
Quereshi said a passion for public service — along with his previous experiences on an environmental commission, human services committee, and zoning board and school boards — make him fit to serve on the council.
“My top priorities are trust, transform and together,” said Qureshi. “Build trust by providing transparency. Public safety is on top, and also dealing with the pandemic that needs a return to normal for businesses and the community.”
According to Qureshi, a transformation needs to be done since the exponential growth of the city has occurred.
“Now Dublin needs a transformation over the next 10 years and more,” he said. “I want to focus on economic development, smart and sustainable growth, traffic and climate issues.”
The ‘together’ component covers collaboration as a united community where everyone is respected and represented.
“The city should improve collaboration with the school district to make sure so many diverse backgrounds learn about each other,” he said.
Qureshi experienced many proud moments while serving on boards and commissions in many states.
“In Dublin, I was on the planning commission, which approved the beautiful Carl Zeiss building,” he said.
As such, he understands that Dublin has seen fast growth in the past few years.
“Families will continue to move to the city, and with limited land left for development, I would support projects that the community, schools, city staff and developer agree on together,” he said. “Our schools have been impacted. We need to think about what type of school to build next.”