Tri-Valley Mayors Summit

The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce recently hosted the Tri-Valley Mayors’ Summit.

The mayors of Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin joined a regional panel and took turns providing an update to the community in a virtual setting aired on YouTube. District 16 Assemblymember Catharine Baker moderated the event, made possible by the collaboration of local chambers of commerce and each city.

First, the panelists each touched base on their city’s response to COVID-19. Pleasanton Vice Mayor Kathy Narum, standing in for Mayor Jerry Thorne, kicked off the discussion. She noted her city closed Main Street on the weekends to bolster local businesses in the downtown region.

“Because of this, our businesses there have been thriving, which is great,” Narum said of the movement to allow for dining and retail to expand outdoors during the shelter-in-place.

On economic development, she pointed out that the Johnson Drive project, which saw unanimous approval of the updated documents central to rezoning the project site, would allow Costco to open in Pleasanton. She touched on the new robotics system that’s used for sanitation within the city. Reinvestment in the Stoneridge Mall has also taken place. It will involve tearing down the vacant Sears building and making way for a new movie theater, retail, restaurants and more.

Livermore Mayor John Marchand reported property tax revenue continues to be on the rise and that his city’s sales tax reduction because of the pandemic was not as catastrophic as initially predicted.

“We’re seeing a slow, but steady recovery for our retails, especially since we’ve reopened our downtown First Street,” Marchand said.

The Livermore retail outlets welcomed two new stores, Marchand reported. He noted residents can join a yoga class in front of the Bankhead Theater. The city is helping retailers create online shopping platforms and redesign their interiors for reopening. Wineries will soon reopen for outdoor wine tasting without the food.

Dublin Mayor David Haubert reported his city has been able to weather the financial crisis by covering the $16 million in lost sales taxes with rainy-day funds. He said Dublin pressed ahead with capital expenditure projects, such as various parks, and the conversion of city hall into a cultural arts center.

“We’re well reserved for the decline in sales tax,” Haubert said. “We’re continuing to build the projects that we have the reserves to build on the capital expenditure side, and we’re bringing new businesses into Dublin.”

Haubert further added that people with disabilities were added to the Meals and Wheels rotation; painted utility boxes and painted chairs now bring a dash of color to town; and the economic development team created programs like Dublin Eats and Take Out Tuesday to support Dublin restaurants.

The mayors then touched on accomplishments of which they were especially proud, along with projects they hoped to see completed in the future.

Narum said she believed Thorne would be most proud of installing the veterans’ memorial at Pioneer Cemetery and the widening of Highway 84, but noted he would have liked to cut the ribbon at Lions Wayside Park.

“We’re really proud of our fiscal responsibility,” she said. “We’re proud of that forward thinking and doing it for the long-term versus spending the money for the short-term.”

Haubert was happy to see the development of parks, the aquatic center and new schools, in addition to the rebuilding of outdated infrastructure and widened roads. He said he would like to see Valley Link continued, in addition to an improved Dublin Boulevard.

Among several items, Marchand said he was proud to work with the national laboratories and see the fences around Stockmen’s Park finally come down.

“That was a promise made 58 years ago, and now it’s finally been realized; it’s a place where children can play and families can gather in the middle of our downtown,” Marchand said. “Being the mayor of a remarkable city like Livermore has been a profound honor. And I thank everyone who has been a part of that and especially the voters, who entrusted me with our city.”