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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Change the council policy

Uploaded: May 22, 2012
City Councilman Matt Sullivan's pulled few punches in his frank opinion in the most recent prior edition of the Pleasanton Weekly.
The councilman has a unique view of the power that local government should exert in what's supposed to be a free-market, capitalist system.
His public distaste for Walmart and his view that the City Council should determine how many supermarkets belong in the community were fortunately overturned by four other council members.
Incidentally, to his credit, this is not a new position on supermarkets. He also opposed the new Safeway on Bernal Avenue, a store that added a second shopping opportunity for residents on the southwest side of town, but also has cut into Raley's business.
For residents, however, Walmart and the new Safeway will offer both closer shopping for neighborhoods as well as additional choices for consumers.
In the aftermath of this protracted process, the council should re-examine and change one of its policies. The policy allows any single council member to postpone an item for one meeting. If that action takes place prior to a meeting, there's an argument to keep the policy.
But, for it to be used at the end of a three-hour public hearing, was violating the process. If a member wants an item held over when it's been on the agenda and discussed, then it should take a majority vote of the council to postpone a decision.
In this case, the Walmart issue boiled down to whether one grocery story can replace another grocery store—not what the corporate masthead reads.
Contrary to Matt's assertions, the circus unfortunately re-enforced Pleasanton's well-deserved reputation as a very difficult place to do business.

SPEAKING OF, things governmental, the regional control being exerted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments smacks of "big brotherism" in the name of the environment.
The two regional agencies adopted a growth plan that is designed to cut air pollution to curb global warming by putting most new development along public transportation corridors.
The plan responds to legislation authored by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier that tied $277 billion in transportation funding to a plan to reduce air pollution—never mind that the air is vastly cleaner that it was 20 years ago to say nothing of when the feds passed the Clean Air Act in the early 1970s.
This is all about man-made global warming and exerting control.
A point to ponder: How well do our weather experts and scientists predict weather day-to-day, let alone week-to-week or month-to-month. And, climate scientists purport to understand both the trends (possible) and the causes (unlikely) of our world-wide climate.
It takes way more faith to believe in them than it does to believe in a Creator God.
One additional observation: the structure of the transportation commission and the regional government outfit creates huge immunity for the politicians. Who in Orinda is going to tie its vice-mayor, Amy Worth, to these policies? Same goes for Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty.
The elected politicians are appointed to these powerful boards that have a huge impact on our daily lives, but never directly face the voters with their actions on regional boards in the discussion.

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