Partnerships -- with businesses, with residents and with each other -- were the common themes for all five city leaders at the Tri-Valley Mayors Summit, held Wednesday at Bridges Golf Club in San Ramon.
Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich said Danville can only expect to add about 30 residents a year, so it's focusing its efforts on maintaining its downtown, adding small businesses and high-end housing.
"Looking in the rear-view mirror is not the best solution," Arnerich said. He said the town is working with AT&T to improve connectivity for businesses, noting that there are more software companies in the Tri-Valley than anywhere else in the country, including Silicon Valley.
Arnerich called business "a very fragile environment," and said the main challenge for Danville is asking businesses, "How can we help?"
He said sales tax revenues have bounced back to their highest levels since the recession. That, Arnerich said, was in part due to an aggressive effort that began when it hit in 2007.
"We realized at that time we needed to do something different," he told the crowd of about 200 people. The town allocated $7,500 for each business to spruce itself up, for paint, to replace doors and the like.
San Ramon Mayor Bill Clarkson said his city is working with Sunset Development to build a new city hall and a new downtown at no cost to the city. He said San Ramon is also partnering with East Bay Regional Parks to link trails and with the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District to provide disaster training for residents.
Clarkson and Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti told the crowd that libraries in both cities will be expanded.
And, Clarkson said, "Next year, we'll be returning to the black and putting some money into our reserves."
Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne touted the city's open space, its downtown, new construction and schools, noting that Foothill and Amador Valley highs have the highest SAT scores in the Tri-Valley.
Thorne told the crowd that his city's biggest challenge for the near future is keeping Pleasanton looking like Pleasanton.
"I think our challenge moving forward in Pleasanton is to maintain our small-town environment," Thorne told the crowd. To do that, he said, the city needs to partner with residents "to make our town as good as it can be."
Thorne also talked about one problem that's common to all five cities, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Dublin, Danville and Livermore: traffic.
He said improvements are being made to signals that should speed traffic entering and leaving Interstate 580 at Foothill Road, and at the Interstate 680 ramp at Bernal Avenue. And, he told the crowd, new HOV lanes to be completed in 2015 should help speed commuter traffic in the area.
Thorne also backed Livermore Mayor John Marchand's commitment to bring a rewritten Measure B that would have added a half-cent to Alameda County's sales tax.
That measure failed to pass by the required two-thirds majority. Marchand told the crowd a new measure that would expire rather than run forever is likely to be on the 2014 ballot and may be the only way to pay for a BART extension into Livermore.
"I do believe in the new Measure B that eliminates the perpetuity clause," Thorne told the crowd, largely made up of civic and business leaders from across the area.
In addition to an expected housing boom in Pleasanton, Sbranti said Dublin is moving into two building it recently bought, using one as a new police headquarters and sharing the other with the Alameda County Fire Department as a maintenance yard, along with new construction near BART.
Sbranti said a new aquatic center, with indoor and outdoor facilities will be Dublin's "crown jewel."
Marchand said Livermore has approved 600 new business licenses in this year alone.
"It's hard to think of the negative side of economic recovery," Marchand said, "but I did get an email rec from a citizen that said restaurants are too crowded."
He said unemployment there has dropped to 4.8 percent, that the outlets will soon begin phase two that will add between 500 and 1,000 jobs.
Sbranti said in addition to working with businesses, Dublin has been working with the YMCA and Hope Hospice, along with a veterans housing project and regular engagement with Camp Parks.
Merchand said Livermore is reaching out to residents, pointing to a recent effort to clean up school campuses that drew 4,000 people.
Each of the mayors was asked to provide a tidbit of personal information. Thorne revealed he was a drum major in college; Sbranti and his wife are expecting a baby girl in April; Arnerich met his wife the first day of kindergarten and just celebrated their 40th anniversary, and Clarkson ran and completed a number of triathlons, including the Iron Man in Hawaii as well as the Escape from Alcatraz swim.