Tri-Valley mayors got themselves into Jeopardy in front of more than 300 of their constituents Wednesday.
David Stark, government affairs director of the Bay East Association of Realtors hosted a Tri-Valley version of the popular TV question and answer game at the annual Tri-Valley Mayors Summit held in Dublin.
The mayors spoke about taxes and transportation, although the Jeopardy-like format bundled with fast and fairly easy questions that livened the presentation.
Questions ranged from "What does your crystal ball tell you about pensions for public employees?" to "How would your city cope with a financial crisis?" None of the Tri-Valley cities are facing bankruptcy and the mayors agreed that the economy is looking better, but still not great. Danville's Mayor Newell Arnerich pointed out that with his town's budget well under those of the mayors next to him, "every penny only counts, and not only that it's easily seen."
Asked how San Ramon competes for business with the other Tri-Valley cities, Mayor Bill Clarkson said the city is more focused on competing with other states and other countries.
Clarkson said education plays a "very important" role, pointing out that for every city, the school system is a big draw. In San Ramon, he noted that GE, which recently announced an expansion at Bishop Ranch, will be bringing in an educated workforce.
"They want a place where engineers can send their children to school," Clarkson said, adding that STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math -- programs are of particular importance.
Livermore Mayor John Marchand boosted iGATE, the regional public-private partnership that is working closely with the Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories and Tri-Valley cities.
Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti and Mayor Jennifer Hosterman of Pleasanton, who are on the board of directors of iGATE, praised the collaborative opportunities and entrepreneurial education and assistance the technology upstart is already bringing to their cities.
Arnerich, president of a successful architectural firm, said he knows voters don't like to approve tax measures. But he urged them to look at the Prop 30 tax proposal just as they would an investment they might consider, asking questions such as "Will it help in their children's education, make traffic in their town a little bit lighter, will it help improve their quality of life?" If they like those kinds of investments, then they should vote for the tax.
Clarkson said whether Prop 30 wins or fails, the state will continue "to come after us" for revenues, using Gov. Brown's elimination of redevelopment agencies and taking the money for state use as an example.
The Alameda County mayors also endorsed Measure B1, the $7.7 billion countywide sales tax measure on the Nov. 6 ballot that would add another 1/2-cent sales tax to support transportation projects. Hosterman, who has been leading the effort to see Measure B1 passed, said that as important as the added revenue would be to completing key transportation projects here, approval of the measure also will enable the county and cities to receive additional matching funds from other sources. "It will enable us to add more hot (toll) lanes on our freeways and reduce congestion," Hosterman said.
Marchand urged his fellow mayors to support efforts to extend BART to Livermore. The plan, which underwent another environmental review Wednesday, would extend the tracks to a new station at Isabel Road, and then later farther east. "We're very close to getting the money we need to finally make this happen," he said.