In My Opinion: Dolores Bengtson

Recently articles, letters, and statements have been directed toward evaluating the "quality of life" in Pleasanton. I realize that many factors may impact the quality of life of a community either positively or negatively. However, recent focus regarding the quality of life has tended to direct attention to environmental factors to the exclusion of human factors. In my opinion, Pleasanton has certain unique population characteristics that positively contribute to the quality of life in the community and are worthy of mention.

Perhaps a most telling measurement of the quality of life of a community is how commitment to youth is prioritized. Does Pleasanton care about youth? Are human resources available in Pleasanton directed to the education, development, and care of youth?

Pleasanton is known far and wide for the strength and vitality of the youth sport programs. Pleasanton Girls Soccer Association. Ballistic United Soccer Club, American Little League, National Little League, Pleasanton Seahawks are all sport clubs dedicated to serving youth. The rather surprising fact regarding these large, well organized, superb programs, is that they are managed and operated by volunteer men and women. Many cities have professional recreators providing leadership to youth sport programs that are much smaller and less active than Pleasanton youth sport groups. While the city provides excellent sport facilities, scheduled by city staff, the programs operate independently of the city. A cadre of skilled men and women volunteer countless hours to assure healthy sport programs for youth.

A second group I would like to mention as providing unusually strong support to youth programs and activities is the faculty, parents' clubs, and student groups of the local schools. Pleasanton can (and does) rightfully boast about the excellence of the high school sport programs and the meritorious performance of the school music/drama groups. The school programs thrive primarily because of the desire of the entire community to provide youth with the fullest possible educational and sport opportunities. Providing the necessary funds to support the special school programs, continually challenges parent and booster clubs, student organizations and educators. The success of our school programs stands as testimony to the dedication of the community to youth.

The full commitment of our community to youth contributes positively to the quality of life and, indeed, imparts a distinguishing "flavor" to the community. Pleasanton has a reputation of caring for youth.

If the quality of life in Pleasanton were to be examined from the perspective of the senior citizen, I believe Pleasanton would be given a very favorable evaluation. Two services to seniors stand out in my mind as indicative of the high value Pleasanton places on its senior citizens.

When the Pleasanton City Council chose to subsidize the local Dial-a-Ride program, a paratransit service available to seniors and disabled, it set itself apart from all other city governments in the East Bay. Other East Bay communities limit their special transportation programs to the extent they are funded by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The council considered the special needs of the elderly and disabled for driver-assisted door-to-door transportation and then provided the necessary funds to implement a full program. Thanks to the understanding of our decision makers, many Pleasanton elderly and disabled are able to continue an independent lifestyle. Again, with the primary goal of providing service that allows seniors to maintain an independent lifestyle, our Dine-With-Us nutrition program is available, at a modest charge, to Pleasanton seniors. Homebound seniors may have lunch delivered to their door. This particular program is offered to the community through the cooperative efforts of Family Tutorial, the City of Pleasanton, and a host of volunteers - without which the programs simply could not function. Pleasanton cares about the elderly!

Many community based non-profit organizations exist in Pleasanton. Each agency assumes a particular beneficial role, depending on its particular focus. Recently, the community chose to provide homes for Children's Theatre Workshop, the Volunteer Center, and the Livermore-Amador Valley Historical Society. The positive value placed on these three dissimilar organizations, all valuable and contributing toward a better community, is further indication of what the city leaders believe to be significant to the quality of life in Pleasanton.

I have mentioned but a few of the human factors that positively contribute to the quality of life in Pleasanton. The list could go on and on: Christmas baskets to the needy in such abundance that all needs were met; a soccer program provided free to disabled children thanks to parent interest, volunteer leaders, and the cooperation of the school district and the city; successful fundraisers for special needs thoughtfully provided by knowledgeable and caring people; neighborhood groups working together to weed median strips, plant trees in parks, and build playgrounds; citizens working together to undertake the mammoth project resulting in the Pleasanton Industrial Plan Review document. Pleasanton residents care about their community.

I am proud to be a resident of Pleasanton. The quality of life in Pleasanton when measured by the human element is excellent. Pleasanton residents are active, resourceful, and caring - willing to contribute to the community in a positive way.

To see a reproduction of the original article and edition of Pleasanton Pathways, visit: March 5, 1984 Pathways.

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