A recent proposal to use the Alameda County Fairgrounds for housing unsheltered people from the city of Oakland has prompted widespread opposition from Pleasanton residents and local leaders.
Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne called Oakland’s request “news to me” in a recent statement, especially because “the fairgrounds is within the city limits of Pleasanton and we work closely with the County and Fair Association on all property related matters.”
“That said, the homeless crisis needs serious attention at all levels of government,” Thorne said. “Relocating the homeless away from families and friends and in areas where access to public transportation and social services are lacking is not the solution.”
In an Oct. 14 letter to Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi, Oakland city administrators reached out about “possible county locations, including the county fairgrounds, where residents dwelling in recreational vehicles and tents could reside.”
Officials argued in news outlets last week that an interagency solution is needed for Oakland’s estimated homeless population of 3,200.
Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, whose district includes parts of Oakland as well as the 267-acre fairgrounds near downtown Pleasanton, suggested using the Oakland Coliseum instead, which some Oakland council members said needs to be available for future business opportunities.
“I do not support using the fairgrounds as a site for unsheltered services for the simple fact that moving people away from the areas in which they are currently located and receiving services is ridiculous, especially when the Coliseum is a more viable and currently underutilized site,” Miley told the Weekly.
Thorne concurred, adding many locally unhoused residents “do not want to leave their communities or the Tri-Valley region because they consider our local area as their home.”
“In an effort to better serve Oakland’s unhoused population and keep them connected to their primary service providers, we hope the city of Oakland can identify a more serious and appropriate local solution and locations for their residents in need,” Thorne said.
Residents sounded off on social media; many were opposed to the idea while some others argued Pleasanton “can afford to offer some good” and suggested using the fairgrounds to shelter only a small number of people.
Responding to Oakland’s request last week, Muranishi said, “Rather than your suggested use of county-owned property in the city of Pleasanton, we look forward to discussing how property jointly owned by the county and the city of Oakland could more appropriately serve this purpose and allow Oakland residents to remain in their communities rather than force them out.”
Muranishi added, “If the city is supportive of this approach, we will contact city representatives to discuss current efforts and ensure our work is coordinated.”