Yesterday afternoon I posted a blog on this fabulous site regarding the lack of support offered to our returning vets by the city of Pleasanton. The same information I sent in an email to the City Council/Mayor. I got very interesting, defensive responses from Mayor Jennifer Hosterman - below...(her responses in italics)
The first response:
"Patricia - I read thru your note carefully as I think the city of Pleasanton has gone overboard (in a good way) to honor our family and friends. It seems that your biggest issue is with patrols going down Main Street for returning vets. There are many individuals and groups that determine how and when Main Street is closed for a return celebration or any other celebration. Not just me, your Mayor. That said, we can certainly look into this. This is not an "us vs them" discussion as we are all connected directly or indirectly to our service women and men. Jennifer"
My response back:
"I am happy to discuss this further. I would be interested to hear what you consider "overboard". As the mother of an active duty Marine and resident of Pleasanton, I have personally not experienced anything from/with/through the City of Pleasanton that would be considered any notice of his (our) sacrifice. However, I have personally witnessed the lack of support I outline below. I look forward to further discussion. Thanks for the response. Patricia"
Mayor Hosterman gets a little testy:
"What would you like the people of Pleasanton to do, utilizing their dollars , in recognition of your child's service? We have many people currently serving. What exactly would you like to have happen for your family and where have we as a caring and paying community fallen short?"
My response back (really having fun now):
"Why are you getting so defensive? What does it mean that you go "overboard"? That's all I need*to know?" Patricia
*In the spirit of full disclosure, this was sent on my iPhone - so it autocorrected my fingers and wrote "eat to know" in the original email. I wrote it correctly in here :)
Her final response:
"Email is not a perfect medium for discussion. I am certainly not defensive as I have no need to be. I am simply asking the question - what would you like your city to do for your child in service?" Jennifer
See what she did? I offered up a global issue for discussion - she made it about my child. And has yet to answer the question as to what she considers 'overboard'! And p.s., Communication 101 - if you have to tell me you are NOT being defensive - you ARE being defensive...
My final response - as yet - unanswered:
Support military support organizations as they support our troops – whether it means stopping traffic for 5 minutes at an intersection so the procession can go through, allowing them on Main Street, showing up at Welcome Homes – Jerry Thorne has been at every one of them I have been at in Pleasanton.
Again, I would also appreciate you describing how Pleasanton goes “overboard” (your word, not mine): “I read thru your note carefully as I think the city of Pleasanton has gone overboard (in a good way) to honor our family and friends” Can you answer that question? Patricia
I know I am opening myself and my family up for subtle retaliation, I hope not, but the possibility is there...I want to say that I support our law enforcement officers (LEO) and public safety firefighters and EMTs. My father was a LEO and firefighter, my husband a former Marine and firefighter, some of our closest friends are in law enforcement and it is the career path my son will be pursuing, God willing, after his time in the Marine Corps. There are so many good people that are in that field, I cannot help but believe the message they are getting from the Mayor and/or City Council office is why they behave the way they do.
Many of the members of WWR are also Vets, former and current LEOs, firefighters, paramedics. I think that might be why it hurts so much when the support is not there from our brothers and sisters in public service. That is the crux of it - the pain that is endured by not being supported.
Above all - thank a vet today, thank a cop, a medic, a firefighter - those that put on the cross or star of their calling every single day, not knowing is that kiss in the morning of their spouse or child will be their last.
For our active duty and reservists far from home - the memory of that last kiss or hug must last a long time...sometimes a lifetime. Support them when they come home. Allow the procession through our busy Main Streets - so those that don't live touched by war every day get a chance to remember, reflect, and thank those that serve.