Pleasant Hill mayor advocates for an involved electorate

PLEASANT HILL, CA (July 19, 2023) — While our leaders on the national scene may be lacking in collegiality, the same is not true here in Pleasant Hill.

Our five-member City Council is diverse in thought but truly homogeneous in the desire to be smart stewards of the city. Our decisions are informed by the input we receive from city staff and from you, the residents.

Since I began my public service here in Pleasant Hill, I have worked hard to increase public participation – not just in our events where we derive our sense of community, but also in the decision-making processes of the City Council. I find it confounding that hundreds of people will provide comment on a neighbor’s non-conforming fence but only a dozen weigh in on a significant change in the way Pleasant Hill will govern itself.

Commencing with the November 2024 General Election, Pleasant Hill will elect council members by electoral districts and no longer city-wide (at-large). In response to a request that the city transition to the by-district election system, the council adopted a five-district map. In November 2024, residents of three districts (1, 2 and 5) will be electing new council members from their districts. Residents of Districts 3 and 4 will elect council members from their district in 2026.

To view the approved district map and see where the district boundary lines are drawn, go to and click on Map #5.

A more diverse council

This change in how we elect our representatives is expected to result in a more diverse council. My hope is that this new council will continue to follow the common principle that has guided past councils and forms the bedrock unity of our city. The City Council is first and foremost committed to retaining our small town feel while encouraging much-needed housing and measured growth to ensure that the city’s economic foundation remains solid and our quality of life the envy of our neighboring communities.

In addition to changes in the City Council, longtime City Manager June Catalano retired June 16 after nearly 17 years of tireless service. We are grateful to June for her dedication to our city and for the tremendous staff she assembled during her tenure, including Ethan Bindernagel, our former Community Development manager and assistant city manager. The council unanimously selected Ethan from a list of qualified candidates to succeed June, and we know that the city will continue to be well-managed by Ethan. His familiarity with the city and surrounding communities will serve us well as we transition to district elections.

The Pleasant Hill City Council works hard to promote public participation at all ages. We run mock city council meetings for various grade school classes, teaching them the civility of public debate. Some years ago, we initiated a Mayor for the Day program to provide an elementary school student the opportunity to run a city council meeting. Our most recent Mayor for the Day was Noah Hoyt-Collins, a 7-year-old and soon to be second-grader at Strandwood Elementary, who delighted the council and city staff with his shy approach to leadership and his excellent reading skills. Noah appreciated the experience and even sent me a hand-written thank you note. A big thank you to his parents Nick and Heather for raising a fine young lad.

I encourage everyone to come to a council or commission meeting. Too often the gallery in the council chambers is empty. We do live-stream our meetings so perhaps there is a large at-home audience. Please come to a meeting or join us by Zoom. Weigh in on whatever issue we are reviewing, bring a concern of yours to us or just let the council know how you think we are doing. You need not be an adult to participate. All ages are welcome. We meet at 7 p.m. the first and third Mondays of each month.

Email questions and comments for Mayor Flaherty to