PLEASANTON -- Two people who brought the thrill of soccer and the necessity of affordable housing to Pleasanton were honored as this year's recipients of the Ed Kinney Community Patriot Award.
The honorees are youth sports pioneer Harry Miller and housing advocate Christine Steiner.
"Remember, it is individuals, not organizations, who change the world," said W. Ron Sutton, a member of the awards committee. "One of the ways we wish to honor Ed's memory is by annually presenting the (awards) to individuals who have exhibited the service behavior entitling them to be called community patriots."
Ed Kinney was a former Pleasanton mayor and longtime emcee for the city's all-volunteer Fourth of July celebration. Kinney died of cancer in 2005. Miller and Steiner were honored with the ninth annual awards at an April 29 reception at the Museum on Main. The two were chosen by the team that organizes the annual July 4 event, plus past award recipients.
In 1968, Miller teamed up with three buddies to start the Pleasanton Ballistic United Soccer League, leading Pleasanton to be known far and wide as "soccer city." He founded the city's annual soccer parade and opening day ceremonies and led that popular event for 30 years. He also coached soccer at Amador Valley High School. Miller also helped start the Pleasanton National Little League. He was the league's vice president while also coaching Little League and Babe Ruth Baseball.
Steiner has spent her adult life as a champion for affordable housing through her volunteer and professional work. Locally, she started on Pleasanton's housing commission in 1976. In 1978, she started a 21-year run as the Pleasanton representative on Alameda County's housing authority. After an eight-year break, she returned to that post for another six years. Professionally, she worked for the Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity and San Leandro's housing and redevelopment agency.
"For our community, what I would wish is that we'd look at all the (housing) needs," Steiner said. "It's very hard to be poor in a wealthy community. If you live in a community where jobs are created, you have an ethical responsibility to provide workers' housing."