City Councilman and candidate for mayor Jerry Thorne told more than 100 supporters at his recent fundraising reception that he will put his 40 years of business experience to work as mayor to bring fiscal sustainability and pension reform to Pleasanton.
Supporters cheered as Thorne outlined a multi-step program that he promised would start by putting performance measures in place to hold the City Council, itself, to public transparency standards "that will make sure you know what we do and that you can hold us accountable for our actions."
"My experience in the private sector taught me that you've got to be responsible and accountable for what you do," said Thorne, who is a retired senior executive from Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies.
"Politicians today don't seem to feel that way," Thorne added. "If something goes wrong, they tend to blame everybody else. One of my favorite presidents, Harry Truman, liked to say that the buck stopped at his desk. In Pleasanton, as mayor, it will stop at my desk, too.
Thorne spent more than two hours at the reception, held in the backyard gardens at the home of Laura and Ron Capilla high in the hills of Castlewood and arranged by businessman Frank Capilla. Most of those at the reception, which raised $20,000 towards Thorne's election campaign, were from Pleasanton, including former Congressman Bill Baker and former Pleasanton mayor and city councilman Bob Philcox.
"Jerry is a common sense guy, very forward-thinking with an ear for everybody," Philcox said.
In addition to his business experience, Thorne also has spent the last 17 years in appointed and elected positions in Pleasanton. He served both as a member and chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission starting in 1995, where he successfully led a ballot measure to make sure part of the city's newly-acquired Bernal Community Park would be dedicated to sports. The lighted baseball fields now completed were part of that effort.
He was first elected to the City Council in a special election in 2005 to fill an open seat after Councilwoman Jenifer Hosterman was elected mayor. Thorne was elected to a full four-year term in 2006 and again in 2010. He has two years remaining on his current term as a councilman.
"As a long-time business manager, I recognize the difference between results-oriented leadership and partisan politics," Thorne told supporters. "There is a big difference in the way that you handle other people's money."
As mayor, he vowed to make pension reform a priority.
"We have to have a pension system in the state of California that makes sense and one that is sustainable," Thorne said. "Right now it's not sustainable."
"And to the men and women in the city who have those retirement programs, I don't think we can guarantee that their pensions, the way they currently are, will be there for them when they get ready to retire. Together, we need to make sure that we have a system that really works."
In addition to pension reform and City Council performance accountability, Thorne also said his priorities as mayor will include new job creation, protection of property values and rights, economic development, partnering with city schools to protect Pleasanton's quality of education, elimination of unnecessary government red tape and support for the men and women in uniform
"Together we can make sure that our city reaches its full potential and continues to be the 'City of Planned Progress.'" Thorne said. "We must not allow it to become the city of no progress."
For more information about Jerry Thorne, visit his website at www.jerrythorne.com.
Thorne is one of two council members seeking the mayor's post. Councilwomen Cheryl Cook-Kallio, who also has two years remaining on her term of office, is also campaigning for mayor.
In addition, three are campaigning for election to the City Council, where two seats will be filled in the Nov. 6 election to replace council members Cindy McGovern and Matt Sullivan, who are completing the eight years allowed for service on the council.
The three candidates are Realtor Karla Brown, former BART board member Ellen DeMarcus and Planning Commission chairman Jerry Pentin.