Pleasanton Weekly

News - September 24, 2010

Candidates address senior issues, schools at Ridge View

Each gives introduction, then asked same three questions

by Glenn Wohltmann

Six candidates, five minutes and three questions. That was the format Tuesday when Pleasanton mayoral and City Council candidates met with about 30 seniors at Ridge View Commons.

All six agreed about the first question, whether there's an ongoing need for more senior housing in the city.

"Who in their right mind would say we don't need more senior housing?" said mayoral candidate and current Councilwoman Cindy McGovern.

Her opponent, incumbent Mayor Jennifer Hosterman said housing was needed "at both ends of the spectrum, not only at market rates, but for low income (residents)."

Asked why it took so long to approve Staples Ranch, which will include residential housing for seniors, all four already on the City Council pointed toward traffic issues.

Karla Brown, seeking her first term on the council said, "Procedures were not followed," adding, "Everyone came to the table and worked out a deal.

Fred Watson, also seeking a first term on the council, said, "As we move forward, let's learn from these events."

The six also addressed the city's role in keeping class sizes low for kindergartners and elementary school students.

Incumbent Councilman Jerry Thorne said the city and the school district "are looking at ways of sharing services to save money."

"It is a travesty the way we teach in this state," said incumbent Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio, a teacher herself. "The number of third-graders who cannot read equals the number of jail cells 20 years later."

The six also had the chance to introduce themselves, with some candidates spending more time on their introductions than answering the three questions.

Hosterman pointed toward her record of keeping the city fiscally healthy, saying she has ideas for adding employees.

McGovern asked the group if their needs as seniors were being met, and spoke of her record as a school board member and a 30-year volunteer in the community.

Cook-Kallio told the group that she's been an advanced placement history and government teacher for 34 years, and joked that more senior housing is needed, saying, "I want someplace to live."

Both Watson and Thorne joked that they should be wearing aprons: Watson, because he's manager of Open Heart Kitchen, a nonprofit organization that serves meals to the needy, and Thorne because he's served meals at the senior center for five years.

Brown told the crowd she's a native Californian.

"My parents were raised during the Depression, and they made us all fiscal conservatives," she said.

The event concluded with the candidates mingling and talking one-on-one with the seniors.

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