Pleasanton Weekly

Cover Story - October 1, 2010

Are you ready?

Vote-by-mail balloting starts next week

by Jeb Bing

Sample ballots and voter information pamphlets have been mailed to Pleasanton's 40,452 registered voters with mail-in ballots to follow later next week. Those who have them can start voting right away instead of waiting to go to the polls Nov. 2.

A recent survey showed that at least one-third of all ballots across the country will be cast before Election Day. Analysts, however, believe many will vote later this year to make sure they have heard, seen and read about candidates in contested races, particularly in California and here in Pleasanton, as well as to become well-versed on ballot issues facing voters in November.

Once again, the Pleasanton Weekly asked those seeking election as mayor and City Council members to state their views, which follow.

Candidates for mayor

Jennifer Hosterman

Pleasanton was named among the top 100 cities to live by Money Magazine, citing great schools, low crime, beautiful parks and a rich culture which values the arts and amenities for all ages. Pleasanton has been the recipient of awards for fiscal health every year I've served as mayor. While other cities have laid off police officers and cut programs, we've been able to protect services.

Despite the economic recession, Pleasanton continues to get better. Through focused and transparent decision making and management, we have accomplished a great deal from creek restoration to greening our city, ensuring that our first responders have the tools they need and attracting and retaining new business. We have been able to forge consensus on contentious issues by focusing on what is best for Pleasanton.

Pleasanton is a great place to raise kids and to grow old; I will work tirelessly to keep it that way. I have been honored to serve you as mayor these past six years. If you give me your vote, I will continue to work diligently on your behalf, to keep Pleasanton the great place it is to live, work and raise families. Thank you for your trust and confidence.

Cindy McGovern

My candidacy offers a change in leadership. I believe in a government that is for the people, by the people, not one influenced by special interests or political action committees. My grassroots campaign frees me to make decisions based on the goal of maintaining a safe, fiscally sound and environmentally sustainable community.

Two critical challenges Pleasanton faces today are our unstable economy and the loss of our Housing Cap. I am fiscally conservative and I serve on the City Finance Committee. I will work for growth management policies that control growth, sustain city services and infrastructure, maintain public safety, and protect our Pleasanton quality of life. I'm committed to ridgeline protection, a strong relationship with the school district, regional traffic improvements and development of a Youth Center.

As a 30-year community volunteer, 10-year school board member and now as a six-year councilmember, I have proven myself to be an effective leader with integrity. I am known for doing my homework, asking the tough questions and listening to the community before I make my decisions. I am a recipient of the Pleasanton Mayor's Award and was named the Pleasanton Weekly's Woman of the Year. I ask for your vote for mayor.

City Council candidates

Karla Brown

I believe Pleasanton is ready for a change in leadership. I am a candidate that welcomes citizen participation, listens to issues and acts promptly to save time and money. I stand firmly against paid consultants exercising civic influence through large campaign contributions. 

Three years ago, I was co-chair of a grass roots organization that collected 10,400 voter signatures to put ridgeline protection laws and a housing development on the ballot. I was co-author of the new laws and co-chair for "NO Houses on the Ridges." Voters were strong supporters, but both incumbents fought against us every step of the way.

Our city budget is funded 60% by local retail, commercial and industrial businesses. Our office vacancy rate has risen to over 30% in many areas. I will work to attract thriving companies to provide for city revenue and local jobs.

A recent lawsuit overturned our voter approved Housing Cap. I represent slow and smart growth. Future housing should be carefully evaluated, should support a range of resident ages and should conserve natural resources.

I am a business woman in Pleasanton, and I hold a degree from San Jose State University. My husband Tim Belcher and I raised our family here. I am proud to be a new voice in Pleasanton-- Karla Brown for City Council.

Cheryl Cook-Kallio

At this pivotal time for Pleasanton, our decisions will impact our city for decades. Cheryl Cook-Kallio demonstrates the leadership needed to ensure our future prosperity. She understands that quality of life is linked to our city's economic health. She has ensured that Pleasanton maintains a balanced budget and retains funding for public safety. She also worked to:

* Redesign city departments, increasing efficiency.

* Reduce staff through planned attrition without layoffs.

* Foster cooperation with employee groups to reduce pension liability.

To foster economic stability and small business, Cheryl also ensured the development of Staples Ranch to provide revenues for Pleasanton, developed a downtown stimulus program to support entrepreneurship, and streamlined the permitting processes to allow business to grow effectively within the vision of the community.

With Cheryl's leadership Pleasanton opened the Firehouse Arts Center and renovated the Veterans Memorial Building, expanded parkland and trails including the Bernal Community Park, Marilyn Kane Trail and the Alviso Adobe Community Park.

Cook-Kallio's plans for future projects include revitalizing the Kottinger Place and Pleasanton Gardens senior homes, creating transit-oriented affordable family housing, and ensuring carefully planned, slow growth and limited development consistent with a community vision for Pleasanton.

Jerry Thorne

Vice Mayor Jerry Thorne is running for his second full term on the City Council. Thorne's service to the community began over 15 years ago when he was appointed to Pleasanton's Parks and Recreation Commission after spending seven years attending council meetings, commission meetings and more, which resulted in the construction of the 50-meter pool at the aquatic center. He served two terms as chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission and was first elected to the Pleasanton City Council in June 2005.

Thorne retired from Hewlett Packard/Agilent Technologies after 26 years as a senior manager where he was directly responsible and accountable for a multi-function, global organization. He currently serves the community on 18 appointed boards, commissions and committees, including two national policy committees and one state policy committee. He is the chairman of the PUSD/City Council Liaison Committee and the immediate past chairman of the board for LAVTA (Wheels) and the East Bay division of the League of California Cities. He recently received a Bronze level award for Leadership from the National League of Cities.

Thorne and his wife Sandi have lived in Pleasanton since 1976 (34 years). Their daughter Keri was born here and graduated from Amador Valley High School in 1996.

Fred Watson

For my campaign, I have selected three principles of integrity that describe my approach to government and public service: Accountability, Responsibility and Transparency.

Accountability: All our elected officials are accountable to the citizens of their community. Officials need to plan for the future accordingly, understanding the long term effects of what their decisions are today.

Responsibility: We entrust our elected officials with responsible contractual agreements on our behalf with other agencies and third parties. Lawsuits based on poor contracts can quickly deplete our financial reserves.

Transparency: The community should always have easy access to how their taxes are being utilized. Enhance Pleasanton's website to encompass all city projects, project costs, project delays, project overruns and project contracts. Wouldn't it be nice to know at a glance where and how our tax dollars are being used?

As a community, we can get accountability and responsibility. Together we can bring transparency to the processes of city government. Together we can get our elected officials to use our taxes responsibly. It is time you and I became involved. I want to be your city councilman.


Posted by Rae, a resident of Mohr Park
on Oct 1, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Mr. Watson, since you are a newcomer to Pleasanton elections, and, as you stated in the recent Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum, "not familiar with some of the issues facing Pleasanton", I can only base my opinion of your candidacy on three things: 1) your candid commentary about where you live and our Muslim community, 2) your bio on the Pleasanton Tea Party website where you are promoted as their "very own" candidate for City Council, and, 3) your "fred4pleasanton" candidate website.

Until you declared your candidacy Mr. Watson, you were a frequent poster on several opinion websites as "fcwatson". Your candid comments included negative remarks about where you live (a "Sin city biblically referred to as Sodom and Ghomora [sic]", a "moral filth pit" (, and that you consider Muslims to be terrorists because "It is the law of the Muslim to take over the world" ( and "The Muslim religion by its very nature is Terrorism" (

When the Pleasanton Tea Party (PTP) decided to launch one of their "very own" for the Pleasanton City Council, it seems that they also decided that "Lead Volunteer" sounded much more community-oriented and innocuous than your original title on the PTP Executive Board as "Director of Security".

The article in this week's PW regarding your candidacy is almost verbatim from your website. On both, you state that ACCOUNTABILITY, TRANSPARENCY, RESPONSIBILITY are the "three words that describe my approach to government and public service." So far, Mr. Watson, you certainly have *not* taken ACCOUNTABILITY or RESPONSIBILITY for the commentary that told the voters of Pleasanton exactly what you thought of us, nor, have you shown any TRANSPARENCY in your campaign about who you really are, who (other than the Pleasanton Tea Party, the Tri-Valley Patriots and the Republican Party listed on your website) is endorsing you, and who, or what groups are funding your campaign.

Mr. Watson, once again I would ask you to tell us how, if elected, we should believe you will represent Pleasanton's best interests, as well as those residents and business owners in Pleasanton who bring issues before the Council. Given your candid opinions of our town, those of us you find morally bankrupt, and our Muslim community, are we to expect that you will put aside your public bias -- especially when those issues that will come before the Council involve someone you so obviously hold in contempt?

Thank you.

Posted by unclehomerr.., a resident of Downtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Would someone 'splain to me how a town with.. what, 67000+/- residents.. can have 40,452 registered voters??

There certainly are children, non-citizens, and [like Meg Whitman] plain old unregistered voters in that 67k number.

Someting don'a smell rite, Lucy...


Posted by Barbara, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Oct 4, 2010 at 8:51 am

Ms. Brown's statement uses the pronoun "I" a record 11 times--just in case anyone didn't really know why she was running. To quote another Weekly poster: A vote for Karla Brown is just that, a vote for Karla Brown.

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