Pleasanton Weekly

News - February 21, 2014

Narum launches campaign for election to council

Seeks 4-year term in November race

by Jeb Bing

Pleasanton City Councilwoman Kathy Narum launched her campaign for election to a full four-year term on the council at a crowded breakfast event in the Fairgrounds Pavilion, where she received a standing ovation from supporters.

Narum, who was chosen to sit on the council in a special balloting-by-mail election last May, is currently filling the seat vacated by Mayor Jerry Thorne when he won his bid for the top post in November 2012.

In that vote, Narum received 4,586 votes, 39.62% of the 11,655 votes cast in the special election.

She is now seeking election to a four-year term in the municipal election scheduled for Nov. 4. If elected, she would be eligible to serve two four-year terms because the two-term limit applies only to officials elected to full terms.

So far, only Thorne has announced that he will seek re-election as mayor. Besides his office, two council seats will be available in November: Narum's and the council seat now held by Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio, who will be termed out this year after serving eight years.

Narum, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from UC Davis, served five years on the city's Planning Commission before her election to the council.

Earlier, she served on the city's Parks and Recreation Commission for five years. She is also past president of the Pleasanton Seahawks swimming organization, and served on the city's East Pleasanton Specific Plan Task Force and as chairwoman of the city's Heritage Tree board of appeals.

She is married to Jeff Narum. The couple have two grown daughters, Jennifer and Lisa, who work in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

After college, Narum worked as a chemical engineer, but with the arrival of the couple's first daughter, she chose to be a stay-at-home mom. As both daughters later started swimming with the Pleasanton Seahawks, she volunteered her time to work with the organization, joining its board of directors and eventually becoming president. At the same time, she became active with city and other civic organizations.

"During the first eight months of serving on the council, I've really tried to be accessible, listen to all perspectives and be accountable," she told supporters at last week's breakfast campaign.

She cited as some of her accomplishments on the council as working to finish construction drawings for the next phase of the Bernal Park property, creating a citizen's task force to develop a plan to upgrade the appearance of the city-owned Pioneer Cemetery, approving changes to the Downtown Specific Plan with regard to residential properties that will improve design and remodeling, and adopting a revised cell phone tower ordinance that will improve the coverage in the city.

She said her priorities for the near future include reviewing and strengthening the city's fiscal policy "so that we will continue to ensure that our city's finances are sustainable."

She said she would also work to continue to maintain the high quality of life in Pleasanton and vowed to work cooperatively with other cities in the Tri-Valley on issues of mutual importance.

"It is essential that we continue to have a sound fiscal policy that enhances revenues while looking for ways to reduce expenses through efficiency, Narum said. "We need to continue to reduce the city's unfunded pension liability, to promote thriving business parks so that we can attract and retain businesses in the city, and to further streamline the process of opening a business in Pleasanton."

Narum wants to continue working with owners of older shopping centers to revitalize their properties, with the goal of keeping residents' shopping dollars in Pleasanton and generating sales tax.

Her other priorities, she told supporters, will be to continue working to update and consolidate planning documents and design guidelines for Hacienda Business Park as well as working with the owner of Stoneridge Shopping Center to encourage and support development of the already-approved additional square footage there.

"This could be a great opportunity to add entertainment venues at Stoneridge, such as a movie theater," she said.

Narum said that with strong revenues, Pleasanton has been able to sustain the quality of those who live and work here, including maintaining excellent public safety with police and fire protection, excellent streets and infrastructure and parks, open space, high-quality recreational facilities and a vibrant downtown.

"I strongly support downtown and it will be a priority for me to consider all ideas that will promote downtown," she said. "On responsible growth, it means looking at all the options and gathering community input so that we understand the benefits and disadvantages of each option to make the best decisions in the overall interest of the community."

"This, in particular, applies to the East Pleasanton Specific Plan as we evaluate the environmental and economic studies now underway," she added.

Narum, who currently serves on the City Council-Pleasanton school district liaison committee, also said supports interagency collaboration.

"This includes cooperation on zoning for any new school sites as well as providing resources to help keep our schools safe," she said.

"Regionally, it's important to collaborate with neighboring cities and agencies in the Tri-Valley area," she added. "This includes issues related to traffic, water, and development. High priorities for me are the completion of Highway 84 and BART to Livermore."

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