http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/03/09/enjoy-the-primary-battles-elsewhere-they-wont-matter-here


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - March 9, 2012

Enjoy the primary battles elsewhere, they won't matter here

While the media has spent the last few days focused on Super Tuesday results in the Republican presidential primaries around the country, there's been no news from California with our state primary less than three months away. That's because it really won't have much of an impact on June 5 when we go to the polls to choose a presidential nominee in either the Democratic or Republican party. By then, there will likely be a single major candidate, most certainly President Obama on the Democratic ticket.

But even in the Congressional and state races, there's likely to be no good old-fashioned street fighting. That's because the June ballot in those races will look much different. State Proposition 14, which voters approved, does away with party-specific ballots at polling places in California. Longtime Congressman Pete Stark is seeking reelection in the newly created 15th Congressional District that covers all of Pleasanton with Dublin Councilman Eric Swalwell in close pursuit. Swalwell is pounding the political beat like it's old times, but he probably shouldn't worry. Nobody is close behind -- Democrat or Republican -- and the new voting format puts the top two vote-getters in the June 5 primary spots together again in the General Election on Nov. 6.

With Democrats controlling state elective offices in the East Bay and in registrations, political analysts don't see a third candidate gaining on Stark and Swalwell. It'll be a one-party choice pitting one Democrat against another. Americans tend to decry one-party rule in other countries; now we have it here and we voted for it. At least a political party will make a difference when we vote in the presidential primary, even if there's only one top contender on each ticket.

Fortunately for those of us who still appreciate a choice of different political views at the ballot box, Pleasanton will have what looks like a feisty race for mayor and possibly for open seats on the City Council. Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and council members Cindy McGovern and Matt Sullivan are termed out, although both McGovern and Sullivan could run for mayor if they choose. So far, council members Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Jerry Thorne have announced their intentions to seek the mayor's post and have filed paperwork with the City Clerk, enabling them to start accepting campaign donations. They also redesignated the funds remaining from their campaigns two years ago for council for this year's mayoral campaigns. Planning Commissioner Jennifer Pearce also has completed the initial paperwork to run for City Council although actual filing for any of the municipal races doesn't start until July 16.

Three school board seats are also up for election Nov. 6, with the four-year terms of Chris Grant, Valerie Arkin and Jamie Hintzke expiring. Unlike the positions for mayor and City Council, there are no term limits for serving on the school board. Those on the board can run again, and again.

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