Cook-Kallio plans run for mayor Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Sep 16, 2011 at 8:17 pm
City Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio has announced that she will seek the mayor's post next year when Mayor Jennifer Hosterman's eight-year term of office ends, joining fellow Councilman Jerry Thorne in vying for Pleasanton's top elective office.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 16, 2011, 7:26 AM
Posted by Pete , a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2011 at 8:17 pm
Two safe seats running for Mayor of Pleasanton... Vice Mayor Cook-Kallio and Councilmember Thorne... Congratulations!
Spoken today by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to Europe's finest... "Your financial challenges in Europe are eminently in your capacity to manage financially, you just have to choose to do it" Wow! Pleasanton can't print their own money... you both have 14 months to formulate action that can decide your fate. Oh wait... you will still be on the Council. I do appreciate the time out of your lives to service our Community.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2011 at 11:22 pm
The pubic employee unions really want Cheryl as mayor since she is active in the teacher's union and has worked for all of the most liberal democrats in the area. You can guarantee that if Cheryl had her way, the unions would get whatever they wanted, even though we cannot afford it and are heavily in debt for future obligations already.
Posted by Sheila, a resident of the Southeast Pleasanton neighborhood, on Sep 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm
The people who made the mess are no longer in office. I want a strong person who is intelligent and studies the issues, not someone who focuses on only one thing. Cook-Kallio is willing to do the homework and take a stand. I am thrilled that she has decided to run. I support her.
Posted by Pablo, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Sep 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm
Did they all quit last week? She voted for the stupid environmental plan didn't she? Yes! She is a major part of the problem and as a member of the teachers union she cannot help but bring those strange socialist ideas to her job here on the council.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm
She is already lying in this article by saying "does not want partisan politics to get in the way ". Cheryl in her first campaign heavily used the democratic party. Her name was on their partisan handouts and they endorsed her and the democratic party was dropping off her info on doorsteps.
I think we should ask all the candidates to stay out of the partisan politics; this is supposed to be a non-partisan office. Maybe have an optional document they sign that they can say they will not seek or accept endorsements by political parties, will not allow their literature to be distributed by political parties, and their names will not appear on any literature that is partisan. If they do not sign this, it will be publicized. Thank those who signed and shame those who have not.
Maybe while we are at it, can have the same document indicating they will not seek or accept endorsements or funds from any political action committee or public employee union.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 17, 2011 at 4:27 pm
Let's take a calm look at the issues of importance, both immediate and long-term, and consider the candidate's position regarding them in light of her past performance to determine her appropriateness for the office.
The candidate's union affiliation may be a concern to some and good news to others. The important consideration is, however, not her membership in the union but whether or not she is capable of putting organizational loyalties aside as she considers what is best for the community as a whole.
Posted by Sheila, a resident of the Southeast Pleasanton neighborhood, on Sep 17, 2011 at 6:40 pm
All you have to do is call her and ask. She is the one who answers her phone, listens to all and then makes decisions. She is the most accessible of all of them and she is balanced. If you talked to her you would know all this other stuff is speculation. (BTW, do you know a public school teacher in CA who is NOT in the teachers' union? I think the business community supported her in the last election too.)
Posted by Citizen, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 18, 2011 at 6:04 pm
It is not wonder that the unions want Cook-Kallio. She seems to be one of the most biased Council members in favor of the unions. Just review her public comments from recent council meetings. She was the one that was trying to minimize the severity of unfunded liabilities for grossly unaffordable public employee retirement plans. It was the actuary expert with actual data and expert projections that put a stop to her wishful thinking.
Look, personnel costs have increased from 65% of budget to 79% and our unfunded liability has grown from zero to $180M. If you want employee costs to continue to rise and crowd out the rest of the budget and pass an even bigger debt bill to future Pleasanton residents, Cook-Kallio is your person.
You know the unions will be supporting her 100% which should cause you to think twice. The good news is we have plenty of time to vet her and other candidates.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 18, 2011 at 6:24 pm
Wouldn't it be more effective to ask the candidate what her position on these issues is rather than speculating?
For example: Ms. Cook, We are concerned about increased personnel costs and unfunded liabilities. Would you please discuss your views on these issues and how you would reduce or justify continued spending related to them?
Posted by Citizen, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 18, 2011 at 6:42 pm
Good idea Mike.
However, please keep in mind that as Council Members can no longer hide from the problem, they will provide the political answer and say it is an issue. But have they backed their words with action? One needs to look at their track record and actions they took to address the issue.
It would be great to get Cook-Kallio's perspective on the sinlgle most important fiscal issue facing our city and more importantly what she has done to help solve the issue.
Posted by Concerned Californian, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Sep 18, 2011 at 6:45 pm
Just by looking at the issues she wants to prioritize, it's no doubt she wants:
> To flood Pleasanton with "affordable housing" - part of the unholy alliance of Urban Habitat, construction unions and low-income housing developers. Isn't she one of the three who already took developer money to develop the ridges? Just imagine how much low-income housing developer money she'll take and then approve every project willy-nilly all while claiming the state ruling has "tied her hands"?
> Union pensions - which she'll no doubt want to increase, lower the years of service for receiving and raise taxes to pay for this unfunded liability.
> Support "climate change" which means more regulations and taxes for Pleasanton businesses and more cush do-nothing city jobs working on the "Climate Action Plan."
Do we really need another mayor who will only support unions and developers and not the taxpaying people of Pleasanton?
Posted by local, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Sep 18, 2011 at 6:50 pm
Cheryl will always support staff and the union. If the city workers benefits and/or salary are affected, the CTA fears it will hit the school unions next so they are against any concessions by any public employee union. Cheryl even voted to support the Castlewood union, and Castlewood is not even in the city of Pleasanton.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 18, 2011 at 9:47 pm
Sheila, the vote on the Castlewood union was not 5-0 in support of the union and the fact is Cheryl did vote yes on it. The vote to reopen the employee contract negotiations was not 5-0 either and Cheryl voted against reopening it. Two pretty clear examples of her support for unions.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 18, 2011 at 11:26 pm
The vote on Castlewood was 3-1 McGovern recused herself since she is a member of Castlewood. I was not able to find the minutes where the vote was taken to reopen negotiations with the union but thought is was either 4-1 or 3-2 to reopen. i did find the vote to redo the contracts with management which was a 5-0 vote.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 19, 2011 at 12:12 am
I feel you have missed my point.
I have no problem understanding where Ms. Cook stands. I was suggesting that posters present their concerns to the candidate rather than speculating and predicting based on what usually boils down to an emotional response, not unlike you have exhibited in your post.
I'm going for calm, intelligent and civil discussion.
Posted by Sherman, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Sep 19, 2011 at 1:01 am
Don't stop thinking about tomorrow, don't stop, it'll soon be here. Change in dynamic? I don't think so. Better to invite steve, I think. Meanwhile, carry on with the lazy, ignorant and cliche'd pontificating, as well as all other manner of foolishness.
Posted by Citizen, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 19, 2011 at 9:44 am
Mike - I completely agree with your suggestion that we keep these discussions civil and will do my best to do so.
Please do note that my opinions of Ms. Cook-Kallio are based on attending several council meetings and personally speaking with her about the issue. I do agree with the post above that she has a very open-door policy and listens to all view points. However, one can listen to all perspectives and yet have a biased perspective that causes them to filter out much of the input.
If you listen to her comments as I have, it is clear that she is very pro-union. This in itself is not an issue. But when we have had years of give-aways to public unions which helped create this fiscal mess and we have public unions still trying to minimize the issue and their need for contribution/sacrifice, we need a leader who will look at the facts as they are and make the best decisions for Pleasanton citizens.
I am concerned that Ms. Cook-Kallio does not have this independence.
Posted by Castlewood Golfer, a resident of the Castlewood Heights neighborhood, on Sep 19, 2011 at 10:25 am
The past is prologue. I really like Ms. Cook-Kallio except for all the really bad stuff she does like support the communist unions and their efforts to destroy this great society of ours, and esepcially its golf courses. I'm not convinced she'll protect the rights of golfers, who are among the nation's most discriminated groups.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 19, 2011 at 3:27 pm
Good post. This is the proper direction!
I feel that experience and opinions such as the ones you present provide an outstanding baseline for dialogue with the candidate, dialogue in which the public can ask about positions and intentions, and compare responses with past action and tendencies to reach conclusions about the candidate's appropriateness for the office.
I would be most concerned about the candidate's ability to neutralize union loyalties while making proposals and decisions regarding budgets funded by the taxpayer. This could be a huge conflict of interest.
Posted by Citizen, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm
Isn't there just a tad of distortion in the above two entries?
The issue here isn't whether someone is pro/con union but whether someone can view the facts clearly, determine underlying causes, and make courageous/potentially unpopular decisions.
Personnel costs have increased significantly to the detriment of services for current/future residents (and even future employees). We need a leader who will address this city's single largest financial issue in unbiased manner.
During the course of campaigning, Ms. Cook-Kallio will need to express her views on the issue clearly and defend her track record to date.
Posted by Dennis, a resident of the Danbury Park neighborhood, on Sep 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm
Any pro-con bolsheficks won't have the courage needed to take this country back form the communists infiltators. That's like throwing a fox into the chicken coop. Be nice now! Sure. We're cooked with her in there. All the chickens.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm
You are distorting my post by throwing up a straw man. I pointed out an issue that should be part of the dialogue with the candidate. I did not call for an ad hominem attack based on the candidate's affiliation to a group.
Posted by Mark, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Sep 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm
You say, Mike, that "My concern is not that Ms. Cook is a union member, but that her affiliation may present the potential for conflict of interest in decisions that involve union vs. taxpayer issues."
Hmmmm, it sounds like you're saying Ms. Cook may have a conflict of interest based upon her affiliation. What is the conflict of interest? And to whom is she affiliated?
If you're simply being unclear, or saying things you don't really mean, then I apologize, as I don't want to distort your message. But what about this affiliation you suggest may present the potential for conflict? Is Ms. Cook affiliated with a union, as you suggest, or not? Is she affiliated with a group that would pose a conflict of interest, as you suggest, or not?
Posted by Citizen, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 19, 2011 at 9:16 pm
Council Member Cook-Kallio is a member of her teachers union. This isn't necessarily an issue. What is an issue is her continued attempts to minimize the unfunded liability problem the city faces and her willingness to rely on hope that things will get better rather than dealing with the issue now (view her last council meeting comments where the new police contract was being discussed).
I get the sense that she has fallen prey to the CalPERS/union line that things aren't as bad as people are making it out to be and that time will fix all. This is the public union group think that our elected officials need to be independent of, otherwise how will the issue get addressed?
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 19, 2011 at 9:56 pm
As a member of her teachers' union, the potential for conflict of interest might arise in decisions involving teacher vs. community interests.
The candidate's membership is not, however, the issue. The issue is her ability to think and act as a Mayor rather than a union member when discussions involving teachers come up. If she can, then no problem for me, as I'm sure she would bring valuable leadership skills to the office.
Posted by Give me a break!, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Sep 21, 2011 at 11:10 pm
Oh dear, let the campaign begin a full 14 months before the election. And the smear campaign is nice. Anyone who can't see that the union jabs are an attempt to discredit Cook-Kallio isn't looking. See you in 2012!
Posted by Hosage, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 21, 2011 at 11:37 pm
Mike, you are so right...it IS a conflict of interest. I've always thought she should recuse herself in all our many union issues. A loyal, vocal, campaigner for union issues everywhere, ...to sit on council without recusing herself while we're discussing benefits, retirements, etc. etc. I would say shouldn't the mayor remove her, but the fact that she now wants to fun FOR Mayor is a major cause of concern. The right of the people of Pleasanton are being trampled. She should not be allowed to run. It is so blatenly flipping off the people of Pleasanton. Who will defend the people, when the unions will have a bought, paid for lock, stock, and barrel fellow public union rep, while the 'public' is hostage.
Posted by Robin, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Sep 22, 2011 at 2:15 am
But of course, on Hosage's and Mike's reasoning (assuming he can reason when he's not busy "blatenly flipping off" Ms. Cook), he or other people of like mind (anti-union flippers) would be unable to discuss teacher benefits, retirements, etc. without misrepresenting union members who, believe it or not, are citizens too!
So, clearly, the reasoning isn't there. Anybody surprised that these teacher haters would posit an irrational point of view?
Posted by Citizen, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 22, 2011 at 8:05 am
In 2003, city employees received a 76% retroactive bump to their pensions and got eight straight years of raises (even during the recession) which caused their average income to increase 41%.
During this time, personnel costs ate up more of the budget and are now sitting at 79% - a level where other cities are declaring fiscal emergencies. In 2003, we had zero unfunded liabilities. Today we have $180M.
During much of this time, our Mayor and Council members said there was no problem even though personnel costs were running at a much higher rate than planned. During Ms. Cook-Kallio's tenure, she has been one of the most outspoken members (Sullivan and Hosterman were similar) that either there was no problem or when it got so obvious that she couldn't ignore it that the problem was transitory and wasn't that big.
This is the single biggest fiscal issue this city faces and will have significant impact on future service levels. Ask yourself what kind of leader you want - someone who tries to hide and minimize the problem or someone who faces it head on and makes the difficult decisions.
Posted by Citizen, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 22, 2011 at 9:26 am
Belinda - $180-200M is over 200% of our annual general fund budget so it is significant.
Keep in mind that this is essentially a tax on both future residents and employees for services already consumed. This means that service levels will decline (current examples - we have fewer police on the street and yet spend more on the police force and we are paving fewer miles of road) and/or benefits to future employees will be lower.
All to protect current employees and minimize their contribution to fix the problem that they are benefiting the most from.
It is like asking your kids to pay more for less so that you can maintain your current lavish lifestyle. But I guess this fits with the times.
I suspect that those who attempt to minimize this either don't truly understand the implication of the numbers or are benefiting from the current system and therefore don't want it to change.
Think twice about someone's connections if they try to downplay this issue. Again, it is the single largest fiscal issue this city faces.
Posted by Citizen, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 22, 2011 at 9:45 am
I hope this interchange speaks loudly to all others:
- One side provides facts and implications
- The other side calls names and attempts to minimize.
I urge everyone to keep this issue in mind as you contemplate your votes for our next Mayor and City Council Members. Again, it is the single largest fiscal issue we face in Pleasanton (outside of the general state of the economy) and will have the largest impact on the future state of Pleasanton.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Sep 22, 2011 at 10:15 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
My post was a general response to everyone. I'd rather not see the same old posters here making this local non-partisan election out to be some sort of partisan battleground. It isn't. It is about the best interests of Pleasanton as a whole and who voters think will be better able to execute in those interests.
As for your post, what sides are you talking about? Thorne and Cook-Kallio have voted similarly.
Posted by Citizen, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 22, 2011 at 10:24 am
I agree with your partisan point. I am focused on what I believe is one of the single most important issues facing the city. Unfortunately it (as with many issues) will be turned into a partisan issue.
I am not taking sides at this point (although I am highly suspect of Cook-Kallio given her recent language) - it is too early and there could be other candidates. If it ends up being Thorne vs. Cook-Kallio I will look for the differences of their historical actions and current perspectives on the issue.
My goal is to make this one of the largest issues we as a community debate and internalize in preparation for our next election.
Posted by gunther, a resident of the Kolb Ranch Estates neighborhood, on Sep 22, 2011 at 10:38 am
Words from Stacey: "I'd rather not see the same old posters here making this local non-partisan election out to be some sort of partisan battleground. It isn't. It is about the best interests of Pleasanton as a whole and who voters think will be better able to execute in those interests."
Very funny stuff! Of course! Non-partisan! Election of mayor isn't political at all! Stacey's/Kath's [have you been out
of town too, Stace?] crusades against the parcel tax and Pleasanton's teachers wasn't political/partisan at all! Like I say, very funny stuff!
Posted by Patriot, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm
The Mayor and City Council seats are suppose to be non-partisan. But as most citizens are aware, that has not been the case for at least the past 4 years. Things have changed here in Pleasanton. We have lived here for over 40 years and local plus County elections are now partican; even though they are not suppose to be. Nothing you say is going to change that.
Posted by Interesting, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2011 at 11:13 am
Did you read this morning that San Ramon candidates skipped their normal union interviews this year?
If Pleasanton candidates are smart, they will do the same thing here. Public union opinions and candidate sponsorship should have absolutely no bearing on our elections. Those people can vote as individual citizens like the rest of us.
Public union candidate approval is shaping up to be a bad thing that candidates are running away from - a very good thing.