PLEASANTON MAYORAL CANDIDATE PROFILE: Cheryl Cook-Kallio Around Town, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Sep 27, 2012 at 8:51 am
by Cheryl Cook-Kallio
Twenty-five years ago I chose to raise my family in Pleasanton because it was a safe, vibrant city with excellent schools and a strong sense of community. Pleasanton retains these outstanding qualities.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 27, 2012, 7:34 AM
Posted by William Tell, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 27, 2012 at 8:51 am
As Mayor, I will do what my union sponsors tell me to do - which means decreasing services and raising taxes on Pleasanton residents in order to continue the unsustainable pensions of city workers.
So long as developers provide me the campaign contributions to which I'm accustomed, I will allow more development than is required by the Jerry Brown lawsuit - including high-density, low-income housing.
As someone with higher political aspirations and the endorsement of Pete Stark, I will espouse the ultra-liberal views of the liberal, athiest East Bay and not the more conservative values of the Tri-Valley which embrace public safety, great schools, hard work and a high quality of life. Vote for me and you'll see the "transformation" of Pleasanton.
I will also make sure the Pleasanton weekly does not provide equal time for opposing viewpoints - they've already shown they're moving in that direction with all the favorable coverage I have received, and the lack of coverage for Mr. Thorne.
Posted by GaseousXpress, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 27, 2012 at 10:00 am
It is tsunamic in proportion I tell you! I insist! It is the singlemost, biggest, most utterly completely significant, most critical, issue that has ever faced this or any other city. I speak of the appalling, unsustainable, union-induced, liberal-backed, Big Brotherish, pathetic, incompetent, deplorable, unfunded -- unFUNDed I tell you! -- pension liabilities. We're doomed. We're Greece. Listen to me!!! I have nothing more to say about anything in the world, and if you don't heed my words I will implode leaving you all to deal with a pathetic puddle of GASEOUS residue.
Posted by Nomo Loon, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 27, 2012 at 10:42 am
Cook-Kallio has been a sidekick of The Hippy Mayor. Sadly, she is an even bigger left wing loon than the Mayor. More sadly, she is even a bigger union pawn than the Mayor. You want unfunded pension liabilities to destroy Pleasanton? Vote for Crook-Kallio. You want more taxes? Vote for Cook-Kallio. You want to block any business that the unions don't like from Pleasanton? Vote for Cook-Kallio. You want a 35 year union member representing you in negotiations with city workers so they can get an even bigger slop trough? Vote for Cook-Kallio. You want your city to turn into the pits on the other side of the hills? Vote for Cook-Kallio.
If that is not what you want, VOTE AGAINST COOK-KALLIO!
Posted by GX, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 27, 2012 at 11:12 am
Stacey - What does protecting the fiscal health of the City mean to you? Also, how would you factor in the point that Pleasanton's unfunded liability has grown from zero to $137M? Is this an example of fiscal prudence?
Pleasanton's fiscal situation is like a family saying that they are fiscally healthy given their annual income and expenses match, while at the same time charging all overuns to a secret credit card and ignoring/downplaying the growing balance.
Posted by Mary, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Sep 28, 2012 at 6:22 am
It's down to sound bites and allegations.
There has been no record of Cook-Kallio bending to any special interest. She has been part of a council that has taken steps toward addressing the pension issue while being fair to workers. She voted yes on the Walmart causing many union members to be angry. Based on the PW, she was right about asking Castlewood to go back and talk with their employees. If they had taken that approach Castlewood management could have saved their members millions of dollars.
Posted by GaseousXpress, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 28, 2012 at 8:00 am
Stacey says: "And yet Cook-Kallio has voted consistently to protect the fiscal health of the City."
Stacey, what does fiscal health of the city mean to you? Has this candidate who is appallingly bad, overrated, oblivious to our city's economic meltdown in the form of unfunded liabilities ever discussed giving you a tax refund? Has she ever discussed her and her teacher friends giving 30% of their salaries and pensions back to the city? If not, then how can you say Cook-Kallio has tried to protect the fiscal health of the city. Isn't she just another hippie? Please answer my question.
Posted by George M, a resident of the Bonde Ranch neighborhood, on Sep 28, 2012 at 9:17 am
This is my first blog, normally I just read them. But frankly I am sick of Stacey's one sided conversation on Cheryl. We get it, you are going to vote for her. Now go do something else besides blogging for a while. Get a life.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Sep 28, 2012 at 9:49 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
What does "mention of unfunded pension liabilities" mean to you? Thorne's profile was just published today. He doesn't mention the unfunded pension liability either. Are you requiring candidates to directly address unfunded pension liabilities before you vote for them? Do their past votes and performance not count?
You wrote: "Pleasanton's unfunded liability has grown from zero to $137M? Is this an example of fiscal prudence?"
And the growth in the liability is not a direct result of any way that both Thorne and Cook-Kallio have voted. It didn't start overnight and is not solved overnight. A past Council voted to give retroactive benefit increases almost a decade ago. The recession exposed it. Thorne and Cook-Kallio have both worked to deal with the situation in an inclusive manner. That looks like protecting the fiscal health of the City to me. If the contracts they have both voted for, and their votes on the authorization to use some surplus funds to pay down the debt, do not meet your standards, I don't think you're going to find an ideal candidate for you this time around.
Posted by curious, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm
Stacy, reread the 5th paragraph of Thorne's profile. While he doesn't use the specific words unfunded pension liability, he mentions providing a pension for City employees without burdening our children with debt--ie from pensions.
The difference here for me is that yes, they all voted for the new union contracts but Cook-Kallio has been all over the map with her approach to this. To one group, its the employees are paying their 9% therefore problem solved, at the Chamber forum, it was we need to do more, and to another group its wait for the stock market to rally. The bottom line is in the meantime, the unfunded liability is STILL growing and i don't get the sense Cheryl really understands that and is committed to doing something about it.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Sep 28, 2012 at 10:42 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Sure, Thorne is more direct by mentioning "sustainable" pensions. "Protecting fiscal health" requires "sustainable" pensions. That's why Cook-Kallio spoke with her vote for the contracts that moved Pleasanton in that direction.
As for union membership, some may vote for Cook-Kallio simply because of unions and some may vote against her for that. So what? Expressing personal opinions about unions is not the same as actual votes when in the role of elected representative. People have a right to free association and I respect that. Union membership is not a good predictor of outcomes. People seem to forget that Reagan was a union boss.
Clearly the mayoral campaigns are leveraging the national discourse. Yet how does that benefit Pleasanton?
Posted by Arnold, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 29, 2012 at 12:37 am
Posted by Stacey: "And the growth in the liability is not a direct result of any way that both Thorne and Cook-Kallio have voted."
Stacey, that is bull. If you go back to just the PCEA contract it was basically a done deal because Hosterman, Cook-Kallio, and Matt Sullivan had endorsed the PCEA contract. It wasn't until members of the Pleasanton Public brought sunshine to what was happening to tax payers that the issue of unfunded pension liabilities and overly generous compensation packages became an issue. I think you were at that council session. While the community voiced concern about these issues it was the Mayor Hosterman and Cook-Kallio that tried to push their agenda. Matt Sullivan, to his credit, and after listening to the public comments, was the one that helped delay the decision to approve the PCEA contract.
Matt Sullivan was right in delaying the approval of the PCEA contract while acknowledging the concerns of the public. He allowed the public to be heard and deserves much credit for breaking from the Cook-Kallio/Hosterman agenda and allowing further discussion on the topic - to the dismay of the Mayor that had all but guaranteed the unions their contract would be approved. That led to further discussions and the re-working of the PCEA contract saving Pleasanton tax payers several million dollars over the next two years (at least that's what city management is claiming).
The two shills that were advocating against taking a second look at the PCEA contract were Hosterman & Cook-Kallio. Stacey, weren’t you there? I think you were.
Stacey, back to your original statement, “Posted by Stacey: "And the growth in the liability is not a direct result of any way that both Thorne and Cook-Kallio have voted."
Not true. As I’ve described above, Cook-Kallio has voted to ignore the problem at every opportunity, as has Hosterman.
Posted by Arnold, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 1, 2012 at 11:30 pm
Stacey wrote: "The PCEA asked the Council to pull that proposed contract for further negotiation. There was no Council vote on it!"
The PCEA did "NOT" ask the council to pull the proposed contract. They fought to have that contract approved without public discussion. After public discussion they fought to have public discussion ignored.
"There was no Council vote on it."
That may be true, Stacey, technically, but it is clear that Hosterman & Cook-Kallio were determined to block any further discussion regarding the PCEA contracts. They wanted it approved. If not for concerned citizens, and Matt Sullivan, taxpayers would still be paying both the employer and employee share of pensions - and that doesn't even include the unfunded liability costs which double the already burdensome costs that are strangling Pleasanton's General Fund.
Cook-Kallio was willing to push-through & approve what amounted to a bad contract for TAXPAYERS. Cheryl is a nice woman but we do NOT need more union members in a position to approve more UNION contracts. That back-scratching relationship needs to be ENDED if taxpayers are ever to be fairly represented.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 2, 2012 at 12:02 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I agree with your statement "if it were not for concerned citizens" yet your characterization of events is pretty wild. The PCEA asked for the Council to pull the proposed contract and you can verify that from the public record. The Council agreed in closed session and then took public comments anyway. There was no clear indication that Hosterman and Cook-Kallio were "determined to block any further discussion". Personal opinion is just that: personal. If they wanted it approved contrary to what they believed was in the best interests of Pleasanton, they would have voted that way. Cook-Kallio would never have voted yes to explore the matter during a workshop if she were so determined!
Moreover, I really don't see how this has anything to do with why Thorne would be the better candidate. Cook-Kallio and Thorne are typically on the same page. I think the BACPAC statement sums it up best:
"The community is fortunate to have both Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Jerry Thorne on the Pleasanton City Council for two more years, regardless who wins the mayor's seat in November," the BACPAC statement added. "Their strengths are different, but their voting records are similar. Both Thorne and Cook-Kallio received our endorsement for Council in the past for being hardworking, conscientious advocates for the best interests of the total community."
The choice for mayor this year comes down to which candidate has the strengths that you think will be the best for Pleasanton. And one of Cook-Kallio's strengths is taking the time to LISTEN, even when she may not personally agree with you.
Posted by curious, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 2, 2012 at 12:17 am
Stacey, be realistic--the Chamber is trying to soften the endorsement of Thorne because they're smart enough to realize that Cook-Kallio is still going to be on the Council for 2 more years regardless of the election. The bottom line is that the direction Cheryl wants to lead the community is not where the chamber wants to go. Labor agreements, unfunded pension liabilities, requiring conditional use permits for retail, etc are not consistent with supporting business in the community.
And by the way, I've personally found Cheryl short on listening skills and long on telling me why she is so great which i find offensively from an elected official.
Posted by curious, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 2, 2012 at 12:21 am
One thing that would be of interest to me is would Cheryl have been willing to impose a contract if the firefighters had not agreed to pay their 9% employee contribution towards their pension. My understanding is that she is not willing to impose a contract. How then can she say with a straight face that she supports pension reform? That's an example of her union affilation coming into play and clouding her judgement.
Posted by D, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 2, 2012 at 1:11 am
I've enjoyed this comment section immensely. I went through the Fremont Unified School District, particularly Irvington High School where Cook-Kallio is a teacher. I graduated a few years back but in all of my run-ins she is as some others have said a total loon. It is nice to see that others in the community feel the same way.
Posted by Arnold, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 2, 2012 at 6:51 pm
Stacey, I stand by my previous statements. With that said I feel fortunate that this website has someone as intelligent as you posting on a regular basis. I look forward to hearing your opinion and respect what you have to say. On the issue we're discussing, however, I'll have to respectfully disagree.
What do you think about the Police contract? Do you feel like the council & city management have been honest with TAXPAYERS regarding their representation of the Police Union Contract? Do you believe the savings the city is claiming will ever/actually materialize?
I do not believe the unions, city management, or even the city council have been anything close to transparent or honest. I'm very disappointed in the lack of "TRANSPARENCY" demonstrated by our city manager, council, and unions.
Posted by GaseousXpress, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 2, 2012 at 7:24 pm
This is a great thread, and I'm proud to be on it except for the loons and trolls who hang out and spoil things for us who want to assault the candidates in an intellectual matter. I respect everyone except the loons, which includes Cook-Kaillo and the other loon. I know them and, trust me, they're loons. We need candidates who will cut pensions of union teacher incompetents by thirty percent and who will take savings and give back to each and everyone of us a rebate for the bad service we've been getting over the years.
Posted by Arnold, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 2, 2012 at 7:38 pm
"Posted by curious, One thing that would be of interest to me is would Cheryl have been willing to impose a contract if the firefighters had not agreed to pay their 9% employee contribution towards their pension."
They haven't agreed to pay anything. What they've "probably" agreed to is to pay the 9% they should have been paying all along. What the city has negotiated, "probably" (because even though they have approved the FD contract months ago the City of Pleasanton hasn't allowed the PUBLIC to see what they have approved - Why?) includes the 9% contribution which is probably followed up by a 9% pay raise! There are probably NO savings but there are probably INCREASED costs to taxpayers.
The entire Hosterman claim that Pleasanton is soooo TRANSPARENT is disingenuous! I don't see it!
Posted by Jill, a resident of the Danbury Park neighborhood, on Oct 3, 2012 at 9:07 pm
"The unions must see some benefit to getting Cheryl elected. Otherwise why would they spend $25,000 of a push/pull survey regarding the mayor's race?"
I was a recipient of that push/pull survey and no way was that paid for by the unions. If anything the Thorne camp sponsored that survey and should have been titled which way does the wind blow!
The chamber (developers) must see some benefit to getting Jerry elected otherwise they would not be spreading rumors about Cheryl's position on a variety of issues. What more proof do you need that it is really a good ole' boys network than the fact that they came out in FAVOR of measure B, the transportation tax and for Jerry, the gut campaigning against it.
Posted by excuseme, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 4, 2012 at 10:50 am
Clearly, the Chamber (think business) doesn't want to go where Cheryl is leading (think about her out of town endorsements) so therefore the endorsement of Thorne was the clear choice.
As far as wind blowing, remember Cheryl's comments about trying to get a union project labor agreement with the project across the street from BART & now all of the sudden she says she doesn't support project labor agreements. . .hmmm.
Recall her desire to have a conversation about requiring conditional use permits for all retail as a way to deal with future companies such as Wal Mart. Funny, how at the next meeting she was no longer interested in having that conversation after folks from the Chamber had a conversation with her. And which way does the wind blow?
Posted by Russ, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Oct 5, 2012 at 8:04 pm
I gotta say I didn't know there were so many anti union people in this town. Regardless, some of those facts are distorted. I seem to recall that Cheryl was in favor of the Walmart store going into the old Nob Hill. Considering that Safeway is union & a big part of Pleasanton I wonder if Safeway employees will support her. Myself, being a Stoneridge resident I have to ask her why does she keep bragging about being a big part of the completion of Highway Stoneridge?! I and my neighbors don't want that or a nasty Walmart market in our neighborhood. But what's the other alternative, Jerry Thorne?! Wish Matt Sullivan had run. He seems more interested in maintaining Pleasantons small town vibe. Guess we have to decide which is the least worse of the worst!
Posted by Arnold, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm
While I share some of your concerns, Cheryl, as a union member that will have the pulpit if elected mayor, will be just one more level of unions voting on contracts and pensions issues that just aren't affordable.
Cheryl will be leading the discussion, the unions will be arguing in favor of the continuation of bad and unaffordable contracts that will impact city services, future city amenities, and the ever increasing unfunded pension & health care liabilities that are already staggering. Those contracts will be supported by Cheryl, advocated for by every public employee union, and endorsed by city management that stands to gain from the very same continuation of BUSINESS AS USUAL - at taxpayer expense.
Russ, this isn't rocket-science. Please connect the dots. There are just too many aligned interests after our tax dollars using claims of: our house will burn down, we will be murdered, and teachers won't be able to teach if we don't give them more money - and that money will only go toward paying unfunded pensions anyway - while not even addressing the root cause of the problem.
Part of the problem is that we continue to elect public employee union members to positions of authority, because we think they're nice people (and I think Cheryl is nice) and expect them to represent taxpayers. If the unions thought Cheryl would put taxpayers first they wouldn't endorse or fund her campaign - they've done both.
I'm voting for Jerry Thorne because he represents both taxpayers and a sustainable budget. If you're a public employee union member then by all means vote for Cheryl.
Posted by curious, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 5, 2012 at 9:50 pm
If you need further proof of which candidates are supportive of the city unions take a look on Black Ave where the union rep for the non-safety employees has a Cook-Kallio and DeMarcus sign in her front yard. Not even close to the property line to be able to question which house the signs belong to!!
What's interesting is that this union rep is a planner and with Planning Commissioner Petin running for council, one would think she'd be smart enough to have one of his signs as well, just in case he should lose.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 5, 2012 at 10:41 pm
One big achievement of this election cycle is that "Union" has become a dirty word because so many cities have been dragged into bankruptcy because of the public sector unions. Pleasanton is in the same boat. I will vote against any candidate who is even remotely connected to a union.
Posted by Ptown Dad, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Oct 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm
I attended the forum hosted by the Pleasanton Weekly. At that forum Cheryl said "taxes create jobs." The only jobs that taxes create are government jobs so Cheryl speaks as a government bureaucrat. I am not anti-teacher or anti-government, but what we need now is an environment conducive to creating private sector jobs, not government jobs.
Cheryl also blasted Jerry Thorne at the Chamber of Commerce forum for voting against Measure B1. Jerry did the right thing by holding government accountable for taxes because B1 was a perpetual tax with no end in sight. Cheryl was playing politics as usual - you scratch my back I'll scratch yours. At this time we need more government accountability and less political chumming.
Cheryl kept saying it takes communication skills to be a leader at both forums, yet her answers to questions were more convoluted than any of the other candidates. It sounded like a lot of hyperbole.
Posted by Amanda B., a resident of the Mission Park neighborhood, on Oct 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm
I absolutely love Cheryl Cook-Kallio. I first spoke with her when she knocked on my door during her block walking on the weekends. She spoke with both my husband and I in-depth about our neighborhood concerns regarding traffic. I also discovered that she had attended a couple of our neighborhood meetings (I was at home with a baby), and even took the inattentive to visit the park with the city planner on her own time. I was just really impressed with her dedication and patience. She is very intelligent and forward-thinking in her approach to our beautiful city, and she is passionate about helping the citizens of Pleasanton.