The Pleasanton City Council election field will come into shape this week when filing closes.
With three members termed outMayor Jennifer Hosterman as well as council members Cindy McGovern and Matt Sullivanthe direction of the community is again at stake.
The two incumbents, Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Jerry Thorneboth are running hard for the mayor's seat. Jerry declared his candidacy last fall prompting Cheryl to do the same.
Thus far, Planning Commissioner Chairman Jerry Pentin has declared his candidacy for council along with former BART Director Erlene DeMarcus (the latest entry) and Realtor Karla Brown, who will be mounting her second campaign for council after coming up short against Thorne and Cook-Kallio in 2010.
With filing closing Friday, it will be interesting to see if either Sullivan or McGovern tosses their hat into the ring in the mayor's race or whether 16 or more years is enough for both of them (Sullivan served on the Planning Commission prior to winning his council seat while McGovern was a school trustee for 11 years).
Depending upon the field, there are many permutations from an open seat on the council if either of the incumbents wins the mayoral race to different scenarios if it's a three-way race for mayor or an additional one or two people declare for City Council.
Regardless, it will be an interesting fall locally and from a statewide perspective with a number of key propositions. What will not be competitive are either the presidential or senate races in California. President Obama will continue to come to the state to collect cash to run in battleground states, confident that he will carry the state easily. The same will apply to Mitt Romney who will actively campaign very little and focus instead on campaign cash to spend elsewhere.
As big a challenge as it is for Romney in California, it is dwarfed by the mountain that Elizabeth Emken of Danville faces against long-time incumbent Senate Dianne Feinstein. It's notable that Sen. Barbara Boxer easily won re-election against a well-funded and quality candidate in Carly Fiorina in 2010 when a number of Democratic incumbents in more balanced districts faced strong challenges. Boxer has a mediocre record at best, while Feinstein is much more respected as a legislator.
I AM WRITING this in the Atlanta airport after the endless night flight (15-plus hours) from Johannesburg that left at 8:30 local time Monday evening.
A couple of quick observations about Swaziland:
Typical of the Third World, women are not regarded as equal to men, particularly in the countryside. While driving out to the rural partner church for Heart for Africa, we passed a compact pickup truck. Two men and a boy were in the driver's seatthe only inside seat. The mother with babe in arms sat on the edge of the pickup bed as the truck moved along at 50 mph or more. Like many states in the U.S., once you leave the coasts, there's no law against riding in the truck bed and it's very common in Africa.
Speaking to the church Sunday, it was striking to see 10-15 adults surrounded by 90 or more children, many of whom were seven or younger. It points out the enormous challenge of Swaziland, where the adult population has been ravaged by the AIDS virus.