Town Square

County Democrats, Pleasanton school district union endorse Olivia Sanwong for election to City Council

Original post made on Apr 11, 2013

The Alameda County Democratic Party has endorsed Olivia Sanwong for election to the Pleasanton City Council in the vote-by-mail race that ends on the official Election Day May 7.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 11, 2013, 8:33 AM


Posted by justwondering, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2013 at 11:12 am

No surprise that the unions would back Sanwong since Cook-kallio is backing her. Anyone know what the employee unions are doing in this election?

Posted by Leslie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2013 at 11:52 am

Olivia is Cook-kallio's candidate and this proves how naive Olivia is. A union endorsement, especially the teachers union, is a kiss of death in the eyes of most voters today.

Posted by Julie , a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm

This is a non partisan election. Why is Olivia talking about the GOP taking control of City Council?

Party politics has no place in Pleasanton City Council elections. Shame on Olivia for bringing the Democratic machine to town.

I'm a Democrat and I won't be voting for her as a result.

Posted by Shane, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Olivia came off best at the forum. Energy, enthusiasm, and smarts. I'm a Republican, but I recognize talent. Whether she's being endorsed by Democrats or teachers doesn't change my thinking at all. We need her, all of us need her, on the City Council.

Posted by Sal, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm


Yeah, you're a Democrat and pigs can fly. Nice trolling though.

You ask "Why is Olivia talking about the GOP taking control of City Council?" She DID NOT say that, Craig Cheslog said that in the article! I know reading comprehension isn't the strong suit of most right-wingers, but it isn't that hard to understand quotes from the article. Maybe you're just deliberately trying to mislead. I guess Olivia would be a much better candidate if she denounced unions and took money from shady developers (Narum) or out-of-town Tea Party zealots (Miller).

Posted by Albert G., a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Well thank you very much, that about says it all.

The teachers unions think that a young, inexperienced, idealistic and naive person like Olivia is a shoe in shill for their back pocket. Sad.

I hope Olivia's career aspirations do not continue to align her with the likes of the same people who have brought the state of California to it's knees and have used the taxpayers as their own personal ATM.

Looks like I'm flipping a coin. Heads Miller, tails Narum.


Posted by Sal, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Albert G.,

I see. So it's perfectly ok for candidates to take money from out-of-town Tea Party bigots and every sleazy developer under the sun, but GOD FORBID a candidate receive support from those big, bad middle-class teachers. You know, those evil teachers who are only tasked with educating the future of this country. I just love the pure hypocrisy. It's also comforting to know that the brilliant conservative minds in this community use coin flips to determine the best candidate.

Posted by Julie, a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 11, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Sorry sal. Always have been a dem. always will be.

I just don't believe the dem machine should be involved in local politics. Not too hard to understand.

And your reading comprehension is limited. Read the content in the actual quote. Geez.

Posted by Illegally using taxpayer resources to campaign for a candidate, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Can someone explain why Tri-Valley SELPA and Pleasanton Unified School District employees located at the Pleasanton Unified district headquarters are using a taxpayer funded school district email to campaign for a candidate? Isn't this illegal?

Using public resources to advocate for political campaigns and causes is not legal. Web Link indicates

7054. (a) No school district or community college district funds,
services, supplies, or equipment shall be used for the purpose of
urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate,
including, but not limited to, any candidate for election to the
governing board of the district.

Posted by justwondering, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Wow, just got an email from the democratic party asking people to phone bank for Olivia at the Union Hall in Dublin. So looks like the Democrats and the unions are getting involved in this election!! Its amazing that they can't even do their campaigning in the town where the election is being held!!

Posted by Saleatshisown, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Sal; always on the attack. What a nice neighborhood this has become.

Posted by Go Olivia!!!, a resident of California Somerset
on Apr 11, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Olivia is just the new, fresh, forward thinking progressive candidate that this city needs. Anyone with half a brain in their head that watched the candidate's forum could see who the right choice is.

Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2013 at 8:23 pm

It is refreshing that Olivia acknowledges that she will be supporting the unions. Makes it easy for us to know that she is not the candidate we want in there representing the residents of Pleasanton. She wants to work with Cheryl to continue to give the city away to the unions. We finally have some people on the council that want to put on the brakes in giving the city away and the unions will stop at nothing to get their candidate in there to keep their gravy train coming along.

This is also a non-partisan election and Olivia is showing her colors in getting the democratic party involved in this election. I guess she wants Pleasanton to run as well as Sacramento!

As stated above, "anyone with half a brain in their head that watched the candidate's forum could see who the right choice is." Could be true but anyone with a complete brain would know that she is not what the city needs. So if you have half a brain, go for Olivia. If you have a complete brain, there are other better choices.

Posted by Sorry Olivia sold out, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Apr 11, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Disappointed that this has turned into partisan race and Olivia is encouraging that.

The Union backed Erlene Demarcus last election (as did Cheryl Cook Kallio) . Erlene had had little to offer and did not seem knowledgeable about issues. I guess a payoff of sort?

Now, with Cook Kallio's support, they have adopted Olivia? I would have expected more of Olivia since she claims independence.

Olivia lost my probable vote! She sold out and cannot be trusted to be in closed sessions to negotiate union contracts and protect city finances when the union is feeding her. Had hoped for more.

Posted by Michael, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 11, 2013 at 9:21 pm

You antiunion fools -- probably just one of you using multiple names -- are a thing to behold. Olivia is "partisan" but Miller (TEA Party zealots) and Narum (big money) are not is all too much foolishness. The question is whether Olivia can work well with diverse groups, unions being one of them. It looks like they think they can work with her. Anything wrong with that? Didn't think so.

Posted by wise up, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Apr 11, 2013 at 9:45 pm

council member trusted in closed session negotiations? obviously you have no idea how negotiations go with our labor groups. you think the council is sitting at the table with the labor group reps? silly tea partier...

Posted by huh, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Of course the Council isn't at the table with the labor group reps. however, i certainly hope they are giving the City Manager policy direction on what to negotiate. And that is NOT open to the public so we don't know how we're being represented by each of the council members. It doesn't seem appropriate to the citizens to have council members backed by unions directing contract negotiations in closed session.

PS I'm not a tea partier. . .just a concerned citizen

Posted by the truth, a resident of Valley Trails
on Apr 11, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Oh Please. . .The Republicans have endorsed in races in Pleasanton and the only reason didn't this time is because the Republicans who support Narum didn't want to take a chance that the party would go for Miller. Narum would have taken the endorsement if it was offered. To claim otherwise is ridiculous.

It is easy to say that you won't take support from specific groups when you know that support would never be offered.

Union members pay taxes and live in this town and deserve the same amount of attention as anyone else not more but certainly the same. I find it somewhat amusing that people worry about union support but not about the money Narum gets and the close relationship she has with the development community.

It's funny how people use code words like we need a conservative and at the same time talk about nonpartisan elections.

Posted by A concerned voter, a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Apr 11, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Somehow we have to break this cycle of the unions supporting candidates, the candidates get elected, and then the newly elected official sits down with the Unions and gives them what they want at the bargaining table. (Thank you union for helping me get elected and keeping me in office) Just look next door at Stockton to see what happens when Unions get control? In Stockton, Union supported Judges will soon make a decision on who gets the shaft, the bondholders, or the public employee Unions. I wonder who will win that decision? Look at Governor Brown's train boondoggle. That is nothing more than a gift to the California Operating Engineers Union. That will bring billions of Union wages and forced dues to that union. The Union then gives their chosen candidate the money they need to get re-elected and the cycle continues.
Olivia Sanwong is a very nice young lady; however, I don't think she realizes that the unions only represent 14% of the workforce but they represent millions of dollars in forced Union dues and through their selfish actions they are bringing down the state of California.

Posted by Jane, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm

How are unions more selfish than business people or land developers? That's right, they're not. Why the concern with council members sitting down with unions but no concern with council members sitting down with big bucks donors to their campaign? You know why? Because your thinking is twisted. Somehow -- probably because you were ousted by a union because of your dysfunctional behavior -- you have developed a rather pathetic hatred for unions. This is your psychological problem, and you should learn to deal with it. Most of us realize that there are many competing interests in society, and a good politician will sit down and give them all a hearing.

Posted by Ngo Loon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2013 at 8:21 am

That's all I need to know. The last person we need on the City Council is someone endorsed by Crook-Calio, a certifiable left wing loon and a union pawn. When the Hippy Mayor got termed out we got rid of one of The Three Stooges. We don't need Crook-Calio's endorsed union pawn on the Council to reconstitute The Three Stooges.

Posted by Pleasanton Resident, a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 12, 2013 at 8:43 am

The best way to get to know your candidate is to talk to them personally. The candidates are local residents who are running for this office to make Pleasanton a better place. Campaign marketing and mud slinging make it difficult to make an informed, unemotional, and educated choice. If you really want to get to know who you are voting for, call their office and make an appointment to talk with them. Whether by phone, over coffee, at the farmers market, you will have a chance to really know who they are and how they will lead as a council member. Plus you will expressing the much needed viewpoint of a concerned resident and that is critical for them to know so they can better serve this community.

Posted by InTheirPockets, a resident of Avignon
on Apr 12, 2013 at 9:32 am

First Narum meets with the unions trying to cut deals, now Sanwong is in their pocket. Hold onto your wallets Pleasanton if either of these two get elected.

Posted by Vinelander, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Apr 12, 2013 at 9:35 am

All of the candidates have their own strengths and weaknesses. I think any one of them would be great on the council. It would be nice to have some balance. Look at who is on the council currently and which of the candidates would provide better balance in the future.

Posted by Chemist, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 12, 2013 at 10:13 am

Olivia's "new, fresh" thinking is the same old, tired thinking that is ruining city finances across our state. She is a "YES" vote for any union pension nonsense. Her energy is pointed in the wrong direction for Pleasanton.

Posted by Charlie Brown, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 12, 2013 at 10:43 am

The unions and the Democrats, has anyone looked at Detroit lately?

Posted by Ptown resident, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 12, 2013 at 11:34 am

Here is a good description of the candidates:

Web Link

I am voting for Mark Hamilton, the other three would be awful for Pleasanton.

Posted by Bill Carman, a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I've known Olivia for 20 years and she is a delightful, brilliant person. Pleasanton would be lucky to have her on its City Councel.

Posted by Fact Checker, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Are you kidding?

Where is the article about Miller and Narum seeking the Republican endorsement? Where is the article about Miller activating the network of Tea Party Patriots? Where is the article slamming Narum for getting the Chamber endorsement?

A special interest is a special interest. There is no difference between the Chamber, any political party, and a union. All are advocating candidates who they think would be best for their political philosophy. Sometimes these seemingly conflicting special interests choose the same candidate! Why? Because mostly what special interests are looking for is a critical thinker, someone who does their homework, and someone who will have a conversation.

The election of a city councilmember should be based on these things. Quit with the one-sided reporting. At least be fair!

Posted by Common sense citizen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Thanks for confirming Olivia Sanwong is a Democratic union hack.

David Miller or Mark Hamilton are the only two good choices. Agree with Ptown--the others would be awful.

Re: Miller, love him or hate him, at least he answers questions. Narum and Sanwong do a lot of political-speak, and Sanwong would be happy turning Pleasanton into Dublin, much to ABAG's delight.

Danville has been able to tell ABAG and their socialist agenda hacks to take a hike; why can't we?

Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2013 at 1:32 pm

"the truth" said "Union members pay taxes and live in this town and deserve the same amount of attention as anyone else not more but certainly the same." You forget that union members have a union to represent them. The city council is supposed to represent the residents.

If you do not like this then maybe we need an official taxpayer union in Pleasanton that has equal representation in employee negotiations as the employee unions do. Until then, no fair they have double representation at the expense of resident representation. That is exactly why Pleasanton and the state is in a huge problem with excessive employee benefits.

Posted by Democrat, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 12, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Will now support Sanwong. Non partisan? Like the tea party? Don't need anyone of that party (Miller) on our council. We see what the Gop is doing to the congress. Arming our teachers?

Posted by Jill, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Getting tired of 'tea party' bashing. Got some desperate people out that that are really scared their candidate is going to loose so they try to bash an opponent with misinformation. There are also multiple tea parties out there. I did see David at one gathering years ago with a group that called themselves Taxed Enough Already (TEA). I know that David does feel that we pay enough in taxes and we need to work on our spending problem. If you feel that you want to pay a lot more in taxes, for the same lack of accountability we have now, you do not want to vote for David. There is some newer group that now call themselves the tea party (i.e., they hijacked the name). Different than what David was involved in. Calling David a rabid tea party member that wants guns for the teachers is no different than calling Sanwong a socialist. Focus on the issues instead.

Posted by Voter, a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm

B.P6J3M Carman,
Was that you, we all saw and watched stumbling over to Olivia's wine/cheese party with a bottle in your hand? You only live across the street from where you were going, yet you passed up the house and had to back track. Are you sure you know the candidate well?

Posted by Fed up Teacher, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2013 at 9:54 pm

As a Teacher, who pays Union dues, I am sick and tired of the Teacher's Union spending my money on candidates with socialistic views and beliefs. Enough is enough.

Posted by Paulette, a resident of Val Vista
on Apr 15, 2013 at 8:43 am

Since when is the support of educators a "kiss of death" to someone running for office? I find that comment very disturbing and indicative of a culture that longs to demonize education and the rights of the human beings to think critically. Of course, since "the troops" came out to see to it that Gore didn't get his votes counted in 2000 and that developed into a thriving tea party culture here, nothing surprises me anymore... I intend to have a chat with this possibly promising candidate soon, as I want to find out how much development she supports in Hacienda Business Park, since I live in a neighborhood impacted by the high traffic volume that this kind of development would incur. She told me she is looking forward to that discussion. When in doubt, ask questions of the candidates and get your input in there. They will listen, if we make our wishes known. At least, that is the hope... I wish there was another Matt running; but, I'm sure one of these candidates, other than David Miller, would serve this city in the tradition to which we are accustomed. Communities that people strive to become a part of don't happen by accident. We don't want to lose what makes Pleasanton pleasant. I know I am NOT voting for anyone who has a history of being an unpleasant element at times. We want ladies and gentleman; not cavemen with clubs. I want someone capable of intelligent thought; not an idealogue pushing an agenda.

Posted by huh?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Paulette, you are confusing educators with the public employee unions. Two different things. I think most people respect teachers. The union's job is to extract as much out of the tax dollars as they can, at all cost. They have been pretty successful at that so far. That is why we need a change. Miller is an independent candidate. I have talked with him (although you seem you seem to be afraid to) and he has what it takes to get our city on a track of fiscal responsibility. I would imagine that public employees would be terrified with somebody like Miller because Miller is vocal that we have a problem with all the retirement debt of our employees. Past council members have voted to give everything away because the bill will not be due while they are in office and they wanted the financing of the unions, and in one case, was part of a public employee union.

Two things I look are:
1) Is a candidate supported by a public employee union?
2) Is a candidate supported by the developers (which includes the chamber of commerce PAC which does not represent businesses but rather developers since developers make the donations to their PAC).

If either ones of these are true, I know to check the candidate off of my list. In this election, that has eliminated two candidates.

Posted by Lisa Lorentz, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 19, 2013 at 9:38 am

You can imagine my surprise to have a reporter from the Independent Newspaper call me to check on "the facts" of a recent article in the Pleasanton Weekly! The PW reporter name, credited for the article, was listed as "Pleasanton Weekly staff." Thank you Independent for being diligent in YOUR seeking the facts.

So let's get THE FACTS directly from Lisa Lorentz, who sent the email:

> The email was entitled: "New Chapter 155 website launched" and ONLY contained information about the new website built by CSEA Northbay Field Office and provided the link to the new website. THAT's ALL. No endorsement.

> The email was clearly signed "Lisa (chapter webmaster)" a point PW ignored and reported only my district department and district position in this article.

> PW went to the CSEA chapter website where there IS a posting regarding the "Alameda Labor Council" endorsement. NOT FROM ME. My name is no where on this website. I am not the author. A fact not checked by PW.

> PW further "quoted" me as the author of the posting language and printed "...Lorentz added in her email." COMPLETE FABRICATION. None of that post was in my email. In fact, much of what is posted on the chapter home page is controlled and published by the CSEA field office webmaster.

> I am not the "CSEA Public Relations Officer" where I might expect such assumptions. I was never contacted by the Pleasanton Weekly for a quote.

Using District email to endorse political candidates is illegal. So PW has basically accused me in a public forum of breaking the law.
I have lived in Pleasanton for 54 years, I've worked for Pleasanton USD for 35 yrs, I am a long time community volunteer. I value my reputation for honesty and integrity very much. "Pleasanton Weekly staff" has slandered my good name.

The PW reporter didn't bother to check facts and completely fabricated what was printed in the email in a public forum showcasing what readers will (and have) assumed that an illegal act of using District email to endorse a candidate was made by me.

I respectfully request an apology from the reporter and a retraction from the paper.
Lisa Lorentz, CSEA Chapter 155 webmaster

Posted by Down With Deception, a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 19, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Lisa, This is suppose to be a non-partisan race. Unions have NO business entering into this race. Teacher's Unions have NO business entering into this race! Olivia is NOW a BUYOUT. At least those TEA party members you and your friends complain about, are a mix of Democrats, Libertarians, Independents as well as Republicans. Our Daughter is a Teacher, and she is against the Teacher's Union using her money on Liberal Democrat elections. Also, Lisa, you are MISGUIDED as well as Wrong.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

DWD, Why are you going after Lisa? Seems to me all she did was try to correct the erroneous information posted by the PW. Not once does she state her support for one candidate over the other. As a union member, I don't believe she is in control of what action the union takes to endorse or not. As a voter, she is entitled to her personal choice for candidate, as are you and your daughter.

Posted by Flo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Political parties aren't supposed to get involved in elections. They're only supposed to hold parties after an election. Duh!

Unions are only supposed to extort union dues from union members held hostage, made to work for higher wages under safer and healthier conditions. They have no business getting involved in elections. Only people who have money, or corporations, or developers should be able to get involved in politics. This is America for crying out loud!

Posted by Anti-Union, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Obviously, she's made her decision as a youth. I'ts the easy path for elections. She's already sold old the resident voters for the public union control of her future. She's made her choice. I've made mine. I'm with the long history of service by Kathy Narum.
No union sell-out. And, NO noise-maker either, who wants a political future and thought he'd start with Council, rather than putting in the long hours and years of learning and serving on local Boards and Commissions.
Both Olyvia and Miller are wrong for THIS election. They both need to put in the time, so we can observe their service. Both are late to the process, asking us to buy their pitches, they both have just been visible in recent months...late joiners, too late for THIS election.

Posted by Anti-Union, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm

PW currently has post/article on all the boards and commissions that NEED some Pleasantonians to step up to serve. Both Olyvia & Miller should seize the opportunities to learn and gain experience so they would be 'qualified' and 'experienced' to run next time ! ! !
And, BTW THIS thinking 'conservative' is fully committed to Kathy NARUM...and her decades of service to Pleasanton.

Posted by Down With Deception, a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm

If Lisa is not for the Union's pick, then WHY did she send out the info in the first place? If I did not believe in something, I would not do what she did. For those of you, who think all you have to do is apply to be on a Commission, you are mistaken. First of all 99% of the time, if you do not follow the Mayor's agenda, you won't get the Appointment (even if you are the most knowledgeable or qualified etc). Fairness has not been used for years. The Commissions are stacked. Cook-Kalio never served on any Commissions or Committees. Backed by the UNIONS/Chamber PAC, you elected her! So don't preach what you don't know or understand.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 19, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Can you not read? "The email was entitled: 'New Chapter 155 website launched' and ONLY contained information about the new website built by CSEA Northbay Field Office and provided the link to the new website. THAT's ALL. No endorsement." There is NO COMMENT ABOUT SUPPORT.

Lisa is entitled to her personal choice, be that with or against a union recommendation.

Posted by voter, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Yeh, heh, sure

Posted by Lisa Lorentz, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 22, 2013 at 9:33 am

For goodness sake. I DID NOT endorse anyone!

I sent and email announcing a new CSEA website to classified employees, one NOT built by me, and NOT controlled by me.

Any posting on a website representing a group, cannot possibly represent every member's personal views. Use your COMMON SENSE - Union members CAN and DO think and VOTE as individuals. The Alameda Labor Council endorsement does not speak for me. I've mailed my ballot and who I voted for was my personal choice.

A REMINDER, the PW story regarding my email was FABRICATED.

Thank you Kathleen Ruegsegger for trying to point that out to bloggers above who still choose to criticize and use my name no matter what.
Lisa Lorentz