Candidates for mayor, City Council share views on how they'd govern Pleasanton in years ahead

Senior housing issues dominate 1st forum as Stoneridge Drive, other long-time concerns fade

Candidates for Pleasanton mayor and City Council in the upcoming municipal election on Nov. 2 took to the stage for the first time Monday to publicly talk together about their views on the challenges facing the community and how they would handle them if elected.

The candidates for mayor are:

Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, who has been on the council since 2002 including the last six years as mayor. She is seeking re-election to a fourth and—because of term limits—a final two-year term in the top post.

Councilwoman Cindy McGovern, who was re-elected to the council for a second four-year term two years ago. She served on the Pleasanton school board from 1993 to 2003 before being elected to the council in 2004.

Candidates for the City Council, where there are two seats available, are (again in alphabetical order):

Karla Brown, a Realtor with Keller-Williams Realty, president of the Dublin Women's' Realtors Association and president of the Kottinger Ranch Homeowners Association, who is seeking her first elected post with her bid for a council seat. She has lived in Pleasanton 18 years.

Councilwoman Cheryl-Cook-Kallio, who is seeking re-election to a second four-year term on the council. An advanced placement history and government teacher at Irvington High School in Fremont, where she also coaches the school's "We the People" competition civics team, she has lived in Pleasanton for more than two decades.

Councilman Jerry Thorne, a retired business executive with Hewlett Packard and Agilent Technologies, was appointed to the city's Parks and Recreation Commission 15 years ago. He was elected to the council in June 2005 to fill an unexpired term and then re-elected in 2006. He is seeking re-election to his second full four-year term.

Fred Watson, who moved to Pleasanton in 2000, is manager of volunteer services for Open Heart Kitchen, a Tri-Valley nonprofit that is also the area's only "food bank" serving the needy. Watson said he is a member of the Pleasanton Tea Party Association.

Since the candidates' forum, the first of the current campaign, was held at Pleasanton Gardens, a subsidized senior housing facility on Kottinger Drive, much of the discussion concerned the housing needs and services that will be required as a larger portion of Pleasanton's population matures. The forum was moderated by Tim Hunt, former associate editor of the Tri-Valley Herald and a newspaper columnist, who is also on the board of directors of Pleasanton Gardens.

Candidates generally said they favor a plan under development that would rebuild Kottinger Place across from Pleasanton Gardens into a larger, multi-story senior housing complex for low income residents, taking part of a park next to Kottinger Place on Vineyard Avenue. Under the plan, Pleasanton Gardens would be folded into the new complex with the city deciding what to do with the current facility that is now privately-owned and managed.

That plan brought the only heated debate in Monday's forum after McGovern said she favored renovating both senior facilities, not replacing them. She wants the city to use available federal and state funds for senior housing to build a new facility somewhere else in Pleasanton, not on a park site.

But Hunt, momentarily taking off his "impartial" moderator's hat, told McGovern her plan wouldn't work. He said Pleasanton Gardens is more than 60 years old and could not meet new building standards without a complete rebuild.

"It's ready for the bulldozers, Cindy," Hunt told her.

Candidates touched on environmental, business and municipal government issues, with Hosterman, Cook-Kallio and Thorne highlighting the strong fiscal policies already in place in Pleasanton and recent decisions to add more housing and tax-revenue-supporting businesses on Staples Ranch and in Hacienda Business Park.

"Money Magazine recently named Pleasanton as one of top 100 cities in the country," Hosterman said. "We want to keep it that way. These are tough economic times but the fact is that our city's budget is balanced and we haven't had to lay off any employees or cut back on the high quality of services we have here."

Cook-Kallio agreed, but added that Pleasanton hasn't kept pace in terms of providing enough housing to serve low income seniors. If re-elected, she vowed to move forward "expeditiously" on the Kottinger Place rebuild plan and to also make sure transportation and other special services that serve Pleasanton's senior population keep pace with rising demand.

Thorne, who is currently the city's vice mayor and is also vice chairman of the organization that operates Wheels buses, said he would work to have dollar-a-ride bus service available to seniors and to keep Wheels' Route 8, which seniors use to reach medical and other services.

"I, too, want to move forward on the Pleasanton Gardens project," Thorne said. We need to quit dragging our feet on this important effort."

But McGovern said that while the city overall appears to be in good financial shape, she is concerned by the influence of developers and special interest groups on the others not sitting in the council.

"I decided to seek the mayor's post because I want to renew trust in our local government," McGovern said. "I promise to focus on what is best for our citizens, not outside interests. I believe in the public process and the right of our citizens to object to whatever actions the council takes."

"I also will not seek or accept any funds for my campaign from special interest groups of political action committees," she added.

Brown, who served as co-chairwoman to "Save Pleasanton's Hills," a citizens' coalition founded by former Councilwoman Kay Ayala, said her concerns over hilltop developments and other issues caused her "to get out of my comfortable chair at home and run for council where I will listen to citizens when they come to speak."

"My goal is to restore representative government here in Pleasanton," she added. I remain committed to ridgeline protections. I also want to revitalize economic development in our city to make our downtown vital and strong and to bring more stores back to our downtown."

Watson said that as a manager at Open Heart Kitchen, he has seen first-hand the growing needs of many in the Tri-Valley caused by a downturn in the economy.

"As a taxpayer, I want to be more fiscally involved in the city, working to create a more financially-healthy community," he said. "We need to keep our taxes lower, our community employed and city service intact. Our parks will not be safe if they are surrounded by foreclosed homes and businesses."

Although Hunt's questions and the candidates' responses touched on a number of long-controversial issues, such as low-income housing, development on the hillsides and the annexation and development of Staples Ranch, what's generally considered the most controversial issue over the last decade and longer—the extension of Stoneridge Drive to El Charro Road and Livermore—was never mentioned.

That extension plan, which would block access to El Charro for the time being, is part of the overall staples Ranch environmental plan that was approved the City Council two weeks ago and will be finalized at the council's meeting Sept. 7.

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Like this comment
Posted by Barry
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Sep 1, 2010 at 9:16 am

Go Cindy and Karla,

I feel we have been sold out by Hosterman, Cook-Kallio, and Thorne.
Business as usual!

I hope all the NO on "D" voters realize what is at stake this November. You all know who is on the side of the developers.

It's pretty obvious that they want to steam roll development at "any cost".

I don't think Pleasanton deep down is ready for all the bull dozers.

We need you out there voting again in November.

This is NO on "D" for the whole city....

Like this comment
Posted by West Side Observer
a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 1, 2010 at 10:34 am


You live in alternate universe. Pleasanton, at the intersection of two Interstate freeways, is pretty much fully developed, as one would expect. The Lin’s 51 homes on their own property is not development—especially when you compare their small project with the state of California’s demand that Pleasanton build thousands of “affordable” housing units because of the recently adjudicated illegal, anti-developer, housing cap.

If you insist on dividing people along development lines, look at your philosophical cousins demanding affordable housing and protection of weeds. The damage they do to our way of life and to the economy far outweighs 51 homes on a hundred acres surrounded by a free 500-acre park.

The fact is Kay Ayala and Karla Brown cost us a ton of money and a ton of credibility to save their “viewshed.” (And, so you know, Kay accosted me to sign her petition and she did just the opposite of what she claimed in her suit—no documents for me to examine and an incredible story of how the Lins would destroy the Pleasanton Ridge to which she pointed. She was a perfect demagogue playing fast and loose with the truth and the facts.)

Your vitriol is getting tiresome. The sky is not falling. Developers are not inherently evil. The traditional “selling out” is now old-style Pleasanton politics especially in the face of government, at all levels, selling out to Big bureaucracy, Big environment, and Big unions—far greater problems.

Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2010 at 10:57 am

Hey you folks in Pleasanton...remember the NEW MOTTO..."VOTE THE INCUMBENTS OUT" and bring in NEW BLOOD. This is the NEW BATTLE CRY to achieve a successful future.

Thanks for listening, Julia from Alamo

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 1, 2010 at 11:02 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Voting out all incumbents will not create a successful future. It causes more problems than it creates as staff more knowledgeable about governmental processes will be able to run circles around electeds who won't have the ability to know when they're being duped by staff.

Like this comment
Posted by Write In
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2010 at 2:39 pm


I always vote, and 'usually' feel good about voting for least one candidate. ;-)

But, in the case of mayor, I think I will be using the "write-in" vote for the 1st time in my life, of almost 6 decades.

I will write my own name in.....not because I want to be mayor, but because I do want to vote - and at least in my mind, do my small part to show my complete and sincere frustration with those running for mayor.


To Ms. McGovern - Those you represent on issues such as all the various referendums ARE a "special interest". Trust me - you are backed financially by a very vocal Special Interest.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Learn about the issues, discuss them to understand how others feel, and vote.

After the people have spoken, support those who have been elected for their terms.

Like this comment
Posted by Suzy Q
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 2, 2010 at 8:22 am

Mike, what happens when they promise one thing and deliver another? I refused to believe that is okay and normal for a politician to lie as part of a normal campaign. I taught my kids the truth is the only answer. If the candidates make false promises - vote them out.

Like this comment
Posted by What?
a resident of Amador Estates
on Sep 2, 2010 at 8:29 am

No one ever said you have the right to live anywhere you want. If you can't afford housing in a more upscale neighbor government should not force any community to set aside housing for lower incomes. If that is so, why does it not happen in Blackhawk or Ruby Hills. These additional building projects require a certain percentage of lower income housing. It is here in Pleasanton which is dominated by middle class. The requirement won't happen in the upscale communities because they are rich and can't fight it. I grew up poor and I fought hard to reach middle class. I am hispanic and I understand government should not give my people anything. We need to earn it. The Mayor and City Counsel support all social projects because they care little for the residents and what they want. They know "what's best" and that residents of Pleasanton are too stupid to decide on their. What has the Mayor of this town done for her community. She fell into the job because no one else wanted it. Vote her out.

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 2, 2010 at 8:30 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Then don't vote on issues, vote on the methodology the person used to arrive at their conclusions on an issue. Did they take the time to read everything? Did they ask good questions? Did they seek an understanding of the issue from all viewpoints?

Like this comment
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 2, 2010 at 9:02 am

Anyone who voted to block the last Lin family proposal are crazy. Even the Kay Ayala's out there know that we now face a much larger development and the city won't be able to negotiate it down now because of the house cap issue. We could have had a smaller development with money for our schools and open land, but with the new lawsuit and the housing cap issue we face a potentially larger development with no additional perks. The "hope" is that our vote will be upheld in court and that the new development won't happen. But the chances our vote will be held up is thin. The state already overturned our housing cap decision. Don't let people scare you into voting. I think our current City Council has done a great job. They take everything into consideration, including the quality of life here in Pleasanton and the overall impact decisions at their level make for the entire city. Look at Pleasanton. It is a great place to live. We have a very good mix of big business and small business. This helps us attract new residents and allows Pleasanton to benefit from taxes that keep our parks in outstanding shape, our schools are some of the best in the state and we have one of the safest cities in the country. Everyone wants to point at the current council or city staff like they are evil, but it seems to me that they have maintained and improved on our city.

Like this comment
Posted by Vote based on politics
a resident of Amador Estates
on Sep 2, 2010 at 9:49 am


Hosterman and Cook-Kallio don't read the staff reports or study the issues. They vote strictly on politics - and what is best for their political future (i.e. what gains the most campaign contributions).

If they studied the issues they would have known that they violated CEQA when they approved the Stoneridge Extension last year without doing an environmental analysis. This resulted in a lawsuit and delayed the project for a year. Now they spout off about NIMBY’s obstructing projects! They epitomize what’s wrong with our electoral system. I only hope for the sake of Pleasanton that people will understand this come November.

Like this comment
Posted by confused about the comment
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 2, 2010 at 10:50 am

So the people you agree with study the issues and those you don't vote politics. How about people can look at the same issue and come to different conclusions? Can we have a substantive conversation about the issues instead of accusing people of being ruled by something else? How do you know who does their homework and who doesn't? If you read the supplemental environmental report you would know that thwere were virtually NO NEW FINDINGS! The environmental issues were dealt with by the county of Alameda because they were county issues NOT city ones! If you had done your homework you would know that!

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 2, 2010 at 11:13 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I think Hosterman and Cook-Kallio were more than aware that there was a potential issue over CEQA. The letter from the County about the CEQA issue was addressed to Hosterman, after all.

Like this comment
Posted by mark
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Sep 3, 2010 at 12:16 am

Cindy and Karla will do whatever Kay tells them to do.

Like this comment
Posted by alma
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Sep 3, 2010 at 8:17 am

Mark, I second your thoughts. I think "Minnie Kay" wears an ear piece at the council meetings with K on the other end telling her what to say and do? How does Pleasanton have 15 million dollars to spend on a new theater? Where is this money and the money for all of the Kay created lawsuits coming from? Just a thought.

Like this comment
Posted by Vote based on politics
a resident of Amador Estates
on Sep 3, 2010 at 10:00 am


So what you are saying is that Hosterman and Cook-Kallio intentionally violated state environmental law to approve Staples Ranch (for political reasons, of course). Either way, we need to throw the bums out!

Like this comment
Posted by confused by the comment
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 3, 2010 at 11:01 am

Again voted based on politics refuses to address the fact that the issues were addressed by the EIR, the County had the issue with environmental information. The supplemental was done to prevent a lawsuit that may or may not have merit. Anyone can sue. Doesn't mean they will win but it does suck up time and resources. Often people try to block project they never want to see built using CEQA, EIRs and emotion. The reason this took so long is there were a hand full of people who wanted to stop Stoneridge Extension at the cost of others throughout the city.

Like this comment
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Sep 3, 2010 at 11:59 am

A couple of years ago the County and the City Council majority negated a 2006 MOU between the County and the City that "create[d] a road map and set forth a timeline" for Staples Ranch development and the Stoneridge Dr extension and tied the Stoneridge Drive extension directly to Staples Ranch development. They did this even though *none* of the businesses planning to build at Staples Ranch required the extension to move forward.

Once the County and the Council majority made the development contingent upon the extension, they then tried to shortcut the planning process by OK'ing Staples Ranch EIR and CQUA documents that *did not* include the Stoneridge Dr extension - even though they planned to extend Stoneridge Dr with the buildout at Staples Ranch. What that meant was that none of the issues associated with the extension had been identified, let alone been addressed with a plan for mitigation.

It should not have taken a lawsuit to make the Council do their job.

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 3, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

At one point in Pleasanton's history, a group of local leaders thought that metering the 680 off-ramp on Sunol Blvd. to discourage cut-through traffic was a good idea. They did a good job in aggravating local Pleasanton residents who were stuck in the backup created by the metering. No one thought that perhaps the traffic there also consisted of Pleasanton residents trying to get home. Angry residents showed up at Council meetings to demand the removal of the traffic restriction. And that's exactly what occurred.

Notwithstanding the fact that Pleasanton residents pay for City streets and therefore are entitled to equal access to those streets, the idea of building services inside Pleasanton which Pleasanton residents cannot access should be avoided. It makes absolutely no sense to develop a shopping center that cannot be accessed by Pleasanton. We'd be building services that benefit the residents of Dublin. We'd also be cutting those businesses off from the Pleasanton market. And that's why the settlement allows for the City to determine, based upon traffic conditions, when the extension should be opened.

Like this comment
Posted by Confused again
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2010 at 1:54 pm

A small group of neighbors who wanted a private cul-de-sac thought it was fine to divert work to home traffic to another neighborhood, convinced people that somehow allowing Stoneridge to go through would be detrimental to the city of Pleasanton. These neighbors wanted only what was they thought best for them and did not care that they were dumping on other neighborhoods. The Council who didn't do their job was the one that agreed to an MOU that only benefited a very small portion of Pleasanton and was against the General Plan. Good job to the council that has been able to see through this and make decisions for the benefit of the entire city.

Like this comment
Posted by Barry
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Sep 3, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Dear West Side Observer,

Why do you hate American workers??? I guess you are one of those right wingers
who thinks everyone should be at slave wages with no benefits.

Republicans are ALL the same! You guys have nearly ruined our country!
Wars that you lie for, injured troops you don't want to spend a mickle to help! See your Sen. Simpson's recent comments...

Most GOP people are chicken hawks... You love wars you don't pay for or fight in (Cheney)...

I hope everyone knows all the facts before you think about voting Republican..

They hate America and most Anericans!

Like this comment
Posted by Whoa Barry....
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm


Come on now. Those comments leave me shaking my head. So sad. I can read the ‘hate’ in your words. I love the way you just want to lump everyone into a box that you can direct your hate toward.

I guess we will eventually have someone that responds how Democrats are ruining the country, want Socialism, and the take over of everything in our life. That they never met a tax they didn’t’ like. That they believe government is the answer, etc, etc, etc………………... Darn, that list goes on and on too.

Try taking a breath, then work to solve problems versus spewing rhetoric.

Perhaps, these forums should just be shut down. They only go downhill after the first post. Sad to see so many hate filled people.

Like this comment
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 5, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Having lived in Pleasanton for forty years, I have seriously considered the motives and integrity of hundreds of candidates running for local office. Often those motives are not completely transparent----and at times seem self serving. Jerry Thorne is a candidate that can be respected, he cares about the welfare and well being of the entire city. A candidate that focuses on their own backyard is not one that will work for all of the city.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2010 at 9:53 am

Liz, when you are done slobbering all of Jerry T perhaps you should recall that he was elected to office to represent the people, and he has not done his job.

He voted to put measure QQ on the ballot, which the Times newspaper editor called a *sleazy attempt to confuse voters with a gutless competing measure.* He campaigned for YES ON D which the same paper called him and the other council members *deaf to their concerns about hillside development* and the voters rejected BOTH of his leadership ideas in droves.

AND one thing I can't forgive him for -- he votes as a BLOCK with Cheryl and Jennifer. IF he had his own mind, and IF he did his homework he would NOT vote as a block with these two OVER AND OVER. Sorry I am NOT a Jerry fan.

Like this comment
Posted by Long time acquaintance
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2010 at 10:41 am

Sharon, If you will remember when Jerry T. was first elected to the council Jennifer was in lock step with Matt Sullivan and the not in my back yard folks. Over the years she has learned to understand the big picture and now has the foresight to consider what is good for the entire city. Jerry is an independent thinker and always does what he thinks is good for all even if you don't agree with him. He always does his OWN homework.

Like this comment
Posted by factchecker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Sharon, Jerry Thorne did NOT Campaign for Yes on D. He signed the ballot statement and then stayed out of the campaign believing that people knew where he stood by signing the For ballot arguement and that was enough. He was not part of the Farmer's Market campaign scene. Don't twist the facts.

Here are some recent examples where Jerry has NOT voted with the Mayor and Cook-Kalio.

Remember that when Cook-Kalio and Hosterman did not want to allow rebuttal arguements for Measure D, it was Thorne who supported having rebuttal arguements. Check the tape and you will hear Sullivan and McGovern publicly thanking him. Hardly voting as a block.

Check the Red Coats application to have music. It was Thorne who appealed a planning commission decision, much to the disapproval by the Chamber, to add conditions to ensure Red Coats was a good neighbor to surrounding businesses and residences. Matt Sullivan thanked him for appealing the application.

Check the recent meeting on the Staples Ranch SEIR when it was continued and the Mayor wanted to hear everything at a special meeting. It was Thorne again who offered a compromise. On the tape you can hear McGovern thanking him for trying to find something that works for all council members.

Specific examples where Jerry does what he thinks is best for Pleasanton regardless of how anyone else is voting. That's not block voting.

Like this comment
Posted by Barry
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Sep 6, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Dear Whoa Barry,

I retract my ALL Republicans statement... But, you most of you guys are so lock stepped and reactionary that it angers me.

Democrats aren't perfect but they don't harm the country like when the GOP gets in power... How can you defend W and what he and his cabal did to the country. I don't hear any new brilliant ideas coming from the right.. Just the same old same old... Pretty scary!
Palin???????????????? For God's sake, it's insane!

I miss Ike!

Take care...

Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 13, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Noone who really matters reads this thing. Its just the same few crazy people getting caught up in Pleasanton politics and trying to sensationalize them. It doesn't have to be that intense. Pleasanton is a good city. Hosterman has only added to the security of pleasanton by fighting like hell to keep businesses downtown, create a financial surplus, and preserve open space while balancing the needs for economic growth. Yes on D would have created open space and given tax dollars to schools, and since it was A DEAL WITH LANDOWNERS, NOT DEVELOPERS, they are now free to develop their land basically however they want, because WE blew our chance to make a sweet deal with them. Hosterman is the most environmental politician pleasanton has ever seen, BUT she has managed to combine her personal beliefs in conservation WITH the economic growth and services Pleasanton needs...because she is a mayor with foresight, knowledge, and integrity. She's a good mayor...let her finish out her term limits and finish her business in Pleasanton the right way.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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