For the 50% of you who haven't yet voted by mail -- saving that special privilege for Election Day today at the polling place -- many of us will be patiently joining you in lines that could be extraordinarily long. It pays to carry along your Sample Ballot to read once again before marking your ballot.
For California, a state with a large Democratic Party majority, we won't be the state that decides the presidential race and some of us may be voting long after the polls in those key states close tonight.
But we will be the decision-makers in voting for Pleasanton mayor and City Council, for Congress and on a multitude of propositions and measures awaiting our decision. Several of these races could be very close. Let's make sure we vote.
For mayor, we are endorsing Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio, who's been a valuable, problem-solving council member with helpful connections in Sacramento and Washington. She has support from both business and union representatives and, importantly, from Tri-Valley, Alameda County, regional and state government leaders. If she needs help on a regional issue, she has many close contacts who will quickly take her call and give our city a hand.
Her opponent, fellow Councilman Jerry Thorne, also has excellent credentials both in public service and as a retired business executive. If Cook-Kallio wins, Thorne will continue to serve for another two years on the council and will likely continue representing Pleasanton with the California League of Cities.
For City Council, to succeed council members Cindy McGovern and Matt Sullivan who are stepping down because of term limits, we recommend Planning Commission Chairman Jerry Pentin and businesswoman Karla Brown.
Pentin, a Pleasanton businessman, has served on a number of city commissions and advisory groups and was honored with the Mayor's Award in 2008. Karla Brown, a Realtor, regularly attends City Council meetings and has been active in a number of business and civic groups in Pleasanton, where she has lived for the last 20 years. A third candidate, Erlene DeMarcus, who as a BART board member years ago helped bring BART to Pleasanton, has strong support outside of Pleasanton but hasn't been all that visible in local civic and political groups.
For Congress, in the newly aligned 15th District that now serves all of Pleasanton, we recommend Eric Swalwell, a Dublin Councilman and Alameda County prosecutor. Still a Democrat like the man he's challenging -- Pete Stark, a 20-term Congressman who has served a part of Pleasanton and a larger part of the East Bay longer than many of us have lived here -- Swalwell is the political moderate we prefer. At age 31, Swalwell promises to bring new energy and younger ideas to Congress.
As for the newly aligned 7th State Senate District, Mark DeSaulnier has our endorsement over Republican Mark Meuser. We also favor the re-election of Joan Buchanan in the state's new 16th Assembly District over her Republican opponent Al Phillips.
With regard to the propositions and measures, the Pleasanton Weekly favors Propositions 32, 34, 35, 36 and 40. We're recommending No votes on all the others, most notably on Propositions 30 and 38, two competing measures that will raise sales tax and personal income rates "temporarily," and on Measure B1, a new Transportation Expenditure Plan that would extend a 1/2-cent sales tax in Alameda County by another half-cent virtually forever.
Others we oppose are Propositions 31, 33, 37, 38, 39 and Measure A1, the $12 parcel tax on Alameda County property owners until 2037 to fund improvements and expansion projects at the Oakland Zoo. We also oppose Measure I, which calls for a "temporary" levy in the form of a $28 parcel tax on owners of homes in the Las Positas College District.