Thorne launches bid for re-election as mayor

Supporters applauded as he reviews achievements, again as he spells out agenda for next 2 years

With quick changes over recent weeks in the lineup of frontrunners in the presidential race, Mayor Jerry Thorne is taking no chances.

His campaign team held a sold-out breakfast rally at the Alameda County Fairgrounds Pavilion last Thursday where Thorne announced he will seek re-election to a third term as mayor on Nov. 8. He doesn't have to face voters in a caucus or early party primaries for the local election, but he's taking no chances on gaining support at the start.

The California primary will be held on June 7, but that doesn't affect the mayor's race. The filing period, when candidates including Thorne can submit papers required for seeking a local office, runs from July 18 to Aug. 12. After that, Thorne will know if he has competition in his re-election bid. If he's successful at the polls, he'll be eligible for just one more two-year term in municipal elections in 2018.

So, from today forward, with 271 days left to convince voters that he deserves another term, Thorne kicked off his campaign before a record-high launch event of supporters.

They applauded as he reviewed his achievements since being elected mayor in 2012 after serving seven years as a city councilman, and before that on the Parks and Recreation Commission and numerous other regional boards, commissions and committees. They applauded again as he set his agenda for the next two years if re-elected.

Highlighting his service to the community since retiring as senior executive from Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies, Thorne said he has put his 40 years of business experience to work as mayor to bring fiscal sustainability and pension reform to Pleasanton.

He's at his City Hall office almost every day and represents the city at community events several times each week, telling supporters that "I have no other job priorities that will get in the way of being your full-time mayor."

"Not only will I be serving Pleasanton all day, every day, I will be completely focused on the needs of this community and never on the partisan politics necessary to achieve higher political office," Thorne said.

He cited as a major achievement the ongoing financial success of Pleasanton, with city revenues up $10 million compared to 2008 when the recent recession curtailed city spending and caused wage and hiring freezes. Since then and with property and sales tax revenue soaring, pension liabilities have been reduced by 13% on his watch, a new employee retirement formula has employees paying more toward their pension and for health care and funds are again available for major projects, including the $16 million Bernal Community Park improvements to be completed later this year.

Faced with earlier council decisions that ignored state housing law and generated a costly lawsuit, Thorne and the council negotiated a settlement that led to much of the apartment construction now underway but spared the city a long-term takeover of development standards by the state.

"I believe that we can honestly now say that we are a city of planned progress," he said. "We no longer have city leadership that believed planned progress is defined as no progress."

Looking to the future, Thorne plans to push in his third term:

* Completion of an improved Pioneer Cemetery with a Veterans Memorial at its center;

* A new, 185-unit Kottinger Gardens complex for seniors;

* Rezoning of property on Johnson Drive to accommodate a hotel or large commercial development, including a Costco store; and,

* A final plan for building a new civic center and library.

Most important on his next-term agenda, Thorne said, will be a close working relationship with the Pleasanton Unified School District to help it maintain and grow its education leadership in the Bay Area.

"The No. 1 reason people want to locate here in Pleasanton is because of our excellent school system," Thorne said to the cheers of his re-election campaign supporters.

"As a city, we already share facilities, maintain sports fields, furnish crossing guards and police resource officers he added. "However, I think we have to accept the challenge of finding new and better ways to help support our school district."

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30 people like this
Posted by Roxy
a resident of Heritage Oaks
on Feb 12, 2016 at 10:11 am

Vote for Thorne if you like how much building is going on in Pleasanton. Want to look like Dublin? Vote for Thorne. Since he has been Mayor the following has been built: new condos/apts on West Las Positas, new condos/apts for seniors at the end of Stoneridge, at the top of Stoneridge corner of Foothill/Stoneridge they just knocked down 8 trees that were over 50 years old to build more appt/condos/center for seniors-will have 103 beds, building on Sunol blvd for seniors, more condos/appts going up near Walmart. These are just the few I can think of. There may be more, so... you want to compete with Dublin & look like Thorne in again!

24 people like this
Posted by Stop the madness!
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 12, 2016 at 10:51 am

Stop the madness! Enough is enough, already! When we moved here in the early '90's, the city population was in the upper 20,000. It's now almost quadrupled - thanks to apartments and condos. Our streets are over crowded and our schools are impacted. There's no water in the state, let alone our city. Our city cannot handle anymore! Planned city is one thing - but we need a strong leader to renegotiate when the reality of economic and social needs have changed.

23 people like this
Posted by SeniorCitizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2016 at 12:25 pm

In defense of additional housing for seniors on Foothill Road, Stoneridge Drive, and Sunol Blvd;
1. Lived here since Pleasanton had only 4000 people. Would prefer to live out the remaining years here in my hometown rather than be carted over to Hayward or San Leandro.
2. We don't add any new students to the school system.
3. We don't drive as much.
4. We do pay property taxes (if we're still in our original homes).
5. When we sell our homes it does allow another family to come to Pleasanton without the prospect of a new home having to be built.
6. We have a great senior center that shows "Pleasanton Cares".
7. We eat out a lot on Main Street putting dollars back into the local economy.

26 people like this
Posted by Gene Glenn
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 12, 2016 at 1:25 pm

Roxy and Stop:
If you are going to post nonsense on this forum please at least get your facts straight. First of all "Stop", the population of Pleasanton has not been below 30K since the 1970's. In 1990 the population was 50,533. You must have been living somewhere else.
Secondly, the apartment and condo construction you see going up now (1200 units) is the result of legal action against the City of Pleasanton when PRIOR Councils decided they could ignore State land use laws. The Council had to rezone 72 acres of land for high density housing to settle the legal action and clean up the mess made by prior councils. We now have a rational and legally defensible Growth Management Plan that is based on State Law.
If you really want to blame somebody for the large amount of construction going on in our City now, Please place the blame where it belongs, on the State Legislature, not our local elected officials.

7 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 12, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Gene Glenn: "If you really want to blame somebody for the large amount of construction going on in our City now, Please place the blame where it belongs, on the State Legislature, not our local elected officials."

Gene, I agree with your post except for this last sentence. As I understand the situation, the state laws involved here required a BALANCE between jobs and housing, rather than requiring a big boost in housing building in an of itself. That's where the prior city governments messed up. They thought that they could ignore state laws and invite a lot of businesses and jobs into Pleasanton but at the same time say "no" to further housing development. They knew about the state laws and they knew that they were stepping over the line, but they thought that they could get away with it. They were wrong. As pointed out in Jerry Brown's memo to Pleasanton on this, Pleasanton didn't just step a little bit over the line in terms of the jobs-to-housing ratio but WAY OVER THE LINE with 1.6 jobs for every working resident in Pleasanton (!). Blaming the State Legislature for Pleasanton's subsequent housing woes is like blaming a traffic cop for giving you a speeding ticket when you were doing 45 mph in a 25 mph zone. Put the blame where it belongs: On the responsible people in our city government who knew that they were directing Pleasanton to break the state's housing requirement laws but thought that they wouldn't get caught.

18 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 12, 2016 at 3:06 pm

@Roxy. I also noticed those trees chopped down at foothill and stoneridge and I'm wondering how that happened when my neighbors can't even have theirs removed because it's a "heritage tree", who cares that it is destroying their front yard and raising the sidewalk. I called the city 3 days ago and still waiting for an answer!! As for the mayor- Pack your bags, it's time to leave!

8 people like this
Posted by Resident of Ventana Hills
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2016 at 5:11 pm

@Gene Glenn and @Sam,

You both are right to a large extent, however, if you're looking to place blame, it's somewhat equally misdirected.

Yes, @Sam, the 'planned progress' that created the imbalance in the jobs-to-housing ratio instigated Gov. Jerry Brown's involvement, along with Urban Habitat and their lawsuit that resulted in the approval of the 'stack 'n pack' housing we see going up around town.

Why blame previous City administrations for adhering to the will of the people? The now-rescinded housing cap preserved the quality of life in Pleasanton for as long as possible. The business development that took place in the '80s and '90s (e.g., Hacienda Business Park) helped create the revenue base that helped Pleasanton survive the 'Great Recession' and keep Pleasanton fiscally solvent, and still does today. The unfortunate epilogue though is that because of state law (i.e., control) superseding local control, we have limited local control over planning (see Gov. Jerry Brown, Urban Habitat, and ABAG).

Previous City administrations tried to maintain local control as long as possible, and for that, I will not/do not fault them one bit. It's unfortunate that public policy in this state is such that it's rammed down local municipalities' collective throats, and the current City administration is trying to deal with that as best they can, I think.

With forced growth comes increased municipal expenses, too, like growing pension liabilities that don't go away/have to be dealt with.

People like the late Ken Mercer understood the need to try to ensure fiscal responsibility balanced against keeping tabs on uncontrolled/too rapid growth.

It is what it is--not a perfect scenario. Unless growth can be substantially slowed down or eliminated, which is unlikely given the relentless growth mandates imposed by our state government, due in part to the nearly equal relentless increase in population in California, it's inevitable that Pleasanton will continue to grow in size, unfortunatley at the expense of preserving the small town that Pleasanton is increasingly growing (literally) away from.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Stoneridge

on Feb 13, 2016 at 11:27 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

8 people like this
Posted by jp
a resident of Mission Park
on Feb 13, 2016 at 5:59 pm

Who is the alternative candidate and how do you know that person will not be on a rampage to build?

3 people like this
Posted by SmartGrowth Advocate
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2016 at 10:16 am

SmartGrowth Advocate is a registered user.

See above article: "Thorne plans to push in his third term...Rezoning of property on Johnson Drive to accommodate a hotel or large commercial development, including a Costco store."

In the city council meeting on Feb. 16, Thorne stated that he did not specifically endorse Costco, even when the evidence of this article was produced. Which is it, Mayor Thorne? Where do you stand?

Opposition to the Planning Commission's recommendations and Costco's signed letter of intent is building. Maybe the ballot box will be the only way to get the council to listen to the residents of Pleasanton.

2 people like this
Posted by kaycn
a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 22, 2016 at 2:14 pm

kaycn is a registered user.

Mayor Thorne and the city council needs to know that planned growth doesn't always mean adding MORE of the same. Especially since you say property tax and sales tax revenues are "soaring." The Johnson Drive rezoning is a critical issue, but not one easily resolved by sticking a Big Box Costco and oversized gas station in an already overclogged traffic area. Some alternatives that don't bring loads of traffic and pollution but greatly improve the area have been proposed. Pay attention, Thorne! The one thing we need MORE of is common sense!

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