With Sample ballots and voter information pamphlets mailed to Pleasanton's 42,701 registered voters, those registered to vote by mail can now send their ballots to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters' Office or drop them off at the 24-hour vote-by-mail collection stand in front of Pleasanton City Hall.
Or, voters can also wait to cast their ballots at their designated polling places on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, to make sure they have all the last-minute, up-to-date information on candidates.
For those not yet registered to vote, that deadline is Oct. 24, with Nov. 1 being the last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot.
On Pleasanton ballots, there will be candidates for president, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, State Senate and Assembly, Pleasanton school board, the Pleasanton mayor's post and City Council.
Voters will also face Measure MM on allowing a Costco store to be built here, a $270 million Pleasanton school bond measure, another bond measure seeking $3.5 billion for BART and a $580 million Alameda County affordable housing bond measure. There also are 17 propositions on the ballot, led by Proposition 51, a $9 billion general obligation bond measure for schools statewide.
In the municipal election this year, two candidates are seeking election as mayor: incumbent Mayor Jerry Thorne and challenger Julie Testa. Three are seeking election to one of two open seats on the City Council: incumbents Karla Brown and Jerry Pentin and Planning Commission chairman Herb Ritter.
In advance of the election, we asked the candidates to state their views as to why voters should cast their ballots for them. Mayoral and City Council candidates are listed separately and in alphabetical order.
Julie Testa, Candidate for Mayor
As mayor: I will stand up for residents, not developers, and take a more thoughtful approach to growth in Pleasanton- one that considers impacts on our schools, traffic, water, and quality of life. Pleasanton's current mayor and City Council majority support an agenda of excessive development that is rapidly changing the small-town character of Pleasanton.
More than 2,000 housing units will come online in the coming year, bringing thousands of new residents to Pleasanton. Crowded schools, gridlocked roads, and a finite amount of water. How can we support this growth?
The City Council continues to approve new projects not required to meet any housing mandate. Additional development Is Not Required through 2022. Housing mandates are finished. Pleasanton rezoned 1,200 units beyond lawsuit requirements.
I support a new library. The lesser-known story about the Civic Center project is the tremendous expense in moving the police station from the land the library, city offices and the police station currently occupy so the land can be rezoned for residential development. Imagine three- or more-story buildings, additional traffic, and parking, stuffed in our already impacted downtown.
Reduction in unfunded pension liabilities boasted by the mayor was not achieved with corrections, but by moving money around. Unsustainable retirement obligations will continue to short-change city amenities and services, like a new library, for decades.
I've lived in Pleasanton for 30 years. I raised my family here: served as a Pleasanton city commissioner for 11 years, and participated on numerous committees and task forces for both the city of Pleasanton and Pleasanton School District. I want to empower Pleasanton to have a voice, to take back control. We are out of balance. We do have a choice to Slow Down and return to responsible planning.
For a Slow-Growth Mayor, vote Julie Testa. JulieTesta.com.
Jerry Thorne, Candidate for re-election as Mayor
It has been my honor to serve you as your mayor for the last four years, a councilman for seven years before that and as a Parks and Recreation Commissioner for 10 years before that, for a total of 21 years of service.
We have accomplished much together including a reduction in future pension liabilities by 13% in three years and the elimination of long-term golf course debt, saving tax payers over $10 million in interest payments. However, we must focus on the future to improve and protect our high quality of life.
To accomplish this we must:
Ensure that all land use decisions are sensible and sustainable without exposing ourselves to additional legal action by outside sources or the state. This means that we must maintain state certification of our Housing Element.
Find new ways to help preserve the quality of our schools that are within the limits of state law.
Advocate for local control of local issues, particularly land use.
Complete and implement our comprehensive Library/Civic Center Master Plan, Downtown Specific Plan, downtown parking strategy and zoning code update.
Advocate for sufficient water infrastructure and resources.
Ensure that traffic generated by development is mitigated.
Complete the renovation of our Pioneer Cemetery.
Continue permit streamlining process.
Results oriented leadership has been responsible for my success in the private and public sectors and I am committed to this philosophy.
I am endorsed by all Tri-Valley mayors, our Congressman, both regional county supervisors, our State Senator, our State Assemblywoman and more than 70 current and former elected and appointed officials from around the area.
I have the background, experience and relationships to get things done for Pleasanton and keep our citizens "Pleasanton Proud."
Please visit my website at www.jerrythorne.com.
Karla Brown, Candidate for re-election to City Council
Karla Brown received the most votes when she was elected to the Pleasanton Council in 2012, and she continues to be popular among residents. Karla's top goals for 2016-2020 are:
Continue to be the voice of "SLOW and SMART GROWTH" policies that formed our award-winning town. Schools and roads are overcrowded - it is time to slow down.
More quality drinking water is needed. Expanded recycled water for irrigation will help drought-proof Pleasanton.
Plan a larger library. Experts say our library is the "busiest building in town" at half the size needed for Pleasanton. Our packed library is used for studying, story hour, ESL readers, tutoring, books and more. It is time to expand.
Protect open spaces and ridgelines. For the past eight years, Karla has been a leader in preserving our scenic hills, and ridges for generations to enjoy. She is endorsed by the Sierra Club.
Continue to get things done! On the council she helped preserve historic homes, reduced pension debt, prohibited smoking in parks, finished Bernal Park-2, added 10 miles of recycled water pipe, a dog park and a Veteran's Memorial. Karla is our representative on 10 local boards as commissions.
Karla supports Fire and Police personnel that keep us safe. She strongly opposed a huge development for thousands of new houses in East Pleasanton. She cited the historic drought, traffic problems and overcrowded schools as key issues to block this giant project. None of the houses were required by the state.
She is endorsed by a long list of state, regional and Pleasanton leaders, plus a wide range of citizens. She is a 24 year resident, raised three daughters here and has been a volunteer at schools, coached Rage Soccer and helped raise funds for Valley Humane Society.
Contact her at www.Vote4Karla.com or by email at Karla@Vote4Karla.com.
Jerry Pentin, Candidate for re-election to City Council
It has been an honor to serve as your Councilman for the last four years, including a term as Vice-Mayor in 2013. I currently serve on 17 local, regional and state committees and boards. Prior to being elected, I spent nearly 20 years on many city task forces and as an appointed commissioner to the Planning Commission and the Parks and Recreation Commission, where I served terms as chairman on both.
We need experienced, qualified people with the right leadership abilities to help our community grow and prosper. As your City Council representative, I've evaluated complex issues like pension reform, affordable housing and traffic. I understand these challenges and I've worked with residents, city staff and agencies to come up with solutions.
We've done remarkable things in Pleasanton during my four years on the council and I'm looking forward to accomplishing even more in the years ahead. We have important decisions to make on the City Center/Library Master Plan, the Downtown Specific Plan Update and planning the East Side.
I have a number of other items that I will continue to address as your councilman:
Implement the Wireless Water Metering System.
Complete the two tennis courts at the Tennis Facility, with community input to approve the site.
Continue to expand our purple pipe recycled water project to Bernal Community Park and eventually to Callippe Golf Course.
Continue to reduce our Unfunded Pension Liabilities.
Complete the second phase of Kottinger Gardens Senior Housing Project.
Increase landscaping on the Marilyn Kane Trail and the tree count in the Bernal Oak Woodland.
I've been proud to call Pleasanton my home for more than 25 years. Together, we'll continue to make sure Pleasanton remains the best place to live in the Bay Area.
For more information, sign onto Pentin's website at VotePentin.com.
Herb Ritter, Candidate for City Council
I have proudly served Pleasanton for over 26 years as a civic, community and business leader. My wife, Cathy, was raised in Pleasanton and we've enjoyed building our life and raising our two children here.
I have an Electrical Engineering degree, an MBA, and 29 years of business experience. Presently, I work as a senior sales executive for a global company with an office in Pleasanton. I am running for City Council because I want to continue advocating for the economic, educational and environmental issues impacting us all.
Shortly after moving here, I joined Pleasanton North Rotary where I continue to support many local non-profit organizations. I've served as its president and was a founder of the Pleasanton North Rotary Charitable Foundation. I also sit on the boards of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce and the ValleyCare Foundation.
Volunteering in our schools has also been a priority for me. Most recently I represented Foothill High School Boosters in helping forge public/private partnerships to get a new stadium scoreboard resulting in a five-year revenue stream for Foothill Athletics.
My civic involvement began when I was appointed by Mayor Jennifer Hosterman to the Parks and Recreation Commission, where I served as chairman and focused on protecting open spaces and completed three new parks and the Firehouse Arts Center.
Three years ago, I was appointed to the Planning Commission, where I now serve as chairman. I support water conservation, have made critical zoning decisions that improved traffic flow, and am diligent about enhancing our Historic Downtown. I believe we need to engage in smart growth, encourage collaboration, and support projects that include community benefits.
I am endorsed by the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, Bay East Association of Realtors, Livermore-Pleasanton Firefighters Local 1974 and the Pleasanton Police Officers Association. As your councilman, I will work with you to make sure Pleasanton continues to thrive. I appreciate your consideration and your vote.
For more information, sign onto www.herbritter.com.