Council election: Olson won't seek re-election, Narum running for second term

Vice mayor's decision guarantees one new council member in November

The Pleasanton City Council will have at least one new member this fall, with Vice Mayor Arne Olson confirming Friday he will not seek a second term in the November general election.

With two council seats up for election this fall, challengers will still face one incumbent as Councilwoman Kathy Narum said she will run for re-election in November.

No challengers have publicly announced their intent to run for council this November, though the official candidacy filing window still won't open for several months. Mayor Jerry Thorne launched his campaign for re-election in February.

Of his decision not to run for re-election, Olson told the Weekly it is time for something new after more than a decade of service to the city between the City Council and Planning Commission.

"I've given it 12 years. I'm done. Time to move on," he said.

"I've learned a lot about how the city operates," he added. "We have good city staff here and in good financial shape compared to other places."

Olson was first elected to the council in November 2014. He had served on the Planning Commission for eight years prior, from 2006 until May 2014, voting on key projects such as the Firehouse Arts Center, Bernal Community Park and the Stoneridge Drive extension.

Among his proudest accomplishments on the council, Olson pointed to helping approve the Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone to provide the framework for bringing a Costco store to Pleasanton.

"I feel best about Costco, and I hope the voters get what they want. And that's a Costco store here," Olson said. "And I hope the voters don't forget who opposed the Costco here."

A longtime finance professional, Olson held leadership positions with a variety of banks until retiring as a vice president with Comerica Bank. He was also a prior board member for the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce.

Seeking a second four-year term, Narum told the Weekly, she is “very excited” to be running for re-election and plans to formally launch her campaign later in the month.

“I really want to run again as we are at an important moment in Pleasanton’s history, and we need to move forward thoughtfully, keeping our eye on what matters and what makes us unique,” Narum said. “We all know change is inevitable, and I want to make sure that as we plan for our future, we do so with sustainability in mind and ensure we don’t lose our small-town charm.”

She added, “I understand Vice Mayor Olson will not be seeking re-election, and while I was surprised, I fully understand his decision.”

Narum has served on the City Council since voters picked her in a special mail-only election in May 2013 to fill the council seat left vacant when voters elevated Thorne to mayor. She was re-elected to a full four-year term in November 2014.

Prior to her council tenure, Narum served five years each on the Planning Commission and the Parks and Recreation Commission, during which she sat on task forces on the East Pleasanton Specific Plan, Bernal Community Park and downtown hospitality guidelines. An engineer by trade, Narum now manages family-owned commercial property in the Midwest.

Narum is seeking her final term on the council as Pleasanton has a two-term limit. Thorne is also pursuing his final term, as Pleasanton limits its directly elected mayors to four two-year terms.


5 people like this
Posted by Bob Shapiro
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 14, 2018 at 12:26 pm

Arne was an outstanding city council member. He thoroughly studied each issue brought to his attention. He is fair and balanced. We will miss him.

1 person likes this
Posted by Dave Culver
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2018 at 10:48 am

Although Mr. Olson did not serve on City Council during my tenure as Finance Director (he served on Planning Commission) I regarded him as an influential thought leader among appointed and elected officials and someone who always prioritized Pleasanton’s fiscal health and sustainability in his recommendations and decisions.

Dave Culver
former Finance Director
2006 -2010

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