We waited with bated breath for the candidacy filing deadline to see how many candidates would file to run for Pleasanton mayor, city council and school board, and who the challengers would be.
We were a bit disappointed with the outcome because incumbents in two of these important races will go unchallenged. Pleasanton school board incumbents Joan Laursen and Mark Miller have no opposition, nor does Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne.
Not to take anything away from the incumbents who have served Pleasanton well over the years, but contested elections enhance the public discourse around vital local issues and better engage and educate the electorate.
For Pleasanton Unified School District, this is the fifth time since 2002 that school board has garnered only the same number of candidates as available seats.
On the other hand, no challenger for Thorne is unusual. It marks the first time Pleasanton has an uncontested mayoral race since the city switched mayor from an appointed position to a directly elected one in 1986, according to city officials.
There are four people running for two city council seats, which is fantastic. Their public service experience seems to be as diverse as their reasons for running probably are. To these four, our sincere gratitude.
Considering the number of critics and disparaging comments about the job our elected officials are doing, we figured there would be at least a few more people who would toss their hats in the ring -- especially school board.
We all know that voting is a right and responsibility of every U.S. citizen over the age of 18, but we need candidates, too.
Lack of choices means more of the same, and we are keenly aware there are people who are unhappy with the status quo.
More and more people are taking to online forums, spending a considerable amount of time and effort to question, complain, accuse and deride. But when it comes to running for office, showing up at meetings or making an effort to learn about both sides of an issue (even voting, which can be done by mail!), the justifications/excuses start.
The Pleasanton mayoral election will automatically remain on the ballot (at no additional cost to taxpayers) with only Thorne listed, which leaves the door open for a potential write-in campaign, but the uncontested school board, by law, will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The 2020 election is not that far away. If you are questioning the way things are being done in our city and schools, step up (and away from the keyboard), and challenge the status quo.