News

Editorial: Vote Narum, Streng for Pleasanton City Council

Mayor Thorne, unopposed on ballot, also has our support for re-election

Nov. 6 will mark an important election throughout the state and nation, and to another extent here in Pleasanton as well where voters will decide two regular City Council positions.

Incumbent Kathy Narum and challengers Joseph Ledoux, Joe Streng and Julie Testa are on the ballot, a race made even more significant by the fact at least one seat is guaranteed to change with Councilman Arne Olson not seeking re-election.

We think Narum and Streng are the right community leaders to guide the City of Planned Progress through the next four years.

A valuable and effective advocate for Pleasanton, Councilwoman Narum is a no-brainer for re-election. With by far the most experience of the candidates, Narum's standout service resume includes the city's Planning Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission and currently the Downtown Specific Plan Update Task Force, as well as regional posts such as Zone 7 Liaison Committee and Alameda County Transportation Commission.

She has been a collaborative council member who also maintains her own voice, asking the tough and important questions of city staff and consultants. She focuses on the right goals such as fiscal sustainability, environmental improvements and quality of life, and her record on the council demonstrates her commitment to seeing those priorities through.

Streng impressed as an active member of the Parks and Recreation Commission until terming out last April, taking part in some of the most important, recent parks efforts including Cubby's Dog Park and Bernal Community Park Phase II. He has shown an ability to be a confident decision-maker but also eager to listen to city staff and/or residents -- recall he and the commission revisiting new Tennis Park court locations.

Though we often like to see more direct city planning experience, Streng has worked on master plan efforts with Parks and Rec and the Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Subcommittee. As a commuter to Silicon Valley, he also is keenly aware of issues that face many residents on an everyday basis (locally and regionally), and he wants to work collaboratively to solve them.

Testa is a longtime, fervent community advocate and participant in the public process, both as a city commissioner (Human Services, 1995 to 2007) and as an informed citizen speaker at city task force, commission and council meetings -- school board, too. She also learned well from her 2016 mayoral bid, running a more measured campaign for council this time around.

She shares concerns close to the minds and hearts of many Pleasanton residents, but we hoped to hear from her -- as a voice for change -- more specific strategies for solutions to her priorities such as slowing growth, reducing school overcrowding and easing traffic. Pointing out a problem isn't always enough. We are also concerned about her adamance against restarting east side planning soon (which must at least be considered) and her still offering no public position on Costco after all these years.

We commend Ledoux, a dedicated Berkeley police officer with 12 years on the force, for wanting to expand his influence to effect change in his hometown, with goals including public safety improvements, creating cohesive community and representing the young family's voice within the city government.

His top priorities are no doubt shared by many in town, but with no prior Pleasanton service experience and few city meetings attended, his depth of knowledge on key issues is only scratching the surface. We hope to see Ledoux pursue a city commission post to develop that experience. We also note that though he says he would be able to participate unencumbered in Pleasanton police union negotiations and other matters despite being a Berkeley police union member, we're not sure we share his confidence of absolutely no conflict of interest (real or perceived).

We'd also like to briefly single out our support of Mayor Jerry Thorne, who is appearing on the ballot unopposed. Over nearly 25 years of city service experience, including the past six as mayor, Thorne has proven himself a strong leader on the dais and a devoted presence in the community -- well-deserving of a fourth and final term as mayor.

Comments

40 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 10, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Wow. I'm not surprised. But totally disappointed in your choices, PW.

You just confirmed all great points for me about Testa. She is a 30-year advocate for the Pleasanton community, involved with schools, housing, public services, and area non-profits. She has put herself out there at countless meetings and public forums; and is extremely SPECIFIC about her positions.

Testa is still my ONLY vote.





26 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 10, 2018 at 2:28 pm

Testa seems disorganized and all over the place. Is that what we want? The PW got it wrong. Ledoux is a very strong candidate. He may not have Pleasanton based experience but he has other valuable experience (which none of the other candidates have) which more than makes up for it. It's never too late to get involved and I commend him for taking on this challenge. I have also attended the majority of public meetings (only missing a few due to childcare issues) but I have seen Ledoux at all of them. Aside from the stress and full-time job of being a policeman, he has a family of his own and is still going above and beyond for his community. Ledoux is the only one who has personal knowledge and experience pertaining to public safety. For me, that is golden especially with crime on the rise and softening California laws. Ledoux's visions for Pleasanton are also very community and family oriented and he has pledged his commitment to implementing them. Everything outlined above are the reasons why Ledoux is getting my vote.


42 people like this
Posted by Rob
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 10, 2018 at 3:58 pm

PW Editorial Board -

I am amazed that you have endorsed Joe Streng for City Council. I have been to three candidate forums and have yet to hear what Joe Streng has on his agenda for Pleasanton. And while keeping our parks beautiful and free from pet waste, this town has a lot more important issues right now, but Joe seems to just keep leaning on his Parks and Rec affiliation. Most of his forum answers were wishy-washy and many he simply stated he agrees with Kathy Narum. Does he have *any* ideas of his own, except for what he plans to do with the next park?

I agree Kathy Narum has done a lot of good for Pleasanton and is still a likely good choice for another two years on the Council. However, Eastside or otherwise, Kathy often claims to be slow growth, but when it comes down to a vote, I remember her voting in favor of most new housing developments, not mandated by the State's RHNA.

I would like to see the Council with three women members. That might be a nice change. I am voting for Kathy Narum and Julie Testa.


23 people like this
Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 11, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Matt Sullivan is a registered user.

The PW endorsements mirror that of the Chamber of Commerce, as they always have. They fulfill their role as the Chamber mouthpiece proudly.

Unless we get independent voices on the Council - like Julie Testa - willing to fight for the residents rather than business and development interests we will continue to cede control of local government to the Chamber. There are four solid Chamber votes now on the Council and if the PW gets it way it will stay the same for the next two years. There are too many important issues facing the city and our future to accept government benefiting the few at the expense of the many.


7 people like this
Posted by Tom & Ken
a resident of Country Fair
on Oct 11, 2018 at 1:32 pm

This is a very sticky situation......one thing though, we need new blood within our council members. Change is hard and experience is great but we need members with new ideas. We have members that don't want to budge in their opinions , they refuse to bend a little. You have to bend in order to be more productive. Politics are useful but can also do a great deal of damage if you don't have the right people with common sense we are up a creek without a paddle. Look around you, Dublin and Livermore are booming and poor old Pleasanton can't even get a parking garage built. Instead of giving us more parking areas they are taking them away for bicycle parking at Peet's Coffee area or Starbucks in the downtown area. To bad the present Mayor is unopposed. He might have been a benefit for Pleasanton at one time but it's time for a change. We can still remain to be that quaint loveable little town we all love and appreciate.


33 people like this
Posted by MeadowPTown
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 11, 2018 at 2:29 pm

MeadowPTown is a registered user.

As a long time Pleasanton resident, I am pleased to see the PW endorse the two strongest and most qualified candidates for Pleasanton City Council. With all of the negativity in our world these days, I am so glad to see two POSITIVE, inclusive and experienced candidates endorsed. We need people on our City Council who will listen to ALL viewpoints on all issues, and who will not only be champions for all of the positive aspects of our great city, but will also take time to listen to the community on the pressing issues facing Pleasanton. Both Streng and Narum have the leadership qualities and open-minded, consensus-building attitudes needed to be an effective member of our City Council.

I will be casting my votes for Joe Streng and Kathy Narum.


14 people like this
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 12, 2018 at 10:24 am

I'm disappointed that once again the status quo is being pressed over freshness. In my 25 years of living and working in Pleasanton I have to say the city government has become stale! The idea that somehow being in the system better serves the community at large is false. While the records of Narum and Streng look good on paper, Joseph Ledoux brings a young fresh perspective to city government. He's spent 12 years actually working with the public, assessing their needs and serving, not sitting on some committee listening to the same old squeaky wheel voices!

Everyone knows that Joe Streng is running to keep obstructionist Julie Testa off the council and cement the Jerry Thorne majority! It's time to shake things up. Government is changing at all levels in this country. It's time to bring fresh minds and actual community service to Pleasanton.

That's why Joseph Ledoux is for me!


48 people like this
Posted by RC
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Oct 12, 2018 at 2:07 pm

If Matt Sullivan is supporting Julie Testa, that should be a good enough reason for the citizens of Pleasanton to NOT vote for her.


17 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 13, 2018 at 11:39 am

Every time I see someone run for Council with no prior experience, it seems entirely ego-driven. Ledoux should spend some time working on behalf of Pleasanton when no one’s looking. Also, he doesn’t seem to realize how big of a job Council is. He appears to have a very young child and a full time job in Berkeley. How is he going to also be able to devote the 100’s of hours it takes to be an effective council member? Did anyone show him the committee list??


14 people like this
Posted by Carol
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Oct 15, 2018 at 10:33 am

Carol is a registered user.

WE ARE 30 YEAR PLEASANTON RESIDENTS AND WILL VOTE FOR NARUM AND LEDOUX.
Narum has strong experience and makes balanced decisions. Ledoux, although new, has public service background as a police officer.
Julie Testa sued our City Clerk when she filed her candidate application under the wire and there was a question about its completeness. Thats not a prepared or organized person.
If you have ever watched her at a school board meeting, she is 100 percent negative. Matt Sullivan is probably running her campaign because negatives attract. He disses the business community here as being against the residents. Poor Mr Sullivan—still back in the 1960’s. Im proud to have world class headquarters.


12 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Oct 15, 2018 at 11:22 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Carol, Please at least be accurate. The City Clerk was found to be in error. Matt Sullivan is not running Testa's campaign. Testa is one of the people who found the illegal cash-out refinancing of bonds by the governance team at the time (not current team)--bonds we are still paying today because of that refinancing; she is one of the people who fought for the new elementary school to be part of the recent bond. Certainly choose who you wish to support and vote for, but do it without spreading nonsense about other candidates.


4 people like this
Posted by huh?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2018 at 4:50 pm

Kathleen, just to be clear, Matt Sullivan has been at Farmer's Market passing out her literature. He may not be running her campaign but he is actively supporting her.

With regard to her ballot statement, it may have been ruled that it should have been accepted but what you may not be aware of is that it would have then been disqualified as she attacked the Mayor and City Council in it. Something the election is very clear about not being allowed.


3 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Oct 15, 2018 at 5:43 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I didn’t say Matt didn’t support her. As to the statement, people keep repeating this claim without providing that statement. Do you have it? Was it published somewhere?


1 person likes this
Posted by Accountable
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 15, 2018 at 7:20 pm

@ Carol
a resident of Alisal Elementary School

You call Julie Testa negative.
I do NOT agree with your assessment.

I have also seen Julie Testa at School Board Meetings.

Besides finding that a past PUSD governance team did an illegal cash-out re-fi, she currently speaks to school campus overcrowding.

Her statements are grounded, factual, and always reference the campus standard set by the PUSD Board of trustees.

Did you know that the PUSD standard is 600 students maximum per elementary campus?

Julie Testa does, and is not afraid to point the fact out the many elementary school campus' exceed 600 (Donlon is at 900+)

I can understand why some may consider it "negative" (not being in agreement with Staff, and demanding that PUSD elected Trustees take action)

Same applies to our 3 middle Schools, & 2 High Schools.

Almost 2 years ago, the PW wrote an editorial titled "PUSD A Train Wreck"

Julie Testa saw that wreck coming years before it happened. If maybe someone at the PUSD had listened to her, and took action...maybe that Train Wreck" could have been avoided.

Regarding City matters, she always backs her statements up by specific reference to the current General Plan.

"Standing for residents" is her campaign tag-line.

Her past actions show that she has been "standing for residents" for 30+ years.

The Independent was correct in their endorsement of Testa.


9 people like this
Posted by Miss Vic
a resident of Mission Park
on Oct 15, 2018 at 7:31 pm

Two comments - if Matt Sullivan is supporting Julie Testa that’s a great reason not to vote for her.

And the city and the schools are two very distinct and different entities. The city has no power over the schools. Julie just doesn’t have the experience to be a member of the city council.

Narnum and Streng for my vote.


3 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Oct 15, 2018 at 8:12 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Do not make assumptions about Sullivan and Testa—they do not agree on everything.

The schools and city have cooperated on many projects—middle school gymnasiums for one—and used to work more collaboratively on behalf of taxpayers. Thankfully, they are showing cooperation again.

One correction, the board voted to make elementary schools 700 students, but last I checked there were at least schools over that number.


5 people like this
Posted by Carol
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
23 hours ago

Carol is a registered user.

I dont care if Sullivan is running her campaign or not but he sure is a super surrogate.
Kathleen, where does Sullivan and Testa differ on issues since you know them both apparently. Wait, He is not running for council so why would I care.
Its interesting Testa touts herself as slow growth but does not mention the growth management ordinance. Her literature also takes credit for many things the city council is already doing or has accomplished. Not to mention the old toilet to tap scare tactic she uses when nothing has been specifically proposed by the special agencies who have jurisdiction.


5 people like this
Posted by Carol
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
22 hours ago

Carol is a registered user.

Dear Accountable,
since Testa has been so involved with PUSD as you say, why didnt she run for a seat on the school board? That seems really odd to us. She has been involved by going to meetings and speaking about all the problems from the podium but did she ever serve on any school district committees during all that time? Sure, we have challenges but consistently several major national publications say Pleasanton is always one of the highest rated to raise a family which in part is due to the schools.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
22 hours ago

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Carol, I believe I met Sullivan once, so no I don't know him. I could say for myself, I don't like the loans to Costco, but I am not opposed to Costco on Johnson or the other proposals for that location. I'm not aware of a growth management ordinance, but only because I don't follow the council as closely as I do the school board. Isn't there a lot going on in Sacramento that undermines any ordinance, like RHNA did? I'm not a fan of the tap to toilet phrasing; I would agree it stirs unnecessary hysteria. I do, however, want to be certain science has weighed in. I also believe that meetings on that topic were scrapped during this election, as were the downtown specific plan meetings. Not a complaint, just noting the temporary step back from the limelight.

Not often discussed, cities are rated highly and get their school ratings largely because of the demographics of the community. Communities with a higher average of college educated parents are going to rank highly: Danville, San Ramon, Piedmont, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, etc.


Like this comment
Posted by Carol
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
10 hours ago

Carol is a registered user.

Kathleen, you dont know there is a growth management ordinance????? WOW. I must say with all your postings, IM SHOCKED.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
8 hours ago

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Why? I have plenty on my plate with the school district. Post a link; I’m happy to read it. Does that change RHNA or the recent nod to BART or anything else Sacramento is attempting?


1 person likes this
Posted by Miss Vic
a resident of Mission Park
4 hours ago

As I said before if Sullivan is campaigning for Testa and is supporting her efforts that's enough for me to not even consider her as a viable candidate.

I agree with Carol in that Testa is so super involved with the schools perhaps a better run for her would be for school board.

She is making statements and campaign promises she can't keep. She cannot put Pleasanton back into slow growth, we've already been sued for that. She cannot control what Sacramento forces down our throats.

I'd rather vote for someone who is speaking the truth, even if we don't like it and planning for the future vs sayings we don't have to do anything now - hey let's just wait for Sacramento to force more building, that's not my idea of a well planned community.

Voting for Narnum and Streng.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
1 hour ago

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Testa’s involvement has primarily been at the city, including meetings with staff and all the downtown specific plan meetings and as a commissioner. She has lobbied many electeds and went to Sacramento, all as a citizen. It is disingenuous to say “because of Matt”; he isn’t the one running.

I think you meant Narum.


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