Pleasanton: Incumbent Narum, challenger Testa win City Council seats

Baker leads tight race to reclaim Assembly seat, Swalwell earns another term in Congress

Incumbent Kathy Narum finished well ahead in her bid for re-election to the Pleasanton City Council while slow-growth candidate Julie Testa won the second available council seat at the end of Election Night.

Narum stood solidly in first place early Wednesday morning to retain her seat on the council, marking her second and final full term on the dais where she has sat since winning a special mail-only election to fill a vacant seat in May 2013.

That essentially left three newcomers competing for the second council position up for grabs -- the seat currently held by Arne Olson, who opted not to run for re-election. And Testa, a vocal slow-growth advocate and 2016 mayoral candidate, finished comfortably in the No. 2 spot, better than 1,300 votes ahead of fellow challengers Joe Streng and Joseph Ledoux on Election Night.

"I am humbled by the vast support I have received," Testa told the Weekly. "After decades of working with and for our community, I look forward to having a seat at the table collaborating with fellow council members and city staff to bring the diverse voices of Pleasanton residents to council discussions which impact quality of life. I will add a different perspective to the council, one of slow/measured growth supported by the necessary infrastructure. Residents will come first in every decision I make."

"I am grateful for the support of Pleasanton citizens who elected me to a second term on the City Council and appreciate everyone who helped with my campaign," Narum said. "Thanks to the challengers for a good contest that allowed for discussion of key issues that impact our way of life in Pleasanton. We live in a wonderful community and I'm ready to continue conducting the people's business to ensure it stays that way."

There are still ballots left to count, namely provisionals and final-day vote-by-mail, but the Election Night results represent the bulk of ballots cast, the margins are too significant and both bottom finishers have conceded.

As of early Wednesday, Narum led the way with 32.75%, with Testa in second with 26.26%. They were followed by Streng, a former Parks and Recreation Commission member, with 20.59% and fourth-place Ledoux, a Berkeley police officer who lives in Pleasanton, with 20.05%.

Narum came into Election Night seen as a considerable favorite for re-election, a recognizable and well-liked councilwoman with years of city service experience between the council, Planning Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission.

Testa will bring a second slow-growth voice to the dais, joining second-term Councilwoman Karla Brown -- who backed Testa's campaign. She also had prior city service experience, having sat on the Human Services Commission from 1995 to 2007.

Streng entered the election with strong endorsements too, including Olson and Councilman Jerry Pentin, along with more recent city service, stepping down from Parks and Recreation Commission last spring after completing two terms.

"Although we fell short, I'm incredibly proud of the campaign and grateful for the experience. Big thank you to everyone who supported me and congratulations to the top two finishers. I love my hometown!" Streng said Wednesday morning.

Ledoux was a lesser-known candidate, having no Pleasanton city service experience, but his background as a police officer contributed to key backing from the police and fire unions.

He also congratulated the two winners, and commended Streng for his campaign, on Wednesday.

"Most of all, I'd like to thank all Pleasanton residents for sharing their thoughts throughout the candidacy journey and for going out to vote. I'm truly honored and humbled by the residents that believed in my vision and voted for me," Ledoux said. "We have a wonderful town and I'm touched to see so many residents care so much about Pleasanton as my family and I do."

Election winners are typically sworn in during the first council meeting in December, once the final results are confirmed.

The unofficial election results include early vote-by-mail tallies and totals reported by the precincts on Election Night. The election figures will likely change in the coming days as final vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots and other qualifying ballots are processed, according to the California Secretary of State.

In other races

* Jerry Thorne confirmed his re-election as Pleasanton mayor -- more of a formality on Election Night since he was on the ballot unopposed. He finished with 94.65%, with write-in candidates receiving the other votes.

"It is an honor to be able to serve this great community for another two years. We have a lot to accomplish, and I am confident that this council will be very productive," Thorne said.

This will be Thorne's fourth and final two-year term as mayor, under the city's term limits. He has more than 23 years of city service experience under his belt, with time as mayor, City Council member and Parks and Recreation Commission member.

* Catharine Baker appears on track to retain a key seat for the Republicans in the State Assembly, with re-election to a third straight term representing Pleasanton and the rest of District 16.

In a tightly contested runoff between the only two candidates from June's primary, Dublin resident Baker finished Election Night with 51.2% of the vote compared to Democrat Rebecca Bauer-Kahan at 48.8%.

Baker sounded cautiously optimistic when reached Wednesday, saying, "My family and I are so grateful for the great energy and support that have helped us get where we are, but many votes remain to be counted before anyone decides who has won. That vote counting process is important and will take time."

A political newcomer and attorney from Orinda, Bauer-Kahan did pick up ground during the general election campaign (she lost the primary by 13.2%), but Baker's incumbent campaign looks like it proved popular for District 16 voters.

* U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin), seen as a young congressman who continues to rise within his party, controlled Election Night over challenger Rudy Peters, a Livermore Republican who owns a systems engineering firm geared toward the U.S. intelligence industry.

Swalwell, in his bid for a fourth consecutive term, earned 70% to Peters' 30%.

At his campaign headquarters in Dublin on Election Night, Swalwell thanked Peters for running.

"It's a huge sacrifice to run," Swalwell said. "It takes a lot of courage to put your name on the ballot, put your ideas out there, stand before the voters and I'm glad he did it."

He added that on a national level, he was excited to see the number of younger candidates in his party win their Congressional seats.

"Congress has been so gridlocked and functioned so incrementally," he said. "That bringing in young people, especially from a generation that's collaborative and inventive -- they'll bring bursts of new energy and new ideas and new confidence."

* Alameda County will have an outside voice as its new assessor, as Alameda city resident and real estate tax attorney Phong La (56.18%) finished ahead of Jim Johnson (42.89%), chief of the Assessor's Office Assessment Services Division.

La will replace retiring Assessor Ron Thomsen to lead the elected office charged with determining the taxable value of all land, improvements, and business and personal property in the county.

"I am extremely honored to have been elected as the next Alameda County Assessor. I'm so grateful to all of you especially to my wife Stephanie Sato and daughter Olivia "Livi" La for being so supportive and loving during this journey," La said. "I spent the entire day with Livi yesterday (she was sick) and it just reminded me how much we (candidates for public office) sacrifice to enter into public service."

La, who will be holding elected office for the first time, also thanked his campaign supporters for their help and his opponents -- in the general election and the primary -- for seeking public office.

"Our government only functions well when we all actively participate," he added. "I like to tell people that I was born in Vietnam but I am made in America, more specifically in Alameda County. Thank you Alameda County! I look forward to serving as your next Alameda County Assessor."

* Ayn Wieskamp ran away with another term as the Ward 5 representative for the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors, a seat she has held since 1999. The former Livermore City Council member finished with 81.47%, well ahead of lone challenger Dev Gandhi, a Fremont tech entrepreneur who ran no active campaign.

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40 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Nov 7, 2018 at 9:19 am

Wow. We elected a rep who sued the city for her own disorganization and incompetence. The city has fallen far.

27 people like this
Posted by SHale99
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 7, 2018 at 9:53 am

SHale99 is a registered user.

and looky: Swalwell with nearly 70% of the vote. Kinda shows this forum how they are generally wrong with their venom and so don't speak for any type of majority (voters).


12 people like this
Posted by Spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Nov 7, 2018 at 9:59 am

@Bill - please give us details regarding your post. Tesla states "our community clearly has a slow-growth perspective."

What data supports that?

I am not for "slow-growth" to the point of rejecting Costco, not allowing a good deal for the residents getting open space and schools getting $2M with the Lund property getting a fraction of the homes they wanted, etc.

39 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 7, 2018 at 10:03 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Bill, still false commentary. Testa won that case. Testa's statement was not on the ballot because it was too late by the time the court ruled in her favor. Moving on . . . congratulations to Kathy Narum and Julie Testa. I think this will bring some balance to council discussions and certainly some tougher questions for staff.

17 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 7, 2018 at 10:04 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Spudly, ask Testa those questions, not Bill. She has answered them before.

11 people like this
Posted by Tom & Ken
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 7, 2018 at 11:28 am

What a disappointment with this election. Now we have three big boobs running the City of Pleasanton. The blind leading the blind and no progress within the City. No wonder everyone goes to Livermore for entertainment and better places to partake food and enjoy the places that are better than Pleasanton. I can see Trump's influence has taken Pleasanton down the road instead of improving it.
Enjoy your retirement, Karen!

34 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 7, 2018 at 12:28 pm

I'm so embarrassed for our community that Testa won. I hope she can learn to count to 3.

8 people like this
Posted by Billie
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 7, 2018 at 12:55 pm

I'm happy for Julie. We need new blood on the council and on the school board. Nationally I'm depressed as a liberal. We spent 5 billion dollars, barely won the house (26 seats I believe), may lose 5 more senate seats giving the Republicans free rein to appoint all the judges they want including more conservative supreme court judges. They also won the governorships of Ohio and Florida basically making President Trumps re election a certainty.

27 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 7, 2018 at 1:05 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

And I can see civility has lost out nationwide and is evidenced in the posts above. You can, not like the outcome of the vote. You can, not like the people who won. Show up at meetings and state your opinions--whether you agree or disagree--on issues that matter the most to you. Participate. Making ad hominem attacks, however, says more about you than the person/issue you complain about.

2 people like this
Posted by Billie
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 7, 2018 at 1:20 pm


I didn't attack anyone did I?

5 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 7, 2018 at 1:29 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

No! When I opened the thread, your comment wasn't there yet. Sorry.

23 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 7, 2018 at 1:40 pm

OK Kathleen - point well taken. I won't make ad hominem attacks. This is why I don't like Julie and I think she's bad for our town. She attacks the people who do work for Pleasanton, either as volunteers or as paid employees, in public meetings. She misrepresents conversations she has had with people so that they have to publicly refute them and set the record straight. She has no history of compromise in the work she has done for the City, and I believe, therefore, she will have no interest in compromise on Council. However, since she needs three votes to get anything done, and indeed to even get items on the Council agenda, that will hopefully not be too much of a problem.

She also has not demonstrated an understanding of how to represent the interests of the City's residents as a whole. This was the basis of my statement that she will be an embarrassment as she will have to represent the City on a multitude of committees and hasn't demonstrated an understanding of how to be broad and inclusive in her statements and representation. I can only hope the Mayor puts her on committees where she can't embarrass us too much.

I hope that clarified my statement for you.

7 people like this
Posted by Karl
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 7, 2018 at 1:40 pm

What the heck does Donald Trump have to do with our election results?

Please explain......

21 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2018 at 4:33 pm

BobB is a registered user.


Maybe it is the fear of outsiders?

Personally, I'm worried about Testa's opposition to any new development, from Costco to Lund Ranch 2. Seems like a NIMBY's dream candidate.


I don't see what kind of balance Testa brings to the city council. She represents what is bad and backward about Pleasanton.

16 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 7, 2018 at 5:39 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

BobB, you state Testa was against Costco. Where has she ever said that (not sure about your Lund claim)? As to balance, you have posted enough for me to believe (happy to be corrected) you think all growth is good. But you may not be looking at traffic, water, roads, support services of any kind, and the fact that over 200 students are not in their neighborhood schools and the many more in run down portables. Plan ahead, build what is needed to support growth, and then build. They put 350 apartments near where I live--I love the Starbucks and Bottle Taps. It's walkable. Don't know how many students it generated or where they are driving to get to a school though.

20 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Nov 7, 2018 at 6:01 pm

David is a registered user.

From what I’ve seen, Testa is a glass half empty attitude and will not be able to come up with positive solutions or compromise. I hope she gets over her anger issues because she has to work with other people.

I predict she will have a tremendous amount of staff time spent doing special research projects for her at her request. I think such staff time should be disclosed to the public since it is a cost to taxpayers and a potential burden on our public employees particularly if they are preparing s lot of background reports.

19 people like this
Posted by Finally
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2018 at 6:12 pm

I predict Ms. Testa will do a great job as a city council member, will not blindly worship the city manager as many seem to do now (do you notice how deferential the mayor is along with all but Ms. Brown are to the city manager during the meetings?).

Also do you notice how many of the city council members for literally years ask no questions before rubber stamping each and every proposal that is introduced?

Over 5% of the votes for mayor voted for Write-In candidates instead of Thorne.

I hope someone will oust him in 2 years. Definitely has been on the city council way too long.

9 people like this
Posted by Frankie
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Nov 7, 2018 at 6:15 pm

Frankie is a registered user.

Kathleen, with all your involvement with the PUSD issues, you should know the student generation per unit projectionsand furthermore, where those students are assigned. The demographers regularly report provide projections at all levels and if and when an enrollment decline or increase is anticipated.
The city had to approve apartments per the State and lawsuit. It is the PUSD charge to figure out how and where to accommodate students.
Those run down portables are just a travesty. Gimme a break. Not ideal, but it’s hardly the third world scenario you portray. I, liked many many others were housed in portables in high school and community college. I wasn’t damaged by the experience and went on to higher education.

22 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 7, 2018 at 6:48 pm

@Finally - I believe you are mistaking deferential for mutual professional respect. But you’re correct, Julie Testa is not respectful to staff in public meetings and it’s embarrassing to me as a resident and says a whole lot about her character.

Oh and Mayor Thorne is in his last term. It appears you religiously watch City Council meetings but didn’t know that, which I find a little odd.

25 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 7, 2018 at 6:57 pm

Congrats to JT for winning a seat on the city council and hopefully she sticks to her guns and helps slow down all the rubber stamping of all these idiotic projects the city keeps coming up with, this will give a little more balance to a one sided city council!!
Still don’t understand why everybody is in such a hurry to completely bury our town with stack and pack housing and apartments, it’s great for you investors, builders and realtors but really bad for us citizens looking for a little relief.
What’s going on with that large vacant lot on Busch road and Valley? All fenced off now and it looks like some surveying is going on there, hope they aren’t sneaking in all those homes some developer has been trying to get approved.

7 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2018 at 6:59 pm

BobB is a registered user.


I don't believe all growth is good.

15 people like this
Posted by Frankie
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Nov 7, 2018 at 9:05 pm

Frankie is a registered user.

Dear Map,
The State REQUIRES cities to zone land for high density housing so each city will provide its “fair share” of housing units to meet the growing population and provide some affordable units. The city was successfully sued about this prior shortfall. Because the residents here opposed new housing for years, now the city has to get caught up and the State quota increases in 4-5 years. Quit blaming developers, the city council and city staff. If our town did not have this NIMBY-ism, there could have been balanced housing density over the years instead of now being forced to put high density on what little vacant land is left. The land at Bush Road was planned for development by a task force over a two year period. Helloooooo, pay attention and you might just get some facts about reality instead of wishing you were still in 1960 Mayberry.

40 people like this
Posted by Julie Testa - Bad for Pleasanton
a resident of Amador Estates
on Nov 7, 2018 at 9:11 pm

Julie Testa will be horrible for the City of Pleasanton. Bad decision neighbors.

22 people like this
Posted by Fran
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 7, 2018 at 9:24 pm

I voted in the Vintage Hills trailer park off of Vineyard. As I turned left into the development, there was a Julie Testa sign in the medium strip - right in front of the Vote Here sign. It is illegal to have political signs on public land and it is illegal to have a political sign within 300 feet of the polling door.

Seems like Julie Testa ran a dirty and illegal campaign that contributed to her unfortunate victory.

18 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 7, 2018 at 10:43 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Fran, I hardly think Testa put the sign there. Some tactics include taking other’s signs and putting them in places the candidate can get fined for. Wasn’t someone caught doing that a couple elections back?

Thanks BobB. I’ll remember for future discussion.

Beth, its deferential. Thorne, even if joking, has publicly called Fiahlo “boss.” The council is the top of the org chart.

David, if the council is like the school board, one member is not able to direct staff—it takes at least two or consensus. Even I hope that is the case.

Frankie, it always amazes me when people determine what I should know. I don’t believe, btw, that the latest demographic report is out yet. I have provided plenty of data to the board with perspectives they were not considering and proving a school was needed. Portables are miserable. And you didn’t address all the students being driven all over town to non-neighborhood schools. Miserable for those families too. It takes collaboration with both entities to allow building and sufficient time for PUSD to house students properly.

34 people like this
Posted by Walk-in Around
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 8, 2018 at 5:25 am

Congratulations Julie Testa! Those who are posting derogatory comments about Julie, should look at how many votes she received! Julie will be our voice against a horrible Downtown High-Density housing agenda, which is one reason why she received so many of our votes! Go Julie!

14 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 8, 2018 at 8:21 am

Grumpy is a registered user.

Why is everyone so blank and white here? So Testa is anti growth. And so the state mandates growth. Those can be balanced a thousand different ways. I suspect an anti growth council will balance it better than a pro growth one. And we don’t have an anti growth council. Just one anti growth councilwoman. And I truly doubt she’ll hide in the corner when the city is required on approving state mandated growth. So why should I or anyone be so disturbed by this?

22 people like this
Posted by Doug
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 8, 2018 at 9:51 am

"Congratulations Julie Testa! Those who are posting derogatory comments about Julie, should look at how many votes she received! "

Agree. It seems that these forums often get packed by those with a viewpoint that goes against the views of the majority. From all the posts on these forums against Newsom before the election, one would have thought that he would lose his election by a landslide.

20 people like this
Posted by BrendanForCongress
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2018 at 3:14 pm

BrendanForCongress is a registered user.

Congratulations to Julie Testa & Kathy Narum. May you help run Pleasanton wisely and represent those who voted for you.

I encourage those of you who have issues with a representative to reach out to them to share your views and opinions. Be civil. Listen. Explore for common ground. I've met both Julie and Kathy and found each very intelligent and courteous.

You might just be pleasantly surprised to find out how much you agree on some issues.

24 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 11, 2018 at 10:41 am

@frankie- What’s wrong with Mayberry??? Born and raised here and up until about 10 years ago it’s been a great place to live and raise kids. Not against growth but the infrastructure must be there to support it, our schools are overcrowded and run down, our streets are parking lots with cut-thru traffic taking over for 6-8 hours a day and no matter how much people like to rant and rave about dMkhZneeding more housing let’s face the facts that what is being built and sold is not for the middle class working person it’s for the foreign investors and deep pocket buyers from Silicon Valley looking to get out of that cluster and want to move here and create that same cluster!! Fix the problems we have now then let’s plan future growth!!

10 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2018 at 8:53 am

BobB is a registered user.


Of course everything being built is expensive because there isn't enough housing. Supply and demand.

Nothing wrong with Mayberry, you just can't put it right next to Silicon Valley. The economics just don't work.

8 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 15, 2018 at 5:16 pm

@BobB. “Supply and Demand”. Great for those investors, developers and realtors, not so great for the health of our city! Build the infrastructure, fix our schools and city streets then maybe you can build some more of that over-priced very profitable stack and pack homes and apartments, one step at a time we can’t keep putting the cart In front of the horse!!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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