The Pleasanton City Council celebrated a changing of the guard this week, as new Councilwoman Julie Testa was sworn into office alongside re-elected Councilwoman Kathy Narum and Mayor Jerry Thorne during a special council meeting.
Narum and Testa finished first and second, respectively, in the four-candidate race for two City Council positions during the Nov. 6 general election, with newcomer Testa essentially taking the seat available with incumbent Councilman Arne Olson not seeking re-election. Thorne won his fourth and final term as mayor while on the ballot uncontested.
The three election winners took their positions on the dais following a swearing-in ceremony in front of a crowded council chamber Tuesday evening. Each then offered brief remarks, reflecting on their campaigns, thanking their supporters and looking to their term ahead.
"I think it goes without saying that this is a very special evening for me because I am beginning my last term as your mayor," Thorne said, referencing the city's term limit for mayors.
After completing his final two-year term in 2020, Thorne will have 25 years of city service experience under his belt, between his time as mayor, councilman and Parks and Recreation Commission member.
"It has been extremely rewarding, and I would recommend public service to anyone who is so inclined to step up to the plate and give it a try," the mayor said. "Serving this community in an elected role has its challenges, it certainly does ... but it also has a lot more rewards than it does challenges."
Thorne added, "Now it's time to put the rubber to the road, and we've got a whole lot of stuff to do in these next two years."
Narum offered similar sentiments during her short speech.
"I will champion endeavors that will continue to make Pleasanton a great place to live, to work and to play," she said. "I pledge to be accessible, to listen to differing points and to be transparent in my decision-making."
Narum is beginning her second and final full term as a councilwoman, a position she's held since winning a special mail-only election to fill a vacant seat in May 2013.
"Good governance is a priority for me. Our community deserves respectful debate and leaders who strive for consensus," she added. "By our example, we can teach the next generation to construct solid public policy based on building blocks of consensus and unbiased reason."
Narum, like Testa, earned a four-year term that runs through November 2022.
A longtime community advocate and 2016 mayoral candidate who previously sat on the city's Human Services Commission (1995 to 2007), Testa brings a second slow-growth voice to the dais alongside second-term Councilwoman Karla Brown -- who backed Testa's campaign.
"During the campaign, I learned even more about Pleasanton residents and how you want to shape and preserve our city," Testa said. "My top concerns will always focus on our quality of life, our children, our families, our seniors and protecting what we value about our city."
She added that she was humbled by the level of support she received at the polls.
"I look forward to collaborating with my fellow council members and city staff to address these challenges," Testa said. "Please know, Pleasanton residents will always come first in every decision I make."
Before the swearing-in ceremony, Olson offered parting words prior to stepping down.
"I've enjoyed serving these past four years. I've learned a lot about our city, and I've met many people who love living here and who care about Pleasanton," he said. "I believe this has been a good City Council. We've approached our policy deliberations with civility."
Olson, a retired bank executive who served two terms on the Planning Commission from 2006-14, was elected to his lone City Council term in November 2014. He opted not to seek re-election this year.
"I want to thank the city officials and voters, who put their trust in me. I also want to thank our terrific staff and this council for an excellent working relationship," Olson said in closing. "It's been great serving and living in Pleasanton."
His fellow council members also praised Olson during his final meeting, and he received a certificate of recognition for his city service on behalf of the State Senate from local State Sen. Steve Glazer, who was on-hand to administer the oath of office to Narum.
Thorne took the oath of office from Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stephen M. Pulido, while former mayor Tom Pico swore in Testa.
The swearing-in was the only business on the agenda for the new council, a ceremony scheduled as a special meeting because Alameda County election officials took nearly the full 30 days to certify ballot results.
Narum easily retained her council seat with 15,800 votes (or 33.31%), according to the final totals.
Testa finished with 12,362 votes (26.07%) to earn the second seat, comfortably ahead of the two other challengers in the race: former parks and recreation commissioner Joe Streng (20.82%), who was backed by the Chamber of Commerce and councilmen Olson and Jerry Pentin; and lesser-known candidate Joseph Ledoux (19.51%), a Berkeley police officer who lives in Pleasanton and had the support of the city's police and fire unions.
Appearing on the ballot without a challenger, Thorne won re-election with 23,093 votes (or 95.13%), with the remaining votes going to various write-in candidates.