Aiming to bring an attorney's perspective to the dais, Pleasanton resident Jarod Buna hopes to help his hometown progress into the future as a member of the City Council if he wins election this fall.
An Amador Valley High School alumnus who returned to Pleasanton in recent years to raise his family, Buna said his council campaign is centered around priorities of maintaining local control, bringing city services into the modern age, offering bold leadership and supporting public safety.
"I'm running to give back to my community, and help preserve Pleasanton’s culture, rich history and family way of life. Also, I want to help preserve Pleasanton City Council's local control in this new COVID environment," Buna told the Weekly after launching his council bid.
"Now, more than ever, we need an attorney representing us on the City Council," he added on his campaign website. "From economic challenges to new health and safety regulations and civil liberty concerns, we need an experienced attorney representing us during this critical time of opportunity and new normals."
Part of a packed Nov. 3 ballot, Buna is among seven candidates seeking two at-large seats (four-year terms) on the City Council. The other candidates are Nancy Allen, Valerie Arkin, Jack Balch, Randy Brown, Zarina Kiziloglu and Chiman Lee.
The council positions are fully up for grabs as current council members Jerry Pentin and Karla Brown are both termed out this year.
2020 marks Buna's second foray into city politics. Longtime Pleasanton residents may remember him from the 1996 municipal election; he ran for City Council that fall as a teenager fresh out of Amador Valley but fell well short at the polls that November.
This time around, Buna said he hopes to leverage his experience of nearly two decades practicing law professionally to help the City Council navigate through a pivotal period highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Having a legal mind on City Council will be critical over the next many months as new state and federal regulations will be passed -- city attorney works for council, not other way around," Buna told the Weekly.
"Diversity of skill sets and experiences will be key as we deal with these new legal and health related challenges in next 12 to 24 months," he continued, adding he thinks "we also need bold leadership in the generation of the council."
His top priorities include leading the city's COVID-19 response with "commonsense leadership and a focus on local decision-making control. We should view every job as essential, and we seek to get our local economy back on track and our kids back in school as safely as possible."
Buna said he also wants to spearhead a "digital transformation" of key city functions to an online, self-service model.
As part of promoting bold leadership, Buna said he views the East Pleasanton Specific Plan as an opportunity to create a "second downtown" on the east side that complements the city's historic downtown, along with housing, new commercial spaces and a school. "New downtown would respect Pleasanton culture and design, but provide a more modern experience for residents, a la modern cities in Europe. Great design is key," he added.
Raised in Pleasanton by a father who worked as an Oakland police lieutenant and mother who was a nurse, Buna said supporting city public safety personnel is another top priority for him -- along with other topics such as education, infrastructure and smart growth.
After graduating from Amador, Buna earned a bachelor's degree in biology from UC Berkeley and a law degree from UCLA. He has been practicing law with major companies in Silicon Valley. He and his wife live in Pleasanton with their three children.
To learn more about Buna and his campaign, visit www.bunaforpleasanton.com.