Cook-Kallio for mayor; Pentin, Brown for City Council | October 12, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - October 12, 2012

Cook-Kallio for mayor; Pentin, Brown for City Council

With the current City Council breaking up after serving an unprecedented six years together, Pleasanton voters have an opportunity again to choose from among five well-qualified candidates. Four of them will be assuming stewardship roles as mayor and members of a new council to face the city's challenges in the years ahead. Of the two seeking the mayor's post -- Council members Jerry Thorne and Cheryl Cook-Kallio -- the choice is especially tough because both have been strong colleagues in making pension reform, fiscal restraints, land use and transportation decisions that will ensure that the city maintain its forward momentum.

Our preference for mayor is Cheryl Cook-Kallio, who's been a valuable, problem-solving council member with helpful connections in Sacramento and Washington. An active Democrat, Cook-Kallio doesn't wear any party affiliation on her sleeve. She has endorsements from business and union organizations and, importantly, from Tri-Valley, Alameda County, regional and state government leaders. If she needs help on a regional issue, she has many close contacts who will quickly take her call and give our city a hand.

We like the fact that she supported highly controversial issues such as the Oak Grove housing development, worked against a citizens' referendum that stopped the plan, favored the less-onerous Measure QQ over the restrictive Measure PP hillside building ban that voters approved, and campaigned vigorously to extend Stoneridge Drive to El Charro Road in Livermore. She weathered frequent grubbings at City Council meetings by very vocal critics without flinching.

Jerry Thorne, who will stay on the council for another two years, is more reserved than Cook-Kallio, a trait the council needs. He is a skilled administrator and retired corporate vice president who became intensely involved in city and civic affairs upon leaving his private sector career. His supporters come from all parts of Pleasanton and praise, rightly so, Thorne's commitment to business, a sustainable city employee pension program and his work with the League of California Cities and many other agencies. He especially deserves accolades for his support of veterans. There's hardly a time when a soldier is welcomed home to Pleasanton that Thorne isn't the first to be there with an official city proclamation.

For City Council, we are endorsing Planning Commission Chairman Jerry Pentin and businesswoman Karla Brown. We like the third candidate, Erlene DeMarcus, whose credentials as a BART board member years ago who helped bring BART to Pleasanton are impressive. But, frankly, we just haven't seen that much of DeMarcus at City Council meetings or city and civic events. Over the coming months, we urge her to become more visible to us and the voting public and possibly run again next June when voters will choose a fifth council member to fill the seat vacated by either Thorne or Cook-Kallio.

Pentin, a Pleasanton businessman, has served on a number of city commissions and advisory groups since moving here 21 years ago. He was honored with the Mayor's Award in 2008, with a list of achievements that he's reinforced ever since. He's our choice for election to the City Council.

This is Karla Brown's second bid for a seat on the council, where there are two openings with Council members Cindy McGovern and Matt Sullivan both termed out. Although we favored the Oak Grove development, which she and former Councilwoman Kay Ayala joined together in opposing, we share her current position as an opponent of Measure B1, which would add another half-cent in sales tax to an Alameda County transportation plan. Brown is active in a number of business and civic groups in Pleasanton, where she has lived for the last 20 years.



Posted by Sal, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 12, 2012 at 9:31 am

Cook-Kallio is the right choice for mayor. She has proven that she can work well with a variety of different groups and is truly bipartisan. She’s tough-minded and calmly handles the bully tactics of local Tea Party types at city council meetings. While Thorne isn’t a bad person, he has an antiquated 1950s vision of suburban living. He has called people “elitist” simply because they voiced opposition to uninspired, run-of-the-mill, auto-dominated strip mall development. He feels that demanding a better product out of profit driven developers makes you some kind of snob. In other words, he accepts mediocrity for Pleasanton when we should aspire to so much more as a city.

Also, the type of supporters Thorne has attracted is quite revealing. They seem to have a resentful and sadistic bent. He seems to appeal to a group of aging conservatives that are anti-teacher and despise fair wages for working people. They want to build a wall around Pleasanton, keep “different” people out, and take Pleasanton back to 1952. Change will come whether they like it or not and Cook-Kallio has a clear vision for the future.

Posted by ?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2012 at 9:37 am

Please note that Cheryl Cook-Kallio has been one of the most reluctant Council Members when it comes to pension reform. While she has voted for recent contract reforms, she has been one of the strongest proponents of worker needs/desires which has slowed down the necessary reform.

Her (and others) unwillingness to take an honest look years ago at the pension hole previous councils created, pushed out the necessary reform a few years. This is one of the reasons why even after recent contract moves, Pleasanton's pension liability continues to grow.

Cheryl has many positive traits, but to label her as a strong leader with regards to pension reform is simply not accurate.

It is quite telling that unions are backing her. Keep this in mind as you consider your vote.

Posted by Ann, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Hope you all look at the City of Pleasanton's website to access the candidate's campaign finances disclosures submitted this October to see who is providing those big checks to support the candidates and influence their decisions on the future council. DeMarcus has the biggest numbers coming from the Charter Properties developers and their associates or over $13,000 in contributions coming from the Lins and Tongs. This doesn't surprise me as Erlene worked as a paid consultant for Charter Properties and this is a pattern of political influence that has been a trade make of these developers. Is this the kind of influence we want on our City Council or do we want a candidate who represents the Pleasanton citizen. Let's show DeMarcus and other candidates that money from PACs and big developers do not help you get elected in our town.

Posted by justwondering, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Sal, have you taken a look at the Thorne endorsement page on his website? Doesn't it make you pause and ask why all of the Planning and Park & Recreation Commissioners have publicly indicated their support for Thorne? They are hardly a bunch of aging conservatives! These are the folks that are involved with making decisions/recommendations to the City Council and serve on task forces with council members. They have interaction with city council members and it seems significant to me that all the commissioners on these 2 commissions are supporting Thorne. Looks like they've figured out that at the end of the day its about Pleasanton and NOT Fremont, Union City, Sacramento, etc.

Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Thorne is the only mayoral candidate who has held a city commission position. He was volunteering in the community prior to running for City Council. Cook-Kallio was not ever seen in the city, let along doing volunteering here, prior to her running for city council. I think that is why there are many commissioners supporting Thorne as he has an idea of what goes on in the commissions. If Cook-Kallio was serving or volunteering prior to council it was in Fremont where she works, and not in Pleasanton.

Also, ever notice that Cook-Kallio has all those kids volunteering in her campaign? They all get extra credit in her class for doing so. Those kids are from Fremont and are getting community service credit by volunteering for their teacher.

Posted by Jerry & Jerry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2012 at 12:06 am

So union Sal, will cook-kallio solve union greed excesses with taxes or financially teetering city....we know it won't be with rewritten union agreements....we the people will be screwed ! ! !
AND, for council, it's only Jerry Pentin for me. Just Jerry and Jerry ! !

Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

If you want to help solve the union greed excesses you will also need Karla Brown in there. You do not want to let Demarcus in there as she is just as much in bed with the unions as cook-kallio.