Pleasanton Weekly candidates' forum set for April 9 | March 15, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - March 15, 2013

Pleasanton Weekly candidates' forum set for April 9

Chance for public to hear from 4 candidates vying for City Council seat

by Jeb Bing

The Pleasanton Weekly will host a free, public forum Tuesday, April 9, at the Civic Center for the four candidates seeking election on May 7 to fill a vacant seat on the Pleasanton City Council.

The four candidates are Mark Hamilton, David Miller, Kathy Narum and Olivia Sanwong.

The forum will be held starting at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. Doors at the Civic Center, located at 200 Old Bernal Ave., will open at 6 p.m.

Those attending the forum will be given cards as they enter which they can use to write out their questions of individual or all candidates. The moderators of the forum, Gina Channell-Allen, publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly, and editor Jeb Bing will then ask the candidates to answer these questions along with others. The candidates will have time for brief opening and closing remarks, but they will not see the questions in advance.

The forum will be videotaped for later broadcast on community television's Channel 29 and also on the Pleasanton Weekly's website at

The candidates' forum will be held one day after the Alameda County Registrar's office starts distributing ballots for the special election. Voters can start voting once they've received the ballots, which must be received and in the Registrar's office no later than 5 p.m. May 7. Unlike in previous Pleasanton elections, this will be by mail-in balloting only; there will be no regular polling places for voters to cast their ballots.

The council vacancy occurred when Councilman Jerry Thorne was elected mayor in November, leaving two years of his unexpired term as councilman. The candidate chosen to succeed him on the council May 7 will serve until the 2014 municipal election, but also can seek re-election to that post for a four-year term.

Responding to a Pleasanton Weekly query, each of the four candidates provided information about themselves and their candidacy, which follows in alphabetical order:

Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton, 52, is a 25-year resident of the Bay Area and Pleasanton, where he raised his two sons, who attended Pleasanton schools . He holds a bachelor's degree in Business Management from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from Golden Gate University. He is the Financial Services Director at ADP Inc. in Pleasanton, where he has worked for the past 15 years. He also served 24 years as a senior officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. He has been deeply involved in community affairs with a focus on youth groups and athletics.

"I love our community and want to protect it for future generations. I bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to local politics and ensure transparency of city government. I have no affiliations with organizations that could benefit from local legislation. My decisions will solely be in the interest of all residents. My priorities include: fiscal management, planned growth, protection of schools, police and fire safety. I will prioritize expansion of our parks and recreational sites and bringing new jobs to Pleasanton. City government should be non-partisan. I bring an independent perspective, and proven management skills. With your vote, I will ensure Pleasanton remains the ideal community for all families.

More information on Hamilton is available at

David Miller

David Miller comes from humble beginnings and grew up in small town America. His wife, Laura, is a Chinese immigrant. They have three young daughters and live in Pleasanton.

A successful Silicon Valley businessman for 25 years, David has helped grow Nvidia from 500 employees to 7,500 with over $4 billion in sales annually.

Miller said he was encouraged to run for City Council to give business owners, homeowners and taxpayers a greater voice in city government. His is a new voice and a fresh perspective that will work for positive growth and community development that won't harm Pleasanton's unique small town charm and exceptional quality of life.

As a well-known and respected community advocate, Miller said he has helped find ways to resolve Pleasanton's pension liabilities without raising taxes, fought special interests that wanted to create barriers to new business development and found new ways for Pleasanton schools to control their budgets without compromising classroom performance.

More information is available at

Kathy Narum

Kathy Narum is an experienced civic leader. Currently in her fifth year as Planning Commissioner, she also served as a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission and numerous city task forces and volunteer groups. Her civic involvement coupled with her experience as a small-business owner and chemical engineer in the private sector has provided her the leadership skills necessary to accomplish goals set before her.

A long-time Pleasanton resident, Narum said she will listen to the concerns of all residents and work to maintain Pleasanton's quality of life and small town feel. To accomplish this, her priorities include fiscal responsibility by reducing the city's unfunded pension liability while increasing revenues, ensure responsible growth, maintain our excellent schools, and preserve and create more parks and open space. Narum is endorsed by Mayor Jerry Thorne and more than 40 current and former civic leaders. To learn more about Narum, visit

Olivia Sanwong

Olivia Sanwong represents "multiple segments of Pleasanton's population," which she states is the most important reason why she is inspired to run for City Council. "When I look at the current make-up of our City Council, I believe there is space for someone, like me, who is:

- An Experienced High Tech Professional

- A Longtime Member of the Community, since 1981

- A Pleasanton Unified School District Alumna

- Generation X & Y

- Asian American

- A New First-Time Homeowner

- An Engaged Citizen

"My City Council agenda combines practical experience with fresh new ideas to ensure Pleasanton continues to advance our economy, schools and infrastructure while also holding on to the cultural values that make Pleasanton dear to our heart. I am already working toward this as a member on the city's Economic Vitality and Cultural Plan committees."

She was recently appointed by Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) to the Women's Advisory Committee for California's 15th Congressional District. More information is available at

The Pleasanton Weekly will make its endorsement for one of the candidates after the April 9 forum, to be published in the April 12 print edition of the newspaper and online.

Questions for individual or all of the candidates may also be sent by email to


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