Town Square

Pleasanton Candidates For Mayor

Original post made by Michael Austin, Pleasanton Meadows, on Aug 29, 2020

Questions to the three candidates for mayor of Pleasanton.

Monith Ilvavarasan answered my written questions first person.
Karla Brown answered my written questions first person.

Jerry Pentin did not answer my written questions first person, nine weeks after I provided my written questions to Jerry Pentin, his campaign manager Bryan Gillette provided written response to me for my questions.

Question: If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?

Monith Ilavarasan response:

Historically our city has had strong financial footing. However due to COVID-19 we are facing a budget shortfall for the first time in a long time. To put our city on firmer financial footing I would do the following.

Make low interest loans available to preserve the small businesses within our community. Small businesses often have a stake in our community and buy local. A restaurant owner I know downtown sources his produce from the farmers market & local grocery stores.

Prevent large big box stores from moving in. Big box stores have the capitol necessary to price out local businesses. Also, much of every dollar spent at a big box store leaves our community, unlike dollars spent at local businesses.

Pause any "downtown restoration" projects funded by the city, in these times of being cash strapped we cannot afford vanity projects.

Karla Brown response:

1. Continue to use the IRS code section 115trust to set aside funding that will assist the city in our management our long term liabilities associated with pensions.

2. Continue to outsource city services such as landscaping work, the golf course and tennis complex employees. Outsourced employees are not participants in the city's expensive long term retirement liabilities.

3. Limit vacation for payouts of employees to 4 weeks maximum. The current program allows employees to save vacation time for years, and then take large cash distribution in lieu of time off. Some employees have cashed out sums in excess of $50,000! Vacation is intended to use, not build like a bank.

Jerry Pentin Campaign response:

Unfortunately, this recession is not my first rodeo. During my eight years on Council, I worked hard on pension reform to bring our budget back into the black. I am always committed to good financial stewardship, in good times and in bad. I would continue to help run this city with fiscal restraint, continuing with our conservative approach to fiduciary responsibility. Our conservative approach to funding our programs sometimes causes programs to take longer but, during times of crisis, we are in a more secure financial situation. I will continue this strategy.


Like this comment
Posted by RonnieF
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Aug 31, 2020 at 9:13 pm

RonnieF is a registered user.

@Michael Austin. I think a Zoom or local televised forum would be an appropriate Q&A for candidates rather than this thread.

2 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 1, 2020 at 7:08 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.


Please explain why this public forum is not appropriate in addition to Zoom, televised public forums?

10 people like this
Posted by Louis Astbury
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Sep 4, 2020 at 9:55 am

Louis Astbury is a registered user.

Excellent responses from Karla Brown. She has solid and detailed plans and the experience to deal with a budget shortfall.

The other candidate responses show they are not in the same league as Ms. Brown. Mr. Ilvavarasangive suggests that the city provide funding for low interest loans to small businesses, but is this realistic given the City's financial situation? Would the City have to borrow and issue a bond to do this? Mr. Pentin waits 9 weeks to have someone else provide generalizations and no concrete ideas. We can't have a mayor that can not provide timely and serious responses.

Like this comment
Posted by RonnieF
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Sep 13, 2020 at 4:58 pm

RonnieF is a registered user.

@ you cannot replace having visual contact And a dialogue between people which is why I think Zoom is better for a Q&A session. Plus having an Established organization act as moderator ensures a more robust exchange than written 1:1 online. That’s just my thinking to maximize credibility

1 person likes this
Posted by Mimayo
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Sep 13, 2020 at 5:13 pm

Mimayo is a registered user.

The City has had a low interest loan for businesses to do facade improvements and make renovations possible for a long time. This program is not new and not Brown’s idea so she can’t take credit for it. Many cities have undertaken this approach and more. I suggest in addition, The City folds into the loan reduced water and sewer connection fees and waives certain building permit costs. Obviously streamline permit review, issuance and inspection fees.

Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 14, 2020 at 12:45 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

It is not a replacement!
It is an addition to the other forums.

3 people like this
Posted by MsVic
a resident of Mission Park
on Sep 17, 2020 at 8:12 am

MsVic is a registered user.

Karla’s response about funding pensions is vague- doesn’t address the need for pension reform. Jerry has publicly stated the need for pension reform due to the huge exposure we have as a city.

Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 17, 2020 at 9:08 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Pensions are the worst at the school district. The city has used the 115 trust to put money aside for their pensions. It is not a solution, but it was a good start.