Historically in elections, Pleasanton usually gets it right and the May 7 results were no different. Voters recognized the need to add a seasoned community leader as the fifth member to the council to fill the seat vacated when Councilman Jerry Thorne was elected mayor last November. Narum, who will be sworn in next Tuesday and take her seat at that night's council meeting, can start immediately as a councilwoman knowledgeable in the rules of serving on the rule-making panel. And she knows the rules, including about the stringent requirements imposed on elected officials by the Brown Act, a California law that helps to keep those who hold public office to independent decision-making. No more smoke-filled backroom negotiating that we used to see decades ago.
Narum is also well prepared to serve on the council in the busy, critical months ahead as major housing, land use, business development and fiscal issues come forward. Having spent hours as a Planning Commissioner on meetings dealing with Measure PP, for example, she will now be one of the most knowledgeable on the ordinance when it comes back before the council. She's also well versed in the high density housing plans that will be considered in the months ahead. These include more apartments for the Auf der Maur property at Stanley and Bernal and the South Bay Development's plans for apartments and single family homes on acreage it owns south of the new Safeway store complex at Pleasanton Gateway. Her work with the East Side Pleasanton task force and on school and First Responder issues also will add to the council's strength in deciding issues on school land use needs, police and fire department employee and police matters, and more importantly, perhaps, on pending city budgets and pension reform. As a member of the Planning Commission, she has dipped her hand in all of theses issues.
Under Mayor Thorne's leadership, the City Council has moved forward wisely and expeditiously on handling city business. Kathy Narum will bring a long-awaited fifth voice to the lawmaking body.