Jerry Thorne elected mayor of Pleasanton
Defeats challenger Cheryl Cook-Kallio, who will remain on City Council
City Councilman Jerry Thorne was elected mayor of Pleasanton Tuesday, defeating his challenger and fellow council member Cheryl Cook-Kallio.
With all of the city's 47 precincts reporting, Thorne had 11,980, or 54.6%, of the votes cast in the mayor's race, compared to 9,740, or 44.7%, for Cook-Kallio.
Cook-Kallio, who has two years remaining on her second four-year term on the council, will stay on the council through 2014. For Thorne, he will serve a two-year term before facing re-election in 2014, and can hold the mayor's post for a maximum of eight years.
The city's current mayor, Jennifer Hosterman, and council members Cindy McGovern and Matt Sullivan are stepping down this year because of term limits.
The election of Thorne now leaves another vacant seat on the council, which will be filled in a special election next June. In the meantime, the council will be functioning with only four voting members.
Both Thorne and Cook-Kallio battled it out for the mayor's post at non-stop rallies throughout the election season, walking the precincts to solicit votes in Pleasanton neighborhoods and at public events, including standing with their campaign workers every Saturday at Farmers Market in downtown Pleasanton.
Although Cook-Kallio generated widespread support from city firefighter and employee unions as well as municipal and regional leaders from around the state, too few of them were registered voters in Pleasanton to top Thorne, who had support from more city, civic and business organizations and individuals who live here.
Thorne was first elected to the City Council in a special election June 7, 2005, and then re-elected by wide margins in November 2006 and again in 2010. A retired executive from Hewlett Packard, he has lived in Pleasanton for more than 30 years with his wife Sandi, and where they raised their daughter Keri.
Thorne said Wednesday that he and the two new council members will be sworn in at the beginning of the meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 4, in the council chambers at 200 Old Bernal Ave. After the public swearing in, the newly constituted council will hold its first meeting.
"I plan to hit the ground running without delay," Thorne said. "Among the first actions, I plan to ask the council to join with me in possibly changing the structure of our public meetings. Sometimes it just takes too long to actually get to the agenda we have before us."
One suggestion Thorne will make is to limit the time of public comments at the start of the meeting, adding time at the meeting's end for more comments.
"All too often, those who are on the meeting's agenda have to wait until late in the evening to make their presentation," Thorne said. "I want to hear those who are on the schedule at a reasonable time and then we can take more public comments. We'll stay as late as it takes to hear everyone who wants to talk."
Thorne also wants to establish a performance measure for the council so that the public can assess on a regular basis just how its elected officials are doing. The council would set targets for measurement, such as on how well it is meeting budget goals for municipal employee benefits and salaries, how well its first responders are handling emergencies, and a broad range of other performance goals.
"Let's determine how well we perform compared to other cities that are seen as the 'best of class,'" he explained. "I think Pleasanton in a lot of cases will be best in class, but that doesn't mean that we can't continue to improve by using these performance measurement standards."
During his HP career, Thorne held top management positions, with responsibility for a $200 million annual budget and a $40 million payroll. As manager of global procurement and facilities design, he often worked directly with the city of San Jose, including its mayor, and helped streamline services to make the city more business-friendly.
Before seeking his council seat, he served 10 years on the Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Commission. He chaired the Bernal Community Parks task force and co-authored the Save Our Community Park initiative that has resulted in the construction of three baseball fields on the Bernal property, the first part of a major new sports complex planned there.
As president of the Pleasanton Seahawks swim team, he led the effort to build the 50-meter swimming pool that is now part of the Dolores Bengtson Aquatic Center.