The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and City Council incumbents Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Jerry Thorne for re-election on Nov. 2.
Scott Raty, president of the chamber, said the group's Business and Community Political Action Committee (BACPAC) believed the three candidates provided "decisive leadership" and experience over their current terms in office. At the same time, City Councilwoman Cindy McGovern, who is challenging Hosterman for the top post, too often delayed decisions, costing taxpayers more money, the chamber PAC decided.
The PAC also rejected council candidates Karla Brown and Fred Watson as lacking the experience needed for the positions.
"The Chamber based its decisions on interviews with five of six candidates and a recent public forum sponsored by the chamber in which all six candidates addressed priorities and answered questions rooted in 'Pleasanton 2015: A Community Vision,' the chamber's local public policy platform with goals for education, transportation, public safety, health, jobs, housing, arts, culture and recreation," Raty said.
McGovern declined an invitation by the chamber BACPAC to be interviewed as part of its candidate review process.
In the public forum, all six candidates agreed that Pleasanton is doing well, in spite of a weak and sluggish economy.
"Three candidates truly distinguish themselves with proven track records of accomplishment, demonstrating the leadership skills necessary to keep Pleasanton on the right track," Raty said. "Incumbent Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and council members Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Jerry Thorne have earned our support and deserve to be re-elected."
"Two challengers, Karla Brown and Fred Watson, lack experience and are simply not well versed enough in the issues to keep Pleasanton on the right track," according to the BACPAC report. "Over the next two years, in a challenging economy, Pleasanton will need the experience of proven leaders, and cannot afford the distraction of the kind of "on the job training" both will demand."
"In council member McGovern's challenge of Hosterman, we see a candidate who has made a habit of delaying action to the point of impeding sound proposals, often saying she needs more time – senior housing at Pleasanton Gardens and Kottinger Place are but two examples," the BACPAC statement continued. "Such delays often result in increased costs to the City in staff and consultant time, not to mention lost tax revenue to support needed public services."
"The community needs the commitment to service and decisive leadership Jennifer Hosterman brings to help Pleasanton remain one of the most highly desirable communities in which to live, work and raise a family," it added.
In its analysis of the candidates it endorsed, the BACPAC group made the following observations:
Mayor Jennifer Hosterman has become an effective public executive and leader.
Mayor Hosterman (along with Council members Cook-Kallio and Thorne) worked hard to make senior housing, a new auto mall, freeway oriented retail and a community park a reality on the former Staples Ranch property at El Charro Road and I-580. This project is important to protecting Pleasanton's tax base, creating new jobs, and helping our seniors, while providing new recreation opportunities for all ages.
Hosterman was effective in securing the county's railroad right-of-way for additional parking in downtown Pleasanton. Anyone who attended the opening of the Firehouse Arts Center this month knows the value of that additional parking. She understands the value and importance of business to a community, and has been a proponent of streamlining government to become more efficient and responsive.
Hosterman has worked hard to earn the trust of elected colleagues in the region (she is endorsed by Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena, Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, and Danville Mayor Mike Doyle), and has earned positions of leadership on public boards and commissions that will benefit Pleasanton directly over the next two years. Foremost among them are the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority (ACTIA) where Hosterman is working to secure funding for traffic solutions important to Pleasanton.
She also serves on the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) that determines land-use control at our city's borders, where projects like that proposed for the former Staples Ranch are vital to the strength of the local economy and quality of life.
Based on her growth and maturation during her tenure as both a City Council member and mayor of Pleasanton, we believe Jennifer Hosterman is the best candidate for the job, and deserves to be re-elected to serve a final two years as Mayor.
With a strong background in business, Jerry Thorne understands the importance of accountability in government. As a member of the city of Pleasanton's internal audit committee, Thorne championed responsible fiscal policies that helped Pleasanton earn "Excellence in Budgeting" awards from the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers for the last seven years.
Since 1995, when first appointed to the Parks and Recreation Commission, Thorne has been a strong advocate of quality-of-life projects and initiatives, including the Veterans' Memorial Building, the Bernal Community Park, and the Firehouse Arts Center. He has consistently worked to make Pleasanton a business-friendly city by streamlining the permitting processes and limiting unnecessary regulation
Thorne brings years of business experience to the Council so, when other cities turn to their taxpayers to bridge budget shortfalls, Thorne first asks where can we consolidate and streamline government to make it more efficient and less costly.
In every deliberation as a member of the Pleasanton City Council, Cheryl Cook-Kallio votes with the best interests of the total community foremost in mind. She supports maintaining a strong local economy and sensible initiatives to maintain and enhance Pleasanton's exceptional quality of life.
Cook-Kallio was the early advocate for the Stoneridge Drive/Staples Ranch project. She, along with Mayor Hosterman, and council member Thorne not only recognized the importance Stoneridge Drive to improving traffic circulation in north Pleasanton, but due to their leadership saved Pleasanton taxpayers an estimated $8 million by agreeing to accept Alameda County's offer to pay for its construction if completed earlier rather than later. Ultimately Cook-Kallio was instrumental in garnering unanimous Council support for Staples Ranch.
Like Thorne, Cook-Kallio has been a strong advocate for the Veterans' Hall, the Firehouse Civic Arts Center and other projects that enhance Pleasanton as a place to live, work and play while maintaining a position of fiscal responsibility.
Raty said that the Pleasanton Chamber is a private, not-for-profit association with more than 800 members that employ more than 10,000 area residents. More information about the chamber can be found at its website: www.pleasanton.org.