4 now in race for Pleasanton City Council

2 vying for mayor's post as nomination period ends

Four candidates are now in the race for election to the Pleasanton City Council, along with two others seeking election as mayor.

Olivia Sanwong, a member of the city's Economic Development Committee who ran unsuccessfully for council two years ago, filed nomination papers before Friday's deadline, qualifying for a position on the Nov. 4 municipal ballot.

She joins incumbent City Councilwoman Kathy Narum, former Planning Commissioner Arne Olson and George Bowen in the bid for one of two available council seats.

In the council election, Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio is stepping down this year after serving eight years on the council, the maximum allowed under term limits.

Also, Narum, who was elected in a special ballot-by-mail election in May, 2013, to fill Mayor Jerry Thorne's unexpired term on the council, also must be elected to a full four-year term to continue on the council

In the mayor's race, Pleasanton attorney Matt Morrison, who was unsuccessful in his bid for election to the Zone 7 board last May, is challenging incumbent Mayor Jerry Thorne, who is seeking re-election to a second two-year term of office.

Narum launched her campaign for election to a full four-year term on the council at a crowded breakfast campaign last February in the Fairgrounds Pavilion.

Narum, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from UC Davis, served five years on the city's Planning Commission before her election to the council. Earlier, she served on the city's Parks and Recreation Commission for five years.

She is also past president of the Pleasanton Seahawks swimming organization, and served on the city's East Pleasanton Specific Plan Task Force and as chairwoman of the city's Heritage Tree board of appeals.

"During (my service) on the council, I've really tried to be accessible, listen to all perspectives and be accountable," she said.

She cited as some of her accomplishments working to finish construction drawings for the next phase of the Bernal Park property, creating a citizen's task force to develop a plan to upgrade the appearance of the city-owned Pioneer Cemetery, approving changes to the Downtown Specific Plan with regard to residential properties that will improve design and remodeling and adopting a revised cell phone tower ordinance that will improve the coverage in the city.

She said her priorities include reviewing and strengthening the city's fiscal policy "so that we will continue to ensure that our city's finances are sustainable."

"It is essential that we continue to have a sound fiscal policy that enhances revenues while looking for ways to reduce expenses through efficiency," Narum said. "We need to continue to reduce the city's unfunded pension liability, to promote thriving business parks so that we can attract and retain businesses in the city, and to further streamline the process of opening a business in Pleasanton."

In filing for election to the council, Olson, a retired bank executive who has lived in Pleasanton for 28 years, cited his experience in serving for the last eight years on the Planning Commission.

"This gave me a thorough understanding of our city's planning process," he said. "I strongly favor slow growth policies that ensure local control over land use decisions while complying with state law."

"As a council member, my two highest priorities will be neighborhoods and business," he added. "Pleasanton is a collection of individual neighborhoods that together form our wonderful community. Preserving the small town intimate feel of individual neighborhoods will assure that the community as a whole will continue to reflect our small town values."

"Businesses are vital to Pleasanton," Olson said. "They provide us with a large percentage of the revenue needed to keep our community fiscally sound, safe and clean. I pledge to work diligently to preserve and enhance our business base. In particular, I pledge to protect the jewel of Pleasanton, our downtown."

Sanwong said she is an advocate for sustainable growth policies that balance development with Pleasanton's quality of life and natural environment. Her decision-making process for policies will be based on each project's impact, including but not limited to water, open space, schools, traffic, public safety, libraries, and the downtown.

She has the endorsements of Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin), who is also a candidate for re-election to that office, and outgoing Councilwoman Cook-Kallio.

Sanwong, a member of the city's Economic Vitality Committee completed her Master's Degree in Business Administration in May 2011 from the Simmons School of Management in Boston,

For more information about Olivia Sanwong, sign on to her Website at

Bowen is perhaps best known for his work with veterans' organizations in promoting a Wente Concert fundraiser last October that raised funds to support wounded soldiers. Last month, he also announced the formation of a citizens' coalition, Pleasanton Voters for Smart Growth, an organization that is opposed to adding more apartment houses in the city.

"I am running for the City Council because I am convinced that the people of Pleasanton need a council member that will hold the line on further unnecessary residential growth," Bowen said. "The Council's upcoming decisions about adding thousands of new homes make Pleasanton's growth the most important issue facing the city in the years to come."

"I am very concerned that Pleasanton is rapidly and unnecessarily departing from our long-held vision of being the 'City of Planned Progress,'" he added.

Although he has never served on a Pleasanton commission or in an elective office, Bowen has been active with a non-profit organization he founded that is focused on reducing teen driving related deaths. He also serves at the national level on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Living Donor Committee, advocating for safe and transparent practices in living donor organ transplantation.


Like this comment
Posted by ILovePtown
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 11, 2014 at 11:24 am

So glad Olivia Sanwong is running again. She is a breath of fresh air for Pleasanton - has history here, experience in a big company, well educated, common sense.

Like this comment
Posted by lll
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 11, 2014 at 11:59 am

Should be an interesting race.

I heard that Olivia is running to represent the unions and already has strong employee union support. I hope that is wrong but we will see when we receive the info on the endorsements as well as checking out the city database on campaign contributions.

Like this comment
Posted by interesting
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Aug 11, 2014 at 2:56 pm

This should be a lively race. Not sure why Olivia San Wong is running. She lost by a significant margin last time and has not done anything new since then. Seems like a nice person but have not seen any leadership and she had 2 years to do something more. I think she is just on the very small committee as she was on before. There are much stronger candidates to choose from.

Like this comment
Posted by Tom F
a resident of Castlewood
on Aug 12, 2014 at 7:11 am

Olivia San Wong is endorsed by Eric Swalwell. You know, our congressmen who shills for the Obama regime. Just say NO to Wong and any other candidates who are United States ruining democrats.

Like this comment
Posted by lll
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 12, 2014 at 7:36 am

Olivia is there for the unions. They want their representative on the council to prevent pension reform. Essentially the unions want to continue being represented on both sides of the negotiating table.

She is probably a very nice person but being used by the unions.

1 person likes this
Posted by Davey D
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 12, 2014 at 7:37 am

Interesting says "There are much stronger candidates to choose from."

Yeah, because the real estate agent and the housewife we elected to council were so much more experienced. Those are really highbrow choices. Give me a break.

Unlike others running for council, Olivia isn't a right-wing shill for the Chamber of Commerce and developers. She is also under 50 years. She has my vote. Oh, I forgot, this Pleasanton, where it is ok to take gobs of money from developers but taking a dime from unions that fight for livable wages is sacrilegious. My bad.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 12, 2014 at 7:44 am

The GOOD NEWS is that voters have a choice...VIVA AMERICA! VIVA!

Like this comment
Posted by lll
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 12, 2014 at 8:12 am

I only support candidates who do not take money from the unions and the developers (who are represented by the chamber of developers; er I mean pleasanton chamber of commerce). I want a representative that represents the people of Pleasanton; not the special interests (public employees, developers). So do not want the shill for the public employee unions or the shill for the developers.

If you think the public employee unions are fighting for a livable wage, you are in fantasy land.

Like this comment
Posted by interesting
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Aug 12, 2014 at 9:12 am

Davey D,
You forgot to say the "housewife" you imply had no experience was a former engineer who also spent over 15 years in public service positions helping Pleasanton: Parks and Rec Commission, President of Pleasanton Seahawks, and leadership positions with Rage Soccer and a number of committees.
I stand by my comment that I have not seen any leadership from San Wang and she had plenty of time to do so between the last race she lost by a huge margin and this race. Nice person i assume but a leader she is not. I am looking for objective leadership on the Council as we have big challenges ahead and glad we have more choices.

Like this comment
Posted by One
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2014 at 9:32 am

Wow, III, you seem to have some real skin in this election. Three churlish attempts to smear one of the candidates. Before you change your name, let me ask you....

Who are "the people" that you refer to? Because, it seems to me, that after you remove public workers, school teachers, union members, developers, investors, and people of color, there just don't seem to be all that many "people" left. Or do you simply have an axe to grind?

1 person likes this
Posted by Paulette Kenyon
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 12, 2014 at 7:24 pm

I don't understand why so many working people have it in for unions. If it wasn't for unions, anyone who works for others for a living wouldn't have any rights. It's unions that keep wages higher. Because there are fewer unions, America's middle class is shrinking. Your kids have jobs at McDonald's to look forward to when they graduate. How many of you know people whose kids can't leave the nest? If someone rants that someone is supported by unions, as if that is a bad thing, they are probably a tea party person (vacant mind & angry at everyone who isn't supported by Fox News). The liberals of today were conservatives in my generation. We've moved so far to the right that there is no left anymore. It's like someone running over a squirrel and then running over it 500 times to make sure it's dead. Why are you so worried that there are any unions left? The boat is leaning so far to the right, that we're going under, already. You won! The big corporations run everything. You tea party people. YOu won already.. Don't you get it?

Like this comment
Posted by lll
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 12, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Ha Ha, the boat is leaning so far to the right? Just about choked. Could not be further from the truth.

I also believe that you misunderstood my concerns. They are not on unions in general. It is with public employee unions. Unions work when there is a balance of management/owners and the unions, and in an industry that can go out of business if the product is priced out of the marker as there is competition. With government, there is no competition so when the salaries and benefits are off the scale, the taxpayer looses as the service declines or there is a need of additional taxes to keep the same services. When the public employee union employees are represented by their union and the elected representatives also represent the unions there is no balance.

I have no problems with unions. I do however have problems with public employee unions when they are on both sides of the bargaining table in an industry that has no competition. Completely different things.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Salami, Salami … Baloney
By Tom Cushing | 25 comments | 586 views

Time for new collaboration between city and school district
By Tim Hunt | 2 comments | 460 views