The Pleasanton Chamber's Political Action Committee Friday endorsed Mayor Jerry Thorne for re-election and Councilwoman Kathy Narum and former Planning Commissioner Arne Olson for election to the City Council.
Six candidates are seeking election Nov. 4 on the Pleasanton ballot. Attorney Matt Morrison also is vying for votes in the mayor's race, and George Bowen and Olivia Sanwong also are competing for two council seats that will be available this year.
Otis Nostrand, co-owner of The Hop Yard American Alehouse & Grill and this year's chairman of the
Chamber's Business & Community Political Action Committee, said decisions were based on interviews with all candidates. They were also based on comments made in a public forum sponsored by the chamber last week where candidates addressed priorities and answered questions.
Most of the questions, asked by Chamber Chairman David Stark, were rooted in "Pleasanton 2015: A Community Vision." That's the Chamber's local public policy platform with lists the chamber's goals for the economy, jobs, education, transportation, public safety, health, housing, arts, leadership, culture and recreation.
With regard to the race for Pleasanton mayor, the chamber based its endorsement on Thorne's first term as mayor. Nostrand said Thorne made good on his pledge to focus on fiscal accountability, jobs, Phase 2 of Bernal Park, cemetery improvements and shopping locally.
"He solidly represents Pleasanton on regional, state and national boards and commissions while remaining a staunch advocate for local control of land use," chamber PAC members decided. "Thorne is best qualified to lead our city and deserves re-election."
In the City Council race, PAC members chose Narum and Olson.
"Kathy Narum's experience as a hardworking Parks Commissioner and Planning Commissioner for more than a decade enabled her to hit the ground running after winning a special election to fill the council seat Thorne vacated two years ago following his being elected mayor," PAC members said.
"Narum is passionate about retaining our small town charm, maintaining a healthy business environment and improving both quality and availability of water for the region," they added. "She deserves re-election and the opportunity to serve a full four-year term."
Nostrand and other PAC members noted that in Arne Olson, Olivia Sanwong and George Bowen, "Pleasanton is fortunate to have three thoughtful and engaging challengers vying for the seat being vacated by Cheryl Cook-Kallio due to term limits."
"Cook-Kallio has a well-earned reputation for doing her homework, and consistently acting in the best interests of the total community," they said. "Over the past eight years, we have observed these same characteristics in Arne Olson in his service as a Planning Commissioner."
The PAC members said that more than anything else, experience sets Olson apart from his competition.
"He is well prepared to take the next step," they said.
Additionally, the chamber group agreed that Olson, a retired banking executive, would bring invaluable financial expertise to the council as Pleasanton seeks to reduce its unfunded pension liabilities and streamline city services while maintaining the highest of standards for safe neighborhoods, schools and business centers.
"Finally, while there will be an opportunity at a later time to recognize Cook Kallio for her great service to our community, we would be remiss not to do so at this time," Nostrand said, adding:
"Congratulations Cheryl, and thank you for helping Pleasanton to remain one of the very best communities in America in which to live, work and raise a family."