Opinion: Let the campaigns begin

Candidates in place for the Pleasanton municipal and school board elections

With all candidates in place for the Pleasanton municipal and school board elections on Nov. 8, the campaigns are underway to win voters at the ballot box.

The term "ballot box" has waning significance with a majority of voters expected to favor mailing in their ballots long before Election Day.

Sample ballots will be mailed to registered voters starting Oct. 10. Those who have also registered for mail-in ballots can start voting that day. Those who have not yet registered to vote must do so by Oct. 24.

Although the presidential race is dominating the headlines and airwaves, Pleasanton voters also have choices locally.

Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat and former Pleasanton Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio in the 16th State Assembly race. State Senator Steve Glazer, a Democrat, is being challenged by businessman Joseph Rubay, a Republican, in the 7th State Senate race. Both districts represent Pleasanton.

More heated is the race for mayor of Pleasanton, where Mayor Jerry Thorne is being challenged by Julie Testa. 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 was elected mayor in 2012 and now is seeking his third term in office.

Testa, a former member of the city's Human Services Commission and a longtime advocate of measures to reduce school overcrowding, has worked work with students at Las Positas College, the board of NAMI Tri-Valley (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and on local nonprofit boards, including the board of directors for Tri-Valley REACH (Resources Education Activities Community and Housing).

The race for the two seats available this fall on the Pleasanton City Council also is grabbing voters' attention, with Herb Ritter, a businessman and the city's Planning Commission chairman, campaigning vigorously to unseat one of two incumbents, Karla Brown or Jerry Pentin, who are seeking re-election.

With four candidates seeking election to three available seats on the Pleasanton school board, this may be one of the most substantive and consequential races in recent history.

Two incumbents, Valerie Arkin and Jamie Hintzke, are seeking re-election. A third incumbent, Christ Grant, dropped out of the race a few days before the filing deadline, with Kathleen Ruegsegger and Steve Maher choosing to enter the race.

Ruegsegger is a former school board member and for years worked as an executive assistant for former superintendents in Pleasanton and Palo Alto school districts. Maher was Pleasanton's longest-serving principal when he retired at Hart Middle School and had both taught and served as principal at more schools than anyone else in the district -- ever. During the six years since his retirement, he continued to serve as a interim-principal in four schools in the district.

Pleasanton voters also will face two measures on their local ballot.

Measure MM, if approved, would ban big-box stores such as Costco from locating within a proposed Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone. The Pleasanton school board has placed a $270 million bond measure on the ballot that, if approved, would pay for multiple projects the district said it needs, including rebuilding Lydiksen Elementary School and possibly building a ninth elementary school during the 30-year life of the bond. It would cost property owners a tax of $49 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.

There is a lot at stake in both local elections, and with the presidential race on the ballot, there is great hope that more voters than ever will tune in to these local races and cast informed ballots.

At a time of angst and conflicting community sentiment about the direction we are headed as a city and a school district, we are hopeful that by Election Day the candidates are offering voters clear choices on both policy matters and leadership style.

Pleasanton Weekly staff.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Helen
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Aug 29, 2016 at 11:50 am

Any debates or town halls scheduled yet????

Like this comment
Posted by Gina Channell-Allen
president of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Aug 29, 2016 at 7:40 pm

Gina Channell-Allen is a registered user.

Yes, Helen, the Pleasanton Weekly will hold a candidates' forum for mayoral and council candidates Monday, Sept. 19, at City Hall - Council Chambers. Doors will open at 6 p.m.

Mark your calendar, tell your friends and stay tuned for more information!

6 people like this
Posted by Fredrick
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Aug 29, 2016 at 11:15 pm

A neighbor in my community is running named Herb. Everyone in our neighborhood knows he is backed by the builders and developers. He sits on the Commerce board that always wants more development. It takes me 1.5 hours to get to work now. Please stop all of this building. Dublin has gone crazy with building too.

Such a problem and Herb will not be helping at all. Even the real estate lady in our neighborhood is backing him hoping for more houses to sell.

No way, we need a break.

2 people like this
Posted by Correction
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 31, 2016 at 10:05 am

To the PW Editorial Staff
I realize that sensationalism sells newspaper ads but I think you need more details and to correct the record.

"With four candidates seeking election to three available seats on the Pleasanton school board, this may be one of the most substantive and consequential races in recent history."

How is it "substantive and consequential?" The school board has an election every 2 years. What makes this one different? Please comment.

"Christ Grant, dropped out of the race a few days before the filing deadline...""

Mr. Grant did not "drop out" as he was never in the "race." He decided not to not run for reelection after 10 years of service to the board. From his letter you know that it was a difficult decision, one that weighs personal sacrifice against family and a career. As the COO for Kaiser I was impressed with his volunteerism for 10 years. He has paid his community service dues and should be recognize for his dedication. Please revise your editorial to reflect the facts or comment why you think this statement is accurate.

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

Be the first to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Couples: Write a Personal Ad . . . to Your Partner . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,581 views

I’ve been Hacked! Insulted, too.
By Tom Cushing | 8 comments | 981 views

Castlewood members voted for major clubhouse remodeling; Second vote looms
By Tim Hunt | 1 comment | 539 views