Candidates for Pleasanton mayor and the City Council will face off tonight at a community forum being hosted by the Pleasanton Weekly. The forum comes none too soon. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters' Office will mail sample ballots to voters on Oct. 10. Voters who have registered to vote by mail can cast their ballots immediately.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. Monday for the two-hour forum, which will be held in the City Council chamber in the Pleasanton Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave. The two candidates for mayor will lead off at 6:30 p.m., with the three council candidates following at 7:30 p.m.
Those attending the forum will be given cards as they enter, which they can use to write out their questions for the candidates. The moderators of the forum, Pleasanton Weekly Publisher Gina Channell and Editor Jeb Bing, will ask the candidates to answer as many of those questions, along with others as time permits. The candidates will have time for brief opening and closing remarks, but they will not see any questions in advance.
The candidates are Mayor Jerry Thorne, who is seeking re-election to a third two-year term, and challenger Julie Testa. The three candidates seeking the two available seats on the council are incumbents Karla Brown and Jerry Pentin and challenger Herb Ritter, who is chairman of the city's Planning Commission.
Voters will have the opportunity to hear each candidate first-hand. They will face questions about community priorities, including traffic, transportation, water, workforce housing, the proposed construction of a new civic center and library and what they envision in a new downtown specific plan.
They will also be asked to give their views on Measure MM, the initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot that would restrict commercial zoning on a section of Johnson Drive to retail stores no larger than 50,000 square feet. If approved, the measure would block an expected future bid by Costco to build a 140,000 square foot store.
Each of these candidates also will be profiled in the Pleasanton Weekly and online at www.pleasantonweekly.com on Oct. 7. We will make our endorsements of city candidates on Oct. 14, with endorsements of Pleasanton school board candidates to follow on Oct. 21.