Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne and City Council candidates Jerry Pentin and Herb Ritter won the endorsements this week of the Bay East Association of Realtors and the political action arm of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce.
Thorne and Pentin are seeking re-election in the Nov. 8 municipal contest. Ritter, currently chairman of the city’s Planning Commission, is seeking election to one of two seats available on the council.
The two other candidates, Julie Testa who is campaigning to unseat Thorne as mayor, and Councilwoman Karla Brown were not endorsed by either organization, even though Brown is an associate broker and real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, a real estate agency in Pleasanton.
All candidates running for the mayor’s position and City Council participated in the interview process, both at Bay East and with the chamber’s Business and Community Political Action Committee (BACPAC).
In addition, the chamber’s BACPAC endorsed retired Hart Middle School Principal Steve Maher and Kathleen Ruegsegger for election to one of three seats available in November on the Pleasanton school board. Ruegsegger has served as executive assistant to school superintendents in Pleasanton and Palo Alto.
The BACPAC did not endorse either of the two incumbents – Jamie Hintzke and Valerie Arkin – who are seeking re-election to their positions on the school board.
Bay East did not endorse candidates for the school board.
“Endorsements were based on interviews with each candidate, their alignment with objectives in (the chamber’s) ‘Pleasanton 2020: A Community Vision,’ and, in the case of incumbents, their track records, said John Sensiba, BACPAC’s chairman.
“In complete contrast to four years ago when three incumbents were re-elected by acclamation, this election is wide open and features two well qualified challengers and two eight-year incumbents vying for three seats,” he added. “We are pleased to endorse Steve Maher and Kathleen Ruegsegger, as they are the right people at the right time for Pleasanton schools, and we’re excited at the prospect of their fresh perspectives.”
With regard to the Pleasanton mayor’s race, the BACPAC board determined that in his first two terms as mayor, Jerry Thorne made good on his pledge to focus on fiscal accountability, jobs, Bernal Park Phase 2, 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,” according to the BACPAC statement. “Thorne is best qualified to lead our city and deserves re-election.”
For election to the Pleasanton City Council, Sensiba said the BACPAC reviewers found that Councilman Pentin and challenger Ritter offer a combination of experiences that are most closely aligned with the chamber’s goals.
“In our view, (they) are best qualified to help Pleasanton remain the Bay Area’s best place to live, work and raise a family,” Sensiba added.
BACPAC found that: “Pentin consistently does his homework and thoughtfully arrives at conclusions he believes are in the best interests of the entire community, even when that may mean taking an unpopular stance from time to time. In our book that’s synonymous with true leadership. His 25-year track record of civic engagement and community service are second to none, and he deserves re-election.”
In endorsing Ritter, the BACPAC stated: “He brings an infectiously positive energy to all that he does, and after six-plus years on the Parks (and Recreation) Commission and four years on the Planning Commission, he’s passionate about making a difference as a Council member.”
“Ritter is keenly aware of the importance of maintaining a strong local economy in order to sustain the very highest of public services and amenities synonymous with quality of life in Pleasanton,” the BACPAC endorsement added. “His energy, creativity and common sense will be a great asset in our community’s quest for a new library and civic center.”
Kim Ott, president of the Bay East Association of Realtors, said that in endorsing Thorne, Pentin and Ritter in the Nov. 8 election, her organization found that they represent the interests of buyers, sellers and home owners at the local level.
“The candidates we endorse understand the important role home ownership plays in creating and maintaining stable communities,” Ott said. “They are also committed to creating housing opportunities and defending private property rights.”
“Some cities are attempting to balance creating housing opportunities for current and future residents with community resistance to new development,” Ott added. “Other ‘built out’ cities are considering policies to protect tenants while not driving property owners out of the rental housing business.”
“During our interview process, we learned that all of the candidates have a range of awareness about the issues that impact home ownership,” Ott said. “Those who we are endorsing shared the most practical and realistic solutions to the challenges facing home owners and maintaining a high quality of life in their cities.”
“A core value of our association is leadership,” Ott added. “We know how hard candidates running for election have to work and appreciate their desire to serve the community.”