Thorne, Pentin, Ritter win endorsements of Chamber, Realtors

Chamber also recommends Maher, Ruegsegger for Pleasanton school board

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.”

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6 people like this
Posted by Lugnut
a resident of Amador Estates
on Sep 28, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Rubber Stamps for the Chamber. Took The Chamber years to have control of the Council.

9 people like this
Posted by res1
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 28, 2016 at 2:09 pm

res1 is a registered user.

Please join me in voting for candidates of local races NOT supported/controlled by the BACPAC (and the Bay East Association of Realtors).

You will find that the BACPAC and the Realtors PAC are VERY closely aligned with David Stark making sure that both PACs support the same candidates. These organizations ONLY support candidates that support high growth in the city. Just have to look at their history.

As for school board, the reason they did not endorse Valerie Arkin is because her husband was a planning commissioner some time ago and was slow growth. Candidates, or families of candidates, who support slow growth need not waste the time to try for a chamber endorsement.

The chamber and their developer constituents have way too much control in Pleasanton by financing candidates who favor developers. If you vote for any of the candidates they endorse and fund, please do not complain about additional housing, traffic congestion, or school overcrowding. You are a contributor to these problems by voting for the chamber candidates.

2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 29, 2016 at 5:24 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

res1, I think those are rather sweeping statements, particularly for the school board. While I appreciate the endorsement of the Chamber, I am running and funding my own campaign, and the questions were very appropriate to education and students.

I also have been clear about smart growth and preservation of open space in a variety of other posts. Finally, I think Valerie and Jamie both have been responsive to me and others when asked difficult questions, especially concerning the bond and the inclusion of a new elementary school. In short, there are four good choices for school board. I hope people will vote for their candidates based on issues and not just those who may endorse.

14 people like this
Posted by Nan
a resident of Rosewood
on Sep 29, 2016 at 8:55 am

Nan is a registered user.

Agree! Agree! Agree!

I am tired of our City being controlled by the Chamber, developers, and PAC's. For the very reason that these groups endorse these candidates-- I will vote against them.

Why else would they endorse them, unless they control them? The citizens need to wake up!

I am voting for Karla Brown. There is a reason that they do not endorse her! Wonder what it could be??

6 people like this
Posted by res1
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 29, 2016 at 9:26 am

res1 is a registered user.

The headline on this story is also factually incorrect. The chamber and the realtors cannot endorse candidates. That would jeopardize their non-profit status. They have established Political Action Committees to get around this restriction. The government could take away the non-profit status of these organizations if they endorsed candidates or contributed to them. If the chamber is the one saying they are endorsing the candidates, then I think it is time for us to report them to the IRS so they get their non-profit status revoked and they start to pay taxes, and back-taxes. The weekly should report to us on whether they got the title of the article wrong or if the chamber and realtors are saying this. If the former, the weekly should fix the mistake. If the later, it is time we all report these organizations to the IRS.

1 person likes this
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Sep 30, 2016 at 7:34 am

Lisa is a registered user.

Why wouldnt the East Bay Realtors Association endorse Karla Brown who is a real estate agent and probably an association member? It does not sound logical but I do know real estate agents make commissions on selling existing homes particularly when the supply is limited and accordingly housing prices sky rocket.

5 people like this
Posted by Nan
a resident of Rosewood
on Sep 30, 2016 at 8:03 am

Nan is a registered user.

Hi Lisa,

I think the answer is that the East Bay Realtors and/or Bay East Realtors (David Stark) are heavily tied to the Chamber of Commerce. They do not endorse Karla because they cannot control her. They can control Ritter and the rest of the Council. They want Karla out!

This is why I will vote for her.

Like this comment
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Sep 30, 2016 at 8:33 am

Lisa is a registered user.

my point is if you think the Chamber and Realtor Association should be excluded from supporting community and indusry interests, then probably you should agree that a residential real estate agent like Ms Brown should be excluded from voting on anything related to housing construction. Some real estate agents including those in my family will admit that a no growth politician is in their interest because having a limited supply of houses increases home prices and thus their sale commissions.

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

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