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Council Candidates on the Most Challenging Issue in Pleasanton

Stay tuned this week as we share answers to questions Patch sent to the City Council and Mayoral candidates.

What is the most challenging issue in your city?

Cheryl Cook-Kallio:

Retaining Pleasanton's economic vitality and fiscal stability during the economic recovery.

Providing affordable workforce housing with residential and educational amenities that enhance Pleasanton's attractiveness to both businesses and families. California now requires all cities to plan for housing affordable to their local workforce in order to reduce automobile commuting and the resulting air pollution.

Working with the school district and community colleges through these difficult economic times to ensure the delivery of quality educational opportunities to Pleasanton's current and future workforce

Jerry Thorne:

The establishment of a sustainable employee pension system and financial accountability.There is no doubt that we are going to have to further adjust our employee pension system if it is going to be sustainable. The funded ratio for the CalPERS system falls well below acceptable standards and we as a community must find ways that: 

A. make the City's pension plan fair to both current and future employees. 

B. ensures the development of a sustainable defined benefit plan for future employees that is possibly supplemented with a defined contribution plan. 

C. are fair to current and future taxpayers. 

D. create a number of performance measures including:     

1) total compensation does not exceed 70% of general fund revenues.      

2) future liabilities are funded at the 80% level      

3) achieve a 10% reduction in unfunded liabilities within 5 years 

2. We must maintain a truly balanced budget with a balanced spending plan.  A balanced budget means much more than revenue equals expenditures. The actual spending plan within the budget must also be balanced or an increase in one area will cause a decrease in other potentially critical areas. I have been a member of Pleasanton's internal audit committee for over 6 years which has provided an introspective view of the budget and the realities that we are faced with.

This is important because unless we have a secure and sustainable financial plan, other plans and initiatives will not be possible. We must review a 15 year history of spending in all general fund spending areas to establish a performance measure for each based on a % of revenue expressed as a three year running average. City management and the Council must be held accountable for these performance measures. I also plan to establish a Mayor's Select Finance Committee comprised of residents with a high level of financial expertise to advise the Mayor and review all major areas of financial policy.   

3. The City must work with our school district to do whatever we can to defend our children's education. Our school system is one of the most important assets we have when it comes to maintaining property values and our quality of life.  

4. We must maintain a sensible and sustainable planning process that preserves the Quality of Life that our citizens have come to expect and insist on. The first challenge will be the
East Pleasanton Plan. 

5. Local government processes must be further streamlined to maintain and encourage a business friendly environment which will retain the businesses we have and attract the kind of businesses our community wants. 

6. We must maintain excellent public safety services in spite of the economic downturn.

Karla Brown:

We have 2 critical issues in Pleasanton, not just one. First, our two current Pleasanton Councilmembers that have stood for Slow Growth are being termed-out and will no longer be on the Council. I am the only candidate with a platform for Slow and Smart Growth policies, and the only candidate these same two slow growth councilmembers are supporting for Pleasanton. Second, our city is has accrued over $180,000,000 in unfunded pension debt. For a City the size of Pleasanton, that is huge and unsustainable. We are starting to see a reduction in services and safety personnel that could affect the quality-of-life we enjoy here in Pleasanton. As a City, we must address this issue in a fiscally conservative manner that is fair to our city’s employees, as well as our citizens and taxpayers.

Erlene DeMarcus:

Did not submit a response.

Jerry Pentin:

I think, without a doubt, it's our unfunded pension liability.  In as much as I feel the current City Council and City Management Staff have moved progressively forward in addressing this issue there is a lot of work to be done.  I hear constantly that Pleasanton is in pretty good shape versus other municipalities, counties and even the state...all true but my concern is for Pleasanton.  As the next set of contracts with our three bargaining units comes to the table we need to adjust and continue to adjust the contract to create a sustainable pension package for our employees and yet remain fiscally responsible to our Pleasanton taxpayers.

P'town Momma October 25, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Funny that Cheryl was the only one who did not mention the unfunded pension issue. That, along with her endorsements from the labor unions, ensures that my vote will go to Jerry Thorne for mayor. Sounds like he, Jerry Pentin and Karla Brown have a plan to fix the problem that is fair to employees and the tax payers.

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