Six candidates vying for mayoral and city council positions went over numerous topics during the Chamber of Commerce's candidate forum Thursday morning.
From transportation and housing to public employee pension programs and business growth, candidates shared their opinions during the held at the .
A packed room of about 100 people listened to the six candidates speak.
Current city council members Jerry Thorne and Cheryl Cook-Kallio are vying to succeed Jennifer Hosterman, who will term-out as mayor after an eight-year run. Karla Brown, Erlene DeMarcus, Mike Harris and Jerry Pentin are running for the two seats on city council.
The forum was moderated by Brad Hirst, a 44-year resident of Pleasanton and owner of . He had moderated a similar forum two years ago. A majority of the forum consisted of candidates answering different questions.
Here's a breakdown of the various candidates' positions to certain topics discussed:
Cook-Kallio stressed her leadership roles in improving transportation among the city. She said that she, unlike her opponent, Thorne, supported placing Measure B1 on the ballot. The transportation measure aims at increasing bicycle and pedestrian funding that will build a connected network of bike ways in the city and county. She also claimed that the Stroneridge Drive extension project, which aims at reducing traffic congestion, was approved under her leadership. To further reduce traffic in downtown, she hopes to complete State Route 84 and focus heavily on not delaying infrastructure decisions. In terms of housing, she hopes to lead the community in the public process which will determine what gets placed in the the nine sites zoned for increased density as part of the Pleasanton Eastside Specific Plan.
A 36-year-resident, Thorne prides himself in the experience he gained serving as a leader in the public and private business sectors of the community. He has been on the city council since 2005 and stresses that financial sustainability in key to Pleasanton's growth. He hopes to recruit new businesses and keep current businesses. He suggested reprofiling Stoneridge Mall to compete with the upcoming Livermore Paragon Outlets set to be completed in November 2012. He stands on obtaining a balanced budget and spending plan, a sustainable public employee pension program, and maintaining public safety services. When it comes to council meetings, he wants to make it so no single council member can postpone an agenda item. The council would need three members' votes of approval in order to do so.
Pentin, a 21-year resident and former marine, wants to improve the safety between bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists, especially after 39 incidents were reported this year. He supports the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan and sees the competition of housing and growth of East Pleasanton as the "final frontier" for the city.
DeMarcus stressed her role leading the Measure B funding campaign which brought BART to Pleasanton. After being elected as BART Director, DeMarcus pushed for the Dublin/Pleasanton extension.
As a 13-year resident, Harris is making his debut in politics during this election. He stressed his opposition to AB 375 in which the state will implement the building of nearly 4,000 low-income housing units in town. He strongly believes that unions are the ones that are driving unfunded liabilities. Harris wants elected officials and representatives serving the community to be from Pleasanton in order to hold them accountable for their decisions affecting the city. When it comes to owning and running certain establishments such as the Pioneer Cemetery, Harris believes the city should not be involved.
After years of commuting to the Silicon Valley, Brown decided to work locally in Pleasanton as a real estate agent. The 20-year resident supports "slow and smart growth" policies where city expansion is "gradual and well-planned." Brown wants to avoid sprawl by bringing residential and business growth closer to transportation hubs like highways and BART. She hopes to address and improve the city's long-term debt. She aims to protect the area's open spaces and ridge lines and claims to be a leader in getting the ridge line preservation initiatives on the ballot.
Did you attend the candidate forum? What did you think about the candidates' responses to the different questions?
Did your opinion about a certain candidate/s change after attending the forum?