Pleasanton council candidates differ on key city issues at weekly’s forum news higher level of education

At the forum, hosted by the Pleasanton Weekly, were council incumbent Kathy Narum, who is seeking re-election to a second full term, and first-time candidates Joseph Ledoux, Joe Streng and Julie Testa. what level of education Councilman Arne Olson has chosen not to seek re-election, giving voters the challenge of filling at least one new seat on the council in the municipal election on Nov. 6.

The four council candidates gave opening and closing statements about their backgrounds, experience and qualifications for election to the City Council. They also answered a series of questions on city and civic affairs from moderators Gina Channell, president and publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly, and Jeremy Walsh, its editor.

Ledoux urged the city to move now to plan for development on the east side. He cited the state’s mandate in 2010 that required Pleasanton to rezone sufficient acreage for more than 3,000 housing units to meet numbers imposed by the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process.

The new downtown plan is closely aligned with the council‘s announced intent to seek voter approval to move the public library, Civic Center and police headquarters to a new site at the edge of Bernal Community Park next to the Union Pacific railroad tracks.

On water rates and recycling, the candidates again voiced different views. Although all four agreed that rates have gone up because conservation has cut revenue needed by Pleasanton water supplier Zone 7, only Testa criticized new uses for recycled water.

Although all four candidates seemed to oppose Proposition 6, a measure on the Nov. 6 ballot that would eliminate fuel and vehicle taxes recently passed by the State Legislature, only two — Streng and Narum — specifically said they would vote against it.

Calling Assembly Bill 2923 a bad solution for the Bay Area’s housing shortages, the candidates agreed that the measure now awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature would allow BART to construct as many as 20,000 new housing units by 2040 on property it owns.

"What this means is that AB 2923 will give BART authority to bypass city councils and city planners in cities along its route and build housing on its parking lots, including here in Pleasanton, and not replace the parking it takes away," Testa said.

City pension liabilities: Candidates said they would look to the private sector for remedies on curbing pension liabilities. Narum cited the city’s $21 million irrevocable trust as one measure already being taken to deal with ominous pension payout requirements the city will face in eight to nine years.

The Pleasanton Weekly Candidates Forum was broadcast live by Tri-Valley Community Television and will be rebroadcast on Channel 29 this Thursday at 2 and 5 p.m., Friday at 8 a.m., Saturday at 11:30 a.m., Monday at 9 a.m., next Thursday at 2 and 5 p.m., Sept. 28 at 8 a.m. and Sept. 29 at 11:30 a.m.

Narum: Most experienced and knowledgeable and gave very thoughtful, detailed responses. Is for smart planning – I liked her "housing by design" idea – looking at creative ways for affordable housing for our workforce, including teachers and police/fire.

Streng: Very personable, positive, focused on consensus building, well-versed on all topics. Like that he has been involved in city issues and served on multiple committees. Seems like his focus is on open spaces & parks, safe streets – especially near schools, and careful and smart planning to keep the city safe and vibrant.

Testa: Seemed scattered – I had a hard time following her responses at times. She was more doom & gloom than any of the other candidates. Does not like the ideas from the downtown task force, doesn’t want to plan the East Side. the level of education Wants to see more collaboration between the school board and city council. Seems like her focus is on schools, drinking water and slow/no growth.

LeDoux: Was knowledgeable about all topics – could tell that he has been studying the relevant issues. He seemed to be in-step with Narum and Streng on the issues, with his answers focused primarily on public safety, which makes sense as he is a policeman. what does highest level of education mean Has not previously served on any city committees – seems like a big step to start off by running for city council – would like to have seen previous city involvement.

I attended the forum which reinforced my support of Julie Testa. She is a woman of conviction who stands with Pleasanton residents and has done so for years. Since I worked with her 18 years ago to Protect Our Water from injected sewage, I can speak from personal experience that she is thorough in doing her research and homework before taking a stand on an issue. She will continue to do the same for us in the future if you elect her.

In the forum setting, very short responses tend to force a "soundbite" answer. high school level of education Most of the issues addressed were complex so having the depth of knowledge and history that Julie provides is not easily accomplished in 90 seconds. I am happy to endorse Julie Testa for City Council because she brings a rational thoughtful approach to providing implementable solutions to our problems. Without people who are passionate and willing to stand up for their convictions especially in the face of enormous political and economic pressure, we are likely to get more of the same for Pleasanton, unfettered expansion without safe reliable infrastructure and no local control or accountability. The quick compromise and business as usual attitude shown by the other candidates is not a solid strategy nor is it sustainable.

My vote is for Julie Testa. Her voice on behalf of the residents of Pleasanton will help keep our city a desirable place to live, work and raise a family. If you are concerned about how Pleasanton will look in 2, 10 or even 20 years, pay attention now, and vote for a candidate who shares your vision for a better Pleasanton, that’s Julie Testa.