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By Tim Hunt

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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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A strong field in the special council election

Uploaded: Feb 12, 2013
Pleasanton residents will have four choices for one City Council seat when they receive their mail-in ballots for the May 7 special election to fill the final two years of Mayor Jerry Thorne's term.
Thorne was elected mayor last November. Thanks to an action by a prior City Council, a special election is required to fill his seat—the council cannot appoint a successor. By contrast, in Dublin, where Councilman Eric Swalwell was elected to Congress to replace the 80-year-old Maryland resident Fortney Pete Stark, the council decided earlier this month to solicit applications, interview applicants and then appoint a council member to replace Swalwell.
The difference—a cool $250k that it will cost Pleasanton for the mail-in election. And the election by mail was substantially less expensive than a traditional polling place election.
What's intriguing about this race is three of the four were not publically involved in the council race in November. Planning Commissioner Kathy Narum ran Mayor Thorne's campaign last fall and has enlisted a number of public officials in her campaign.
She's joined by David Miller, an out-spoken critic of the city's progress in pension reform, and a self-identified Tea Party member. Miller directs a software program for a Silicon Valley company.
The other two candidates are business people Mark Hamilton, the direction of financial services at ADP in Pleasanton, and Olivia Sanwong, a market research analyst and former member of the Amador Valley High comp civics team. Both hold master's degrees.
Looking at credentials, it looks like a strong field for one seat. It will be one of those elections that residents have a positive decision among good candidates for the council seat.

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