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16th Assembly race has familiar elements with a new twist

Uploaded: Dec 8, 2015

The campaign for the 16th Assembly district has gotten a lot more interesting since former Pleasanton City Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio declared she will run in the primary.
Cook-Kallio, a Democrat and a retired school teacher, served very effectively on the Pleasanton City Council. Her courage to raise the important issue—that was not popular at the time—of connecting Stoneridge Drive on the eastside to Jack London Boulevard in Livermore resulted a change of policy that created that vital connection.
As a civics teacher for 35 years, she shared my view that council members were elected to study the issues and make decisions, not push any potentially controversial decisions to a direct vote by the public.
When she faces off with Republican incumbent Catharine Baker, an attorney, there will be some very similar aspects to Baker’s successful campaign against former Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti. Sbranti was a termed-out, sitting mayor when he took on Baker in a very expensive campaign with interest groups spending millions on both sides.
Tim has been particularly active with the California Teachers Association’s political action arm—a fact that Baker and her backers hammered him on. As a former CTA member and Democrat, Cheryl will face similar challenges and it is likely that the race will again draw lots of interest and millions in expenditures.
One dynamic that the Democrats are counting on in a swing district is a much higher turnout with the presidential election topping the ballot. Earlier this year, the registration was 43 percent Democrat, 28 percent Republican and 23 percent decline-to-state. It was a coalition of the Republicans and independents that carried Baker to her win in December 2014.
Next year, given the strong blue tilt of coastal California and the number of people who live there, it’s unlikely that whomever the Republican presidential nominee will win the state.
But the higher turnout in November generally means more Democratic voters and that will be good news for Cheryl.
Her union ties likely will be a big issue and she will need to work hard to build name identification because she has been out of the public eye in Pleasanton for a couple of years and has never served beyond the local level.
Of course, Baker had no name identification when she jumped into the race and topped both the primary and the general election when four Democrats split up the vote in the primary.
Catharine also has demonstrated a willingness to work across the aisle that is a worthy achievement that will help come campaign time.

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 8, 2015 at 1:05 pm

I appreciate the privilege of living in the United States of America.

If Kalio is prepared to run, then go for it! There's nothing more American than appreciating the existing structures for political action and running for elective office. Not all countries allow citizens interested in politics to run for office. It's still one of the great wonders of living in the United States. I'm so happy to be an American! VIVA AMERICA!

Good Luck to all the candidates!

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Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park,
on Dec 11, 2015 at 11:47 am

Billie is a registered user.

I just posted over on the Town Square thread, and then thought I should have done it here instead. So it's going both places lol!
I will *not* be voting for former Councilmember/Vice Mayor Cook-Kallio for a variety of reasons, but the one I think most aptly represents why is her representation of Pleasanton on the governing board of the now defunct Associated Community Action Program of Alameda County (ACAP).

In early 2011, when it was disclosed that ACAP was experiencing significant financial problems due to mismanagement, a decision was made to "wind-down" operations. ACAP was disbanded in Mar 2011.

The ACAP governing board, on which Councilmember/Vice Mayor Cook-Kallio had sat since at least 2008, was supposed to provide oversight of operations and funds. According to the 2011-2012 Alameda County Grand Jury, ACAP was dissolved “as a result of serious financial concerns and significant non-compliance with laws and regulations.” The Grand Jury found that ACAP was a "case study in lax oversight", finding it “a tragic but excellent example of what can happen when a board does not adequately oversee the organization for which it is responsible.”

ACAP’s annual required financial audits for 2009 and for 2010 noted deficiencies, but the Board took no action. The Grand Jury report states, “During this period, the governing board missed several red flags regarding ACAP’s inability to manage its operations in a professional manner, although it seemed to spend a lot of time clarifying the respective roles of the governing board".

The Grand Jury report further states: "The ACAP governing board met only four times a year and often did not have a quorum," ie 7 of 13 members. Even after the mismanagement scandal broke, Councilmember/Vice Mayor Cook-Kallio evidently did not attend any one of the four special sessions held in Feb 2011.

Pleasanton's final payout, er, contribution to ACAP in May 2011 was $121,539.

Former Councilmember/Vice Mayor Cook-Kallio's in-name-only representation at ACAP and her lack of oversight of Pleasanton's funds, is not an example of the kind of representation and accountability I'm looking for.

Count my vote, again, for Assemblywoman Baker.

Grand Jury Report (ACAP see p.83 & p.114): Web Link
City contribution to wind-down ACAP: Web Link
Who's Watching Over ACAP? Not Everyone:
Web Link

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 11, 2015 at 1:49 pm

I believe what Tim says about Kallio. I appreciate that Billie is an operative for Baker but your argument is not enuf to convince me that your are not slanting the truth.

You have a right to be a cheerleader for your candidate! I'm simply not convinced that you can tell the truth about both candidates.


Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park,
on Dec 11, 2015 at 3:27 pm

Billie is a registered user.

"operative for Baker"?? Too funny. Thanks for the laugh!

As a registered and voting Democrat I will vote across party lines when I like what a person does with the office they've been elected into. I certainly don't feel compelled to vote the party lineup when the representation I'm looking for happens to be a Republican.

As 25+ year Pleasanton resident I've had the opportunity to observe and interact with several Council members over the years. Enough said.

Finally, as far as telling "the truth" goes, I didn't conjure up the Grand Jury Report that documented just how lacking the ACAP governing board members were.

And that's really all I have to say on this subject. Have a good weekend one and all!

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 12, 2015 at 2:57 pm

It doesn't matter that you refer to yourself as a democrat.

You function behaviorally like an operative for your bud.

It ain't over till it's over...HAPPY TRAILS!


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