DUBLIN -- Planning for growth, new jobs, open space and healthy city finances in this fast-growing city emerged as top issues with six Dublin City Council candidates at a low-key election forum Wednesday.

Councilman Kevin Hart and five challengers are competing for two council seats. Councilwoman Kasie Hildenbrand cannot run again because of term limits.

Those running include David Haubert, a Dublin school board member; Doreen Wehrenberg, a city planning commissioner; Anita Carr, a Heritage and Cultural Arts commissioner; Shehu Hassan, an executive recruiter; and Shawn Costello, who has unsuccessfully run for the council numerous times.

About 40 people attended the 50-minute forum organized by the Dublin/San Ramon Women's Club and held at the Shannon Community Center.

Several candidates said their top priorities are attracting businesses with high-paying jobs and keeping the city in sound financial shape in difficult economic times.

Dublin expects its population to grow from 47,000 to 65,000 to 70,000 over the next 15 to 20 years.

"Economic development is the key," said Hart, a retired commander with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.

He said the city needs to take action to attract more shops and businesses downtown to make it a "vibrant downtown we can be proud of."

Carr agreed, adding the city should do more to attract high-tech businesses.

"I want to go after the high-paying jobs where engineers earn $100,000 or more a year," said Carr, a retired business executive who has worked with Silicon Valley industries.

Haubert, an IBM business consultant, said, as Dublin grows, he wants to make sure city services and finances keep up.

So far, he said, Dublin has done a great job of managing growth.

Wehrenberg said while she wants more growth, she expects traffic congestion will be a main concern, especially along and near Interstates 580 and 680.

Costello said Dublin has grown too fast. "I want us to build slowly," he said.

Costello also said he would like the council to grow from five to seven members.

Hassan said the city needs common sense growth. "Dublin is growing very fast. If not done correctly, we will have a lot of problems."

Hassan said Dublin needs to add more bicycle lanes and protect more open space.

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff