PLEASANTON -- Transportation issues, land development and other topics were on the menu Thursday morning when candidates for mayor and the city council shared a little breakfast and their ideas with voters.
Dozens of community members turned out for the early morning session sponsored by the chamber of commerce.
Moderated by Brad Hirst, a 44-year resident of Pleasanton and owner of Equity Enterprises, the four council candidates -- Karla Brown, Erlene DeMarcus, Jerry Pentin and Michael Harris -- and the two mayoral candidates -- current councilmembers Jerry Thorne and Cheryl Cook-Kallio -- had anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes to convince voters why they are the best pick for Pleasanton.
Questions posed to candidates highlighted current trending topics like pensions while others addressed long standing concerns such as the voter-set housing cap the city had to drop as part of a lawsuit settlement, because it didn't allow the city to meet its affordable housing needs set by the state.
"Pleasanton needs to keep its authority with being able to zone and grow Pleasanton within its means," said Harris. "Other cities have added (very low, low and middle-income) housing units and they have failed. How are we going to be immune?"
Land development questions were particularly thrown to Brown, who said that if she is elected to the council, she would strongly recommend that any new housing would be incorporated into the city slowly.
She said it is important that Pleasanton follow the state mandate to add more housing units, she said smart growth means to not sprawl development but rather concentrate it near transit-oriented areas like Interstates 580 and 680.
Another topic that led to a series of audience questions was transportation.
Cook-Kallio said Pleasanton earned a bad reputation with people in other cities and at the county level because two city council members -- one of whom was Thorne -- opposed supporting the Alameda County tax initiative on the November ballot that would help pay for regional transportation costs.
Thorne, however, said he would have "led the charge" if only those behind the proposition had included a sunset clause.
At closing statements, Cook-Kallio said voters should select the mayoral candidate who has the best relationship with every group of people in the city.
"I look at facts and I make decisions for what is best for all of Pleasanton," she said. "I do my homework."
Contact Katie Nelson at 925-847-2164 or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.