Valerie Arkin and Jack Balch announced they will run for the two open Pleasanton City Council seats this November, when the terms of councilmembers Karla Brown and Jerry Pentin expire. Last week, Nancy Allen also announced her intention of running for a council seat.
A Pleasanton Unified School District (PUSD) Trustee with a bachelor’s degree in health science and an MBA, Arkin announced her candidacy this week. Arkin served on the PUSD board for 12 years on a platform of supporting the highest quality academic programs for students and transparency about school issues. If elected to the Pleasanton City Council, Arkin stated her primary focus will be to guide the city as it emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, which has brought new and unique challenges to the world and to Pleasanton.
“My role on the school board and as school board president contributed to the top-rated education, academics and improved facilities in the Pleasanton school district,” Arkin said. “Our students are consistently accepted by top universities and become industry, business, and community leaders. I want to bring this level of excellence to our city government.”
Fiscal responsibility is another key target area for Arkin, who recognizes the multitude of budget decisions related to the operation of a city. She served on the City of Pleasanton Library Commission for eight years and as the PUSD representative for the City Liaison Committee to address issues of mutual concern for the district and the city.
Arkin also promises to support transparency in government and the preservation of Pleasanton’s historic downtown, as well as to evaluate the impact of future development on local schools, traffic and water supply, and to protect the local environment and hillsides.
Balch served as Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Commissioner from 2009 to 2014, and later a member of the city’s planning commission, from 2014 to present. He was involved with the Kottinger Place Task Force, the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Steering Committee, and the East Side Specific Plan Task Force. Balch is also a licensed certified public accountant, an accredited chartered global management accountant, a licensed real estate broker and the financial officer at his family’s commercial real estate and property management firm located in Hayward.
“I have lived in the Pleasanton area nearly all my life and love so many aspects of our community, from our parks and open space, to our downtown,” Balch wrote on his campaign website. “I want to continue giving back to this community that has given so much to me. There is no doubt our city will face tough decisions ahead related to the financial impacts of COVID-19 and the recently mandated shelter in place. With a focus on the future and achieving better than ‘back to normal,’ I believe my experience … combined with my 11 years of past commission experience, can be put to work for the residents of Pleasanton.”
Balch further noted the tough issues facing the city will require leaders who approach decisions calmly and fairly.
“I believe we have a world-class community worth preserving,” he stated. “That can only happen when we remember that tough choices have to be made and require civility, an open mind and a willingness to work together.”