As we near the election, Pleasanton Action Network has conducted many meetings with our city council candidates. This is our final report on Jack Balch. To see our report card, please visit @pleasantonactionnetwork on Instagram.
Jack Balch has been our planning commissioner since 2014. He has also served on the Parks and Recreation Commission for 5 years. Outside of politics, he has been a certified public accountant for 18 years and real estate broker. He is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Balch Enterprises Inc.
In general, Jack supports maintaining local control over zoning and affordable housing in Pleasanton. He feels that his experience on the Planning Commission makes him knowledgeable in addressing affordable housing in Pleasanton.
In terms of our RHNA numbers, Jack does not believe this is any “silver bullet” for meeting this requirement. He also believes the city must plan their zoning out carefully in order to avoid affecting “the feel of our town.” In general, Jack would also like to see the city try to make sure housing for all stages of life (such as apartments, duplexes, single family homes, etc) is supported relatively equally, instead of only seeing one type of housing be built.
Jack says he would take steps to create stability in the Pleasanton economy, because the uncertainty they face right now kills consumer and business confidence. Part of this would include supporting a “shop local” campaign and making life for businesses easier with more parking and help with permits. He thinks the city should do a second round of loans with their small business relief program while also taking other smaller steps to help businesses out. Jack supports improving the free WiFi access in downtown and would be weary of current and future ordinances and regulations, just so small businesses aren’t overburdened in any way.
As for the public health aspect of COVID-19, Jack believes that the City should offer iPads and other technical assistance to seniors in our community, so they can stay connected with their family. He also believes the Parks and Recreation Commission should take more steps to help out with interaction for the youth.
Jack is strongly against defunding the Pleasanton Police Department as well as civilian oversight commissions. He believes that defunding the police would ruin the city’s quick response time and that a civilian oversight commission would become too politicized. He instead believes that “our City Council is our oversight board” and that members could be replaced if they weren’t conducting this role correctly enough.
Jack also believes the idea of a CAHOOTS model for a mental health team is appealing financially, as it could potentially reduce the city’s budget, but is unsure about whether it would effectively work. He also believes the PPD is better than other cities in terms of transparency and does not believe a substantial issue exists here.
Pleasanton Police Officers’ Association
Mayor Jerry Thorne