Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Writer claims independent effort to elect Glazer shatters $4 million mark

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Dear Editor:

During a debate with Assemblymember Susan Bonilla on KQED Forum, last week, State Senate candidate Steve Glazer claimed:

I have not sent out any mail. And I’ve not put on any radio ads or TV ads.”

That’s quite unusual for any campaign – even one for City Council or a Water Board, never mind a State Senate campaign in a competitive district.

How can Glazer not spend a dime on voter communication that’s part and parcel to nearly all political campaigns?

Because he relies exclusively on independent expenditures by special interests in a too-cute-by-half strategy that flirts with the law.

Those interests are shattering all records. As of last night, they have spent a record $4 million on his campaign:

- LA Republican developer Bill Bloomfield has now spent $ $1,771,013.95 [$596,000 in the first election, $8,400 in direct contributions from Bloomfield and his wife and $ $1,119,149.36since the March 17 election]

- JobsPAC, described by the Sacramento Bee as a political committee funded by tobacco, drug, and oil companies, has spent $1,242,322.85 [$376,476.53 in the first election and $865,846.32 since March 17]

- Charter Schools IE has spent $856,375.39 [$175,207.09 in the first election and $681,168.30 since March 17]

- EdVoice has spent $710,685.79  [$36,794.93 in the first election and $673,890.86 since March 17]

- Govern for CA Action Committee has spent $11,549.84, all since April 29

- Koch Brothers affiliated Independent Women’s Voice has spent $8,600 since May 6.

Meanwhile, as for the candidates:

- Glazer has raised $255,500.00 since March 17.

- Susan Bonilla reported $749,501.69 since March 17.

So how does the Glazer strategy work? Simple. Glazer posts information on his Facebook page and website. And bingo – they instantly become mail pieces and TV ads. In the last few weeks, this has included “letters” from his wife, his daughter, and even Glazer himself that turned into direct mail pieces. This is a far cry from the days when IE’s typically took images off a candidate’s website; Glazer knowingly posts this information directly for IE use since he admits his campaign has no direct mail, TV or radio effort.

(Glazer’s patron saint, GOP LA developer Bill Bloomfield, even owns and operates the website www.steveglazer.com).

So don’t believe Glazer’s consultant-talk about “special interests.” Without them, he’d have no campaign. And he knows it.

Steven Maviglio, Spokesman, Working Families Opposing Glazer for Senate 2015

Working Families Opposing Glazer for Senate 2015 is sponsored by labor organizations.  Major funding by California State Council of Service Employees Political Committee and California Teachers Association Independent Expenditure Committee.  Not authorized by a candidate or committee controlled by a candidate. 

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Watchdog: Antioch police hiring statistics, despite transplants, Glover can continue as Supervisor

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Watchdog Logo 300x95 Watchdog: Antioch police hiring statistics, despite transplants, Glover can continue as SupervisorNational Police Week this year is May 10 – 16. Unlike some cities who are giving their cops a hard time, Antioch residents are pleading for more cops. Unfortunately this is the current staffing situation according to a report given to Council by Police Chief Cantando.

STAFFING:

102 authorized sworn positions including the Chief.

87 full time positions are filled

12 sworn vacancies

3 recruits began the police academy on January 26th

They are set to graduate July 24, 2015

1 lateral officer candidate is in background process

1 entry level applicant is in background process

2 entry level applicants will begin the police academy on May 18th.

The Chief reported that violent crime is down 13.6%, property crime down 6.6%, arson down 57.1% and total arrests up 21.3% (juvenile arrests down 20.7% and adult arrests up 20.5%)

Supervisor Glover healing from transplant surgery

NOTE: Due to the fact that County Supervisor Federal Glover, whose term is up in December 2016, has been critically ill, recently having had a heart and kidney transplant, I decided to research what would occur if a county or city council member were to become deceased or critically ill.

According to the county’s media person. county counsel advised her that being a general law county, means that if county supervisor is absent due to illness he/she continues to hold the seat, no matter how long the illness continues. If a vacancy occurs in the Board of Supervisors, by death or otherwise, the Governor has the responsibility to fill the vacancy. The appointee holds office until the election and qualification of a successor.

No special election is called. It takes place during the election cycle prior to when the original office holder’s term ends. (Charter cities can establish their own rules for filling a vacancy.) Fortunately, County Supervisor Federal Glover is said to be recovering quickly.

In Antioch in these situations the council would declare the seat vacant and either appoint a registered voter in Antioch to fill the position or call for a special election to fill the remainder of the term.

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Payton Perspective: Electing Bonilla is fiscally irresponsible, Glazer offers fresh perspective

Monday, May 4th, 2015

If she wins on May 19, it will cost us an extra $1.3 million

Payton Perspective logo 2015 Payton Perspective: Electing Bonilla is fiscally irresponsible, Glazer offers fresh perspectiveBy Allen Payton, Publisher

I wasn’t happy with the way the field of candidates was cleared of all Republicans, before and after filing closed in the Special State Senate election in District 7, to help Democrat Steve Glazer, have a better chance of winning. I wrote a lengthy and scathing analysis of how it happened, which you can read on the Herald website, by clicking here.

But, I believe Glazer, who is the Mayor of Orinda, when he told me he had nothing to do with it. So, to sit out the election in protest, as I had considered doing, and allow others to choose for me was just the wrong approach.

I thus had to do make an effort and do some work in considering whom I would vote for and whether or not I would endorse either of the candidates in the General Election, on May 19.

While there’s not much difference between Glazer and State Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, in her final of three terms, under the old term limits, on the moral issues, which are important to me, there are some differences on other issues, such as taxes and spending.

CORRECTION & UPDATE: Bonilla’s record on the Concord City Council, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and in the State Assembly, has been marked with irresponsible votes on spending, including giving herself a 71% pay raise when she was mayor, and rich pay and retirement packages to government workers, such as giving police dispatchers a 21.5% pay raise. Bonilla also supported the 60% pay raise for the Board of Supervisors, in 2006, when it was voted on while she was campaigning for the seat, and which she accepted, once in office. All of this was done at the expense of us taxpayers. To be fair, she did take a pay cut in 2009 along with county employees, of two-percent. (An earlier and printed version of this editorial stated Bonilla had voted for the 60% pay raise, which was incorrect).

While Glazer hasn’t been tested at the state level, he has proven to be responsible with spending as part of the Orinda City Council.

I was concerned he would be, in effect, a man without a country, by being a fiscally conservative Democrat in Sacramento. But, as one of only 40 State Senators, where the margin for a two-thirds majority is pretty slim, he can actually be the deciding vote on a variety of issues, which can benefit our county.

The final issue that did it for me was that if Bonilla is elected to the Senate, there will be a special election to fill the rest of her term in the Assembly. That, according to County Clerk Joe Canciamilla, will cost Contra Costa taxpayers another $1.3 million, assuming both a primary and a general election. That figure doesn’t include the costs in Solano County, which makes up the other part of the Assembly District. That’s on top of the $2 million he estimates we’re spending for the current special election.

Bonilla said she was already planning to run for the State Senate seat, next year, when Mark DeSaulnier would have been termed out. But, he started this game of political musical chairs, when he was elected to Congress, last fall, in the middle of his final term in the State Senate.

But, Bonilla didn’t have to run, this year and by doing so, shows that she places her own political career above the interests of the taxpayers.

She could have either waited, or backed former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, with whom Bonilla seems to agree with, more than she does Glazer.

Whoever wins this year will have to run, again, next year if they want to retain the seat. So, Bonilla can just wait until then to run, or run for something else. Better yet, she could take a break from public office for a few years and get a job in the private sector to see what it takes to create wealth and the impacts of the decisions she and her fellow legislators made.

I like Susan Bonilla, and have been on friendly terms with her. But, this is not about personality. It’s about whom we are going to rely on to vote in our best interest in the areas of spending and taxes.

I don’t know Steve Glazer and have only spoken with him on the phone a few times.

But, I believe he is the better choice, this year. If there’s a better candidate, with whom I agree more, next year, I’ll consider them, then. For now, Glazer is the best choice to represent us in the State Senate, offering a fresh perspective and an independent voice.

I’m voting for him for Senate on May 19 and recommend you do the same.

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Watchdog: General Law Cities vs. Charter Cities

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Watchdog Logo 300x95 Watchdog: General Law Cities vs. Charter CitiesBy Barbara Zivica

The Antioch City Council has held several budget meetings, with more to come on May 12th and 26th, prior to presentation of the whole budget on June 23rd.

I won’t get into the facts and figures presented by the city’s finance director because I’m up to date on that subject matter. I did, however, became alarmed when Antioch resident and real estate broker Mark Jordan, asked where the city would find the money to deal with under funded retirement accounts. The solution he offered was to convert the city into a charter city and begin charging transfer fees on real property, two bad ideas that apparently drew favorable responses from Mayor Harper and Council Member Tiscareno who then asked City Manager Duran for more information. Let’s take a look at Mr. Jordan’s “solutions:”

Although Mr. Jordan is correct in stating that only charter cities may impose a real property transfer tax, both general law and charter cities have the power to tax. Currently the property transfer tax is limited to $1.10 per $1,000 with it split 50/50 between the county and city. If a charter city increases its property transfer tax, the county gets the full $1.10 per $1,000 and the city keeps the amount it sets above $1.10. The amount of revenue the charter city would receive depends on how many existing and new homes are sold and resold.

General Law Cities vs. Charter Cities

Just a few of the many differences are: General law cities are governed by a city council of five members, charter cities can provide for any form of government including the “strong mayor” and city manager forms (No wonder Harper is interested in this form of government although he did back off on his recent request for a mayor’s office assistant position.)

General law cities elections are conducted in accordance with the California elections code. Charter cites are not bound by the election code and can establish own election dates, rules and procedures. They can also establish their own criteria for city officers (provided do not violate the U.S. Constitution), set term limits, set council members salaries.

General law cities do not allow any public officer to expend and no candidate to accept public money for the purpose of seeking elected office. Charter cities permit public financing of election campaigns.

General law cities may not pass ordinances within five days of introduction unless an urgency ordinance (Mayor Harper and the council did that on 12/27/12 in order to evade a new voter approved state law increasing pension formulas for new public employees.)

Ordinances can only be passed at a regular meeting and must be read in full at time of introduction and passage. Charter cities can establish own procedures for enacting local ordinances.

General law cities require a majority of city council constitutes a quorum for transaction of business and all ordinances, resolutions, and orders for payment of money require a recorded majority vote of total membership of the council. Specific legislation requires super-majority votes for certain actions. Charter cities may establish their own procedures and quorum requirements. However, certain legislation requiring super majority votes is applicable to charter cities.

General law cities are required to have competitive bidding for public works contracts over $5,000. Such contracts must be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. Charter cities are not required to comply with bidding statues provided the city charter or city ordinance exempts the city from such statues and the subject matter of the bid constitutes a municipal affair.

General law cities must in general pay prevailing wages on public works projects over $1,000. In July 2012 the California Supreme Court ruled that the state’s charter cities are not required to pay prevailing wages under state law for local public works projects funded by local funds.

General law city zoning ordinances must be consistent with the general plan. Charter city zoning orders are not required to be consistent with the general plan unless the city has adopted a consistency requirement by charter or ordinance.

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The area outside the box is golden

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

By H. Maria

Ever thought about why things are as they are? “Lack of pride,” and “rude, ugly behavior” often comes up. Mutters of “no structure” are loud. Never forget the ever mentioned, “somebody” who malingers on his or her job. Granted, “lack of pride” and “rude behavior” are problems. Structure, as we define it, might just bear the largest share of responsibility.

Before we compartmentalized ourselves so neatly, we defined structure in different ways. We experimented and learned. Children were taught behaviors of respect, kindness and good manners, so all could work together, harmoniously. Skills were developed and passed on to do whatever needed doing, whenever it needed doing. We planted and hunted, prepared meat and cooked it. We made tools, built shelters, wove fabrics, took children in hand as needed…

We are so much more evolved now! In this modern and advanced age we pack ourselves in orderly little boxes. A proper plumber only plumbs, a web designer only designs websites. When help is needed a specifically defined worker is dispatched, by someone who only dispatches. When a child has the misfortune of being born to parents who do not parent, a child is lost, sometimes, that child becomes an angry outlaw and that brings us to the problems we are facing.

Each day we head to our little box. One day the way is marked by graffiti. The next day it is befouled by filth tossed by the side of the road. Shopping trips are hindered by children behaving horribly. We take offense, and can’t help but think, “how awful, THEY should clean that up,” or “those parents should parent!” Should someone suggest we take care of the problem ourselves, we are offended, “Not My Specialty!”

Values,” of course, should only be taught at home and in the church of choice. Teachers should never address bad behavior, because teachers should only teach. Crossing over into any other area of responsibility is thought of as ill advised, and maybe even suspect. It’s often disparagingly said of someone willing to learn and do many things, that “he or she, is just a ‘Jack of all trades and master of none.’”

In our perceived perfect scenario children are always well raised, there is always enough money, and enough staff. If people behave badly there is enough police, equipment never fails, and of course we always have enough rain… But, perfect just doesn’t exist. Murphy’s law is always in force. Mayhem happens.

There isn’t an abundance of “theys” that can do everything. We stopped making them. Things have been changing since the ‘80’s. We are being forced, more and more to multi-task. That word was born of the elimination of so many employees from the workplace. The survivors were expected to take on the tasks of the dismissed.

In 20-plus years hence, this experience has leaked into almost every field of endeavor. We struggle and struggle to stay in our box despite the returned time for the willing, skillful and multitasking Jack-of-all-trades. It’s been done before. It happened in the time of humanity when all of knowledge and beauty was nearly destroyed.

It started with a few people and evolved to what we know of as the High Renaissance. DaVinci produced near divine art, as well as war machines. For the lucky few, hard at work in those little boxes a steady income continues.

What has not continued is “the way things used to be.” Things are changing and not necessarily for the good. If we wish to keep our changing world on an even keel, more often than not, we have to open a side on that box.

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Watchdog: Antioch Police test new vehicles, update on police staffing, questions city budget transparency

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

Watchdog Logo 300x95 Watchdog: Antioch Police test new vehicles, update on police staffing, questions city budget transparencyBy Barbara Zivica

Seen any unfamiliar police cars driving around recently? Although the city was recently able to purchase a number of Crown Victoria vehicles, unfortunately that particular vehicle has been discontinued The police department is currently testing three makes of vehicles in order to see which one they favor. The vehicles are a Chevy Caprice, a Chevy Tahoe and a Ford Explorer. The vehicles will be evaluated for officer safety, functional operation, maintenance and repair issues. Other vehicles will be considered if necessary.

Speaking of the police department, the April monthly report from the City Manager stated the department is currently staffed with 88 full-time sworn employees, five of which are in various stages of the field training program. Eight sworn officers have medical conditions preventing them from reporting for full duty, three police trainees are currently attending the 177th Police Academy at the CCC Training Center in Pittsburg and will graduate in July, leaving the department with 11 remaining police officer vacancies. One lateral police officer who successfully completed the background process is being sworn in this month bringing the sworn staff to 89. Another lateral police office is in the initial stages of the background process and one entry level applicant has passed his background and will enter the Police Academy in May. (APD is currently authorized for 102 full-time, sworn positions.) Dispatch is fully staffed.

The city is projecting that in fiscal year 2014-15 projected expenditures, based upon staffing for 102 sworn, are under the total allocated spending threshold for the police department, excluding the $1.8 million to buy and install equipment allowing the city to join the East Bay Regional Communications System Authority. That will allow Antioch police to communicate directly. with other jurisdictions. The city, however, is projecting deficits in FY16 and FY17.

Note that while the city was touting the need for Measure C and Measure O the current $1,608,041 over budget savings comes from vacancies. Earlier this month the state Department of Finance released an audit showing agencies padded their budgets by keeping vacant jobs on their books while holding on to the money allocated for those positions, concluding that the result was a lack of budget transparency and accountability.

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Watchdog: Sign Harper’s recall petition, police staffing still too low

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Watchdog Logo 300x95 Watchdog: Sign Harpers recall petition, police staffing still too lowBy Barbara Zivica

It’s April – time for spring cleaning. Start by signing the recall Mayor Wade Harper petition. We’ll deal with the rest of council later when they’re up for re-election. Please, folks stop re-electing the same people over and over. It’s obvious conditions in Antioch haven’t improved under their watch.

When Measure C, the seven-year, half-cent sales tax measure passed in 2013, the official ballot stated the measure was “to fund all essential city services, including increased police staffing to reduce crime and gang activities and improve 911 emergency response time; restored code enforcement to clean up blighted properties; and local economic development and job creation.”

At that time the police department was stating they had 87 full-time sworn police officers, only 75 who were at full duty capacity, although they were authorized for 102 officers.

In 2014, Measure O, a business license tax which updated the existing business license tax to include a residential landlord business license tax, was passed. Again the sales pitch was to increase police staffing levels.

However, a recent report from the Sales Tax Citizens Oversight Committee, appointed to oversee disbursements of Measure C funds, states that at present Antioch has 87 sworn police officers and one per diem Police Captain, five more officers than Antioch had in 2013, based on information given to the committee.

Huh? True the city may have hired five new officers but, as the report states, attrition has been happening almost as fast as hiring, We’re back to the same number of officers we started with in 2013.

As for Measure C fund accounting, it appears the City is using Measure C money to pay for police pay raises and promotion costs. The city’s General Fund should be paying not only for the 87 police officers and their raises but for the 102 officers authorized for hire at that time. Measure C money should only be paying for the 103rd officer hired and so on.

As for the funds generated by passage of Measure O, the money, like the money generated by Measure C, technically goes into the General Fund and can be used for any legitimate governmental purpose. The reason the city never put a dedicated police tax measure on the ballot is because it would require 2/3 voter approval to pass rather than a 50% plus one vote. Only 11,175 residents voted in regard to Measure C and 10,236 in regard to Measure O (5,208 voting yes and 5,028 voting no).

Incidentally, the council just passed a resolution to use General Fund reserves to fund an expenditure of $1,827,000 to purchase, install, program, maintain and train on hardware, software and radio equipment in order to become a participating agency in the East Bay Regional Communications System Authority. The expenditure was not included in the approved LFY 2014-15 budget.

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Will L.A. businessman pass the $1 million mark in supporting Glazer for State Senate?

Saturday, April 11th, 2015

Dear Editor:

Smashing state spending records, as of today, Los Angeles businessman Bill Bloomfield has now spent $799,597.04 to elect Steve Glazer to the California State Senate.

That includes $195,197.04 since the March 17th election. And it includes $596,000 in the first round of the election plus the maximum $8400 in direct donations to Glazer (including $4,200 from his wife).

Who is Bloomfield? A long-time Republican who made a convenient switch to being a decline-to-state voter when he unsuccessfully ran against LA Democrat Henry Waxman for Congress, Bloomfield has a huge backer of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger along with President George W. Bush and John McCain. Bloomfield also is an Obamacare critic www.billbloomfield.com/credibility.

This special interest money is on top of the $493,805.02 JobsPAC has spent for Glazer and $223,496.78 from the Charter Schools IE.

What are all these wealthy interests putting their money behind Glazer? Because he doesn’t support increasing the minimum wage? Because he favors tax breaks for millionaires? Because he hasn’t have a word about income inequality on his website or campaign materials?

No one knows for sure. But as Bloomfield’s support of Glazer reaches the million dollar mark, it’s time to begin asking those questions.

Steve Maviglio

Forza Communications

Sacramento

Maviglio represents and is a spokesman for unions in California

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