Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Q & A with Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer candidate for State Senate

Friday, May 8th, 2015
Steve Glazer Q & A with Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer candidate for State Senate

Steve Glazer

1. Why are you running for state senate?

I’m not part of the political establishment. I’m a local Mayor who is a problem solver – not a partisan. My record demonstrates the courage to take a stand against entrenched special interests. I was the first elected official to oppose the BART strike and support a permanent ban on transit strikes, like they have in New York and San Francisco.

I’m a father of two daughters who have gone through our public schools. We need education policies that put students first and allow local school board to ensure quality teaching in classrooms regardless of seniority.

I support pension reform that creates a sustainable financial model and ends pension spiking. We need to prioritize road improvements I oppose high-speed rail without a sound financial plan because it drains money from local transportation needs.

I’m fiscally conservative. As a local elected official and Mayor, I balanced 10 straight budgets without ever taking a salary. As Trustee of the 23-campus California State University system, I fought for affordable and accountable higher education. I oppose the proposed Delta tunnels.

Our legislators exercise poor financial discipline that contributes to billion dollar deficits and tax increases. They use a loophole so they can receive tax-free income for being in Sacramento on weekends and holidays even when they are not there.

It’s time for smart priorities that focus on education, job creation, the environment and caring for those in need without new taxes.

2. What philosophy would guide your legislative decisions?

I should conduct myself in the campaign and in office with honesty and transparency.

Government closer to the people will be more responsive and trustworthy. Always ask why state legislation is needed rather than leaving those choices to local government, school boards, and commissions.

We should strive for be-partisanship and consensus when ever possible.

A balanced budget and fiscal responsibility is a foundational requirement if you want government to help people.

Always advance accountability and efficiency in every government program.

Education is the gateway to opportunity and prosperity.

3. Would you oppose any new taxes?

Yes. We just increased taxes by $8 Million dollars. Californians cannot afford a government that won’t balance its books and live within its means. And Sacramento cannot continue to look to taxpayers to bail it out from bad decision-making. I will work to avoid new State tax burdens. Fiscal security requires greater focus on creating jobs and growing the economy. The best way for California to pay its bills and keep its promise to future generations is to build a strong economy, which will increase tax revenues.

4. Do you support or oppose changes to Proposition 13?

Oppose. I am committed to maintaining Proposition 13 and the protections from higher taxes that it provides homeowners.

5. What steps would you take to improve education?

We need to continue to invest in our schools and universities. The State Senate plays a critical role in education. It goes beyond funding – which is vital – to creating educational reforms to ensure that each student who attends a public school has an equal opportunity to succeed. There isn’t a one-size fits all solution to improve public education. My priorities include:

  • Local empowerment. We need to empower local school boards to lead on educational issues.

  • Restore School Reserve protection. We need to restore school reserve protections that were stripped away by the Legislature in a last-minute budget deal in 2014.

  • Teacher Accountability. We need to support our teachers in every way possible, while holding them accountable for performance.

  • Allow families to select the best schools for their children. I support the ability of families to select the best school environment for their children, be that a public charter school or a nearby public school. I don’t support private school vouchers as they siphon vital tax dollars from public schools.

  • Greater educational resources. As a Member of the Senate, I will work to strengthen California’s economy and bring greater resources to our K-through University education system.

  • Accessible and affordable higher education.

6. What steps would you take to reduce crime?

I support our law enforcement officers. They are doing all they can to combat crime, but they need adequate resources to do their jobs.

Eleven years ago, in October, 2003, I was shot in the neck by a high-powered pellet rifle while driving with my family. The .17 caliber projectile just missed my carotid artery and lodged next to my spine. The perpetrator was caught but never charged with a crime because pellet guns were classified as toys in the criminal code. I was able to get the law changed to treat these guns as serious weapons.

I have provided critical support to ensure perpetrators of rape are caught and prosecuted, and strongly support victim’s compensation.

One of the expectations of living in a free and civilized society is that citizens follow the laws of the land. Lawbreakers must be swiftly and justly prosecuted.

7. What steps would you take to deal with homelessness?

I would support another affordable housing bond, as well as other legislative efforts to address California’s housing affordability problems.

I have organized campaigns to fund homeless shelters, affordable housing and residences for abused women and foster children.

We need increased state involvement in helping homeless veterans to find safe and adequate housing.

8. Do you support or oppose the Twin Tunnels project?

Oppose. The current plan to build massive tunnels to take Delta water to Southern California does not make environmental sense, and increases the dependence on the Bay-Delta as a water source. We need to protect California’s long-term water availability through recycling, reuse and better groundwater practices.

9. What is your position on AB 60, “driver’s licenses for undocumented workers?”

Licensing and verifying the true identity of all drivers in California, with proper background checks and other security measures, contributes to improved security for all Californians.

10. What is your position on AB 1266, regarding gender confused youth using opposite sex school bathrooms and locker rooms?

I appreciate and recognize the unique challenges and obstacles faced by transgender and gender non-conforming youth, and I support efforts at the local level to protect the rights and safety of these students. I feel that local school boards should be responsible for setting policies to protect the rights and safety of all students.

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Q & A with Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla candidate for State Senate

Friday, May 8th, 2015
Susan Bonilla Q & A with Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla candidate for State Senate

Susan Bonilla

By John Crowder

State Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, candidate for State Senate in the special District 7 election on May 19th, recently provided answers to ten questions asked by Antioch Herald staff. The questions and her answers are provided below.

1. Why are you running for state senate?

I am the only candidate with a proven record of building bipartisan consensus to get results, both on the state and local level, from balancing budgets, creating jobs, improving schools, fighting crime, opposing the twin tunnels, and protecting our water and the Delta.

2. What philosophy guides your legislative decisions?

As a local Mayor, County Supervisor, and State Legislator, I’ve always focused on bringing people together, Republicans and Democrats, to solve problems. I believe that the principles that have guided my life as a public servant are the reasons why I have been a successful legislator. I believe a successful legislator is someone who is accessible, approachable and trustworthy, who listens and respects others, leads by example, stands strong for their beliefs, advocates fiercely for their community and has the leadership skills to find common ground and solutions especially in tough times. In may of those respects, I believe that my approach to public policy and public service is one of the key differences between me and my opponent.

3. Would you oppose any new taxes?

In California new taxes have to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the legislature or by a majority of the voters. This sets a high bar. For me, the decision is always focused on the need and a cost benefit analysis. For example, like my opponent I strongly supported Prop 30 because our state faced historic debt, and a fiscal emergency after years of drastic budget cuts where education and other vital services were slashed to the bone. Prop 30 was necessary to make our state finances solvent and we made the case to voters to make the ultimate decision.

4. Do you support or oppose changes to Proposition 13?

I have always supported and am 100% committed to protecting homeowners under Prop 13. I could not support any changes to Prop 13 that would put a new fiscal burden on homeowners.

5. What steps would you take to improve education?

I’ve led efforts to modernize our public schools, improve academic standards, and bring more funding to our local schools. For example, I succeeded in bringing more than $3.6 million in additional funding to Antioch schools for technology upgrades, professional development, and new instructional materials. I have passed historic reforms by working with Governor Jerry Brown in changing the state’s education funding formula so that more money would be allocated and streamlined directly into local schools, giving control to local school districts and parents. I want to continue modernizing our schools to ensure our teachers and students have the resources they need to succeed. When our schools perform at high level, we all benefit. I have worked – and will continue to work – to make college more affordable for middle-class families, and I will continue opposing tuition increases at UC and CSU university systems.

6. What steps would you take to reduce crime?

As a mother of four daughters, grandmother, and as an educator, I have always made the safety of our families, children, and seniors as a top priority. I have a proven record of keeping prisoners behind bars, cracking down on child predators, fighting back against gangs and drugs, and protecting seniors from abuse. For example, I have worked to ensure that local law enforcement would have the resources to ensure each officer carries a mobile fingerprint device to keep criminals off our streets. That’s why I have earned the trust and support from law enforcement leaders in Contra Costa County from Sheriff David Livingston and from District Attorney Mark Peterson, and Attorney General Kamala Harris, as well as local police officers, sheriffs, and firefighters who put their lives on the line to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe.

7. What steps would you take to deal with homelessness?

I support the proposal of Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins to address housing instability and create more affordable housing in California, using a comprehensive approach that includes new funding as well as improving government efficiency.

We also must continue to work on core issues like creating jobs and improving job-training programs that help people improve their own lives. At the same time, we must continue to support services like mental health counseling – especially for veterans, who make up a high proportion of those who are homeless, which is why I helped pass the Veterans Housing Bond last year.

8. Do you support or oppose the Twin Tunnels project?

As Mayor, Supervisor, and as a State Legislator, I have strongly opposed the twin tunnels, and have actively worked to stop them. For me, it isn’t just a recent campaign pledge like it seems to be for my opponent. That’s why I have earned the trust and support of key leaders in the fight against the twin tunnels – including Congressman Jerry McNerney and Congressman John Garamendi, as well as local environmental leaders across the district.

I have consistently opposed the tunnels and protected the Delta, but it isn’t enough to just say no. Leadership is standing strong and stopping bad policy, but also bringing people together to find solutions, especially during crisis. I’m proud of my work in protecting our water, and helping pass historic water legislation to protect our local water supply and address the crisis of the drought.

9. What was your reasoning behind your vote on AB 60, driver’s licenses for undocumented workers?

This is a public safety and a consumer protection issue. We need to face the reality that undocumented workers are driving on our streets, roads, and highways, and as such, we need to make sure that everyone on the road, including undocumented drivers, have auto insurance and are fully educated on driving safety, and the rules of the road. That’s good for public safety and for our local communities.

10. What was your reasoning behind your vote on AB 1266, regarding gender confused youth using opposite sex high school bathrooms and locker rooms?

As a parent, educator, and leader, I looked at both sides of this issue very closely, and it is a complex and emotional issue. At the end of the day, this legislation is about protecting vulnerable students, many of whom are being bullied and ostracized, facing physical violence, emotional abuse, and some even turning to suicide.

Public schools needed to do a better job meeting the privacy needs of all students and this bill has moved schools in that direction. The old days of locker room hazing are not something we need to protect. All students will benefit from this bill as schools update their restroom and locker room designs and standards. This bill will result in schools having more single stall self contained restrooms that many students will appreciate.

This issue can’t be ignored, and if we can help children feel valued, save young lives, and protect many, then we’ll have done our jobs. As I have said, I have always put protecting the safety of children as a top priority. This legislation is another step towards that goal.

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Sierra Club California condemns Chamber-led PAC’s unapproved use of logo

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

By Allen Payton

A political action committee, JobsPAC, co-chaired by the California Chamber of Commerce, has mailed campaign literature to voters in special State Senate District 7 election, that prominently displays the Sierra Club logo.

The SD 7 race will fill the State Senate seat vacated by Mark DeSaulnier following his election to Congress in November, midway through his term.

Sierra Club California Director Kathryn Phillips released a statement regarding the logo.

The mailer from JobsPAC to Senate District 7 voters is deceptive,” she said. “It implies that Sierra Club has endorsed one of the candidates for the Senate District 7 seat. In fact, Sierra Club has not endorsed any candidate in that race. The irony is that one of the long-time barriers to environmental policy progress, the California Chamber of Commerce, has used the Club’s logo on its JobsPAC mailing to try to win votes for its favored candidate. Is this the start of a trend? Has the Chamber decided environmental groups are correct after all? Can we now expect the California Chamber to actually support good environmental legislation?”

I doubt it. But hope springs eternal,” Phillips added.

Sierra Club California is the legislative and regulatory advocacy arm of the Sierra Club’s 13 chapters and more than 150,000 members in California.

In response, Martin Wilson, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs for JobsPAC offered the following statement:

The mailer’s intention is to make it clear that Susan Bonilla is a typical politician who says one thing and then does the opposite. In this case, during the 2012 legislative session, Bonilla sided with the NRA against the Sierra Club and other environmental and animal rights groups who wanted to ban lead ammunition. Mrs. Bonilla was present and voting that day but when it came to voting for the environment she was AWOL.”

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Glazer releases Ten Governing Principles for Legislative Service

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

State Senate candidate, Mayor Steve Glazer, today, released his ten governing principles should he be elected in the California Senate special run-off election on May 19, 2015.

Good government and thoughtful decision-making is rarely achieved without a solid blueprint,” Glazer said.  “By releasing these governing principles, voters will know exactly what they can expect from me in conducting their business in Sacramento. You’ll see in these principles my priorities to support education and the environment, and to promote civility and bi-partisanship.”

Glazer’s Ten Governing Principles are as follows:

1. Represent the people of our Senate district, not political parties or special interests. 

2. Maintain a balanced budget to allow government to help people, and people to have confidence in government.

3. Pursue bi-partisan decisions. They are always better and longer lasting.

4. Emphasize education as the gateway to opportunity and prosperity.

5. Work hard to set priorities and hold the line on taxes.

6. Incorporate environmental protection as a part of every decision.

7. Empower local decision-making rather than state mandates. It is more responsive and trustworthy.

8. Advance accountability and efficiency with every government program.

9. Promote civility and respect for all people and perspectives.

10. Conduct myself always with honesty and integrity.

This framework of ten Governing Principles lays out the values I will use when I evaluate budget and policy initiatives,” said Glazer.

Glazer currently serves as the Mayor of Orinda and a Trustee of the California State University, 23-campus system. During his tenure on the Orinda City Council, Glazer has helped balance budgets while making improvements to schools, libraries and roads and is working to pass some of the strongest anti-tobacco laws in the State. He is running against State Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla.

State Senate District 7 includes the communities of Alamo, Antioch, Bay Point, Bethel Island, Blackhawk, Brentwood, Byron, Clayton, Concord, Danville, Diablo, Discovery Bay, Dublin, Lafayette, Livermore, Moraga, Oakley, Orinda, Pacheco, Pittsburg, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Sunol and Walnut Creek.

The Election will be held Tuesday, May 19.

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Group claims Glazer won’t disclose client list, Glazer’s campaign says he’s done so on publicly required forms

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

By Allen Payton

Steve Maviglio, spokesman for Working Families Against Glazer for Senate, a union organization opposing Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer who is running against Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, in the special 7th State Senate election on May 19, has stated in a news release, this week, that “Glazer has made transparency a cornerstone of his candidacy. He has a ‘Transparency Pledge’ on his website and notes ‘voters…should not be left wondering what sort of promises any of us made to secure that position.’”

Why then, when asked by the Contra Costa Times for an article that appeared over the weekend, did Glazer refuse to disclose his clients?” Maviglio asked. “Is it because voters will discover that what puts food on his table is that he’s a political consultant (his website doesn’t mention it)? Is it because they’ll connect the dots and discover that he earned $15,000 per month as a political consultant to JobsPAC, a political action committee, the same PAC that has put $906,290 toward electing him to the Senate?”

Maviglio offered some examples of Glazer’s clients and projects.

In 1998, Glazer managed and was the spokesperson for the campaign supporting two Marin County measures that opened up Black Point Forest, the longtime site of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, to build 53 luxury homes and a golf course. According to Maviglio, the measures, A and B, allowed developers to cut down mature oak trees to make way for the 238-acre development project. Project opponents claimed it would destroy natural habitat and that the developer promised to set aside 64 acres for a wildlife reserve and replant trees to abate the damage.

In 2003, Glazer acted as the political strategist for New York-based mall and supermarket developer Newman Development Group as the company proposed building a big-box Lowe’s store in the town of Cotati in Sonoma County. The measure allowing the store (Measure B) passed by 34 votes in November, and following another unsuccessful initiative [to stop the project] in November, 2004, the store was built and became part of Cotati’s largest development at the time.

Beginning in 2007, Glazer worked as a consultant for the Gold Rush Land development in Amador County. The development project plans included the creation of 12 neighborhoods, of nearly 1,350 homes, a golf course, and community tennis courts on 945 acres within the city of Sutter Creek, a small town with a 2,000-plus population. The project also included assessments for a new fire station, a new water treatment plant, and land for a new school site and a library. The project was anticipated to more than double the population of the town and be completely built out over 20 years.”

So, what other clients is Steve Glazer hiding?” Maviglio asked. “It’s time voters get an answer.”

In response, Glazer’s campaign spokesperson, Jason Bezis simply stated, “Steve has filed Form 700 for all his years of service on the city council (2004 to date). Per the law, they provide the disclosure of his clients over the past 10 years.”

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County Democratic Central Committe Chairman files complaint against PAC supporting Glazer

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Accused of hiding contributions, PAC’s attorney says it’s baseless

By Allen Payton

Contra Costa Democratic Central Committee Chairman Jeff Koertzen, on Monday, filed a complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) alleging two political action committees are playing a shell game to hide donations of more than $300,000 to their campaign to elect Steve Glazer to the State Senate.

“This elaborate shell game tried to obscure extraordinary sums of pro-Glazer money from voters,” Koertzen stated in a news release about the issue. “JobsPAC is no stranger to intentionally withholding crucial information from voters to achieve an election advantage. We are hoping the FPPC will move quickly to enforce the law that we contend has been violated.”

JobsPAC is the political arm of the California Chamber of Commerce, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary, this year. 

According to Koertzen, JobsPAC, whose donors include insurance, oil, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies, has spent more than $530,000 to date in an independent expenditure campaign to elect Glazer to the State Senate. Their efforts have included dozens of negative direct mail pieces attacking his rival, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord).

Koertzen further stated that Glazer was JobsPAC’s political consultant in 2012, when the political action committee was involved in an attempt to hide an in-kind contribution worth $100,000 that resulted in JobsPAC making changes in its filings after media reports exposed its failure to properly disclose the contribution.

Also according to Koertzen, the complaint shows that JobsPAC has reported receiving $300,000 in political contributions from another PAC named “Govern for California” since January, 2015 and that Govern for California is largely funded by former Gov. Schwarzenegger’s economic adviser David Crane and hedge fund manager John Scully.

The complaint alleges that to avoid disclosing their contributions to the JobsPAC effort to elect Glazer, the donors contributed to Govern for California instead of directly to JobsPAC. This appears to be an attempt to hide the Crane and Scully contributions, says the complaint. It notes Govern for California had less than $15,000 in funds at the end of 2014, and raised more than $285,000 to support the JobsPAC campaign to elect Glazer. That, says the complaint, is a violation of state law.

When reached for comment, Martin Wilson, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs for the California Chamber of Commerce, provided a response from the attorney for the two political action committees.

“The complaint is baseless,” said Steven S. Lucas, Partner in the San Rafael law firm of Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni LLC. “This is a desperate and futile attempt to derail JobsPAC’s strong support for the leading candidate in the race, Steve Glazer.  Both JobsPAC and Govern for California are in full compliance with all applicable campaign disclosure requirements.”

The complaint can be viewed online.

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Bonilla touts endorsements of two liberal organizations, NOW and Planned Parenthood

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla announced, this week, that she has received the endorsement of the California National Organization of Women Political Action Committee and Planned Parenthood Northern California Action Fund.

California NOW PAC fights to make sure political, social, legal, and economic institutions recognize and ensure women and girls’ equality. The feminist organization is considered one of the most liberal political groups in America.

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s top abortion provider. Of the approximate one million abortions in the U.S., each year, they performed 327,653 abortions at it’s clinics in its fiscal year 2014 (July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014), according to Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s annual report.

Susan Bonilla has a proven record of expanding access to reproductive health care, fighting for gender equity, and protecting reproductive rights for all,” Planned Parenthood Northern California Action Fund Acting CEO Gilda Gonzales said. “Planned Parenthood Northern California Action Fund proudly endorses Susan Bonilla for State Senate.”

A full list of endorsements, as well as statements of support from community leaders, can be found at www.susanbonilla.com/endorsements.

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California Small Business Association backs Bonilla for State Senate

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla announced, today that she has received the endorsement of the California Small Business Association, adding to the growing support for her campaign for State Senate by Democrats and Republicans, business and labor.

Susan Bonilla is a fiscally responsible leader with a strong record of partnering with small businesses, giving them tools to succeed and create good jobs,” CSBA President Betty Jo Toccoli said. “The California Small Business Association is proud to endorse Susan Bonilla for Senate.”

The California Small Business Association is a volunteer-driven, nonprofit, non-partisan organization that provides small business with a meaningful voice in governments, advocating on a range of issues including: regulation, access to credit, insurance, taxes and budgets, affordable health care, and workforce education.

Their endorsement adds to the growing support for Bonilla from Democrats and Republicans, business and labor. Bonilla has recently earned the support of Republican leaders including Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern and Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor, as well as earning the support of Democratic state leaders including Attorney General Kamala Harris.

A full list of endorsements, as well as statements of support from community leaders, can be found at www.susanbonilla.com/endorsements.

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