February 12, 2015
Voters in the 7th State Senate District will chose a new representative on March 17.
There are five names on the ballot. However, the lone Republican Michaela Hertle, has dropped out of the race.
The Independent interviewed each of the four remaining candidates, asking questions on such issues as water, education, and affordable housing.
If none of the candidates receives 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will face off in the May 19 election.
Steve Glazer has served on the Orinda City Council since 2004, including three terms as Mayor. He sits as a California State University Trustee and also runs a successful small business, advising environmental, business, and nonprofit organizations. He is married with two children.
He describes himself as a fiscal conservative with socially progressive values. He points out that he has tackled a variety of issues over the years. Among them is support for a ban on transit strikes. He would also like to see greater transparency when it comes to campaign donations and legislation.
He notes that special interests spent nearly $300 million in 2013 to influence the state Legislature. Combined with hyper-partisan politics, this spending spree has fueled the current atmosphere in Sacramento where money and power carry far more weight than the best interests of the public. He declared, "The solution is to elect candidates who have proved their independence from these narrow special interests. I believe that if you aspire to public service, you should focus on problem solving, rather than pandering to special interests."
Water issues are among the many facing the state. Glazer opposes the two tunnel project proposed by Governor Brown. “It does not provide enough environmental protections.” He would work at providing long-term water availability through recycling, reuse and better groundwater practices.
He said that he has spent time campaigning for affordable housing, that included raising funds for homeless shelters, and residences for abused women and foster children. Glazer said that one of the most valuable parts of the old redevelopment funding was the money it provided for housing. That option should be part of any new redevelopment proposal.
In his campaign for the 16th District Assembly seat last year, he focused on preventing future BART strikes. He said that doesn’t mean he is anti-union. He noted, “I have also received campaign contributions from BART workers and spoken to many who want fair pay for work, but saw the harm caused to everyone by the strike.
Glazer is supportive of extending BART to Livermore. He said that BART has been spending money in San Francisco and other cities. It should direct funds to Livermore. He called BART management incompetent in dealing with both the strike and the Livermore extension.
He is opposed to future state spending on high speed rail. At the same time, California needs to invest in infrastructure to accommodate future growth and industry. Improved rail service in and between our cities is one of those important investments, according to Glazer.
When it comes to what has been described as the declining middle class, Glazer said there are many issues involved. They include economic factors , technology and international competition. He stated, "There is a need to train the workforce for jobs by improving the higher education system. Training people would help to close the wage gap. In the future, it is projected that the state will be a million college degrees short of what the job market demands. We need to provide better access and affordability for higher education."
He calls schools his top priority. His education platform includes: empowering local school boards to lead on educational issues; restoring School Reserve Protection; establishing teacher accountability; allowing families to select the best schools for their children that do not include private school vouchers; providing greater resources to improve education; and encouraging public charter schools.
Glazer has been involved with environmental issues, noting that clean air and water, bays, forests, grasslands and creeks won't stay protected unless they are a part of every discussion. He supports voter-approved growth boundaries as a way to prevent sprawl and protect the quality of life. He added that he has been recognized by the Trust for Public Land and Save the Bay for his environmental leadership. “I believe we must protect open space and our environmental resources for future generations."
Glazer stated, "I think our environmental laws are critical to protecting our quality of life. Since the California Environmental Quality Act was enacted in the early 1970s, there have more than 100 additional laws/regulations. We should always be open to ways to streamline and improve our environmental rules."
Glazer points out, "I am also a pro-business leader who believes that growing our economy and creating jobs is a top priority." He says that view has not stopped him from taking strong stands in the public interest. For example, he support standards to reduce carbon pollution that contributes to global warming.
When it comes to politics, he says he has the courage to take on special interests both on the right and left. "It is important for voters to become educated about issues and candidates and not listen to the nonsense that surrounds campaigns. Voting is a right and a responsibility. At the end of the day, it’s our responsibility to be aware of the issues and what is happening," he stated.
One issue of importance to Glazer involves guns. He was shot in the neck by a high-powered pellet gun. The perpetrator was caught but never charged with a crime because pellet guns were classified as toys in the criminal code. After recovering from the injury, he worked with then-Senator Tom Torlakson to author legislation establishing penalties for pellet-gun attacks.
Glazer notes that he strongly supports California’s laws to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of criminals, including: background checks and a 10-day waiting period for gun sales, regulations on assault weapons and large capacity magazines, gun safety standards, firearm record keeping, and bans on the open carry of unloaded firearms in public. "Our Second Amendment right to own guns must be tempered with reasonable standards to keep our communities and our people safe from gun violence."
Of his endorsement by Republican Michaela Hertle, who dropped out of the race, he said. “It shows I’m able to build bridges across party lines.”
February 16, 2015
By Dan Walters
WALNUT CREEK – When Mark DeSaulnier was in the Legislature he was something of a maverick, willing to buck the Democratic leadership on occasion – most notably as one of three senators to oppose Gov. Jerry Brown’s bullet train.
With DeSaulnier now in Congress, Steve Glazer is running for his 7th Senate District seat, claiming his maverick mantle and opposing Brown on several issues. And that seems strange, at least superficially, because Glazer has a decades-long relationship with Brown that includes managing his 2010 campaign for governor.
Their differences include the bullet train, with Glazer lamenting the “billions of dollars we’re spending on high-speed rail” instead of deteriorating highways.
“Our priorities are a little bit out of whack,” Glazer said last week during a joint appearance with his two Democratic rivals, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla and former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, before an assemblage of local political and business figures.
Glazer also opposes Brown’s twin tunnels to carry water under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (as do Bonilla and Buchanan) and criticizes the legislation that Brown signed to cap local school district reserves.
The reserve cap was a prime example of Capitol gamesmanship. At the last minute and at Brown’s behest, it was inserted into a budget trailer bill as an apparent political sop to the California Teachers Association.
Buchanan and Bonilla voted for the cap, but both told the forum they now want it changed.
Despite his opposition to Brown on several fronts, however, Glazer insists that he’s not alienated from his old friend and mentor. He supports the governor’s insistence that the sales and income tax increase Brown persuaded voters to pass in 2012 be temporary.
Glazer describes himself as “fiscally conservative” and is enjoying some Republican support, which could be decisive. He jumped on his rivals for, he said, supporting additional taxes. “I think we need to hold the line on taxes,” he said.
Bonilla, clearly the most liberal of the three, didn’t shy away from extending the 2012 tax measure or enacting some other revenue increase, while Buchanan punted, saying, “we should let the voters decide.”
It’s unlikely that any of the three will get a majority of the March 17 primary vote to win the seat outright, so they really are vying for the top two spots that would get them into the May 19 runoff.
Unions are divided between Bonilla and Buchanan but united in opposing Glazer, who has been sharply critical of unions and earned their enmity by advising the state Chamber of Commerce on political strategy.
If Glazer makes the runoff, he’s likely to get business backing. Some groups may hold back, however, if Bonilla is his opponent. She chairs the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, which controls much business-related legislation.
San Francisco Chronicle
February 8, 2015
By Carla Marinucci
Months after being flogged by union attack ads last year during his unsuccessful Assembly race, Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer has issued a politically risky call to arms, urging California Democrats to stop “demonizing” moderates and fiscal conservatives in their own party.
“There is an attitude by party interests that if you’re a Democrat from the Bay Area, you must be a “supersized liberal,” or else you’re a traitor to the cause,” said Glazer, who delivered a blistering assessment of his party at a recent UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies panel.
The longtime adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, now a candidate in next month’s special election for the East Bay District Seven state Senate seat, came out swinging last week at a packed candidates forum in Lafayette.
Aiming for the spot vacated by Mark DeSaulnier, who replaced retired Rep. George Miller, Glazer portrayed himself a “pragmatic,” pro-business, antitax candidate, arguing “the Democratic Party needs to regain the mantle as the fiscally responsible party.”
Even before he finished that appearance, the Contra Costa Young Democrats club tweeted that Glazer is an “alleged Democrat,” indicating it won’t be an easy contest for the candidate who argues his party has veered too far to the left.
But while risky, Glazer’s move to go after his party might be a game-changer in a district where almost 30 percent are registered Republicans.
His surprise decision to enter the race threatens to upend the primary between two established progressive candidates, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla and former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan. and underscores the unpredictability of California’s top-two primary system, in which the top two vote-getters move on to the general election.
In the all-Democratic race, Bonilla has racked up major endorsements, including DeSaulnier, former Rep. Ellen Tauscher — and her party. But Buchanan, recently termed out of the Assembly, has also a loyal following as a six-term legislator.
Glazer’s campaign got a boost last Monday when the only Republican in the race, Michaela Hertle, dropped out and endorsed him. Hertle cited Glazer’s support for a ban on BART strikes, which earned him the wrath of several Bay Area unions during the Assembly race in November won by Republican attorney Catharine Baker.
Political analysts say Glazer, a California State University trustee, may now have a real shot at shaking up the race.
“He’s got two liberal Democrats against him, and I think his opportunity now is very good to get the GOP vote — which should be enough to make the runoff,” said former GOP strategist Tony Quinn, a co-editor of the California Target Book, which analyzes California races.
The primary is on March 17, and if no candidate gets a majority of the vote, the general election is set for May 19.
Alienating some Dems
Steve Maviglio, a veteran Democratic consultant, calls Glazer a longshot at best in what is expected to be a low-turnout special election. Up against Buchanan, “a credible, moderate Democrat,” and Bonilla, a popular progressive, and with a Republican’s name remaining on the ballot — it’s too late to remove it — “he has to peel off enough ultraconservative Democrats” to at least come in second, he notes.
But Glazer has alienated many Democrats with criticisms that are simply unfounded, Maviglio said.
“Almost having a supermajority in both houses, and every constitutional officer in the state, isn’t a bad place to be” for Democrats, Maviglio said. And for six years in Sacramento, “the Democrats have been balancing the budget, and helping the business community” grow jobs and the economy.
Still, Democratic consultant Garry South said centrists like Glazer have faced the wrath of party officials and consultants for “daring” to help other Democratic challengers in primary elections.
“In this top-two environment, we Democrats have to be careful that we don’t let these Democrat-on-Democrat races turn into fratricidal battles that do damage to, or split, the Democratic coalition,” he said. In the current climate, Democrats “are not going to have two-thirds majorities in both chambers with all those legislators acting like they’re Nancy Pelosi,” he said in reference to the liberal California U.S. representative.
“You’re going to have places that elect more-moderate Democrats, and if the party can’t deal with that, we have problems,” he insists.
Challenging status quo
Democrat Ro Khanna, the former Obama trade representative who unsuccessfully challenged seven-term progressive Rep. Mike Honda in a high-profile race for a Silicon Valley seat in November, agrees that the party needs to broaden its reach and appeal — or face problems as more voters choose to be independent.
“In my case, I came out for ... a lot of positions that labor union people told me, privately, were very bold,” he said. But Khanna, who came in just four points behind Honda, faced an onslaught of attacks, including from a Democratic super political action committee that questioned his Democratic loyalty.
“The problem is institutional stagnancy,” Khanna said. “There’s a sense that when we back the person we know, it’s almost like an old boys’ club, in not allowing fresh new voices to be heard.’’
“It’s more about the institutions of power rallying around their own interests,” he said, “and the top-two system is designed to break through that — eventually.”
Contra Costa Times / East County Times / San Ramon Valley Times / Tri-Valley Times
Sunday, February 8, 2015 (printed editions)
Our state legislators usually lack political courage, unwilling to buck special interests that effectively control their parties. But the special election to fill a vacant East Bay state Senate seat features two candidates who display impressive independence.
Of the five names will appear on the ballot, the only Republican has dropped out of the race. Of the four Democrats, Terry Kremin offers no compelling reason for his candidacy, and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla of Concord simply toes the labor line.
That leaves former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, of Alamo, and Steve Glazer, an Orinda city councilman and California State University trustee. We endorse Glazer, but we emphasize that both deserve recognition for unusually thoughtful and politically courageous positions.
The March 17 primary will be the first step to fill a state Senate seat vacated by Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, who replaced the now-retired Rep. George Miller in Congress. If no one receives a majority, the general election between the top two finishers will follow May 19.
The Senate seat includes the Tri-Valley and most of Central and East Contra Costa. While Democrats comprise 44 percent of registration, half the voters are Republicans or independent. Consequently, this district provides an excellent venue for an open primary that rewards candidates able to bridge political lines.
Glazer has positioned himself as the centrist candidate. He was Gov. Jerry Brown's political adviser until 2012 but has since tried to distance himself. He opposes Brown's plans for high-speed rail and Delta water tunnels, supports teacher tenure reform, and opposes extension of the governor's temporary sales and income taxes that will phase out starting in 2017.
Glazer angered labor leaders by calling for prohibiting BART strikes, working to elect business-backed Democratic candidates and crossing party lines last year to back Republican Catharine Baker, who replaced Buchanan in the Assembly.
Buchanan, forced from the Assembly by term limits, previously served for 18 years on the San Ramon Valley school board. She enjoys support of the California Teachers Association but fell out of favor with local public employee unions for her 2012 bill that curbed pension spiking in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
The bill closed a gaping loophole in Brown's "pension reform" package and stopped some of the most egregious abuses in California. Her actions represented a principled stand in the face of great political risk.
This endorsement was not an easy choice. We often disagree with Buchanan, but she has continued to impress us with her intellect and independent thinking. We back Glazer because we agree with him on more issues, and he offers thoughtful centrist positions generally lacking in the Legislature.
[Contra Costa Times circulates in Clayton, Concord, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pacheco and Walnut Creek.]
[East County Times circulates in Antioch, Bay Point, Byron, Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, Oakley and Pittsburg.]
[San Ramon Valley Times circulates in Alamo, Blackhawk, Danville, Diablo and San Ramon.]
[Tri-Valley Times circulates in Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton and Sunol.]
Fox and Hounds
February 4, 2014
By Judy Lloyd
About 9 months ago, the race for State Senate in District 7 seemed boring. Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla would face term-limited Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan. Each Democrat woman would garner predictable endorsements from labor unions as well as regional officeholders. It would be a horse race between two well established Democrat women, both of whom are friendly with organized labor.
Then came fall and the inevitable election of Mark DeSaulnier to Congress, forcing a special election. Mark Meuser, a Republican who ran against DeSaulnier in 2012, entertained the thought of running and formed a campaign committee.
GOP Leadership expressed interest in 3 County Officials: Costa DA Mark Peterson and Contra Costa Supervisors Candace Andersen and Mary Piepho. All three have credibility with voters and have won previous races with respectable margins. Piepho and Peterson faced no opposition in their last race.
Supervisor Piepho was definitely interested. Her father, Senator John A. Nejedly, once proudly served this senate district. Beloved as a reformer and environmental Republican, he was that “different kind of Republican” they love in Contra Costa.
Unfortunately, Supervisor Piepho’s vote to raise supervisorial salaries 33% rubbed deputy sheriffs, the Local 1 union and taxpayer’s groups who rallied for a signature-gathering for a referendum to allow voters to over-turn the raise. Bad timing forced her to reconsider, rescind the salary increase, and forego the state senate race. Peterson and Andersen also politely passed.
At 4:45 PM on the day of filing, several Republicans (including Meuser) seemed ready to enter the race. None were as credible as the county officials, but all came with good intentions. Few people expected “surprise” candidate, Orinda Councilman Steve Glazer to enter the race. He filed at 4:55 PM.
Glazer, who ran an excellent race in the 16th AD in 2014, just missed the “top two” primary last June, coming up short of labor-backed mayor Tim Sbranti. Education advocate and small business attorney Catharine Baker, a Republican, won the 16th in a surprise victory.
This week, the sole Republican filer, Michaela Hertle, suspended her campaign and endorsed Glazer. Hertle, a young technology professional from Pleasanton, realized like other Republicans how hard the race would be with only 6 weeks until the March 17th “top two” primary. She issued this statement:
“I am endorsing Steve Glazer for California State Senate District 7. Mr. Glazer has proven that he can work with Republicans and Democrats alike to find common sense solutions to our state’s needs. Like me, he is a fiscal conservative. He supports pension reform and school reform. He is not beholden to labor or other special interests, as seen by his opposition to BART strikes. I urge my fellow Republicans to vote for Steve Glazer. We have more commonalities with him than differences and he can win this race.”
With Democrats holding a voter registration advantage of 43.5% to 28.6% over Republicans and Decline-to-State voters at 22.3%, it would be tough to build a financial war chest large enough to overcome the name ID of the three Democrats. A 4th Democrat, Terry Klemin, who ran and lost twice in Concord, also lacks name ID.
Assemblywoman Bonilla appears confident that she will win the race with the backing of the California Democrat Party, the Concord Democrat Club, the California Professional Firefighters, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, AFSCME Council 57 & Local 2700, PORAC and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. She also has officeholder endorsements in the northern part of the district as well as a few in Danville and Dublin.
Assemblywoman Buchanan just announced the support of the California Small Business Association as well as the Tri-Valley Democrats and California Teachers Association. She has more than 70 local officeholder endorsements and a poll showing her with twice the name ID as Bonilla. Some of the less militant unions have also endorsed her.
Steve Glazer is just getting started and has already posted his ballot statement. No doubt that Glazer will pick up some middle-of-the-road Democrat endorsements as well as key Republicans and business leaders.
At this juncture, this race is hardly over, nor is it boring. Two of three contenders – Bonilla, Buchanan and Glazer – will make it to top two on St. Patrick’s Day. Stay tuned.
February 2, 2015
By Dan Walters
This is an odd-numbered year, but some California voters – especially those in the affluent Bay Area suburbs along the Interstate 680 corridor – will be getting the full campaign treatment this spring.
Three state senators resigned last month to take newly won seats in Congress, and special elections have been called to choose their successors.
While none of the three districts will change partisan hands, two will see sharp-elbows battles in their March 17 primaries, perhaps extending into their May 19 runoffs.
Sharon Runner, a former Republican senator, is all alone as the successor to Steve Knight in the 21st Senate District, which sprawls over the suburbs north of Los Angeles.
However, two well-known Republicans are vying in Orange County’s 37th Senate District, county Supervisor John Moorlach and Assemblyman Donald Wagner, to succeed Rep. Mimi Walters. And if a third Republican on the ballot, Naz Namazi, pulls enough votes to prevent either Moorlach or Wagner from getting a majority March 17, they’ll battle a second time.
The season’s most interesting special Senate election, however, will be in Contra Costa County, plus a slice of Alameda County.
Democrat Mark DeSaulnier resigned from the 7th Senate District seat to go to Congress. The combatants to replace him are former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla and Steve Glazer, the mayor of Orinda and a longtime political consultant, plus a lesser-known Democrat, Terry Kremin.
There’s also a Republican, Michaela Hertle, on the ballot, but she withdrew from campaigning Monday and endorsed Glazer.
Given the circumstances, none is likely to win the seat outright in March, so the question is who will make it to the runoff.
Buchanan formerly represented most of the Senate district and has the endorsement of the powerful California Teachers Association, for whom she carried a mild teacher discipline reform bill last year, staving off harsher efforts to weed out abusive and/or ineffective teachers.
However, a Buchanan bill to close public pension spiking loopholes three years ago angered other unions, and over the weekend, the local Democratic Party apparatus, strongly influenced by unions, endorsed Bonilla.
If unions are divided on Buchanan and Bonilla, they are united in disliking Glazer, who ran for Buchanan’s Assembly seat and was a target for union-sponsored attacks. Glazer lost to a union candidate, who later lost to a Republican.
Although Glazer managed Gov. Jerry Brown’s campaign in 2010, he earned unions’ enmity by advising the state Chamber of Commerce on strategy that led to the defeat of two Democratic Assembly members in 2012.
Prognosis: Probably another business vs. union duel with Glazer facing either Buchanan or Bonilla on May 19.
Venture County Star
February 3, 2015
By Timm Herdt
Last Friday and Saturday, an assemblage of California’s top political operatives and analysts gathered in Berkeley, where they spent considerable time discussing a perennial post election question in this dark-blue state: Are Democrats destined to forever dominate?
The consensus answer: It sure looks that way, if not forever, then at least for a very long time.
The numbers are overwhelming: 43-28-23. Those are the percentages of registered voters who are, respectively, Democrats, Republicans and have no party preference.
USC Professor Sherry Bebitch Jeffe showed she can do the math. “Republicans,” she said, “appear to be on the brink of third-party status in this state.”
Then on Sunday, with 114.5 million people watching on television, something happened that should suggest to even political academics that unexpected things are possible, and they can happen quickly. The defending Super Bowl champions, a few seconds away from near-certain victory, lost the game.
All it took was one bad play call, one disastrous decision.
As it happens, there are a couple of developments unfolding in state politics that might generate some concern among thoughtful Democrats.
First, there is the question of whether Democrats will be able to sustain recent enthusiasm among the voting group that has been almost solely responsible for converting California from what was once a politically competitive state to, for all practical purposes, a one-party state. This group, of course, is Latino voters.
Latinos account for well over a third of state Democratic voters. When they turn out in large numbers, as they did in 2008, 2010 and 2012, Democrats at the top of the ticket in California win by landslides, even when they lose among non-Hispanic whites. That was twice the case with President Barack Obama, and also with Gov. Jerry Brown in 2010.
But what would happen if California Latinos were to tune out of politics?
That’s a question the Legislature’s Latino Caucus is raising at a time when a top-of-ticket opening will present itself in 2016 with Sen. Barbara Boxer’s retirement. So far, the only announced candidate is Attorney General Kamala Harris, a San Francisco Democrat.
The Latino Caucus on Tuesday released a poll that indicates having a Latino candidate in the Senate primary “could generate enthusiasm among this constituency and even expand its turnout.”
Clearly, there is concern that an effort by the San Francisco-based party establishment to clear the field for Harris could dampen enthusiasm and turnout among Latino voters.
The clear message to the party establishment is that there are at least three potentially viable Latino candidates from Southern California — former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Reps. Xavier Becerra and Loretta Sanchez — and that no one should try to muscle them out to clear a path for Harris.
Such a move, Latino Democrats are intimating, would be the equivalent of calling a pass play on the goal line, creating the potential for a game-changing interception.
Another potential pitfall for Democrats was raised over the weekend by Steve Glazer, who managed Brown’s 2010 campaign but has since run afoul of party activists by advocating policy positions that organized labor considers anti-union.
Glazer got walloped by a union-funded negative campaign when he unsuccessfully ran for the Assembly last year. He’s now running in a special election for an open Senate seat in the East San Francisco Bay Area. He clearly expects a repeat of the attacks.
Glazer said at the conference that what he called “the demonizing” of Democrats such as himself and former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed who don’t fall in line with union orthodoxy “is going to create a fracture within our party.
“They continue to demonize people who had been loyal Democrats,” he said. “The Democratic Party that celebrates diversity of backgrounds doesn’t accept diversity of opinions.”
After losing in the Assembly primary last year, Glazer endorsed Republican Catharine Baker, who went on to defeat union-backed Democrat Tim Sbranti and become the first GOP candidate to win a Bay Area legislative seat since 2006.
Democratic Party executive director Shawnda Westly dismissed Glazer’s prediction of an ideological fracture. “We are big-tent on issues,” she said. “We go moderate, we go liberal.”
She pointed to a broad range of ideological diversity among Democrats now serving in the Legislature.
Maybe so, but Glazer’s warning shouldn’t be dismissed.
If the other team were to develop some more talented personnel and come up with a better game plan, he and others like him have the potential to eventually switch jerseys and pick off a pass in the end zone.
Contra Costa Times
February 2, 2015
By Josh Richman
The only Republican in the East Bay's 7th State Senate District special election dropped out Monday and endorsed a Democrat, less than a week after the candidates' list became official.
Michaela Hertle, a cloud-computing executive from Pleasanton who has never run for office before, issued a statement saying she's throwing her support to centrist Democrat Steve Glazer, Orinda's mayor and Gov. Jerry Brown's former campaign advisor.
"I cannot establish the funding, name recognition and support required to win this election against this field of Democratic candidates within a six-week period," she said, adding Glazer "can work with Republicans and Democrats alike to find common sense solutions to our state's needs."
Republicans make up 29 percent of the district's voters, so if they take heed, Hertle's endorsement could help Glazer -- who has burned most bridges with his own party and the unions that back it -- vie with the race's two more prominent Democrats, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla and former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan. Democrat Terry Kremin, a psychology lecturer who sought Concord City Council seats in 2010 and 2012, also is running.
But it's too late for Hertle to be removed from the ballot, so voters who don't know she dropped out might still vote for her.
The special primary will be held March 17; if nobody gets more than 50 percent of the primary vote, the special general election will be held May 19.
Hertle praised Glazer's fiscal conservatism; his support of public-pension and school reform; and his willingness to buck unions and other special interests. Republicans "have more commonalities with him than differences and he can win this race," she said.
Glazer called Hertle's endorsement "a big boost."
"I've promoted a bipartisan experience and track record and her endorsement is a great validation," he said. "It underscores what makes my candidacy unique."
Glazer incurred unions' wrath by working in 2012 as a strategist for the California Chamber of Commerce's JobsPAC, which backed moderate Democrats over more liberal, labor-friendly ones. And in 2013, he capitalized on public outrage over two BART strikes by urging a ban on transit worker strikes -- an idea opposed by many Democrats.
The 7th District seat, representing central and eastern Contra Costa County plus Alameda County's Tri-Valley area, came open when Democrat Mark DeSaulnier was sworn in last month to succeed Rep. George Miller in Congress.
Buchanan may have a name-recognition edge: The 16th Assembly District seat from which she was term-limited out in 2014 overlaps much more of this senate district than Bonilla's 14th Assembly District.
But Bonilla, D-Concord, so far has more prominent endorsements including DeSaulnier's. Over the weekend she also picked up the California Democratic Party's nod, though some Buchanan backers grumbled that Bonilla used a soon-to-be-abolished bylaw to pack the local caucus meeting with supporters.
Bonilla spokesman Patrick McGarrity said Monday that Bonilla is the Democratic Party's choice while "Steve Glazer is the choice of delegates from the Alameda County Republican Party."
Bonilla, Buchanan and Glazer will spar in a forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, sponsored by the Contra Costa Young Democrats; they'll meet again at noon the following Wednesday, Feb. 11, for a forum in Walnut Creek sponsored by the East Bay Leadership Council.
February 3, 2015
By David Siders
Steve Glazer, the former political adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown and, years ago, Brown’s sister Kathleen, said he isn’t angry.
But the pounding he took from organized labor in his Assembly race last year must still sting: Glazer thumbed through a collection of attack ads for the audience at a political conference over the weekend and acknowledged “they tend to take a toll on a candidate.”
For Glazer, who has used Democratic Party politics for decades to his advantage, the result is a measure of disillusionment.
During a panel conversation on the impact of California’s top-two electoral system Friday, Glazer said Democrats who disagree with labor unions on school, budget and pension issues have been “demonized” by influential elements of their own party.
“The Democratic Party is controlled by some very powerful interests,” Glazer said at the forum, organized by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, “and most Democrats who have ambition are intimidated by that circumstance.”
In his Assembly race last year, labor unions backing Democrat Tim Sbranti worked against Glazer, a more conservative Democrat, in the primary election. Sbranti advanced but was defeated in the general election by a Republican, Catharine Baker.
Glazer’s opponents tied him in campaign mailers to Big Tobacco, ostensibly because he once consulted for the California Chamber of Commerce, whose donors include cigarette makers.
Glazer is now running in the special election for the East Bay state Senate seat formerly held by Rep. Mark DeSaulnier. He is one of three high-profile Democrats in the race. The party’s voters hold a 15-percentage-point registration advantage over Republicans in the district.
The other candidates, former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, spent recent days securing the endorsements of the California Teachers Association and California Democratic Party, respectively.
Glazer, who serves on the Orinda City Council, has not always been at cross-purposes with labor. Public employee unions spent heavily eviscerating Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s image during the gubernatorial campaign in 2010. Glazer managed Brown’s winning campaign that year.
Labor helped again in 2012, when Glazer helped Brown raise money for his ballot measure to raise taxes.
“I don’t want to come across angry,” he said as he left the forum. “I’m not.”
But he said he declined to participate in the Democratic Party’s endorsement process in his Assembly race and is doing the same now, in his bid for Senate.
January 28, 2015
By Laurie Snyder
"I'm in. Voters deserve an opportunity to elect a fiscally conservative, independently minded, bi-partisan problem solver." With that simple tweet, Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer announced his 2015 run for the California Senate.
Stating via Facebook that he expects to see "more bricks flying my way from entrenched and powerful interests," he explained his rationale for filing papers late in the day Jan. 23. "The issues I previously campaigned about remain urgent priorities: a compassionate state government that lives within its financial means; banning BART strikes; reining in our unfunded public pensions; greater support for education but with reforms in teacher discipline and seniority; affordable higher education, independence from special interests, and protecting our environment." He added that he will remain focused "on problem solving over partisanship."
In response, Orinda City Council Member Dean Orr tweeted, "Best news item of the week. All in!" Orinda Union School District Board of Trustees Member Julie Rossiter also tweeted her support.
Glazer, a former political advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown, managed Brown's successful 2010 gubernatorial campaign, and has also counseled CalChamberPAC, the California Chamber of Commerce's political action committee. He is also now in his fourth year of an eight-year term as a Brown-appointed member of the California State University Board of Trustees.
The District 7 seat was vacated by Mark DeSaulnier, who was elected to represent Lamorinda in Congress following George Miller's retirement. Glazer will run against three other Democrats, including Joan Buchanan of Alamo, who termed out in December as the California Assembly member representing Lamorinda and other District 16 communities. Other candidates include Assembly Member Susan Bonilla (Concord) and Terry Kremin.
The primary election will be held March 17; the special election scheduled by Brown will be May 19. L. Snyder