San Francisco Chronicle
March 6, 2015
The late entry of a maverick centrist Democrat into the race to succeed Mark DeSaulnier in state Senate District Seven has given East Bay voters an appealing alternative to two experienced legislators. Voters can maintain a meaningful choice in the May 19 special election by voting for Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer, a longtime adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, in the March 17 primary.
His two main opponents, Joan Buchanan and Susan Bonilla, are past and present Assembly Democrats who are well steeped in the issues and have reliably party-line voting records. Not surprisingly, unions are spending big on their behalf, not only for their past and future support, but for labor’s fear of Glazer’s willingness to challenge party orthodoxy.
Republican Michaela Hertle has suspended her campaign and endorsed Glazer.
While Glazer sides with traditional Democratic positions more often than not, there are times when the public interest is served by legislators showing the independence to stand up to the public employee unions, which wield inordinate influence in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
Glazer has zeroed in on some of the issues where action has been stalled by union opposition. One is the need to reform the 40-year-old California Environmental Quality Act to keep it from being exploited by interests whose motive has nothing to do with environmental protection. In fact, one of the casualties of these abuses has been infill development designed to ease traffic and improve air quality. Brown once called CEQA reform “the Lord’s work.” But too many Democratic legislators answer to other special-interest masters who object to any substantive change to the law.
Other areas where a more independent Democrat could be of value include pension and education reforms. Glazer is committed to moving ahead on both. He also continues to carry the torch for prohibiting BART workers from striking. It makes perfect sense in a transit-dependent region where an extended shutdown would be devastating to the economy, to the environment and to public safety.
Bonilla and Buchanan defend the BART workers’ right to strike.
The top two finishers in the primary will advance to the May 19 special election. The Capitol desperately needs legislators willing to stand up to special interests and work across party lines. Steve Glazer is our choice in the March 17 primary.