Mail-in ballots for the June primary will start arriving in mail boxes next month so those newspapers that recommend candidates are announcing their choices.
The Contra Costa Times editorial board, which typically has recommended so many Democrats that its list looks like a Democrat slate card, offered a real surprise in the 16th Assembly primary. Incumbent Joan Buchanan of Alamo is termed out this year and three Democrats are running: Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti and City Councilmen Newell Arnerich (Danville) and Steve Glazer (Orinda) along with Republican attorney Catharine Baker of Pleasanton.
The Times editorial board surprised many when they recommended Baker over Glazer, describing both as moderates who are fiscally responsible. Glazer broke with typical Democratic positions by circulating petitions to ban strikes by BART employees.
Sbranti, a teacher at Dublin High and a politically active member of the California Teachers Association, has lined up most of the union support as well as endorsements from the East Bay elected delegation and is the likely favorite. Given his union activities and backing, the Times editorial board was quite critical, particularly around one of its key issuespublic employee pensions.
As the lone Republican in the mix, Baker potentially can finish in the top two by holding serve with the Republicans and picking up her share of independents while the other three Democrats divide the votes.
The district leans Democrat, but is close enough in registration that candidates from either major party can win.
What's not expected to be very close is the primary to replace retiring 20-term Congressman George Millercurrent state Senator Mark DeSaulnier is expected to top that field when votes are counted in June.
What's curious is the absurd bill that DeSaulnier and fellow East Bay Democratic Senator Loni Hancock have introduced to tie the tax rate of publically traded companies to the difference between the CEO compensation and the average worker at the firm.
Citing the latest Democratic buzz word of income inequality, SB1372 would increase the corporate tax rate from 8.8 percent to as much as 13 percent if the CEO's salary is 100 times or more greater than the average wage. Companies with CEO pay closer to the average employee would receive a tax break.
We'd hope that DeSaulnier, a former small business owner, would know better than to try to inject government into CEO compensation. That's the business of the board of directors and the shareholders, not the state of California.
If Hancock and DeSaulnier really want to do something they should sit down with the state Chamber of Commerce and have a straightforward conversation about the anti-business, pro-labor slant of the Democrat-dominated Legislature and how to fix the state's ailing business climate. California does fine for high-margin, knowledge-based companies, but struggles in many other areas.