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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Assembly race is heating up

Uploaded: May 12, 2014

Now that our representative to the California State Assembly, Joan Buchanan, has been termed out, the race for State Assembly District 16 is heating up. According to that source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, District 16 is 39.77% registered Democrat and 32.76% registered Republican, which leaves an up-for-grabs 21.25% No party preference and 6.22% Other.

Three Democrats are running and only one Republican; so the top two primary could result in two Democrats facing off in November. Dublin Mayor, Tim Sbranti, has most of the Democrat party support, with endorsements from Buchanan and Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Education.

I first met Tim Sbranti twelve years ago, when he was working as an aide to then State Senator Torlakson. Sbranti set up a meeting for me and San Ramon Mayor Nancy Tatarka with Senator Torlakson to discuss the proposed sewer from Dougherty Valley to the Larwin Pump station. Torlakson couldn't change the route of the sewer, but he got the Sanitary District to make the pump station building look nicer.

The two other Democrats running are Danville Mayor, Newell Arnerich and Orinda City Councilman, Steve Glazer. Orinda and Danville have rotated Mayors. Arnerich is Danville's Mayor this year. Glazer was Mayor of Orinda in 2007 and 2012. Sbranti was first elected Mayor of Dublin in 2008. He will term out of the office this year.

One of my neighbors is supporting Sbranti. Another neighbor is supporting Steve Glazer, mostly because of his anti-union stance. I received a big flyer from Glazer today, announcing his opposition to the BART strike. He backs state legislation to ban public transit workers from striking.

Glazer and Arnerich both claim to be fiscally conservative. Glazer's mailer says, ". . . state government needs to live within its means, curb pension abuse, make tax dollars work harder, and hold the line on new taxes."

Arnerich cites Danville's "pay as you go" policies" which have "continued to keep Danville fiscally strong, with a significant reserve, at a time when other cities are faltering in this difficult economy."

While Glazer has openly rejected union support, Sbranti's website announced that "Firefighters, Educators and Labor Support Tim Sbranti for Assembly." Glazer's right-leaning positions would help him more if there was no Republican in the race, but there is.

I received an email from Harry Sachs with a small newspaper ad for Republican, Catherine Baker. Baker received an endorsement from the Contra Costa Times and says she will work "across party lines and beyond egos and special interest agendas in Sacramento to make California a success." Baker will be holding a reception at the San Ramon Golf Club on Monday, May 19th, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

So here's a summary of the candidates again:

Party and union endorsed Democrat, Tim Sbranti,
Fiscally conservative Democrat, Newell Arnerich,
Proven Independent, but still a Democrat, Steve Glazer,
And, I'll work across party lines Republican, Catherine Baker.

I cannot predict who the top two vote getters in the Primary will be, but my guess at this time (and it could change) would be Tim Sbranti and Steve Glazer, which would at least give voters a distinct choice in November.
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Posted by Raymond, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 15, 2014 at 2:52 pm

What makes you think that the 21.25% with no party preference is "up for grabs?"

It's a pleasant fantasy, but are these people really undecided? I think not.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 15, 2014 at 4:12 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

So Raymond,

Which candidate is most likely to win the independent vote? There's quite a spectrum of views among the candidates, from traditional Democrat Sbranti, to Moderate Democrat Arnerich, to Moderate Republican Baker, to DINO, Glazer?

Posted by Anti Public union strikers, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 16, 2014 at 8:43 am

It's easy to see who are the PUBLIC UNION members and those owned by the PUBLIC UNIONS....they feed off each other. Just because Sbranti is ok on a few LOCAL issues, he is purely PUBLIC UNION to the core....meaning NOT for the mass of harding working individual California taxpayers.
There is a reason our Valley Time/Contra Costa Time endorsed Catharine Baker...she has no strings attached and as their endorsement said, she would be a breath of fresh air. Never forget, Ca legislature is not just DEM, is a SUPER-MAJORITY, meaning even the Gov cannot stop them...called a VETO-PROOF legislature. So she couldn't change their SUPER LOCK, but she could introduce some sanity and objectivity to the discussion. NO harm, only good. Glazer would likely win anyway, BUT Sbranti is a threat to us...the people! Not only the PUBLIC union disruption, but the theft of all taxpayers...from the many needs of Californians, infrastructure, EVERYTHING...just to pay to EXCESSIVE benefits and demands that go up regardless of situation. The Governor (who created this mess) can't even make it right alone....,they have more power than he does. WE are all made victim hostage as long as politicians, like Sbranti, are allowed in power.
Catharine would be a sensible voice. The top two left standing should be Catharine Baker and Glazer. In either case, we the PEOPLE would be fairly represented. Not that it would change anything but it would be a good start!

Posted by Anti Public union strikers, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 16, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Reminder, the top two means to top two vote getters in this June PRIMARY, will then be on the ballot in the NOV general election. Adding Sbranti to the SUPER DEM UNION OWNED legislature would be terrible for the PEOPLE of California. Brown who created these unions, would make some changes but he is powerless with the SUPER LOCK that exists.
You, the people, could all choose between Catharine Baker or Glazer in Nov. It will be a slaughter of taxpayers if it plays out with Sbranti and ALL THOSE MASSIVE UNION $$ on tv 24/7. Remember the millions and millions of dollars spent on LIES during the special election Schwarzenegger held to clean up the budget-breaking union mess.....which the people had said they wanted.BUT, like always, stupid voters caved in and believed the UNION LIES...UNION MONEY ALWAYS WINS. People, this is your chance, again. Don't blow the opportunity, again. Keep Sbranti OUT. Isn't your back tired from bending over. apparently you can't even stand up any more.

Posted by daveg, a resident of Birdland,
on May 19, 2014 at 11:15 am

The Pleasanton Weekly?s endorsement of Sbranti glosses over the facts about how he has blindly supported unions and their unreasonable demands, and as a result has been rewarded with huge union monetary support. If one doubts that Sbranti is ?owned? by the unions, just take a look on the California Secretary of State website and look at the contributions to his campaign. Sbranti opposes any transparency on any public-sector collective bargaining, but at the same time opposes any reduction of future pension accruals in which local governments clearly are not able to afford. The BART fiasco only highlighted the fact that steps need to be taken to rein in the ability of BART workers to strike. However Sbranti supports the misguided belief that BART strikes are acceptable and it?s alright to bring the entire bay area economy to a halt.
As the Pleasanton Weekly wishfully commented, a Republican and Democrat would be on the ballet in November, however it would behoove us all to make sure it is Glazer and Baker, two candidates that have expressed their desire to rein in the unreasonable power wielded by the BART unions

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


I wouldn't say Sbranti "blindly supported unions." As a teacher he is a member of the CTA. Web Link So he supports unions because he believes in the need for them. I'm not saying I agree, but he's not doing it just for political reasons.

It isn't likely that Glazer and Baker would finish one, two in the Primary. Registered Democrats are about 40% and Republicans 33%, with 27% other or decline to state.

The three Democrats could split up that 40%, while the only Republican could take most of the 33%, but I suspect some Republicans would vote for Glazer.

Primaries tend to have low turnouts with only the most avid partisans voting. So that would skew the Democrat vote to Sbranti. Baker might be too moderate for Tea Party voters, so they might vote for Glazer or not bother to vote.

Sbranti is the frontrunner right now, and will almost certainly be in the November election. His opponent will probably be Glazer. He's better financed than Baker, but she might surprise me. We will all know in a few weeks.


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