It boils down to a three-way race among Democrats with the only Republican on the ballot having withdrawn and endorsed Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer. Glazer, who has a well-publicized break with the public employee unions including his backing of a no-strike clause for BART workers, is picking up Republican endorsements. His name recognition in the district is high because of the brutal primary for the 16th Assembly last year that pitted him against former Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti. Mud flowed freely as outside interests spent heavily.
Both Bill Baker (former congressman and assemblyman) and Dick Rainey (former assemblyman and retired Contra Costa County Sheriff) have publically thrown their support to Glazer as has Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne. All are Republicans.
Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla has received the most endorsements, including most of the Democrat labor unions, and raised the most money. The third serious Democrat in the race, former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, has the advantage of more than half of her district overlapping with the Senate district. The seat opened up after Mark DeSaulnier resigned with two years left on his term before he was sworn in as a member of Congress. Buchanan, who was a school board member in the San Ramon Valley for 24 years and chaired the Assembly Education Committee, is backed by the California Teachers Association.
With a 15-point Democrat registration advantage, a Democrat will win the seat. Glazier is well-positioned to the conservative side of both Buchanan and Bonilla and thus should do well among the Republicans who decide to vote March 17 as well as in the independent ranks.
The Livermore Factory Outlets, which were re-branded when Simon bought the property from the developer the week it opened, will change names again when the current expansion opens.
The upscale outlet center will become San Francisco Premium Outlets. It is located across the Bay Bridge and nearly 50 miles east of San Francisco, but branding the center for an iconic city instead of a suburban city with a limited national or international reputation beyond the role of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in national defense.
In a way, it's similar to what the Warriors did when they moved from San Francisco to the Oakland Coliseum Arena and chose Golden State instead of Oakland for their name.
The factory outlet name reflects the international draw for the 512,000-square-foot center that currently has 130 outlets including such upscale stores as Armani, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Burberry, Cole Hahn and Last Call by Neiman Marcus.
The center has become a destination for power shoppers, both those living in the Bay Area and those international visitors. The expansion will add 185,000 square feet and is scheduled to open Aug. 13.
"The new name better reflects that residents from the entire Bay area as well as visitors from all over the world are shopping and enjoying the superior mix of merchants that is offered by San Francisco Premium Outlets," said Stephen Yalof, CEO of Premium Outlets. "The rebranding of the center will also serve to further highlight the exciting additional merchants and amenities that are being added as part of the current expansion."
Simon Premium Outlets owns 84 centers including Desert Hills (20 miles west from Palm Springs) as well as the outlet centers in Napa, Vacaville and Gilroy. The company also owns Stoneridge Shopping Center.