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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Endorsement thoughts

Uploaded: Oct 23, 2014

There is an Interesting, although not surprising split, in endorsements in the 16th Assembly District where Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti (Democrat) is facing off against attorney Catharine Baker (Republican).

Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been a steadfast supporter of the state teachers union, came out for Sbranti, while his Democratic opponent in the primary, Orinda Councilman Steve Glazer, wrote a positive comment on his Facebook page about Baker.

Given the no-holds barred primary and Glazer's outspoken opposition to strikes by unionized BART employees, it's not surprising he would jab Sbranti by saying favorable things about his opponent. Danville Councilman and former Mayor Newell Arnerich, who stayed out of the heavy mudslinging that characterized the Glazer and Sbranti campaigns, has endorsed Sbranti.

The governor's race—that's greatly overstating it—is remarkable given that Jerry Brown's campaign is entirely focused on passing the water bond and the rainy day fund in the budget. The Republican challenger, Neel Kashkari, has been striving to attract media attention—even living a week as a homeless man in Frenso, but there has been no traction.

So the 76-year-old Brown is poised to win his fourth term as governor (his first two took place before the term limits law was passed so the courts decided he could run again). He remains a complex character. He's quite right acting as an adult in the union-dominated Capitol and has pushed necessary actions such as the water bond and the rainy day fund—the measures are political products thus, by definition, imperfect, but the best that could be achieved.

Those contrast hugely with his aggressive backing of the absurd high speed rail plan that courts have held somehow fits into the ballot language that voters narrowly approved in 2008. That project likely is a $100 billion albatross that will hang over the state for decades.

Throw in that he and state school chief Tom Torlakson decided to appeal a judge's decision that the teacher tenure and seniority rules negatively affect minority students. The controversial decision calls into question decades of practice, but is undeniably true that students in poor districts get a poorer education delivered by teachers who generally are not as good as teachers in other schools.
The teachers' union assertion remains that all teachers remain equal—give me a break.
Humans are all endowed with equal natural rights, but not equal talents and skills.
Sadly, the governor and Torlakson sided with the very powerful teachers union and left the poor kids under the bus.

Perhaps I have missed this in the past, but I found it curious that the Tri-Valley Democrats held a rally for the candidates they are supporting for non-partisan local offices such as City Council and school board.
They held a gathering last Sunday in a parking lot near Stoneridge mall so folks could meet Olivia Sanwong (Pleasanton Council candidate) and school board incumbents and candidates Joan Laursen and Jeff Brower among many others.
The endorsements may mean something to partisan voters, but it strikes me as a spot that parties should butt out.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Oct 23, 2014 at 10:28 am

I'm worn out with Brown but when I watched the debate with Kashkari he would make the big eyes and appeared crazy.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by lll, a resident of Birdland,
on Oct 26, 2014 at 5:40 pm

The parties getting involved locally is not new. Cheryl Cook-Kallio was pushed through the democratic party and same with Hosterman. In the last 10 or 15 years, those two have been the most guilty in bringing partisan politics into Pleasanton.

I agree with you 100% that the parties should stay out of the non-partisan elections like council and school board. Partisan politics have no place at the local level. I am an independent and when I see a party pushing a local candidate (does not matter which candidate) it is a turn-off for me and that candidate has lost a lot in my book.

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