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By Roz Rogoff

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.