April 6, 2015
If you are a voter in Walnut Creek or Concord, San Ramon, Livermore or Pleasanton, you might not want to support Democrat Steve Glazer for state Senate. Maybe you support the right of transit workers to strike, or you don’t want to reform teacher tenure or government pensions. Maybe you just want to support the candidate who will always vote labor’s position on every issue.
Those are valid reasons to oppose Glazer, Orinda mayor and Gov. Jerry Brown’s longtime political strategist, and to support Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, the other Democrat in the May 19 run-off election in Senate District 7.
What, however, are utterly fabricated, hogwash “reasons” to do so are that Glazer has “sold out” to big tobacco, “sold out” on women’s rights or that he “says one thing and does another” – all lies being told to smear Glazer by a group of labor unions determined to punish him for being an independent Democrat.
Sludge Bucket Charges The principal (fabricated) charges against Glazer are based on the fact that he – like a number of other Democratic consultants – worked for the California Chamber of Commerce in support of business-friendly Democrats that ran in primaries against union-backed Democrats.
Glazer hasn’t taken money from tobacco companies; they did contribute to the Chamber. Glazer has always been vehemently pro-choice on abortion and a supporter of women’s rights; some of the candidates the Chamber has backed aren’t. And, sin of sins, he’s received financial support from individuals and organizations that prefer him as a business-friendly Democrat to candidates seen as in the pocket of labor unions.
Moreover, if being backed by “special interests” is the charge – and Glazer benefited from nearly $600,000 in spending from various interests — Bonilla has a lot to answer for, too. In addition to nearly $240,000 in direct support from labor unions (not to mention independent expenditures), she’s pulled in more than $276,000 from business and corporate interests including the healthcare, big pharma, oil and gas, development and gambling industries.
Glazer has pledged to accept no gifts, meals or beverages from lobbyists; to disclose his answers to any special interests questionnaires; not to pay family members from campaigns contributions; to refuse tax-free per diem expenses or Senate work on weekends and holidays, and to eschew campaign contributions in the final 60 days of the legislative session.
That would make him one of the squeakiest clean legislators in Sacramento. But he would not necessarily vote with the teachers, prison guards or public employees on every measure that comes before the Legislature. If that’s the kind of Democrat you want, Glazer is not your guy.
Insiders and Outsiders For a long time in California, there have been two kinds of Democrats: those who labor unions can count on for support on any issue; and those who don’t vote the union line every time. Most insider Democrats in Sacramento, sadly, are captives of Big Labor. Most outside Democrats in California support labor most, but not all, of the time.
Merit pay for teachers, limits on pay and retirement benefits for prison guards, restrictions on public transportation employees’ right to strike and controlled growth policies limiting new construction in cities and counties are just a few issues where a strong, independent Democrat might have principled differences with unions representing various workers.
Steve Glazer is a lifelong progressive, pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-working class, Jerry Brown Democrat. The campaign to brand him as a traitor to Democratic values is beyond scurrilous.