Contra Costa Times
May 17, 2015
It would seem that the best thing about Tuesday's special state Senate election is that voters will be able to reclaim their mailboxes. But there's actually a lot at stake, which helps explain why millions have been spent on the onslaught of misleading mailers.
For those who have not already cast their ballots by mail, it's time to make a choice between the two candidates vying for the seat vacated by Mark DeSaulnier when he was elected to Congress in November.
It's a choice between two Democrats who couldn't be more different -- one unwaveringly devoted to organized labor, the other a moderate who understands that the state can't write blank checks to appease special interests.
For us, as we've said before, this isn't a close call.
Steve Glazer, an Orinda councilman, California State University trustee and former political adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, is by far the best choice. He's the moderate, the one who works across the aisle with Republicans, supports banning BART strikes and urges state leaders to get their financial house in order before considering tax renewals.
His opponent, Susan Bonilla of Concord, has been such a strong backer of labor in Sacramento that she could not identify a single vote she has cast during her four years in the Assembly that diverged from the union position. Not one.
At the same time, voters should not let the mailbox stuffing dissuade them from voting. What's at stake in this election is the future of state politics. Without a doubt, Democrats will control Sacramento for years to come. The question is whether anyone can break organized labor's stranglehold on the party.
The 7th Senate District, which includes the Livermore Valley and most of Central and Eastern Contra Costa, provides a key testing ground. It's a moderate district in which Democrats hold 43 percent of the registration, but independents and Republicans comprise 51 percent. It's important that centrist voters are heard.
For those who have not yet voted, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Those with absentee ballots can take them to the polls or they can still mail them in. Under a new state law, they will be counted as long as they are postmarked by Tuesday.