April 23, 2015
By Janet Armantrout
Voters in the State Senate 7th District have a choice between two Democrats on May 19. Susan Bonilla and Steve Glazer are on the ballot to replace Mark DeSaulnier, who was elected to Congress last November.
Bonilla and Glazer were the top two finishers in the March 17 primary.
With little to separate them on the issues, independent political action committees have launched a barrage of nasty flyers in support of and opposition to one or the other candidate. Both have big spenders behind them. Glazer is backed by Bill Bloomfield, JobsPAC (California Chamber of Commerce PAC) and the California Charter Schools Association; Bonilla is heavily favored by unions.
Their associations with such groups have raised questions about their ability to maintain an objective viewpoint on issues impacting the funders of their political campaigns.
The Independent interviewed each separately. Both support more storage for water and are against the two tunnel system proposed by Gov. Brown to deliver water from the Delta. They see the need to improve traffic along the I-580 corridor by bringing BART to Livermore. Each expressed the necessity of a strong educational system to keep the economy growing and to lift people out of poverty.
Glazer has a demonstrated involvement with environmental issues, with a long history of working with such organizations as Save the Bay. On behalf of the Trust for Public Land, he worked on measures in more than 25 states to protect clean water and thousands of acres of open space. He has said that he supports minimizing regulations that don't diminish health and safety, but have a negative impact on business. As technology changes, environmental laws have to keep up.
He supports laws enacted to reduce carbon emissions, which he calls an important method of reducing greenhouse gases. It is a stand that is contrary to that taken by the Chamber of Commerce, and one we support.
His desire to prevent BART strikes has drawn the ire of unions. He notes that New York, Chicago, Massachusetts, and San Francisco all restrict transit strikes. We believe his tone is too strident when he talks about the issue. However, he says that he still believes in the collective bargaining process.
We do agree with his stand on moving forward with pension reform, which he believes is necessary to ensure funds are available when workers retire. We don't agree with his lack of support for closing the business tax loophole in Proposition 13.
Glazer strongly backs adding more charter schools, a move we believe would weaken regular public schools.
Bonilla mentioned favoring a sunset clause for environmental laws, which would limit how long they are in effect. She says that would provide an opportunity to review their value. A sunset clause could lead to a loss of important provisions. While she votes favorably on most environmental issues, she has no record of active involvement.
Bonilla has been strong on child care, noting that without the availability of affordable care for their children, many women would not be able to work.
Because of her backing by unions, Bonilla has been accused of being too in tune with unions to take on pension reform or changes in teacher tenure.
With both of them coming from the northern portion of the district, accessibility is of concern. Glazer appears more willing to involve himself in local issues. Bonilla has shown little interest, focusing more on topics where she lives than the Tri-Valley.
Although we don't support his views on some important issues, we are recommending Steve Glazer for the State Senate 7th District mainly because of his proven record on behalf of the environment and his willingness to engage in Tri-Valley issues.