February 12, 2015
Voters in the 7th State Senate District will chose a new representative on March 17.
There are five names on the ballot. However, the lone Republican Michaela Hertle, has dropped out of the race.
The Independent interviewed each of the four remaining candidates, asking questions on such issues as water, education, and affordable housing.
If none of the candidates receives 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will face off in the May 19 election.
Steve Glazer has served on the Orinda City Council since 2004, including three terms as Mayor. He sits as a California State University Trustee and also runs a successful small business, advising environmental, business, and nonprofit organizations. He is married with two children.
He describes himself as a fiscal conservative with socially progressive values. He points out that he has tackled a variety of issues over the years. Among them is support for a ban on transit strikes. He would also like to see greater transparency when it comes to campaign donations and legislation.
He notes that special interests spent nearly $300 million in 2013 to influence the state Legislature. Combined with hyper-partisan politics, this spending spree has fueled the current atmosphere in Sacramento where money and power carry far more weight than the best interests of the public. He declared, "The solution is to elect candidates who have proved their independence from these narrow special interests. I believe that if you aspire to public service, you should focus on problem solving, rather than pandering to special interests."
Water issues are among the many facing the state. Glazer opposes the two tunnel project proposed by Governor Brown. “It does not provide enough environmental protections.” He would work at providing long-term water availability through recycling, reuse and better groundwater practices.
He said that he has spent time campaigning for affordable housing, that included raising funds for homeless shelters, and residences for abused women and foster children. Glazer said that one of the most valuable parts of the old redevelopment funding was the money it provided for housing. That option should be part of any new redevelopment proposal.
In his campaign for the 16th District Assembly seat last year, he focused on preventing future BART strikes. He said that doesn’t mean he is anti-union. He noted, “I have also received campaign contributions from BART workers and spoken to many who want fair pay for work, but saw the harm caused to everyone by the strike.
Glazer is supportive of extending BART to Livermore. He said that BART has been spending money in San Francisco and other cities. It should direct funds to Livermore. He called BART management incompetent in dealing with both the strike and the Livermore extension.
He is opposed to future state spending on high speed rail. At the same time, California needs to invest in infrastructure to accommodate future growth and industry. Improved rail service in and between our cities is one of those important investments, according to Glazer.
When it comes to what has been described as the declining middle class, Glazer said there are many issues involved. They include economic factors , technology and international competition. He stated, "There is a need to train the workforce for jobs by improving the higher education system. Training people would help to close the wage gap. In the future, it is projected that the state will be a million college degrees short of what the job market demands. We need to provide better access and affordability for higher education."
He calls schools his top priority. His education platform includes: empowering local school boards to lead on educational issues; restoring School Reserve Protection; establishing teacher accountability; allowing families to select the best schools for their children that do not include private school vouchers; providing greater resources to improve education; and encouraging public charter schools.
Glazer has been involved with environmental issues, noting that clean air and water, bays, forests, grasslands and creeks won't stay protected unless they are a part of every discussion. He supports voter-approved growth boundaries as a way to prevent sprawl and protect the quality of life. He added that he has been recognized by the Trust for Public Land and Save the Bay for his environmental leadership. “I believe we must protect open space and our environmental resources for future generations."
Glazer stated, "I think our environmental laws are critical to protecting our quality of life. Since the California Environmental Quality Act was enacted in the early 1970s, there have more than 100 additional laws/regulations. We should always be open to ways to streamline and improve our environmental rules."
Glazer points out, "I am also a pro-business leader who believes that growing our economy and creating jobs is a top priority." He says that view has not stopped him from taking strong stands in the public interest. For example, he support standards to reduce carbon pollution that contributes to global warming.
When it comes to politics, he says he has the courage to take on special interests both on the right and left. "It is important for voters to become educated about issues and candidates and not listen to the nonsense that surrounds campaigns. Voting is a right and a responsibility. At the end of the day, it’s our responsibility to be aware of the issues and what is happening," he stated.
One issue of importance to Glazer involves guns. He was shot in the neck by a high-powered pellet gun. The perpetrator was caught but never charged with a crime because pellet guns were classified as toys in the criminal code. After recovering from the injury, he worked with then-Senator Tom Torlakson to author legislation establishing penalties for pellet-gun attacks.
Glazer notes that he strongly supports California’s laws to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of criminals, including: background checks and a 10-day waiting period for gun sales, regulations on assault weapons and large capacity magazines, gun safety standards, firearm record keeping, and bans on the open carry of unloaded firearms in public. "Our Second Amendment right to own guns must be tempered with reasonable standards to keep our communities and our people safe from gun violence."
Of his endorsement by Republican Michaela Hertle, who dropped out of the race, he said. “It shows I’m able to build bridges across party lines.”