Labor’s Shameful Smears of Glazer’s Independence


steveglazer1If 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.

susanbonillaGlazer 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.

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There are 19 comments for this post

  1. avatar sandersen says:

    California’s public sector unions continue to insist that regardless of how many battered women’s shelters have to curtail hours, or how many struggling families can’t get timely resolution of an injustice via small claims court, pension spiking and unfunded pension supersizing must continue. We ignore the “no remorse” pension-spiking legacy of (retired Orinda-Moraga Fire Chief) Peter Nowicki, as well as the countless local law enforcement cutbacks resulting from unfunded pension supersizing. I see Glaser as only trying to moderate some of this excess.

    • avatar thetruthsquad says:

      Pension spiking was largely banned by Governor Brown and the Legislature in their bipartisan support of legislation that will save $55 billion in pension costs. The # of pensions over $100K are <2 percent of all pensions — but get 99% of the news coverage. The solution to these challenges is having rich people pay their share of taxes, which Mr. Glazer opposes.

  2. avatar thetruthsquad says:

    “Glazer hasn’t taken money from tobacco companies; they did contribute to the Chamber.”

    Exactly. Steve Glazer provided political consulting services to the tobacco industry’s PAC to elect candidates. The City he is mayor of, Orinda, received an “F” from the American Lung Association.

    Glazer’s clients work to elect candidates that have opposed equal pay for women, abortion rights, and other progressive values. If you don’t believe in that, why the heck would you collect a paycheck from that client?

    • avatar doughnut70 says:

      Of course one of President Obama’s chief consultants (who is now doing a lot of work on Congressional campaigns for Nancy Pelosi) was also placed on the boycott list for doing the same work that Glazer did. Maybe an overreach on the criticism?

    • avatar pjhackenflack says:

      By truthsquad’s logic, any consultant who worked for, say Speaker John Perez, would be tainted by whatever campaign contributions the Speaker accepted. As would all the other Democratic consultants who worked for the Chamber of Commerce or its PAC. We suppose truthsquad would apply the same standard to a Democratic consultant who is a partner in a firm where his or her partners took money from oil or tobacco interests.

    • avatar thetruthsquad says:

      PJ, you’ve got it wrong. Glazer was the consultant to the major PAC of Big Tobacco. He told them where to spend their money — and got paid big bucks for it. That differs from working for a candidate who gets contributions from a variety of interests and serves in office.

    • avatar pjhackenflack says:

      No, Mr. truthiness, we’ve got it dead right. The PAC you’re referring to is the California Chamber of Commerce PAC, which hires one Democrat and one Republican each cycle to help candidates they prefer. You probably know other people who worked for them. Glazer never worked for the tobacco industry’s PAC, if there is one. Readers beware: truthsquad is using our comments section to perpetuate the same lies that Big Labor is using against Glazer.

    • avatar SanRamonDad says:

      I think it’s also safe to say that defense lawyers don’t believe in committing murder themselves so why assume that Glazer believes in the values of his clients? Your logic is seriously flawed. Glazer is campaigning on transparency and it looks like the unions don’t want that. From reading around the web, his opponent, Susan Bonilla, is far from perfect. This lady has traveled to Hawaii and Taiwan on the dime of special interests. Not clients, SPECIAL INTERESTS. Get real “truthsquad”.

    • avatar More Sunshine says:

      Actually, Mr. The Truth Squad (really?), your figures are all wrong and your information is either outdated or you are choosing to be misleading. The percentage of pensions over $100,000 in California is far more than 2%, although they do account for the bulk of the money pouring out into pensions/benefits and the monstrous unfunded pension debt we now face.
      Glazer offers some hope for future generations of Californians, who will ultimately inherit this price tag we are running up with exorbitant public sector salaries/pensions/benefits. Tell the truth or change your nickname.

  3. avatar thetruthsquad says:

    Bush/Schwarzenegger back now has given $745,414.11 to Steve Glazer to elect him to the Senate, including $141,014.11 since the March election.

    So much for “independence.”

    • avatar thetruthsquad says:

      Oops…left out Bush Schwarzenegger backer BILL BLOOMFIELD…

    • avatar SanRamonDad says:

      Okay, if what you say is true then show me a candidate that’s funding themselves in this race? I’m pretty sure the opponent, Bonilla, isn’t the sole contributor to her campaign.

  4. avatar tonyseton says:

    Thank you for this piece. It’s tragic but true that sometimes unions behave like the Koch brothers, trying to buy elections with lies. They undermine the very notion of what a democracy is supposed to be. And the cowardly politicians who remain silent are accomplices to this unAmerican disgrace.

    • avatar SanRamonDad says:

      Well said. I think Glazer is being genuine in his efforts. Everything seems to be mum on Bonilla though, seems to me like she is just looking out for herself.

  5. avatar cawaterguy says:

    Labor’s attacks are pretty boilerplate; I don’t think anyone that reads Calbuzz would be convinced by them.

    So yes, Glazer is clearly independent from labor. Good for him! But does anybody on this board have a good example of him being independent from the Governor (Uncle Jerry)?

  6. avatar FriendToAll says:

    For starters, he opposes the Delta tunnel plan and any more state money for the bullet train until there is a comprehensive financing plan in place. There are other issues, I’m sure, but those are two of Gov. Brown’s top priorities.

  7. avatar pca67 says:

    The problem with Glazer is he’s a political consultant. Political consultants should not run for political office. By definition, most consultants are political prostitutes. He’s got too-cozy relationships with groups that are anti-Democratic values, which gives those groups special access. What makes anyone think Glazer would be any different in the Legislature? He pretty much sums up what’s wrong with American politics in my opinion. Say whatever you need to get elected. Just watch how quickly he reneges or subverts his “transparency” malarkey.

  8. avatar More Sunshine says:

    Steve Glazer has shown backbone sorely missing in most politicians today – especially in California, where they are expected to follow directions from the public sector unions. That’s what got us into this quagmire in the first place.
    Major pension reform is essential. There is no way to “nibble away” at this multi-billion dollar debt. Support Reed’s pension reform measure in 2016. It is a step in the right direction.
    I see that a lot of hired hacks are on this website tying to disparage people from voting for someone they perceive as a major threat. Get used to it – he is going to win. People are sick of the status quo.

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