Op-Ed: Why Unions Back Bonilla Over Glazer


susanbonillaBy Mike Durant
Special to Calbuzz

Much has been written about campaign spending in the East Bay’s 7th  State Senate district race, from the record-breaking $1.1 million that L.A. businessman Bill Bloomfield,  a big-time contributor to top Republicans, has given to Steve Glazer’s campaign or union-supported Independent Expenditure committee efforts to elect Susan Bonilla.

As Calbuzz noted last week, however, voters seeking clear-cut distinctions between the two Democrats need not look too far. There are significant differences in the policy positions, backgrounds, and accomplishments between the two rivals.

steveglazer1Bipartisan Bonilla: Experience is one reason labor backs Bonilla. A former high school English teacher, she has built a reputation in the Capitol as a workhorse who tackles tough issues. Susan has teamed up with Gov. Jerry Brown on a landmark restructuring of the state’s local education funding formula, and won bipartisan praise for her handling of the “Uber” bill last year as chair of the Assembly’s Business and Professions Committee.

Glazer talks about working both sides of the aisle, but Bonilla, the former mayor of Concord, has done it. Many of her bills – on education, health care and the environment – have won bipartisan support. She has worked to help balance the budget, put a Rainy Day fund in place and pass the Prop. 1 water bond.

She not only has been endorsed by Democrats like Congressman Eric Swalwell, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, but also won the backing of Republican Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson, the sheriffs of Alameda and Contra County counties and several rank-and-file police groups. She also appeals to moderate Republican women and independents.

Although California Republican Chairman Jim Brulte recently called Glazer a “pro-tax liberal Democrat,” he actually burned Democrats by endorsing conservative Republican Assembly member Catharine Baker last year, put a Tea Party political consultant on his campaign payroll and accepted a $1,000 contribution from the creator of the Harry & Louise anti-health care ad

breadandbutterBread and butter issues: On policy, organized labor sees many reasons for Democrats to favor Bonilla over Glazer.

On income inequality, Glazer has refused to support an increase in the minimum wage, a bread-and-butter Democratic issue supported by Bonilla, not to mention President Obama and Gov. Brown.

When Glazer was asked about the minimum wage at a candidate forum last year, he replied that, “Most of these jobs are being provided by small business people in our communities. I think you should talk to them. I think they’ll tell you things aren’t so grand,” hardly what we expect from someone running as a Democrat anywhere, especially in one of the wealthier enclaves of California.

Glazer also has angered environmentalists by suggesting that he’d push for unspecified major changes in the state’s landmark California Environmental Quality Act (better known as CEQA). By contrast, Bonilla, scored 81 percent on the California League of Conservation Voters scorecard.

On fiscal issues, Glazer says he would not support extension of  Prop 30, which has helped to balance the state budget. His website offers only consultant-speak for the state’s budget challenges: “I will work to see we live within our means and avoid new state tax burdens.”

Republicans shouldn’t be fooled: Although Glazer now calls himself a “fiscal conservative,” Republicans also have reason not to trust him: the Los Angeles Times called him the “mastermind” behind the largest tax increase in California history just three years ago. (Editor’s note: this is a terrible restaurant – the food stinks and the portions are too small!)

Republicans also should know he worked against conservative interests by trying to keep Rose Bird on the California Supreme Court and also favors gun control.

Do these positions on both sides of the political fence make Glazer a “centrist” – or an opportunist?

mikedurantBill Clinton, Jerry Brown and Dianne Feinstein are all moderate Democrats. But none has crossed labor like Steve Glazer. He is pushing policies that damage the middle class and reflect the California Chamber of Commerce‘s agenda. His victory would signal that there is not much difference between Democrats and Republicans on economic issues. That is precisely what corporate interests want in California.

Mike Durant is a Senior Deputy Sheriff with Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Department and President of the Police Officers Research Association of California.

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There are 3 comments for this post

  1. avatar rewgolfer says:

    This Peace Officer Research Group is a hideously greedy special interest group. They are only concerned with raises and bloated pensions for highway patrol officers and the like. I recall they enthusiastically supported Mary Hayashi – a convicted shoplifter – some say a serial shoplifter – for a State Senate seat in last cycle of elections. This group wants members they can order around like flunkies, which is why they support Bonilla and Hayashi. It’s all about raises and these gargantuan pensions – which are un-funded – for these public employee unions, greed is the order of the day all of the time. Glazer is independent – he will do what’s best for his constituents – that’s why I think Glazer will win this seat. These Sacramento based labor unions are just barfo at every level, they care nothing about good public policy, they are just a hideously greedy, money grubbing special interest groups – special interest groups that believe state tax dollars are their piggy bank.

  2. avatar Ellis Goldberg says:

    A NEW KIND OF FRACKING: Fracking brings to mind drilling a hole and then pumping awful stuff down the hole causing gas and oil to be released through fractures in the rock. A new kind of fracking is being planned: the fracking of the California Democratic Party. The hole is being drilled in Senate District 7 where Steve Glazer could take a seat with the Democrats in the State Senate. Glazer is expert at using awful stuff – divisiveness; which he used to turn Democrats against Democrats and labor unions, that’s how he delivered an assembly seat to a Republican in a district with a Democratic majority. He is using the same divisive strategy in the current campaign and is likely to continue if elected. He would have a seat at the Democratic Caucus where legislators hammer out differences and reach agreements through open discussions. Glazer cannot be trusted to not do harm to those discussions.

    Following the money behind Glazer’s campaign to see why he cannot be trusted.

    · JOBSPAC the Chamber of Commerce’s Committee has been filling our mailboxes with ads attacking first Tim Sbranti & unions, then both Joan Buchanan & Susan Bonilla. The chamber wants to do away with regulations meant to protect us to make it easier for businesses to take unfair advantage of us.

    · Charter Schools Advocates want to privatize our public school system, with an underfunding strategy. Parents may either send their kids to public school or try to get the kids into a charter school. Charter schools are paid for by the local school district. BUT, charter schools do not play by the same rules as the public schools. They act as not for profit corporations and do not have to reveal how funds are spent. They write their own curriculum without oversight. They use non-credentialed teachers at below union scale wages. Some do an excellent job but many short change students and parents. By underfunding education in California more parents will opt for charter schools. Recently NYC former Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave the Charter Schools advocates $200,000 to use in the Glazer campaign. · Bill Bloomfield is a Southern California Billionaire who has over $800,000 invested in Glazer’s campaign sending most of the positive mailers about Glazer.

    · Charlie Munger (son of Warren Buffets partner) spent a reported $4.5 million in the campaign against Sbranti. His PAC Spirit of Democracy sent a very expensive 16 page mailer about how Glazer had been smeared in the AD 16 race, they sent it after the primary to hurt Sbranti running against Republican Catherine Baker. Munger is chair of the Republican party in Santa Clara County.Why are these billionaires and the chamber so interested in a Dem on Dem race?

    If this strategy works here in the bay area they can apply it all over the state and nationwide. It is a strategy for big $$$$ taking over in the bluest state in this nation. The media says this is a battle between big business and the unions. The media is wrong, it is big $$$$ versus the unions & us, the grassroots Democrats.

  3. avatar pjhackenflack says:

    Calbuzz cannot verify the “facts” in this comment. Records at the Secretary of State’s office show Munger’s Spirit of America PAC spent about $1.3 million in the AD 16 race — about $680,000 for Catharine Baker and about $595,00 against Tim Sbranti.

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