ELECTION 2014 | ASSEMBLY | 16TH DISTRICT | Steve Glazer, the moderate Assembly candidate in the 16th District and best bud of Gov. Jerry Brown, should get credit for being aggressive in his early campaigning. Progressives may not appreciate the drum beat of his calls to ban BART workers from ever striking again, but it’s getting him loads of attention. In this case, stripping unions of their most powerful tool doesn’t sound so radical to voters in Contra Costa County and the Tri Valley. In fact, to call one of his opponents, Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, a flaming lib would also be incorrect. Although Sbranti possesses strong union ties to the teachers union, any public official representing the Tri Valley are hard-pressed to hang their hat on doing labor any favors. Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich and Catharine Baker are also candidates to replace termed out Assemblymember Joan Buchanan.
So, it’s a good hot-button issue for Glazer, a former aide to Brown, to mold an effective early campaign around. Moreover, what’s radical about Glazer’s moves is he is actually taking control of the race through conversation and controversy. That’s way more than can be said for just about every other candidate for any local race in the East Bay right now, outside of the Oakland mayor’s race, which ostensibly started last June when Port of Oakland Commissioner Bryan Parker reported a strong early fundraising lead. Otherwise, most candidates are doing their fundraising and cobbling together local support. Some are producing a few dozen corny videos of themselves interviewing local businesses, while some candidates running for re-election this year are either cocksure about their chances or notorious cheapskates.
On Monday, the Contra Costa Times reported another potential ground attack by Glazer, albeit through an acolyte who asserts Sbranti committed campaign finance violations in the transfer of his Dublin mayoral account to his current Assembly war chest. The complaint was filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission, said the CoCoTimes. The FPPC gambit is an often-used campaign smear that will likely be employed several times in other races this year all across the Bay Area. And while this complaint against Sbranti appears a bit convoluted, its efficacy is not what really matters. Instead, it places a dangerous little seed in the minds of low-information voters that Sbranti may or may not be an unsavory politician.
Some deride such tactics as dirty politics. However, it also shows a candidate with an eye on the prize. Do you want the guy who wants it badly to represent you in Sacramento or the guy who thinks he deserves it? I have a maxim that fits situations like this: Good campaigns do not necessarily translate to good legislators, but bad campaigns always portend for poor legislators.