Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - October 15, 2010

Re-elect McNerney to Congress; Elect Abram Wilson to 15th Assembly District

We first met Jerry McNerney when he and his wife Mary stood at the corner of Farmers Market and Main Street seeking votes for his singular effort among Democrats to challenge Richard Pombo's re-election bid for the 11th Congressional District. Few stopped to shake his hand, but we did and took an immediate liking to this long-time Pleasanton homeowner-turned-citizen-activist whose son urged him to challenge Pombo when other Democrats wouldn't. He lost that race but came back strong in 2006 to win the Democratic Party nomination and in November the Congressional election. He did it again in 2008 and we support his bid for re-election to a third term in office on Nov. 2.

Not only has McNerney made his mark in Washington and the district he serves, especially in areas of energy, transportation, education and veterans' affairs, but he continues to be our "Congressman on the corner," as he likes to call his frequent Pleasanton chats on Main Street and in other Tri-Valley locations. Whether it's serving meals to homeless veterans at the recent Stand Down at the Fairgrounds or at neighborhood homecomings when we gather to welcome back Pleasanton military men and women from Iraq and Afghanistan, McNerney is there with a Congressional citation in hand. He comes back from Washington almost every weekend to his home in Val Vista where he and his wife Mary have raised their children and are often seen at hometown events such as First Wednesday street fairs.

His Republican challenger in this year's election is David Harmer, a San Ramon attorney who has represented the Pacific Legal Foundation and is campaigning as a lifelong Ronald Reagan Republican. Except for a pre-primary reception at Barone's Restaurant and an invitation-only speech at Castlewood Country Club, where he unknowingly crossed a union picket line, we've seen little of Harmer in Pleasanton. We appreciate McNerney's efforts to work for the constituents in his hometown and the 11th Congressional District that he represents and urge voters to cast their ballots for his re-election on Nov. 2.

15th Assembly District

San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson lost in his 2008 bid for the 15th State Assembly District that covers the northeast portion of Pleasanton to Democrat Joan Buchanan of Alamo, a former member of the San Ramon Valley school board. Shortly after her election, she campaigned for election to the 10th Congressional District seat that was being vacated by Ellen Tauscher, who was appointed by President Obama as undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security at the U.S. State Department. That brought shouts of protest from some in the 15th Assembly District who felt she was violating their trust in voting her into the state Legislature. Since then, she has done a commendable job as assemblywoman although generally following the majority on key votes, including this month's agreement to approve another stop-gap budget that was nearly 100 days overdue "because it was late and we needed to move on."

Wilson calls the fiscal year budget another way of subsidizing the future and "kicking the can down the road again." He signed a "No News Taxes" pledge and insists that he would take to Sacramento the same determination that has made San Ramon fiscally strong with no unfunded employee pension liabilities and ample reserves to meet municipal budget crises. He also is well-known in the Tri-Valley where he meets frequently with the mayors of Pleasanton, Danville, Dublin and Livermore, travels with them to Washington to lobby for federal dollars to help the Valley's cities and school districts, and serves as a member of the board of the Tri-Valley's community television system where he is working to keep the system on air despite dwindling support from cable companies. As a member of the League of California Cities, he's joined other mayors in supporting a ballot measure that would prevent the state from seizing local gas tax and other municipal revenues to pay for state budget shortfalls, actions by the Legislature that are costing San Ramon's redevelopment agency $3 million this year -- and have cost Pleasanton more than $4 million in local taxpayer revenue. His success as a mayor of San Ramon and a team player in Tri-Valley endeavors makes him a better choice for the 15th Assembly District in the Nov. 2 election.

Other endorsements:

* State Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-10th) for re-election

* 18th Assembly District Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (D-Castro Valley) for re-election


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