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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Interesting split in newspaper endorsements

Uploaded: Oct 14, 2014

There's an interesting split in endorsements for the 16th Assembly District where incumbent Joan Buchanan of Alamo is termed out after six years.
The local papers, the Pleasanton Weekly and the Independent, both backed Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti for the job citing his leadership in there during some challenging financial times when revenue dropped in 2009 and 2010.
That viewpoint contrasts sharply with both the San Francisco Chronicle and Contra Costa Times. Both regional papers favored Dublin attorney Catharine Baker. Baker finished first in the primary as Sbranti and his challengers, Danville Councilman Newell Arnerich and Orinda Councilman Steve Glazer split the Democrat vote.
The Chronicle endorsement was particularly surprising given its normal penchant for backing Democrats. One difference for its editorial board was Baker's agreement with the Los Angeles judge's ruling that held the state's teacher tenure and seniority rules harm low-income and minority students. Sbranti, who teaches in Dublin, believes the current system is fine.
For the Contra Costa Times, their writer was blunt in assessing his candidacy, "Sbranti, a labor activist and Dublin's mayor, has adopted such unwavering union positions: He opposes transparency in public-sector collective bargaining, supports BART workers' ability to strike and bring the Bay Area to a grinding halt, and opposes reduction of future pension benefit accruals that local governments clearly cannot afford."
That's the key question the independent voters, who make up about 20 percent of the electorate, will have to decide. Baker would ban BART strikes and opposes the governor's absurdly expensive high-speed rail—a project that Sbranti favors.
The local papers examined Sbranti's fine record in Dublin and seemed to disregard how different Sacramento is and how dominate the public employee union influence is—particularly the California Teachers Association where Sbranti has been a leader in its political activities.
Buchanan, who served for years on the San Ramon Valley school board before winning election to the Assembly, has been supported by the CTA, but Tim's involvement as an active member takes it to a new level.
Incidentally, recommendations from newspapers traditionally have been thought to make a 1 or 2 point difference in races where voters are interested. They have far more impact on little publicized "down ballot" races such as special districts or, particularly, judges.

Having driven a diesel-powered car for almost 40 years and learning to plan well to be sure that fuel is available when the tank is running low, I have routinely been using the Gas Buddy app to search out more reasonable diesel prices. That's often in Livermore where gasoline costs quite a bit less than it does at most Pleasanton stations. For diesel, it can easily be 30 to 40 cents per gallon lower.
Driving across the country to Memphis on Interstate 40 with my daughter, we utilized it every time we wanted to stop for gas—which, despite being on the interstate—was significantly less than here in California. We actually filed up for $2.99 per gallon with regular fuel—a price that we saw at several stations while driving around Memphis.

I agree with Dan's comment about the beauty of the Flagstaff area. Checking a little further, it's at the same elevation as the south rim of the Grand Canyon—it is the gateway city for the south rim at 7,000 feet. The north rim averages 8,000 feet.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Robben Hood Barnes, a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 14, 2014 at 10:38 am

Well, that's one way to get your own endorsement licks-in, especially when you disagree with your editor.

Posted by Mom who likes our small town, a resident of Kottinger Ranch,
on Oct 14, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Running Dublin is not something to brag about. Under Tim Sbranti's "leadership" there's been endless sprawl on the hills and in the canyons, no downtown to speak of, and they give away anything and everything to get more retail. I mean what community the size of Dublin needs TWO Target's? I'll tell you who - it's a selfish city that wants to collect all the benefits of sales tax and business revenue from their neighbors in cities like Pleasanton and Livermore. Dublin under Tim Sbranti has given away any hope of being a nice town because they are more interested in being a sprawling, ugly, tax-grabbing, big-box-store-and-developer-friendly, sell out of a city. Can you imagine what Tim Sbranti will do if given responsibility for a whole REGION in the assembly? Instead of retailers and developers, he'll sell out his votes (just like he's sold out his city) to those who are helping him get to Sacramento - the big unions. Don't let him win - it will be our entire region's loss.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 16, 2014 at 12:51 am

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


Bloggers are entitled to our own opinions. We don't have to parrot back what the Editor says.


Posted by Robben Hood Barnes, a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 17, 2014 at 8:15 am

Observer: The headline is misleading. The article is not about the 'interesting split' -- it's about the writer's preference. Why not go straight to it?

Posted by Taxpayer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Oct 17, 2014 at 9:29 am

Tim is right on!! Local endorsements like well known Dem Independent have to do with old union 'buddy system' than taxes. But, in these crisis times principles on those issues matter. The last thing we need is a former paid union activist and current union puppet who stands for BART STRIKES, and driving up our taxes to pay for even more extreme union retirements. Plus, many of us are middle-aged, and have gone to temp 'projects', I believe that's what some jobs are called these days. (not referring to techies who live in their OWN rich world, quite separate from our worlds).
I'm so sick of Sbranti's money campaign paid by public unions. A dozen glossy flyers, firehouse campaign calls, radio ads, TV ads, money, money, money, not from individuals, but unions, unions, unions. Catharine Baker Tri-valley Mother of local school-age twins and on a tight campaign budget with donations from LOCAL RESIDENTS does not have money to BUY her election with never-ending union money, money, money. We deserve one of us, not a public union puppet, slapping you on the back with a wink, and heading off to Sacramento to carry out any wishes of the unions who bought him to be their guy in Sacramento. Catharine is doing it one doorbell at a time. That is why EVEN the Chronicle and Valley TIMES have both endorsed Catharine to represent US, the people.

Posted by Taxpayer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Oct 17, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Former Senate Democrat MAJORITY Leader and Education Reformer, Gloria Romero, has joined a LONG LIST of Bipartisan EDUCATION ENDORSERS that are passionate about education in California. Interesting since Sabranti was the official POLITICAL leader of the CTA UNION. He was NOT the education voice, but was the POLITICAL voice for teacher union activists. OUR CHILDREN need Catharine Baker for our children. It is sad when children of taxpayers are drowned out by the voice bought by big union money.
Earlier I mistakenly agreed with 'Tim'. I agree with Tim HUNT, I never even think of Sbranti as Tim. To me it's Sbranti with a snarl, in my contempt for public union political ACTIVISTS, such as Sbranti.

Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Oct 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm

"Running Dublin is not something to brag about."

And yet Dublin's schools have smaller classes and higher test scores. And no, it has nothing to do with our superintendent or any of that. Dublin's growth has directly improved Dublin's schools by increasing the tax base and increasing the motivation or their students.

Posted by Taxpayer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Oct 18, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Bob B, and your point is??? Sbranti has nothing to do with Dublin schools. Surely you weren't trying to throw him a bone, wrongly connecting Dublin schools to him. He goes to City council meetings, not school board meetings.

Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Oct 19, 2014 at 2:43 pm


The development of residential real estate, retail, and office space has helped the schools greatly in Dublin, so yes.

Posted by Another Taxpayer, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School,
on Oct 20, 2014 at 12:19 am

BobB - check your facts. According to the STAR database Pleasanton schools scored better in aggregate than Dublin in many grades and subject areas.

Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Oct 20, 2014 at 10:07 am

To "another",

I have checked, and while Pleasanton's test scores consistently beat Dublin's in the past, that isn't true anymore. Dublin now frequently beats Pleasanton. Also, Dublin's scores are increasing while Pleasanton's remain flat.

Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Oct 20, 2014 at 6:20 pm

I do, however, agree with this editorial; I'm voting for Baker.

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