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By Tim Hunt

Election season heating up

Uploaded: May 13, 2014

Now that the June primary season is officially in the voting mode (early voting started May 5), candidates will be working hard to increase their profiles.
Some races likely are little more than an earlier popularity contest with the serious contests coming in the fall. That's likely the case in two Bay Area congressional races because of the open primary system that pits the top two finishers in November.
In the 15th, Eric Swalwell of Dublin faces a couple of primary challengers, but only termed out state Senator Ellen Corbett is significant. Their Democrat vs. Democrat showdown will come in November, just like it did two years ago when Swalwell upset 20-term Congressman Pete Stark—who incidentally has vowed to do all he can to help Corbett take out Swalwell.
There is also an interesting dynamic in the 17th district where long-term incumbent Mike Honda faces a spirited challenge from 37-year-old Silicon Valley attorney Ro Khanna. Khanna initially worked to mount a challenge to Swalwell, but decided to take on Honda instead. The two are the favorites to make the run-off in the fall, but there also are two Republicans in the race that could split up the votes.
Khanna received a key endorsement last weekend when the San Jose Mercury recommended him over Honda. The editorial board had complimentary words for Honda, but referred to the 73-year-old him as "venerable." Not exactly a label you want when being compared with a dynamic young man who first ran for Congress at the age of 27.
It would be an apt description for either of California's senators—Dianne Feinstein (81) has served for 22 years, while Barbara Boxer (74) has been there 21 years.
The contrast is the heated primary for the Assembly seat that Joan Buchanan of Alamo has held for the last six years--she is termed out. Democrats Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, Danville Councilman Newell Arnerich, Orinda Councilman Steve Glazer and Pleasanton attorney Catharine Baker, a Republican, are running with two advancing to the general election. The spirited race offers voters a range of choices in governing philosophy and probably show off the open primary at its best.

It's a good season to be a school trustee and superintendent in the Dublin Unified School District.
District voters renewed the $96 per year parcel tax overwhelmingly in a mail-in election that was concluded last week. The measure won 75-25 percent when it was last renewed and received 79 percent of the votes cast last week—26 percent of registered voters mailed in their ballots. Clearly, Dublin citizens trust the board members and Superintendent Stephen Hanke.
The tax has been raising $1.2 million annually—a number that will increase as additional parcels are developed. The city grew 7.1 percent last year driven by new homes on the east side—an area that has been little activity since the recession hit in 2008. As the city moves toward built-out, the parcel tax revenues could reach $2 million a year. The factor that the trustees cited as so important is that Dublin's revenue per student from the state will not grow because of the new funding formula that allocates more to districts with students living in poverty.
Over the next month, the Livermore school district will learn the fate of its renewal of its parcel tax. For years, Livermore has received significantly less revenue per student than the Pleasanton and Dublin districts, but that will change as the new funding formula kicks in over the next few years. At current levels, Livermore would receive $14 million more per year at Dublin's per-student rate and $10 million per student at Pleasanton's rate.
The $138 per parcel tax for seven years will generate about $3.8 million annually for Livermore schools.