By Tim Hunt
Look for big money again in the 16th Assembly raceUploaded: Mar 29, 2016
Former Pleasanton City Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio received a nice boost for her Assembly campaign when new Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) announced the district was the top priority for the fall campaign.
Republican Catharine Baker of Dublin won the 16th Assembly seat in 2014, topping the primary as three Democrats split the vote. She then beating Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti in the general election. The race was fueled by lots of spending by various interest groups with unions backing Sbranti and business interests lining up for Baker. Rendon’s announcement will invite more of that heavy spending.
With the Presidential campaign topping the November ballot to say nothing of retiring Senator Barbara Boxer’s seat and a bunch of propositions, a large Democratic turnout is expected that could cut into the coalition Baker fashioned in a very low turnout in 2014. Democrats hold a 39-32 edge in registration, but 23 percent decline of state a party—those independents are growing in the state.
Baker has worked across the aisle on some issues and has shared town meetings with Democrat Senator Steve Glazier of Orinda. Glazier fell short against Sbranti in the 2014 primary, but then won an equally heated campaign for the Senate seat after Mark DeSaulnier won a seat in Congress.
Glazier and Baker share very public positions against BART strikes and have urged the BART board to re-negotiate union compensation before putting a multi-billion bond before the voters this fall.
The expected Democratic turnout is also why proponents of school bonds and extending the temporary sales both qualified statewide measures for November, a move the BART board is eying. The Pleasanton school trustees also are looking at November for the same reason—the polling showed solid support of more than the 55 percent threshold needed to pass the measure.
I asked the city for some numbers and the finance department provided the net assessed valuation for properties in the city is $19.8 billion. Of that total, 72 percent are residential properties, which means local residents will pay about three-quarters of the cost of the bonds if the district trustees move ahead. The district survey looked at $60 per $100,000 in assessed valuation which would mean about a $380 annual increase for a home with the average assessed valuation of $630,086. Look for that to be described as a dollar a day.
School trustees will have until August to finally decide on a bond proposal to renovate aging facilities at some schools.