State Senator Ellen Corbett (D-10th) has announced to members of the Valley Real Estate Network that she plans to seek the congressional seat now held by U.S. Rep. Pete Stark in 2014.
While that brought a round of applause from Realtors and those in the real estate business, she left some unanswered questions.
First, Stark, an aging and long-serving congressman from the 13th (now the 15th) district that includes Pleasanton, is currently in a feisty race against fellow Democrat and Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell. Both topped the returns in last June's primary, which under California's new rules puts the top two vote-getters on the general ballot no matter what their party affiliation.
Second, Stark hasn't said that if he wins re-election on Nov. 6 that he won't run again in 2014. He told Pleasanton Mayor Jennifer Hosterman that she could have the job after he stepped down two years from now, but he's made that kind of a statement before. He's still there and based on the cheers he has received in union halls, labor still likes him.
Third, despite Corbett's popularity with Realtors and a majority of her constituents, she would face Hosterman, who has already launched her campaign, and quite likely Swalwell, who no doubt would try again if he loses in this election.
On the plus side for Corbett is the fact that she has another two years to serve of her eight-year State Senate term, so she'll stay in the public's (voters') eye, and so will Swalwell, who has two more years of his term remaining on the Dublin Council. Hosterman, though, leaves the mayor's post in Pleasanton Dec. 4, so she will have to develop a strong public relations effort to stay visible.
Corbett is truly a politician's politician. She was mayor of San Leandro, where she served on that city's council earlier. As an Assemblywoman whose district included a sizeable chunk of Pleasanton, she was a frequent visitor to this city's downtown and often at the Saturday morning Farmers Market, where she shook the hand of anybody who would shake hers. After serving the three allowable two-year terms in the Assembly, she was voted into the Senate and into key positions.
"It's in her blood," said Will Doerlich, president of the Valley Real Estate Network.
He then expounded on a number of bills that Corbett has sponsored in the state Legislature making buying, selling and marketing a home a bit easier. One is called the California Homeowners Bill of Rights, which Corbett helped write. It becomes law on Jan. 1 and will protect homeowners and borrowers during the mortgage modification and foreclosure process, which became a nightmare for mortgage holders when they found themselves underwater on their loans during the economic downturn. Corbett's bill will prohibit a series of inherently unfair bank practices that have forced thousands of Californians into foreclosure.
It also guarantees struggling homeowners a single point of contact at their lender with knowledge of their loan and direct access to decision makers. It gives homeowners a fighting shot to keep their home, Corbett told the Realtors, and will make the mortgage and foreclosure process more fair and transparent which she said will benefit homeowners, their community and the housing market as a whole.
Of course, Corbett didn't leave the VREN speaker's desk without a parting plea to vote in favor of Proposition 30 on Nov. 6, the measure that would raise income taxes on wealthy taxpayers to provide more funds for schools and public safety programs. It would also add a quarter-cent sales tax statewide, "but only for a temporary five-year period," she assured the group as she left for Sacramento.