Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Interest groups face off in high-stakes East Bay special election

Assemblyman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, and Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer, also a Democrat, are running in the 7th Senate District special election.
Assemblyman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, and Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer, also a Democrat, are running in the 7th Senate District special election. Courtesy of Bonilla and Glazer campaigns

After two months, $7 million in independent expenditures and a perhaps innumerable onslaught of nasty mailers, voters in the 7th Senate District will finally choose today between Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla and political strategist and Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer.

Though either would extend Democrats’ dominant majority in the upper house, the special election runoff could still have significant ramifications for the Capitol. Outside groups have spent big to try and gain an upper hand on major issues that may soon be coming before the Senate, including new taxes and an overhaul of teacher tenure and dismissal laws.

While unions are firmly behind Bonilla and the California Chamber of Commerce is spearheading efforts to elect Glazer, both candidates have worked hard to counter the race’s natural business-vs.-labor flavor. It’s been hard for them to define themselves, however, above the political noise created by vastly better-funded special interests. Read more in our story about the campaign.

CUTS MAKE THE CUT: Nearly two-thirds of California voters support the mandatory water restrictions ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown amid the state’s historic drought, according to the latest Field Poll. But anxieties abound that it will be difficult to cut back enough to meet a 25 percent reduction in urban water use, and many Californians believe that farmers can do more to conserve. David Siders has the full rundown of the poll results.

IT’S KIND OF A BIG DEAL: Last month, Brown issued an ambitious new target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Now he’s taking things global with a “landmark climate change agreement” with “government leaders from around the world.” The signing will take place at 11:45 a.m. at the Leland Stanford Mansion on N Street.

ROUND OF A-PAWS: The ASPCA and Katherine Schwarzenegger, daughter of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, lead animal rights lovers to the Capitol for their second annual Paws for Celebration adoption and advocacy event. Assemblymen Matt Dababneh, D-Los Angeles, Brian Maienschein, R-San Diego, and Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga, will welcome attendees, 10 a.m. on the north steps, before they make the rounds to lobby for a pair of bills that would make it easier to bring in veterinarians from other states to assist in the case of an emergency.

MINDS ON THE MONEY: The California Faculty Association will release this morning its final white paper in a series alleging that the California State University system has failed to properly support teaching and faculty salaries over the past decade. This afternoon at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach, the faculty association will ask the university to reopen negotiations on the new contract they approved last fall.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga, who turns 45 today, and to Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, who turns 65.

Alexei Koseff: (916) 321-5236, @akoseff