Editorials

Moneyed interests detest Steve Glazer

Steve Glazer.
Steve Glazer.

You’d think Steve Glazer would get the hint. He is not a welcome man in Sacramento.

Glazer is a veteran Democratic operative and longtime political adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, but he got sideways with organized labor and Democratic leaders in 2012 by daring to help the California Chamber of Commerce elect business-friendly Democrats.

They don’t forget.

Ever since, labor and its allies have gone out of their way to crush Glazer’s political ambitions. They succeeded last year by blocking his election to the Assembly. Now, they are trying to block Glazer from winning a March special election for a state Senate seat in Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

On paper, his main opponents are two Democrats, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla of Concord and former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan of Alamo. His true opponents are big shots who call many of the shots in the Legislature.

They’re working through something called the Asian American Small Business Political Action Committee. The stunt would make grizzled veterans shake their heads in amazement, except grizzled veterans know that campaign tactics get more deceptive each year.

In past years, the Asian American Small Business PAC spent almost all of its money to help to elect Democrats who are Asian American.

In the Senate District 7 race, however, the committee is spending heavily to prop up a Republican, Michaela Hertle, whose name will appear on the ballot but who dropped out of the race and endorsed Glazer.

In mailers sent to Republicans, the Asian committee says Hertle is “a real reformer” who can “break the partisan gridlock and produce results for us,” as first reported by Josh Richman of the Bay Area News Group.

The pro-Hertle mailing is unoriginal and trite. But the brains behind it believe that by boosting Hertle – against her wishes – they can kneecap Glazer, who is running as a moderate and hopes to attract some Republican votes.

Bill Wong, a campaign consultant who has worked for numerous Democratic legislators, runs the committee, along with assorted other Democratic operatives, among them Jadine Nielsen. Nielsen most recently worked for U.S. Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii, where Nielsen lives.

In an interview, Wong said his goal was “to make a splash” by getting involved in a high-profile state campaign. He said that while Hertle is not Asian, many voters in the district are. And, he added, Hertle is a businessperson.

Given its name, you might think the Asian American Small Business PAC gets its money from small businesses, or maybe from Asian Americans. Such a thought would be naive.

In its campaign finance filing for 2013-14, the committee reported its donors included Comcast at $46,000, the operating engineers union at $40,000, the Service Employees International Union at $30,000, and AT&T at $27,000.

Edison International, insurance companies, a public affairs firm that represents the oil industry, and insurance companies fund it, too, as do unions that represent public school teachers.

In short, many of the players who matter in Sacramento agree that Glazer is persona non grata. If the powers that control Sacramento are so worried about Glazer, perhaps the voters of Senate District 7 should send him over.

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