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Elections 2012: Steven Glazer, Candidate for Orinda City Council

Incumbent Mayor Steven Glazer is running for one of two seats on the Orinda City Council.

General Information

Name : Steven Glazer
Age : 55
Place of residence : Orinda

Education

College

Attended college : Yes
College : San Diego State University
Degree : B.A.
Year of graduation : 1979

Grad school

University : NA
Degree : NA
Year of graduation : NA

Employment Information

Job titles held : President, Glazer & Associates

Political Information

Party affiliation : Democrat
Running for a: Local office
Running for position: Orinda City Council
Chamber/district: n/a
Incumbent: Yes
First elected: November 2004
Previous elective offices : Student Body President, San Diego State University

Party HQ

Orinda

Campaign Manager

Name : Alex Glazer
Title : Campaign Manager

URLs

Website : www.steveglazer4citycouncil.nationbuilder.com

Other facts

Dear Orinda Friends:

It has been a distinct honor serving you and the Orinda community as a member of the city council and as Mayor. Working with my fellow council members, I believe that we have fostered an open and collaborative environment to effectively resolve conflicts and chart a positive course for our city.

I am proud that the city of Orinda has weathered the difficult financial times of the last several years; and, in fact, we have accomplished much including:

Maintaining a balanced budget and prudent reserves – Orinda has avoided many of the post-retirement pension and health obligations that have become so problematic for many government agencies. Necessary budget cuts and staff reductions, while never easy, were accomplished in a way that minimizes the impact on services to residents.

Improving the planning and design review process – A streamlined, common-sense approach has benefited homeowners who want to renovate their property, as well as residents who want to ensure that remodeling fits into the character of our unique neighborhoods.

Maximizing our scarce road repair dollars – Our plan for road repairs, while far from complete, maximizes benefits and cost efficiencies. And, while we have had two close defeats on road tax measures, we have had success in securing federal and regional grants for road repair work. Improving roads remains my highest priority. I strongly support Measure L, a ½ cent sales tax increase. It is an important first step in funding our 10-year road and drain repair plan. A link to the plan is here.

Expanding citizen involvement – I am particularly proud of our efforts to engage more citizens in the decision-making process of our town with the establishment of new advisory and oversight committees on finances, infrastructure, and traffic safety.

I hope to continue the progress we've made and I would be honored to have your support.

Eileen October 03, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Thank you, Carol, for recognizing the many distortions that Prop 13 has caused, directly or indirectly, in our state's funding of services at the local and state level. Prop 13 is, to me, like rent control, and needs to be unwound in some way. I don't have the answer, but would like to see the powers in Sacto convene a non-partisan expert working group to come up with some practical ways to unwind Prop 13 over time.
Steve Cohn October 03, 2012 at 04:47 AM
Mayor Glazer, you really can't make a false statement a fact just by saying it over and over. The whole point is the Moraga based units are NOT the first responders to a significant portion of Orinda. At least not significantly in excess of the number of Orinda units that are first responders to Moraga. The 100 ambulance operations I reference are total responses; only 50 of those are first responses. $1 million for one first response a week? $20,000 per first response? If Moraga had to hire more staff to provide those responses that would be another case. But they don't. They have the same 8 firefighters they had before MOFD was formed. True, the 700 homes in South Orinda were then part of the Moraga Fire District but whether they had 16,400 residents without those homes or 18,000 with them, they would have had the same 8 firefighters. They just had 700 extra homes of property tax at that point. And, it now turns out, they were not really providing that much service to those 700 homes. Orinda units were providing just as much and getting no revenue. Plus, the only firefighters in the county who are lower utilized than Moraga firefighters are Orinda firefighters. Moraga's 3 units attend to 2,500 incidents per year - 16 incidents per unit per week per unit. Our two incidents per week for their ambulance unit are not actually stressing them out. Since these incidents are spread over three shifts, you could almost consider the extra two incidents good practice.
Steve Cohn October 03, 2012 at 04:49 AM
If the $1 million we pay on Moraga's behalf was available for use in Orinda we could provide medical first responder service to Sleepy Hollow / Orinda Downs where the response times are twice what they are to South Orinda area in question. In the one year of data evaluated only one incident in the Orinda Downs / Sleepy Hollow area was attended to in under the 6 minute target time. How do you explain your insistence that everything is fine to those people? Why are you fighting this so hard? What is so difficult with taking Orinda's residents and taxpayers side? The fact that Pete Nowicki, who pulled the wool over more than one person's eyes, provided you with "facts" which were crafted to deceive you but were not valid is not your fault. You HAVE to stop believing that there is an "area of coverage". That might have been the case once upon a time but it is no longer so. To fight so hard to continue to accept this myth is confusing to many. The fact that you cannot control the MOFD Board is understood. If you went to them demanding equity and they told you to take a long walk off a short plank would not reflect poorly on you. We who know the MOFD Board would expect it.
Steve Cohn October 03, 2012 at 04:51 AM
re. my "throwing the voters to the wolves" statement. You said, "The voters of Orinda created the Moraga Orinda Fire District. The City Council did not do this." This actually is only partially true, as I pointed out, but that is beside the point. Your point is the City is not only going to take no action it is not even going to "officially" educate itself on the issues. You say you have spent a lot of time on the subject. I can assure you, you cannot have spent a very small fraction of the time FAIR and the Emergency Services Task Force have spent over the years collecting and analyzing data. If you have a good understanding of MOFD's operations and finances that is because we have provided that understanding. I know what you received at the Tri Agency meetings. It was worthless. It was a few cherry picked facts and volumes of detail that were useless. MOFD spends more of Orinda tax dollars than the city itself spends. It is worth more effort than reading an article in the newspaper every few weeks. You should not have to do this yourself. There are citizens who would be more than happy to act on the city's behalf. Keeping an eye on your service providers is not an evil thing to do. Telling your citizens you are not willing to spend a moderate amount of effort looking after their health and safety is.
Carol Penskar October 03, 2012 at 04:57 AM
Linda, Thank you. I respectfully suggest that it is you, not met, who have completely missed the point. The funds are clearly stated in the report (please note my link above) as being shifted to fund the Glorietta Storm Drain project, a long time and long term headache for the city. There is a separate capital project long term budget that outlines the status of capital projects, including this one. This particular shift is part of a long planned strategy to fund this unfortunate problem, and is simply the current year installment. When you consider one line of a financial statement in isolation, you are missing the big picture. You have missed it in this particular (multi-year) case. The long term capital projects plan is updated annually and vetted in public and is on the web site. This shift you question here is in the *approved* capital projects budget. As for a Measure L "mechanism", please go back and read what Mayor Glazer wrote above. Please also read the language in your ballot. After you have done that please let us know: What mechanism would you propose to govern your real estate transfer tax? Please explain with some detail how it would improve upon that proposed for Measure L. (As outlined in the sources I cite.) Thank you.
Steve Cohn October 03, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Carol, the taxes for roads, MOFD's finances and Orinda/Moraga funding inequity are three completely separate topics. I am sure we can multi-task. re. the two MOFD topics. If you were in a 50-50 partnership with someone, the partnership was in financial distress, and your partner was embezzling 2.5% of the profits so that she ended up with 52.5% and you only ended up with 47.5%, would you consider that "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic"? re. do I pay my fair share of taxes? My home is assessed at about 95% of the city average. I never sent my children to public schools but to private schools even though 50% of my property tax goes to schools. I donate $1,000 per year to the EFO. Yeh, I think I pay my fair share. Talk about wasting resources. Wringing your hands over Prop 13 is futile.
Steve Cohn October 03, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Mayor Glazer: Before you respond to the above I call a truce. I asked you to respond to three questions. You did. I do not agree with your position of Council responsibility or your analysis of funding inequity but the whole point of this posting was to understand your position and not to change your mind. Thank you for your responses.
Linda Delehunt October 03, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Carol, Thank you for your further clarification regarding this money shift. I am simply trying to assist voters in understanding that Measure L, while promised to the roads for the purpose of a YES vote in this election, is subject to the same shift of funds that you have explained with the Glorietta storm drain project. The real issue is that we need a comprehensive solution to our road infrastructure problem that defines appropriate funds for the entire project with a list of roads to be repaired and a timeline for completion. Otherwise, partial solutions, such as Measure L, which brings in a MINISCULE amount of money, is meaningless in the bigger road repair picture. In my opinion, Measure L will cause a further destruction of local business and a "feeding frenzy" amongst residents for whom the city has provided NO priority list for road repair. With no priority list for road repair, individuals, desperate for road repair help, will seek to lobby for these measly L funds causing disruption and chaos amongst neighbors. Bad idea, period.
Janet Maiorana October 03, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Carol, You tell the candidate, Linda to read what Mayor Glazer says about the intent for Measure L funds, and to read the ballot measure as if this offers some assurance how Measure L funds will be spent. Well, Orindans were told on the 1997 ballot measure for MOFD that if we voted for Fire Flow Taxes, these taxes were to be used SOLEY in Orinda. It took no time at all for MOFD Directors to co-mingle our Orinda Fire Flow taxes into the MOFD general budget over objections from Orindans. It seems naive to believe what you read on Ballot Measures. It sounds as if Linda understands that funds being shifted from one intent to another without taxpayer approval is fact not fiction.
Carol Penskar October 04, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Janet, Candidate Delehunt, and Steve Cohn: All 3 of you express grave concern that the Measure L sales tax fund will be used by the Orinda City Council for purposes other than roads. As evidence, Janet and Steve cite actions by the MOFD board and Linda cites the required transfer by the City of funds to the Glorietta Storm Drain project. Candidate Delehunt, Steve Cohn, and FAIR are advocating a real estate transfer tax instead of Measure L. Like sales tax proceeds, funds from a real estate transfer tax *can NOT be legally dedicated to a particular purpose.* So, this issue of no legal dedication applies *equally* to the sales tax and to the roads funding solution advocated by Delehunt, Cohn, and FAIR. So, please tell me: Why does this limitation disqualify a sales tax and not a real estate transfer tax? This will be at least the *fourth time* I have posed this question to Candidate Delehunt, who has not yet answered it. Thanks in advance for explaining to me what seems like a major inconsistency!
Carol Penskar October 04, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Steve Cohn: BTW, I notice that your FAIR web site http://orindaroadfacts.virb.com/--real-estate-transfer-tax page on the transfer tax is missing this important fact. And yet, you also point this out on the relevant page as a major drawback for the sales tax. Again: Why this major inconsistency? Quoting from your web site on the sales tax: "It will be interesting to see if the 61% support will be retained when people fully understand that (1) there are "no guarantees" ......"
Steve Cohn October 04, 2012 at 04:15 AM
I don't know where you get that I have grave concerns. I think the language in the voter package plus the assurances from the Arguments For including yourself, Alex Evans and Vice Mayor Worth, all of whom I respect, are pretty clear. You know I will be all over the Council like a bad rash if they try to pull something but I really don't believe they would. They want the roads fixed as badly as anyone even though they did come up with a completely bogus master plan that is going to have to be recrafted if we want any real results. The email I sent you today of MOFD's past behavior was just an example of what can happen. I never said I thought it would happen in this case. I think the same language / assurances would work with any non-specific tax, such as a Real Estate Transfer Tax.
Steve Cohn October 04, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Since the tax measure was crafted behind the scenes in a very big hurry I had no idea there were any guarantees and audits attached. Now that I see there are, that statement is n/a.
Carol Penskar October 04, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Steve, regarding "behind the scenes", here is a link to the Council meeting materials with this item on 7/17/12: http://orinda.waterware.com/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-4755/I-3.pdf. It was not behind the scenes! I tire of these "back room" allegations that are spurious. Are you going to correct the inconsistency on the FAIR web site on this matter? I was pleased to see the rest of your responses. It is very dangerous for supporters of a real estate transfer tax if opponents of the sales tax, like Candidate Delehunt, try to kill Measure L based on an argument that would also kill the transfer tax. I personally have major reservations about the political viability of the transfer tax. But, who knows. If somehow charter cities in CA can overcome their current bad rap, maybe a transfer tax could substitute for a bond issue in the future - if we could get the numbers and the cash flow to pencil out. But first we need to prove the value of getting something done. Which means we need to pass Measure L if anything else is ever going to happen
Steve Cohn October 04, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Carol, you are correct. Very clearly, on page 6 of 15 of Item I-3 (one of 15 items on the agenda with attachments to the agenda) of the July 17th Council meeting there is the language included in voters pamphlet with the fourteen words saying there would be an audit and an oversight committee. And on page 15 of 15 there is an entire paragraph (3.14.180) on Fiscal Accountability Provisions. How could I have missed that seeing as I am on the city's email notification list and received a link to the Council's agenda and the document you point to a full four days before the Council meeting where the issue was decided. Five years after the last attempted tax measure I had a full four days to discover, explore, think about and react. I am obviously grasping at straws to discredit the process and being far too negative and unreasonable in believing that the community should expect more. And the fact that this document was available for all to see and discover for themselves absolves the City from needing to proactively provide any further details on the tax proposal between that meeting and the County's distribution of voting materials last week, or, heaven forbid, publicize it in advance of the Council vote on 7/17 (I know after 5 years they were on a tight time frame). Thanks for straightening me out on this. I'll try harder next time.
Carol Penskar October 05, 2012 at 05:00 AM
Steve, I am sorry you feel out of the loop. But the City does the best it can with the budget it has. It is expensive to publish and and distribute publications like The Orinda Way. That each agenda item is a separate numbered online .pdf file is far superior to, for example, what the MOFD, does. Do you subscribe to the weekly (in general) City Manager's report? Council members appear regularly at the Farmers' Market and are available to chat. We are very lucky in a community of just 17,000 to have 3 newspapers, two of them delivered to every Orinda address free, and this forum. The CC Times, which is not delivered for free, has all of its content, online, free. Together, the four do a pretty good job. There has been ongoing reporting about the sales tax issue for quite some time. There are reporters at every City Council meeting, and at some of the budget workshops. I hope you received your Measure L mailer today. Completely paid for by volunteer contributions, listed on the last campaign report I filed with the City Clerk in July. It is a public document, available in the City Clerk's office.
Steve Cohn October 05, 2012 at 05:36 AM
Give me the link of a single newspaper article that had even a mention of the details of Measure L or the 10-year road plan and the fact that they were going to be voted on July 17 and I'll buy you your beverage of choice and a muffin at Peets. They have had years to develop this. The Roads Sub Committee had its last meeting in December with no plan and no tax. The CIOC had a tax item on its 7/11 agenda (with no attachments) but no mention of a 10-year plan. This is back room dealings sprung at the last moment just like we never got to see the actual questions on the January survey before it was conducted, in fact I don't think the actual verbiage of the questions was ever made public. Re. MOFD - as you know I am very familiar with their agendas an posted items. As far as I am concerned they adhere to the exact same procedure as the City Council. A separate staff report in PDF format for every item on the agenda. The whole package delivered to the public late Friday afternoon for their next Wednesday evening meetings. Meets Brown act requirements and actually gives the public a day more time to consider items than the the Council packets do. Often not enough time but seldom are things decided on days after they first appear. Especially things like the first ten-year road plan the city has had since the 2006 Infrastructure report which was months in the making and crafted in open meetings.
Linda Delehunt October 05, 2012 at 05:45 AM
If I'm elected, I will make it priority #1 to restrict funds that voters have allocated to particular projects. I will research the use of the restricted fund line item, and if there is no legal way to do so, I will work with Senator DeSaulnier to author new legislation to enable cities to do so. It has been my experience that there really are true gaps in legislation that inhibit certain healthy processes. This may be one, as no one appears to know how to really restrict funds to certain voter selected projects.
Linda Delehunt October 05, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Steve, The "voices of elections past" are echoing load an clear. Your 10 Year Road Drain plan really WILL go down the drain since it is based on the same premises as the past failed bond elections. A project can only be accountable if it is completed. There is no intent imbedded in the 10 Year Plan to complete anything. The plan is based on the hope that past failed bond elections will not predict future bond election outcomes. We need a real plan.
Carol Penskar October 11, 2012 at 05:44 AM
It is very interesting to see how much stronger the endorsement is from the CC Times for Smith and Glazer: http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21574196/oakland-tribune-editorial-glazer-and-smith-best-choices?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com than for the Moraga Town Council Candidates: http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_21733211/contra-costa-times-endorsement-metcalf-arth-and-mendonca The main reason for the difference is a topic only briefly discussed on this forum and which Candidate Delehunt has yet to address, in spite of my posing her the question directly: the big differences in the ways the two entities have handled employee retirement benefits. Mayor Glazer addressed this question here near the beginning of this chain. It is also interesting that the Times explicitly criticizes the Moraga Council for: "your constituents have been buried in debt by the reckless Moraga Orinda Fire District. You don't run that district, but your failure to speak up for your constituents is shameful." ................ but not the Orinda Council. Could this be because Orinda Council members have attended MOFD meetings and have spoken out regarding such issues as the MOFD chance to lease space in Orinda City Hall , vs more expensive options? And that the Orinda Council has vetted constituents' concerns on the MOFD in public?
Steven Glazer October 11, 2012 at 02:03 PM
The info above has been corrected. Thank you Patch!
Steve Cohn October 11, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Carol: As a supporter of Glazer I really believe you should have let the Times endorsement of the Moraga Council pass in silence. Both cities have done a pretty good job of keeping huge employee benefit liabilities off the books. Orinda has done a better job by not only putting firefighter liabilities on someone else's books (which are still the Orinda taxpayers' responsibility) but also keeping police liabilities off the books (but we pay them via contract costs as opposed to directly like Moraga does). The downside of staying one-step removed and having a "clean" balance sheet is that the Council has no control over the benefits that MOFD or CCC Sherriff grants its employees. At least Moraga controls its police benefits which, I believe, are less than the county's.
Steve Cohn October 11, 2012 at 05:25 PM
As for the Times "calling out" Moraga for not being involved in controlling MOFD while giving Orinda "a pass", that had to be the benefit of Orinda going first and the Times getting its thoughts together later. Moraga taxpayers pay $780,000 per year for each firefighter stationed in Moraga. Orinda taxpayers pay $1 million per firefighter; 30% more. This is not due any major service that Moraga firefighter provide to Orinda as Glazer was told by MOFD in 2009 and still believes. It is just because we pay more. Some of us call that "inequitable"; others (mostly Moragans and Glazer) "tough luck" or "justifiable" (our homes are worth more). Moraga residents have never claimed they are overpaying MOFD (their Revenue Task Force made no such claim) but Orinda's RETF did so and for their efforts the Council disbanded them. Moraga residents never asked their council to review the service they were getting from MOFD; 220 Orindans gave their Orinda Council a petition last year asking for such a review and their Council, led by Smith and Glazer, told the residents to talk with MOFD. Instead, the citizens created their own review which included the fact that 40% of all emergencies are not responded to within the industry standard 6 minutes. Glazer's response (above) "I will closely monitor the direction of the Board". Same stations for 15 year; same ability to respond over that time period. No change. No action. So why did the Times pick on Moraga and not Orinda? Go figure.
Carol Penskar October 27, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Steve Glazer: Some of your signs are missing from the corners of St Stephens and the freeway off ramp. Also, Measure L signs have regularly been going missing. At least one was defaced with a big black X. Some Measure L signs have disappeared from private property. I am dismayed these immature acts are happening in Orinda. Opponents have so many forums and so many constructive ways to present their views They don't need to resort to theft and graffiti.
Carol Penskar October 27, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Actually, I am too polite. Opponents don't need to resort to theft and vandalism. Better to maintain an honest, open dialogue.
Linda Delehunt October 27, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Which opponents are you referencing?? I have to continually replace missing signs. Plus I have received letters from the City saying my signs were confiscated because they were in a wrong corner of Orinda. Victoria and I are your only opponents. I believe I can speak for her when I say that we both have better things to do than collect your signs for our memory books. Stop the harassment as it is not befitting of a mayor.
Valerie Sloven October 27, 2012 at 02:42 AM
I think Carol Penskar is the one complaining to the mayor about the stolen signs and vandalism. I don't think Steve is harassing anyone. Am I reading this correctly Carol?
Steven Glazer October 27, 2012 at 03:28 AM
As I was driving around this afternoon, I can see that my signs have been removed throughout the city. Most places continue to have signs from all the other candidates. In some cases the Measure L signs are gone as well. I am not pointing fingers at anyone. It is disappointing but a reflection of a certain level of anger and immaturity that is unfortunate. No one wins an election based on a bunch of signs so it is all alright. Have a great weekend everyone!
Carol Penskar October 27, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Linda, Valerie is correct. I wrote the post noting the missing signs, not Steve Glazer, I don't know or suggest who removed all of these the Measure L and Glazer signs, but agree with Steve it is an unfortunate reflection. But whoever did this be forewarned because I have an attack tabby cat so they had better not touch the ones on my property! (Not to mention my web cam.)
Don't Tell Me What To Do October 27, 2012 at 04:54 AM
A note to anyone voting because of a campaign sign: Please go back to eating your Cheetos, playing Xbox, & watching nude internet videos. The intelligent, responsible voting public has this election covered. Thanks for trying though. Good luck with the new level on whatever Mario game is popular these days.

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