Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, a Democrat, wants to steer a moderate to somewhat liberal course as he campaigns for a seat in the California State Assembly (AD-16).
The mayor said that society works better is all elements — especially labor and business — cooperate.
Sbranti said that Silicon Valley, which is close to the 16th AD, is an important innovation hub.
The 16th AD is in an affluent area that includes Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Walnut Creek, Danville, San Ramon, Alamo, Dublin, Livermore, and Pleasanton.
Under a new law, all candidates for a state office run on the same ballot. In the 16th AD, Sbranti is being opposed by Catharine Baker, Steve Glazer, and Newell Arnerich. Baker’s party preference is Republican. Tim Sbranti, Glazer, and Arnerich have a preference for the Democratic Party.
These four AD 16 candidates appear in the ballot for the June 3 primary election. The two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary will face each other in the November 2014 general election. In theory, the top two candidates could both be Democrats.
Baker holds no public office. Glazer is a member of the Orinda City Council and Arnerich is mayor of Danville.
Tim Sbranti said that he expected that Baker would receive the highest number of votes in the primary.
On the subject of taxation, Sbranti said that California’s sales tax is “always a concern.” California has the highest state sales tax in the nation.
The Dublin mayor expressed some mild criticism of Proposition 30, which California voters passed in November 2012. The proposition raised the state sales and the state income tax. Proposition 30, Sbranti said, was “more regressive than progressive.” A regressive tax bears down more heavily on individuals with lower incomes.
Asked about California’s gasoline tax, which is also the highest in the nation, the mayor said the tax “systems in place are not working.” Other options, he said, must be considered because the revenue expected from the current gasoline tax is dropping because newer vehicles obtain more miles per gallon.
Sbranti said that he was not sure about supporting a vehicle mileage tax, which would impose a tax on a vehicle based the number of miles driven in a year.
The corporate income tax “needs to be looked at,” Sbranti said. A corporate income tax must show a net benefit. Currently, California has the seventh highest corporate income-tax rate in the nation.
Tim Sbranti said he might favor a plan in which corporate income-tax rates might go down if a business invested in more jobs, new products, and productivity-enhancing technology (like computers).
Sbranti said that he opposes Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to building tunnels to carry water from Northern to Southern California.
On the subject of high-speed trains linking Northern and Southern California, Sbranti said that he is “supportive” of the project. He added that he placed a higher priority on having BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) service to Livermore.
Sbranti said that he is opposed to banning BART strikes. Glazer has made banning BART strikes the centerpiece of his campaign.
When reminded the President Franklin D. Roosevelt opposed strikes by public employees, Sbranti said that he does not share the late president’s view on banning such strikes. A ban on public-employee strikes, Sbranti said, is an attack on all labor.
Sbranti supports a minimum wage of $10 per hour, and he wants the minimum wage tied to inflation. He said that alternatives to the minimum wage, such as wage supplements provided — by government — to low-income workers, “need to be looked at.”
Asked which California governors were the best, Tim Sbranti cited both Pat Brown, a Democrat, and Jerry Brown, also a Democrat. Pat Brown was governor from 1959 to 1967. Jerry Brown, Pat Brown’s son, was governor from 1975 to 1983 and was elected to a third term in 2010. Jerry Brown, now 76, is running for a fourth term this year.
Sbranti added that Earl Warren, who was California’s governor from 1943 to 1953, was a very competent governor. Warren was elected governor in 1942, 1946, and 1950. In the midst of his third term, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, appointed Warren to be Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Sbranti said that he did not want government picking winners and losers in business. He said that President Barack Obama’s support of Solyndra, a solar-power company that went bankrupt, was a debacle. Solyndra was located in Fremont, California.
Sbranti, who is a public-school civics teacher, said that charter schools have “a role” in education. Charter schools are public schools but compete with traditional public schools.
The mayor said that the big question facing education is: “How do we make all teachers better?”
On the subject of Plan Bay Area, a regional governmental plan to reduce driving and alter housing patterns in the San Francisco Bay Area should, he emphasized, “go to the voters.”
Calling pre-school (nursery school) important, Sbranti said that improving education from kindergarten through 12th grade should take priority.
Asked if his political views and style were similar to former President Bill Clinton, Sbranti said that he is “honored to be compared to Bill.” The mayor had praise for Clinton, adding that President Obama does not work well with business.
As mayor of Dublin, Tim Sbranti said that his city has a budget surplus. He said that a surplus is to be saved for bad economic times.
The mayor said that his family has lived in the Contra Costa County region since the 1800′s.