Would leave State Senate two years early if elected
By Allen D. Payton
In an email sent out, today, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), who represents the 7th District which includes most of Contra Costa County, said he’s considering running for California State Controller and asked his supporters for their input. Incumbent Betty Yee is termed out after serving eight years in the position so, Glazer would be running for the open seat.
According to the office’s website, the controller is the chief fiscal officer of the state and is responsible for accountability and disbursement of the state’s financial resources…safeguards many types of property until claimed by the rightful owners, independently audits government agencies that spend state funds, and administers the payroll system for state government employees and California State University employees. The Controller is a member of numerous financing authorities, and fiscal and financial oversight entities including the Franchise Tax Board and Board of Equalization.”
If elected Glazer would step down from his seat two years early, creating a vacancy that would be filled by a special election.
When reached for comment, Glazer said he has to decide by March 11, which is the usual end of the candidate filing period. However, according to the California Secretary of State’s Primary Election Calendar (see page 6-10) filing is extended five more days until March 16 when the incumbent cannot or does not file to run for re-election. Asked what would be the determining factor in his decision he said, “hearing from people like you.”
In his message, Glazer wrote:
“I want to share some exciting news with you: I am pondering what could be a big step in my career in public service.
I have been deeply reflecting on my seven years in the Senate, the many policy and fiscal challenges facing our state, and my energy and passion for public service. I don’t make decisions quickly and I do try to take a 360 degree view of any serious matter.
It has been a hard two years under Covid for my work and my family, and I’m sure it has been for you as well. Life is precious, and I often reflect on how I am spending my time. My father died at age 55, so as I have aged, I have continuously felt the time clock ticking. This has helped me live with a no-regrets approach to so many things. Do your best, be nice to everyone, enjoy every day.
So here is my self-assessment: I like my job in the Senate, but I could be working in a school, a non-profit or even local government again and still feel that public service is immensely fulfilling and important. Titles don’t matter so much. It is doing valuable work that is important. So I have a strong desire to remain in public service.
A big reason I ended up running for a legislative office was in rebellion against the status quo of politics. I saw first-hand the rivers of power politics flowing through the Capitol canals. It’s a cliché to simply say that the people’s voices were being drowned out. I would just say that good people are involved on all sides, but most are frozen in fear that the ‘right’ decision would cost them politically. I ran not just to cast a thoughtful vote on the issues of the day. It was to try to set an example as someone willing to do what they think is best and not worry so much about perceived power from interest groups or party bosses.
As you know, I get politically labelled in simplistic ways. People are always looking for shorthand descriptions and analysis, so it is not a surprise to be framed as this or that. Suffice it to say I am not a conformist. The status quo of politics is breaking down and people wonder why I am not conforming. Hello!
To cut to the chase, there is a state constitutional office of Controller where the incumbent is termed out. There is meaning to the word constitutional. It is an independent office elected by the entire state, and the responsibilities of the office — overseeing all taxes and revenues — are intended to be independent of party power. Besides sitting as a voting member of numerous tax, pension and land authorities, the Controller has independent power to audit the use and effectiveness of your tax dollars by every public agency in our state. Spending on schools, the homeless, fire prevention, drought, public safety, pensions, mental health, and safety net programs are all subject to review by the Controller. Knowing me as so many of you do, you can see my interest in this position.
Asking hard questions and instigating oversight has been a part of all my public service work. For ten years, I was on the audit committee of my city. I served for four years on the audit committee of the Board of Trustees of the 23-campus California State University. I presently serve on the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. Part of the reason that members of my own party are uncomfortable with me is because I see the spending of every tax dollar as critically important not just in delivering the best services for the money but because the wise stewardship of our tax dollars is the foundation upon which we built public trust. Underscoring all of that is the willingness to have the independent backbone to speak truth to power.
So I am taking the next few weeks to delve deeper into the job, the dynamics of a short campaign (June primary), and feedback from friends and supporters.
My current Senate term runs until 2024. Should I run for this job, I will encounter the same vitriol that is emblematic of our current state of politics. But it is an opportunity to potentially pursue a job of bigger scope, responsibility and impact. What do you think?
Your support is why I have the privilege of serving as your state Senator. Many thanks for this honor of a lifetime.
Constituents can let Glazer know what they think of his plans at email@example.com.