Barring a major surprise in the 13,300 ballots still to be counted, Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer will face off with Concord Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla in the May 19th runoff between Democrats for the 7th Senate district seat.
Glazer, who courted Republicans since he announced his campaign at the last minute before filing closed, easily topped the field of five official candidates with 32.8 percent of the vote. Bonilla, backed by the unions and many of the elected Democrat officials, finished second at 24.9, while former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan was third with 22.6 percent.
What's stunning is that Republican Michaela Hertle, who withdrew from the campaign shortly after filing closed and backed Glazer, drew 17 percent of the vote. Glazer's campaign spent plenty of money sending targeted mailers to Republicans with the message from Hertle that she had withdrawn and was supporting Glazer and there was plenty of news coverage about that fact.
In a conversation late last year with Joan Buchanan, she said that she expected this special election to be all about reaching people who always votedthe five of five elections folks. The preliminary turnout, with plenty of absentees ballots still to be counted, was about 20 percent and likely will climb to about 23 percent. That's more than double the special election earlier this year in Southern California, but the number of presumably Republican voters that ignored the flood of mail to vote for a candidate who withdrew is stunning.
Joan was elected to the San Ramon Valley school board six times, but that is non-partisan. She told me that is was notable how many voters who supported her for the school board could not back her when a (D) was behind her name.
With the May 19 opponents now decided, consider that the deluge of mail in the primary was a mere sampling. There will be no holds barred for the unions as they strive to defeat Glazer just as there will be plenty of money from unaffiliated groups backing Glazer.
It will be a real bare knuckles fight.
Switching gears entirely, when we were snow skiing a lot, Sierra at Tahoe was our favorite placeeven back to when it was family owned as Sierra Ski Ranch. Although we owned a timeshare within an easy walk of Heavenly Valley, we would jump in the car and drive back over Echo Summit to Sierra for a day of skiing.
John Rice, the long-time general manager of Sierra, announced last weekend that the resort would be closing on March 16stunningly early, but an accurate reflection of the snow level. The official snow reading that is taken monthly is in the meadow just north of the entrance road to Sierra. The resort has received about one-third of its normal snowfall.
Sierra was the first major resort to close, although it will be joined by Sugar Bowl near Donner Summit after this weekend. Sugar Bowl traditionally receives one of the deepest snow packs in the Tahoe area.
Incidentally, John earned a special spot on my list of managers who care. I met him one Christmas season when there was minimal grooming because of a low snow pack and that was opposite the normal Sierra experience. I went to the office to ask about it and he walked me down to the mountain manager's office to share my views.
A year later, when my nephew had failed to show up on the bus back from Sierra, I dialed the resort and left a voice mail for John late in the afternoon. To my pleasant surprise, he returned the call, listened to my concerns, and checked out the situation. Fortunately, my missing nephew showed up and all was wellwith a major note about a senior manager who paid attention and took action.
Sadly, that's what he did when he closedhopefully to re-open if a major storm that is not on the horizon returns.
The global warming devotees will celebrate thisI would suggest checking out the record snowfall in Boston where my oldest cousin lives and has been digging out all winter.