Did "Union Boss Tim Sbranti play politics with child safety?" | The Observer | Roz Rogoff | DanvilleSanRamon.com |

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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Did "Union Boss Tim Sbranti play politics with child safety?"

Uploaded: Nov 1, 2014

I wrote my last blog (not counting my "I hate Halloween" blog), on a mailer accusing Catharine Baker of opposing Proposition 2. I just received a mailer accusing Tim Sbranti of killing SB1530, which would have protected children from abusive teachers.

I don't like political hit pieces whether I support the candidate or not. So I wanted to find out what was really said and done before pinning the blame on the opposing candidate. I decided to research the footnoted articles in the San Francisco Chronicle. I had to join as a paid digital member of the Chronicle, which cost a little more than I will be paid for writing this blog, but I'm sure I will make use of my membership for future blogs.

SB1530 would have made it easier for School Districts to fire teachers accused of violence or sexual abuse. The anti-Sbranti flier quotes the San Francisco Chronicle calling the failure of SB1530, "sickening" and "a disservice to children."

I could not find articles matching the dates in the footnotes on the flier, but I found Op-Ed pieces with very similar quotes published within a few days of the quoted articles. Here's one from the Chronicle dated July 5, 2012.

Against our children's interest
Page: A15
"The influence of the California Teachers Association was rarely more apparent - or more sickening - than in the defeat ofSB1530. The union showed its willingness to defend an expensive and cumbersome process for firing bad teachers at almost any cost - even if that means school districts must continue to spend exorbitant sums of time and money to dismiss teachers in cases involving sex, drugs or violence with students."

Now in defense of the Union's position there were issues about SB1530 being too harsh. So another bill, AB375 was introduced by Assembly Woman Joan Buchanan in 2013. The Chronicle wrote, "Her bill, AB375, isn't as strong as SB1530 was, but it's at least a step in the right direction. AB375 curbs some of the status quo's worst problems. Like SB1530, it also rolls back the time restrictions for filing dismissal cases."

Buchanan made some concessions to win Teachers' Union Support. ". . . she shelved Padilla's idea about changing the composition of the deciding panel." So the Teacher's Union SUPPORTED AB375.

I looked up AB375 on the California Legislative Information Website, and here's a link to see its progress and demise. The Assembly passed AB375 on September 12, 2013, but Governor Brown vetoed it on October 10, 2013. The Assembly had until March 6, 2014 to consider the Governor's veto. They did not, and the Bill died.

So why did Governor Brown veto AB375 even though the Teachers' Union supported it? I don't know and I have not researched that far yet. The point I'm making here is Sbranti did not oppose streamlining the dismissal process, but the Teachers' Union did oppose SB1530.

Tim Sbranti's name does not appear in ANY of the articles referenced in the attack mailer. However, he was active in the CTA's Political Involvement Committee. One bill was defeated but another one was passed. Then the second bill was vetoed by the Governor. Tim Sbranti cannot be personally blamed for any of these results.

Don't let these nasty attack mailers change your mind about whom to vote for. I won't let them change mine either.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by LetsGetReal, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 2, 2014 at 9:55 am

This is what Catharine Baker's earlier mailer said:

Sbranti "killed or hijacked nearly every reform bill that has popped up in the legislature... [one] that would have made it easier for districts to fire teachers who molest students"

This quote is from this article, an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal from 2012:
Web Link

The piece in the Wall Street Journal has no mention whatsoever of Sbranti. It has nothing to do with Sbranti.

There isn't a moral equivalence here. I'm sorry. Baker has defended this attack piece:
Web Link

You say: "Don't let these nasty attack mailers change your mind about whom to vote for. I won't let them change mine either."

We need honorable, honest politicians. The campaign matters. It shows what kind of person you are. It shows whether you have integrity.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 2, 2014 at 2:17 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Get Real,

I received an email from Ellis Goldberg, Tri-Valley Democratic Club, with the headline:

Catherine Baker contrives a Wall Street Journal quote (followed by the text quoted below and a scan of the mailer)

"Catherine Baker Candidate for Assembly District 16 sent a mailer to voters in the district that was contrived to attack her opponent Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti. The mailer says: (scan of the mailer) Sbranti "killed or hijacked nearly every reform bill that has popped up in the legislature . . . [one] that would have made it easier for districts to fire teachers who molest students."

I replied to Ellis on October 12th.


Thank you for the link to this article. I used it to read the article. Your contention that the quote is contrived is wrong. Notice the ... between the first line and the last line. That means a section of the quote was skipped. Both parts of the quote are in the article. Sbranti?s name is used in place of ?The union? since he was on the CTA?s Political Involvement Committee.

The union [Sbranti] ?killed or hijacked nearly every reform bill that has popped up in the legislature. . . [one] that would have made it easier for districts to fire teachers who molest students.?

This is not a contrived quote. I cannot attest to its correctness, but as a quote, it is accurate.


To add to the above, my comment is based on the correctness of the quote. Sbranti's name is NOT included in the quoted portion. So as a quote, it is correct.

As far as the accusation goes, I defended Sbranti in my blog posted above Web Link I'm not sure why you are attacking me now, when I debunked the mailer attacking Sbranti.

These mailers are being sent by Political Action Groups funded by outside money and technically not affiliated with any candidate. These are the result of the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision. I don't like them and I will search out the FACTS and not take sides when hit pieces distort or outright lie to help their preferred candidate!

Politics is dirty. Nobody on either side is an angel in this contest. I'm supporting the candidate that more closely represents what I want done in the Assembly.


Posted by LetsGetReal, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 2, 2014 at 6:25 pm

The mailer with the WSJ quote is on Catharine Baker's website:
Web Link

It was paid for by her campaign committee, not an outside group. She is personally responsible for the content of that mailer. It is a reflection of her personal character and integrity.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 2, 2014 at 9:04 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


I followed your link to Baker's mailer page. It contains not only the mailers she has sent, but mailers sent out against her. I was surprised to see those at first, but they were sent by the CTA and other unions. So that was the purpose of posting them on her website.

The mailers against Sbranti with quotes from the WSJ and SF Chronicle are also on her page. Those were sent out by her campaign and the WSJ quote is accurate. I explained this in detail in my comment above.

However, the attack I referred to in the above blog was sent by Charles Munger's PAC, "Spirit of Democracy." Sbranti has TV commercials on now critical of the "Spirit of Democracy" Pac and their mailers.

So most of the most egregious attacks come from these PACs, Munger for Baker or Unions for Sbranti, and not from either candidate's campaign. That way both candidates can keep most of the mud from dirtying themselves.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Nov 3, 2014 at 11:32 am

Tens of thousands of children have been raped by trusted adults and so few Americans care?

Many children that have been sexually abused do not recover or lead happy productive adult lives. Some survivors experience a lifetime of psychological/physical disorders that require a lifetime of expensive specialized care.

It's not unusual to find survivors with a history of alcohol and drug abuse, criminal behavior, or a history of incarceration.

Slightly more educated but careless politicians and their cheerleaders seem to delight in making mince meat of the emotions of good citizens and their families who have survived.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Nov 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm

For a Child Abuse Emergency: DIAL 911 and ask to be connected with the San Ramon Police Department.

Posted by Josh, a resident of Pleasanton Village,
on Nov 3, 2014 at 3:40 pm

The problem is that Tim Sbranti is backed by the Teachers Union.
The union have put tons of money on Tim's Campain
And Teachers Union is killing SB1530.
And also Tim signed the pleage with the special interest and he dosn't want to disclose.
And Tim did not in public support SB1530.
when A Teacher Unon is behind Tim, what will you expect from Tim?
Will you expect Tim to support SB1530? No, that is impossible.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 3, 2014 at 4:28 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


The Teacher's Union killed SB1530 two years ago. It was replaced by AB375, which passed the Assembly with Union support but was vetoed by Gov. Brown. Sbranti and the union did support a bill to make it easier to dismiss dangerous teachers.

The flier attacking Sbranti's opposition to SB1530 distorts the facts. I wanted to make all the facts about these bills are clear to correct the distortions presented in the hit piece against Sbranti, which was financed by Charles Munger's Political Action Committee.


Posted by Taxpayer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Nov 4, 2014 at 10:10 am

First Roz, sorry you didn't stick to reporting on city council meetings.
And really sorry PW allows you to do full-time partisan candidate campaigning......ON election day, which most papers do not!! Shame on both of you.
I followed the Buchanan, Sbranti union positions against the children, which is why both our papers liberal San Fran Chronicle, and CoCo/valley Times endorsed Catharine Baker over Sbranti. Both interview and research in depth before endorsing...often not endorsing. But both reasoned Baker is better for the process and the people.
No end in your campaigning in the unlimited space provided to you, however, I'm votoing NO on all except 47.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 4, 2014 at 12:15 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


My blog was written on November 1st. You may not have read it until today, which is election day, but it was not posted on election day.

I used to cover council meetings as a Reporter. A Reporter writes news articles, which are supposed to be impartial or objective.

For the last two years I have been a Blogger. A Blogger is similar to a Columnist in a newspaper. I write my opinions on whatever I care to write about. Since there is a hot local election, I have been writing about that. I don't know why the concept of Opinion vs. Reporting is so difficult for some readers to comprehend.


Posted by Curious, a resident of Del Prado,
on Nov 4, 2014 at 7:05 pm


I appreciated your research into this issue!

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 4, 2014 at 7:53 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


Thank you for the complement. It may not be apparent from the title of my blog, but I did not accept the attack mailer at face value and wanted to find the facts or omissions behind it.

I includes links to SB1530 and AB375 in my blog, but I did not use proper footnotes or references for the Chronicle articles. As a Adjunct Instructor for University of Phoenix I would not let my students get away without properly formatted citations and references, but I wanted to get this done before the election.


Posted by Ben J., a resident of Birdland,
on Nov 5, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Ben J. is a registered user.

Catch a clue...of course the union backed AB375.
Union to teachers: Let's back AB375 so we look good, knowing damn well our 'buddy' Jerry will veto the bill.
Teachers: Works for us.

Expand your mind a little. Think out of the box once in awhile.

Before you write a hit piece on a candidate, understand how politics really works.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 5, 2014 at 7:51 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


I suspected someone from the Teachers' Union put pressure on Jerry to veto, but I had no proof or evidence to support that theory. So I'm not going to go jumping off the roof to say so either. I suspect whoever got the Governor to veto it was higher up in the Union or State Government than Tim Sbranti.


PS I have no box. I can't fit into one, physically or intellectually, and I really hate that cliche.

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