Primary Elections June 3, 2008 | May 30, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Perspective - May 30, 2008

Primary Elections June 3, 2008

by Meghan Neal

Race for State Assembly District 15

Joan Buchanan, Democrat (Alamo resident)

Experience: She is vice president of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District School Board. She has served for 20 years on the school board, including four terms as president. She was president of the Alamo Elementary School PTA, vice president of the San Ramon Valley School Age Child Care Alliance, and had a career in operations with Delta Dental.

What she stands for: In addition to education Buchanan is an advocate for universal healthcare and is focused on the environment. She said traffic and affordable housing are also areas of concern for residents in the district. She believes in eliminating wasteful or redundant spending to help balance the budget.

Theodore Ford, Democrat (Walnut Creek resident)

Experience: He has worked for 35 years as an economist in the government and the public sector. He has never run for elected office but calls himself "an observer of the political current."

What he stands for: Ford's main focus is on the unbalanced fiscal structure, which he feels is an underlying problem that affects education and other issues. He got into the race to address issues that are important to him in a public forum, believing it's important for a citizen candidate to be able to campaign and win votes.

Scott Kamena, Republican (Livermore resident)

Experience: He earned his doctorate degree from UC Berkeley and now runs an optometry practice with his father, Dr. Marshall Kamena, who also serves as mayor of Livermore. He is the twice-elected Livermore Parks Director.

What he stands for: He would oppose all new taxes, strengthen border enforcement, improve education by promoting parental involvement and local control, eliminate frivolous lawsuits and increase the accessibility and affordability of health care.

Judy Lloyd, Republican (Danville resident)

Experience: She worked in President Reagan's administration; was an assistant to Bob Dole when he was the Senate Majority Leader; was special projects director for the Republican National Committee; co-chairwoman of Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign for governor; and a business owner.

What she stands for: Education reform, the budget, the economy and immigration are important issues to Lloyd. She is concerned that the Democrats in the State Legislature are averse to change, squandering taxpayer dollars and creating a budget deficiency.

Robert Rao, Republican (Livermore resident)

Experience: A businessman, Rao has owned three successful car dealerships in the Bay Area over the past 30 years. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce in three cities as well as several associations and clubs. He has been involved in helping elect Republicans to office and currently serves on the Alameda County Republican Central Committee.

What he stands for: He is fiscally conservative and believes in lower taxes and an end to wasteful spending. He would fight for private property rights, border enforcement and conservative Republican values. He opposes extravagant public pensions and benefits and would focus on transportation problems like traffic gridlock.

H. Abram Wilson, Republican (San Ramon resident)

Experience: Wilson is mayor of San Ramon. He has served on the San Ramon City Council since 1999. He became the city's first elected mayor in 2003 and was re-elected every two years. He serves on the board of the Iraq veteran's organization Sentinels of Freedom; he's on the foundation board of directors for Diablo Valley College; and he is a member of the San Ramon Arts Council. He has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to the city.

What he stands for: Wilson wants to stop the state's wasteful spending and instate a spending cap. He is against raising taxes and universal healthcare. He believes in equalization of school funding and holding administrators accountable for allocating local funds responsibly.

Race for Contra Costa County Supervisor District 3 - nonpartisan position

Guy Houston (San Ramon resident)

Experience: Houston is in his fourth term as State Assemblyman for District 15. He was named "Legislator of the Year" by three associations. He served as mayor of Dublin from 1994 to 2001 and has been on a number of local boards and commissions.

What he stands for: He promises to put the interest of average citizens ahead of special interests, make public safety the top priority, support the urban limit line and demonstrate fiscal responsibility. He also seeks to reduce traffic congestion, improve the county's infrastructure and restrain runaway government spending.

Mary Nejedly Piepho (Discovery Bay resident)

Experience: She has served as District 3 supervisor for three years. Formerly, she worked as an aide to State Assemblywoman Lynne Leach. She was as an elected member of the Byron Union School District, a director on the Discovery Bay Chamber of Commerce, and a member of both the Highway 4 Safety Task Force and the Vasco Road Safety Task Force.

What she stands for: Piepho believes finance is the most important issue facing the county right now. She would continue to work to protect the county's tax dollars, reduce traffic congestion, advocate for public safety and repair the county's retiree healthcare liability problem. She also believes in protecting open spaces and controlling sprawl.

Steve Thomas (Danville resident)

Experience: Thomas is an electrician and was previously a stock market official. He is an alternate on the Contra Costa County Democratic Central Committee and ran for U.S. Congress District 11 in the June 2006 primary.

What he stands for: A progressive Democrat, he believes the budget crisis can be pinned on Gov. Schwarzenegger's decision to get rid of Vehicle License Fees, which generate billions in revenue. He believes in promoting public transit, would bring the retiree healthcare problem to the bargaining table, and work to fix the water shortage and mortgage crisis.

Measure D parcel tax: Renewal of the Excellence in Education Act

Measure D would raise the San Ramon Valley Unified School District's existing education parcel tax from $90 to $166 per year. It would renew the Excellence in Education Act, which was passed in 2004 to support specific school programs and services such as class reduction, libraries, counselors and instrumental music. The current tax expires in one year.