News

Candidates for state Senate to square off on Feb. 5

Seven vying to represent District 13 will debate at Palo Alto Art Center

Update: Read our recap from the event here. A video of the debate can be found here.

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Seven candidates for California Senate District 13 will go head-to-head in a debate on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at the Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium, from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Five Democrats, one Republican and one Libertarian are vying for the seat currently held by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), who is being termed out at the end of the year. Senate District 13 stretches from South San Francisco to Sunnyvale and is home to about a half million voters, 49% of whom are registered Democratic, 16% of whom are Republicans; and 31% of whom have claimed "No Party Preference."

The field includes Democrat Josh Becker, Democrat Michael Brownrigg, Republican Alex Glew, Democrat Sally Lieber, Democrat Shelly Masur, Democrat Annie Oliva and Libertarian John Webster.

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At the debate, voters will be able to hear the candidates' stances on issues ranging from housing and homelessness to education, climate change and local versus state control.

The California open primary election is earlier this year, Tuesday, March 3, and voters will start receiving their ballots by mail in early February. Voters can cast a ballot for any candidate regardless of party affiliation. The top two in the primary will face off in November unless one candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in March.

Becker of Menlo Park is a philanthropist, former venture capitalist and CEO. Brownrigg is a former Burlingame city councilman, diplomat and venture capitalist. Glew is an engineer and Los Altos Design Review commissioner. Lieber is a former state assemblywoman and Mountain View city councilwoman. Masur is the Redwood City vice mayor, a nonprofit executive and a former school board member. Oliva is a Millbrae city councilwoman and realtor. And Webster of Mountain View is a software engineer.

The debate will be moderated by Palo Alto Weekly Editor Jocelyn Dong, Embarcadero Media Reporter Kate Bradshaw and CalMatters Political Reporter Ben Christopher.

Questions from the audience will be taken at the debate. Ahead of the event, members of the public can suggest questions to the moderators by emailing [email protected] or contacting them via Twitter and Facebook.

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The event is sponsored by the Palo Alto Weekly, Palo Alto Online, Mountain View Voice, the Almanac and CalMatters — a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom committed to explaining California policy and politics.

The Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium is located at 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto.

Watch our video interviews with six of the seven candidates, which you can also view through our playlist:

Josh Becker

Michael Brownrigg

Alex Glew

Sally Lieber

Shelly Masur

Annie Oliva

Voter information

The deadline to register to vote for the March 3 primary election is Feb. 18. Santa Clara County citizens can get voting information at sccgov.org. If you are registered as "no party preference" and would like to vote in the Democratic, American Independent or Libertarian party primary, you may file a request up to seven days before the election using this form on the county's website.

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Candidates for state Senate to square off on Feb. 5

Seven vying to represent District 13 will debate at Palo Alto Art Center

by Palo Alto Weekly staff / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 11:33 am
Updated: Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 10:54 am

Update: Read our recap from the event here. A video of the debate can be found here.

---

Seven candidates for California Senate District 13 will go head-to-head in a debate on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at the Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium, from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Five Democrats, one Republican and one Libertarian are vying for the seat currently held by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), who is being termed out at the end of the year. Senate District 13 stretches from South San Francisco to Sunnyvale and is home to about a half million voters, 49% of whom are registered Democratic, 16% of whom are Republicans; and 31% of whom have claimed "No Party Preference."

The field includes Democrat Josh Becker, Democrat Michael Brownrigg, Republican Alex Glew, Democrat Sally Lieber, Democrat Shelly Masur, Democrat Annie Oliva and Libertarian John Webster.

At the debate, voters will be able to hear the candidates' stances on issues ranging from housing and homelessness to education, climate change and local versus state control.

The California open primary election is earlier this year, Tuesday, March 3, and voters will start receiving their ballots by mail in early February. Voters can cast a ballot for any candidate regardless of party affiliation. The top two in the primary will face off in November unless one candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in March.

Becker of Menlo Park is a philanthropist, former venture capitalist and CEO. Brownrigg is a former Burlingame city councilman, diplomat and venture capitalist. Glew is an engineer and Los Altos Design Review commissioner. Lieber is a former state assemblywoman and Mountain View city councilwoman. Masur is the Redwood City vice mayor, a nonprofit executive and a former school board member. Oliva is a Millbrae city councilwoman and realtor. And Webster of Mountain View is a software engineer.

The debate will be moderated by Palo Alto Weekly Editor Jocelyn Dong, Embarcadero Media Reporter Kate Bradshaw and CalMatters Political Reporter Ben Christopher.

Questions from the audience will be taken at the debate. Ahead of the event, members of the public can suggest questions to the moderators by emailing [email protected] or contacting them via Twitter and Facebook.

The event is sponsored by the Palo Alto Weekly, Palo Alto Online, Mountain View Voice, the Almanac and CalMatters — a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom committed to explaining California policy and politics.

The Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium is located at 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto.

Watch our video interviews with six of the seven candidates, which you can also view through our playlist:

Josh Becker

Michael Brownrigg

Alex Glew

Sally Lieber

Shelly Masur

Annie Oliva

Voter information

The deadline to register to vote for the March 3 primary election is Feb. 18. Santa Clara County citizens can get voting information at sccgov.org. If you are registered as "no party preference" and would like to vote in the Democratic, American Independent or Libertarian party primary, you may file a request up to seven days before the election using this form on the county's website.

Comments

Independent
Esther Clark Park
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:33 pm
Independent, Esther Clark Park
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:33 pm

No on SB 50. Shelly Masur is endorsed by Scott Wiener, who gave her $2k and presumably wants her elected to vote Yes on SB 50.

Masur also received $9300 from the Calif Teacher's Association and $9300 from the Carpenter's union. Academic performance is our public schools is extremely poor. The building trades, like the Carpenters, wanted SB 50, to give them good paying jobs building a tall tower next to your house.

No to Shelly Masur, the union and SB 50 candidate.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 30, 2020 at 10:13 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 30, 2020 at 10:13 am

I received my Voter Guide - note to everyone the Presidential instructions are on page 7 - How to Vote for President. If you are registered as an Independent then you can only vote for an Independent. Have yet to see any candidates for other than Democrat or Republican. My niece ran into that problem in 2016 so was cut off from expressing her vote for president in that election.
There are instructions for changing your party affiliation on page 7. If you want to vote for President then make sure you are correctly lined up and registered for the party / candidate of your choice. I have noted that there is a large percentage of the CA population that is registered in one of the alternate parties - last time it was 31%. when people talk about voter turnout I suspect that some of that may be attributed to being signed up for a party that does not have a viable candidate.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2020 at 11:34 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2020 at 11:34 am

Posted by Independent, a resident of Esther Clark Park

>> No on SB 50. Shelly Masur is endorsed by Scott Wiener, who gave her $2k and presumably wants her elected to vote Yes on SB 50.

Agreed. Masur is off the table for her support of SB50.

Glew is off the table (""If a president does something which he believes will help help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment" -- Trump's legal counsel. ""When the President does it, it means it is not illegal" -- Richard Nixon)

That leaves Becker, Brownrigg, Lieber, and Oliva. Which one has the most coherent plan regarding California's response to climate change?


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 30, 2020 at 12:37 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 30, 2020 at 12:37 pm

I am getting mailings - the costs of the mailings must be staggering however they do not really address the qualifications of the candidates - what offices they have held and where they held those offices. Educational background, participation in agencies, etc. All important. We are not doing identity politics here - or how much someone has spent on mailings that are incomplete in information. And not "one topic" candidates. Climate change is interesting but that is being directed to international organizations. Our "climate" issue is water - where used, how stored. The Water Districts are busy on that topic and have more money.

The topic of impeachment will be resolved before these candidates take office - not their job.

But get educated on the topic of "US Foreign Aid" on Wikipedia. The history, the political issues through time. There is a listing of countries, money provided, and other types of categories of aid. Lot of information on this topic on Wikipedia. Note that Ukraine is at the bottom of the list for 2017 - other countries are getting way more than Ukraine. Review the list - maybe your heritage country is on it. Los Angeles has a large population of middle eastern countries that have an affiliation with the former Soviet Union so maybe that is why that country has popped up as called out specifically. Many other countries getting more - Africa countries. Don't believe the spin and drama - so Hollywood.


Recent Grad
Downtown North
on Jan 30, 2020 at 1:16 pm
Recent Grad, Downtown North
on Jan 30, 2020 at 1:16 pm

> Shelly Masur is endorsed by Scott Wiener

Good start so far.

> Masur also received $9300 from the Calif Teacher's Association and $9300 from the Carpenter's union. Academic performance is our public schools is extremely poor.

Academic performance in the PAUSD school district is not extremely poor, I'm very curious to hear what your source for that is, other than a collection of anecdotes. Niche gives them a #2 ranking on California and US News and World Report gives Gunn and Paly #21 and #33 in California, respectively.

>The building trades, like the Carpenters, wanted SB 50, to give them good paying jobs building a tall tower next to your house.

Given your neighborhood, Independent, is listed as Esther Clark Park and is nowhere near large-scale public transit, I really doubt that they would want to put a tall tower next to your house and SB50 wouldn't be rezoning near you either. Places that would benefit from SB50 are neighborhoods like Downtown North, where I live. Currently Downtown North is mostly medium sized apartments or large formerly Single Family Homes converted into multi-units. I'd be perfectly happy if a tall tower showed up next to my apartment building. I'd probably want to move into it.

For the majority of Palo Alto residents, nobody is proposing building a tower next to your house. It would be inconvenient for everyone to put it in the middle of a residential area. The areas that would get larger buildings would be near the CalTrain stops, so can we please stop pretending that there's going to be a tower casting a shadow into your backyard? I really doubt many of you truly believe that will happen.

Everything that's been said about Shelly Masur in this comment section makes her seem like an ideal candidate to me and for people in my age range (20-30). I'll have to do some research on my own, but thanks for the head start!




Quid pro quo
Stanford
on Feb 1, 2020 at 4:54 pm
Quid pro quo, Stanford
on Feb 1, 2020 at 4:54 pm


Josh Becker is out for me, he’s endorsed by Newsom who keeps throwing out the lie about California needing to build 3.5 million housing units. Newsom is throwing out that 3.5 million housing units lie so he appropriated money toward some housing scheme and tax all of us.

Josh Becker’s going to have to quid pro quo if he wins. And the quid pro quo ain’t us working class.


Seen This Before
Barron Park
on Feb 1, 2020 at 9:10 pm
Seen This Before, Barron Park
on Feb 1, 2020 at 9:10 pm

I will tell everyone here how to request a Democratic primary ballot as an independent, but you all have to promise not to tell Resident 1-Adobe Meadows...


The eye of Sauron upon us
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2020 at 9:46 am
The eye of Sauron upon us, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2020 at 9:46 am

It’s not that I don’t care about local elections, but the overwhelming sense of powerlessness coming from what’s going on in Washington and the world is making it difficult to concentrate on local elections.

I have never been more afraid for our democracy in my life. What is about to happen in Washington, enabled by ultra-rightwing Republican extreme partisans who have worked for decades to destroy our democratic republic (“Permanent Republican majority” “drown government in a bathtub”) and leaving our government insular to the honing forces of competition, controlled by small groups of corrupt/moneyed rightwing interests, and weak in the face of Ru$$ian co-option (and the alarming connection to their meddling in not just our leadership but also other nations' all over the world).

And then what just happened in Ru$$ia with P2tin consolidating power and their entire government resigning… and we are enabling corrupt Ru$$ian puppet power. Why did Democrats do this if they weren’t going to see it through? Why would they ever think that there is any such thing as a Republican who values truth anymore, or is even able to recognize truth? Lying has been their modus operandi for far too long. And why, when the defense seems to be to claim Democrats are just partisans, with the attempt to keep juxtaposing the terms “biden” and “corruption” in the media, do the Democrats not come back with an investigation into whether those who opposed the potus from the election had grounds for their concerns? They certainly had far, far more grounds for concern about the corruption, lying, easily manipulated ego of the potus (not bias) than the potus had for believing debunked conspiracy theories about Ukraine. Why aren’t we talking about those? Democrats seem to think we can treat upcoming elections at any level like it’s business as usual.

Since they are not nearly the majority, the right has been relentlessly trying to overturn all manner of state and local elections. It’s never been more imperative for Democrats to go beyond ideas and differentiating themselves from each other, to both getting the message across about the danger to our world and nation from the weakening and corruption of our democratic republic from the right and the need to GET OUT THE VOTE in every way.

(Someone save the Republican party, please! We need a balancing force against the left being used by developers and rich interests, too.)


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 3, 2020 at 4:28 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 3, 2020 at 4:28 pm

I look at the comment above - I told you what is stated in the California Presidential Primary Election Guide- Official Voter Information Guide issued by the Secretary of State - Alex Padilla. Page 7. I am assuming that the comment from Barron Park is not from Alex Padilla.

The biggest issue we have here is that no one knows who the D Party candidate will be. And we have not seen any other of the parties note a candidate. If 31 % of the voters are registered to parties that do not have a candidate then every one needs to get their ducks in order. And if you are on the Trump Train you better register as a Republican now to avoid "confusion" later on.


Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 3, 2020 at 6:55 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 3, 2020 at 6:55 pm

No on Becker, the party machine candidate. No on anyone endorsing SB 50 or other mis-guided, virtue-signaling, damaging state legislation.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2020 at 1:32 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2020 at 1:32 pm

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis

>> No on Becker, the party machine candidate. No on anyone endorsing SB 50 or other mis-guided, virtue-signaling,

Please leave off the "virtue-signaling" part next time. It diminishes the point you are making.

I'm looking at Brownrigg and Lieber mainly for now. I would like to hear more about these two. Masur, Becker, and Glew all have some pretty solid negatives. What are the positives for Brownrigg and Lieber?


NPP/Independent CAN vote in DEM primary
Mountain View
on Feb 5, 2020 at 10:47 am
NPP/Independent CAN vote in DEM primary, Mountain View
on Feb 5, 2020 at 10:47 am

INCORRECT INFO - "If you are registered as an Independent then you can only vote for an Independent." If you are registered as NPP (no party prefereance aka Independent) you CAN request a DEMOCRATIC ballot for primary.

* NPP Absentee voters received a postcard over a month ago with option to request DEM ballot. If you did not receive it go to a voter center as noted below for your county, Web Link

* NPP Absentee voters can go to a voter center and request the DEM ballot,
Santa Clara County Web Link
San Mateo County Web Link

There is a LOT of mis-information out there, Vote in the DEM ballot, it COUNTS A LOT #PETE2020


CORRECTION ALL NPP-Independent can get Dem Ballot
Mountain View
on Feb 5, 2020 at 10:52 am
CORRECTION ALL NPP-Independent can get Dem Ballot, Mountain View
on Feb 5, 2020 at 10:52 am

ALL NPP (Independent) voters can go to a voter center and request the DEM ballot, PLEASE NOTE: if you make a mistake on your absentee ballot you need a NEW ballot do not cross out the mistake, got to voter center and get a NEW ballot otherwise it will not count.

Voters Choice rolled out in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties...
Web Link


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 5, 2020 at 12:09 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 5, 2020 at 12:09 pm

I received my "Democrat" ballot in the mail. The area in question is the candidate for President. Only those listed qualify as Democrats. The rest of the ballot has all parties for the other offices.

While you are discussing the county offices it is very evident that the office of President is front and center at this time. And based on the Iowa debacle who you all vote for here is very important.
So we are talking about the vote for the presidential candidates here as being the area of the ballot that is politically segmented.
I suspect that the other parties are getting a free pass -if that is true - because they do not have a candidate for President. And it would be very expensive to print ballots for every party that has a presidential candidate.


David Cohen
Midtown
on Feb 5, 2020 at 10:34 pm
David Cohen, Midtown
on Feb 5, 2020 at 10:34 pm

Being neither a fan of anonymity (nor candidate purity tests), I'm going to venture into the fray here to give a brief explanation of why I support Shelly Masur (as a voter, volunteer, and donor). I'm not much interested in anonymous debates and I'm not persuadable regarding the primary, so if anyone disagrees with my assessment, please keep it focused on the candidates and issues. I hope we can keep it civil among neighbors here as we exchange views. Thanks in advance.

I like Masur's background in public health and public education. For several years she led a foundation called Californians Dedicated to Education. You can see some of their work here: Web Link While some voters might be skeptical regarding union support, Masur has demonstrated that her goal is not to do the unions' bidding, but to bring unions and management together to solve problems. Regarding issues around development and transportation, Masur has been a council member and is now Vice-Mayor of Redwood City. She has experience balancing the needs of stakeholders while bringing about positive and fast-paced changes, and has been endorsed by most of her fellow council members. People I know and trust who've worked with Masur have nothing but positive things to say about her as a leader.

Regarding the other candidates, I'm not going to trash any Democrats since I might be supporting them in November. However, I think Masur has some clear advantages. Some other candidates overlap in some of these areas, but no one else has all of these qualifications:
- current experience in public office having to address all of the most challenging issues of local government
- being re-elected and holding multiple elected positions, which shows she has maintained the trust of voters who know her
- producing a record of votes in office, which counts for more than merely saying what you're for/against
- unique policy expertise in areas that are especially important to me (education, health care)
- the most impressive breadth of endorsements from individuals and organizations I respect
Web Link


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2020 at 9:30 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2020 at 9:30 am

Posted by David Cohen, a resident of Midtown

>> Being neither a fan of anonymity (nor candidate purity tests)

I don't believe in purity tests, either. But, SB50 is an extraordinarily stupid and nasty bill, and Shelly Masur supported it, and, got the endorsement of Scott Wiener. This is a really serious error by Shelly Masur, and I prefer to choose from one of the other candidates, who show better judgement.

Specifically, Becker, Lieber and Brownrigg, who have a lot of viable ideas with regard to housing approaches, PG&E, and transportation. Here is a quick summary of the last debate: Web Link

Honestly, I think Becker, Lieber, and Brownrigg all have interesting ideas to contribute and I hope that they will all continue to serve the public. The other candidates all appear to be seriously lacking, either tied to special interests, or, with various ideological blind-spots.


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