Applicant

Controller

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Applicant Steve Glazer is asking you to hire him for the role of controller, which pays $174,843 per year. His resume:

Steve Glazer

State Senator

Professional Profile

You might say Steve Glazer started shaping California politics as a college student: In 1978, while attending San Diego State University, he helped organize a campus campaign to elect Jerry Brown as governor – the first of many years of work with Brown.

A communications consultant and political strategist by trade, Glazer’s first foray into lawmaking was after he was shot in the neck by a pellet rifle in 2003. The perpetrator was caught, but wasn’t charged because pellet guns were considered toys, not weapons. That prompted Glazer to work with his local legislator to write a bill establishing penalties for pellet-gun attacks. 

He went on to serve on the city council and as mayor of the Bay Area city of Orinda from 2004 to 2015. Within that time, he also served as a political advisor to Brown in his second go-round for governor. Glazer ran for state Senate in a special election in 2015, and won a full four-year term in 2016. As a senator, he has authored bills that aim to address air and water pollution, gun control and predatory lending.

Experience

State senator 

2015-present 

Authored legislation on gun control, including the “bullet button” bill closing a loophole on assault-style weapons, as well as higher tax credits for renters

The only Democratic Senate member to oppose the single-payer health bill in 2017.

Has been critical of the Newsom administration’s response to COVID-19, saying that trying to balance the economy and health is not working.

A member of the Senate’s Bay Area Caucus, Delta Caucus, Environmental Caucus, Jewish Caucus and Technological Caucus.

City council member and three-time mayor of Orinda

2004-2015

Led ballot measure campaigns to increase local taxes, including Orinda’s Measure E, approved by voters in June 2008.

As mayor, was a charter member of the national organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Senior political advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown

2009-2012 

Served as a campaign advisor to help Brown win re-election.

Advised Brown in managing California’s finances during the recession – including leading the campaign to increase sales and income taxes.

California State University board of trustees 

2011-2015

Appointed by Brown, Glazer worked to limit tuition increases and lower administrative costs throughout the Cal State system.

Fun Fact

In 1985, Glazer persuaded then-aspiring politician Gray Davis to promote putting pictures of missing children on milk cartons. That earned Davis lots of publicity and helped him win his first statewide office on his way to being elected governor in 1998, before being recalled in 2003.

Video Interviews

“I want to be clear that I owe no favor and have no fear about accountability for everyone, including your elected leaders.”

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Here’s a look at where Steve Glazer stands on the most pressing issues he would face in office.

Key Topics
Where Steve Glazer Stands on the Issues
Budget
Economy
Taxes
Pensions

While the state budget is awash in surplus cash, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office and other watchdogs have repeatedly questioned whether all that money is being spent wisely or effectively. 

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Which areas of the state budget would you focus on to make sure spending is effective?

Education, homelessness, mental health. “I look to where the impacts are great, the numbers are high and the impacts are great. Certainly the $20 billion-plus fraud at the Employment Development Department does attract one’s attention.”

What specific strategies would you employ to prevent waste and fraud?

“Making people be very clear that you’re not going to get away with it, that you have the office of the controller that’s going to be very diligent in tracking the expenditure, every public dollar, and we’re going to hold people accountable, small and large.”

Even though the economy is rebounding from COVID, California still has among the nation’s highest jobless rates and hasn’t recovered all the jobs lost. Experts say the pandemic widened the gap between California’s rich and poor in some ways, despite unprecedented direct relief.

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Would you support another broad stimulus payment? What about the gas tax rebate?

Supports Senate Democratic plan for $200 per person rebates for families earning less than $250,000 a year. “I think that’s a prudent plan. It’s focused on those who are most needy and those in the middle class, excludes the very wealthy.”

The pandemic has highlighted how much the state relies on the wealthy for tax revenues that are fueling record budget surpluses — and raised again the issue of whether the tax system needs an overhaul. Conversely, some progressives are pushing to increase taxes on the rich.    

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Do you support any changes in income taxes or sales taxes to account for the shift to a service economy?

“I don’t think that’s a realistic path going forward because what happens is… you’re going to increase the tax burden on the low- and middle-income folks in our state to the benefit of the wealthy. And I think that’s a very tough sell.”

Do you support a “wealth tax” or increases on tax rates on upper-income residents? If so, what would the revenue be used for?

“We have a $68 billion surplus, okay. So what’s the reason that we should tax more? I don’t see a reason that we should be looking to tax more….I think we’re pretty well taxed in the state.”

In the short term, Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislators are urging the state’s two huge public employee pension funds to divest from Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. In the longer term, CalPERS and CalSTRS both face huge amounts of unfunded debt, forcing them to consider riskier investments in search of higher returns

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How would you reduce the unfunded debts of CalPERS, CalSTRS and local governments?

Supports lowering rate of return and possibly benefits for new employees after a certain date. “It’s trying to not make worse an existing liability problem, and try to create a system that is actually sustainable for the employees and the employer going forward so that we don’t have this liability trap of billions that only the taxpayers have to cover.”

Do you think the state should divest from Russian companies or funds due to the Ukraine war?

“You would do an analysis to see whether or not that divestment would create any kind of financial shortfall for the fund in which you have a fiduciary to do that work. So that’s a calculation, versus a black and white.”

Would you change any specific investment policies of CalPERS or CalSTRS?

“I think we want a sustainable system so that we can provide the benefits for the retirees and to do it in a responsible way. That’s the frame in which I would enter that service.”