Community and Government Relations Report


Senate and Governor's Races Heating Up

Now that Labor Day has passed, the fall election season has kicked into high gear. As most of you know, the Senate election between Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer and Republican challenger Carly Fiorina is one of the most watched contests in the country. Saint Mary's was pleased to provide a venue for the first face-to-face debate between the candidates.

The candidates for governor, Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman, who are also engaged in a spirited contest, will discuss their visions in a debate at Dominican University on Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 6:30 p.m.

State Sets a Record for Operating Without a Budget

On Sept. 16, California broke a record for the longest stretch without a state budget. There appears to be little action on the budget while the election campaigns are underway. We continue to hear that the Cal Grant program is not threatened this year, but we will always be alert for any changes.

Will Torlakson Break the Contra Costa Glass Ceiling?

Many political observers are closely watching the race between Assemblymember Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch) and Larry Aceves for state superintendent of public instruction. Should Torlakson be successful, he would be the first Contra Costan in recent years (or perhaps ever) to win a statewide election in California. If you would like additional information on this race, please check out the websites for Torlaksen and Aceves.


Candidates Face Off in D.A. Race

Since the winners of most of the countywide offices were settled in the primary, there is only one contested countywide race this fall, and that is for district attorney. The top two candidates from the primary -- Concord city councilmember and deputy district attorney Mark Peterson and former Judge Dan O'Malley -- have advanced to the general election.

Five Candidates Vie for Moraga Town Council Seats

Moraga councilmembers Ken Chew and Dave Trotter have both filed papers for a second term. Also filing papers is Dennis Wanken and his wife Eleni Wanken. Finishing out the field is Seth Freeman. Town council candidates will square off during a candidate's night on Tuesday, Oct. 5, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Serbian Church, at 1700 School Street in Moraga.

Should the Wankens both win, it is believed they would be the first married couple serving on the same council at the same time. While other married couples have served on the same councils and boards, they have not served simultaneously.

Register to Vote

If you want to vote in the election this fall, you must be registered by Monday, Oct. 18. There will be voter registration tables in front of Oliver Hall at various times throughout the fall. If you are registered to vote at an address other than your Saint Mary's address, you must contact your county's registrar of voters and request an absentee ballot. Early voting will begin Oct. 4.

Poll Workers Needed

The Contra Costa County election department is in need of poll workers who can assist them during the Nov. 2 election. Inspectors receive a $100 stipend and clerks receive an $80 stipend for Election Day. Other stipends ranging from $5 to $20 are paid for various duties, such as attending a class, picking up supplies, delivering ballots and providing Spanish bilingual assistance. For more information, please visit the Contra Costa County website.

Pear Festival

In a tribute to its agricultural past, the Moraga Parks Foundation holds a Pear Festival each year. This year's festival will be on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Moraga Commons Park, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Next month: a closer look at the statewide propositions.