Part of the Bay Area News Group

Anti-Wilson torrent pours into AD15

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 at 5:24 pm in 2010 election, Assembly District 15.

Everyone knew it was coming.

The California Democratic Party and Democratic Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan unleashed a triple whammy this week against her opponent, GOP nominee and San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson.

Television and radio ads hit the airwaves today and a brochure landed in mailboxes in the past few days. (See all three below.)

All contain the same theme: Wilson cannot call himself a fiscal conservative at the same time he supports paying San Ramon City Manager Herb Moniz the highest city manager salary in California.

Moniz earned $356,000, the top pay in the state, according to the League of California Cities’ salary compensation study. (Three other city managers collected more money in 2009 but after one-time retirement payments were subtracted, Moniz remained was No. 1.)

The issue could seriously damage Wilson’s chances of victory on Nov. 2. Voters of all political stripes are angry over the scandal in Bell, where the city manager earned in excess of $800,000 and he and several city councilmembers were indicted on charges of stealing public money.

Wilson has consistently supported Moniz’ salary. He correctly notes that Moniz’ pay figure includes the cost of health insurance when other cities did not report the figure as part of their top managers’ salary. (This is requires clarification, however. San Ramon does not provide Moniz health insurance but the city boosted his salary about $20,000, the value of that insurance.)

Wilson also says that San Ramon is an exceedingly well-run city and Moniz does the job without a bevy of assistant city managers found in other communities.

“It’s pay for performance,” Wilson said during a recent interview. “Show me a better-run city in California or the U.S. Look at all the awards we have received … We pay in this society for performance. Look at athletes. Look at executives.”

Wilson continued to say, “You can pay less and have to fear for your life when you have to talk out your door or you can not have the amenities. But what good is that? It’s quality of life. We don’t have that in California. But we do have that in San Ramon.”

Click here to listen to the radio ad:

Abram Wilson radio ad by Lisa Vorderbrueggen

Watch the video below:

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  • Anything Else?

    Yeah, our city manager is paid well. Anything else?

    If the only attack she has is that Wilson pays his top executive well for doing a fantastic job (San Ramon IS a great city) then what does that say for the rest of his record as Mayor?

    I have lived in San Ramon since before Abram Wilson was Mayor so I have watched as he and his “overpaid” manager have created one of the best and most fiscally sound cities in the country.

    We need more people like Mayor Wilson in Sacramento.

  • Sam Cooper

    San Ramon is one of the few cities in California that has completely funded their pension obligations, has a surplus to weather hard times and a AAA bond rating. It has been named one of the top 100 places to live in the US. Housing prices have held their own (even in this economy) because San Ramon is such a wonderful place to live. How many other cities and towns in California can say that?

    I’d say we are in pretty good hands with Mayor Wilson and we should elect him to help fix the mess in Sacramento.

    I’d much rather have Mayor Wilson in the Assembly because I know he will show up and vote. Buchanan abstained on over 300 votes during her short time in the Assembly and decided to run for Tauscher’s seat less than 3 months after taking office. Is she truelly representing us or just looking out for herself?

  • AK

    San Ramon is one of the best cities to live in the Bay Area and it is due to the guidance of Mayor Wilson.

    He has helped our city gain a 50 percent reserve and a AAA bond rating.

    To quote Sam Cooper:
    “I’d say we are in pretty good hands with Mayor Wilson and we should elect him to help fix the mess in Sacramento.

    I’d much rather have Mayor Wilson in the Assembly because I know he will show up and vote. Buchanan abstained on over 300 votes during her short time in the Assembly and decided to run for Tauscher’s seat less than 3 months after taking office. Is she truelly representing us or just looking out for herself?”

    Folks, the choice is clear. HIgher taxes and a person who deserted their constituency or more jobs, lower taxes and fiscal Responsibility?

    I strongly urge you to vote for Abram Wilson, the clear choice for AD-15.

  • http://joesgonesocial.com Joe Hackman

    Yes, the City Manager is well compensated based on performance. When you talk about the cities 8-9 times larger what kind of fiscal condition are they in?

    Playing the class warfare card is not going to work here, people will judge Abram Wilson on his track record not how much his city manager is paid.

    The current government is not working, we need some fresh faces, ideas and people with real track records on economy and jobs. That sounds like Abram Wilson to me.

  • John W

    The city manager salary issue won’t influence my AD 15 vote, but there is no way in hell that compensation is justified — roughly $40 per homeowner when retirement benefits are factored in. Yes, as a resident, I agree San Ramon is very well managed by the City Manager and City Council. But so is Danville. San Jose is a major city and has challenges small suburban communities don’t have. But it’s not because they have an underpaid, unqualified city manager.

    Wilson is a pragmatic, “main street” conservative. But once he’s part of the Republican caucus in Sacramento, he’ll be just as bad as the rest on both sides of the aisle. He already sold his soul by signing the Grover Norquist pledge. I have many complaints about Buchanan, but I’m still undecided.

  • echofool

    Fiscal conservative for thee, but not me! Are you people nuts or just hypocrites? $350K for a city manager of San Ramon, California?
    Wilson (and some of his shills above) say that this paragon of cities on the hill which I live in has a 50% reserve and fully funded retirement benefits….but they lie…
    • The City currently is deficit spending, dipping into reserves to balance the budget.
    • The City is leaving positions unfilled and reducing services.
    • The City is increasing fees for senior citizens.
    • The City’s pension fund is underfunded by 30%. That’s why the City sold a $15,000,000 bond that will be repaid with interest by the taxpayers.
    AND…while the City is doing this, it has built-in 10% annual salary increases for its top managers.
    Do you have a built-in 10% salary increase at your job?
    I just love how supposed fiscal conservatives bitch and moan about the fat in government when it has to do with others, but not when it comes to themselves. Cut government….but not social security, defense, medicare, or my city manager. Just a bunch of hypocrites…god help the republican party and the country.

  • John W

    Re #6

    $359k understates the matter. When pension is factored in, you can almost double that. Also, they note that health care is built into his salary. Well, guess what. That $20k spikes his annual pension calculation by roughly $15k. You don’t suppose he realized that whey they negotiated his contract, do you?