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AD15: Candidates face CCT ed board

I sat in on yesterday’s editorial board meetings with the two Assembly District 15 candidates, Democratic incumbent Joan Buchanan and GOP nominee and San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson.

The editorial board members asking the questions included Times Publisher David Rounds, Editorial Page Editor Dan Hatfield and editorial writer and columnist Dan Borenstein. (I am not a member of the editorial board and have no vote on the endorsement selection, but I occasionally sit in on the interviews for news-gathering purposes.)

Watch portions of the meetings below.

In Wilson’s session, the board focused heavily on matters related to the salary and pension of San Ramon City Manager Herb Moniz. The mayor has come under heavy criticism for running as a fiscal conservative at the same time he defends Moniz’ pay, which was the highest in California in 2009.

But what emerges from the discussion is the massive gap between Wilson and members of the editorial board when it comes to knowledge of how public pensions work in California.

For Buchanan, the issue is disclosure of public employees’ salaries, which the Assemblywoman has opposed when it comes to front-line workers such as school teachers and janitors. But Buchanan has reversed her stance after the scandal in the small southern California city of Bell, where investigators have uncovered wildly excessive salaries and misuse of public funds.

The Contra Costa Times, among other news organization, successfully sued to force the release of public employees salaries and pensions and has used that data to help uncover abuses such as pension spiking.

Watch portions of the two editorial board meetings below.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen