Incumbent Contra Costa County District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover’s final Board of Supervisors campaign is likely his most contentious, this time facing the longtime county assessor who has had significant job-related legal issues and who has sued the supervisors.
Glover, 63, is seeking his sixth four-year term in the March 3 election, and vows it would be his last. A onetime Pittsburg City Councilman and a Pittsburg native, Glover missed time in 2015 recuperating from a heart and kidney transplant.
He said he had not originally planned to run, but said he is feeling well physically, and added that he’s the man for the job — again.
“I really don’t see anyone as a good successor to take it over,” Glover said recently.
At least two people disagree. Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer has been in his current position even longer than Glover, having first been elected in 1994.
A ‘great run’
The 69-year-old Bay Point native and current Martinez resident said he typically brings in his county department under budget, and that his experience in that department and in other county jobs before that gives him the needed “tools in the toolbox to be a good supervisor.”
“I’ve had a great run here, and I’ve got good staff members who’d like a chance to assume this job,” Kramer said this week. “I’ve got three or four people here capable of doing a good job.”
Sean Trambley, 35, is a Martinez native who lived in the Central Valley for a while as a staff member for former U.S. Rep. Dennis Cardoza before returning a few years ago to his hometown. A communications consultant, the firmly pro-labor Trambley serves on the Martinez Planning Commission.
Trambley said he is frustrated with Glover over what he sees as a lack of progress by the Board of Supervisors in addressing issues including waterfront industrial development, easing traffic gridlock and improving the region’s homelessness problem.
“We have a leadership vacuum, and someone’s got to step forward to fill it,” Trambley said.
Waterfront development plans
Glover said he is proud of his work overall as a supervisor, and cited his efforts to coordinate the Northern Waterfront Economic Development Initiative, its goal being the creation of 18,000 new jobs by 2035 along 55 miles of waterfront from Pinole north through Rodeo and east along San Pablo Bay and Carquinez Strait through Crockett, Martinez, Avon, Bay Point, Pittsburg and Antioch to Oakley.
Except for Oakley and much of Antioch, those cities and communities are the backbone of District 5.
While Kramer and Trambley question why the plan has seemingly gotten little traction in the seven years since it was unveiled, Glover defends the deliberate pace.
Making this happen is a long, slow process, Glover said, involving the county, several cities and regulatory agencies. A recently christened logistics center complex in Oakley and a refurbished Pittsburg plant where Bombardier will build new BART cars are the first big pieces of that project.
Trambley and Kramer also criticized Glover for what they say is his inattention to most of the communities he represents. This was brought up at a candidates’ forum earlier this month in Hercules, near the western end of Glover’s district.
“It’s important to show up in every community and be present,” Trambley said at the televised forum.
Glover admitted he can’t get to every place in his district as often as he wants, but said his staff takes care of that for him.
“I’m responsive to my district’s needs,” he said.
Also in evidence at the Feb. 4 Hercules forum was how Glover and Kramer don’t get along very well.
Prompted by an audience question, Glover talked about Kramer’s ongoing legal troubles, the most recent involving civil charges of willful or corrupt misconduct, for “more likely than not” making sexually charged comments that at least one of his employees said were unwelcome.
The Board of Supervisors asserts Kramer created a hostile work environment in so doing; when the supervisors in August 2018 voted to censure Kramer, he sued his prospective colleagues. That suit is still pending, and Kramer asserts he is still being targeted by the current Board of Supervisors.
Glover said Kramer has a history of harassment and retaliation. “He’s just a poster child for all that,” he said.
In response, Kramer held up documents he said detailed a Glover DUI arrest (Glover had a well-publicized DUI arrest in Pittsburg in 2001). In a separate interview, he also claimed the supervisors’ actions during closed-session meetings go beyond the confidentiality closed session usually allows, and that the board hasn’t been transparent.
Trambley didn’t have much to say about the Glover-Kramer dynamic, other than that it’s a distraction.
All three men say plans to create an entire community on former Concord Naval Weapons Station land in Concord will put even more pressure on an already crowded state Highway 4.
Transportation in focus
They all favor expansion of BART service in Contra Costa; Trambley said ferry service serving the northern waterfront is needed, and Kramer said major improvements to Bailey Road and Willow Pass Road will be needed.
Glover said the county is looking at ways to expand county medical service to West County; Kramer and Trambley both said the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center should expand operations to that area, which they say in underserved.
And all say providing more housing in this district is crucial, in part to help counter the growing homelessness problem. And the homeless need to be connected with jobs, all agreed.
Glover said he feels his experience should win the day.
“Relationships I’ve formed at the state level make me a better choice to work on homelessness and other issues.”