The Buzz: Independent expenditures approaching $3 million in California races

Independent spending surges in Assembly race

Unions, real estate agents, dentists and other special interests already have spent close to $3 million on independent efforts in legislative and statewide contests, with more than a month to go until the June 3 primary.

The 16th Assembly District in the East Bay has seen $1.3 million in independent expenditures, more than five times as in any other contest. In California, donors can bypass contribution limits and spend unlimited amounts on behalf of – or against – a candidate, as long as they don’t coordinate with the campaigns. The practice is becoming increasingly popular – more than $20 million was spent two years ago.

In the 16th District, the California Teachers Association and California Council of Service Employees has spent more than $326,000 backing Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti and $64,000 opposing Orinda Councilman Steve Glazer.

But the California Real Estate Independent Expenditure Committee has spent more than $797,000 supporting Glazer, who also has received independent support from California charter schools ($108,716) and the Chamber of Commerce’s JobsPAC ($48,042).

– Jim Miller

Worth repeating

“Why should those of us who have made the right decision of not smoking or taking care of ourselves subsidize bad physical or bad health behavior in others?”

DOUG OSE, Sacramento-area congressional candidate, on Obamacare.