Contra Costa's election season has officially kicked into gear with the traditional taping of Election Previews 2010, televised face-to-face showdowns among the nearly 100 candidates vying for East Bay offices.

Incumbents and challengers in 24 congressional, legislative, countywide, city and school board races met at Contra Costa TV studios in Martinez this week during a three-day recording marathon.

By far, the prevailing theme among the city and school board candidates was a lack of money and the prospect of even deeper cutbacks in their already strained public services. A few embraced new taxes that would stave off some of the worst reductions but most seemed resigned, if successful on Nov. 2, to more rough budget times ahead.

Reps. George Miller, John Garamendi and Jerry McNerney sat with their opponents during 30-minute segments devoted to each district, where they aired their views on everything from Wall Street reform to paying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, the Republican challengers to Democratic Assembly District 11 nominee Susan Bonilla and Democratic District 15 Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan said they were too busy to participate. The women had their shows to themselves.

But the vast majority of the candidates in the races selected for inclusion in Election Previews 2010 participated in a round-table format that included questions from moderator and Contra Costa Times political columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen, and an opportunity to make direct and free television appeals to the voters.


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The races were selected by a priority-ranking formula based on the type of race -- federal, state, countywide, cities, schools and special districts -- and the number of registered voters. The production sponsors lacked sufficient funding to record round-tables for all 74 races that will appear on ballots in Contra Costa County.

Other featured races include Contra Costa County district attorney, a host of city council and mayoral contests, and the county's largest school districts.

Voters may watch the 13½ hours of election coverage on their public access television stations during the next several months. Most of the segments will air more than once.

The round-tables will also be available online at www.contracostatimes.com after Labor Day.

In its 18th year of production, the election previews are produced and funded by the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley, Contra Costa Times, Contra Costa Television, Contra Costa Council, Contra Costa Elections Department, Scholar-Olli at Cal State East Bay and the Lesher Foundation of Walnut Creek.

This year, the cities of Concord, Richmond and Walnut Creek provided production crew. Comcast has closed its public access television studios and can no longer provide staff.

Contact Lisa Vorderbrueggen at 925-945-4773, lvorderbrueggen@bayareanewsgroup.com, www.ibabuzz.com/politics or at Twitter.com/lvorderbrueggen.

On the air
The Contra Costa County round-table air dates will be:
  • Congressional District 7 -- Contra Costa TV Channel 27, Astound Channel 32 and AT&T Channel 99: Sept. 2, 6 p.m.; Sept. 5, 9 p.m.; Sept. 9, 8 p.m., Sept. 13, 8 p.m.; Sept. 19, 9 p.m.; Sept. 27, 8 p.m. Concord Channel 28: Aug. 28, 4 p.m.; Aug. 30, 4 p.m.; Aug. 31, 4 p.m., and Sept. 1, 2 p.m.
  • Congressional District 10 -- Contra Costa TV Channel 27, Astound Channel 32 and AT&T Channel 99: Sept. 2, 6:30 p.m.; Sept. 5, 9:30 p.m.; Sept. 9; 8:30 p.m.; Sept. 13, 8:30 p.m.; Sept. 19, 9:30 p.m.; and Sept. 27, 8:30 p.m. Walnut Creek Comcast Channel 28, Rossmoor Channel 26, Astound Channel 29 and AT&T Channel 99: Aug. 30, Sept 3, 6, 10, 13,17, 20, 24, 27, 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25 and, 29, and Nov. 1, 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Concord Channel 28: Aug. 28, 3 p.m.; Aug. 30, 3 p.m.; Aug. 31, 3 p.m; Sept. 1, 1 p.m.
  • Congressional District 11 -- Contra Costa TV Channel 27, Astound Channel 32 and AT&T Channel 99: Sept. 2, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5, 10 p.m.; Sept. 9, 9 p.m.; Sept. 13, 9 p.m.; Sept. 19, 10 p.m.; and Sept. 27, 9 p.m. Concord Channel 28: Aug. 28, 2 p.m.; Aug. 30, 2 p.m.; Aug. 31, 2 p.m.; and Sept. 1, noon.
  • Assembly District 11 -- Contra Costa TV Channel 27, Astound Channel 32 and AT&T Channel 99: Sept. 2, 8 p.m.; Sept. 6, 8 p.m.; Sept. 9, 6 p.m.; Sept. 12, 9 p.m.; Sept. 20, 8 p.m.; Sept. 26 at 9 p.m.
  • Assembly District 15 -- Contra Costa TV Channel 27, Astound Channel 32 and AT&T Channel 99: Sept. 2, 8:30 p.m.; Sept. 6, 8:30 p.m.; Sept. 9, 6:30 p.m.; Sept. 12, 9:30 p.m.; Sept. 20, 8:30 p.m.; and Sept. 26, 9:30 p.m. Walnut Creek Comcast Channel 28, Rossmoor Channel 26, Astound Channel 29 and AT&T Channel 99: Aug. 30, Sept 3, 6, 10, 13,17, 20, 24 and 27, Oct. 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25 and 29, and Nov. 1, noon and 9 p.m.
  • Contra Costa County District Attorney -- Contra Costa TV Channel 27, Astound Channel 32 and AT&T Channel 99: Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 5, 10:30 p.m.; Sept. 9, 9:30 p.m.; Sept. 13, 9:30 p.m.; Sept. 19, 10:30 p.m., and Sept. 27, 9:30 p.m. Walnut Creek Comcast Channel 28, Rossmoor Channel 26, Astound Channel 29 and AT&T Channel 99: Aug. 30, Sept. 3, 6, 10, 13,17, 20, 24 and 27, Oct. 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25 and 29, and Nov. 1, 12:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Concord TV Channel 28: Aug. 28, 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.; Aug. 31, 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.; Sept. 1, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Antioch City Council -- Comcast East Contra Costa Channel 24: Sept. 20, Sept. 27 and Oct. 4, 8 p.m.
  • Brentwood City Council -- Comcast East Contra Costa Channel 24: Sept. 21, Sept. 28 and Oct. 5, 5 p.m.
  • Concord City Council -- Concord TV Channel 28: Aug. 28, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.; Aug. 30, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.; Aug. 31, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.; Sept. 1, 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Comcast Central Costa County Channel 26: Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9, 8 p.m.
  • Clayton City Council -- Concord TV Channel 28: Aug. 28, 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.; Aug. 30, 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.; Aug. 31, 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.; Sept. 1, 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Comcast Central Contra Costa Channel 26: Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m.
  • Hercules City Council - Contra Costa TV Comcast Channel 27, Astound Channel 32 and AT&T Channel 99: Sept. 8, 8:30 p.m.; Sept. 15, 9:30 p.m.; Sept. 21, 10:30 p.m.; and Sept. 28, 4:30 p.m. Hercules Community Television and Comcast Channel 28, AT&T Channel 99: Sept. 20, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.; Sept. 26 and 27, 9 a.m., 6 p.m.; Oct. 3 and 4, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.; Oct. 10 and 11, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.; Oct. 17 and 18, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.; Oct. 24 and 25, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Lafayette City Council -- Comcast Central Contra Costa Channel 26: Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9 at 4 p.m.
  • Martinez Mayor -- Comcast Central Contra Costa Channel 26: Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9, 5 p.m.
  • Martinez City Council -- Comcast Central Contra Costa Channel 26: Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9, 5:30 p.m.
  • Moraga Town Council - Comcast Central Costa Costa Channel 26: Sept. 25, Oct. 2, Oct. 9, 6:30 p.m.
  • Oakley City Council -- Comcast East Contra Costa County Channel 24: Sept. 20, Sept. 27 and Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m.
  • Orinda City Council -- Comcast Central County Channel 26: Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9, 6 p.m.
  • Pleasant Hill City Council -- Comcast Central Contra Costa Channel 26: Sept. 25, Oct. 2, Oct. 9, 4:30 p.m.
  • Richmond Mayor - KCRT Channel 28: Oct. 1, noon; Oct. 2, 8 p.m.; Oct. 5 p.m.; Oct. 8, noon; Oct. 9, 5 p.m.; Oct. 11, 3 p.m.; Oct. 14, 9 a.m.; Oct. 15, 9 p.m.; Oct. 20, 11 a.m.; Oct. 22, noon; Oct. 28, noon and 10 p.m.; Oct. 30, 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.; Oct. 31, 5 a.m.; Nov. 1, 2 a.m., 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Nov. 2, noon and 3 p.m..
  • Richmond City Council -- KCRT Channel 28: Oct. 1, 1 p.m.; Oct. 2, 9 p.m.; Oct. 5, noon; Oct. 9, 6 p.m.; Oct. 11, 4 p.m.; Oct. 14, 10 a.m.; Oct. 15, noon and 10 p.m.; Oct. 18, noon; Oct. 20, 9 a.m.; Oct. 22, 9 p.m.; Oct. 28, 8 p.m.; Oct. 29, noon; Oct. 30, 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.; Oct. 31, 3 a.m.; Nov. 1, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Nov. 2, 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • San Ramon Valley Unified School District - Contra Costa TV Comcast Channel 27, Astound Channel 32 and AT&T Channel 99: Sept. 2, 10 p.m.; Sept. 6, 10 p.m.; Sept. 8, 10 p.m.; Sept. 12, 11 p.m.; Sept. 20, 10 p.m.; and Sept. 26, 11 p.m.
  • Walnut Creek City Council -- Walnut Creek Comcast Channel 28, Rossmoor Channel 26, Astound Channel 29 and AT&T Channel 99: Aug. 30, Sept 3, 6, 10, 13,17, 20, 24 and 27, Oct. 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25 and 29, and Nov. 1, 11:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.
  • Antioch Unified School District -- Comcast East Contra Costa Channel 24: Sept. 20, Sept. 27 and Oct. 4, 9 p.m.
  • Liberty Union High School District -- Comcast East Contra Costa County Channel 24: Sept. 20, Sept. 27 and Oct. 4, 7 p.m.
  • Mt. Diablo Unified School District -- Contra Costa TV Channel 27, Astound Channel 32 and AT&T Channel 99: Sept. 2, 9 p.m.; Sept. 6, 9 p.m.; Sept. 9, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12, 10 p.m.; Sept. 20, 9 p.m.; and Sept. 26, 10 p.m. Walnut Creek Comcast Channel 28, Rossmoor Channel 26, Astound Channel 29 and AT&T Channel 99: Aug. 30, Sept 3, 6, 10, 13,17, 20, 24 and 27, Oct. 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25 and 29, and Nov. 1, 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Concord Channel 28: Aug. 28, 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.; Aug. 30, 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.; Aug. 31, 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sept. 1, 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • San Ramon Valley Unified School District -- Contra Costa TV Channel 27, Astound Channel 32 and AT&T Channel 99: Sept. 2, 9:30 p.m.; Sept. 6, 9:30 p.m.; Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 12, 10:30 p.m.; Sept. 20, 9:30 p.m.; and Sept. 26, 10:30 p.m.
  • Walnut Creek School District -- Walnut Creek Comcast Channel 28, Rossmoor Channel 26, Astound Channel 29 and AT&T Channel 99: Aug. 30, Sept 3, 6, 10, 13,17, 20, 24, 27, Oct. 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29, and Nov. 1 at 11 a.m.