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FROM CONGRESS TO SCHOOL BOARDS: THE RACES TO WATCH

It's a presidential years, with all eyes focuses on the race for the White House, but here are 10 local races worthy of your attention.

REGISTER TO VOTE NOW! OR ELSE!

Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara County residents, click here to register online for the Nov. 8 General Election. Deadline is Monday, Oct. 24, 5 p.m..

WHO'S RUNNING FOR OFFICE IN 2016?

UPDATED FOR NOVEMBER! The exclusive East Bay Citizen Candidates List is back by popular demand. See who is defiintely running in 2016 and who is thinking about it from Congress all the way to your local East Bay city.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

EBCampaign: Did FREMONT'S MAYOR get left hanging? ALAMEDA COUNTY DEMS slam grand jury for racial bias

42 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY |
Fremont's City Hall chambers--not really much of a hall, really, nor a chambers--was packed Friday night to hear from mayoral candidates Mayor Bill Harrison and Vice Mayor Lily Mei. Growth, whether smart, dumb, or ravenous, is definitely on the minds of Fremonters this November. When Harrison, a first-term mayor, said he would not take a pledge against accepting campaign contributions from developers, members of the audience, presumably Mei supporters (she does not accept developer dollars), derisively laughed at him. Harrison appeared blindsided by the guffaws for a full minute while his challenger answered another question. But that wasn't the only embarrassing moment Friday night. At the conclusion of the roughly 45-minute candidates forum, Harrison rose from his seat and turned to shake Mei's hand, but instead she stayed seated and bent over, momentarily disappearing from the audience's vantage point as Harrison stood awkwardly with his outstretched hand. When asked if Harrison thought Mei had dissed him on the dais, he said, "I thought so, but whatever." Afterwards, Mei dismissed the diss. "It's not like that." She later explained that she was reaching down for the water bottle she placed under the desk. "Our water bottles were next to each other. I thought he was reaching for his," she said. These types of incidents tend to occur whenever a sitting councilmember challenges an incumbent mayor. They also tend to spill out during City Council meetings, too.
*****
Oakland Council President Lynette Gibson
McElhaney, right, with challenger Noni Session
during a forum in August.
GRAND JURY BIAS? Last week, the Oakland city administration received an extension to file a response to the Alameda County grand jury report released in June. The report basically reiterated scathing articles in the East Bay Express against Oakland City Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney. The grand jury found McElhaney's used her position for personal gain when she interfered with the zoning process for a proposed building next to her home. The grand jury said McElhaney's actions were a conflict of interest and a violation of government ethics. Meanwhile, McElhaney is up for re-election this November against first-time candidate Noni Session, a well-known Oakland community activist. McElhaney should have no problem defeating Session, but incumbents are always a jittery bunch. A week ago, during the Alameda County Democratic Party's endorsement meeting, some central committee members slammed the grand jury for exhibiting a bias toward McElhaney, in addition, to other black elected officials in recent years. One member, during the party's deliberations for McElhaney's race, said the process the Alameda County grand jury uses to choose which cases it pursues to tilted against minorities. The party ultimately endorsed McElhaney.
*****
WHAT DIDN'T SWALWELL KNOW One of the main criticizes lodged by Eric Swalwell against Pete Stark four years ago was that the 40-year incumbent had become far too removed from the communities he represented. After Swalwell upset Stark, he embarked on a long and deliberate public relations effort to highlight his tireless travel from D.C. to the East Bay virtually every weekend. The idea was encapsulated within the posting of his penny loafers entering and exiting airplanes. Four years later, it appears Swalwell needs to spend far more time in Hayward. His support of disgraced Hayward Superintendent Stan Dobbs looked foolish even before the school district’s devastating report on his wrongdoings was released Sept. 15. That’s because a majority of what was found by the investigator was known to Hayward political insiders for quite some time. News of Dobbs’ handling of the Ray McDonald appearance at Tennyson High School and the print shop scandal involving a school board member’s City Council campaign was already public knowledge. Less so was the affair with the former school district employee and controversy over the Made in Hayward Foundation campaign that followed former Hayward Councilmember Olden Henson never getting paid for starting the non-profit. Aside from the conspiracy against a school board member alleged by Dobbs and the physical abuse, according to his former mistress, everything else in the report should have been known beforehand to Swalwell and his staff, that is, if they were somewhat in tune with the other the "other side of the hill" in Hayward. And when it comes to Hayward’s school board election this November, there is some belief (Dobbs, apparently, included) that if the right combination of the pro-Dobbs slate of candidates, now backed by Swalwell, win along with School Board Trustee Annette Walker, up for re-election, that Dobbs to conceivable return to his post after the election.
*****
CLASS-LESS A grassroots organization named C.L.A.S.S. is offering a slate of three candidates to oppose the three school board incumbents. The tenor of the board has long been criticized, but oddly the political action committee leading the effort is bankrolled by the California Apartment Association and the Hayward Chamber of Commerce. What exactly is the message? Vote for these candidates who are backed by interests that effectively want the parents of Hayward school children to scramble just to afford rising rents and another group that wants to keep down wages? In addition, one of the main proponent of C.L.A.S.S. is Hayward Councilmember Sara Lamnin, a candidate who lost numerous council and school board races before getting elected two years ago on the strength of more than $100,000 in special interests backing from SEIU Local 1021. The intersection between the union and its rival, the California Apartment Association, is just another screwy development in Hayward. Meanwhile, during a recent endorsement meeting for the powerful Alameda Labor Council, one Hayward school board candidate named Wynn Grcich refused to sit next to embattled school trustee John Taylor, who was accused of misusing the district's print shop for his recent City Council campaign. Grcich, who was also a council candidate in June, reportedly told the labor council she would not sit next to a "corrupt" individual like Taylor.
*****
Rep. Eric Swalwell and Assemblymember
Catharine Baker last week.
HERE & THERE Almost $700,000 has been spent already in the 16th Assembly District by the Democratic and Republican state parties since June 30. The total also includes county committees from each party…Rep. Eric Swalwell supports Democrat Cheryl Cook-Kallio in the 16th Assembly District, but why did he appear last week on a panel in Pleasanton with Cook-Kallio's opponent Republican Assemblymember Catharine Baker?... In Alameda, long-time incumbent City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy and City Auditor Kevin Kearney--"The Kevins"--are basically running as one against two challengers backed by the local public safety unions. Lawn signs featuring both candidates can be see around Alameda. While the commingling of campaigns is odd, it's not illegal. That's because Alameda does not have limits on campaign contributions. If so, there could be questions of whether the contributions are being used evenly by each candidate or benefiting one candidate over the other.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Alameda mayor's husband files legal claim against city following his arrest

ALAMEDA | Joel Spencer, husband of Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer, has filed a legal claim against the city alleging that Alameda police officers filed an untruthful report about his conduct following his arrest last March for drunken driving on Central Avenue.

Alameda police arrested Joel Spencer on March 17, and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office subsequently charged him with a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence. According to court documents, Joel Spencer’s blood-alcohol level was 0.15 percent, or nearly twice the legal limit. Spencer, 57, pleaded not guilty and is still awaiting trial.

But according to the notice of claim filed by Joel Spencer on September 16, his attorney alleges that Alameda police essentially targeted him and pulled his vehicle over without probable cause as part of an elaborate conspiracy to embarrass him and the mayor. “The police reports completed by the officers did not fully and truthfully report the incident, but also included false/untruthful claims about the driving and conduct of the claimant, ” wrote Andrew Dosa, attorney for Spencer. [READ THE ENTIRE STORY AT ALAMEDAMAGAZINE.COM]

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Stalker! Fired Hayward superintendent attended school board candidates forum

HAYWARD | Hayward School Board Trustee Luis Reynoso says his eyesight isn't so good in poorly-lit room, so during a candidate's forum Wednesday night he quietly turned to an opponent seated next to him and asked if that was indeed recently fired Superintendent Stan "Data" Dobbs seated in the audience. School board candidate Wynn Grcich nodded yes.

Dobbs was fired with cause by the school board on Sept. 14 for a long list of transgressions included the consistently display of what a investigator determined was an "explosive temper" and inability to be held accountable for his misdeeds. Dobbs also allegedly hit a former school district employee while having an extramarital affair with the woman.

According to source who deliberately sat behind Dobbs at the hour-long candidates forum at City Hall, he another person repeatedly giggled whenever Reynoso spoke.

However, Dobbs did not stay for the entire forum, which later turned combative after candidate Joe Ramos called another candidate Robert Carlson a "knucklehead" for supporting Dobbs and slamming Daniel Goldstein for saying he "admired" the former superintendent. Goldstein later boasted, in what is likely to became a classic quip, "I can read fast."

Meanwhile, Hayward's zombie superintendent appears to be in no hurry to move on from his controversial tenure at the school district. On Sept. 16, less than two days after being fired, Dobbs showed up among his former peers at a monthly meeting of Alameda County superintendents in Oakland.

At the meeting, Alameda County Superintendent Karen Monroe thanked Dobbs for his efforts and gave him a ceremonial gavel to commemorate his two years as chair of the group, known as the "superintendent's council."

Khanna’s campaign manager resigns; Khanna served lawsuit at town hall

Ro Khanna addressing voters at a campaign
town hall Thursday night in Fremont.
CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT
ELECTION 2016
Ro Khanna's campaign manager Brian Parvizshahi has resigned following a lawsuit filed Thursday alleging he illegally accessed donor lists from Rep. Mike Honda's campaign.

Khanna made the announcement prior to a previosly scheduled campaign event in Fremont Thursday evening. Parvizshahi made the decision to resign, said Khanna, "because he didn't want to be a distraction to the campaign."

Honda's campaign alleges Parvizshahi violated the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act since early 2013. Parvizshahi gain access to "thousands" of  donor records when he interned with the fundraising consultanting firm used then by the Honda campaign. 

Parvizshahi's access to the records, however, were never revoked by the company, allowing him to access sensitive campaign information while employed by the Khanna campaign starting in 2014, the lawsuit alleges.

"None of that information came from Brian or the Honda campaign," said Khanna. His campaign also plans to seek sanctions on the Honda campaign over the lawsuit, along with its attorneys, he said.

Meanwhile, Khanna questioned the timing of the lawsuit--just six weeks from Election Day and two weeks before the arrival of vote-by-mail ballots in voter's hands. "It's shameless. It's why voters want change in this district," said Khanna. 

At the beginning of the town hall event Thursday evening in Fremont, Khanna was served with the lawsuit. The scene did not occur inside the small meeting room, but just outside, likely thwarting what may have been intended to be an attempt by the Honda campaign to publicly embarrass Khanna in front of his supporters. 

Honda files lawsuit against Khanna, his campaign manager for cyber crime

Rep, Mike Honda's campaign reveals the contents
of a civil lawsuit filed against Ro Khanna and his
campaign manager Thursday in San Jose.
CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT |
Ro Khanna’s most effective talking point for nearly a year has been repeated references to his opponent Rep, Mike Honda’s on-going ethics investigation. The constant drumbeat, in fact, likely earned Khanna a big upset over Honda during the June primary.

But, now a civil lawsuit filed by the Honda campaign Thursday may undo the challenger’s momentum going forward to November. In the complaint, it is alleged Khanna’s campaign manager illegally accessed “thousands” of donor records from the Honda campaign, including the so-called “1,000 Cranes” documents and resulting news article last December, which led to Honda’s current legal problems.

“Ro Khanna’s campaign for Congress has been taking part in an illegal cyber attack and data breach for many years,” said Vedant Patel, communication director for the Honda campaign. “This is a modern-day Watergate,” added Michael Beckendorf, its campaign manager.

In the lawsuit filed Thursday morning, the Honda campaign alleges Brian Parvizshahi, Khanna’s campaign manager since 2015, accessed a Dropbox account that contained information related to Honda’s previous donors. The data breach was identified by the Honda campaign on May 31. Khanna is also named in the suit as a conspirator.

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges Parvizshahi's actions violated federal law, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and theft of trade secrets. Gautam Dutta, an attorney for the Honda campaign, said the charges against Parvizshahi are serious. “We are still uncovering the full extent of what happened and our discovery process is ongoing,” said Dutta.

It is alleged Parvizshahi accessed donor data files belonging to the Honda campaign since February 2013. A year prior, Parvizshahi was an intern at the fundraising consulting firm also used then by Honda. At the time, he was given access to Honda’s donor files. However, Parvizshahi only last one month at the firm, but his access was never revoked by the company. In 2014, Parvizshahi served as data director for the Khanna Campaign and last year was elevated to campaign manager for the current election cycle. From February to September 2013, according to the lawsuit, Parvizshahi edited or added to the Honda donor files seven times and “modified” records 44 times between January 2014 and June 2015. Parvizshahi's digital fingerprints on the records revealed his activities each time, according to the suit.

In addition, the central tenet of Khanna’s second attempt at unseating Honda this fall may have been gleaned from Parvizshahi’s access to the donor files. According to the lawsuit, the anonymous delivery of donor information to South Bay alt-weekly Silicon Valley Metro, was procured from the same data breach.

The article published Dec. 16, 2015 described Honda’s “1,000 Cranes” list of donors, along with suggestions of pay-to-play politics. The story had devastating effects on Honda and allowed Khanna to cast consistent doubt over the congressman’s ethics. The resulting investigation by the Congressional Ethics Committee further eroded Honda’s once-sterling reputation in the 17th Congressional District and likely proved the difference in last June’s primary, which Khanna won in an upset. Beckendorf said the information in that story matches the data procured by Parvizshahi.

In addition, the lawsuit alleges Khanna used the stolen fundraising data to solicit contributions and support from people who had contributed previously to the Honda campaign. In one email given to the Honda campaign, Khanna instructs Parvizshahi to take the donor of their “friends list.” Sixteen peopel complained to the Honda campaign about unsolicited emails from Khanna's personal email account. Six of them are named in the lawsuit.

In an interview following a campaign event in Fremont, Khanna called the filing a “baseless lawsuit” and denied he or Parvizshahi ever had access to any information belonging to the Honda campaign. Khanna also called the move "shameless" to file the suit just six weeks before Election Day.

Parvizshahi's online activities also came into the spotlight recently. Last week, the founder of Daily Kos, a prominent progressive Website, publicly admonished Parvizshahi for creating  up to two phony user names on the site to attack a negative posting on the Khanna campaign.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hayward’s Barbara Halliday exclaims ‘I am the mayor!’; ejects school trustee, another from council meeting

Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday booted two out
of a City Council meeting Tuesday.
HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL |
The controversy surrounding fired Hayward Superintendent Stan Dobbs moved from the school board to the city council Tuesday night after Mayor Barbara Halliday ejected two members of the public, including School Board Trustee Luis Reynoso, from the chambers.

Reynoso and several other public speakers excoriated the city council for supporter or staying silent over Dobbs’ dismissal. Reynoso again slammed the council for interfering in the school district’s decision-making process and admonished them for supporting Dobbs in the past. “Shame on you,” he told each councilmember by name.

Last week, a school district investigation included testimony from a former employee who had an affair with Dobbs that he once struck her. Reynoso told the council during public comment, “We cannot tolerate violence against women or corruption in the district,”

Hayward School Board Trustee Luis Reynoso
Few councilmembers escaped Reynoso’s wrath Tuesday night. He also charged the City Council with inaction over a rise in homicides in Hayward. “We have had nine murders and one of them solved. Eight of them were Latinos. And [Councilmember Sara] Lamnin and [Councilmember Francisco] Zermeno said in the press that we’re safe. I guess it’s only safe when Latinos keep dying.”

Then, in a comment that set off the explosive conflict, Reynoso suggested some members of the City Council have previously profited from the school district. “Some of you or all of you are making money off the district,” said Reynoso. “We don’t need your services. Please don’t make money off our children. Now I can see why you support our superintendent.”

The comment riled Halliday, who began a response to Reynoso’s explosive allegation. But, before she could finish a sentence, members of the audience shouted her down.

“Brown Act! Brown Act!” exclaimed Jim Drake, a Hayward resident and frequent public commenter. “You’re not allowed to talk!” (Listen to the audio below.)

While rapping the gavel on the desk, Halliday said, “I am the mayor! I am in charge of this city council and I am always allowed to talk.” Drake was later kicked out of the meeting, as was Reynoso, who also protested the mayor improperly responding during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Such interaction is not permitted under the Brown Act, the state’s government transparency law, since it is viewed as an non-agendized item. Public comment is reserved for citizens to speak on any issue not included on that night’s agenda.

In the recent past, Halliday and some council members have been called out for similarly skirting the Brown Act, especially when it has occurred in response to public criticism of the City Council.

Once Reynoso and Drake were escorted outside the council chambers, Halliday continued. “We were just accused of many things that we as a council have not done,” said Halliday. “I am not going to sit here and be accused falsely and have my councilmembers accused falsely of doing something that we have not done.”

A few speakers later, however, on an unrelated topic, Halliday and another member of the council appeared to acknowledge the prohibition on addressing public speakers and obliquely offered further information to the individual, rather than addressing the speaker directly.

The angry exchange, however, is another example of the controversial tenure and firing of Dobbs that has roiled the community and delved both elected city government bodies into uncommon chaos.

Councilmember Al Mendall said his support for the political action committee seeking to drive Reynoso and two other incumbents from the board this November was not predicated on Dobbs, but only a desire to remake the board. Councilmember Mark Salinas added that at no point during the past few months did he support Dobbs.

However, amid the sense of obfuscation by some councilmembers and their support past and present for Dobbs, Councilmember Marvin Peixoto said he did not participate in the push to defeat Reynoso and others on the school board because of a fear the campaign would further divide the council and school board.

“What’s the Plan B?” Peixoto said if two of the three incumbents win re-election and maintain the current majority that fired Dobbs. Peixoto, a strong opponent of special interest expenditures in Hayward elections after SEIU Local 1021 spent more than $100,000 in an attempt to unseat him in 2014, said he reasoned he could not support the same gambit being used against the school board this year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Following Kaepernick, Oakland Council member Kaplan took a seat during Pledge

Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, left,
sits during the Pledge of Allegiance at Tuesday
night's Oakland City Council meeting.
PHOTO: Rebecca Kaplan's office
OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL |
A week after voicing solidarity with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his decision to take a knee during the National Anthem, Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan sat during the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of Tuesday night's meeting.

"I feel like the degree to which people have been hostile toward Mr. Kaepernick--in his very justified stance of sitting--has been so outrageous that I felt compelled to speak out," Kaplan told the East Bay Citizen Tuesday night.

"It is essential that we continue the fight to call attention to racial injustice, and racial profiling, and killings of unarmed black people, which is still going on," she added.

An Oakland resident wearing a Colin Kaepernick
jersey speaks Tuesday before the Oakland 
City Council. PHOTO: Steven Tavares
Kaplan issued a statement last week in support of Kaepernick after he sat during a pre-season game last month to protest systemic racial prejudice and police killings.

Aside from the press release, Kaplan gave no indication she was planning to sit during the pledge. She acknowledged Tuesday's meeting was the first opportunity to do so.

Following the pledge, Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks, who was not yet at the dais, said she supports Kaplan's decision to sit and will follow suit during subsequent meetings. Brooks also donned a Kaepernick jersey during the meeting.

Like the uproar by some towards Kaepernick's protest, Kaplan could face some blow back from residents who believe the act is unpatriotic. She disagrees. "The notion that someone would be upset about someone sitting instead of being upset about someone getting killed is really unjust," she said.

"Fundamentally, the right to speak out against injustice and to make statements against injustice by staging sit-ins, or by sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem, to me, is central with what American democracy is about. Not only is what he and the others who are doing this not wrong, it's actually in the noblest of traditions of change-making in America," said Kaplan.

The move by Kaplan is not without some political risk. Kaplan is up for re-election this November. While Kaplan's re-election is not view as in doubt, it is likely the most competitive of the five council races this fall. "The risk that people are taking everyday of being subjected to racist violence is more important than whether it puts political risk to me."

Eric Swalwell silent on whether he still supports ex-Hayward supt. who allegedly abused his mistress

Rep. Eric Swalwell and Stan Dobbs in Washington D.C.
HAYWARD | Does Rep. Eric Swalwell still support the fired Hayward superintendent who verbally abused two school board members last year, intimidated employees and allegedly struck his mistress in the middle of coitus?

Swalwell’s office did not respond to an email sent last Friday on his current stance toward former Hayward Superintendent Stan “Data” Dobbs, who the two-term congressman has supported in the past. In fact, as recently as Thursday, the day after the Hayward School Board of Trustees voted to fire Dobbs with cause, Swalwell criticized the action.

“With many challenges still to face, it’s too bad that (the district) has chosen to go forward without the man who helped get it back on the right path,” Swalwell told the San Francisco Chronicle. The article, though, was published shortly before the school district’s devastating report on Dobbs was released late Thursday afternoon.
Swalwell’s support for Dobbs is nothing new. At a town hall meeting in Hayward Aug. 13, Swalwell was asked to by a member of the coalition seeking to replace three incumbents on the school board this November with a slate of their own candidates whether he would join the group.

Swalwell declined, saying he does not typically get involved in local grassroots political organizations. However, he then added strong support for Dobbs retaining his job at Hayward Unified.

"On a personal level," said Swalwell. "They really need to bring back Stan." He then lauded Dobbs for his work in improving home sales in Hayward and promoting local businesses.

However, Swalwell has not made a public statement on the Dobbs firing since Thursday's report that found Dobbs often berated school employees, allowed free reign of the district's print shop to a school board member running for city council; allegations that he mislabeled as a "substitute teacher" a contract to a former Hayward councilmember worth up to $40,000 with the intent to evade the school board's attention; among other transgressions.

The investigation also included a signed statement by a former Hayward Unified employee who said she and Dobbs had a three-year affair from 2012 through early 2015. The woman said Dobbs became jealous of her newfound freedom following her divorce. Dobbs “became very aggressive and hit me to the point that I jumped out of bed and defended myself. I told him to stop and to never hit me again,” the woman told the investigator.

Dobbs denied the affair ever took place and told the same investigator the entire story was a conspiracy created by the woman, her estranged husband and Hayward School Board Trustee Luis Reynoso to discredit him. The investigator, however, found email evidence to the contrary and concluded Dobbs' story was not credible.

The level of ambivalence toward the astonishing allegations made against Dobbs does not stop short of Swalwell. The tweet by Swalwell last Thursday supporting Dobbs was greeted affirmatively by Hayward Councilmember Francisco Zermeno, who responded by simply saying, "Agreed." Then, just last Friday, less than two days after Dobbs was fired with cause, Alameda County Superintendent Karen Monroe invited Dobbs to a gathering of county superintendents and thanked him for his service before presenting him with a ceremonial gavel.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Just days after Dobbs' firing, Alameda County Supt. gave him a warm send-off

Alameda County Superintendent Karen Monroe,
bottom left, in a photo Sept. 16 with other county
administrators, including the fired Stan Dobbs,
pictured second row, right.
HAYWARD | Less than 48 hours after the Hayward Unified School District fired with cause its embattled Superintendent Stan “Data” Dobbs, he made an appearance at an Alameda County Office of Education retreat in Oakland where he was recognized for his service.

"I'll be back," Dobbs reportedly told the group of superintendents from across Alameda County, along with other local officials in attendance.

Dobbs, previously the chair of the "superintendent's council," was on hand to receive a ceremonial gavel given to all out-going chairs, said Dan Bellino, chief of staff for Monroe. Bellino acknowledged that Dobbs is the "out-going chair" not because of the end of his service on the council, but because of his dismissal as Hayward superintendent.

Hayward Trustee Luis Reynoso said the Alameda County Board of Education is undermining the school board's authority by inviting him to the event. "He was given his marching order and he refuses to go," said Reynoso. "If it was so important to give him this award, they could have just sent it to him in the mail with a bouquet from 1-800-Flowers."

Dobbs was fired by the Hayward school board Sept. 15 for a lengthy list of transgressions in a report released last Thursday that highlighted an “explosive temper” and a accusation from a former employee and paramour that he once hit her.

In September 2015, two Hayward school board members, including Reynoso, filed police reports after Dobbs approached both in an aggressive manner during a closed session meeting. The report also highlighted numerous occasions when Dobbs angrily berated school employees with profanities and other invective.

NOTE: A comment attributed to Monroe was incorrectly posted. It is still in the process of discerning its veracity




.

Read full Investigation Report on Hayward Superintendent Stan Dobbs

HAYWARD | Read below the entire investigation report on now-former Hayward Superintendent Stan "Data" Dobbs. Included is the notice of termination given by the Hayward School Board of Trustees on Sept. 15:


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Scathing report of deceit, bullying and conspiracy brings down a Hayward official

Stan "Data" Dobbs was terminated with cause
following Wednesday night's Hayward school 
board meeting.
HAYWARD | An investigation into now-former Hayward Superintendent Stan “Data” Dobbs details a calculating and controlling administrator with a volcanic temper, a bullying backstabber even to his most ardent supporters.

 “Dobbs is inherently dishonest about his guilt when he makes mistakes or does wrong,” according to the investigator’s findings released Thursday. “He never admits when he is at fault. He deflects the blame to other around him, sometimes to the very people that stood up for him.”

The lengthy report was released a day after the Hayward School Board of Trustees voted, 3-0, to fire the superintendent with cause. The findings describe a wide-ranging number of transgressions by Dobbs, including a bid to circumvent the school board’s oversight role by awarding a contract to a former Hayward councilmember worth up to $40,000; and lying about his knowledge of the outreach that brought former football player and alleged rapist Ray McDonald to a speak before at-risk Tennyson High School students last February.

READ: Full investigation and termination notice.

The report also highlights Dobbs’ complete lack of awareness over the scope of the school district’s worsening Measure L school bond budget; and his involvement in allowing school board member John Taylor to improperly use school district resources for his past city council campaign.

In addition, a tawdry years-long affair between Dobbs and a Hayward school district employee is described in detail and includes an allegation that Dobbs battered the woman during an intimate moment. The investigator determined the affair, indeed, occurred, but Dobbs explained away the affair in "fantastic" detail, saying it was a conspiracy hatched by school board member and rival Luis Reynoso; Dobbs’ paramour; and her then-husband to discredit him.

“Dobbs has an explosive temper,” wrote forensic investigator Steve Hummel, “and fails to take responsibility for these outbursts." According to the report, Dobbs’ volatile personality produced numerous incidents of aggression. For instance, Dobbs repeatedly screamed profanities at a new district employee and slammed the office door of a female employee so hard that it broke a picture frame nailed to the wall. Dobbs routinely described his outbursts as merely “expressing my concern,” the investigator noted. Dobbs also displayed his anger towards the investigator, too, calling him an “asshole,” in a response to what may have been a question referring to Dobbs’ affair. (Many of the names in the report are redacted) “It really startled me as I saw the anger in his eyes. I mentally reviewed my options in case he became violent. I sat back and kept quiet while looking at him,” said Hummel, the investigator.

HENSON CONTRACT
Shortly after Dobbs was named superintendent in the summer of 2013, former Hayward Councilmember Olden Henson invited Dobbs to live in his home, according to the report. Henson told the investigator Dobbs spent about six weeks living with him and his wife. However, Dobbs’ employment contract stipulated that he receive $7,500 for moving and living expenses associated with his relocation to Hayward from his previous job in San Diego. Dobbs never reported the gift of housing on a state-mandated Statement of Economic Interest form. Dobbs said he sporadically stayed at Henson’s home only over a two-week period, while also checking into a hotel in Union City about 10 times, said the report. Henson told the investigator that Dobbs also chipped in $180 for various house expenses. During this time, said Henson, he and Dobbs began conversations about establishing a "Made in Hayward Foundation," in which Henson would eventually take the lead in creating. Dobbs denied these conversations took place at this time and instead, Dobbs told the investigator it was Taylor who recommended Henson for establishing the foundation.

Ultimately, Henson was given an expert consulting contract at the behest of Dobbs worth up to $40,000. However, school board approval of the expenditure on Oct. 14, 2014 appeared to have been buried in a six-page budget document that listed Henson as a “substitute” teacher. The expenditure report was submitted by the school district’s head of Human Resources Leti Salinas, the wife of Hayward Councilmember Mark Salinas.

“[The] Board members did not realize that they had approved a special Expert Consulting hiring,” said the report. Furthermore, Henson's suspicions that Dobbs was having an affair while staying at their home was beginning to drive a wedge in their relationship. Henson and his wife are known to be devoutly religious. At one point, Dobbs’ wife questioned over the phone whether he was having an affair with a district employee. “Dobbs was trying to convince her that he had not had an affair with the district employee,” the report said. “Dobbs handed the phone to [redacted] without warning while telling his wife that [redacted] would vouch for him. [Redacted] stated that he felt extremely uncomfortable and that this was the beginning of the end of their relationship.”

RAY MCDONALD AT TENNYSON
The singular event that kickstarted the school district’s early investigation into Dobbs was the curious decision earlier this year to invite Ray McDonald, a former 49ers defensive end accused of raping an intoxicated woman, to address about 200 at-risk students at Tennyson High School.  At the time, McDonald's high-profile trial had not yet started in nearby Santa Clara County. When the story broke in March, Dobbs denied knowledge of the appearance and later appeared to place blame on the Hayward Promise Neighborhood, a federal education program to help disadvantage youth. He then tried to pin the appearance on the then-principal of Tennyson High School. In the report, Dobbs said, “It wasn’t my fault McDonald got to speak.” He then laid blame again on Hayward Promise Neighborhood and another. “[Redacted] knew about McDonald’s background from the very start and hid it from him,” the investigator wrote. “Dobbs wants to be in control of everything he touches,” the investigator concluded. “It is more likely than not that Dobbs knew about the McDonald event…”

THE PRINT SHOP
Similar to a previous report on Taylor’s misuse of a school district print shop to create personal campaign signs at significant discount for his recent city council run, the investigator found that Dobbs was aware of Taylor’s actions and may have even initially encouraged the use of the print shop. In an interview with the investigator, Dobbs threw Taylor under the bus. “When the print shop usage came to light, Dobbs shook his head and said how stupid Taylor had been to do such a thing,” the investigator wrote. “He tried to completely distance himself from Taylor.” Dobbs also claimed that Taylor listed him as the city council campaign's treasurer without his permission. A signature is required for the Form 410 used to declare a campaign committee, but Hummel said Thursday the original, unredacted copy of the signature no longer exists with the Hayward City Clerk's office. Therefore, at this time, there is no way of knowing whether Taylor may have forged Dobbs' name on the document.

MEASURE L FINANCING
Supporters of Dobbs often touted his business and promotional acumen over the years for raising the morale of students, teachers and administrators. But, the report describes Dobbs as oblivious to the growing financial problems that surround ballooning cost overruns associated to Measure L, the $229 million school bond approved by Hayward voters in 2014. Dobbs said he relied on the assistant superintendent of business services and another employee to keep him abreast of Measure L projects. He also relied on contractor’s reports, he told the investigator.

Dobbs, however, had no idea how much over budget the Measure L projects had become, stating he believed it was between $10 million and $12 million in the red. “I asked him if it would surprise him to learn Measure L was way more than $10 million over budget,” the investigator wrote. “He replied that it would surprise him a lot. He had no idea.” Measure L is actually around $35 million over budget, Board President Lisa Brunner said Thursday.

THE AFFAIR
The investigator also found that Dobbs and a school district employee were involved in an extramarital affair. The three-year romance began in 2012 when Dobbs was the head of the school district’s business department, the woman told the investigator, and lasted through January 2015. The revelation became pertinent, investigator Hummel said Thursday, after Dobbs accused school board member Luis Reynoso, along with the woman and her husband of conspiring to discredit him. Dobbs also denied the affair ever occurred. However, the investigator found significant evidence that the affair did exist, including evidence of emails found on Dobbs’ school district laptop linking him to the affair.

The woman was also able to describe the interior of Dobbs’ apartment, including one peculiar detail: that he had decorated it with lawn furniture. Unwittingly, Dobbs independently corroborated the description in an interview with the investigator. Dobbs also asserted that he had never invited school employees to his place. Other times, the couple often met at a Motel 6 in Union City, the report said.

Dobbs, though, labeled the woman a “nut” who sent him “poems, pictures and personal notes” and who “stalked him continually,” said the report. But, later, Dobbs admitted the woman appeared at his doorstep wearing a “trench coat crying her eyes out.” This is how she became aware of  the furnishings in his apartment, Dobbs said.

Then, in what the investigator labeled a “fantastic story,” Dobbs said the woman continued to cry before admitting that Reynoso “had conspired with her husband to set Dobbs up in a sexual scandal to discredit him.” Dobbs added that he did not report the accusation to the police because “What could you report? Somebody conspiring to help you lose your job?... What could I report? A beautiful [redacted] woman is trying to solicit—is trying to, you know, you know… No.”

In two statements, signed under penalty of perjury, the husband and wife, now divorced, scoffed at Dobbs’ allegation. The woman said the affair was a mutual relationship between consenting adults and not a case of sexual harassment. “Dobbs was very careful to keep the relationship secret because he was married." She added, Dobbs’ claim of a conspiracy is “absolutely false.”

In the Summer of 2014, once the woman and her husband had divorced over the affair and other marital problems, she said, Dobbs once became “angry and jealous of me being free from my marriage and open to seeing other people.” While, in what she described as an intimate moment, Dobbs “became very aggressive and hit me to the point that I jumped out of bed and defended myself. I told him to stop and to never hit me again.” For all intents and purposes, this was the end of their relationship, she said.

The ex-husband said he had never spoken to anyone else at the school district and had only contacted Dobbs in 2012 to confront him about the affair. Dobbs denied the affair to the husband. However, the investigator was able to locate an email from Dobbs to the woman that read, “Your husband called me. He knows. Fix your shit.”

Hayward school board fires troubled superintendent

HAYWARD | After hours of closed session discussion that bookended a tense school board meeting Wednesday night, the Hayward School Board of Trustees voted to terminate the contract of Superintendent Stan "Data" Dobbs.

The school board returned from a second closed session just prior to midnight to report the 3-0 decision.

School board member John Taylor attended the first closed session earlier in the evening, but left early due to an illness, Board President Lisa Brunner reported.

Boardmember Annette Walker did not vote. There was no explanation given for her absence.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Hayward school board president tells obtrusive city council to 'stay in your lane'

Hayward school board President Lisa Brunner
scolded the City Council Tuesday night.
HAYWARD | Relations between the Hayward City Council and its school board has been sour for years, but recent contentiousness between the two government bodies spilled out in public view Tuesday night.

Hayward school board President Lisa Brunner ripped some Hayward City Council members for publicly interfering in the school district's matters, namely the strong support offered in recent months by some councilmembers for a political action committee set on defeating a majority of the school board this November.

"Stay in your lane. You were elected to manage the city," said Brunner, She scolded the city council on numerous occasions during the public comment period at Tuesday night's meeting. Brunner said she was speaking as a resident and not as a school board member.

"I support the police chief, and I like her as a person," Brunner said of Hayward Police Chief Diane Stuart, currently on administrative leave for unspecified reasons. "However, like the rest of my board members, I don't plan on starting a PAC or joining a PAC to bring her back. I respect the process and I respect the position of other elected officials, unlike all of you sitting up there."

Brunner, though, excluded Councilmember Marvin Peixoto, who has mostly stayed out of the debate over the embattled Hayward Superintendent Stan "Data" Dobbs, who was placed on leave by the school board in June while an investigation runs its course over alleged misconduct. Peixoto nodded affirmatively after Brunner acknowledged his neutrality.

However, the rest of the council appeared to sit in quiet anger as Brunner also lambasted their handling of other city matters, primarily the city budget and its past treatment of public employees. Councilmember Al Mendall peered at Brunner while standing tense and Mayor Barbara Halliday shuddered when Brunner used the word "corruption" while referring to Hayward.

Brunner also tore into Councilmember Sara Lamnin, who has taken a lead in organizing the group of faith and business leaders advocating for Dobbs to keep his job. Pending a forthcoming report on Dobbs' action, he could be terminated by the school board as early as this week. Brunner is not up for re-election until 2018.

"I got the impression that Ms. Lamnin doesn't read," said Brunner in an attempt to compare and contrast the city and school board's most recent budgets. Brunner then claimed the school board has doubled its reserves, while the city's treasury languishes under the council's direction.

"Your own budgets say that the city reserves will be completely depleted in 2019, at the rate you're going," said Brunner. "Every year you have borrowed against it. You're below your emergency reserve level and you claim you have a balanced budget. You have done it by imposing employees." Brunner added the city budget would have been "further in the hole," if not for a number of recently approved tax measures.

The Hayward Unified School District, though, has not been without its own fiscal problems over the years, but in the past, criticism from public officials in the city was muted with the realization a certain degree of autonomy exists between the two elected bodies.

Former Hayward Mayor Michael Sweeney was often the most vocal critic of the Hayward school district, but his comments were mostly political rhetoric that fell short of advocating and forming a grassroots apparatus for fomenting change on the school board. Sweeney, however, is also part of the PAC seeking to save Dobbs' job, along with the campaign to elect a slate of three handpicked school board candidates.

Kaplan stands in solidarity with Kaepernick, but will she sit for the cause?

Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan during
a council meeting two years ago.
OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL |
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem three weeks ago. The act of defiance to protest the treatment of African Americans in this country sparked a national discussion. Last weekend, television cameras scanned the sidelines in search for football players following Kapernick’s lead.

Oakalnd Councilmember said this week in a press release that she stands in solidarity with Kaepernick, at least, rhetorically.

"I believe we must stand up for non-violent protests, including the right to sit down or sit-in. Colin Kaepernick's choice to sit down is his right and is his statement in fighting against racism and injustice,” said Kaplan.

"We also see again how important this right is, as Native American protesters were violently attacked while seeking to defend their land and water from destruction by a proposed pipeline. From Rosa Parks to members of Congress fighting for a vote on gun safety legislation, sitting down has been, and can be, a powerful way to make a statement and work for justice."

However, when her office was asked if Kaplan will participate in any similar acts of protest, for instance, sitting while the Pledge of Allegiance is recited at the beginning of every Oakland City Council meeting, her office did not respond, despite the question being prefaced with the phrase, "serious question."

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Khanna's campaign manager nabbed for creating online ID to attack Honda backer

Ro Khanna says his campaign refunded the entire
donation detailed in the Daily Kos story trolled
earlier by his campaign manager.
CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT |
ELECTION 2016 |
The founder of the progressive online community Daily Kos says Ro Khanna's campaign manager created up to two phony screen names on the Web site to surreptitiously attack a damning story posted on Sunday.

The site is strict about users disclosing their relevant paid political associations, Markos Moulitsas wrote Tuesday. In certain cases, such as these, he added, the site publicly shamed Khanna's campaign manager Brian Parvizshahi in a posting.

Parvizshahi created an account on Daily Kos identified as "bayareadubs," said Moulitsas, ostensibly to criticize an article written by diarist Glen the Plumber, a well-known supporter of Khanna's opponent, Rep. Mike Honda. Another account, under the username "demdemdem08," is also strongly suspected by Moulitsas to have also been created by Parvizshahi

Creating the facade of an independent voice, said Moulitsas, actually undermines Parvizshahi criticisms. "This is all so freakin’ stupid. There’s no reason that Parvizshahi couldn’t have responded the way he did admitting his real identity. Honesty is not a liability, and in a political debate, it’s always the best choice. Showing passion for a candidate, so much so that you volunteer or work for him or her, is not a bad thing! It gives you more credibility than pretending you’re just some random voter."

The original article described how Khanna's recently-named campaign co-chair Niloufar "Lily" Sarafan had exceeded the legal maximum donation by using both her first name and nickname, Lily, to contribute a total of $5,400--twice the legal limit per election cycle--to the campaign. Glen the Plumber argued that Sarafan, a South Bay insider, had held fundraisers for the campaign in the past and should have known about the contribution limits. In addition, the timing of the additional donations appeared to correspond with the end of the reporting deadline this summer.

"Oh the horror that Lily, who is a highly respected member and fundraiser for the Democratic party, use the same address,same job title, and same last name, but a different first name," bayareadubs responded in the comments section. A screenshot was included in the comments showing potentially the same example on Honda's campaign finance report..

On Monday, the Honda campaign attempted to capitalize on the Daily Kos story with a press release

Khanna said Tuesday the discrepancy in Sarafan's contribution was a clerical error. The Sarafans used a joint checking account to make the donations causing the mistake, and the entire $5,400 was refunded, said Khanna. The second $2,700 contribution was intended to be from Sarafan's husband, he added.

In addition, the resulting snafu with Daily Kos was avoidable, said Khanna. "I have told everyone on my team that they should make comments in the own name and with full transparency. The better arguments are on our side. I am confident everyone will live up to this standard."

Khanna's legion of online defenders has in the past been strong and prevalent. During the 2014 race between the same two candidates, Khanna's campaign featured a small team of highly-paid staffers who, using their own names, routinely trolled dissent toward Khanna on Twitter and aggressively shaped the conversation in favor of the candidate on the same site and other social media platforms.

San Leandro candidate says opponent literally didn't stand up for workers

San Leandro council candidate Bryan Azevedo holds a
union placard, while his opponent Ed Hernandez sits.
SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL |
ELECTION 2016 |
Josie Camacho, the leader of the powerful Alameda Labor Council, asked fellow union members to rise in support of San Leandro's proposed minimum wage increase during a council meeting last week.

Dozens of supporters for raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2020 rose to their feet and held placards in favor of the ordinance, which was later approved that night.

At the same time, San Leandro City Council candidate Bryan Azevedo, a member of the sheet metal workers union, noticed his opponent Planning Commissioner Ed Hernandez seated at the back of the council chambers, huddled with his laptop.

"Look, he's not even standing up," Azevedo told me. "My opponent didn't even say anything about Labor Day, either," which was the day before.

Azevedo is a first-time candidate for the District 2 seat being vacated by termed out Councilmember Ursula Reed. He is also strongly backed by labor and always peppers his campaign rhetoric with strong support for union families.

The brief scene, however, portends for a contentious council race this fall, something that is somewhat foreign to San Leandro council races over the past few years.

Hernandez, however, declined to be baited by his opponent, saying, "As the son of a hard-working Teamster when I was growing up, I have the utmost respect for labor organizations."

In an interview last month, Hernandez said he supports the council's minimum wage ordinance.

Monday, September 12, 2016

First ad of high-profile AD-16 race teaches voters to pronounce Democrat’s name

Screenshot from the Cheryl Cook-Kallio campaign ad 
paid for by the California Democratic Party.
ASSEMBLY 16TH DISTRICT |
ELECTION 2016 |
California state Democrats believe the 16th Assembly District is ripe for the retaking. But first, they just need to introduce their alternative to first-term Assemblymember Catharine Baker, the only Republican state legislator representing the East Bay.

The party released a 30-second commercial Monday to establish the credentials of Democrat Cheryl Cook-Kallio, a former Pleasanton councilmember. (See the ad below) 

It's the first ad of the fall campaign from either candidate and is scheduled to begin airing Monday on cable television.“This is definitely the first salvo in this campaign," said Michael Soller, communication director for the California Democratic Party.

Informational, while being playful, the ad intersperses Cook-Kallio’s background as a school teacher and former public official, along with support for her campaign from Planned Parenthood. The latter is important for Cook-Kallio’s campaign, which plans to challenge Baker's voting record on some women’s issues.

Baker recently received a F+ grade from Planned Parenthood and voted with Republicans in opposing an equal pay for equal work bill during her first-term in Sacramento.

As oppose to other East Bay districts where Republicans are an endangered species, Democrats in the moderate Tri Valley and Contra Costa County district only hold a nearly 10-point registration advantage. In addition, the district is uniquely predisposed toward moderates.

But,the ad buy indicates just how much state Democratic leaders believe the 16th District is up-for-grabs. Through the first week of September, the California Democratic Party has contributed more than $150,000 to Cook-Kallio’s campaign.

Is Alameda Councilman Tony Daysog a Republican in Democratic clothing?

Alameda Councilmember Tony Daysog, along
with Jennifer Roloff, at an endorsement meeting 
in August for the Alameda Democratic Club.
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL |
ELECTION 2016 |
Alameda Councilmember Tony Daysog owns a Web domain named “Moderate Democrat,” but some Democrats in Alameda and the county central committee are doubting his allegiance to the party, all together.

An email from June, obtained by the East Bay Citizen, shows Daysog disavowing the ideology of the Democratic Party. The email was sent by a left-leaning political group seeking to invite Daysog to participate in their endorsement process. Daysog is up for re-election to his city council seat this November,

“I’m kinda not a Democrat, does that matter?” Daysog responded in the email. “I’m still registered, but kinda feeling more like an independent, even a moderate Republican now and then (though I’m not sure if that bird even exists anymore).”

Over the past few months Daysog has intimated a similar belief in public, if not, sometimes in a coded manner. He alluded to his shift to the right in an Alameda blog read by many island conservatives. In addition, during a recent council meeting, Daysog repeated the phrase “keep America great,” which sounded to some to echo Donald Trump’s often-repeated catchphrase, “Make America Great Again.

Nonetheless, in August, Daysog unsuccessfully sought the endorsement of the Alameda Democratic Club. Daysog has long been a member of the club. Daysog reiterated in an email that he's still registered as a Democrat and strongly supports Hillary Clinton for president, but his political beliefs are evolving.

"As I age, how I feel now that I am 50 is different from when I was, say, 30. Today, philosophically, I believe the broad over-arching goal of government ought to be about fostering and multiplying 'abundance', broadly-construed. Years ago, I thought the over-arching goal was about redistributing abundance. At whatever level -- national, state or local -- I now think leaders need to focus on increasing the size of the pie, so to speak, as much as they think about how the pie should be divvied-up. Interestingly, these broad philosophical views show up right now in policies we as a city are struggling with," said Daysog.

He added, Alameda's rent control initiative, Measure M1, will redistribute wealth, not increase opportunities for all on the island. "For what is the Berkeley-style rent control in the M1 ballot initiative if not the epitome of redistribution?" said Daysog. "Instead of creating more abundance through increasing the supply of affordable housing (i.e. expand the pie), M1 if passed would have the city redistribute what limited stock we have in place (i.e. redistribute the pie). So, I think what makes me a registered Democrat with moderate-Democrat, moderate-Republican leanings is that I do think about expanding the social pie as much as I worry about how we divvy-up the social pie."

San Leandro could be moving quickly toward a third cannabis dispensary

San Leandro quickly approved a second medical
cannabis dispensary in July.
SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL |
When the San Leandro City Council approved a second medical cannabis dispensary in July, its swiftness, coming just after awarding its first-ever permit to Harborside in 2015, was notable given the excruciatingly difficult path it endured to get even a single dispensary approved in the city.

More surprisingly, is word that discussions over a third dispensary coming to San Leandro have already begun. Sources say the issue could be included on a city council agenda later this month.

The likely benefactor of the third permit is centered around medical cannabis dispensary BLUM Oakland, the runner-up for the second dispensary this summer, which was given to the Davis Street Wellness Center.

During the city's initial search for qualified applicants in 2015, the city ranked BLUM Oakland third behind Harborside and the Davis Street Wellness Center. Now that the top two ranked operators in the first permit's Request For Proposal (RFP) have now received permits, there is worry the third round will essentially be approved without an updated and transparent bidding process.

Currently, neither of the two permitted dispensaries have yet to open shop in San Leandro. The Davis Street Wellness Center, through July, had not yet identified a suitable location for its proposed dispensary. One location initial sought by the Davis Street Wellness Center and noted in its application, is not viable under the city's zoning rules since it's too close to the San Leandro Boys & Girls Club.

Earlier this year, some were critical of the city's decision against reopening the bidding process for the second dispensary. One of the main arguments made by critics was the cannabis industry is in a stage of rapid change and an RFP from even 12 months ago may no longer be viable.

In addition, the push for a third dispensary may signal doubts by city over the viability of the Davis Street Wellness Center, an enterprise backed by the well-known San Leandro non-profit Davis Street Family Resource Center. The non-profit and its partners have little to no experience in the medical cannabis dispensary business.

Furthermore, prior to the council's approval of the Davis Street Wellness Center permit last July, Councilmember Lee Thomas grilled Rose Padilla Johnson, the founder of the Davis Street Resource Center, over a $1.5 million loan given by the city to the non-profit for its expansion. Johnson had received a 90-day extension from the city to repay the loan while the non-profit awaited payment of a federal grant.

The exchange between Johnson and Thomas, however, highlighted for some the inherent conflict of interest that existed in the awarding of the permit to Davis Street Wellness Center, along with raising questions of whether the non-profits intends to use the potential windfall from the dispensary to cover its debts to the city. In essence, saying, if the city doesn't give us the permit, we won't be able to pay you back.

Alameda County judge reverses registrar's ruling on candidate statement

An Alameda County Superior Court judge is
allowing a candidate for the same court to 
keep his candidate statement intact.
SUPERIOR COURT |
An Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled last week that Scott Jackson, a candidate this fall for the same branch of the county judiciary, will be allowed to include a pivotal party endorsement in his candidate statement.

The sentence, “I am the only candidate endorsed by the Alameda County Democratic Party because our courts need experienced judges who reflect our communities diversity” was allowed by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch on Sept. 2.

Last month, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters removed mention of the party endorsement on the grounds the state’s Election Code prohibits the inclusion of party affiliations in candidate statements.

Jackson’s campaign, however, disagreed, saying the county registrar had allowed candidates in past elections to include a reference to their party affiliation, including one instance two years in a little-known Alameda County Water District race.

The short description, often part biographical, can be an important tool for down-ballot candidates, like this particular competitive judicial election, for campaigns to speak directly to voters. The statements are included in the voter guide soon to arrive in mailboxes in coming weeks.

Jackson, a former Alameda County deputy district attorney is facing Alameda attorney Barbara Thomas in November. Thomas narrowly avoided a run-off in the June primary after winning 48 percent of the vote. Jackson finished second in the three-person race.

The superior court campaign is the only contested race in the county judiciary this fall. The winner will replace retiring Superior Court Judge Lawrence Appel.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

'Shake up' in Berkeley mayor's race: Bernie Sanders endorses Jesse Arreguin

Bernie Sanders puts his stamp on the Berkeley
mayor's race this fall.
BERKELEY | Former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, the darling of progressives nationwide, is endorsing Jesse Arreguin for mayor of Berkeley.

“Berkeley is known across the country and the world as a progressive, trailblazing city. And so Berkeley needs a truly progressive Mayor,” said Sanders. “That is why I endorse Jesse Arreguin. Jesse Arreguin will be Berkeley's kind of Mayor. He is a tireless and effective champion for workers' rights, for civil rights, and for social justice. He will not rest until Berkeley works for everyone, not just the few."

Arreguin’s campaign called the surprise endorsement a “remarkable development” and “an absolute, no doubt about it game-changer.”

Berkeley Councilmember Jesse Arreguin
Arreguin, who also serves on the Berkeley City Council, is vying this November along with councilmembers—Laurie Capitelli and Kriss Worthington—and five others to replace the retiring Mayor Tom Bates in Berkeley.

Arreguin is one of 100 local candidates across the country to have received Sanders’ backing this fall, according to Arreguin’s campaign.

“Sen. Sanders’ presidential campaign inspired millions of people—many for the first time—to get involved in the political process, out of the simple belief that in this country our government belongs to all of us," said Arreguin. "Throughout Senator Sanders’ career—as a Mayor, Congressman, and United States Senator—he has never backed down from fighting for the people. It is in that spirit that I commit to serving as a Mayor for all Berkeley residents.”

Sanders’ rock star status among progressives in Berkeley and the the East Bay has the potential to greatly differentiate Arreguin from the field of candidates.

For the former presidential candidate who fell just short of upsetting nominee Hillary Clinton this year, Sanders is hoping a successful foray as kingmaker in local politics may also foster a lasting legacy in places like Berkeley.