Khanna's spending spree may soon end. Finance reports show Honda with almost five times the cash as Khanna.


Similar progressives in AD15 are fighting each other with help from the county party chair.


He was once labor's guy at BART, then he wasn't, now they want him gone.


When it comes to development in Alameda, the candidates for mayor are on opposite sides of the Island.


Two low-key members of the City Council and one business owner with enough charisma for the entire race vie for San Leandro's open mayor's seat.


A new mayor in San Leandro, a revisiting of the BART strike and many City Council races highlight the November election.


Eighteen are running for mayor of Oakland alone! NEW! Campaign Websites Now Included!


Don't sit out the Nov. 4 General Election. The deadline to register is Oct. 20.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tuman, Parker, Ruby Declare All For One And One For All in Oakland Mayor's Race

Joe Tuman, Courtney Ruby and Bryan Parker at a press conference Thursday in front of City Hall saying each of their candidacies are outsider bids for the mayor's office next month. PHOTOS/Steven Tavares
OAKLAND | MAYOR | The close second-tier of Oakland mayoral candidates, referring to themselves as outsiders, say the insiders, incidentally the trio leading in recent polls, don’t deserve another chance at leading the city.

Joe Tuman, center, fields questions from
reporters on the steps of City Hall.
Mayoral candidates Joe Tuman, Bryan Parker and Courtney Ruby, buoyed by a poll released Wednesday showing a potential five-way dead heat in the race with less than two weeks to go, say they have forming a “coalition” to, instead, put one of them in the mayor’s office and not Jean Quan or Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan and Libby Schaaf.

“Their experience hasn’t offered much,” said Tuman at a press conference Thursday afternoon in front of City Hall. Tuman said the list of errors by the three in the past is numerous. He slammed the City Council’s handling of the most recent waste contract, described Kaplan as “bungling” the Coliseum lease deal with the Oakalnd Athletics, criticized the steps leading to placing Measure Z, the city’s public safety parcel tax, on the fall ballot and Quan’s response to the Occupy Oakland encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza. Tuman’s campaign, according to the independent poll, is inching closer to the top three containing Kaplan, Schaaf and Quan. “Each of us brings a different skill set,” added Tuman.

Oakland City Auditor Courtney Ruby's 
campaign has languished in seventh
place, according to polls.
Parker’s campaign, according to the poll, is also improving; at least, within striking distance to the top three when taking account the poll’s margin of error. Parker defended his outsider status despite being a member of the Port of Oakland Commission appointed by Quan. He told reporters the poor financial situation at the port, to him, “showed how how broken city government is.”

Ruby, who serves as the city auditor, said she is an “insider that is an outsider. As city auditor, I’m not part of the problem.” Ruby, however, despite her office’s record for uncovering abuse at City Hall, has failed to catch any momentum during the campaign and may be the least likely to prosper from the affiliation with Tuman and Parker.

Throughout the campaign, it has been clear the threesome share similar visions for Oakland that include bolstering the police force and greater transparency at City Hall. The partnership is also necessitated by ranked-choice voting which encourages coalitions among candidates. Four years ago, in the first use of ranked-choice voting in Oakland, Quan and Kaplan joined forces to edge out Don Perata for the mayor's office, despite the former State Senate pro tem receiving the most first-place votes.

Tuman said he and Ruby first started talking about a potential partnership about a month ago. “It happened organically,” said Tuman. After some of the forums, the three informally chatted about the potential partnership, he added.

“We were all naturally thinking, how can we do something different?” said Parker. “We saw similarities in each other and it was natural. Frankly, people that are running for mayor are not the kind of people you can tell what to do if it didn’t make sense,” said Parker.

With most polls consistently placing Tuman higher in the polls over Parker and Ruby, the coalition may slightly favor Tuman, but Parker disagrees. Instead, any success the threesome receives may be designed to undercut Schaaf, whose campaign has recently caught some momentum. Parker believes Tuman voters, who may be initially inclined to give Schaaf their second place vote, will instead gravitate to his campaign along with his supporters backing Tuman for second.

“Who has the greater trade? What this [coalition] does is impact the race fundamentally,” said Parker. “We are competing against each other and, yes, we go into that with the knowledge whoever can get ahead of the other is going to benefit. I think we’re betting in the end that will be us.”

Honda Puts Up His Dukes As Seniors Group Questions Khanna

Rep. Mike Honda wearing boxing gloves at a press conference Thursday in Newark. PHOTOS/Steven Tavares
CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | If Ro Khanna is moving to the right, Rep. Mike Honda is choosing to stick with the seniors on the left, precisely those concerned by attempts to whittle away more benefits from the Republican-controlled House. Wearing a pair of boxing gloves given to him by the director of the National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare, Honda furthered a line of attack to paint Khanna, also a Democrat, as amendable to cuts to their monthly benefits.

Honda addressing a group of seniors at its
campaign office in Newark.
Honda, though, despite the gloves, did not attack Khanna during the press conference in Newark, but Max Richtman, who heads the advocacy group, questioned Khanna’s allegiance to Social Security and Medicare. “I worry about his opponent’s positions,” said Richtman of Khanna. “I can’t quite put my finger on what his positions are because he’s pretty vague about them.”

Richtman also referenced Khanna's connections to campaign contributors, some, he said, have shown a willingness in the past to back privatization of Social Security. "I’m troubled by the company he keeps. They have a reputation," said Richtman. "When you have that kind of support coming from those quarters, you owe those supporters something."

The impetus for today's event runs in tandem with a recent television ad from Honda’s campaign which reiterates Khanna’s link to wealthy Silicon Valley contributors, in addition, to suggestions Khanna’s election could threaten some entitlement benefits for seniors. In addition, a recent independent poll showed the race in the 17th District is tightening with Honda leading Khanna by only two points with two weeks to go until Election Day.

Khanna’s campaign, however, has fought back against the assertion regarding Social Security and Medicare, by labeling the attack as “100 percent baseless,” and calling for an “honest conversation” on the issue. “How are we going to make sure that we have no cuts in Social Security benefits and strengthen Social Security, but be honest about its solvency?” Khanna has said.

Richtman's group has consistently given Honda a perfect score on its annual rankings of congress members and their votes on legislation maintaining or increasing entitlements to seniors. Richtman has recently been traveling the country to help other Democrats in tough races, including New Hampshire, Alaska, Nebraska and Illinois, he said.

Incidentally, today’s photo opportunity featuring boxing gloves to depict the candidate as a fighter for their cause is not unique. Earlier this week, Richtman also presented gloves to New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who is also in a tough race for re-election.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Is Joel Young Running Scared?

AC TRANSIT | AT-LARGE SEAT | Since 2011, AC Transit Board Director At-Large Joel Young has racked up a list of notable misdeeds unmatched in East Bay politics. Two years after being appointed to the seat, he began what was then believed to be a promising run for the state Assembly. But one morning in March 2011, Young's girlfriend arrived at his apartment to find him in bed with another woman. The resulting argument led to allegations by the girlfriend that Young struck her in the face. Young denied wrongdoing and an Alameda County Superior Court judge dismissed a restraining order request by Young's ex, but not before stating that he didn't believe Young's story.

Then, a little more than a year later, during his run for the Assembly, Young spit in the eye of Jason Overman, who is Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan's current mayoral campaign manager (Young had been appointed to replace Kaplan on the AC Transit board). Young lost the Assembly race and returned to the board, but last year, another damaging act of alleged impropriety led his colleagues to censure him for improperly using his position to enrich himself at the public's expense.

Yet, the totality of Young's notorious behavior did nothing to dissuade the leaders of the powerful Alameda Labor Council from clearing the field for Young and nearly giving him their endorsement this summer before members of the Service Employees Union International (SEIU) Local 1021, another group that has contempt for Young, intervened to block the endorsement...


Monday, October 20, 2014

About That 'Strange Mailer,' It Wasn't From Me, Says Schaaf

Quite a few Oakland voters received this hit piece from a unknown group calling themselves Citizen for Oakland. Its backers are made up of some pro-business residents and a few Libby Schaaf donors.
OAKLAND | MAYOR | Two things are clear from the recent Citizens for Oakland mailer. Mayoral candidate Libby Schaaf was not behind the ploy to get supporters of strong second-tier campaign to back her and, second, it's god-awful piece of political advertisement.

Schaaf's campaign was succinct last Friday when it tweeted, "The @libbyformayor campaign had NOTHING to do w[ith] that strange mailer." The tweet was in response to Dan Siegel's campaign hinting Schaaf's and others were behind it. "Polls show us leading @bryanparker2014 in all polls and @joe4mayor in some but @libbyformayor mailer says we have no chance. #deception," they tweeted.

Another reason Schaaf is not involved in the mailer is that it serves her no purpose and potentially harms what has been the most effective few weeks of her campaign. Recent polls continue to show her within striking distance of winning the Nov. 4 election and Gov. Jerry Brown's endorsement Oct. 6 may have been the impetus for additional voters to start looking at her potential to unseat Mayor Jean Quan.

However, some of the people behind Citizens for Oakland are Schaaf supporters and donors. Which, if anything, suggests to Schaaf, sometimes you need to worry more about your friends than your enemies.

As for the mailer, it is unwieldy and underhanded in many cases. What pushes credulity is the assertion Quan and another mayoral candidate, Rebecca Kaplan, are City Hall insiders, but Schaaf, who has served the last four years with the pair on the City Council, is not.

Furthermore, this insider/outsider line of attack has been used often during the campaign, especially by candidates Joe Tuman and Bryan Parker. But, the comments always link together Quan, Kaplan and Schaaf, as they should. Last Wednesday, Parker's campaign even sent a press release labeling the trio as "insiders."

In this mailer, however, which features a good bit of clunky grammar, the group says if you desire change at City Hall, you should vote--in no particular order--Schaaf, Tuman and Parker.

Most likely, this direct-mail piece sent to over 50,000 Oakland voters, according to reports, is a response to polling released last week that not only showed Kaplan, Quan and Schaaf leading the pack, but more importantly, that the Kaplan-Quan connection could put either one in the mayor's office.

A Case of Newspaper Endorsement Confusion in the Oakland Mayor's Race

The San Francisco Chronicle has showed very little attention to Oakland's mayoral race. Nevertheless, other local media outlets appear similarly confused over which candidate it should endorse this fall.
OAKLAND | MAYOR | Six Bay Area news outlets, six different endorsements for Oakland's next mayor. The confusion among editorial boards might not be that odd. In fact, they may be taking a cue from Oakland voters. Is the problem too many good candidates or too few campaigns that are differentiating themselves from the pack? Nonetheless, picking a mayoral candidate for endorsement is not like a Fantasy Football draft, you're allowed to pick the same quarterback.

The San Francisco Chronicle tabbed Bryan Parker. The Bay Area News Group went with Joe Tuman. Before it folded last week, the San Francisco Bay Guardian picked Rebecca Kaplan. The East Bay Express chose Libby Schaaf with Mayor Jean Quan a close second. The Bay Area Reporter went further and backed Quan all the way, while the Oakland Post took Dan Siegel.

Here's a sampling of each paper's rationale for their choice:

EAST BAY EXPRESS FOR SCHAAF "She's extremely smart, has an admirable work ethic, is dedicated to open and transparent government, and has the charisma and communication skills to bring together differing factions in the city in order to find solutions to Oakland's numerous problems." NOTE: I participated in the Express' endorsement interviews and putting aside political ideology, Schaaf was indeed impressive. But, then again, the others interviewed for the endorsement were very good, too.

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE FOR PARKER "Our choice in this field is Bryan Parker, a business executive and port commissioner who possesses a nice blend of economic acumen, interpersonal skills, and appreciation of the causes and effects of what all top challengers list as a No. 1 priority: crime. He rightly cited a “crisis in leadership” at City Hall and pledged to “show up with my lunch bucket” to instill a “complete culture change” in the bureaucracy."

BAY AREA NEWS GROUP FOR TUMAN "Tuman is the standout, speaking directly about how the city must start responsibly meeting its financial obligations. The city's pension and retiree health plans are underfunded by $2.4 billion. If Oakland leaders make contractual promises to city employees, they must set aside sufficient money to fund them, he says."

SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN FOR KAPLAN "Unlike in San Francisco, where it’s sometimes tough for our progressive-minded editorial team to get excited about most candidates running for local office, we’ve got legitimately high hopes for both of our picks for the Oakland mayor’s race… Rebecca Kaplan…offer[s] compelling visions for a diverse and dynamic Oakland at a time when the city is in need of strong leadership. Kaplan, a LGBT candidate who gets around the city by bicycle and has a keen interest in sustainability, has a decade of public service involvement, including holding the at-large seat on the Oakland City Council."

OAKLAND POST FOR SIEGEL "There is no shortage of candidates running to be Oakland’s next mayor. That is because Oakland is hungry for change. We believe that the candidate best suited for the job is Dan Siegel...If we want real change--and we do--a fighter with a successful history in navigating Oakland institutions, someone with deep roots and a long track record of doing good things for our city, then Dan Siegel is our first choice. Siegel has been involved in Bay Area social justice movements for over 40 years. A civil rights attorney and activist, who risked his life for our rights, Siegel is the only candidate with a proven track record of fighting for civil and human rights."

BAY AREA REPORTER FOR QUAN "The rap on Quan is that she's been ineffective, but a look at her record shows that on balance Oakland is headed in the right direction. The city's restaurant and nightlife scenes are bustling; housing projects are in progress, and new residents are moving to the city, due in part to the high cost of living in San Francisco. Quan has been successful in securing federal funds for new police officers and money to redevelop the Oakland Army Base...Optimism, of course, won't put the city back on track. But Quan, who's seen four balanced budgets passed and has presided over a city that is often overlooked, is the best person to continue that trajectory."

Poll Shows Honda with Small Lead Over Khanna; New TV Ad Slams Khanna

Supporters of Rep. Mike Honda listen to their candidate at a candidates forum during the June primary season in Fremont. Polling shows the race in the 17th District has significantly tightened up. PHOTO/Steven Tavares
CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | Rep. Mike Honda has a slim two-point lead over Ro Khanna, according to a KPIX/Survey USA poll released Monday. With just two weeks before Election Day, the survey is the first independent snapshot of the race this fall between two Democrats in the South Bay’s 17th Congressional District.

The poll of 579 likely voters from Oct. 16-19, showed Honda with 37 percent of the vote, followed by Khanna with 35 percent. More than a quarter of respondents—28 percent--however, remain undecided. The survey’s margin of error is +/-4.2 percent.

Khanna’s campaign released a poll Oct. 13 that yielded similar results with the race tied at 38 percent. Later, Honda’s team offered internal polling that pegged a much larger spread to the race with Honda up by 15 points—42-27.

Nonetheless, the efficacy of Monday’s KPIX/Survey USA should buoy Khanna’s efforts to unseat the seven-time congressman next month. Polling done by the same firm two weeks before the June primary proved quite accurate. It showed Honda leading Khanna by 19 points in late May. The final result was a 20-point win for Honda.

In addition, inside the numbers of this latest poll show the race falling toward bipartisan lines even though both candidates are Democrats. According to the poll, Democrats in general favor Honda, including progressives and moderate. Republicans support Khanna, including independents and conservatives.

Last week, Khanna sent voters a mailer that irked some Democratic officials for highlighting Honda’s record as being too liberal for the district’s taste. On Monday, Honda’s campaign released a new television commercial that attempts to link Khanna to Republicans and, specifically, big-money outside interests.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rep. Barbara Lee: Republicans Cut Hospital Preparedness Before Ebola Risk

CONGRESS | 13 DISTRICT | In contentious races across the country, Ebola has become a political hot potato. On Friday, Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee used the infectious disease to criticize House Republicans for past cuts to health care and hospital preparedness programs.

Speaking during last Friday's episode of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Lee slammed the House leadership for stymieing President Obama's appointment of Dr. Vivek Murthy for U.S. Surgeon General for 18 months, along with cuts, Lee said, could affect the nation's ability to combat the threat of Ebola, if it were to become more widespread in the U.S.

"We have to remember that the budget cuts, and I have to just say it was the Republicans who cut the budget by 44 percent for hospital preparedness programs, cut NIH (National Institutes for Health) by over 10 percent and cut CDC (Center for Disease Control) by 17 percent," said Lee.

Republican charge Democrats, like Lee, are using the threat of Ebola as a ploy to push through Murthy's confirmation. Lee, also added during the program, she was pleased by the President's pick of Ron Klain as the administration's Ebola 'czar."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

GOP Assembly Candidate Says Oakland City Council Meetings Are Like a Zoo

Assembly candidate David Erlich, right, during a forum last May, referenced the Oakland City Council as a zoo at another forum Oct. 8 in Alameda. PHOTO/Steven Tavares
ASSEMBLY | DISTRICT 18 | San Leandro Assembly candidate David Erlich is an electrician by trade, but sometime he brings a charge at the wrong time.

During a candidates forum Oct. 8 in Alameda, Erlich described the often raucous atmosphere at Oakland City Council meetings being like a zoo.

"I've been to council meetings in my city, San Leandro," said Erlich. "And I've been to meetings in Alameda. I haven't been to the zoo in Oakland, but maybe sometime.

The 18th Assembly candidate District Erlich, a Republican, is running in a district made up largely of Oakland voters, in addition to those in Alameda and San Leandro. In a two-candidate June primary, Bonta, a Democrat, won 86 percent of the very progressive district over Erlich. The two meet in a rematch next month.

The comment elicited a stern glare from the normally affable Bonta as Erlich continued.

"You're not going to write about that zoo thing, are you?" Erlich asked afterwards.

At the conclusion of the forum, Erlich said, a woman in the audience approached him and politely said the comment was distasteful to her.

Despite Likely Landslide Result in AD-18, Candidates Debate in Earnest

Assembly candidate David Erlich speaks at a forum at the Mastick Center in Alameda while Assemblymember Rob Bonta looks on. PHOTO/Steven Tavares
ASSEMBLY | DISTRICT 18 | During the June primary, Assemblymember Rob Bonta had the distinction of garnering a greater percentage of the vote in his race than any other candidate in the entire East Bay. With a scant number of Republicans in the district--just under 10 percent--the rematch against San Leandro's David Erlich may return a similar result next month.

Bonta says he sees re-election as his "public job 
review." PHOTO/Steven Tavares
"My chances of winning?" said Erlich at a candidates forum Oct. 8 in Alameda. "Go buy a lottery ticket, you'll have better chances."

Despite the appearance Erlich may again be the party's sacrificial lamb against Bonta, a popular incumbent whose power in Sacramento and the Democratic Party is quickly growing, both candidates treated the event like it was dead heat. The Assembly district covers Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro.

Erlich blithely said, in response to a question, the state's budget is so ungainly he has no idea where he would begin to cut. "How do you cut it? It's a leviathan." The comment was followed by a near rant covering everything from the encroachment of government surveillance, the loss of local control through the planning and transportation initiative One Bay Area and Obamacare.

"I think we're starting to see difference between me and my opponent. He doesn't believe in taxes. He doesn't believe in government." Bonta noted 16 of his 20 bills in the Assembly during his first term were signed into law. "Each bill affects a real life."

Later, during a discussion on pension reform, Bonta offered a bill reforming the the public education pension fund, CalSTRS, as his most notable accomplishment over the past two years. "Our goal was not to take away the benefit, but for shared responsibility," he said of the bill he believe should serve as a model for other public employee groups. The reforms were also not imposed, he added. "The benefit didn't change, just the proportion paid."

Erlich went in a different direction, saying cities across the state are drowning in unfunded pension liabilities. The threat to their solvency is go great, said Erlich, that he believes municipalities will resort to other means to avoid their pension obligations. "There's a domino-effect," he said, "following Stockton, cities will go into bankruptcy to avoid obligations. Judges made a ruling that that's the way out."

Similar to the lone candidates forum during the primary season, also featurin these two candidates in the same setting, Bonta appeared to take the 45-minute forum quite seriously. "I view an election as my public job review," he said before offering the audience an assessment of his own work. Erlich, too, was circumspect about his candidacy, but also the state of the local Republican Party. He frustratingly lamented the party's strategy for attracting voters. "The party leadership says you have to go to the left and bringthem to the right," he told the group. "Why do I have to compromise my beliefs?

Castro Valley School Board Members Facing Re-Election Still Stand By Approval for $14,000 Espresso Machine

CASTRO VALLEY | In September, the unassuming unincorporated enclave of Castro Valley gained nationally-reported infamy after its school board approved the purchase of a $14,000 espresso machine. The criticism was immediate. "Why does a high school need a $14,000 espresso machine?" asked CBS News.

The expenditure was later rescinded, Castro Valley school board member Gary Howard, said at a candidates forum this month. Howard was appointed to the board last year and faces re-election for two open seats in a three-person race this November.

"We thought it was a good idea, but the community didn't like it," said Howard. However, he added the school district's rationale was actually an attempt to save money and improve child nutrition.

The other incumbent, long-time board member Janice Friesen, like Howard, continued to stand by their decision authorizing the purchase of the expensive coffee machine. "I think it is important that the reason for a coffee machine was to increase the in-district catering."

The high-profile controversy, uncommon for normally staid school board elections, could benefit the third candidate in the race, Dot Theodore.

She says there is no justification for the school board to approve the costly coffee machine. The funding identified for the machine is set aside for improving nutrition, she said, not creating revenue for the district.

"Not a single child is going to have a cup of coffee. No child is going to be served from that machine," she continued. Instead, the money could be used for upgrading aging kitchens in the district and a student garden.

"None of their arguments hold up when you know that money is for child nutrition and coffee doesn't go to our children."

Council Candidate Tells LGBT Group He'll Bring Chick-Fil-A to East Oakland

OAKLAND | CITY COUNCIL | DISTRICT 6 | Michael Johnson's campaign conceit in Oakland's City Council District 6 race is the 12-year incumbent Desley Brooks has not brought economic vitality to East Oakland. Johnson's jabs at Brooks on the issue have been consistent, maybe too consistent.

During an endorsement meeting for the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club Oct. 1, Johnson said, as a council member, included in his goals for bringing new business to the district, he would entice chicken sandwich restaurant Chick-Fil-A to East Oakland.

The reference, though, is extremely tone-deaf to members of the gay rights group. Chick-Fil-A is notorious in the LGBT community for its conservative stance and political contributions to groups in opposition of same-sex marriage.

In some progressive areas, the opening of a new Chick-Fil-A is often met with protesters. Johnson, however, seemed oblivious to the comment.

Needless to say, he did not receive the group's endorsement.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Over Last Two Weeks, Special Interests Dropped $600,000 on Tim Sbranti

Although the amount of outside expenditures is nowhere near the record-spending during the June primary, over $800,000 has been spent in support or opposition of each candidate.
ASSEMBLY | 16TH DISTRICT | In just the last two weeks this October, an independent expenditure committee in support of Democrat Tim Sbranti has spent $600,000 in special interest cash in hopes of winning the battleground 16th Assembly District.

On Wednesday, the IE in support of Sbranti, reported spending another $50,000 in expenditures. Last week, the same IE sponsored by the California Teacher Association and California State Council of Service Employees; Californians for Economic Prosperity, reported spending $400,000 to help Sbranti’s campaign against Republican upstart Catharine Baker.

During the same period, Sbranti's own campaign coffers have also been fortified. Although, Sbranti reported $197,671 in cash through Sept. 30, the campaign has received $521,724 in contributions since the beginning of this month. The windfall is led by various Democratic Central Committees as the party goes full-throttle to keep this seat blue.

In the last week, central committees in Sacramento County ($80,000), Santa Clara County ($65,000) and Marin County ($45,000) have made sizable donations to SbrNti's campaign. By contrast, Baker reported $147,625 during the most recent reporting period. This month, her campaign has received just $35,923.

The outlay, though, is nowhere near the spending spree seen during the June primary, but significant, nonetheless. In the spring, nearly $3 million alone was spent on Sbranti and moderate Democrat Steve Glazer. Two simple factors attracted the unfettered amount of campaign dollars: the future of the Democratic Party’s supermajority in the lower house is at stake because this suburban district is a winnable seat for Republicans.

Baker, a first-time candidate who won the four-candidate June primary by seven points over Sbranti, has also benefited from IEs. A committee funded by conservative groups, including Charles Munger, Jr., named Spirit of Democracy has reported spending $270,000 in favor of Baker and in opposition of Sbranti since the beginning of October, according to finance records.

Because of the district’s moderate political environment, state Republicans believe it can potentially pick off a seat from the Democratic majority in the Assembly. On Wednesday, Glazer injected himself back into the race in a Facebook post clearly supporting Baker.

Glazer’s comments came in the form of a questionnaire he purported to have offered both candidates. During the primary, one of Glazer’s main attack points against the labor-endorsed Sbranti was that he would not publicly disclose the union questionnaires he had penned. According to Glazer, Sbranti “refused to answer” his queries

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ro Khanna Races Hard to the Right

A direct-mail piece from Ro Khanna's campaign calling out Rep. Mike Honda drew the attention of former Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean.
CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | For East Bay Democrats, which is a worse act of apostasy? Attacking a fellow Democrat for being too liberal or granting an exclusive interview with conservative website, Breitbart.com? It doesn't matter. By Wednesday, Ro Khanna had done both.

Ro Khanna
In a mailer to voters in the 17th Congressional District, Khanna labeled fellow Democratic Rep. Mike Honda “an old school liberal.” The piece also asserted through various newspaper citations that Honda supports repealing Bush-era tax cuts. The mailer is a clear bid for conservative votes in the South Bay, but it also attracted the ire of former Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean. (Click on the mailer below to read the full text.)

In an email from Democracy for America, the progressive group founded by the former presidential candidate, Dean declared, “Being a "liberal" isn't an insult, it's a badge of honor.” Dean has inserted himself in this race before. Earlier this year, he highlighted Khanna’s strong support from moneyed Silicon Valley interests.

In addition, there have been signs in recent weeks that Khanna was preparing to move even further to the right. During the local televised debate, Oct. 6, he often referenced his embrace of bipartisanship in the Republican-controlled House, while making two specific references to nearby Rep. Eric Swalwell, who, like Khanna is a moderate Democrat who successfully defeated Pete Stark, another long-time progressive representative in the 15th District.

In this context, it is not surprising, Khanna granted an interview with Breitbart which featured the headline, “Republicans could decide Silicon Valley race between Democrats.” Khanna relies heavily on utilizing Swalwell’s 2012 playbook to defeat Pete Stark. In the interview, Khanna told the web site, he would work with Republicans in the House and Honda is “out of touch” and “ideologically extreme.” However, the one strategy Swalwell never really used was to call out his opponent for being too liberal.

Honda: ‘Ro Khanna’s Campaign is Broke

CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | How times have changed. A year ago, the main talking point in the 17th Congressional District was the distinct money advantage the challenger, Ro Khanna, held over the 14-year incumbent Rep. Mike Honda. Over the past few months the advantage disappeared as Khanna went into early spending mode. However, third quarter campaign finance reports released Wednesday covering activity between July 1 to Sept. 30 show the role-reversal could be permanent.

Honda reported $964,000 in the bank
through Sept. 30.
Honda now holds a nearly five-to-one advantage over Khanna in cash remaining through Sept. 30. Khanna, meanwhile, spent nearly twice as much as Honda during the same period, following a 20-point loss at the polls last June.

Honda raised $412,167 during the third quarter while spending $450,861. He carries $964,638 toward the final two months of the campaign, while carrying no debt. If Honda can continue the moderate spending and still win re-election, his next campaign in two years will have a modest down payment in case Khanna chooses to mount a rematch.

Khanna garnered $323,291 in contributions, but spent $972,139 during the late summer period. Khanna now holds a campaign-low $218,106 in the bank, but also reported $140,980 in debt. Honda’s campaign used the paltry figure, for this race, to declare in a press release late Wednesday night, the Khanna campaign was “broke” and potentially in danger of not being able to meet payroll.

“With less than 20 days to go until Election Day, Ro Khanna is 15 points down and in the position of deciding whether to spend his little remaining cash on his large staff or on continued attacks on Congressman Honda. Our campaign has nearly $1 million in cash, $900,000 more than Khanna, and we are just now starting to spend the majority of our resources when voters are paying the most attention to the election,” said Honda Campaign Manager Doug Greven.

Last Monday, Khanna’s campaign released a poll showing the race tied at 38 percent. Hours later, Honda’s campaign produced their own survey showing their candidate up 15 points, 42-27 percent.
Nonetheless, the campaign finance numbers serve as a snapshot in time. In this case, Khanna’s decision to spend early and often may be akin to an America’s Cup yachtsman tacking too earlier, while the competition stayed patient and waited for a strong breeze.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Parker: I’m the Only Oakland Mayoral Candidate Who Will Stop Another Occupy

Bryan Parker, right, with fellow Oakland mayoral candidate Courtney Ruby at a candidates forum in August, is marking the anniversary of Occupy Oakland, not the movement , but the raid on it three years ago. PHOTO/Steven Tavares
OAKLAND | MAYOR | Bryan Parker’s campaign is celebrating the three year anniversary this month of the Occupy Oakland movement in Oakland not by lauding its social impact on the city and country, but by declaring his candidacy mayor will stop another protest from happening again.

“Three years ago this month, our city was locked in the throes of the Occupy Oakland movement and in ten days, we will mark the third anniversary of the raid on the Occupy Oakland encampments - a day when three City Hall insiders who are currently running to be the next mayor allowed Oakland businesses to be vandalized and civil rights to be violated,” Parker said in a press release Wednesday.

Parker, whose campaign has struggled to gain much traction despite being one of the top-funded in the mayor’s race, says the three current Oakland elected officials in the race did nothing to stop the Occupy Oakland movement from causing physical damage to the city. Incidentally, those same candidates—Mayor Jean Quan, Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan and Libby Schaaf—are viewed as the three top front runners in next month's election.

"The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior,” Parker continued. “Quan, Kaplan, and Schaaf failed to lead all Oaklanders--protesters, police, small business owners, average residents--with courage and competence through the contentious Occupy months. Mayor Quan was out of town and Councilmembers Kaplan and Schaaf sat idly by. They failed to lead in the past, they will fail to lead again in the future."

Parker’s comments, seemingly pulled from the dystopian film, The Hunger Games, is not surprising for its pro-business slant. The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has endorsed his campaign as did the moderate-leaning editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle. Parker is also one of the few mayoral candidates not in favor of Measure FF—the city’s referendum to raise its minimum wage to $12.25—an issue of income inequality that was the impetus for the Occupy Oakland protests.

Poll: Kaplan Building on Lead in Oakland Mayor’s Race, Brown 'Bump' for Schaaf

With less than three weeks until Election Day, a third consecutive polls predicts a comfortable lead for Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan. PHOTO/Steven Tavares
OAKLAND | MAYOR | Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan is maintaining a lead over Mayor Jean Quan and Councilmember Libby Schaaf, according to a new poll released Wednesday. The poll also finds Kaplan would beat Schaaf by more than 17 points, 58-41 percent, when ranked-choice votes are tabulated. The final result in this latest survey, however, may reveal a surge by Schaaf with less than three weeks before Election day. Previous polls, showed Kaplan defeating Quan in the final round.

Libby Schaaf appears to have been the
beneficiary of a Jerry Brown "bump" in
the polls. PHOTO/Steven Tavares
Last week, Schaaf received the high-profile endorsement of Gov. Jerry Brown and Tuesday night she received the backing of the East Bay Express, city’s progressive newspaper of record. The latter, which occurred during the middle of polling from Oct. 5-Oct. 9, noted a significant bump to Schaaf’s numbers, as much as 8 percent in first-place votes, according the survey, commissioned by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

The poll found Kaplan leads in the first round with 21 percent, followed by Quan, 17 percent; Schaaf 14 percent; Dan Siegel 9 percent; Joe Tuman, 8 percent; along with Courtney Ruby and Bryan Parker at 4 percent.

The second tier of candidates in the 15-person field is lead by Charles Williams and Eric Wilson with 3 percent; Jason Anderson, Saied Karamooz and Peter Liu with 2 percent; Patrick McCullough and Ken Houston at 1 percent and Nancy Sidebotham registering support below 1 percent.

While Kaplan remains atop the polls—two other surveys found similar results—the poll notes her high name-recognition among voters following two at-large council race in the last four years, may have plateaued. Schaaf’s name I.D., meanwhile, is rising, according to the poll, as more Oakland voters become engaged in the fall election. Just 21 percent of the 500 likely voters interviewed said they are undecided, according to the survey. The figure is down from the 39 percent of undecided voters identified in a poll from September.

The state of Quan’s fight for re-election is muddled, according to the poll. For the first time since 2005, the city’s right direction-wrong track numbers are positive. Forty-five percent of respondents said Oakland is moving in the right direction, while 37 percent said it is not. The findings are significant and especially positive for an incumbent like Quan. However, the poll also found her negatives as mayor still stubbornly low.

If Quan is shut out of the final top two, presumably to the benefit of Kaplan and Schaaf, Quan’s supporters could determine the next mayor. The survey shows more of Quan’s voters supported Kaplan over Schaaf. Such a results would be a role-reversal to four years ago when Kaplan vaulted Quan over Don Perata and into the mayor’s office.

However, the poll also suggests another kingmaker on Nov. 4 could be Joe Tuman. The university professor and former television analyst is somewhat a ideological twin to Schaaf for many of his supporters. Tuman, according to the poll finishes fifth in first round with eight percent. But, Tuman’s share of second place votes ranks third behind Kaplan and Schaaf. Furthermore, his third place votes are tied with Kaplan for first.

Livermore's Chris Pareja and Oakland's Shake Anderson: Switched at Birth?

Just a minor correction needed. The League of Women Voters' site confused Chris Pareja with Oakland mayoral candidate Jason "Shake" Anderson. The mistake has since been corrected.
ELECTION 2014 | Maybe Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski looks a little like the apple-chewing Saturday Night Live character, Mister Peepers, but how do you confuse a Mexican-Filipino American right-winger from Livermore and a former Occupy Oakland protester who is black?

Pareja, pictured with a mic, has run for Congress
twice. This fall, he's up for a seat on the Livermore
City Council. PHOTO/Steven Tavares
Livermore City Council candidate Chris Pareja laughed out loud recently when he logged on to smartvoter.org, the League of Women Voters-sponsored web site, to find a photo of Oakland mayoral candidate Jason “Shake” Anderson under his name.

Pareja, a former congressional candidate who garnered 22 percent of the primary vote in 2012, joked on Facebook, “Evidently, someone at the League of Women Voters drew a mustache on my candidate profile picture."

The role reversal would not be advantageous for either candidate. Anderson is a far-left community organizer who would certainly cause unease in the moderate to right-leaning Tri Valley. Meanwhile, Pareja's sunny, but Tea Party-infused rhetoric, would even make staid voters in the Oakland Hills blush with embarrassment.

Last week, the League of Women Voters fixed the error. And while Anderson is a decided underdog in Oakland, Pareja has a good shot at winning a seat on the Livermore City Council, which comes with a cork screw engraved with his name and a pat on the head from local boy, Rep. Eric Swalwell.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Raburn Hopes to Keep His Seat on BART

Lena Tam, left,  is challenging BART Board Director Robert Raburn. A third candidate, Lionel Larry Young, Jr. ran for Oakland mayor four years ago; finishing last. 
BART BOARD OF DIRECTORS | DISTRICT 4 | When a pair of BART strikes brought the Bay Area to a standstill last year, Robert Raburn, one of the transit agency's elected board members, found himself in an unfamiliar place. After years of leading the East Bay Bike Coalition to prominence, he had parlayed his progressive credentials into a seat on the BART board in 2010. But during the tumultuous 2013 labor dispute between BART management and its striking unions, Raburn sided with management and was suddenly no longer viewed as being quite so progressive. And that decision could cost him his seat this fall on the BART Board of Directors, representing Alameda and portions of Oakland and San Leandro. Organized labor is now strongly backing his challenger, Alameda city Councilmember Lena Tam.

In some politically moderate regions of the Bay Area, political races have focused in part this year on whether BART unions should be banned from going on strike, but that question has barely registered a mention in this liberal district. Raburn, Tam, and a third candidate, Lionel Larry Young, Jr. who ran for Oakland mayor in 2010, all believe that banning transit workers from striking is a bad idea. And they agree that the best way to limit the likelihood of a strike in the future is by fostering better communication between labor and management before contract negotiations begin. Yet despite their agreement on these issues, there is no doubt that Raburn's policy positions during the BART strike last year are the main issue of contention in this race.

"This last year was bitter in that I feel like I was unfairly labeled" as being anti-union, said Raburn in an interview. He said the six-month ordeal last year was the "most intense moment" of his life. Raburn said he felt intimidated by the anger that emanated from both sides of the dispute. "It's not like you're elected just to serve the passengers and your constituents, you have these two bodies— management and labor — that want something from you." Raburn said his goal during negotiations was simply to gain a long-term, sustainable plan for BART. Union officials, though, contend that Raburn betrayed them. "I became persona non grata real fast with the union because I didn't say, 'Oh, I'll watch your back.' I said, 'No, I'm going to listen to all sides.'"...


Dem-on-Dem 15th Assembly District Race Becomes Divisive After Intra-Party Mailer

This mailer sent by the Elizabeth Echols campaign using the chair of the Alameda County Central Committee's name may be driving a wedge within the party.
ASSEMBLY | 15TH DISTRICT | This is exactly what Democratic Party activists feared with passage four years ago of a state constitutional amendment allowing open primaries. Ever since, in Alameda County, there have been many hard-fought Democratic intra-party General Election matchups, but the race this fall in the 15th Assembly District may be the first one that has gone negative.

Tony Thurmond, Elizabeth Echols
An Assembly candidates in the Berkeley-centered district—Elizabeth Echols—with help from Alameda County Democratic Central Committee Chair Robin Torello is slinging mud at her opponent, Tony Thurmond.

In a hit piece labeled as a "Warning from the Alameda County Democratic Party" sent last week sent by Echols' campaign, Torello slammed Thurmond for being the beneficiary of $68,722, through Sept. 30, of a committee named Alliance for California's Tomorrow, A California Business Coalition. "It's an outrage that a political committee paid for by big oil, tobacco and predatory lenders is trying to buy this Assembly seat," said the mailer signed by Torello. Alameda County Democrats have endorsed Echols for the seat.

State election laws prohibit expenditure groups from coordinating their efforts with the campaigns they support or those in opposition of an opponent. Last week, Thurmond disavowed the committee and called for campaign finance reform.

The back side of the mailer alerts voters of the committee supporting Thurmond and features its name and address with the heading, "Every time you see this name on mailers for Tony Thurmond, Be Aware:" followed by the admonition, "Don't be fooled. Don't let the corporate interests buy our district."

Yet, the controversy went further Monday when the Oakland-based Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, which endorsed Thurmond, sent a complaint to Torello in protest of the mailer. In the letter, the club says it is "deeply disturbed" the central committee's leadership sent the negative mailer against one of their own. It also called for remediation of possible damages against Thurmond's campaign.

"Most of all, we don't like your authorizing a hit piece against a fellow Democrat, and we seriously question your ethical and organizational right to do that without any apparent consultation with the elected members of the [Alameda County Democratic Central Committee]."

Furthermore, the letter recognizes the party's right to support their endorsed candidate, in this case, Echols, but "It is not appropriate to attack Tony Thurmond in the manner that you did, if you value long-term party unity and common decency of discourse."

NOTE: A correction was made to this article to describe each side of the mailer as being part of the same mailing from the Echols campaign, not two.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Honda-Khanna Race is a Dead Heat, Or, Wait, Honda is Up 15 Points

Rep. Mike Honda, left, says internal polling shows him leading Ro Khanna by 15 points; Khanna, however, says his survey reveals a dead heat in the 17th Congressional District.
CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | East Bay political junkies woke up Monday with news that Ro Khanna’s campaign was suddenly in a dead heat with a just few weeks left in his race to unseat Rep. Mike Honda. Polling of 400 likely voters in the South Bay district that includes Fremont revealed both Democrats deadlocked at 38 percent.

Nearly a quarter of the electorate, according to the poll, however, is still undecided with just three weeks before Election Day. The polling’s margin of error, though, is a relatively high 4.9 percent. Nevertheless, the results would be a significant change from the 20-point primary victory Honda posted against Khanna and two Republicans in June.

“These numbers are a clear sign that the more voters hear Ro’s vision for strengthening our economy, fostering innovation, and ensuring our children are prepared for the jobs of the future, the more likely they are to vote for new leadership this November,” said Leah Cowan, Khanna’s campaign manager, in a statement. “But we’re not taking anything for granted.

But, hold on.

By early Monday afternoon, Honda’s campaign released its own internal polling data showing a 15-point advantage for the incumbent over Khanna. Honda’s survey of 500 likely voters from Oct. 7 to Oct. 12 showed Honda leading the race with 42 percent to Khanna’s 27 percent. In this poll, 31 percent of respondents said they were undecided. The poll has a 4.4 percent margin of error.

“This latest poll shows that Congressman Honda is the overwhelming choice of voters in the 17th Congressional District. Ro Khanna’s campaign is clearly getting desperate, which is reflected in the barrage of attack mailers funded by Khanna’s Republican donors distorting Congressman Honda’s record of delivering for his district,” said Honda’s Campaign Manager Doug Greven.

Following a much-anticipated televised debate last week in San Jose that received little consensus over a clear winner, the last three weeks of the campaign will likely become highly contentious.

Quan Says She’s like Obama; Schaaf Gets Sassy; Anderson Shines

Oakland mayoral candidate Bryan Parker detailing his plan for helping the city's youth to succeed during a press conference last week in front of Oakland City Hall. PHOTO/Steven Tavares
OAKLAND | MAYOR | At a large, mostly black audience recently at Merritt College, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan referenced President Obama, Libby Schaaf continued a push to frame her campaign as the most authentically Oakland in the race. And while Schaaf has flailed at trying to entice the black vote recently, another opponent, Jason Anderson, showed exactly how to a candidate born and raised in Oakland should address the demographic.

Jason Anderson's closing speech Oct. 1 is one
of the Oakland mayoral race's best moments.
“I see myself a lot like Barack Obama, as an organizer, always have been,” said Quan, who gave another strong performance Oct. 1. Crime is down not because of her own doing, said Quan, but because she has worked with the community. Later, she alluded to her activism at Cal and work for labor unions, but a few in the audience giggled at Quan’s connection to Obama. A key to Quan’s recent appearances has been her new found ability to cogently tout her record over the past four years, primarily the Brooklyn Basin project, the Oakland Army Base and the great potential for Coliseum City. In fact, there was one moment Wednesday when Quan delivered a powerful case for re-election.

And, it was immediately followed by a similarly forceful statement by Schaaf—almost as if the two were trying to one-up each other. It was clear Quan and Schaaf, among the 11 candidates at the Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) event, are showing a greater sense of urgency and clarity in their rhetoric than the rest of the field.

Schaaf, however, seems intent to chisel away votes from the city’s pool of black voters. Starting three weeks ago there were signs Schaaf was bristling under criticism she is the rich, white candidate from the Oakland Hills. When Schaaf’s campaign posted a short video of the candidate dancing to the Cupid Shuffle it furthered this belief. Later, it was bolstered by a well-done campaign commercial that inexplicably ends with the narrator intoning, “Oakland hella needs leadership.” On Wednesday night, when talking about transportation, Schaaf shifted her torso to one side and nearly placed one hand on her hip while sassily saying, “This city’s got some raggedy roads.”
Nevertheless, the best moment of the night and possibly the most exhilarating statement of the entire mayoral race was delivered by Anderson, a community activist and former Occupy Oakland protester. In short, Anderson schooled Schaaf.
“I’ve talked to several candidates and like what they have to say. As mayor, I will work with Siegel. I will work Libby. I will take some of Saied [Karamooz’s] ideas. You don’t have to lose. With me you can combine everything you like to hear and get behind someone who represents Oakland. You’re voting for an image, people. You’re voting for an image of what Oakland looks like. So, when that person stands on TV and has to speak on behalf of Oakland, I want you to say, He’s from the Town. He’s a third-generation resident. I know who his grandma is. I knew his granddaddy. I know his auntie—she still goes to church. I want you to understand I represent the people from the top to the bottom, not just to the hills to the flatlands.”
A few minute later, the speech was so effective that candidate Rebecca Kaplan leaned toward Anderson, placed her hand on his shoulder and said, “Good job.” Anderson, still amped from his outstanding flourish, stared into the distance.
Other highlights. Saied Karamooz’s main contribution to this race has been his insistent criticism of the three elected officials in the race, while also railing against special interest money in Oakland politics. He has called Quan, Schaaf and Kaplan “coin-operated politicians” and last week he described them as being “remote-controlled by big donors.” Subsequently, Bryan Parker, one of the most well-financed candidates in the race, attempted to skewer Karamooz over his comments. “Saied was right about something,” Parker began. “I’m going to tell my mom she is a big dollar donor.” Karamooz didn’t find the quip amusing and stared blankly at Parker as he spoke.
Meanwhile, nothing will change a candidate’s view of the moribund Oakland Tribune like receiving its mayoral endorsement. Joe Tuman labeled the paper, Oakland’s “hometown newspaper.” However, like every other forum, the Tribune was absent.
Two recent polls show Kaplan is the front runner to be the next mayor of Oakland. She may believe the polls are correct. By the sound of her performance last Wednesday, Kaplan is choosing to play it safe for the last month of the election by avoiding any unforced errors. In fact, Kaplan’s often monotone style of oratory during this campaign was particularly sonorous this week. Each…word…it…seemed…was…spaced…by…three…dots.

Bill McCammon, former Alameda County Fire Chief, dies

McCammon's 2006 Assembly race against
Mary Hayashi was notable for its vitriol.
ALAMEDA COUNTY | Bill McCammon, a former Alameda County fire chief and head of the the East Bay Regional Communication System Authority, died in his sleep Monday morning from an apparent heart attack. He was 61.

In addition to leading the Alameda County Fire Department for 13 years, McCammon previously served as fire chief in San Leandro. He currently held the post of executive director for the East Bay Regional Communication System Authority. 

Politically, McCammon was involved in one of the most infamous Assembly races in recent history against Mary Hayashi. During a particularly hostile primary race in 2006, both Democrats routinely and harshly slammed each other in campaign mailers. Hayashi won the primary over McCammon by less than two percent.

McCammon was born and raised in Oakland and resided in Pleasanton. 

McCammon is survived by his wife, Rose Johnson Padilla, the executive director of San Leandro's Davis Street Resource Center and their three children.   

'Till Death Do You Cost Me My San Leandro City Council Race

SAN LEANDRO | CITY COUNCIL | Four years ago, there was chatter--maybe call it fear--among San Leandro’s political establishment about the rise of “newcomers” in the city seeking to gain power through its school board. First, there was school board member Mike Katz-Lacabe and then the election of Stephen Cassidy as mayor. However, Cassidy’s brand turned toxic and his imprimatur on candidates running for office subsequently registered electoral losses all over the ballot in 2012. Cassidy is gone, too, but that isn’t stopping this milieu of political ideologies from using the schools to further their agenda.

In fact, it seems every two years, starting in 2010, there is news that candidates from this group is passing political flyers outside of school-related events. In two of those cases, the politicking may have been done of school grounds, which is definitely illegal. However, recently two San Leandro City Council candidates, running as a slate, passed out two-sided leaflet to parents. One in particular, touting Katz-Lacabe's council campaign suggests something more--that he realizes his spouse's spouting in the political arena is a huge negative.

The one-page mailer, in fact, comes straight from Cassidy's platform, with a vow to collaborate between the school district and city and for fostering transparency at City Hall. However, it's not political stances in the flyer that has brought attention, but a curious sentence placed atop the page and in boldface.

"I am raising my two daughters in San Leandro. I am the only candidate in District 1 with children in our public schools." A photo of a pony-tailed Katz-Lacabe and his children is also included, but there is no mention of his wife, controversial Alameda County, Margarita Lacabe's when it comes to child-rearing. The couple is definitely still together which makes the exclusion of Lacabe even more suspicious.

Lacabe's reputation among her colleagues are the Alameda County Central Committee is certainly notorious and likely cost her husband the crucial backing this fall of the Democratic Party. Earlier this year, Lacabe's online allegation about the central committee was picked up by the Fair Political Practice Commission. Later, it exonerated the central committee, but not before the local party apparatus spent around $8,000 in legal fees.

Katz-Lacabe's progressive credentials are nearly sterling. Aside from being a two-term San Leandro school board member, Katz-Lacabe's activism for digital privacy and transparency at the city's police department, should have been enough to persuade the very progressive central committee to back his bid for the City Council. But, it passed over Katz-Lacabe. The party, instead, choose no endorsement in Katz-Lacabe's race.

Media is Shutting Me Out, says Assembly Candidate Jaime Patino

18th Assembly District candidate Jaime Patino says the local media is doing the public a disservice by ignoring his race against Assemblymember Bill Quirk.
ASSEMBLY | 20TH DISTRICT | Union city resident Jaime Patino, a Republican, is a long-shot to unseat first-term Democratic Assemblymember Bill Quirk in November. But, that's not what's bothering Patino the most. It's that he can't get any media attention for his race.

In addition to the media, Patino has continually been rebuffed by the non-partisan League of Women Voters in Hayward, who said they would not organize a candidates forum for the race in the heart of the district. The Eden Area League of Women Voters also passed on hosting a forum during the primary. Quirk and Patino participated in a forum last April by the Fremont chapter of the group and another last month.

Meanwhile, when Patino, a moderate Republican who favors same-sex marriage, asked the Bay Area News Group for an endorsement meeting, its editors said, no thanks. He then offered the paper a Op-Ed piece, but it, too, declined, said Patino, since he's a candidate for office this fall. Below is the article:
I am very disappointed that the Bay Area News Group has declined to do an endorsement interview for Assembly District 20 (North Fremont, Union City, Hayward, San Lorenzo, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Ashland and Fairview). Not to do so is nothing less than journalistic malpractice. It is not your job to decide which races are competitive or not. It is up to the voters. There are too many issues that need to be discussed and people need to hear where we stand on those issues. 
Our schools are in crisis and jobs are leaving the state. The Vergara case is the biggest civil rights case in the last 25 years and our kids are not getting the education they need to succeed in this economy. Yet you do not bother to ask where we stand on education reform. As parents, we expect more from you. As voters, we look to you in order to make the most informed decision we can when voting. 
Companies like Tesla, Chevron and Toyota are moving jobs out of state because this state so hostile to business. Real Tort and Tax Reform and a change in our burdensome Permit Process is needed to re-ignite the economic engine that is California. We need to talk about issues people care about. We need to make sure that any person that wants a job can find one. We also need to help people reach their potential so that they can be productive citizens and raise their children the best way they can. 
Be a champion of Democracy and let people hear where we stand. Voters need to know about all election races; especially at the state level. What happens in Sacramento effects them at home. All we are asking for is to be heard.
Last May, Joel VanLandingham, a congressional candidate in the South Bay's 17th District also blasted the newspaper for skipping over lesser-known candidates. However, in that case, the paper interviewed Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna and another Republican candidate, but not VanLandingham. In Patino's case, the entire has been ignored by BANG.

With nowhere to get his message out, Patino is now seeking groups willing to organize a candidate's forum. But, with less than a month before Election Day, and vote-by-mail ballots already in mailboxes, time is running out.

Oakland's District Four Council Race Heats Up

Oakland District 4 City Council candidates Jill Broadhurst and Anne Campbell Washington.
OAKLAND | CITY COUNCIL | DISTRICT 4 | Jill Broadhurst's campaign was accused of questionable tactics contained in a mailer sent recently to Oakland District 4 voters. Meanwhile, labor unions poured thousands in support of Broadhurst's opponent, Anne Campbell Washington, and another progressive candidate in the council's District 2. Each move suggests the campaigns may see the race to replace Councilmember Libby Schaaf on the City Council next month is likely to be a hard-fought affair.

Broadhurst received a warning letter from the Sierra Club last week telling her to stop using the environmental group's logo on one of her campaign mailers. The group did not endorse Broadhurst for his seat leading to the complaint, according to the East Bay Express. However, Broadhurst said she is a member and the mailer merely communicates this fact..

The logo on the Broadhurst mailer is clearly labelled as not an endorsement, but is placed next to the insignia for the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber Commerce political action committee, which did back Broadhurst's campaign last month. Critics charge Broadhurst is attempting to deceive voters.

With just weeks to go before the General Election, campaign's are hustling for every last vote before Nov. 4. Labor, this week, may have showed its cards, at least, when it comes to putting its money where its mouth is. The Alameda Labor Council, a mix of local unions that wield significant electoral power, paid for over $25,000 worth of campaign advertisements in support Washington and District 2 candidate Abel Guillen. according to campaign finance reports.

While both Washington and Guillen are progressives endorsed by the Alameda County Democratic Party, the outlay may suggest the unions are, at least, concerned about their chances. One known source for the concern follows two polls in September showing each was trailing their more moderate council opponents. Guillen is in a five-person race in District 4. Polls show political newcomer Dana King, a former local news anchorwoman, leading the race. The same polls also show Broadhurst with an electoral lead.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Alameda Point Issue Bleeds into Mayor, City Council Races

ALAMEDA | MAYOR | CITY COUNCIL |Alameda's decade-long debate over development — especially the development of Alameda Point — is turning out to be the dominant issue in the city's mayoral and council races this fall. And voters' views on the Point — whether they want to develop it with new homes and businesses or whether they're concerned about the extra traffic that a large project would bring — likely will determine the outcome of the election.

On one side of the debate stands Mayor Marie Gilmore. She strongly backs the city's plan to develop the former Alameda Naval Air Station — also called Alameda Point — with more than 1,400 new homes, along with new businesses and parks. Her opponent, popular Alameda school board member Trish Spencer, adamantly opposes the proposed large development, noting that Alameda already has traffic problems, in part because there are few access points to the island.

Likewise, in the race for city council, incumbent Stewart Chen supports the development proposal for Alameda Point, as does Jim Oddie, a district director for Assemblymember Rob Bonta. Frank Matarrese, the third candidate in the race for two seats on the council, backed the idea of developing the Point when he previously served on the council, but now opposes the city's current proposal...


Monday, October 6, 2014

Liveblogging: CA17 Congressional Debate

CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | RECAP | Ro Khanna needed to win this debate tonight. He succeeded in offering his well-honed vision for the 17th Congressional District. However, he probably needed a blowout to move the needle closer for at least a close race through the last 30 days of the campaign. He did not do that.

In fact, Rep. Mike Honda employed the exact prevent defense most believed he would use against Khanna. Honda likely scored the biggest line of the night at the most opportune time. After Khanna asserted Honda had lost the vigor and vision from early in his congressional career--a common refrain throughout this campaign by Khanna--moderator Raj Matthai then asked Honda, point-blank, whether he was "burnt out?"

Honda said he drives a Prius and added, "I'm not burned out. I have a lot of gas in the tank and I'm not even a hybrid."

The sound bite will likely act as the lead-in for news stories and undercuts Khanna's repeated platform criticizing Honda as losing a step.

Although, Khanna started slow, his confidence ramped up significantly with a question regarding campaign ethics allegations against Honda's campaign. However, Khanna did not return to the increasingly hot-button issue later in the debate.

Khanna also made no bones about his willingness to work with House Republicans. In addition, he twice mentioned moderate Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell and often referenced the backing of the Bay Area News Group's moderate to conservative editorial board being in his favor.

As it stands, Khanna has a month to make the argument for change in the 17th District. However, it's the argument the campaign hasn't been able to pin down for over a year.


7:46 Closing: KHANNA "is the american dream going to be alive for the next generation." We have Congress that is broken."
"These things wrerent supposed to be lifetime estates." I ask us to join our campaign for change."
Khanna with a very emotional closing.

HONDA Does not thank Khanna for attending debate.

7:43 Last Question: Congress' low approval rating. HONDA says view is based on all parts of Congress--Dems and Rep. But most people think they're rep is doing a good job. Polling actually suggests this odd phenomenon.

Honda says he used telephone, online town halls to move forward.

KHANNA says he's knocked on 5,000 doors. "He has become part of the problem." "People want to hit reset."
"They want someone who is going to work as hard as they are."

7:35 Khanna may be feeling like time is running out. His last response was like the end of a fireworks show when a barrage is lit and fired.

7:31 Are you burnt out? Matthai asks Khanna: "I'm not burned out. I have a lot of gas in the tank and I'm not even a hybrid."

7:28 With about 30 minutes to go, time is running out for Khanna. He's done well, but he still needs a knockout. Just running even with the incumbent is not good enough.

7:23 Khanna again says how much he admires Honda, but adds, "You're handlers aren't letting you do town halls. I've done more town halls than he in his last term."
Great use by Khanna of portraying Honda has once great, but now less so.

7:20 Khanna says public schools are failing us. Want every kids in the district to have advantages he had.
Honda: Not every school is failing. Problem is 50 states with 50 different standards.

7:15 Tax inversions: Is it un-American? Honda says he's against tax evasion, of course.
Khanna says companies HQ "I will stand up to any tech company that does that."
When pressed. "I wish people knew my story more." Innovators supports him, special interests support Honda, says Khanna.

7:12 Members of Congress are part of the 1%, says Khanna, with all the benefits they enjoy.
Honda giggles about 1% knock.

7;10 Forget Honda pinning Khanna as a non-progressive, Khanna seems willing to go there himself.

7:02 Minimum wage: HONDA help push to raise min wage in San Jose. Federal wage up to $10.10. Needs more to help young adults to pay for college.
Says forgive loans if students go into public service. Incentivize publc service

Khanna: supports min wage. Index it to inflation. "Can congress have the same standards as us," says Khanna. Says Honda has missed 466 votes in his career. "People need someone who is present, engaged."

Honda: I have 95% voting record. "I've gotten results."

6:55 Ethics violations. "Are you an ethical congressman?" asks Matthai.
Honda calls it "a personnel matter." My expectation goes above the legal minimum, he adds.
On his chief of statff: "She has apologized that this won't happen again."
Honda says the legal complaints need to move forward and he will cooperate.

Khanna "Nobody is perfect." Not personal to Honda's integrity. go to dysfunction in American politics."
"It's exactly what's wrong with the political process."
"I hope the congressman would apologize," said Khanna

6:53 Khanna brings up Honda's boast of money again for BART extension. "He's relying on something that doesn't exist--earmarks." Khanna used the same line during the May 2014 forum.

6:50 Khanna attacks Honda's lack of progress in passing bills in Congress. Notes nearby freshman Rep, Eric Swalwell has passed two bills this year. Rep. Anna Eshoo has seven.

6:46 Through three questions, Honda is holding serve so far.

6:43 3rd Question: To KHANNA Pell grants. Says he would increase Pell grants. "I'm still paying off student loans," says Khanna. Have student interest rates that are same as the banks, he says. Push for more online courses to limit time in school and price.

HONDA "I did fight for Pell grant increases."
Calls for change to bankruptcy laws for student loans.

6:40 2nd Question: To HONDA immigration reform. Current House-backed plan is working. "Not the bill he would have written," said Honda, but still good.
First step: get it passed, legal citizenship for undocumented. calls for shorter path to citizenship for undocumented students. "They've done enough.

Khanna "I share the congressman's values." But, notes do-nothing Congress. "I would work with Republicans," said Khanna. Do it piece-meal and "get something done."

If you work with GOP on immigration, you'll get nothing, asks panelist.

6:39 Honda running through bringing home federal money for BART extensions.
Honda, conversely, looks calm.

6:36pm First question from moderator Raj Matthai: To KHANNA How can you serve rich and poor in CA17. Khanna; "It's the question of our times."
Khanna looks nervous, but that's expected. "Imagine if we had a new standard? Imagine if our elected officials were as hard working as the people in this district."
Khanna says factories are high-tech and have changed. Even taxi driver needs to know programming.

6:31pm Note: tonight's debate between Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna is pre-empting Extra! and Access Hollywood and that's a good thing.

6:30pm Tune in to tonight's debate on KNTV, channel 11. Live tweeting starts now.