Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Follow the Money to Mary

San Leandro Bytes reported Monday night possible links between a Southern California Political Action Committee, Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi and San Leandro Vice Mayor Joyce Starosciak, a candidate for mayor this November.

There is nothing illegal about any of these campaign finance dealings on the surface, but the inherent potential of cross-mingling the interests of the Economic Development Alliance and the campaign of Hayashi and future political aspirations of her husband, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Dennis Hayashi, could be cause for concern and dramatically change the dynamic of the race for mayor of San Leandro.

PACs, by definition, allows labor unions and corporations to funnel fundraising dollars to political causes as large as $5,000. Candidates benefit from, what some critics say is an avenue to skirt campaign finance laws, by receiving larger amounts than afforded to individuals.

The circumstances around the connection between the Economic Development Alliance and Hayashi's mental health foundation, the Iris Alliance Fund, put into questions whether the PAC is being illegally coordinated by the Hayashis since a vast majority of its donations have gone to Dennis Hayashi, according to San Leandro Bytes.

The uptick in campaign fundraising by Hayashi last year--over $400,000--has not quelled rumors she is angling for a possible run for state Sen. Ellen Corbett's seat (still unlikely) or political aspirations far grander than the assembly (more likely). A frenetic rush of fundraising donors listing on the Secretary of State's web site also includes an expenditure of over $25,000 for a lavish fundraising event in Sonoma County. The early October weekend spa event made waves in the East Bay when some current and public officials questioned why during a recession, Hayashi would make large campaign expenditures outside of her district where unemployment runs as high as 11 percent.

How the Southern California PAC will affect the mayor's race in San Leandro is unclear, but some have suggested the cozy relationship between Hayashi and Starosciak will benefit the vice mayor, who's candidacy has laid relatively low in the early goings of the campaign. One source says Starosciak's unaction thus far is a typical tactic of her political consultant, Larry Tramutola, who is also known for aggressive campaign literature. A common refrain among many is Hayashi could fund Starosciak's campaign for mayor if she chose if the political fallout of such action would not undermine the vice mayor's campaign against current Mayor Tony Santos.

This type of political powerplay by Hayashi would not be something new. During her husband's campaign for superior court judge in 2008 she pitched in $30,000 to help him win his seat on the bench. A similar donation from Hayashi to Starosciak would likely put her on even footing with Santos or create the possibility of exceeding his campaign coffers. Santos told The Citizen last week, he hopes to raise at least $80,000 for November's election. According to end-of-year campaign filings, Santos' $24,000 nearly doubled Starosciak's take and included a $10,000 payment for Tramutola's services. Many believe the total cost of the noted East Bay consultant is between $25,000-30,000.

In addition, the identity of the author of San Leandro Bytes also play a bit part in this story. Nowhere on the blog, does it mention the site is written by  Mike Katz, the current president of the San Leandro School Board and active member of the Stephen Cassidy for Mayor Committee. This clear conflict of interest does not refute the facts reported, which are derived entirely by public records, but the appearance of impartiality severely undermines a news article meant to be a proponent of open government.

In a quite handy article last week, Katz posted campaign finance filings from various San Leandro politicians, but did not include any mention of his own. This is like Fox News President Roger Ailes directly benefiting from trashing a Democrat when he has direct ties to the Republican National Committee. Just saying.
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Under every single blog entry in San Leandro Bytes (including the one you cite), it says: "Posted by Mike". I think it's quite clear who is doing the postings.

As for not posting his own campaign contributions, has it occurred to you that that may be because the last election was 3 years ago, and Mike no longer has an open campaign committee/account? Just how hard would it have been to find that out?

You really seem to resent Mike. This is not the first time you go out of your way to attack him. Could it be that you are somewhat jealous of the seriousness of his blog and the fact that he often scoops you? Just saying.

Likewise, the author of the above comment is the wife of Mike Katz. This is not mentioned. As for scoops, this term is usually reserved for journalists, not elected officials unless you are the propaganda arm of some leftist South American strongman.

When I wrote another story on San Leandro Bytes in June, pro-Katz followers unleashed a torrent of objections to it, but never dwelled on the question of whether a politician should be acting as a quasi-journalist. The power of Katz's blog politically is without question. Is it a weapon he uses politically? Probably yes and it is something I need to look at soon. It may be difficult to justify impartiality on your blog when you transformed the composition of the school board on the platfform that the unpopular superintendent would be ousted and then it occured as planned.

By the way, this site is not intended for "my children are cuter than yours" type of arguments.

I think pretty much everyone in San Leandro, at least everyone who is likely to read your blog, knows perfectly well that I'm Mike's wife. It's not as if that fact has not been plastered all over the SL Times and Daily Review in the past - as well as on multiple blogs. And it's not as if I didn't sign my own name, put a link to my own website and so forth.

Like it or not you can be both a journalist and an elected official. What Mike does in San Leandro Bytes is journalism, and often investigative journalism - /objectively/ reporting on events that happen in or involve San Leandro. He started SL Bytes long before he ran for office, and he's always careful to make sure that he is completely objective when he writes about an issue, even if doing so has negative political consequences for him. You can bet Mary Hayashi is not going to be too happy with him.

I challenge you to find /one/ instance in which his SL Bytes writings have helped him politically in any way. He /could/ use the blog in such ways, trying to push his School Board agenda for example, but he has /always/ refrained from doing so. He just finds it unethical.

As for your last comment, if you are going to make ad hominem attacks on people, then you must expect to be called on them. Take it as constructive criticism.

I find it hard to understand why some are allowed to post comments entirely anonymously in which they attack their opponents (and yes, I'm speaking of Mayor Tony Santos anonymous attack against Cassidy on this blog), while those who sign in seem to be required to sign in with all their associations listed.

So, for the record... My name is Tim Holmes. I'm a supporter of Mike Katz, among many other elected officials. I am not nor do I intend to run for office now or in the foreseeable future.

That all said, I have two comments:

First, from my recollection Mike Katz does has never reported on the school board or school board races. I believe it should have been part of your report.

Second, perhaps you got email behind the scenes about your June Mike Katz story, but the single comment on your blog was from me and I stand by my comments and my request to remove the completely unsupported and inflammatory headline.

Now, you continue to raise the issue of some imaginary boundary that disallows elected official from reporting the facts online, you can continue to pretend there is some line that says blogger and elected are an impossible combination. But do tell where exactly does this invisible, unenforceable rule comes from? Was it in your journalism textbook?

I'm all for you going after anyone you have reason to believe are doing something unethical, but as far as I can you don't have reason to believe this and so these are just speculative potshots without fact to back them up. I think you of all people should be able to see beyond the traditional "journalist" role as the only possible source of reporting.

I'd also like to see you respond to Marga's comment that Mike Katz hasn't been in a race for three years which seems to explain not mentioning his own campaign finance disclosures.

This isn't so much reporting as it is trawling in the mud. Just saying...

Lets just all hope that our ethical and trusted school Board members raise the SL Unified schools performance to higher levels so as not to negatively impact our local property values and community desirability any further. It is no secret that our middle and high schools poor performance and image has directly impacted and lowered the value of our homes compared with Castro Valley.

There is no doubt a wall exists between journalists and elected politicians. If Mike Katz was a journalist before elected in 2006 he would have been required to step down from his position at the newspaper. We can agree with that, right? Now how is it proper for a politician like Katz not to relinquish his blog, unless he wrote specifically about butterfly collections and Pez dispensers. He writes about political issues in San Leandro. It does not matter if he refrains from writing about school board issues as member of that board, but he partakes in other areas of the city's political framework like getting his former colleague elected mayor. This should be clear to everybody.

A story was written about fundraising and PACs associated with Mary Hayashi and Joyce Starosciak. The main thrust of the story is Hayashi, but serves a sidedish of the vice mayor--the candidate running against Stephen Cassidy. One of the main backers of his campaign and a member of his campaign committee is Katz. That isn't a conflict of interest? What if I was Tony Santos' press secretary and wrote a Citizen-like blog about the city's TOD and the Marina, for instance, but not about politics? I think SLCAN would go haywire.

Mr. Holmes, you support and have a friendship with Katz. He's a nice guy and you trust him, but aside from that, do you feel comfortable with the notion of receiving news from elected officials in general? Do you want to get your news in San Francisco from Gavin Newsom or the Chronicle?

Part of the impetus of the last few paragraph is actually getting to a common refrain that San Leandrans like Katz and others like Cassidy and SLCAN are trying to muscle their way into the city's political powerbase. This is interesting to me. Some also think the group is too progressive for the majority of residents. San Leandro Bytes, therefore, might be seen as a propaganda arm for such a group. I'm not saying it is, but recent campaign finance posts illustrate its potential and, at minimum, unintended confusion to achieve that.

As for the question about Katz being inactive on the fundraising front. I took that under consideration, but added the line when other people named in his post like Corina Lopez were mentioned, but have not officially entered a race.

One last thing. I'm reminded of a tactic the MSM sometimes uses, usually at the behest of the government when dealing with other world leaders who go rogue against the U.S. interests like Khaddafi or Saddam Hussein. When they get out of line, the MSM paints them as crazy or baby killers. In this case and the story I wrote previously about Katz and San Leandro Bytes, the facts represented are quickly ignored and the entire piece becomes a hit job to Katz supporters. Go back to the June story and view the history of the Wikipedia entries and see the explanation given does not jibe with Katz's story. It is all there, but you refused to acknowledge it. Back then Holmes and Cassidy called it dirty journalism. This time around, it is "trawling in the mud." I'll ask readers whether the issue I brought forth is warranted and is it a bit arrogant to say everybody knows who writes the blog and that we all know his wife from her supposed diatribes in the local paper?

Will SLCAN again come to Katz's rescue when others find out the parents of SLHS students will again need to send a ream of paper with their kid this year because of the budget when the School Board unceremoniously rid themselves of the superintendent during the school year possibly costing the district a minimum of $50,000? I don't think anyone scooped me on that.

I do believe that if Mike's blog was
basically a platform for ranting about anything in San Leandro that displeases him, it would probably have been a good idea for Mike to discontinue it. But unlike your blog, SL Bytes reports on news /objectively/ - without an editorial content and no agenda to push. It does so responsibly and ethically - again, even when it's to Mike's detriment.

This story is just one example where Mike did the /right/ thing rather than the politically expedient thing. He came across information that he deemed to be important. The information portrayed people whom he has supported/endorsed in the past and whom he likes and admires very much, in a potentially negative light. My personal instinct would have been to not run it - but that would have meant putting personal and political considerations before journalistic integrity. And because Mike does have such integrity, he ran it.

As for Corina Lopez, she has officially entered the race, filing the paperwork to do so on December 24th. Again, something that you could have easily found out if you actually cared about stating facts.

Finally, you know perfectly well that neither Mike nor the School Board can comment on the firing of the superintendent, it's just plainly against the law. But as you like to speculate so much, you may want to ask yourself if that firing may not have been for the good of the district (financially and otherwise) long (or even short) term.

Hopefully we can focus on the main storyline here...that the Hayashi's have a well planned out and funded agenda.

NO one seems to talk about where they came from, how they got to where they are and who funds them. They seem to get a pass on many things, especially their residence relocation (if I'm wrong...point it out).

Are they the Clintons/Bush's of the East Bay? If so, fine, they have that right, but it's fair to question the money they raise and where they get it from and where and how they spend it.

As for Mr. Katz, I don't know him, only as the school board reference...so I can't go down that road. I assume his writing does not cross the line where conflict of interests are concerned.

Steven, I hate to say it, but you are digging yourself into a hole here. There's a huge difference between what you do and what Mike does, and that's why many people read both.

Many of us look at San Leandro Bytes to find out objective factual information about upcoming meetings, what issues are being discussed at the City Council, and for many years now, Mike has made it easy for people to link to information at City Hall like election reports, etc. Most people either don't have time or don't know how to look up publicly available information, and Mike has served this need in San Leandro for a number of years.

I have heard many, many people in San Leandro (private citizens and politicians alike) comment on how useful AND objective his posts are -- it has nothing to do with "liking" him (although he's a very likable guy, I'll admit). The point is, people go to his blog to just get the facts -- there is no opinion expressed.

That said, your relatively new offering of The Citizen about San Leandro is interesting and useful to people sometimes because it posts news and opinions and clearly is not intended to be objective journalism, but rather journalism with a point of view. You choose to infuse your stories with enthusaism or outrage, sarcasm or excitement, or whatever ... these are more emotional and personal forms of reporting, very much in character with most blogs, and as such, your writing is very different from Mike Katz's.

I don't agree with every position or every endorsement Mike Katz makes, or that Tim Holmes makes, or Stephen Cassidy -- or every decision the school board or the city council makes. But hey, that's democracy!

In my view all voices are welcome, but personal attacks are not. I really wish you would stick to your stories about what is going on around town and what issues people need to be thinking about that have to do with health care, budget cuts, etc. Lay off the Mike Katz conspiracy theories and get back to reporting stuff that really matters.

You have indeed provided many "scoops" of new information which are appreciated, but your attacks on other sources of information, like San Leandro Bytes, seem self-aggrandizing.

And by the way, parents have been asked to send reams of paper to school with their kids because of lack of funding for more years than you have lived here and more years than Mike Katz has been on the school board. Old news!!

An elected San Leandro official with very strong ties to a mayoral candidate wrote a story that paints an opponent in a bad light. In addition, nowhere on his blog does it say it is solely written by the President of the School Board and member of the Stephen Cassidy for Mayor Committee. He gave the introductory speech for Cassidy at his kick-off party for Godsakes. Where is the full-closure? Or are we just suppose to know the famous Katz family?

This is the issue. Is it proper? As journalist, a flurry of questions creep up (many I'm already working on). Exactly what is the relationships between Katz, Cassidy, SLCAN, Peggy Combs, Pauline Cutter, Hermy Almonte, Morgan Mack-Rose? There exists a strong sense of solidarity among this group. While many think they are too progressive for the city, the candidates they back for office appear far less chosen by their friendship rather than politics. This needs further investigation. Where are the minorities in this group? Exactly what happened with the firing of Christine Lim and what was this group's role?

Please talk to the issue and not to me. I give you a free service that allows you to figure out the news for yourself and in a fun way. To illustrate this fact, supporters of Tony Santos think I'm somehow for Cassidy and Cassidy supporters think I'm for Santos. Some of you pay for the Daily Review and receive zero news about your region for the cost.

Again, Steven, have you ever thought that you might get answers to your questions if you cared to /ask/ them? It's not like you don't know members of SLCAN that you could call. Or you could look at the article on SLCAN that appeared in the SL Times a while ago. Or just visit our website at http://www.slcan.org/

But here are some answers to your questions.

SLCAN /is/ a progressive organization working for a better and more equitable San Leandro. To that end, SLCAN supports political candidates, both from within and outside the group, whose goals best match those of the organization. Mike Katz, Morgan Mack-Rose and Peggy Combs were part of SLCAN at one time. They had to quit the organization once they decided to run for office - SLCAN does not have members that either hold office or are running for it.

Neither Pauline Cutter, Hermy Almonte nor Stephen Cassidy have ever been part of SLCAN. After much consideration, SLCAN endorsed Cutter during her last run for office, and recommended Almonte for his. Other candidates that we've endorsed/recommended in the past have included Jim Prola, Ursula Reed, Tony Santos and Joyce Starosciak. Our endorsement procedure is very strict, and includes having the candidates fill out long questionnaires and meet with us.

The number of progressive politically involved people in San Leandro is relatively small, and as we work together, friendships develop (or not). There is nothing hidden or sinister in that. You can be assured, however, that we don't put friendship ahead of policy considerations. If there is one thing we've learned to do is to set our personal likes or dislikes of a person aside when evaluating which candidate is more likely to further our goals.

As for your question about minorities, there are several in the group - myself included :-)

SLCAN had no role whatsoever on the firing of the superintendent. I think it came as a surprise to most of the members of the group. SLCAN as an organization never took a position on the superintendent, as far as I remember.

Finally, if you want us to talk to the issue, then stop your ad hominem attacks on Mike, otherwise that becomes the issue.

Still no discussion of the issue which only becomes more suspicious the more there is stonewalling. This is a very important issue being brought forth.

Mike Katz is a public official.He is fair game. There have been no personal attacks. His surrogates are the people making attacks, which is fair. That is what you do to the press when they challenge you. Denigrate their work, challenged their objectivity and fairness and then bring in the lady who floats the notion of crazy conspiracy theories. I would employ the same tactic if I was on the other side. I might do it myself, though.

Let's talk about this burgeoning controversy oddly fueled by the side being called out.

Steven, are you completely blind as to yourself? You are the person who is floating conspiracy theories - implying, for example, that there are covert and macabre links between SLCAN and a bunch of elected officials.

And do you think /for a moment/ that you are being either journalistic or objective? You are stating facts that you don't bother to check and trying to substitute your opinion for other facts. When people call you to task, you respond with other accusations and more inaccuracies. Come on! You can do better than that. Indeed, if you want to be taken seriously, you should do better than that.

As for Mike, do, by all means, criticize his role as an elected official. I'm sure he won't mind - he's heard much worse, often from me :-) But that's not what you've been doing here - without respecting yourself even the most rudimentary rules of serious journalism (e.g. checking facts, asking the parties to comment), you appoint yourself as the God of journalistic blogs, He who gets to determine who can and cannot blog. You complain that Mike is not more forthcoming on his blog as to who he is and what all his political and personal affiliations are (come on!), but you give NO information about yourself on your blog, nor do you mention any possible conflict of interest that you might have. And you know what? You don't have to. Both you and Mike are very small fish, even in the context of San Leandro. Your respective influence is miniscule and the people who read you are probably smart enough to judge what you write on its own merits.

Normally I would never chime in to such a debate but as someone that has personally been invloved in the political landscape in this community ever since I was a kid, which I think is quite longer than most of all you,(if someone wants to look that up? Feel free...15450 Farnsworth. Worked with my Grandfather Luis Tillio Anguillo, known around SL as "Midge" he ran a janitorial service, where I worked every summer cleaning such businesses as
West Coast Sporting Goods, the old store in the Manor
Oakland Scavenger, before Waste Management took over and before the transfer station to the Altamont was even built
The old restaurant supply store adjacent to City Hall, to name a few.
Just figured I would throw this out there because most folks wanted to bring up the issue of me being local....many times in the past
With that said I truly feel compelled to write something short. I actually commend Mr. Tavares for finally offering political junkies an opportunity to get information that our local press does not cover. Personally, if I were an elected official I would probably not have a blog, but in the defense of Mike Katz, who, I bet is no fan of me, nor is his wife or Tim Holmes, for that matter, I can honestly say that he has not crossed the line. It is not what I would define as journalism, but some, in this day and age would venture to guess that most peope would, call it journalism for the sake of arguing. I read a lot of what the SL Bytes reports and I feel they do a fair job do I agree with everything...NO. But, do I agree with everything that Mr. Tavares writes...No. The bottomlime is that this community has not been the most embrasive to political or ethnic differences. For the first time in a long time, for at least the past few years it feels like the tide is finally changing. It would be a detriment, to the both of you, if both venues of political insight failed to exist. Liberalism is starting to sprout in this community as new, ethnic and mutli racial families move in. At a time when we, as a community are continuing to move forward that these small differences are threatening to create a divide amongst like minds and close alliances of political theories is truely a travesty. Good luck to the both of you.

Fun and interesting debate and sorry to go in between your posts! I am learning more about local politics from the bloggers on this thread than I have since I moved here. I also really enjoy Mike Katz's San Leandro Bytes for its local news and information. Question, as a moderate to conservative Democrat with liberal social views and conservative fiscal views, who would be considered moderate to conservative Democrats in San Leandro political scene? I can not tell from the statements I read about the different candidates and office holders in local government. Also, information from local media is extremely limited to non-existant here, plus I have only lived in SL 3 years. One other note, in my opinion, progressives will cause the city of San Leandro to fail in its quest to become a reinvented and repurposed city for the next generation, if they should become the majority in local elected office. They are just not very good at managing mundane nuts and bolts local government issues such as: infrastructure, maintenance, potholes, litter and other basic services that are routine and not "sexy" or "global". This viewpoint is formed from my experiences while living in Oakland and SF. In fairness, progressives are very good and my 1st choice for political offices that have a more "global" perspective and control issues related to foreign relations/affairs, environmental causes or social issues, for example.

I have not lived here very long. About 8 years, but know of this "Marga" lady from around town. I know friends who have had run-ins with her and she is about as unstable as they come. She will back her husband even he doesn't want her to. Steven, I would suggest you don't pay any attention to her and keep up the good work.

This guy Steve is a fukin great American. This fuckin guy is trying to keep your hospital and this is what he gets. Fuckin haters. I meet him at a meeting for the hospital. He says he's trying to make a living writing. I don't know this bitch but she sounds crazy like her man needs to check her ass.

Although I appreciate the sentiment, I am not saving your hospital. Others are trying to do that for you, but let's keep the language suitable for children.

Starting today, I'm trying to be a better person and looking into the mirror and saying, "Steve, you're better than that!"

To all those I have offended, sorry.
Sutter Health, I apologize.
You too, Mary Hayashi
and you, George W. Bush,
Daily Review,
Tony Santos for saying you violate Soda Free Summer with a Diet Coke,
and to Stephen Cassidy for saying Santos called you Republican,
guy on E.14th I cut off
and also to Mike Katz and Mike Katz-Wife for daring to question you.

I feel so much better.

I believe this piece also talked about Mary Hayashi and her war chest of funds...or do we just ignore the insane amount of money an Assembly candidate is raising? Should WE citizens force a cap on the amount of money raised in an Assembly/Senate campaign? Should WE ask the questions...why does someone NEED that kind of money, and continue to raise funds? Shouldn't WE care at all about the future plans of politicans?

We won't make any progress in this state if we keep electing the folks that have had 2-4 years to fix the problem and move this state in the right direction. They are busy arguing that the new Lt. Governor isn't fit for the job or blame the other side. There is very little leadership in Sacramento.

Look deeper folks...the only thing you get out of party politics is....is....

Steven, you don't need to apologize. What you need to do is learn to be a journalist once and for all, learn to /investigate/ rather than /insinuate/, learn to check facts and obtain comments from interested parties. Don't you have a journalism degree? Shouldn't you know how to do that already?

As to Nicholas' questions - it costs a lot of money to run for Assembly, I don't remember how much Mary & McCammon (sp?) spent last time but it was several hundreds of thousands of dollars each. The word around town is that Mary was considering challenging Ellen Corbett for her senate seat - though I personally think it unlikely. Corbett, meanwhile, has eyes on Congress, but who knows when Stark will retire. In any case, Mary will need the money to run for that seat when Corbett times out. It's not unusual for any elected official (at those levels, at least), to raise money to give to other candidates they support. That's how you get people in office who can support your own goals (or buy loyalties, if you are more cynical). My instinct is that Joyce Starosciak has Assembly ambitions and Mary will be backing her all the way there.

There are caps on how much individuals can donate to an Assembly/Senate campaign. I think it's about $3600 for the former. I think there are constitutional issues as to capping the total amount of money any candidate could raise (but this is not my area of expertise). The other real issue is all the "soft" money, that spent by PACs on behalf of a candidate/issue. Again, it's hard to balance the constitutional right to freedom of speech with that of achieving a truly democratic government. But I have hope :-)

Good points, Marga...

There is a cap that an individual can give, yes...however, there is no cap on how much a campaign can raise. I beg to ask the question; "does this not matter to folks?" I'm not talking executive branch campaigns, I'm talking local/state races such as Assembly. The reason being...a candidate is ALWAYS thinking about their future...DON'T WE CITIZENS WANT THEM THINKING ABOUT THE NOW? How do we honestly sit back and accept this kind of fundraising, knowing full well the candidates intentions? We know perfectly well that Joyce is thinking about the Assembly (err, and the Mayors office), Hayashi is thinking abou the Senate, Corbett's thinking about Congress...sure, we get that. BUT why do we just hush-up to their future campaign fundraising? How can ANYONE have fundraisers that cost between $100-$3,900 in an economic disaster such as the one we're in? What "average" voter has that kind of money to spend on a candidate that says they will do one thing and for the past four years...hasn't changed the landscape of this state for the better?

I just don't see why it's acceptable that candidates build such a heavy war chest. Does Mrs. Hayashi need almost $400,000 to run an Assembly campaign in a district that elects a Democrat every year? That is the problem I am having. I am well aware of the costs of a campaign...but how many glossy flyers and double sided lawn signs can she make?

PS. Yes, I am running for State Assembly.
PSS. My fundraisers will have a cap and all be in this district!

Dont apologize to anyone.
I don't trust a guy that takes on his wifes name. Or one that is over 40 and wears a hubcap in his ear. I also dont trust Hayashi and would hate to be the guy that tries to run against her, with no shot in hell especially as an independent...what are U thinking. Now...where else would I ever be able to vent this type of stuff.
Steve...you need to write more and call these goofy elected officals out every single time you get the chance. They think they are on some sort of higher level than all of us. Stark for not even living here, Hayashi for being a carpet bagger, Lai-Betker for not running, and Cassidy for looking like Chuckie, they all are worthless over paid snobs that should find a real job in society....I would love to see them making my coffee at starbucks or greeting me at walmart. I love this blog for reporting their flaws as well as everyone elses

Thanks, Anonymous...I can't imagine what kind of shot a Republican would have against Hayashi (oh wait, we know)...so far I like being me, because the positive reception I'm getting from Democrats, Republicans and Independent voters seems to feel nice, for now. I wonder if there's a word for someone like me besides fool? Something, positive :)

Oh, and I'm sure you can do better than calling Mrs. Hayashi a carpet bagger; you state the obvious.

Un-Anonymous Assembly Candidate


I care about policy and what our officeholders are trying to do for the State. There's essentially nothing about these issues in your critiques of Mary.

Hayashi's votes and bills represent the wishes of the large majority of voters in our Assembly District. I'm glad she is able to gain supporters who help finance her campaigns. Wishing that a 2010 California Assembly campaign could be waged with a small amount of money is a futile fantasy.

With the Citizens United Supreme Court judgement which came down recently, demanding more restrictive campaign finance contribution limits may well be like wishing for a unicorn. This is the world the corporations want; don't vote for deregulating Republicans, and speak out against them, if you dislike this world. Note that those in the California Legislature who are fighting for campaign reform are essentially all Democrats.

We can be sure that with both the Daily Review and the Citizen, all Hayashi campaign fundraising "controversies" are well reported. We'll see if these things move the needle with District voters.

What has caused the nationwide "economic disaster" that we face in California? I'm interested in your answer.

We'll let the folks decide if Mary Hayashi is truly one of there own, and not just giving traditional lip-service. I'm sure we'll see more of her now that it's campaign season and someone is finally tired of the same crap, and is willing to fight a machine with support of citizens and not just special interests.

You see, you are the second person on here to (in other words) tell me what I'm doing is crazy (again, in other words); what's crazy is re-electing politicians we think can fix the problems they haven't been able to do in 2-4 years. I'll await your question asking me how I would and what Mary has done to fix it (and you'll site something that makes sense). Otherwise, we have many, many months to talk about this.

I'm interested in what the folks of this district have to say, THE entire district. Dublin is not San Leandro, Hayward is not Pleasanton...not everyone has the same issues and concerns.

Our national problem, like our problem here in California, is the result of out of control spending, no fiscal responsibility and lack of common sense governing. The previous President and current President seem to think we have to spend our way out of this economic problem. Yet, they are too busy spending to hold off and find out, honestly, how the problem started. 13% of Californians think the Legislature is doing something right; I would assume many in this district would disagree (besides you, of course. And Mary Hayashi).

Now, I am off to a Citizens Advisory Commission meeting, interviewing applicants for Haywards Community Development Block Grants. I am looking forward to meeting those who are in need of this money; money I can only hope the State doesn't take!

The Legislature as a whole is doing a terrible job dealing with extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Why?

My view, like the view of many in the 18th, is that the current Republican Legislative Caucus and Governor are in government to destroy State governance. Nearly all are acolytes of Grover Norquist, who famously said, "My goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." The GOP caucus is actually trying to execute a long-term strategy to bring that day about.

The terrific frustration reflected in the poll number you cite and the many angry statements by citizens in and out of our District is due to the fact that democracy is not honored in this State. California citizens have filled more than 60% of the Legislature with Democratic Party members. Such is the broken system we work under that all of the Dem caucus can vote as one, but are unable by the current rules to pass a budget or revenue increases without Republican votes.

Recent Republicans caucuses and Governor Schwarzenegger have decided to abuse this flawed set of rules to act highly irrationally to our nation's financial crisis. Previous Republican Governors, from Reagan to Wilson, occasionally reacted to the need to create additional revenue to pass a responsible budget, and supported budgets with additional taxes.

Recent budget battles have been waged as a siege by the Governor and Republicans. Demands have been made, held, and eventually acquiesced to, such as over $1 billion in tax CUTS to wealthy corporations. In addition, the Republicans have drawn non-budget-related issues in as part of their hostage demands. Among those have been legislative repeal of many aspects of the voter-approved Proposition 32, which is meant to deal with environmental destruction. What do you think of that, Nick?

Many people simply don't understand that we created these rules through Proposition 13. Many also don't understand the extraordinary demands made by Republicans in recent budget negotiations. California citizens are burdened by a media which does not help citizens understand what is happening, due to a lack of desire to report well on policy. Given that corporations own almost all of our media, and slashing government funding often serves their ideology, in a shortsighted way you could say that corporations are acting rationally by doing this. Unfortunately, these media kings are facilitating a public discussion which supports extremely irrational governance.

Nick, I simply want to hear from you how,
specifically, you would differ from Hayashi on POLICY. You, on the other hand, want to talk about fundraising and carpetbagging. You fail to notice that her previous opponents campaigned against Mary using these topics, and they didn't carry the day.

If you don't want to join the policy discussion, I'll begin without you. Based on the vague statements you've made here, if Nick Terry became our Assembly representative, he would vote to eliminate CalWorks, In-Home Support Services, and many other vital programs providing services to Californians who badly need assistance. Agreed?

I just finished Robert McChesney and John Nochols new book The Death and Life of American Journalism. I heard them speak at a small gathering in S.F. and had a chance to talk with them at leangth. They were on PBS's Now the previous week and have been making the making the book curcuit.
The number of journalists getting layed off is stareging, almost like the de-industrialization of this country in the 80's. Without journalism we don't have democracy. The authors take a lesson from advanced European countries where journalism is subsidized but not connected with elected officails or the state. They estimate we could and should do the same here, to save journalism and our democracy. It would cost about $30 billion a year a small price to pay in the age of bank bailouts and bloated military budgets.
Locally for the cost of a police officer or a fire fighter we could also hire a non partisan journalist. I don't know how we would pick the person but it wouldn't be a bad investment for a city especially with the threat of de-journalism looming over the horizon. I have advocated that the school board look at my site developingdemocracy.com which is very much in line with the Canadian author, Henry Milner's book Civic Literacy, quoted in McChesney and Nichols' work.
Not only do we need to save journalism , we need to get our citizens more engaged. We often have turnout for elections under 30 percent. With those numbers California is almost guarenteed to fail.Buy their book, please.



Doug said: "Nick, I simply want to hear from you how, specifically, you would differ from Hayashi on POLICY."

Perhaps this could be the topic of a future article by Tavares?

Doug...no, I do not agree with your attempt at putting words in my mouth (on the page). I am not against what you assume I would cut.

I appreciate the attention, but please let me continue doing what I'm doing, listening to folks all over this district; I don't know as many as you apparently. Once I have time to hear people out, I can better explain how I would vote on their behalf. I can't assume anything. So if you want an Assemblymember that assumes, I'm not your guy. Hopefully you'll keep us on your mind as the general election comes so you can see the time and effort I've made to listen to the only people that matter, the voters, not special intersts or powerful orginizations.

I'd be happy to talk to Mr. Tavares or anyone that doesn't assume or attempts to trap/trick a candidate.

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