DISTRICT 3 SHAPING UP AS TWO-WOMAN RACEBy STEVEN TAVARES
SUPERVISOR, DIST 3Alameda Councilwoman Lena Tam is out of the race for District 3 Supervisor. Shelia Young is also out, but seemingly always in...yes, no, maybe, I don't know. Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson is moving forward. Wilma Chan is measuring the drapes at the supervisor chambers. Novice politico Harold Lowe is only known as Nate Miley's guy and that's just the Clif's Notes version of the nascent supervisors race to the June primary, but there is far more to it.
Suffice to say, Tam's quick exit from the race is clearly a boon to the Chan campaign who no longer needs to worry about the possibility of splitting votes in the crucial Chinatown area. The subtraction of Young from the equation increases the chance of either Chan or Johnson winning the seat outright in June, although such a scenario is unlikely.
In her statement yesterday, Tam's reason for leaving the race centered around fulfilling her duties in Alameda. "The City of Alameda needs my experienced leadership more at this time," said Tam, but the real reason for her abrupt withdrawal may lie later in her statement. "During the last few weeks, it seems that every member of the Alameda City Council is running for some office, either mayor or board of supervisors and actively campaigning," said Tam. "I believe that the time needed for me to campaign can be best dedicated to running the City of Alameda."
A few observers believe Tam is angling for more power in Alameda with higher chances for victory by hanging around the island. In addition, a scenario bandied about has Johnson, who is not running for re-election, slipping back into city hall at the council level, if she were to lose outright this June.
In the meantime, Johnson held her kick-off party Tuesday evening in Alameda telling a large group at the Blue Dot Cafe her top priority is saving San Leandro Hospital, which is red meat to San Leandrans and part of her strategy to pull in chunks of San Leandro and San Lorenzo. Both areas have been shut out of the supervisor's chambers for over a decade.
Johnson took a quick opening shot at Chan saying, "As some of my opponents groan on and brag about what they have done in the past, IO want to change the conversation to how we are going to sustain the many important programs and services that the county provides going into the future."
With Young out of the race (was she really in it?), Johnson may benefit from the lack of a candidate from the southern half of the district. One source told The Citizen, Young may have miscalculated in leaving the race just as Tam withdrew and her endorsement of Chan is a head-scratcher since many in San Leandro have been critical of Chan's perceived lack of attention towards the area during her first stint as supervisor.
Rumors of Young's political future, though, are still swirling as they have for months. She has been linked to nearly every open seat in the area from mayor of San Leandro, the supervisor's seat, the sanitation district and possibly Emperor of Davis Street. A spate of news stories reporting her withdrawal from the race were peculiar since she was seen last week in San Leandro gathering signatures to put her name on the ballot for the Democratic Central Committee. If that isn't enough, there is still a feeling she could still enter the mayor's race at the last moment.
UPDATE: It was reported today District 3 supervisor candidate Beverly Johnson told supporters in Alameda she had been endorsed by San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos. While it is accurate Johnson publicly announced the endorsement, Santos says he has not made a decision whether he will endorse a candidate for the race.
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