EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Less Than Superlative Week for Lockyer

Rapper's Delight | Katz of Many Hats | Free Press Coverage | Training Video for Mayor's Re-Election
This has definitely not been a good week for Nadia Lockyer. She allowed The Chronicle to join the fray when she couldn't get her facts straight on whether she was a deputy district attorney for the county and exactly when her campaign removed the false claim from her web site. She followed that up by telling voters in Fremont state Sen. Ellen Corbett had endorsed her when she had not. You knew something odd was going on when both her opponents at the Wednesday forum quickly looked up strangely at her and furrowed their brows in confusion when she said her father founded the Democratic Party in Orange County. Lockyer's propensity for making Sarah Palinesque statements like the one in today's Chronicle where she says "very few people have access to the Internet" and "I don't trust Kevin Dowling" is making many worried about her fitness for joining the Board of Supervisors. It is believed The Chronicle may be working on investigating exactly what Lockyer's county-funded Family Justice Center does and whether it is truly a non-profit. In addition, two more mailers from the Lockyer campaign arrived in mailboxes this weekend touting her as the only one of the four candidates who "has direct experience working as a county manager inside county government." The proliferation of mailers has some speculating whether the campaign's internal poll costing over $20,000 showed a soft spot in her support. Her opponent, former state Sen. Liz Figueroa also criticized a recent mailer targeted towards the district's Republican voters (the race for supervisor is non-partisan) featuring former Southern California Republican state Sen. Jim Brulte. Figueroa said she can't see why a candidate endorsed by the Democratic Party would ever use a Republican in her campaign materials . Brulte has a interesting connection to the fight to keep San Leandro Hospital open. Brulte is close to Dr. Prem Reddy, the owner of Prime Healthcare and one-time suitor willing to purchase the hospital last year. Brulte, who is now a lobbyist, was seen last June at one of the three heavily-attended community meetings involving San Leandro Hospital.
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When rapper turned mayoral candidate Sara Mestas stood in front of city hall Wednesday to announce her candidacy, the man she hopes to replace Mayor Tony Santos was sitting in his second-story office within viewing distance of the press conference filmed by a NBC Bay Area cameraman. When I met with the mayor to discuss a separate story I was working on, his secretary alerted him to my arrival. The mayor yelled out, "Tell him I'm having a press conference in here!" It was a joke on the mayor's part, but points to his disapproval of another candidate entering the race, but Mestas inclusion may help Santos far more than the other candidates--Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak and Stephen Cassidy. During her press conference, Mestas called Santos "a friend." She has previously supported Santos for re-election and counts him as the person who urged her to apply for a seat on the city's rent review board. If Mestas has any chance to completely upend the political establishment of San Leandro, she will likely need to bring a large number of new voters into the fold. Under Ranked Choice Voting, gaining a number of those new second-place votes could greatly help Santos' bid for a second term, so it doesn't make sense for Santos to be so combative towards Mestas. In the parlance of the RCV, she is the classic rabbit candidate, meaning Tony the Magician just may have surprised his opponents by pulling Mestas out of his hat.
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Sara Mestas the Rapper and Sara Mestas the Candidate have never really been in the same place at the same time. She rarely makes reference to her nascent rap career without prodding, but her unique story is doing wonders in getting her attention--for free. Articles on Mestas in the Daily Review and San Leandro Times have focused on the fish-out-of-water aspect of the gangsta rapper throwing her do-rag into the race. As both articles have noted, she is surprisingly informed and full of ideas. In just two short weeks, the newcomer to the race has garnered infinitely more free press coverage than both Starosciak and Cassidy combined. Both candidates have been in the race since last fall and have struggled to grab much attention. In contrast, Mestas appeared on the evening news of the local NBC affiliate, was featured on the web site of SF Weekly, covered in the local newspapers and may appear in a coming issue of the East Bay Express (the article posted this week in The Citizen).
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Mike Katz-Lacabe, the blogger and San Leandro school board trustee, is now giving his wife the school board president's imprimatur for a spot on the Democratic Central Committee next month. Last week, Katz posted an article previewing the race for the six seats on the party's central committee--the race in which his wife is a candidate. In light of criticism from this column calling for a higher level of transparency regarding Katz's identity on the blog and better journalistic decision-making when covering issues and people who he may have a distinct conflict in covering, he wrote about his wife. The posting included a lengthy introduction for his wife including a quote for readers. He also blogged about Sara Mestas' decision to run for mayor. Both presented conflicts even when prefacing in the article Margarita Lacabe is his wife and indicating his endorsement for Mestas' opponent Stephen Cassidy for mayor. To be specific, Katz is more than endorsing Cassidy, but a member of his campaign team. Mestas told The Citizen, Katz emailed her a list questions in preparation for his posting on her candidacy. The list included queries into where and when she last registered to vote. Katz, the man of many hats, also transformed himself into a political consultant, according to Mestas. He told the rapper the best way to garner votes would be for her to publicly support the November ballot measure making marijuana legal in the state. Great advice if you are on the campaign committee of Mestas' opponent like Katz is. As one professional political consultant said, "Maybe he should stop writing on his blog and start finding that $1.6 million missing from the school budget."
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If this rapping becomes the new new thing in San Leandro politics, I'm thinking Mayor Tony Santos just may have a chance. By most accounts, he's hip for a grandfather. Not a bad trash-talker, routinely visits the gym and is a relative maven with email. This video may give him a few pointers if he needs to duel Mestas this November for that elusive San Leandro hip-hop voter bloc. -S.T.

15 comments :

Anyone see that KGO piece Kevin Dowling wanted everyone to watch? LOL! That walking KD did in the piece was probably the most exercise he's gotten in a long, long time.

Hmm, Steven, what exactly would you have Mike do? Report on the DCC race but not mention I'm running? Introduce other candidates and quote them, but not me? Or not report on the DCC race at all - and thus deprive readers of information they cannot get anywhere else?

Same thing, would you have rather he /not/ interview Mestas and report on her campaign? Wouldn't that be unfair to her and to those who might want to know about her and support her?

Of course, it's clear that what you rather Mike do is cut with the very long tradition (which goes all the way back to Danton, Franklin and many of the founding fathers) of journalist-politicians, and close his blog. Alas, I'm quite sure that the reason why his blogging bothers you so much is that he provides competition for you - and does so in a way that makes your lack of journalistic integrity more than obvious.

For example, did you contact Mike to find out if you were correctly quoting him vis a vis the marihuana initiative? Given that he didn't say what you attribute to him, it'd be interesting to know whether you are misquoting Mestas, or whether she's misquoting Mike. And why.

Anonymous...who is probably the same one that said there are three women in the Sup race...pointing out a persons weight is useless unless they are trying to be the Weight & Diet Czar (give it time, it will happen). Stick to the substance, not how someone walks or how their appearance is. Our state Treasure is just as healthy when it comes to that, but you don't satirize him.

Question why Nadia Lockyer doesn't trust Kevin Dowling...how does she even know him outside of the Democratic party? Hearsay? Probably.

Who doesn't have access to the internet? Every library has it...Al Gore gave us this gem, it's there!

Marga,

I think so long as Mike is actively involved in Cassidy's campaign; his journalistic objectivity is going to be questioned when covering the mayoral race; no matter how objective he is--I thought the Mestas article on his blog was pretty good and painted her in a good light.

It is interesting to see Mike go from an concerned citizen outsider, to becoming "the man"/part of "the establishment"--school board president and campaign consultant to the man who is hopefully San Leandro's next mayor. It's equally as interesting to see SLCAN lose its objectivity in the mayoral race. In the past, I enjoyed SLCAN's questionaire and hosted candidates forum. But if SLCAN members involved in hosting these events outrightly support Cassidy, then there's no way these forums can be considered impartial.

Perhaps Steve should host a candidates forum at city hall this year (I think he could rent a room for free) instead of Tim Holmes doing it from Zocalo. It seems like Steve has pissed off just about everyone involved in the mayoral race in some major or minor way; which gives him the Tim Russertian journalistic credability I admire.

Frank Lynn

I don't have a problem with Mike's - or any other journalist's - objectivity being questioned. But it needs to be questioned over specifics. If something he writes is arguably not objective, then that should be pointed out - as objectivity is what he strives for. But Steve has yet to show that Mike has shown any partiality whatsoever towards any candidate - including those he supports. This, of course, is in clear contrast to Tavares, whose partiality is so evident and his comments about Mike so hypocritical, that they are actually humorous. I do wonder, however, when he's going to realize that he himself has become a pawn in the Mayor race. Now, much wiser and experienced people than him have been co-opted by savvy political players, so I can't really blame him too much for playing that role.

As for SLCAN, you have to remember that it /is/ a political organization, one that strives to push along its policy goals. That means, of course, that it's going to support those candidates that are most closely aligned with those goals. While SLCAN itself as an organization will not endorse candidates until later, individual members usually make their minds as to whom they will support earlier in the race.

But again, that doesn't mean that SLCAN cannot be objective in its other mission of providing information about the races to the public. I challenged anyone to find any bias on either the questionnaires that we developed in the past or the formats of our fora.

I don't deny, Frank, that the /potential/ for conflicts of interest are huge. They really are. But we do strive to be as objective as possible, as our integrity, as individuals and as an organization, is ultimately more important than the results of a given political race. And ultimately, I think integrity is what people and groups are judged on. Perhaps Steve secretly knows this, and that's what has him on edge.

Marga,

In the past, it seemed like SLCAN was more about political awareness and transparency in local government. Which is why the questionaires and candidate forums were good. But SLCAN simply cannot be objective if Mia Ousley, Mike and Tim Holmes are actively involved in Cassidy's campaign. I think you're right that the questionaires themselves really can't be biased, because they ask the same questions of everyone, and ultimately, it's up to the candidate as to how to respond which is reprinted word-for-word--though one *could* make the argument that questions were written to portay certain candidates positively and others negatively.

I really would like to see a more impartial party hold the mayoral candidates forum this year--if SLCAN does it--just the fact that it would be held at Zocalo, which has been the spot of pro-Cassidy events would smack of bias. Not to mention it would be even worse if Tim, Mia or Mike asked the questions--or moderated the event.

While it's good to see a grassroots organization have more power in San Leandro politics, just remember that if Cassidy wins, (and God willing he does); that would make SLCAN part of "the establishment" given members' involvement in his campaign. That doesn't necessarily mean y'all would become as evil as the Sentinals or other corrupt SL powerbrokers overnight, but it would change your relationship from grassroots outsiders trying to make San Leandro inclusive and equitable to a political lobbying group that's in the drivers seat to push its policy goals. Just something to think about--just make sure you continue to use your powers for good. And by the way, good luck in your race--like Cassidy, I hope you win as well!

Frank Lynn

Frank, SLCAN has always been about both political awareness, on the one hand, and supporting political candidates on the other. Mike decided to run for office a few months after SLCAN was formed, and he did it with the active support of many SLCAN members. But SLCAN does not need to be objective, what it does need to do is not be biased in its presentation of information.

If SLCAN does a candidates forum, it's unlikely it would happen at Zocalo. Our last forum was at McKinley Elementary and we'd probably look for a similar venue for such an event. You can be sure that neither Tim, Mia or Mike would be asking the questions. We'd like to find someone who is familiar with San Leandro politics, however.

Don't for a minute think that supporting a winning candidate makes you part of the establishment. I can tell you that I definitely do not feel that I have a louder voice with the school district than other people even though I worked on the campaigns of three members of the school board, supported a fourth one, and I'm married to one.

Thanks for your good wishes. I hope I win as well :-)

You can't expect objectivity on a blog. There is no editorial page with a byline. Newspapers are history; you get opinions for entertainment. EBC is great entertainment with a local view.

Yeah, what he/she said. This one's getting boring.

Does anyone vote for central committees anyone?

Let me just say, Mike Katz gave me full disclosure before interviewing me for his blog, and I too think that he was more than fair. He went further telling me that if any of his questions made me feel uncomfortable not to answer them, but I answered them all as I too thought this was only fair!
I sometimes enjoy Steve's subjectivity after all he is an opinionated blogger. I enjoy reading them and the comments too. It's like Jerry Springer over here. Lol. If you are an adult you should have at least learned a few things, respect, tact, and the right to your opinion.

Ah hell, another Katz-Lacabe or Lacabe-Katz running for office? Just what we need another Atheist Nut Job.

Looks like she's not the only person who doesn't trust Kevin Dowling. Fourth outta four!

Lol, I am far from an Atheist my friend, I believe in God very much, you must be the atheist making judgements. Not to mention I am moderate far from liberal.

If a candidate is an atheist, what of it? Fitness for office based on religious beliefs is not what our country stands for.

Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

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