Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quirk Gets A Leg Up With Assembly Redistricting Maps

By Steven Tavares
Follow @eastbaycitizen.com

Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk, looking dapper in a crisp light gray suit, pink shirt and tie of varying pastel hues, stood on the dais last Tuesday night after a marathon four hour council meeting to discuss the recent release of state redistricting lines. More than just about anyone in the East Bay, the proposed boundaries may be more of a factor in whether the long-time councilman can win a seat in the California Assembly next year.

"The maps are alright," Quirk said with mischievous smirk. From his perspective, though, the Citizens' Redistricting Commission maps for Hayward are more than alright, they actually eliminate a large swath of Quirk's potential rivals for the seat along with a stubborn composition of voters in the Tri-Valley who may not know what to make of the brusque and candid Quirk.

The first draft of maps release last week ended all question of whether Quirk will be a candidate next to replace the termed-out Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi when the 18th District eastern borders did not include the Tri-Valley.

"I'm happy that I won't have to campaign against good friends in Dublin and Pleasanton," said Quirk. A small stable of candidates from Pleasanton and Dublin were rumored to have interest in running. Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti was one name bandied about constantly as a particularly formidable candidate, although he is virtually unknown on this side of 580 corridor.

While Quirk's understated choice of muted colors in his attire this week is pleasant, its the analogy to his garish green blazers more befitting of a Masters' champion and dark selections of deep purple colored shirt typically worn by Vegas pit bosses that may cause voters some concern.

Among Hayward observers, Quirk can come across as cold and describes issues with a furrowed brow followed by steely words. Some worry his reputation as a loose cannon could turn off voters in the area. One reporter recounted a representative remark made during Hayward's discussion last year of permitting medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. Quirk, who supported the plan, said, "If you want to buy marijuana, just go to the high schools."

That sort of honestly poignant, but off-putting response risks the possibility of being misunderstood by voters. It's also possible the retired physicist just sees the world differently with a scientist's sense of humor. When discussing an increase in non-threatening bacteria in the city's water supply earlier this year he downplayed its importance by joking during a council meeting about the likelihood of a molecule from Sir Issac Newton's urine could also be in the water. The quip captured a few giggles, but for others the comment flew briskly over their heads. "There were a lot of high school students there that night," he said afterwards, "I thought they would enjoy it."

Quirk has one other advantage--just one declared opponent. Jennifer Ong, an ophthalmologist with a practice in Alameda is also officially declared. While Ong is a bit of a political neophyte--she could not even win a seat on the six-member Alameda County Democratic Central Committee last year--many believe she will have the exclusive backing of many Asian-American groups in the area. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma has already endorsed Ong's campaign along with other bit players.

The big endorsement out there will likely be from Hayashi. Both Quirk and Ong are strong political allies of Hayashi, but the assemblywoman has not given any indication she will support either candidate.

Another possibility for assembly is Union City Mayor Mark Green. The affable, baritone-voice Green surprised many last year when he nearly edged out Liz Figueroa for a spot in a run-off for Alameda County Supervisor against Nadia Lockyer. Green's commitment to door-to-door retail campaigning has become legendary in the area and with the lack of potential candidates with daunting name-recognition, he could be a dark horse.

One early political calculation made by Quirk to focus on San Leandro's fight to save San Leandro Hospital may turn out o tbe muted by redistricting since much of that city may become part of Assemblyman Sandre Swanson's district also representing Alameda and parts of Oakland.

In the past year, he has toiled in the background while keeping abreast of the hospital situation at the county level while working behind the scenes with the Eden Township Healthcare District. With Hayward's St. Rose Hospital entering the equation, though, Quirk still has a horse in the race, but not as much if his stump speech could have reminded voters in San Leandro he helped save their hospital.


  1. Mayor Sbranti would have made a great Assemblymember for this area. He is a great guy who grew up here.

    Quirk is a political WHORE! He will say and do anything to get elected. He has lost the respect of many political players in Hayward. (both right and left)

    Ong is already being walked around Sacto by Hayashi.

  2. Proud San LeandranJune 16, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Very courageous to viciously attack someone's character (with no facts, naturally) while hiding behind anonymity. Makes one doubt the commenter's character, and the veracity of their statements.

    Political players, in and of themselves, do not comprise the voters. The voters of the 18th AD will decide the election.

    From what I know about Quirk and Ong, I'm happy with the choices voters will have in the 18th. If my City is placed in the 16th AD, I'm interested in knowing more about the candidates I will decide between. Steven?

  3. Who?

    That is what people will say.

    Haywards Council has turned out some "names" in the past that the folks know and like. Quirk however is kind of a nobody in both Hayward and the 18th. He comes off as the "I'm the smartest guy in the room," politician. He will not politically attack Mary Hayashi, like Sweeney and maybe others, because he WANTS her endorsement (probably doesn't need it). Even though Hayashi has probably never shouted out load to the roar of the crowd, Quirk probably can't. When you envision a politician, I think it should be of either Atticus Finch or someone that's mad as hell...on your behalf. While we haven't seen Hayashi do that, I'm certain the same will be of Quirk; he'll just sit there, ask a few text book questions and accept the response.

    Ong will be the favorite, as of this date. Unless someone like Nadia Davis runs, Ong doesn't face a challenge. Ong, like Hayashi, will come out of no where with full support of the health care industry / unions. We don't know her politics until she speaks, but we can bet that she'll play the Hayashi game.

    Hayashi of course will have two years off before she runs for Senate, that is, unless she goes after Starks.

    Nancy A.

  4. TheLordoftheRingsJune 17, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    I have no qualms with either Quirk and Ong, but I would think this seat will become more wide-open. You have two "friends of Mary" here so I think since Hayashi has many enemies in the area, others will enter the race.

  5. Proud San Leandran, the assembly's 16th district belongs to Sandre Swanson. He's termed-out in 2014, but I'll be focusing on him more intently if these new district lines are approved and I think they will.

    I already know a few things on Swanson like he comes from the Barbara Lee/Ron Dellums sphere of influence and other things that might evoke memories of Mr. Weiner. What! (cliffhanger)

  6. Quirk will not get the parties nomination, lets not waste our key strokes.

    Ong, PROBABLY will, depending on the new lines. HOWEVER, there are plenty of people sitting by quietly.

    The new lines could give the Dem a challenge, but a Dem will always be safe in this hood.

    What do I know, I failed at even raising $1,001 in my lame attempt!

  7. Proud San LeandranJune 17, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    Sandre' is termed out in 2012. No B.S. about evoking Weiner is neccessary. The original was ridiculous enough.

    Rumors that David Vitter could be heard laughing his ass off in his Senate office while wearing a diaper and entertaining a hooker are unconfirmed.

  8. Hayward pols have a dismal record when they seek elctive office outside the city.....Sugar britches Kevin Dowling raised a six figure sum for his Supervisoral race and finished dead last in a field of four. The Newark Mayor raised about $1,500 and almost made the run off in that race. Quirk is another in a long line of lightweights who cant make it outside of the political version of a sheltered workshop known as Hayward.

  9. If he was from san Leandro it'd be a different story. Hayward Is wet back and nigger garbage and the rest of the east bay laughs at you. So sad, too bad

    Your pal,


  10. Steve:
    1. Sandre is termed out in 2012. Not 2014. There are many rumored candidates and it could be a very packed field. Sandre, who has a reputation of playing with the women in Sac and who had 2 suits settled by the Rules committe on his behalf (yes as taxpayers we paid two bitches off for him) was almost ready to endorse his youung protege JOEL YOUNG. However, Joel Young likes the ladies as well and got caught up in some dirt of his own. Now with a court file as long as Cassidy's hair line, it is unlikely he will run. Rob Bonta, Kathy Neal and Abel Guillen are the rumored candidates.

    2. I think Sandre leads State Adultrymember Hayashi, 3 hoes - 2 but Joel Young is catching up. I hope I get to go in front of Judge Hayashi one day and explain to him what I say in SAC. I think I would get a reduced sentence!

    3.Bill Quirk is a nice guy but he certainly is one creepy bastard. The scary thing is that he WOULD most likely get the DEM endorsement as he has been VERY loyal to the party. I would die having him serve me in SAC> I wonder if he would change his shoes and sweater before a committee hearing and say..."Hello Boys and Girls!"

  11. Proud San LeandranJune 22, 2011 at 12:36 AM

    Let's talk about anything but public policy, huh? I don't give a hot damn what you claim or think about the personal lives of elected officials, or your view of the attractiveness of a local City Councilmember. Your opinion in these areas means nothing to the decent among us- nothing.

    This is one of the reasons we have dysfunctional governments. Made-up bullshit which has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the important votes our representatives take. Useless, oftentimes made-up trivia becomes the only thing many feel like talking about or listening to.

    Budgets and bills are so boring, after all.

    Meanwhile, the entire Republican Legislative caucus, with increasing ideological extremism over the last decade, is actively trying to destroy the State. All Republicans at the State level have been voting for months now to cut taxes in order to force about a 20% slashing of California's budget in ONE YEAR. Among the likely results of these cuts would be:

    - Many school districts having to cut weeks or a month from their K-12 school schedules, meaning California students would have the fewest school days in the U.S.

    - Community college fees rocketing from $26 earlier this year to $66

    - Further tuition increases to UC and CSU campuses from 7 to 10%, with 5% reductions of avaliable spots in University classrooms

    - Firings of safety officers and closures of police and fire stations

    - Potential closure of State courthouses two days a month, further backing up the already tangled justice system

    - Further cuts in road repairs and reductions in funding for mass transit, ensuring greater levels of traffic jams

    - More than 10% cuts in reimbursements to almost all health care providers for Medi-Cal insured patients, placing many facilities in financial jeopardy

    - Reduction in pay for over 400,000 Homecare providers to minimum wage, which would deny care to many thousands of people relying on that care. Subsequent institutionalizations will cost five times more to State taxpayers than home care

    - Closures of State parks and City/County libraries

    But keep on rumormongering. I'm sure all of our State's deep problems will be cured if we can somehow elect politicians who meet your personality demands.

  12. Proud San LeandranJune 22, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    The community college fee increases noted above are per-unit fees.