AC Transit Director Joel Young, 34, announced the formation earlier this year of an exploratory committee for a run at replacing termed-out Assemblyman Sandre Swanson. But, despite robust support in the form of campaign financing his candidacy could be dead in the water after twin accusations of domestic violence and infidelity by a woman who he began dating, according to court filings, late last year.
The March 7 incident at Young's Oakland apartment began, according to filings, when his girlfriend (Young says they no longer dated at the time), who is a San Francisco lawyer, entered the dwelling at approximately 5:30 a.m. using a key he says the alleged victim stole the night before. Lawyers for the woman maintain she did not steal the key, but, in fact, was given to her as early as January, according to filings.
Upon seeing Young and another woman lying together in bed, the former girlfriend hurled a few of Young's belongings before attacking him for his alleged infidelity. Both sides attest to the woman striking Young in the face and torso, but declarations by either side dispute what happens next.
The woman contends Young struck her in right eye and temple and continually slammed her head against he bed in a "cranking" motion. Lawyers for Young have gone to lengths to point the alleged victim's testimony regarding the specifics of the assault and the order of events have not been consistent.
A medical report from the emergency room at UCSF two days later describes non-threatening injuries to the woman's face, eye and scalp. She alleges pieces of her hair were ripped from her scalp during the altercation. The woman underwent a CT scan on the morning of March 9. According to the report, the examiner corroborated the alleged victim's claim of domestic violence.
A week later, the woman was granted a temporary restraining order declaring in court filings she feared retaliation from Young for making the incident public. Nearly a month after the alleged assault, Young requested his own temporary restraining order saying it was him, in fact, who feared for his safety and portrayed the woman as prone to anger and pique.
Documents also show Young alleges the woman has sought to extort money from him in an attempt to settle the dispute along with aiming to destroy his burgeoning political and personal career. Young is also a lawyer. A declaration filed by the woman's former attorney states the lawyer representing Young was amendable to a settlement in early April, even stating Young would pay any remaining medical bills, agree to stay away orders and attend domestic violence classes. Young vehemently denies any of the options, especially a desire to attend any classes. The lawyer for the woman became upset a day later upon learning Young has switched gears and filed a response to the restraining order filed in mid-March by the woman. Young, instead, claims she asked for a $35,000 settlement.
Despite a dump of court documents regarding the case on an obscure local web site and one-sided commentary from a blogger on the SFGate web site, the case has received very little attention since the accusation was first levied against Young last March. Despite the lack of publicity, whispers of the allegations among East Bay politicos and possible endorsers of Young's campaign for assembly have persisted.
A decision by the Alameda County District Attorney's office not to pursue the case n June imay have quelled some fear among local officials and potential donors to back Young's campaign. According to the campaign finance reports for the first half of this year, Young shows over $130,000 in the bank. The next closest candidate is Peralta Community College Board Trustee Abel Guillen with over $50,000. Alameda Councilman Rob Bonta and longtime Oakland insider Kathy Neal did not file an expense report for the period with the state Secretary of State's office.
While the race as it stands is still wide-open, the allegations against Young could be devastating for the 34-year-old former Cal football walk-on. The unknowns of the new AD18, now including San Leandro, also pose a problem not just for Young, but for the entire crop of candidates, who are all strangers to the district's new wildcard--San Leandro voters.