ELECTION '12//ASSEMBLY 18
May 24, 2012 | Add a poor sense of geography or downright lying to Joel Young's list of transgressions this campaign season. The candidate for the 18th Assembly District is in hot water again about the issue of his honesty and integrity over his whereabouts before a debate last month.
After Young arrived 20 minutes late for candidates forum April 12 in Oakland hosted by the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) and several other influential local Asian community members, he apologized to the group saying, "Pardon me for being late. I was coming from Sacramento."
Except Young was not en route from Sacramento, but, instead, traveling from a kickoff fundraiser in nearby San Leandro for Alameda County Board of Education candidate Aisha Knowles. Numerous attendees tell The Citizen, they saw Young hobnobbing with other Knowles supporters at the event starting at 6 p.m. The APAPA candidate's forum began at 7 p.m. sharp. One attendee of the fundraiser said they even witnessed Young chatting with Knowles.
Mark Goodwin, Young's campaign manager, maintains the candidate was in Sacramento that day for a meeting with the Legislative Black Caucus and says Young twice called him from his car just minutes before arriving at the forum held during a stormy night in Oakland's Chinatown.
APAPA chose to not comment on the matter and say they are non-partisan and do not endorse candidates for office.
It is still not clear why Young chose to obfuscate about the reason for being late, but it continues to fit into a pattern of half-truths and outright muddling of the truth by an Assembly candidate, most political observers say should have had no trouble finishing in the top two in the June primary. Instead, he may be scrambling over the next 10 days to overtake Abel Guillen for a spot in the November general election.
Young's proclivity for trolling support at another person's fundraiser is not new. The crashing of fundraisers by Young is a common complaint among East Bay political observers. Carolyn Russell-Thomas, the executive director of an Oakland domestic violence agency that Young falsely said endorsed his candidacy, said in an interview last month, that her first encounter with Young occurred unannounced at one of her events last October. She said others had told her later that "this was something he did."
Young's habit of favoring opportunities to scrounge for drying up fundraising sources over attending debates featuring his two opponents still continues. Voters in San Leandro expecting to hear from Young at a debate May 16 hosted by many of the city's most influential homeowners associations, showed up, instead, to listen to vagaries of his campaign manager. Young had a previous engagement, said Goodwin. "We only found out about it on Monday." A representative for one of the homeowners association, seeking to set the record straight said, the groups had unsuccessfully tried to contact Young's campaign through its Web site for over a month. They were only successful two days prior to the event at the Bal Theatre. San Leandro is new to the 18th District that now also represents Oakland and Alameda.
Nonetheless, the San Leandro debate was not the first time Young has missed an opportunity to be sized up voters in such a setting. His absence has been so frequent that one of his opponents last week doubted Young would bother joining them for the race's final debate May 30 in Oakland.