ALAMEDA COUNTY | In a region where a state legislator admits to stealing high-end leather pants, a county supervisor successfully runs for her position at the same time secretly smoking crank and a Assembly candidate violently strikes his girlfriend and still thinks he has a chance at the ballot, the news of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul Seeman stealing the assets of a 97-year-old woman may illicit shock, but little surprise.
Since Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi's arrest Oct. 25, 2011 for felony shoplifting in San Francisco to today, it is arguable, the last eight months in Alameda County politics have never been more tumultuous than today. While I take some credit for shaking up the joint, in reality, it has been no more than scratching the surface. The rot is deep and rising to the surface. I have news for everybody, it's not going to end and the characters like Hayashi, Nadia Lockyer, Joel Young and Judge Seeman will continue to make news for the infamy, but others will unfortunately for them join the fray in the next six months. I guarantee it.
There are many factors for this cancer in Alameda County. Among them, a non-existent media to follow the buffoonery of our local leaders, but, more importantly, a sprawling and uncontainable Democratic Party which condones and systemically recreates clones of its cast of bad characters. The Democratic Central Committees in the East Bay have no gumption when it comes to looking the other way to its members transgressions. Nevermind, elected leaders already in power, but note, members of the Democratic Central Committee in the 18th District, split their endorsement in their local Assembly race to include the already tarnished Joel Young. Nevermind that he was already accused of (1) beating up his girlfriend, but (2) also admitting infidelity that night after being caught in bed with another woman. As we would see later, why would domestic violence and cheating on your significant other matter to the Democratic Party in this county?
We've all seen the growing photo album of party leaders and union officials happily posing with Hayashi starting just weeks after she plead no-contest to misdemeanor grand theft. A member of a law enforcement union is even seen posing happily with Hayashi. The outrage is not limited to Hayashi. Remember the group photo of party leaders, including Bill and Nadia Lockyer, posing with thumbs up at an event in Fremont? That spectacle occurred just days after the crank-addled former supervisor accused her husband of providing her with drugs in the past. She never retracted the statement and the local and state media looked the away and fell under the trance of the Lockyer's media manipulations involving a now-apparent bogus restraining order against Lockyer's ex-boyfriend.
Unfortunately, the trail of infamy following this initial crop of crooks was too fresh for the June primary, I believe the shockingly low turnout exhibited by voters in Alameda County is a direct result of these recent incidents. Until enough time has passed for a new crop of untarnished potential candidates to emerge, possibly as early as November in some cities, voters will not be energized to vote. Instead, they will protest.
Fortunately, times are changing and this three year experiment of brawny independent journalism I purport to represent is gaining steam. As the East Bay Express noted this week, the newspaper stocked with my stories of Joel Young's many pratfalls, changed the direction of the race in the 18th Assembly District. The political head of Young now sits on a pike for all other unseemly politicians to see and wonder if they will be next.
In 2010, I told my then very small group of readers exactly how unstable Nadia Lockyer appeared to me during her campaign for county supervisor. Nobody was paying attention then, but they are now. We all know you cannot count on the power structure in Alameda County to clean itself up. Even when they caught Judge Seeman bilking an elderly neighbor, it still took the district attorney two years to file charges.
I often think about one of the most imporant pieces of advice ever given to me as a reporter. Hit them hard and hit them often. I didn't intend on cleaning up a mess when I started this little media experiment in 2009, instead, I intended to fill a gaping news hole in the East Bay. It seems both aims are one in the same.