Thursday, September 6, 2012

With Two Months To Go, Bonta Looks To Limit Mistakes; Guillen Hoping For A Break

ELECTION ‘12//ASSEMBLY 18 | Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta produced a poll last month showing him the prohibitive favorite to win the Assembly’s 18th District seat. His fellow Democratic challenger, Abel Guillen released his own poll last week placing the Peralta Community College trustee up by five points. So, which is it? Who knows? Other than being an early political ploy, what we do know is voters on Nov. 6 will basically have a choice not unlike the dilemma consumers have when choosing between Fuji apples and Macintosh apples at their local fruit stand. Frankly, when speaking to voters in the 18th District, you will find an overwhelming consensus saying they would be content with either candidate representing them in Sacramento.

Regardless, Bonta easily won the June primary by six points over Guillen, 36-30, and remains the favorite among most East Bay political insiders. In the months since, Bonta has laid low, has not committed any errors and forced his opponent to look for political openings in his campaign finance reports. That’s probably isn’t a good sign when other modes of attacking Bonta exist, namely a line of attack portraying him as less progressive might have more electoral oomph, especially in Oakland.

Rob Bonta, Abel Guillen
However, Bonta won the primary despite losing Oakland. He made up the difference with strong showings in San Leandro and, of course, his hometown of Alameda. But, there are great opportunities for Guillen in expanding upon his strength in Oakland. For one, the June primary produced historically low voter turnout. November, being a presidential election year, will certainly boost those numbers. If President Obama again dominates among minority voters, Oakland is loaded with potential for Guillen, especially, if the presidential race is perceived to be a nail bitter. There’s also the question of where primary votes for Joel Young will go. Despite an embarrassing third-place finish, Young still cajoled over 10,000 votes mostly progressive votes. Those are now up-for-grabs. On this front, for the well-informed voters, it greatly favors Bonta. These voters may harbor resentment toward Guillen for being the person who knocked out Young with a barrage of negative mailers late in the primary campaign. Guillen’s campaign didn’t send them, but independent expenditure groups who supported him footed the bill and it devastated Young’s campaign.

Of course, higher turnout could also help Bonta for one particular reason, there are very few differences between he and Guillen’s politics. Bonta and Guillen both say they support taxing off-shore oil producers in California, both support Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure, both want to save San Leandro Hospital, both back high-speed rail. The list goes on and on. Both are personally well-liked by most voters in the district and they also appear to genuinely like each other. Because of this, look for the campaign to become less about politics and more about a becoming a beauty pageant. Who do you personally like better? Who has better teeth? Who has better hair? Which candidate has a better recipe for a delicate, flaky pie crust? Do you see where this might go?

IF THE ELECTION WERE TODAY… Bonta would be thanking voters for a victory similar in point spread to the June primary. It would also make Bonta the first Filipino-American elected to the lower house of the state Legislature and an instant contender for Rep. Barbara Lee’s seat, if she were to retire in the next few years. Before that happens, a lot will go down. If you're opponent is ahead in the polls and uniquely similar to you, what else is there but to get wicked nasty? However, much can be gleaned from how a candidate runs his campaign and how he governs. From the get-go, Bonta has been smooth, methodical and not prone to panic. In baseball parlance, Coach Bonta should be hurriedly waving his arms from dugout, instructing his outfielders to shift to a no-doubles defense and telling his corner infielders to hug the line.


  1. That's bonta: conservative, bland, nice, good-looking, conventional. That's perfect for a politician but makes me blanch.

  2. Is it true that Bonta's wife works for Students First, Michele Rhee's "reform" croporate-style organization? If so, does this tell anything about his views on education and what sort of agenda he would support in the Legislature?

  3. I've been following this race the last couple of months, I voted for Young back in June, obviously that didn't work out. Based on research and previous conversations with both candidates, I see clear differences between them, more than what the article indicates. To be honest, Rob Bonta comes off as the typical politician that is only running for office to keep a nice paycheck for at least the next four years, with perks for family and friends included. If you look at his track record in Alameda, the school district hasn't been doing too great under his watch and he's voted for policies that reduce the number of work hours for City employees but increase their pay rate. These are the type of politicians that have driven cities and counties in the red. There's already a movement within Alameda residents to recall Bonta (www.recallbonta.com), why wasn't this mentioned in the article? So much for keeping a low profile.

    What we really need is a true progressive that is willing to think outside the box, bring in new, innovative AND feasible ideas to do what is right for our community. Guillen by far seems like the better candidate for the district. I believe that he truly cares about the community and has the experience to become an effective leader and voice for the district. Guillen has my vote in November. I hope the majority of voters also do their research before voting in November. Voting for someone only because he/she is already an elected official in your hometown is not the way to decide on who to vote for.

  4. The "analysis" in this piece of the Independent Expenditure campaigns leading up to the primary is just plain wrong.

    Firstly, "CA Alliance, A Coalition Of Consumer Attorneys And Conservationists" spent $113,410.82 to attack Young.

    They supported BOTH Bonta as well as Guillen.

    The the Nurses spent $49,198.26 to boost Guillen, without attacking Young.

    Then the "Golden State Leadership Fund" spent $34,392.19 boosting Bonta, without attacking Young.

    Notable donors to that PAC were Bonta's political consultants, Duffy Capitolo.

    In the waning days before the election the "CA Black PAC," a hereto defunct committee, spent $20,580.55 to BOOST Joel Young.

    Notable donors to that PAC were Duffy Capitolo as well as law enforcement committees assumed to be influenced by Don Perata.

    Just the facts, let the readers' minds jump to likely conclusions...

  5. Alameda City Council is a separate entity from Alameda's School Board so one has nothing to do with the other.

    I'm not sure how Alameda schools "aren't doing too well."

  6. Bonta was on the Health Care District Board - the body that governs Alameda Hospital. The Hospital is almost broke.

    As for the schools, Bonta claims 'victory' for passing a schools parcel tax, and almost immediately after it passed, the District set about shopping for a new HQ building, which many people say is unnecessary, and signed a $3 million lease for new digs. Teachers, the teachers' union, parents, taxpayers, are furious...

  7. When did Rob Bonta claim "victory" for passing the school parcel tax? Measure A passed in March of 2011, the decision to move the school district administration was made last month, I guess 16 months is "immediately" in the world of Bonta bashing.

    As for Alameda Hospital, voters opted to pay a parcel tax to keep a hospital in Alameda, while the Hospital is definitely struggling, other local Hospitals are struggling to stay open as well, one only need to look to San Leandro Hospital and Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo as examples.

  8. Seems Tavares is a biased writer and not a true journalist if he is ignoring facts.

  9. Burn. Let me look at my PayPal account. Let's see....nope. Nobody named anonymous donate to the EBCitizen. I suppose you'll just have to deal with all my made up stories. You sir or ma'am are of such high intellect that you are the only person out of 20,000 readers who have not succumb to my spell of lies. You're like the Stephen Hawking of fucking reading. Congratulations.