Mary Hayashi unleashes a barrage of attacks on Richard Valle eliciting no response from the practicing Buddhist. Supporters of Valle and haters of Hayashi go nuts urging him to go on the attack armed with her shoplifting conviction, but he relents. The belief Hayashi could win starts to percolate, but unbeknownst to many, Valle’s union support is hammering Hayashi door-to-door in District 2.
Dr. Jennifer Ong takes the risky step of opposing Proposition 30, the governor’s November tax initiative, saying it disproportionately hurts the poor. The move represents the greatest amount of daylight between her and Quirk to date. However, she back tracks on her opposition a week before Election Day.
Richard Valle breaks his silence following a candidate forum in Hayward by calling Mary Hayashi a “thief.” Earlier, Hayashi attacked Valle’s executive pay at Tri CED, the state’s largest non-profit recycling center located in Union City and founded by Valle.
The year’s funniest campaign mailer is released in early October depicting Eric Swalwell as a rookie. A photo Swalwell is photoshopped to include a baseball featuring a stylized “ES” for his initials along with a baseball card listing no accomplishments. Does it help Stark? Who knows? But, it reinforces the rookie label on Swalwell sure to stick with him into 2013.
Jesus Armas attempts to maintain a proxy voice on the next Hayward school board by contributing $2,600 to the campaign of Peter Bufete, who lost out for a seat on the City Council in June. It does no good, however, as the taint of Armas is still too potent and Bufete finishes dead last in November.
It is still three weeks from Election Day, but state Sen. Ellen Corbett is already telling people in Eric Swalwell’s Tri Valley stronghold she intends to run for Congress in 2014. In December, The Citizen reports Corbett had purchased a home in downtown Hayward in late July.
Even as Pete Stark refuses to debate Eric Swalwell, the young candidate with a predilection for goofy stunts, appears in a 12-minute mock debate with an actor made up to look like Stark. We think Swalwell wins the debate, but it’s a close one.
The Alameda County Medical Center, also known as Highland Hospital, proposes operating San Leandro Hospital for three years in its current configuration as a general hospital with 24-hour emergency room services. However, the city of San Leandro, Eden Township Healthcare District and the county needs to be on board with a $3 million subsidy. The entities all come through, but the entire project hinges on Sutter Health agreeing and will likely be decided in early 2013.
San Leandro’s conservative Democrat Mayor Stephen Cassidy, not known for working well with others, takes the unusual step of publicly supporting and contributing to the council campaigns of two of his colleagues opponents. Come Election Day, voters give Cassidy a spanking for his bad behavior as all three of his blessed candidates lose.
A story in the East Bay Express runs contradictory to everything the local corporate media has to report about Eric Swalwell. In turns out, Pete Stark’s accusations of pay-to-play politics runs true with a new allegation surrounding a sweetheart no-bid contract with a Tri Valley garbage company.
In true Swalwellian fashion, the youthful candidate avoids this reporter for a second time during the campaign season. Later, The Citizen reports Swalwell has been couch-surfing between his parent’s and brother’s Dublin homes during the campaign.
On Election Day, the future of open primary elections shows it head as Dem-on-Dem Assembly races in the East bay turn into nailbitters. Rob Bonta beats Abel Guillen by just under 3,000, but Dr. Jennifer Ong slowly, but surely inches closer to Bill Quirk, who ultimately wins by just 917 votes. Questions are raised whether Ong’s decision (mistake?) to not file a candidate’s statement costs her the election.
The headline in the Alameda County supervisorial race says it all: “Valle holds off Green, not Hayashi to win Alameda County Supervisors Seat.” Hayashi’s dismal third place finish is one of the biggest surprises of the night. However, undaunted, most believe her campaign largesse is too great to stop her from running in 2014 for the state senate, possibly against Fremont Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski.
Eric Swalwell does the unthinkable and ends the 40-year reign of Rep. Pete Stark. The cagey congressman goes down with a conciliatory tone in his concession and offers support for Swalwell’s transition to Capitol Hill, at least, in theory (wink, wink).
The Oakland City Council will welcome three new members as Lynette Gibson-McElhaney, Noel Galllo and Dan Kalb are victorious. Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan wins re-election over Ignacio De La Fuente, ending his nearly two decades at City Hall. City Attorney Barbara Parker also easily win her race over Councilmember Jane Brunner.
In Hayward, school board member Luis Reynoso wins re-election along with Annette Walker and John Taylor issuing in a new era for the city’s struggling school district. In San Leandro, Councilwoman Ursula Reed wins one of the tightest races in the entire East Bay and Benny Lee becomes the first Asian American councilmember in the city’s checkered history with minority groups.
Just 721 votes short of gaining a two-thirds majority, backers of Measure B1, the county’s transportation sales tax initiative, ask for a partial recount. The results of the recount in Berkeley scrounge just seven additional votes and the recount is called off. Mark Green, one of the measure’s top backers, calls the campaign “poorly run.”
The ACLU raises strong concerns over Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern’s desire to purchase drones for emergency rescue situations and terrorists attacks. The group, however, shows the sheriff’s department has done more work on the issue, including already going through the formality of receiving three bids, all of which, are far larger than the $31,000 federal grant. The discussion is kicked back down to the county committee level, possibly never again seeing the light of day.
In Oakland, the city and federal investigators make a deal that averts a takeover of the city’s police department, while the shenanigans at the City Council show no signs of abetting. Councilwoman-elect Lynette Gibson-McElhaney is reported to owe back taxes and the simple discussion of dog park at Astro Park is put off to 2013, but not before a woman dressed as a cat protests in the name of kitties everywhere.
New legislators and council members are sworn-in across the East Bay and there is hope a repeat of 2012, a very regrettable year in East Bay politics, is not seen anytime soon. However, don’t bet on it.