Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year When Accountability Died In The East Bay And How It Got That Way

FINAL WORD ON 2012//ESSAY | This was the year East Bay politicians learned there was always a second chance for their errors. Not because they deserved that uniquely American second act at redemption, but because the political establishment has no mechanism for saying no to them. Whether it was Mary Hayashi stealing clothes from Neiman Marcus in October 2011 and then expecting us to believe it was benign brain tumor that made her do it, Bill Lockyer being accused by his wife of supply her with illegal drugs or Jesus Armas secretly fucking his colleague on the Hayward school board, nothing it seems could convince any of our public officials to ride off into the sunset. Instead, they stuck around like that deadbeat roommate you thought you had kicked out of the apartment two months ago.

Hayashi stole $2,450 in high-priced clothing, pleads no-contest to a lesser charge during the first week of the year and still thought she could win Nadia Lockyer’s vacated seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. How could she think that? Well, nobody in in the State Assembly admonished her or asked her to resign and party leaders in Alameda County were too afraid to confront her. There is no Republican Party in the county to apply pressure on her, so, she continued on until she began flirting with the idea in May of running for supervisor. She didn’t get much support from local elected leaders, but few firmly told her she was crazy because they also believed she could win and feared her wrath. Ultimately, voters got the message and delivered a shocking third place finish for Hayashi. But, guess what? Hayashi is still a likely candidate for the state Senate in two years. Even if she loses again, the winner of that race will have to expend of large portion of their own war chest to do it.

If the party establishment is too afraid to speak truth to power when it comes to Hayashi, it surely won’t make a peep when it comes to Bill Lockyer. Somehow, through the harrowing arc of nasty addiction afflicting his wife, Billy Boy got off scot-free when, in fact, his actions from literally buying a seat on the board for his wife, who was already dealing with substance abuse during the 2010 campaign, to his filing for divorce this summer while she was at her lowest point back in rehab makes him not only cad of the year, but a serious recommendation for naming the award in his honor.
Sure, Bill Lockyer is something of a laughingstock nowadays. But, those in Sacramento doing the laughing don’t do it in front of him. He is still feared and like Hayashi and all the rest, nobody will tell him no. So, he trots on thinking he can run for state controller in 2014—the last known statewide office outside of governor he has not served. At the same time, we again fail to listen to Nadia screaming for help this summer when she told a reporter it was Bill Lockyer who helped in part feed her addiction for illegal drugs a few years back. Oh, you mean, when Lockyer was the state’s top cop as attorney general? Yet, the media reported the accusation and conveniently dropped it in the wastebasket when nobody was looking.
Hayashi, Quirk, Armas, Heredia, Swalwell in 2011.
Hayward’s now-former school board member Jesus Armas is no different when it comes to avoiding the consequences of his actions. You would think the presence of a sex scandal among the people elected to protect and educate your children would be cause for cutting your loses, but not Armas and not the public officials in Hayward who looked away. Why? Because Armas is more than a former city manager and school board member, he’s the fixer. He’s the guy who brings the deals together and divvies up the spoils of the public’s treasury in a manner that keeps in mind there is no honor among thieves. In some ways, Armas’s credentials for fixing dilapidated Hayward’s school system appeared sterling. He should have been the guy who had the bureaucratic resume to turn it around, but Armas clearly showed that being the face of the school board was not the best place for the man who effectively prospers in the shadows. As a consultant for the city or school board, he could get away with banging whoever he wanted, but as school board president, such actions became everybody’s business. You may think he didn’t get a second chance, but he has and will continue to do so. Armas may have lost his seat on the school board, but did he really? The architects of Hayward gleaming City Hall built the dais in council chambers to accommodate seven council members, but the school board contains only five members. Let’s just call Armas the school board’s invisible sixth member doing what he does he does best, making the deals happen. He lost his ability to lead, but his power to make himself money at the city’s expense is undiminished.

“So, why did the East Bay political establishment blow up in 2012” is easily the most asked question I get. I have done a lot of thinking about it. Is it just an anomaly or the beginning of a trend? I believe it is the latter. What occurred is what I call the “The Theory of the Three Families.” Without asserting criminality, the East Bay’s power structure over the past 30 years has loosely featured control of Oakland by Don Perata, further south Bill Lockyer ruled the roost and somewhat overlapping those areas and the South County was Pete Stark.

They all ruled their kingdoms well. Of course, not without scandal, but the cynical view of government says good deals beneficial to the public cannot be made without a bit of political skulduggery, or, as Obama says, “government is imperfect.” The upshot of the Perata/Lockyer/Stark dynasties was everything ran smoothly. The three dons picked and choose the winners and losers and everybody played by the rules in hopes of staying on their good sides. However, the problem with political leaders who maintain power based upon their own personalities is one day they suddenly get old and eventually die. What will Apple become without Steve Jobs? What will the power structure in the East Bay become without Perata/Lockyer/Stark calling the shots?

I think 2012 proved to be a preview of what is to come and it will not be pretty. Perata has been battling Cancer, Lockyer has personal problems no 70-year-old man should have and Stark was deposed last November by a young up-and-comer. The old hierarchy is in its last days and more consumed with their mortality than keeping order. This is why Lockyer can hoist his wife to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and have it blow up spectacularly a year later damaging himself and his legacy. Did Lockyer gain power three decades ago because of stupid ideas like putting his drug addicted wife in public office? It was a proposition destined to fail. Stark did not become a noted congressman because he literally gave his rival the guns to shoot down his legacy. But it happened.

Fredo Corleone
What will come next will continue to shock us and will involve every punk politician with a smidgen of ambition attempting to rise to the top of the new world order by force. One amateur after another will gain control for a short time before being taken down. This is personified by Swalwell, a ridiculously unprepared and laughably animatronic congressman who is already viewed as weak even before he takes the oath of office next year. Predictably, Ellen Corbett and others who still ascribed to the tenets of the old order, have designs on overthrowing Swalwell, the new don with the leadership profile of Fredo Corleone. In fact, the most dire circumstance arising from this regional upheavals is the assumption its next leaders will not be the sort of Democrat most of us are accustomed to, but a middling moderate with troubling shades of conservatism. Swalwell didn’t just beat Stark last month, he did it with the help of the Tea Party and moderates in the Tri Valley. Swalwell may initially vote no different than Stark would have in Congress, but his election on the backs of conservatives did a great deal of collateral damage to the Alameda County Democratic Party. With Swalwell as their pied piper, conservatives won seats on the Pleasanton and Livermore City Councils while leading the charge in defeating Measure B1, the all-important county transportation initiative.

I can’t tell you how this will all play out in the end. The people who will eventually take control of the situation may not even exist yet and the same shenanigans that plagued 2012 will continue, I can assure you. However, the key to our future rests solely on heaping loads of accountability on the public officials we have now. If they can get away with violating the public’s trust once or twice, these assholes will assuredly try a third and fourth time. Political power in this region must not rest in the hands of a few people, but in yours, the citizen of the East Bay.

Sex Sells: The Most Read East Bay Citizen Stories In 2012

2012 YEAR IN REVIEW | What a year it was for the East Bay Citizen. Through hard-hitting coverage of the 2012 election season you could not find anywhere else in the Bay Area news media to the unfortunate, yet glorious, spate of tabloid-style stories that emanated from the bowels of government this year, the site rose from a few thousand readers to tens of thousands. In fact, 17 of the 20 most read article in The Citizen’s nearly four-year history occurred in 2012. Eight of the Top 10 most read stories this year notably contain some element of sex. From Nadia Lockyer to the Hayward School Board scandal, these articles again illustrated what we already know: sex sells.

1. Graphic Nadia Lockyer Sex Tapes Posted Online, May 12, 2012.

2. Text Messages Reveal Another Illicit Affair Among Public Officials In Hayward, July 25, 2012.

3. Hayward School Board Member Embroiled In Affair With Colleague Admits Not Reading Meeting Materials, July 26, 2012.

4. Armas, Heredia Seen Together At LVW Forum And Walking Streets Together Afterwards, Oct. 8, 2012, by Shane Bond.

5. County Sources Allege Nadia Lockyer Is Fighting Substance Abuse, Feb. 13, 2012.

6. Following Re-Election As Hayward School Board Trustee, Reynoso May Seek Board Presidency, Nov. 13, 2012.

7. Reynoso Asks For Investigation Into Affair Among Hayward School Board Members, July 27, 2012.

8. Supervisors Decry St. Rose CEO's Lack Of Transparency Over Financial Status, Mar. 14, 2012.

9. Armas Will Not Resign From Board; 'Thank You For The Invitation,' He Says, Aug. 23, 2012.

10. San Leandro Council Candidate's Online Comments Rile City's Asian Population, Aug. 27, 2012.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

How I Got The Infamous Armas-Heredia Sext Messages

INSIDE THE STORIES OF 2012 | The original plan last July was to take the soon-to-be infamous text messages and present them to the Hayward school board during public comment. Jose Aldana, Maribel Heredia’s long-time fiancé and father of her two children, wanted to shame school board President Jesus Armas in a public setting for entering into an illicit affair with Heredia, but his attorney nixed the idea. He was sure about their dalliances since January when he met with Armas outside a Starbucks in Hayward. Aldana placed his smartphone on the table between them, pressed record, and continually grilled Armas over whether he and Heredia had recently spent a weekend together under the guise of an education seminar in Sacramento. Armas said he was there, but wasn’t aware Heredia was there also. Later when school board member William McGee was asked about the seminar, he laughed, and said neither of them was in Sacramento that weekend, but he was!

It’s fair to point out that Aldana never pointedly asked Armas whether he was having an affair with his fiancée. Instead, he used the line of questioning over the Sacramento trip as a proxy. Armas, ever the lawyer, measured his words precisely to never admit guilt. However, the careful word selection and tone of his voice sounded calculating and unnervingly cold. This was definitely Jesus Armas’s voice on the recording, at the same time, revealed a different, vastly darker side, to his personality.

Heredia would soon be out of the house in January and presumably the affair with Armas continued. Some Hayward sources in December 2011, way before I was alerted to the affair and its ramifications for harboring secrecy on the school board, had passed gossip to me the secret couple was seen holding hands during a school Christmas production. I hear these things all the time and, besides, we were in the middle of blockbuster local stories, at the time, involving Mary Hayashi and Nadia Lockyer. So, Armas’s libido was not high on my list of stories.

That changed around June when I began to receive numerous emails and a few phone calls from people urging me to talk to Aldana, along with many disparaging words for what Armas and Heredia were doing to the school district and, more importantly, to their families. People from the school district were specifically worried about the mental well-being of Aldana’s high school age daughter, who had lashed out against her mom in a Facebook posting. As with nearly all messy divorces, Aldana’s family was wallowing in significant turmoil. News of the affair had even percolated to one of Hayward Councilman Mark Salinas’s government ethics class with a student slyly referencing the Armas-Heredia affair as it pertained to state sunshine laws. Salinas, a Armas ally, curiously never admonished his buddy, nor did the council’s other Latino representative. The inability of Hayward’s city leaders to confront the messy personal details of its elected presented itself a year earlier with the affair of its former city manager Greg Jones and then-councilwoman Anna May. Just smile and act like everything is okay, seems to be the solution to every problem in Hayward.

In contrast, Aldana had no problem airing his personal life to friends at the school district--both to vent and to attract support for the misery in his family life. The flip side of his openness, however, identified those with him and those against him, while fueling his confidence to confront the anger brewing against Heredia, but more so, against Armas, the Hayward fixer many have tried to bring down only to have him repeatedly slide away like a snake slathered in Crisco. That all changed sometime in late June.

Many have speculated how The Citizen obtained the sometimes flirty text messages between Armas and Heredia that proved their affair and put the school board’s integrity on public trial later in the year. Did I somehow hack Heredia’s phone? Did someone at the school district have access to the messages contained on the phone? Did I steal the phone? All those questions were false and frankly gave me too much credit. In fact, it wasn’t even Aldana who procured the text messages, but Heredia’s own disgruntled family, who were upset over her decisions to blow up her relationship with Aldana and the children.

As the story goes, according to Aldana, Heredia left her phone unattended at a family member’s house. An unidentified person took the phone and perused its history for messages from Armas. Among the screen shots taken by the family member’s own phone of Heredia’s conversations with Armas was the infamous dialogue of Armas asking, “What did u buy?” and Heredia replying, “crotchless panties.” Aldana was understandably livid after being presented by the compelling evidence of an secret affair between his fiancée and Armas, but it eventually gave him pause to move on, but not before letting those same friends who buoyed his confidence earlier the confirmation of Heredia’s indiscretion.

When I first met Aldana at a Starbucks in Castro Valley, it was clear to me he had no idea how politically explosive those text messages could be for upsetting the hierarchy at the woeful Hayward school district. As we talked, he offhandedly mentioned an additional bombshell of transcripts taken under oath of Heredia admitting she does not read the school board’s agenda packets. Admittedly, my mouth was agape at the amount and sheer scope of the evidence seemingly dropped in my lap.

We know what happened after The Citizen published successive articles based upon Aldana’s tips in late July. A small group of angry Hayward resident consistently pilloried Armas and Heredia with a verbal “Scarlet A” and both quietly chose to not run for re-election in November. The board was then allowed to mend itself with two new members, Annette Walker and John Taylor.

Maybe Joe Aldana did not set out to change Hayward when he spoke publicly about the affair, but out of vicious retribution, he achieved both. Tell those who scoff, powerlessly, that no one person can foster change, because Aldana, whether unwittingly or by design, brought more positive change to the East Bay than any single person. His actions to rid the city of its corrupt figure heads at the school board who have consistently stripped the district down to spare parts while cronies benefited now give everybody a fair chance to succeed. Young school children in Hayward, our most important commodity, now have a plausible chance to grow and learn and families across the Bay Area may one day have a reason lay roots in the city where schools are valued rather than disparaged and picked over by vultures posing as businessmen. Joe Aldana will never receive a plaque from city leaders for what he did for the community, but we all know real heroes do not act for recognition, but for what is right.

A Coincidence Too Crazy To Ignore: How I Thought Muhammad Was Lockyer's Ex

INSIDE THE STORIES OF 2012 | Curiously, Nadia Lockyer saved her biggest announcements this year for quasi-holidays. She entered rehab for drug and alcohol dependency on Valentine’s Day last February and offered her resignation from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on April 20—the cheeky and unofficial National Pothead Day.

Lockyer’s announcement to enter rehab occurred 11 days after the San Francisco Chronicle broke news of Newark cops being called to the hotel room she was staying with her young son. A man named Steve Chikhani was alleged by Lockyer to have assaulted her that night. Her husband, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, according to report, picked her up at the Newark hotel and took her to their Hayward home. He would later admit she has a problem with alcohol and the East Bay would later learn Chikhani was her ex-boyfriend. It was a mess of biblical proportions for the county, Bill Lockyer and many other hanger-ons.

The early reports, though, did not mention drug use until The Citizen published a long article detailing allegations by county workers who observed Lockyer’s slow decline and shocking weight loss over the past six months. The next day, at 10 a.m., Lockyer announced she was entering rehab and praised her family and friends for their love and support.

Nearly two hours later, I sat in the sparsely attended Board of Supervisors chambers listening to a mundane meeting about to conclude when it was quickly mentioned David Muhammad, the county’s star chief probation officer was placed on paid administrative leave. Supervisor Nate Miley called the meeting adjourned and everyone left. Huh? I quickly sent a text message to a county contact asking if I had heard what I thought I had just heard. Not only was it true, but the preliminary word was it revolved around sexual assault alleged by a woman against Muhammad.

Remember, in early 2012, it seemed like public officials in the East Bay were actively trying to one up each other for how well they could embarrass themselves. I called Robert Gammon, my editor at the East Bay Express, and relayed the breaking news of Muhammad’s departure and to tell him I would have the Lockyer resignation story for him within the hour. He added, do you think Muhammad is the guy who assaulted Lockyer in Newark? Oh shit!!!

At the time of Lockyer entering rehab, the identity of the man fingered by her in Newark was not known. I had a source who said he was 35-years-old drug addict. David Muhammad could be 35, I thought! What if? This could be a major, major story I began to think as I rushed to find some confirmation either way. Could it be a coincidence that Lockyer enters rehab, and then Muhammad is pushed out of the probation department for messing around with an employee a few hours later? My sources though were adamant that it wasn’t Muhammad, but another man, who would later be revealed to be Chikhani. Muhammad was quite the lothario and rumors of him screwing around with other woman at various county offices was well told. I totally believed the sources.

I’ll admit the possibility of putting two and two together and placing two huge stories like Lockyer and Muhammad together was exhilarating. The stuff you see in the movies. In the end, neither tale needed help for sensationalism; both reviling the public and saddening us for the unintended pain its caused to loved ones or the woman potentially scarred by Muhammad’s alleged actions.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Year In Lists: Most Likely East Bay Pols To Get Their Noses Dirty In 2013

Scott Haggerty – We swear this list was made before news reports last week cited Haggerty for shady business dealings with a Livermore developer. Full disclosure: he was originally listed fifth, but shot to the top of the charts like a rocket. The slightly confusing report by Matier & Ross last week is just the tip of the iceberg. Reportedly, the complaint filed by Haggerty’s former chief of staff Chris Gray is loaded with accusations that play on everything most have long suspected about the long-time supervisor--his temper, his brusque manner with constituents and a proclivity for openly encouraging big business in the Tri Valley, no matter how iffy the proposition. Hold on tight for this one!

Nate Miley – Many in the East Bay have given up on trying to bring down one of the region’s slickest politicians. In fact, nothing has stuck to the bully-prone Miley in recent years, but the fall of ACAP, the county’s former anti-poverty agency is still lying in the weeds waiting for a surprise attack on the supervisor who last year told an audience in Castro Valley he uses campaign dollars to pay dues at two prestigious health clubs. Why? So he could get away and relax from the hassle of dealing with constituents. What a great thing to say, huh?

Mary Hayashi
Mary Hayashi – It was a very, very tough year for the woman most believed would be sitting in the state Senate in 2014. With over a half million dollars in her campaign war chest and despite the dismal election results last November, she is not yet politically dead. However, Hayashi, once the most vicious of East Bay pols, is now the weakest she has ever been. The time may be ripe for former staffers and termed out Assembly colleagues to blow the whistle…and there’s other things, too….Pay back is a bitch.

Eric Swalwell – What can you say? The boy sold his soul to the Devil and Beelzebub came through for Swalwell even though Pete Stark is an avowed Atheist. Go figure? In the meantime, Swalwell cannot win re-election in 2014 with around $700,000 in campaign contributions like he did this year. And, to get that much, he had to make certain promises in the Tri Valley—monetarily to developers and to the ideological right wingers he courted. Both will get antsy for payback and Swalwell’s history shows he has no problem understanding the rules of pay-to-play. In fact, the same Livermore developer, John Wong, cited by Matier & Ross in connection with Scott Haggerty's shady 2007 land deal is also a twice maxed-out donor to Swalwell's past congressional campaign. Connect the dots.

Noel Gallo PHOTO/Shane Bond
Noel Gallo – Oakland’s newest council member is not on this list because of any known condition of “shadiness,” but because his staunch and flowery law and order rhetoric coupled with the city’s on-going battle to reform its woeful police department runs the risk of setting off the voluminous anger of Oakland’s vaunted band of public speakers. Gallo is destined to become the City Council’s most eloquent and quotable members, but if his recent campaign for the District 5 seat is any indication, he knows how to play dirty, underhanded politics; and that’s fine. However, such behavior will likely elicit and equally harsh counterbalance. For example, look at the warning freshman Councilmember Lynette Gibson-McElhaney received this month when a report pegged her for not paying taxes.

2012 Year In Lists: Top 5 Best/Worst Dressed Politcians in the East Bay

Best Dressed East Bay Politicians
Mary Hayashi in Oct. 2011.
Mary Hayashi – No joke! Who, other than Hayashi, could have the balls to show up for her hearing for shoplifting from Neiman Marcus dressed to the nines while clutching a pricey Coach bag? Although, we noticed she was wearing some pantsuits more than once during the campaign season, Hayashi is still the model for style in the East Bay and could give her rival Ellen Corbett a few good pointers. You go, girl!

Scott Haggerty – We’ve mentioned Haggerty’s on-going taste for gray pinstriped double-breasted suits many times before. Add the white shock of a goatee and the look is a cross between Tammany Hall couture and a 1950s Las Vegas pit boss. In addition. when Haggerty gives a quick wink and a smile during Board of Supervisor meeting to the young fillies in the front row, the look is absolutely pimpin'!

Michael Gregory – The East Bay’s Mr. GQ, like former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown must have been a fashion model in his younger days. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if Gregory once posed in his skivvies, hatchet in hand, for an L.L. Bean catalog, circa 1995.

Mark Salinas – Like, Gregory, Salinas has a nice array of suits in his arsenal and rocks the newsboy woven cap nicely, although, the looks sometimes veers into looking like that rich tio who walks into abuelas house in a nice peacoat and leather gloves on Christmas Eve—acting the big shot—but never bothering to bring any presents for the ninos. What kind of shit is that?

Rebecca Kaplan – Although she sometimes strikes us as looking like the Oakland City Council’s in-chambers bartender—sort of like Isaac from "The Love Boat" (also an Oakland native)—you have got to hand it to the vest-wearing Kaplan, it’s a bold look and she owns it.

Worst Dressed East Bay Politicians
Chris Peeples – The long-time member of the AC Transit Board of Directors doesn’t give a fig what he wears and the fact he looks like a haggard Burl Ives. That, or Peeples is actually wearing the high fashion line, Derelicte, featured in the film, Zoolander.

Stephen Cassidy
Stephen Cassidy – Stylistically, there’s not much you can do with the rotund Cassidy other than dress him up in all-black. However, Johnny Cash was the originally “man in black” who stood for the poor, disenfranchised common man. Cassidy has none of those personal attributes, whatsoever.

Mike Katz – Cassidy’s cohort use to be a big man, but dropped loads of L.B.’s a few years ago. Katz, a member of the San Leandro school board, can’t win for losing. Now, he’s too busy doing surveillance on the San Leandro Police Department doing surveillance on him doing surveillance on them to buy pants that fit.

Michael Sweeney – When you’re a mayor that won 98 percent of the vote in 2010, you could really care less about how you look, right? The unshaven Sweeney is rarely seen in a suit, but seems to get the job done even without ever hearing his name and “GQ” uttered in the same sentence. We think he would wear baggy, zebra print, MC Hammer pants to meetings if he could get away with it.

Mark Green – What can you say about the baritone, now-former Union City mayor who always appeared like he had just entered City Hall chambers following a three-mile jog in his suit complete with New Balance running shoes? We’re going to miss Green.

Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 Quote Of The Year: 'I Would Call That Bribery..,' Stark Accuses Swalwell

“As someone who has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from the Lin family for giving them special zoning privileges--if I we’re a lawyer--I would call that bribery, but I’m not a lawyer, so I’ll let Mr. Swalwell define what he thinks taking all this money from people he gave special zoning privileges is. Maybe, this is how he sees his role in government." -Pete Stark

Pete Stark’s now infamous screed accusing Eric Swalwell of bribery last April is not the year’s most memorable quote in East Bay politics because it is particularly clever or well-delivered, but because it represents a very rare moment when history, or in this case, the end of Stark’s 40-year reign in Congress, can be precisely located in both time and place.

Hindsight now tells us his utterance that April night in Hayward was his downfall. Not roughly criticizing President George W. Bush or bullying those dirty Republicans in Congress, but an ill-timed assertion, that eventually rang with some truth, of scandal against his opponent whose only fault was that the allegation was not yet fully cooked.

You couldn’t rightfully place the tag of graft on Swalwell or the Lin family in April. The whiff of impropriety, though, was certainly there and, c’mon, name a Tri Valley politician who doesn’t have their hands in the pockets of rich developers. The Lin's, however, were good at evasion, but when I started investigation a similar occurrence with Amador Valley Industries, a garbage company in Dublin, starting in July, the missing parts of Swalwell’s dirty DNA became clear.

When the story came out in October basically vindicating for Stark what the local corporate media deemed his mad-ravings, it was way too late. The ugly cast of a blowhard, out-of-touch, four-decade incumbent had long hardened. For Swalwell, all he had to do is show up and run out the clock while the San Francisco Chronicle handed him the keys to the East Bay’s coveted congressional seat without ever pondering whether he knew how to drive.

Past Winners
2011 - Ken Pratt. "I nominate her [Jean Quan] the queen of residential blight."
2010 - Bill Lockyer. "I'm just a volunteer."
2009 - Pete Stark. "Well, I wouldn't dignify you by peeing on your leg. It wouldn't be worth wasting the urine."


"You just wait until my campaign is over. I'm going to find you and beat your (expletive) (expletive), you (expletive)."
Joel Young, former 18th Assembly candidate, to an aide for Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan at the Make Westing bar in Oakland, according to a police report.

"There were a number of personal factors that led to the situation where I made this absent-minded error. My medical condition may have complicated the situation, however, I want to be clear that I take full personal responsibility for my actions."
Mary Hayashi, Jan. 9, following her attorney's statement implying an undisclosed benign brain tumor made her shoplift from Neiman Marcus in 2011.

"We have a lot of unhappy people. They want to throw the bums out. We'll see."
-Pete Stark prophetically tells a room full of constituents, Jan. 21, at a town hall meeting in San Lorenzo about Congress's historically low approval ratings.

“With the strong encouragement and support of the people in my life who love me, including my husband, my family, and my friends, I decided to get help and treatment so that I may fully heal and recover.”
Nadia Lockyer, Feb. 14, announces she is entering rehab.

"There's a way bigger story than sex tapes,"
Steve Chikhani, Nadia Lockyer's ex-boyfriend, tantalizes a reporter and the entire Bay Area, Feb. 28, at a San Jose courthouse.

"Mike lied to us. He sat here and lied to us." 
–Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Mar. 13, in an uncommonly blunt and public assessment of former St. Rose Hospital CEO Michael Mahoney during a Board of Supervisors meeting.

“He’s not exactly David Letterman, is he? He’s not Mr. Charisma. He’s not the type you have a drink with. I mean, you’re not going to go on a fishing trip with Bill Quirk. There’s no excitement there.”
-Mark Green, April 27, describing the personality of his Assembly opponent, Bill Quirk, following a forum at Cal State East Bay.

“You’re a fucking crook.”
-Pete Stark is overheard, April 10, telling Eric Swalwell following the infamous "bribery" forum in Hayward.

“There were two hold ups in that area. Apparently the city thinks that’s better than a Walmart.”
-Daniel Temkin, a Hayward business owner, April 4, during a planning commission hearing that disallows his application for a Walmart grocery store at his empty Whipple Road and Industrial Parkway property.

"I may be done, but I did the right thing."
-Olden Henson, a Hayward councilman, May 28, following his tie-breaking vote that halts Walmart's expansion in the city. However, the vote will cost him re-election a month later and ending 18 years on the council.

"If someone wants to say I was responsible for ACAP, I stand accused."
-Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, May 2, at a forum in Castro Valley in response to an opponent criticizing his handling of the dissolved county anti-poverty agency.

"Sutter [Health] as a corporation is unfair, unjust and indecent."
-Jeanette Dong, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan’s chief of staff, May 3, at a discussion of Sutter's potential plans to shutdown San Leandro Hospital as a general acute care hospital.

“So, what did u buy?"
-Jesus Armas, Hayward's school district president, texted on June 16, 5:56 p.m., to fellow school board member Maribel Heredia.

“Crotchless panties”
-Maribel Heredia replies four minutes later.

"There are a couple of people in the audience inviting me to resign. Thank you for the invitation, but I will decline that invitation because I see no reason to take that course of action."
Jesus Armas, Aug. 22, in response to residents calling for his resignation. He ultimately does not seek re-election in November.

“Bi doesn’t define who I am. Two spirits defines who I am at the core.”
-Abel Guillen, a candidate for the 18th Assembly District, ambiguously reveals his bisexuality to the Bay Area Reporter.

PHOTO/Matt Santos
“The philosophy at Tri CED is: you can’t take a life unless you can replace it. You don’t have the right to take a life unless you can replace it. So, no matter what it is, an ant, a snail, a bug, you don’t take its life because it is connected to the universe and we are all part of the universe and there is a real connection between all of humanity and all of them.”
– Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle, Sept. 21, waxing philosophical about his Buddhist faith and his recycling company's ethos in a repsonse to a young girl's question about faith.

“I’m Tea Partyer. I’m voting for you.”
-Unidentified Pleasanton resident in The New York Times, Sept. 25, who registers support for Eric Swalwell, a Democrat.

"She is going to play dirty because that’s what she does, but when she attacks, we are going to wait and see the white of her eyes and then we are going to come hard”
Richard Valle, Oct. 1, after taking a beating from Mary Hayashi at a forum in Hayward, he finally lashes out against his rival for supervisor.

“Check your facts, sister.”
Ursula Reed, a San Leandro councilwoman, Sept. 25, after her opponent accuses her of receiving a city-owned iPad. The allegation is found to be false the next day.

2012 Year In Lists: Top 5 East Bay Politicians Who Always Look Fearful Talking To The East Bay Citizen

1. Eric Swalwell – All you need to know is he literally ran from me during a forum at Cal State East Bay--a brisk walk that morphed into a weird trot. And, earlier this year he repeatedly ignored my questions before and after a three-hour Dublin City Council meeting in October and that said, fuck you. My pay-to-play article on him in the East Bay Express, however, drilled him and almost cost him the election. In addition, the article will likely represent a time bomb with the potential of biting him in the ass again in two years.

2. Wilma Chan – While she likely represents the least corrupt member of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, the diminutive former assembly leader typically cringes with eyes-a-darting when I ask for her time. The irony is it was Chan who, for some reason, first intimidated me, when I initially met her in 2010.

3. Ellen Corbett – Despite admittedly encouraging support for Corbett throughout the years as she sought promotions twice to the Board of Supervisors, the state secretary of state’s office and now for Congress, the majority leader has recently cast a weary eye towards me. The feeling is one-sided, of course, since Corbett was the very first politician of renown to pay attention to the little blog that could, the East Bay Citizen, in 2009.

4. Richard Valle – Granted, giving him the nickname, “Richard Valium” doesn’t help, but the new Alameda County supervisor always seems on edge when The Citizen comes-a-calling. Nevertheless, the existence of many of Nadia Lockyer’s former employees on his staff probably has a lot to do with his lack of being forthcoming. That, or Mark Green, is right, the guy is just low-energy.

5. Abel Guillen – Body language tells it all with this guy as he often shuffled and worriedly answered my questions. The coverage of the Rob Bonta/Guillen race was quite sedate, if not boring, but as the campaign neared its conclusion, his demeanor became surly at times. Unease with my coverage in the beginning, followed by ambivalence at the end made it hard for me to locate the real Abel for voters to see.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 Year In Lists: Top 5 Trash Talking Moments Between Nate Miley And Tojo Thomas

Although Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley cruised to re-election in June, it did not come without a flurry of his well-noted temper and lack of self-control even against a political novice from the county’s probation department, Tojo Thomas. At two forums in April and May, Thomas repeatedly got under Miley’s skin on issues ranging from his involvement in the demise of ACAP, the hiring of David Muhammad and health club dues paid with Miley’s campaign funds. In a nutshell, the shit-talking between Miley and Thomas was, without a doubt, the campaign season’s best.

Tojo Thomas
1. “Why don’t you just endorse me like a real man?” Thomas taunted Miley on April 23.

2. "You don't have my respect and I don't think you deserve my respect," respond Miley the same night.

3. "I don't have experience in corruption. I don't have any experience in paying my dues at the Belleview Club and the Claremont Club from campaign funds. I don't have any experience getting into scandals. I'm a probation officer. The media ran a record check on me. All I have is two traffic tickets. A perfect, clean record. On the job training? Is that how you learned?....You don't have to respect me. When I win, I'll take care of business. Thank you," Thomas told Miley, April 23, in response to a report Miley paid health club dues with campaign monies.

Nate Miley
4. "You say that I pay dues to the Belleview Club. Yeah, I can pay dues to the Belleview Club. I pay dues to the Claremont. I do that because I need to get away and have an opportunity to be in an environment where I don't have to deal with constituents who are constantly talking to me whether I'm in church, walking the streets or I'm in the grocery store," Miley told Thomas, although with the possibly unintended message the supervisor is trying to avoid constituents.

5. "If I wrote an article that I wanted to kill someone, I would never be hired," Thomas said Miley, May 2. referring to a news article former chief probation officer David Muhammad wrote a decade ago where he admitted trying to kill a man.

2012 Year In Review, Part IV: Swalwell, Bonta, Quirk Lead Infusion Of New Talent In Congress, Assembly; Hayashi Embarrassed

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.

Hayward’s newest first family, Jesus Armas and Maribel Heredia are seen and photographed walking together on the streets of Hayward. Although the couple long denies they are in a relationship, circumstantial evidence is mounting to the contrary. Armas’s wife boots him out of the house. Later, the lovers are seen together shopping during a weekend in San Lorenzo.

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.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 Year In Review, Part III: 'What Did U Buy?' Says Armas. "Crotchless Panties,' Replies Heredia

The first sign of campaign upheaval almost always contains elements of a shake up in staff. After major blowouts over the past two months, Pete Stark replaces his campaign manager Alex Tourk with Sharon Cornu. The local labor stalwart begins to highlight Swalwell’s conservative conundrum and tries to link him to Republican figure heads in Washington. Whether it helped or not is debatable, but Stark’s earlier gaffes prove too ingrained in the voter’s minds.

San Leandro Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak abruptly resigns. She announces her resignation July 3, but fails to offer the city an actually resignation letter. This holds up the search for interim replacement until September when planning commissioner Tom Dlugosh is given the short three-months ending her second term in office. Starosciak’s reason for quitting? She’s too broken up over her loss for mayor in….2010!

Union City Mayor Mark Green won’t take no for answer. He announces a third run for county supervisor in the last two years. The independent Green, however, will makes another surprise showing in the fall, but ultimately, like his other attempts for Oak Street, fall short.

The tea leaves are beginning to point to Rob Bonta in the 18th Assembly District race as a trifecta of support comes his way. Not only does the Democratic Party bless Bonta’s campaign over Abel Guillen, but so does local liberal lion Sandre Swanson. The coup de grace comes later when the powerful California Nurses Assocation offers its dual support to Bonta.

Mary Hayashi moves closer to running for Alameda County supervisor after declaring an intent to run. The same day Bill Lockyer files for divorce from the embattled Nadia Lockyer and seeks joint custody of their young son.

The dueling recall campaigns against Oakland Mayor Jean Quan continue to go nowhere, while a small group of Dublin residents announce intentions to recall Eric Swalwell. Later, in a similar vein, vocal Alamedans try to do the same for Rob Bonta. None of the campaigns go anywhere and prove such gambits only work if your alternative is an aging Hollywood movie star.

The land of uncool, better known as San Leandro, turns a surprising corner after its mayor and City Council indicate interest in allowing medical cannabis dispensaries within city limits. The council is advised to table the proposal for banning the marijuana operations amid legal uncertainty, but also asks staff to compose a potential ordinance allowing at least two dispensaries in its industrial zones.

The Citizen reports Hayward school board members Jesus Armas and Maribel Heredia are in the midst of a secret love affair. Text messages show the two are more than friends and show an undeniable romantic tone. Both, however, are in relationships, and their rendezvous test the limits of the state’s sunshine laws. Neither admit the affair, but later fail to finalize papers to run for re-election in November. The school district is shellshocked, Hayward city leaders are terrifyingly mum on the matter and the local newspaper tries its hardest to ignore the scandal.

Alameda County becomes the first municipality in the U.S. to pass a comprehensive pharmaceutical drug disposal ordinance. Led by board President Nate Miley, the ordinance raises concerns from Big Pharma and a threat of legal action. Nothing comes to pass the industry must now work with retailers to create programs for residents to properly dispose of their unused or expired medications.

The Citizen reports Hayward school board member Maribel Heredia told attorney’s under oath for her child custody hearing that she has attention deficit disorder and does not read the board’s agenda packet. She insinuates someone else does the reading for her and tell her how she should vote. Jesus Armas, maybe? Who knows?

Abel Guillen, hoping to stanch the tidal wave of good fortune that followed Bonta in July, files a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission. He alleges Bonta failed to properly disclose campaign finance reports with the secretary of state’s office during his 2010 run for Alameda City Council. The FPPC later dismisses the claim after Bonta admits and corrects the seemingly small error.

The potential of a federal takeover of the Oakland Police Department, following its decade of inaction in reforming the department following the Riders scandal, still lingers as a report faults its response to Occupy Oakland. A defaced picture of Mayor Jean Quan at the Oakland PD offices elicits calls of racism and later the city administration insinuates the federal overseer of the department made unwanted advances on her.

The first official expression of discontent toward Mary Hayashi’s run for county supervisor is delivered in Fremont, when the Tri Cities Democratic Forum and South Alameda County Young Democrats issue of a vote of no-confidence against her.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Pete Stark’s three youngest children receive Social Security benefits. Swalwell uses the report to show Stark is misusing the benefit, while Stark attempts to describe Swalwell as using the very conservative mantra of “means testing.”

Oakland Councilwoman Jane Brunner and City Attorney Barbara Parker begin what will surprisingly be the roughest political race in Oakland. It starts with Brunner alleging Parker putting politics before legal policy over the proposed Goldman Sachs rate swap and later leads to Brunner saying Parker is using her office to procure campaign donations with those who receive city contracts.

San Leandro council candidate Chris Crow commits the first of many hilarious errors when The Citizen reports discontent among the city’s Asian leaders after a Facebook posting by Crow has elements of discrimination toward Chinese Olympians. Later, a report showing he was cited for possession of marijuana in 2010 is denied. He admits it later—word-for-word.

The Citizen reports Hayward school board member Maribel Heredia did not miss a Aug. 22 meeting because of a death in the family, but according to her Facebook page, was vacationing in Southern California. The school district still chooses to pay her for the missed day.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse for Nadia Lockyer comes this: she is arrested in Orange County for child endangerment when an anonymous tip tells police illegal drugs are being used at the house she is staying.

Former Assembly candidate Joel Young makes a return to the headlines when he acts the attorney for a man suing In-N-Out Burger for racial discrimination in its hiring practices. Apparently, Young is angling to become the region’s new John Burris and pop up in every case he deems worthy of getting his face before television cameras.

The contentious at-large council race in Oakland finally gets heated when Ignacio De La Fuente alleges Rebecca Kaplan was part of the Occupy Oakland movement. He also charges her with being unfriendly to public safety even though it was IDLF who voted to trim the ranks of the OPD. Later, he will mock Kaplan’s signature ensemble of vests in a much-criticized email featuring his staff in Kaplan’s favorite article of clothing.

“The Secret” is revealed. In June, Valle hinted at a singular reason why the Board of Supervisors picked him over Ana Apodaca. Sources told The Citizen, Apodaca was alleged to have a supporter in the board chambers relaying the questions asked to her opponents for the appointment. Apodaca vehemently denies the allegation.

Alameda County Democrats easily endorse Richard Valle for county supervisor over Mary Hayashi. The marginalization of Hayashi is clear at party headquarters in Hayward as most of those in attendance appear to shun Hayashi. Subsequent, events and forum often show Hayashi sitting alone and sad.

A television report alleges Oakland District 5 candidate Mario Juarez welshed on two loans worth a combined $240,000. He denies the accusation, but it follows a similar allegation from his 2008 run for City Council. A few weeks later, an attorney interrupts a forum to serve him with papers. Some speculate the events show the hallmarks of Juarez’s hated rival, Ignacio De La Fuente.

IPadGate erupts in San Leandro as Morgan Mack-Rose alleges her opponent, Councilwoman Ursula Reed urged the cash-strapped city to buy iPads so she could have one of her own. Mack-Rose says Reed accepted an iPad. She denies it and the city corroborates her story. “Check your facts, sister,” Reed later says.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012 Year In Lists: East Bay's Top 5 Up-And-Coming Politicians

1. Ro Khanna – To focus of Khanna initial fundraising splash of over $1.2 million in just a month does a disservice to potentially a once-in-a-generation political mind in the East Bay. The former Obama commerce department official has the connections to the beltway, Silicon Valley interests and the future of manufacturing in the U.S. His book, Entrepreneurial Nation, is a poignant and understandable blueprint for the future strength of industry in America within a cloud of worry over the rise of China. The question is the East Bay ready or deserving of a philosopher king-type of leader in Congress or not. No matter where Khanna lands in the Bay Area, it is clear he represents the future of this region.

2. Mark Salinas – Earlier this year, some thought Salinas was in line to replace Nadia Lockyer on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Some say Salinas ultimately chickened out from running for the spot against Richard Valle, but he wasn’t ready, anyways, and may be a candidate for mayor in 2014. Undoubtedly, Salinas connects masterfully with young voters and may utilize social media better than any public official in the entire East Bay. His public comments defending young Latinos in Hayward against the possibility of gang injunctions was inspiring, but his wishy-washy relationship with labor needs to improve before his political career can really take off.

3. Rebecca Saltzman – Her election to the BART Board of Directors last November represents a clear and, hopefully, replicated map to public service for aspiring political officials to follow. The former Oakland blogger and Young Democrat has long been a reliable voice among Oakland’s next generation and she is now ready to enter the political fray. The general consensus places Saltzman on a linear path to greater things past overseeing the Bay Area’s aging rapid transit and it will be accomplished through learning the ropes at every step of government. Others should take notice before jumping ahead of line before they pay their dues. We’re talking to you, Joel Young.

4. Chris Pareja – In his first run for office, Pareja took a different path than Saltzman and quickly aimed at Congress and won an astonishing 21 percent of the vote on primary day, but we're talking about the graveyard of political thought, better known as the Alameda County Republican Party. The newly-minted Republican, however, can now be viewed as the face of the region’s conservative aspirations, and despite the general lack of an organized GOP in Alameda County, the group can now hang its hat on a leader who is not a crack pot or deranged 80-year-old white man, but a multi-cultural candidate who talks the conservative talk without scaring the living crap out of liberals.

5. Corina Lopez – Voters tend not to make mistakes at the ballot box, but they did in 2010 when San Leandro voters passed over Corina Lopez for the City Council in favor of Pauline Cutter. Deserving or not, the city got a reprieve this year with Lopez’s election to the school board and gained a much-needed advocate for the city’s growing Latino population. Born in the Central Valley to immigrant parent, Lopez attended Princeton and started her own local business. Here’s the rub: she never highlights her biography for her own gain. Hopefully, her humility leads her to the City Council and beyond.

2012 Year In Review, Part II: A Stark Meltdown Creates An Opening For Swalwell

Eric Swalwell gets much-deserved attention for his poignantly retro reformulation of Pete Stark’s 1972 mini-debate with George P. Miller. Hoping to play off the end of an era theme Stark used 40 years ago, the mock-up cements the potent theme of history on the side of Swalwell’s upstart campaign. However, Swalwell could have never imagined how well the April 10 forum with Stark would turn out for him.

The candidates forum at Hayward City Hall can now be viewed as the end of Pete Stark’s 40-year career in Congress. At the infamous debate, Stark accuses Swalwell of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” from a Tri Valley developer, while calling him a “pipsqueak” and “bush leaguer.” Stark later backtracks from the statement, but a story in October bolsters his allegations. However, the damage is too great to repair. The forum is the last time both will meet in public. A few days later, Swalwell will threaten legal action against Stark for the comments.

After nearly three years in the courts, Sutter Health takes control of San Leandro Hospital after the state Supreme Court denies the Eden Township Healthcare District’s petition to hear the case over the right to title to the community hospital. Now, the question of whether Sutter will close the facility as a general care hospital lingers as does the potential for it extracting legal costs from the District that could potentially bankrupt the government body.
Three days after Nadia Lockyer sent a bizarre text message insinuating suicide to a San Jose Mercury News reporter, her and her husband, Bill Lockyer, show up at a Democratic Party fundraiser in Fremont. The couple acts as if nothing has happened and provides numerous awkward moments for some in attendance. The absurdity of the situation and the Democratic Party’s enabling is seen in full view in the year’s most poignant photograph of party cognoscenti, including the Lockyers, posing with their thumbs up.

Alameda County has somewhat good economic news as County Administrator Susan Muranishi announces the funding gap has dropped from $137 million a year ago to $88 million in 2012, the lowest in four years. Excruciating cuts to the poor, old and young will still occur, but the shortfall, which reached a high of $177 million three years ago, shows the worst of the Great Recession is indeed behind the county’s 1.3 million residents.

Nadia Lockyer announces her resignation from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors after just 16 months in office. Even as her seat on the board is still warm, Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi already makes inquiries about replacing Lockyer to Supervisors Keith Carson and Scott Haggerty. Richard Valle, however, emerges as the early favorite because of his strong ties to labor.

It goes from bad to worse for Pete Stark when he makes unsubstantiated accusations that conservative columnist Debra Saunders made campaign contributions to Eric Swalwell’s campaign at an editorial meeting at the San Francisco Chronicle. Making matters worse, Stark also labels his 16-year-old son as his chief investigator. The bizarre performance is a gift that keeps on giving for a Swalwell campaign trying to show Stark as detached from reality.

Apparently perturbed by what he believes is continued harassment by the Lockyers, Nadia’s ex-boyfriend Steve Chikhani posts two short sex videos on YouTube. One show the former supervisor posing in lingerie while another X-rated clip shows Lockyer clearly masturbating on a bed. Chikhani never delivered upon his tantalizing quip of the sex affair being bigger than sex tapes, but these set the East Bay political class on overdrive and represent the most read posting in East Bay Citizen history. Tell me sex doesn’t sell.

An internal poll from Bill Quirk’s campaign in the 20th Assembly District shows him leading the five-person race with a tight battle for second. The poll proves accurate on Quirk’s part, but fails to show an astonishingly strong last two weeks of the primary campaign for Ong on the backs of special interest dollars.

The first indication that Eric Swalwell is willing to make a play for conservatives in the 15th Congressional District appears during an interview with MSNBC. Swalwell fails to deny he would accept super PAC money from a Texas-based Tea Party group to battle Stark. However, those groups will fail to come through.

At the behest of Supervisor Keith Carson and others, his former colleague Gail Steele applies for the appointment to Nadia Lockyer’s vacant District 2 seat. Her candidacy is viewed as a placeholder and alternative for the political wrangling surrounding the benefits of choosing an instant incumbent for the November special election. Mark Green will also enter the race while running concurrently for the state Assembly, as will Richard Valle and Ana Apodaca.

President Barack Obama endorses Rep. Pete Stark for re-election. Apparently, the president was unaware he called him a “lousy politician” during a town hall last year in Hayward. Later in May, Dennis Kucinich will comes to Dublin to rally the progressives on Stark’s behalf.

Newark Councilwoman Ana Apodaca appears to be the front runner to replace Nadia Lockyer after receiving the support of all five members of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. The group of five move on to a second interview the next week. However, backroom deals and shenanigans are alleged. In June, Supervisor Wilma Chan reverses her stance about filing the seat with a woman and backs Valle.

Steve Chikhani says he has not received the temporary restraining order sought by Nadia Lockyer after she tells the media Chikhani hired a man named “Tiny” to rape and kill her. Everything they’re putting in the paper is totally false,” Chikhani tells The Citizen. “She’s making things worse.”

In what becomes a proxy battle for the Hayward City Council race, the proposed Walmart supermarket on Whipple Road is defeated. The council votes 4-3 to uphold the planning commission’s decision in April. Three members of the council are up for re-election—Francisco Zermeno, Barbara Halliday and Olden Henson—in addition, to Planning Commissioner Al Mendall, who is also on the ballot. The deciding votes comes down to Henson, who votes against Walmart coming to Hayward. His vote, however, is his downfall two weeks later when he finishes fifth in the election and ends his 18 years on the City Council.

Joel Young lies again. At a candidate forum May 24 in Oakland’s Chinatown, Young arrives 20 minutes later and tells members of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association he was tardy from a long car ride from Sacramento. However, numerous guests at a fundraiser in San Leandro that evening said they saw Young schlepping for his own campaign donations at the event to the consternation of the host.

Armed with a boatload of negative stories against Joel Young, an independent expenditure committee named, California Alliance, bombards mailboxes in Oakland with a barrage of nasty mailers knocking him for his antics over the past year.

Three independent expenditure groups pour over $200,000 into Dr. Jennifer Ong’s campaign in the 20th Assembly District. The outlay is one of the largest of any race in the entire state.

The dirty little secret in Hayward politics is unveiled five days before election day when it is disclosed Greg Jones, the former city manager and current candidate for City Council was pushed out of his position in 2010 after beginning an affair with then-Councilwoman Ana May. Multiple sources confirm Jones was on the verge of being fired for the transgression. The sexcapade is a harbinger of things to come in the "Heart of the Bay."

On primary day, the headlines tell the story. In AD 18: “Bonta, Guillen to meet in November leaving Young on the outside looking in.” In AD20: “Quirk holds off hard-charging Ong seeting up an interesting runoff in Assembly 20” and “Stark wins in CD15, but poor showing sets up a divisive race for Democrats.” In Hayward, Barbara Halliday, Francisco Zermeno win re-election to the City Council, along with Greg Jones and Al Mendall.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors are deadlocked, 2-2, between Richard Valle and Ana Apodaca for the appointment of Nadia Lockyer’s seat. The Citizen reports Wilma Chan is contemplating switching her vote to Valle. On June 11, the Board of Supervisors vote, 4-0, to appoint Valle to the seat. BUT! The craziness doesn’t end. Valle mysteriously alludes to a “secret” reason for the board’s decision to pick him over Apodaca. Supervisor Scott Haggerty is seen rolling his eyes.

Chris Pareja, the conservative former candidate for the 15th Congressional District, takes the unusual step of offering an anti-endorsement of Eric Swalwell. The move is not helpful to Swalwell who is now searching for conservative votes in the Tri Valley, but ultimately not devastating for his chances. The move, however, caps an eventful month for Pareja, who shocked many by nearly topping 22 percent of the primary vote.

C’mon! Now the political gods are piling on in Alameda County after Superior Court Judge Paul Seaman is accused of stealing the assets of a 97-year-old neighbor. Seaman will soon return to the bench because that’s how we do it in da Yay Area!

The Citizen is first to report Mary Hayashi is showing her cards for a run at Alameda County Supervisor in the fall when it is revealed she is asking local officials for their endorsements.

San Leandro’s zeal to become the East Bay’s green technology center clashes with greed and the environment when a wind turbine company on the shoreline wants to erect a windmill near the Heron Bay housing development. Critics charge the city with attempting to ram through the project down their throats without notification. The issue, still unresolved, sits before the city’s board of zoning adjustments for the next six months.

David Muhammad, the county’s chief probation officer, finally resigns after the county finds his accuser’s lawsuit is unsubstantiated. Muhammad, though, still hovers over the probation department as a consultant until his interim replacement is given the job full-time in December.