ASSEMBLY 25 | By most accounts, last weekend’s Democratic State Convention in Sacramento was a quiet, sedate affair. Not so, was the case at a luncheon Saturday afternoon when the wife of former Assemblyman Alberto Torrico attacked the aide of Fremont Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski while alleging a long-time romance between the two.
The confrontation, which many in attendance labeled a “cat fight,” occurred after the morning general session Saturday at a party sponsored by Wieckowski and Assemblyman Rob Bonta. Seven delegates who witnessed scenes from the encounter tell The Citizen Raquel Torrico, the wife of Alberto Torrico, aggressively confronted Wieckowski’s chief of staff Trisha Tahmasbi inside the event. Witnesses say Raquel Torrico told Tahmasbi to “leave Alberto alone.”
Those who saw the scene inside say Alberto Torrico appeared deeply embarrassed by the public exchange, as was Tahmasbi, who attempted to flee to room. However, Raquel Torrico followed her outside to the street and began repeatedly slapping Tahmasbi, the sources say, in addition, to trying to choke the Wieckowski aide.
The exchange was so fierce, said some delegates, that pedestrians intervened to break up the fight. One delegate at the party, who did not see the altercation, said upon returning to the party, Raquel Torrico freely told guests, she slapped Tahmasbi three times.
Rumors of a romance between Alberto Torrico and Tahmasbi, who once worked as an assembly aide for him and also worked on Torrico's unsuccessful 2010 campaign for state attorney general, have long bounced around the chatty south county political class.
However, in recent years, Torrico reportedly became a born-again Christian, and was last seen expressing his piety last August when he charged former Rep. Pete Stark with threatening him and his children. Torrico had called Stark to say he was endorsing his opponent, Eric Swalwell, when the tough-talking former congressman questioned Torrico's sanity and facetiously threatened to have mental health officials take custody of his children. "Maybe I should send a social worker to your house. Your kids need to be safe. You're not well," Torrico recalled Stark saying in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The spat in Sacramento also reveals yet another strange turn of events within Wieckowski’s circle of insiders and supporters. In February, Wieckowski formally protested his assembly district’s delegate election citing irregularities in the voting and a large number of non-Democrats allowed to cast their votes. Wieckowski’s slate, incidentally, was routed by another group of minority candidates, but a re-vote was scheduled by party leaders last month. However, the second vote delivered no change in the winners from the initial election. Some minority groups in the Fremont area were displeased by Wieckowski’s move (many accuse Tahmasbi of pushing for the re-vote) and alleged he was disenfranchising their voices.
Keeping this group of delegates content, which serve for the next two years, is in Wieckowski’s best interest since his is likely to seek a seat in the State Senate next year, possibly against former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi and her $800,000 war chest. Against such formidable resources, the party’s endorsement would be valuable to Wieckowski, say many East Bay Democrats.
Some now allege Tahmasbi is sporting a shiner due to the fisticuffs last weekend. That is not known, but the chain of events over the past few months in the 25th Assembly District is quickly becoming a succession of black eyes for Wieckowski and his bid for higher office that could start making a certain convicted shoplifter of high-end clothing seem like a less chaotic alternative.