EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 Year In Lists: Top 5 East Bay Freshmen Politicians


Rob Bonta PHOTO/Steven Tavares
1. Rob Bonta>>> The first-term assemblymember from Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro may have set the mark for how to make an immediate splash in higher office. Bonta made the jump from the Alameda City Council to the Assembly has seamless as possible. In fact, his talents for leadership may have been suppressed on the island. In Sacramento, Bonta started off as the only freshman to attain a coveted committee chairmanship and quickly became the leader of the East Bay caucus in the Assembly. Although his first-year focus on public safety and Oakland came up short, it proved valuable in lending a perception the Legisture is trying to solve the city's gun problem. He also proved to be engaging, affable and easily liked. Bigger things are coming for Bonta and his constituents.

Lynette Gibson McElhaney
2. Lynette Gibson McElhaney>>> Forget for a second McElhaney's flip-flopping on public privacy and weird statements about bullhooks at the circus. For someone with so little experience, McElhaney jumped into the mix in Oakalnd and proved a vital voice for West Oakland. She was credited with smoothing over problems with the clearing of the Oakland Army Base for development and often uncorked wonderful flurries of oratory. Clearly, she is learning on the go and making some mistakes, but the future is bright for McElhaney,

Noel Gallo PHOTO/Shane Bond
3. Noel Gallo>>> Similar, to McElhaney, Oakland's Fruitvale representative wasted no time before melding somewhat seamlessly within the current city council. Gallo is controversial to some in Oakland for his distinct patriarchal bent to towards public safety. He's Oakland stern, unforgiving Latino papa. Even if you disagree with his 100 percent support of anything law enforcement, you have to give him credit for sticking to an issue and passionately defending it. Politics is about an exchange of ideas and Gallo fills an important role. 

Richard Valle
4. Richard Valle>>> Although he is actually more of a red-shirt freshman--Valle was appointed to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in June 2012--this year was his first full session. For a region shockingly short of progressive leaders, Valle rose to the top. In 2013, he fought the Alameda County Sheriff and Supervsor Scott Haggerty in defense of undocmented immigrants, opposed domestic drones in the county and voiced disapproval of any potential plan to fund stadiums for wealthy team owners in Oakland. 


Dan Kalb
5. Dan Kalb>>> Some still believe Oakland is going down the tubes. However, it is not and the third member of the Oakland City Council's freshman class on this list proves its politics is on the way back. If only Kalb had not blindly backed the Domain Awareness Center with such delight, he may have been higher on this list. However, his progressive politics are showing signs of being deeply rooted and unwavering. Once he drops his cautiousness on issues like debarment of Goldman Sachs and Richmond's anti-foreclosure plan, he might one day lead the far left of this council.

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