Anchorwoman: The Legend of Dana King | Quirk's Opponent Wants Five Debates | Vulnerable Joel Young | Democratic Convention in Oakland?CHAPTER 2 | What occurred this week with Alameda Councilmember Stewart Chan may or may not have been a covert political hit job unleashed by some unknown group or potential challengers to his seat on the City Council later this year. We don’t know, but the simple anonymous link alerting us to Chen’s past legal problems cannot be chalked up as coincidence. Be mindful, not every attempt to discredit politicians passes muster, but this one definitely called for our attention.
In fact, there are signs this election season will be filled with similar attacks in the local media. Unlike the Chen story, which was undeniably newsworthy, (Wouldn’t you want to know your local representative once committed insurance fraud?) there have been other less notable cases, but nonetheless dastardly unknown attempts to embarrass political challengers in the last six months, or so.
Abel Guillen may be the most likely candidate
to be attacked by small scale political hits.
Another hit on Tuman occurred last month when KTVU ran a story on Oakland’s most notorious traffic stop. A neighbor trained his camera on vehicles wantonly running the stop sign, the station reported. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, an incident involving Tuman running over and killing a dog in the area is added without much connection to the other scofflaws. Did Tuman run the stop and strike the dog? Is he known to frequently speed in the area? Who knows? Tuman, a professed dog lover said he was sorry. Was that a hit job? Probably, but not a very creative one using a traffic story to insert the fact Tuman killed a canine.
Then, last week, Peralta Community College Trustee Abel Guillén raised strong signals he will run for Oakland’s District 2 seat. The disclosure came less than a week after Dana King, a former anchorwoman at KPIX, surprised many by announcing a run for the open seat to replace retiring Councilmember Pat Kernighan. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in Oakland who even knew she lived here, yet alone aware of her politics. Guillén, on the other hand, is the progressive council candidate Oakland has been clamoring for. He is also battle-hardened after nearly winning his race two years ago for the State Assembly.
Guillén, too, is taking a few unknown punches to gut. This week, SF Weekly had an odd report from this side of the bay. The paper raised questions over the Peralta District Board’s hiring two years of President Eric Gravenberg. The short article then began grabbing at straws by using as evidence an obscure book slamming Gravenberg for including a college degree mill on his resume. Who did SF Weekly call to comment on the errors, which it noted was not necessarily a disqualifying item other than being slightly dishonesty? Guillén, that's who. Guillén was then pressed on how he and his board failed to vet Gravenberg two years ago. That, my friends, is a classic hit job. But it’s unclear why the perpetrators couldn’t find a scribe in the East Bay to gift wrap the attack. I know, because I was offered "scoops" or "damning info" by unnamed sources about Guillén and the Peralta board during the 2012 election. All of it worthless.
Furthermore, it is Guillén who has the most to worry. Whereas, the others are a bit moderate for the East Bay, Guillén’s progressive cred scares the conservative power structure in Oakland’s business community. If progressives can flip one or two of the seats left open by Kernighan and Libby Schaaf, it will become much harder to pass items, for instance, such as the Domain Awareness Center and other resolutions giving additional powers to law enforcement. Put it this way, if Guillen ever kicked a cat, KTVU will report it.
Assemblymember Bill Quirk last year
with actress Halle Berry.
|Dana King reporting...|
**The Campaign Insider column appears every Friday from now to the end of the 2014 election cycle in November.