ASSEMBLY | 18TH DISTRICT | San Leandro resident Richard Mellor is one of the most eloquent progressive voices in the East Bay. His working class accent, however, can often beat you over the head, rather than persuade you.
Nonetheless, he documented a town hall meeting two weeks ago for Assemblymember Rob Bonta and criticized the sparsely-attended event for being designed to repel residents instead of encouraging them to participate in public discourse.
"Any politician representing the interests of workers and the middle class would have to be concerned that only 17 or so people would show up at a 'Town Hall' meeting. But these folks are happy with that," Mellor wrote. "In fact, these meetings, like regular council meetings are designed to keep people away. The audience was mostly, though not exclusively older and white; no youth, hardly any people of color."
During the town hall Mellor had enough. "You've rambled on here with this glowing report of yours when the country is in crisis," he told Bonta. "You talk about giving people in prison a driving license, so they can drive to the unemployment office?" (Watch the video below starting at 1:30 mark)
When Bonta attempted to plow through the exchange, Mellor repeated, "What about Gaza?" Eventually, the San Leandro police officers pulled Mellor out of the chambers, but not before asking if he was drunk.
Later, Mellor offered his thoughts about the town hall on his blog, Fact for Working People. For San Leandro politicos, his comments about Councilmember Jim Prola, of whom he has a previous relationship as co-workers at East Bay MUD, are hilarious. And just to show how purely progressive Mellor is, keep in mind, Prola is likely one of the most progressive council member's in the East Bay.