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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Registrar nixes Superior Court hopeful’s endorsement from candidate statement

Alameda County Superior Court candidate is in
a runoff in November against Barbara Thomas.
ALCO SUPERIOR COURT |
Alameda County Superior Court judicial candidate Scott Jackson wants to include a prized endorsement on his candidate statement. But, the Alameda County registrar is saying no.

Jackson, who is facing Alameda attorney Barbara Thomas in a runoff for a seat on the Superior Court this fall, is petitioning the registar’s decision to delete his Alameda County Democratic Party endorsement from his candidate statement. The short passage is included in the voter guide due to be sent next month.

In its denial, the county registrar said the inclusion of Jackson’s political endorsement violates the state’s election code prohibiting "party affiliation of the candidate, nor membership or activity in partisan political organizations.”

But Jackson’s campaign says the county registrar has allowed similar statements in the past. In 2014, the campaign offered, an Alameda County Water District candidate stated his membership in the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee in the 25th Assembly District.

“I strongly believe the County is in the wrong in denying me the opportunity to mention my Democratic Party endorsement, especially when the County has not applied this rejection across the board and in the past have allowed other candidates to include mention of being endorsed by political parties,” said Jackson.

The Alameda County Registrar’s office has not yet responded for comment on the status of the petition.

In June, Jackson finished second to Thomas in a three-person race to replace retiring Alameda County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Appel. Thomas won 48 percent of the vote, but failed to win a simple majority required to avoid a runoff this November.

In addition, open Superior Court seats are a rarity in East Bay politics and promoting the backing of the county’s strongest political group may be crucial in getting Jackson elected. The prominence of the voter guide in down ballot races, such as this one, is also amplified since media attention could be sparse.

During an Alameda County Democratic Central Committee pre-primary endorsement meeting, many party leaders expressed support for Jackson, along with the need for greater diversity at the county judiciary. Jackson, who split the primary endorsement with David Lim, is black. Lim finished third in the primary.

Kathy Neal, a member of the Alameda County Central Committee called the registar’s application of the election code “spotty.“

“I believe Scott Jackson is not in violation of state election code since he doesn’t state he’s a Democrat or involved with the party,” said Neal.

There's nothing new about Hayward hiding its dirty secrets

Hayward City Hall is in many ways a chamber
of secrets masking serious dysfunction.
HAYWARD | When Greg Jones, then Hayward’s city manager, was secretly dating a sitting councilmember, the City Council and entire city government enabled the illicit and very troubling potential violation of the Brown Act. Everybody at City Hall, it seemed in 2011, knew about the affair between Jones and then-Councilmember Anna May, but nobody felt emboldened to do something about it despite the very real possibility the two may have been illegally trading conversations—pillow talk—about the city’s closed session business. Instead of confronting the issue head-on, Hayward officials at the time simply locked May out of meetings.

Hayward’s inability to deal with its dirty laundry was also present earlier that same year when two members of the school board were participating in their own extramarital affair. The same dynamic existed. Like Jones and May, the dalliances between Jesus Armas, also a former Hayward city manager, and Maribel Heredia was not about love or morality, but a lack of government transparency. In this case, it was worse since Heredia was quoted in a deposition saying she relied on another school board member to explain agenda items to her and presumably direct her on how to vote. Later, there were indications votes were reversed to rehire a recently fired principal.

What was Greg Jones'es eventual reward for his affair?
He later became a Hayward councilmember.
In both cases, Hayward officials and city leaders looked away despite the erosion of their government. Meanwhile, Jones and May invited people to a Christmas party at his home and Armas and Heredia were often seen canoodling around town. Hayward, it seems, is trained to look the other way even as they were being taunted by both sets of individuals.

So, there’s nothing particularly unique to Hayward City Hall’s decision to withhold the reasons behind Police Chief Diane Stuart’s sudden placement on administrative leave on Monday. It’s a city that consistently and quietly attempts to hide its dirty laundry and, worse, never attempts to remedy the underlining problem.

The public and media looked away from this sex scandal.
Yet, neither ran for certain re-election a few months later.
When Hayward Fire Chief Garrett Contreras was found to be drinking on the job, the fact that he was even being investigated was learned by the public as an afterthought. Mind you Contreras, as the commander one night, failed to promptly send help to a fire in Hayward because he was too drunk. Yet, he kept his job. Some howled, but nobody at City Hall paid much attention.

The Hayward Unified School District, long one of the most underperforming in the East Bay, is similar in its inability to right its own ship. When Hayward Superintendent Stan “Data” Dobbs launched into an angry, verbal attack on two board members in closed session last year leading to each filing police reports, special interests in Hayward, did not distance themselves from Dobbs, but inexplicably taunted the two school board members during one meeting last fall. Somehow, said many public speakers that night, the board members deserved the verbal assault, especially school board member Luis Reynoso, who is the only Hayward public official who has for years railed against the city's inherent corruption. He was right about Armas. He was right about Dobbs. Unsurprisingly, Hayward's business community, teachers' union and even City Council members are frantically attempting to unseat him this November. Curiously, mobilizing against Reynoso is the only time City Hall and other leaders have taken the time to act on an issue.

The new council was in a self-congratulatory mood
in July after three incumbents were re-elected.
In all these cases, Hayward city officials did nothing, said nothing, even acted like nothing happened. Furthermore, two black men were found dead while in custody of Hayward police. The city is being sued. With eight murders in recent months in Hayward, crime is unquestionably an issue. Yet, the mayor and city council makes no mention of this reality.

However, if you merely watched the Hayward City Council’s inauguration of new and re-elected members in July, you would have been easily persuaded into thinking none of these serious and repeatedly ignored issues ever existed. Councilmember Al Mendall, who won re-election in June, crowed, “This election is an affirmation of the direction the city is moving in.” Councilmember Elisa Marquez, a Hayward native, added without irony, “I’m a product of this environment."

In the meantime, Hayward's future appears aimless while its neighbors retool from an industrial base of yesteryear and more broadly embrace 21st Century manufacturing. Its schools struggle mightily. Voter apathy continues to rise and the marketplace of ideas, like its downtown storefronts, are bare.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Assembly Speaker endorses Mike Honda

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon
CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | One of the most progressive and union-friendly officials in the state has endorsed Rep. Mike Honda's re-election this fall over challenger Ro Khanna.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced his support for Honda Tuesday.

"He's been a powerful and caring leader who has been instrumental in bringing critical federal resources to address and invest in many issues facing the state," said Rendon, in a statement. "Mike has always done what is right for working families and I'm proud to endorse his re-election."

The last two speakers, John Perez and Toni Atkins, have also previously endorse Honda.

The leadership in the state Legislature, however, appears to be split. State Senate Pro Tem Kevin De Leon endorsed Khanna early in the current election cycle.

Three ex-San Leandro mayors clash: Cassidy calls himself city's best mayor; Santos says, 'He's full of sh*t!'

Clockwise: Former San Leandro Mayors Stephen
Cassidy, Tony Santos and Shelia Young.
SAN LEANDRO | Former San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy believes he's one of the most effective leaders the city has ever had. "I was most progressive mayor San Leandro has had and did more in four years, including setting a new vision for San Leandro, than most have done in eight," Cassidy tweeted last week. The declaration did not sit well with two other former San Leandro mayors.

"Tell him he's full of shit," said Tony Santos, who preceded Cassidy as mayor from 2006 to 2010. "Tell him to go see a psychiatrist." Cassidy defeated Santos in the 2010 mayoral election by a few hundred votes and their rivalry continues to this day. In fact, Santos refused to concede the election that year, the city's first use of ranked choice voting.

Cassidy's comment also upset Shelia Young, another former San Leandro mayor who served two terms in office beginning in 1998. "Mr. Cassidy needs to do some serious fact-checking and then take a chill pill," said Young.

Aside from Cassidy's assertion placing him at the top of the city's list of mayors, both of his predecessors took issue with a string of 10 self-laudatory tweets describing his role in providing needed affordable housing, bolstering the city's finances and saving employee pensions, among other accomplishments. "On pensions I preserved them--only asked employees to pay their share under California law and achieved this through collective bargaining, too," tweeted Cassidy.

The issue, however, once framed Cassidy as hostile to employee unions and their pensions due, in part, by his alarmist mayoral campaign that asserted employee pensions were threatening the solvency of the city. Both Santos and Young scoffed at Cassidy's newfound progressive zeal.

"Cassidy is a megalomaniac," said Santos. He's progressive like Trump. We started pension reform years before he was even around," said Santos. "Don't give me that stuff that he saved pensions. He screwed up our administration while in office." Because of Cassidy's work obligations, added Santos, he failed to participate in committee meetings and his bullying tactics "wrecked" the chemistry among sitting members of the city council.

"There are reasons he only served one term at both the school [board] and city [council]," said Young, alluding to Cassidy's gruff personality and brain drain of city employees that occured early in his administration. "San Leandro lost the most effective employee base within a year of his realm. He should apply for a city manager job if he wants to be considered in charge."

In a subsequent tweet, Cassidy lauded his work on affordable housing, This too, rankled his fellow ex-mayors.
But, Santos claims Cassidy did little to build much-needed affordable housing in San Leandro, asserting the rezoning of the property behind the San Leandro BART station that now includes the OsiSoft tech campus resulted in the loss of hundreds of affordable housing units. Santos is also critical of recent statements Cassidy has made to the planning commission advocating for limiting the height of new buildings in San Leandro.

"How can you be for affordable housing when you want to limit buildings to three stories?" asked Santos. "You show us where you met the housing requirements for the city of San Leandro? I can attest this city hasn't met its requirements for a number of years."

In recent months, Cassidy has made a number of appearances, weighing-in on issues at several public meetings. Cassidy's higher profile is leading some to believe he's angling for a return to public office. "Maybe you should ask him what he's running for?" said Young.

A few San Leandro politicos believe Cassidy is laying the groundwork for a run at first-term Mayor Pauline Cutter or District 1 Councilmember Deborah Cox, both up for re-election in two years.

Cassidy denies he's eyeing a run for office in two years. Instead, he said, "I am focused on helping the San Leandro school district pass Measure J1," San Leandro's $104 million school bond on the November ballot, "nothing else."

Despite Cassidy's declaration, most agree San Leandro's most important political figure is former Mayor Jack Maltester, who led the city through rapid expansion in  the 1950s and 1960s. Santos agrees. Maltester did more than any of us combined," said Santos. "I never liked the word 'I'. We all participate and there's no new ideas. They've all been tried before."

Monday, August 29, 2016

Report: Hayward's police chief placed on administrative leave

HAYWARD | Hayward Police Chief Diane Stuart was placed on administrative leave, according to a report Monday.

No further information is available pending a personnel investigation, said City Manager Kelly McAdoo, according to KRON. Stuart was named Hayward's top cop in 2011.

Hayward Capt. Mark Knoller was named acting police chief, according to McAdoo.

While the circumstances surrounding Stuart's (formerly Urban) situation are unknown, her placement on administrative leave is the second such instance among Hayward city leaders over the past few months.

Hayward Superintendent of Schools Stan "Data" Dobbs was placed on paid administrative leave in late June while the school board investigates a number alleged wrongdoings.

In addition, school board member John Taylor admitted this month that he misused school district resources to create signage for his recent City Council campaign.

Then, in August 2015, Hayward Fire Chief Garret Contreras was suspended for drinking on the job.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sneak Peak: Alameda's mayor intervened in an incident involving the cop who arrested her husband for drunk driving

ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL | Last spring, Alameda resident Parminder Dhingra sent an email to Mayor Trish Spencer, Police Chief Paul Rolleri, and others, alleging that he was treated unfairly by one of the city’s police officers. Dhingra was complaining about Officer Brandon Hansen, who had been dispatched on March 31 to deal with a dispute between Dhingra and one of his neighbors. The issue was minor: Dhingra’s neighbor had accused him of driving over some ornamental rocks on the neighbor’s property. But Dhingra became upset, alleging in his April 1 email that Hansen had sided with the neighbor in the dispute.

Mayor Spencer quickly responded to Dhingra’s email, replying just before 9 o’clock that same morning. Later that day, Spencer was sitting in Dhingra’s living room for about 30 minutes to discuss the March 31 incident, said Dhingra, in a recent interview. Spencer subsequently demanded in an email to Chief Rolleri that he discuss the issue with her.

But what Dhingra didn’t know is that the mayor’s husband, Joel Spencer, had previously been in a serious run-in with the same police officer. Just two weeks prior, on March 17, Hansen had pulled Spencer over for allegedly speeding and driving his car through a stop sign on Central Avenue, according to Rolleri and court records. Spencer was later booked into county jail on suspicion of DUI. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office subsequently filed misdemeanor drunken driving charges against Spencer,alleging that his blood alcohol level was 0.15 percent, nearly double the legal limit, court records show. Joel Spencer, 57, pleaded not guilty on April 18, and as of press time, was still awaiting trial.

Mayor Spencer’s demand to talk with Chief Rolleri concerning an issue involving the cop who arrested her husband is not an isolated incident. Interviews, emails, and public records show that since Spencer was elected mayor in November 2014, she has repeatedly inserted herself in routine city business in apparent violation of the AlamedaCity Charter...

TO READ MORE, PICK UP THE SEPTEMBER EDITION OF ALAMEDA MAGAZINE AVAILABLE NOW AT NEWSSTANDS


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

EBCampaign: Look out! Is Mary Hayashi getting back into the game?

75 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY |
Is Mary Hayashi making some sort of a comeback? The San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday that the disgraced former East Bay assemblymember who was caught stealing from Neiman Marcus in 2011 was the emcee at a function for Illinois U.S. Senate hopeful Tammy Duckworth. Hayashi has rarely been seen in political circles since her ill-fated 2014 run for the state Senate. In that race, Bob Wieckowski's campaign used Hayashi's past legal trouble to devastating effect. But her appearance at the San Francisco fundraiser follows numerous East Bay polticos receiving a LinkedIn notification from Hayashi in recent weeks. Some took it like she's getting back into the game, at least, in some type of capacity. According to her LinkedIn page, Hayashi has served as project manager for the Silicon Valley Women's Sports Safety Initiative since December 2015. Aside from her precipitous fall from grace, many tend to forget how Hayashi ruled the district with an iron fist. She was feared by many and destined for higher office, but that all changed one day in October 2011 over a few tops and a pair of leather pants.
*****
DAYS OF THEIR LIVES Hayward continues to be the East Bay's best and longest-running soap opera. After its school superintendent Stan "Data" Dobbs, currently on paid administrative leave, appears to be suing the Hayward Unified School District, his days in the Heart of the Bay are obviously numbered. In fact, he could be out of job by early September. Dobbs' consigliere, Hayward school trustee John Taylor, appears doomed to see past the November election. He's up for re-election, but the investigation that found Taylor used school district resources for his unsuccessful City Council campaign last spring, also makes his re-election very unlikely. In fact, there are some rumors that he will pull out of the race for three open seats. Dobbs and Taylor, however, might not be the only public officials harmed by this entire ordeal. That's because the incestuous ties between Dobbs, the Hayward business community and the City Council runs the possibility of others being exposed this entire affair. For one simple fact, because Dobbs is on leave, he isn't around to stymie or meddle in the school board's past bids to investigate possible wrongdoing. Sources tell me the first fruits of the board's independence will implicate Dobbs and lay the groundwork for his dismissal and maybe others.
*****
Nancy Skinner and Sandre Swanson
SKINNED It's hard to discern, at this point, whether Nancy Skinner's release of internal polls is anything but a chance to gloat. Earlier this month, Skinner's campaign touted another poll showing a dominating lead for the former East Bay assemblymember seeking a promotion to the state Senate's Ninth District. The Aug. 8 memo shows Skinner leading fellow Democrat Sandre Swanson by 18 points, 45%-27% percent. The spread is about the same as the June primary when Skinner won 48 percent of the vote in a four-person race. In addition, according to Skinner's survey, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump among Ninth District voters, 84% to 9%.
*****
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN Former state Sen. Ellen Corbett's foray back into electoral politics at the East Bay Regional Park District Board and the candidacy of former Pleasanton Mayor Jennifer Hosterman for the BART board makes for an interesting connection. At one point in 2014, both were eyeing challenges to then-first-term Rep. Eric Swalwell. Hosterman had second thoughts and Corbett went on to a humiliating third-place finish in the primary, losing out in the Top Two to first-time Republican candidate Hugh Bussell. Now, both Corbett and Hosterman are seeking down-ballot office. Corbett's path for replacing retiring EBRPD Director Doug Siden is much more clear. Meanwhile, Hosterman is challenging incumbent BART Director John McPartland in the Tri Valley and Castro Valley district. McPartland, you might recall last year, sought a concealed weapons permit because he feared reprisals from his own constituents angry over the BART strikes of three years ago.
*****
To make it abundantly clear Jean Quan does not
have a mustache.
HERE AND THERE Speaking of Ellen Corbett, her brother Kevin Corbett is running this fall to unseat Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb in District 1.... Rep. Eric Swalwell was so outraged this month by Donald Trump's comments suggesting Second Amendment fanatics harm Hillary Clinton that the only outlet for his anger was to put out a fundraising email asking for campaign contributions... Just an observation: Did Oakland Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney just learn how to use Twitter? Maybe it was a coincidence, but just as six potential challengers pulled papers for her seat, McElhaney began tweeting up a storm that included subject seemingly unrelated to the city... Jean Quan didn't like that I tweeted a photo of her recently sporting a mustache. The point of the joke was to suggest the at-large Oakland council candidate Bruce Quan was actually Jean Quan in disguise. She didn't think it was funny...
*****
Oakland voters should not miss the political buffet happening this Thursday. The Alameda County Democratic Party is holding an Oakland City Council candidates forum on Thursday, Aug. 25, 6-9 p.m. at the Elihu Harris State Building, 1515 Clay Street. All five of the contested city council contests will meet in forums moderated by former Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris.

Sharp rise in Democratic registration is making Catharine Baker blue

Assemblymember Catharine Baker broke with 
Republicans and supported SB32 on Tuesday.
ASSEMBLY | 16TH DISTRICT |
There's more reason for East Bay Republican Assemblymember Catharine Baker to be worried about her general election matchup with Democrat Cheryl Cook-Kallio.

The Democratic Party in the state grew by 10 percent through the first six months of this year, according to the California Secretary of State. Democrats added around 700,000 new voters, while Republican tallied about 130,000, a 3 percent increase.

This is not good news for Baker, whose 16th Assembly District straddles Contra Costa and Alameda Counties and is highly sensitive to changes in demographic. It's the one district in the East Bay that Republicans have the numbers to be competitive, but barely. In 2014, Baker became the first GOP state legislator from the East Bay in six years.

In Contra Costa County as a whole, Democratic registration rose by 9 percent, and Alameda County saw an increase of 13 percent, according to the secretary of state.

While the math is increasingly looking bleak for Baker since Democrats are expected to vote in higher numbers during this presidential election, it makes sense for her to shift to the center. On Tuesday, Baker voted for Senate Bill 32, climate change legislation strongly opposed by her own party.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Video shows Alameda mayor supporting tax measure she now opposes, while labeling city's schools unsafe

ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL | Before Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer became a staunch opponent of the city’s utility users tax ballot measure, she was a strong supporter of the initiative that will secure $5 million in annual revenue, if approved this November.

Earlier this month, Spencer wrote a blistering opposition statement to the city-backed measure, along with a rebuttal that upset City Hall for a personal attack against City Manager Jill Keimach.

However, outtakes from an informational video the city produced about the Utility Modernization Act (UMA) show a far different picture, revealing Spencer once strongly favored the initiative. The footage was obtained through a California Public Records Act request.

In the ballot argument penned by Spencer she falsely asserts the UMA will raise taxes. In fact, it merely reaffirms the city’s ability to continue collecting the proceeds and more broadly. For instance, some cell phone carriers do not recognize the city’s UUT as written and, therefore, do not collect the tax from some Alameda residents.

In other parts of the rambling 17-minute interview, Spencer struggled to muster a response to why she loved Alameda. In one case she simply answered, "the trees."

Later, when asked how she would describe the positive attributes of Alameda, Spencer mentioned the safety of its streets and schools, but quickly backtracked. “No they’re not,” a giggling Spencer said in reference to schools being safe.

The seeds of Spencer’s flip-flop on the UMA followed a moment of pique on her part following the Alameda City Council’s decision to name the city manager, and not Spencer, as the head of a little-known and somewhat inconsequential Disaster Council.

Watch the entire unedited interview here.

Watch the final product below:

Luis Reynoso to Hayward City Council: ‘Clean your house first’

There is no love lost between Hayward school board 
member Luis Reynoso and the city's elected officials.
HAYWARD | A local advocacy group that includes several Hayward city councilmembers, has designs on one day replacing the entire five-person Hayward school board. But, one school trustee has news for the City Council: People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

“I’m really surprised the City of Hayward wants to come in and help us clean our house,” said Luis Reynoso, a two-term member of the Hayward school board. “In reality, I think they should clean their house first.”

Reynoso says Hayward city government has a long list of issues that have not been addressed by the city council. Reynoso. “People are dying in the streets,” said Reynoso during a recent school board meeting. In the past, Reynoso has repeatedly chastised the city for allowing its fire chief to keep his job after incidents involving alcohol use while on the job. Reynoso's jabs have certainly gotten under the skin of the city council.

Councilmembers Francisco Zermeno, Al Mendall and Sara Lamnin, among a few councilmembers, has taken to criticizing members of the school board during city council meetings. Zermeno and Mendall even referenced the school board during their inauguration speeches last month. The comments are somewhat a breach of decorum among public officials, who rarely lodge critical public statements against another governmental body within the same city. In addition, the same councilmembers are part of the group openly calling for the end of Reynoso's and other school board

The advocacy group which calls itself, Civic Leaders Advocating for Student Success (CLASS), also includes six of the seven city council members; local faith leaders, and the local chapter of the NAACP. In the past, many of the same members voice strong support for Superintendent Stan “Data” Dobbs, who the board placed on paid administrative leave in June while an investigation is conducted over various alleged wrongdoings on his part.

But, Reynoso has long attracted the ire of elected city leaders and those affiliated with the school district for over-scrutinizing its budget and for his often controversial comments. In recent months, though, the group has broadened its scope by targeting not just Reynoso’s re-election this fall, but fellow school board members John Taylor and Annette Walker.

In response, CLASS is offering a slate of three candidates this fall, including Robert Carlson, the former president of Chabot College, Todd Davis, the son of local NAACP president Freddye Davis; and Daniel Goldstein, a member of the Hayward planning commission.

Alameda council candidate Lena Tam is endorsed by three dead people

Lena Tam: The Alameda Medium?
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL |
ELECTION 2016 |
Alameda City Council hopeful Lena Tam has people dying to support her campaign this fall.

Her campaign Web site's endorsement list includes three people who have passed away in recent years.

The Heavenly backing for Tam's campaign comes from former Alameda school board member Niel Tam, who passed away last year; former Alameda Councilmember Hadi Monsef;  and the recently deceased Mary C. Warrren, was serving on the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority at the time of her death earlier this month.

Tam's Web site, up for a few weeks, pulled down the page Monday morning.

Candidates playing fast and loose with their endorsement lists, though, is an early election cycle tradition in the East Bay. Some forget to update the collection of supporters, while other claim to the error stemmed from transferring the list from a previous campaign Web site to the new one.

The inclusion of the dearly departed on Tam's endorsement is obviously an error. However, the presence of the entire list, which appears to have been pulled from Tam's campaign for the BART board in 2014, includes a great number of labor endorsements--support she is unlikely to receive in this upcoming Alameda council race.

The implication of the error, whether made honestly or with malice, though, runs the risk of misinforming voters. In particular, if the campaign neglects to remove false or exhausted endorsements in a timely fashion.

The most egregious case in recent years involved former Assembly candidate Joel Young, who consistently avoided editing his once lengthy endorsement list, despite pleas by his former backers, after a report of domestic violence surfaced during his 2012 primary campaign.

Friday, August 19, 2016

San Leandro will have just one contested race on the entire ballot this November

San Leandro District 2 City Council race between
Bryan Azevedo and Ed Hernandez will take center
stage in November.
SAN LEANDRO |
ELECTION 2016
Either San Leandrans are content with how their city government and school district is running or nobody is interested to bother with running for local office.

Come November, just one race in the entire city will contested among eight possible city council and school board races.

In the bid to replace termed out District 2 Councilmember Ursula Reed, planning commissioner Ed Hernandez will oppose Bryan Azevedo, a member of the city's recreation and park commission. And that's it for the November elections in San Leandro.

On the city council side, District 4 Councilmember Benny Lee is running unopposed and former San Leandro police officer Pete Ballew is the only candidate who qualified to replace termed out District 6 Councilmember Jim Prola.

Similar to recent San Leandro school board elections, incumbents will receive a free pass to re-election. San Leandro school trustees Monique Tate, Evelyn Gonzalez and Diana Prola will face no opposition this fall. All three will not appear on the ballot, as will two other school board races.

Peter Oshinski, a candidate for the at-large school board seat, and Victor Aguilar for the short term seat, were the only qualified candidates for each office.

The lack of interest in San Leandro politics is troubling, but not surprising because of the city's changing demographics, said former Mayor Tony Santos. "San Leandro is a different city than it used to be. It's getting younger and this group cares less about getting involved in local government."

San Leandro also suffers from a lack of media coverage that has worsened over the past two years. "We don't have reporters covering San Leandro like we used to," said Santos. "The local papers don't even send someone to the meetings anymore."

The dearth of political races, however, will not preclude other important decision for voters in San Leandro. The city is asking voters to approve three tax-generating measures this fall. Combined, the measures could create up to $1.5 million in additional annual revenue, said the city. Among the ballot measures is approval to enact a cannabis tax on gross receipts; an increase on taxes for parking lots and warehouse space, in addition, to raising the city's hotel tax.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rep. Mike Honda's social security town hall raises some concerns, few benefits

Rep. Mike Honda at a town hall on social security
Wednesday morning in Fremont.
CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT |
For someone poised to introduce his third piece of social security legislation in the past few years, Rep. Mike Honda appeared flummoxed by the intricacies of the benefit at a town hall Wednesday dedicated to the subject.

Honda is expected to reintroduce next month a bill that would “scrap the cap” on social security incomes taxes collected above the current threshold of $118,000. This week is also the 81st anniversary of social security.

But, aside from the political aspects surrounding social security, namely the perennial push by Republicans to privatize it, Honda often appeared clueless over the details of the entitlement so important to the livelihood of seniors.

On two occasions when Honda was unable to grasp the concept of a constituent’s question, he desperately looked to the panelists seated to his left to handle the confusion. “Do you want to take it?” Honda said to one panelist. In another instance, Honda sidestepped a question entirely by handing it off quickly to another. “You take it,” Honda instructed another panelist.

When a constituent claimed he was being required to pay more for prescription drugs because of an increase in his monthly income, Honda’s responded by glancing toward the others, asking, “Are we aware of it? Are we aware of it?”

A minute later Honda’s smartphone began ringing uncontrollably, the speaker paused to allow Honda to mute the ringer. But that wasn’t the only slightly embarrassing moment for Honda. At one point, Honda referred to the social security expert seated next to him, an advocate named Ernie Powell, by the wrong first name. This came after introducing him correctly at the start of the event.

Near the conclusion of the town hall, Honda twice admonished a staffer after she attempted to ask another constituent to wrap up their comments. “Let’s finish this,” an exasperated sounding Honda told the staffer in an attempt to allow the speaker to continue.

Then, when the staffer kindly instructed the man to contact the district office, Honda again interjected, “Let him finish." The staffer then flashed an embarrassed grin as the congressman wrapped up the meeting. The same pained and sometimes perplexed expression was also evident on the faces of other staffers at the Wednesday morning event, like a group of employees walking on egg shells.

Honda, though, by the end of the event, seemed to understand his grasp of social security was lacking before thanking the panel for “making complicated questions understandable to me.”

Whether or not the roughly two dozen seniors at the Fremont Library were enlightened by the town hall is unclear, but a woman seated next to me was unsatisfied and remarked by its end, “Well, I didn’t get anything out of this.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

McElhaney’s purge and the dud of an election season coming to Oakland

Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney is
avoids a potentially bruising re-election after
just a single challenger qualified for November.
OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL | 
ELECTION 2016 |
And then there was one. Oakland City Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney appeared to most observers to be the councilmember with the most troubling re-election prospects. Which is to mean, she was viewed only the slightest bit vulnerable and almost assured another four years just like incumbents Dan Kalb, Noel Gallo and Larry Reid. But, then six mostly newcomers and a former mayoral candidate who registered 0.03 percent of the vote in 2014 pulled papers for McElhaney’s District 3 seat.

By the filing the deadline last Friday, just one candidate, Oakland activist Noni Session, actually went the extra mile and qualified for the ballot. The turn of events is unfortunate for East Bay political watchers in search of an interesting race and for Oakland activists hoping to at least make McElhaney sweat a little.

In fact, the entire Oakland City Council elections this November will likely be duds. Furthermore City Attorney Barbara Parker is running unopposed. In fact, the only candidate of significance is Mayor Libby Schaaf’s politically-connected aide Peggy Moore's challenge against at-large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan. Here’s an early breakdown of the four ranked-choice voting council races this fall:

Sometimes aloof, Councilmember Dan Kalb has
turned into one of the most reliable progressive votes
on the Oakland City Council.
DISTRICT 1
Councilmember Dan Kalb likely represents the most pleasant surprise among the trio of first-termers. His 2012 race was replete with uncharismatic candidates, including Kalb himself. But as a councilmember, Kalb has flourished and now represents the more thoughtful and cooperative slice of the council’s left wing. Some in the North Oakland district, however, don’t care much for his stances toward development and that’s where Kevin Corbett comes in. It’s unclear whether Corbett has the money and demeanor to upset Kalb, but it's very unlikely.

DISTRICT 3
McElhaney has an ethics problem that seems to pop up on a consistent basis. There’s the deal with her using her position to advocate against a residential project next to her own home and ongoing personal financial problems with unpaid tax liens. Calling into question an incumbent’s ethical shortcomings is usually a good head start for a challenger in Oakland. But a dearth of opponents in this ranked-choice voting race greatly helps McElhaney. To avoid a coalition of, say, six opponents in such a format would have made McElhaney nervous. A one-on-one race against a novice is exactly what McElhaney’s campaign was wishing for and they got it.

DISTRICT 5
Councilmember Noel Gallo doesn’t have any ethics problems, but his race is similar to McElhaney. Gallo has done a great job of making himself known in the Fruitvale District 5, namely as the public official everybody sees on the weekends picking up trash and hauling away unsightly mattresses. Gallo’s opponent, social activist Viola Gonzales, will be hard pressed to upend Gallo in November, especially since he has allowed himself to drift toward the left on a number of recent issues. For the time being, Gallo has dropped the "Get off my lawn, you damn kids!" vibe he once sported.

DISTRICT 7
It’s Councilmember Larry Reid. Nobody has beaten him over the last two decades and this pair, including activist Nehanda Imara and Marcie Hodge, isn’t going to shock the world. In fact, the only way Reid is going down is either from a carton of Marlboro’s or the F.B.I.

Four years ago, Ignacio De La Fuente was no match 
for Rebecca Kaplan.
AT-LARGE
When it comes to Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan and mayoral races, she either exceeds expectations, like in 2010, or underachieves, like in 2014. In council races, though, she’s very hard to beat. Her pummeling of Ignacio De La Fuente in 2012 likely dissuaded bigger names like Jean Quan from mounting a campaign this fall. It was that much of beat down. Certainly, Kaplan won’t have much of a problem this time around but there are some concerns here.

For one, there are five candidates who could maximize ranked choice voting in favor of one of them. Peggy Moore is well-connected within the state and national Democratic Party, but her luck as a candidate is unremarkable. Some Oakland politicos are wondering whether Moore is needlessly risking ruin to her political career with this candidacy. But if Moore’s candidacy possibly represents an extension of the 2014 race between Kaplan and her current boss, Schaaf, there are other angles here for her challengers to attack.

Bruce Quan might have some money to spend as a proxy for developers. He worked with Jean Quan in bringing Chinese investors to the Brooklyn Basin development. Matt Hummel, the chair of the Oakland Cannabis Regulatory Commission represents some concerns by the city’s cannabis interests against Kaplan, and perennial council candidate Nancy Sidebotham is also good for a biting attack against corruption in Oakland city government.

Nevertheless, Kaplan is tough to beat. In addition, the other winner here is Jean Quan, who wisely decided against running. Nobody was asking for her return to City Hall and her inclusion in this race would have grabbed attention from the entire field and really turned it into a cakewalk for Kaplan similar to 2012.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

HUSD assistant superintendent follows boss in filing claim against school board

HAYWARD | The Hayward superintendent accused of attacking two school board members in closed session and who allowed an alleged rapist speak to underperforming high school students filed a claim last month against the school district for violating his privacy. Now, the East Bay Citizen has learned another school district administrator has filed a claim against the school board for verbally attacking her during public meetings.

The claim filed by Dawn Riccoboni, an assistant superintendent for the Hayward Unified School District and head of the business services department, was filed July 13—eight days before embattled Hayward Superintendent Stan “Data” Dobbs filed a separate claim.

Both are currently on leave. Dobbs was placed on paid administrative leave in June following an wide-ranging investigation into his tenure at the school district that was initiated by his handling of former NFL player Ray McDonald’s appearance at Tennyson High School in February. The school board found Dobbs improperly blamed the school’s principal for the decision to bring McDonald on campus prior to the court case alleging ex-football player raped an intoxicated woman.

Riccoboni, according to the claim, is on sick leave and under the care of a physician due to the alleged treatment by the school board members.

The claim alleges some members of the school board verbally attacked Riccoboni, who is described as disabled due to a prior car accident. The incidents occurred during public meetings and were exacerbated by “publishing defamatory untrue statements about her character,” according to the claim. These include statements about her job performance and “public attacks aimed at her on a regular basis that these Board members knew would exacerbate Ms. Riccoboni’s physical injuries and disabilities.”

Riccoboni claims “extreme emotional distress” following the alleged treatment by some members of the school board is inflaming pre-existing muscular pain in her arms, back and legs.

The claimant is believed to have been a witness to the September 2015 incident involving Dobbs and school board members William McGee and Luis Reynoso. The closed session altercation resulted in both school board members filing police reports against Dobbs for allegedly approaching each in an aggressive confrontation. Dobbs later issued a public apology for the incident, but not to the school board members. Dobbs was not sanctioned by the school board for the incident.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Push poll, possibly backed by landlords, has Alameda renters group on alert

Alameda renters at the Bay View Apartments.
ALAMEDA | RENT CONTROL |
A potentially nasty campaign against Alameda's rent control initiative appears to have begun. In the past few days, some Alamedans have reported a telephone survey seeking responses, they say, that include a bias against the rent control initiative appearing on the November ballot.

The sponsor of this type of survey, known as a push poll, is unknown. The Alameda Renters Coalition says the phone calls include the caller I.D. "Competitive Edge" and originates from a 619 area code.

Push polls can be an effective, but typically unsavory method used by campaigns to create the perception of public acceptance or "push" voters toward a position using rumor and innuendo. In addition, its questions are often stilted toward one side and sometimes peppered with false information. In general, push polls are more like marketing campaigns rather than public opinion polls.

According to those who have been administered the survey, it asserts the rent control initiative will result in landlords subsidizing "wealthy renters" and suggesting homeowners will pay a "special tax" for the city's to create a program to oversee rent control. The survey also suggests rent control will reduce the number of units available in Alameda.

The Alameda Renters Coalition said Monday that "rent control isn't about affordable housing, it's about community stability." They added, only landlords will be required to pay a fee  per unit to fund the city's rent program, which is already proposed for the city's rent ordinance approved in March and also on the November ballot.

Honda beats Khanna in celebrating Indian Independence Day.

CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | If there's a portion of the South Bay's 17th Congressional District that Rep. Mike Honda could pick up a few precious points this November, it's in Fremont.

So, why not start with Fremont's large Indian American community--a group assumed to belong to Ro Khanna?

One way to begin chiseling away at Khanna's perceived strength is by outsmarting him on Indian Independence Day.

At least on Twitter, Honda's campaign beat Khanna by nose when it comes to wishing this growing South Bay demographic a happy independence day.

Honda's tweets arrived at 12:45 p.m. Monday, followed by Khanna's post 12 minutes later.
Khanna's reference to his grandfather's involvement in the Indian independence movement has often been his response to Honda's well-known history in the Japanese American internment camps during World War II.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Talk of censure for Hayward trustee who misused school district resources

Censure could be detrimental to Hayward school 
trustee John Taylor's re-election effort this fall.
HAYWARD | Days after an investigation found a member of the Hayward school board misused district resources for his own recent city council campaign, there is talk of censuring him for his actions.

Hayward school board member John Taylor admitted that he used a district print shop for his unsuccessful run for the Hayward City Council earlier this summer.

During a meeting on Wednesday, Hayward school board member William McGee raised the possibility of formally censuring Taylor for his actions in the near future.

The school district first learned of the incident with its print shop as part of an on-going investigation of Superintendent Stan "Data" Dobbs, who was placed on paid administrative leave in June for a variety of alleged wrongdoings.

Taylor told the school district that he was unaware the use of the print shop was prohibited, but that he reimbursed the department for their work product.

The possibility of censure over the course of the next few weeks or months could be detrimental to Taylor's hopes for re-election this November. Taylor was elected in 2012.

He and two other incumbents on the Hayward school board are being challenged this fall by a slate organized by various local officials and the NAACP. Currently, up to seven candidate could be vying for three at-large seats on the school board.

Five candidates on the ballot for two open Alameda City Council seats

ALAMEDA | The ballot is set in Alameda. Five candidates, including two incumbent city councilmembers will vie for a pair of seats on the Alameda City Council this November. In addition, races for city auditor and treasurer will be in play this fall.

Unlike most parts of the East Bay where the filing deadline for candidates and measure is Friday, Alameda's filing deadline was pushed up a day. City Hall is closed Friday.

Similar to recent elections in Alameda, the field of candidates is again sparse. Two years ago, just two candidates ran for mayor, while just three challenged for two open seats on the council.

Councilmembers Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft and Tony Daysog will seek re-election to their seats. Alameda's council elections are at-large, meaning, the top two vote-getters win.

In addition, former Alameda Councilmember Lena Tam is hoping for a return to dais in Alameda after a two-year absence. Tam was termed out of office in 2014 after 8 years on the council.

Newcomer Malia Vella, backed with support from Alameda County Democrats and labor, is viewed as one of the front runners for one of two seats in a race certain to focus on the city's rent crisis. Among the field of candidates, Vella's public comments on rents likely position her as the most pro-renter in the race.

At the other end of the spectrum, another newcomer to politics, Jennifer Roloff, is expected to run a formidable campaign with the support of the Island's business community and landlords' interests.

In the past, long-time City Auditor Kevin Kearney and City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy have run unopposed. That will change this November. Former Alameda school board member Mike McMahon will challenge Kearney, while Alameda financial planner Jeff Bratzler will face Kennedy.

At the school board level, six candidates qualified for the ballot. Three seats are open this fall, but just one incumbent, appointed school board member Gray Harris, is only the ballot. Current member Barbara Khan is not seeking re-election and another appointee, Philip Hu, did not file for re-election to his appointed seat.

Others on the ballot include Ardella Dailey, Matt Hettich, Dennis Popalardo, Anne McKereghan, and Jennifer Williams.

Mary C. Warren, lengedary East Bay public servant; Coliseum commissioner, dies

APPRECIATION | Mary C. Warren, one of the most accomplished public servants in East Bay history and a trailblazer for women in local government, died Aug. 6. She was 94. Flags at Alameda County facilities were ordered to be flown at half-staff this week.

Following eight years in the U.S. Navy as a supply officer at the Aviation Supply Depot in Oakland, she rose through the ranks of the U.S. Postal Service and was appointed Deputy Director of Personnel for the U.S. Post Office by President John F. Kennedy. Later, Warren was named by President Lyndon Johnson to the Civil Rights Commission.
Warren's lone foray in electoral politics included two terms on the East Bay Municipal Utilities District Board of Directors from 1982-1990, but working behind the scene suited her better. Upon her passing, Warren was currently serving as a commissioner on the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority, which oversees the publicly-owned stadiums.

She served as chair of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee from 1976 through 1986, in addition, to her a two-year appointment as vice chair of the California Democratic Party in 1982. In the 1970s and 1980s, Warren held a variety of staff positions in the offices of state Sen. Nick Petris, U.S. Sen. John Tunney and Assemblymember Floyd Mori.

"The list of title and accolades Mary received over her lifetime is immense, and fully warranted, but it only speaks to a mere fraction of the impact and legacy she leaves behind," said Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty. "She was a legend decades before her final years, and I feel deeply honored to have known her."

Warren was also the first women to chair the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

Services for Warren while be held Saturday, Aug. 13, 1 p.m. at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Pleasanton.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Alameda councilman questions whether rent control measure can be defeated

Is Alameda Councilmember Tony Daysog really
fearful of the rent control measure passing or just
giving its proponents a false sense of security?
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL |
With two rent measures now slated for the ballot--down from a possible four a few weeks ago--the next three months will be crucial for both sides.

The Alameda Renters Coalition's already formidable grassroots effort is already ramping up outreach, said Eric Strimling, a spokesperson for the group. But, one Alameda councilmember appears to be looking past the Nov. 8 election with dread.

During a special meeting Monday night, Councilmember Tony Daysog questioned on two separate occasions whether the city's own rent measure stands a chance of beating the more organized Alameda Renters Coalition at the ballot box in November.

"I admit, it might be a losing battle," said Daysog, who suggested the Alameda Renters Coalition's ever-improving outreach in the community might be a difference maker against the city's initiative, likely to attract support from landlords now hoping just to maintain the new status quo on rents regulations in Alameda. The council's measure is based on the current rent ordinance.

Daysog's candid admission is notable given he was amendable to landlords' proposed initiative to ban rent control that failed to attract enough valid signatures for the fall ballot, in addition, to his own stalled measure seeking to tweak the existing rent ordinance approved in March.

He is also up for re-election this November, along with Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft. In addition to Mayor Trish Spencer, Daysog is viewed negatively by the renters group.

Meanwhile, a number of questions over how the city's rent initiative will get its message out against the more nimble rent control effort is unclear. By law, the city's campaign cannot be funded with taxpayers' money. Like the voter outreach the city is doing for the Utility Modernization Act ballot measure, it can only educate the public about the initiative, not openly advocate for it.

That job will likely fall on landlords and funding from the powerful California Apartment Association, which vehemently opposes any form of rent control anywhere in the state.

In addition, sources say the city's initiative is already polling poorly with Alameda voters. Such outcomes, though, might be attributive to a lack of knowledge in the community over the city's measure, which only came to the forefront as a possible initiative within the last month.

Khanna to Santa Clara County Dems: Did my invite to the picnic get lost in the mail?

Democratic congressional candidate Ro Khanna
was upset that he was shut out of the "party."
CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT |
Face it, Ro. They're not going to love you until they have to. Despite winning the June primary, Democrat Ro Khanna still can't get any respect from Santa Clara County Democrats who didn't invite him to their "unity picnic" last Saturday. Instead, they made sure his opponent Rep. Mike Honda addressed the crowd. Khanna registered his criticism on Facebook that afternoon.

"Today, the Santa Clara County Democratic Party had a 'Unity Picnic' with all the local Democratic clubs. Mike Honda, who lost the primary, was invited to make a political speech on behalf of his candidacy. I was not. When my campaign manager requested that I be allowed to say a few words for equal time, his request was denied. Honda gave a campaign pitch and his remarks were not official in nature," wrote Khanna.

We won many of the local Democratic club votes this year. We won the votes of many local Democrats in the primary. Yet the party establishment locally did not provide an opportunity for both candidates to make their case. We were even denied a place to have a table and share our literature!"

It's not the first time Khanna has clashed with the Democratic Party establishments in Santa Clara and Alameda Counties, and even statewide. In his post, Khanna added, the party needs to be more transparent and allow opposing views to be heard. "People are tired with the system that is designed to protect those in power," Khanna wrote.

Khanna's version of the "system is rigged" has been percolating since earlier this year when he delivered a similar diatribe against Alameda County Democrats in January during a pre-endorsement meeting (Watch an excerpt of that speech here). Khanna also criticized a party rule that forced a challenger to gain a requisite number of petitions by eligible caucus voters just to get the endorsement to be debated.

Later, at the party's statewide convention in February, Khanna again slammed the process that allowed an incumbent like Honda to need a lower threshold of support to gain the valuable backing of the party. The endorsement meeting also included a mysterious flyer surreptitiously placed on delegates seats and believed to have been the work of forces within labor strongly supporting Honda.

Shortly after Khanna told KQED radio, “The rules are rigged. There’s a group of people trying to hold onto their power by appointing their friends, who will decide who gets the party’s endorsement. It’s a vestige of the past.”

But, if there's one certainty in politics, it's that public officials often determine their next moves by placing a finger to the wind. Despite an on-going ethics investigation against Honda that likely led to his primary upset at the hands of Khanna, the South Bay Democrats uncompromising stance toward sharing their hot dogs and hamburgers with Khanna might mean something about the general consensus of how they believe the November race will go down.

A bit of perspective: At this time four years ago, the East Bay's congressional slugfest between Pete Stark and Eric Swalwell--the closest local antecedent to the Honda-Khanna races--many Alameda County Democratic leaders were already planning an exit strategy in advance of a new Democratic congressman in town. And that was after Stark actually won the June primary, whereas Honda did not. yet the hedging of bets by local Dems is not yet fully evident.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Alameda City Council places competing rent measure on fall ballot

Alameda renters from the Bay View Apartments
at a press conference Monday afternoon at City 
Hall to oppose the City Council's rent initiative.
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL |
Alameda residents will have two rent-related ballot initiatives to ponder this November after the city council voted Monday night to place a competing measure on the fall ballot.

The city’s measure, based on a rent ordinance it passed in March, joins the renters-backed initiative advocating for rent control that is already on the ballot.

With some surprises, the council approved placing the measure on the ballot, 3-2. Councilmembers Jim Oddie and Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft voted no.

Oddie, a strong supporter for the ordinance upon approval earlier this year, lauded the city’s legislation for beginning to stem exorbitant rent increases. He was also critical of both the Alameda Renters Coalition (ARC), the group backing the rent control initiative, and the California Apartment Association (CAA), which is moving to block rent reforms, for being uncompromising.

The proposed ballot question for the Alameda City
Council-backed rent initiative.
“Is this really our fight? We did what we’re supposed to do. Maybe this is a fight between ARC and CAA,” said Oddie. Instead, he urged the city to focus on the Utility Modernization Act (UMA), a $5 million a year reaffirmation of Alameda’s existing utility users tax, also on the ballot this November.

Ashcraft, up for re-election this fall, maintained the rent ordinance represents a genuine move by the council to alleviate the pressure many Alamedans are feeling due to skyrocketing rents and some high-profile evictions. But, during her council comments she appeared to waver on whether to place the ordinance on the ballot or not.

Yet, despite Oddie and Ashcraft voting against placing the measure up against the renters’ initiative, both were approved to write the ballot statement in its favor. To avoid triggering a quorum of council members, just two of the five are allowed to be assigned the task.

Part of the reason behind the unusual assignment is Mayor Trish Spencer's role in writing other ballot statements this election cycle, both in favor and in opposition, along with a controversial rebuttal over the UMA that included an attack on the city manager.

Ashcraft slammed the opposition statement to the renters’ initiative penned by Spencer and urged for another to author the city's own ballot statement . “The reasoning was substandard. The writing was poor," Ashcraft said of Spencer's written opposition to the renters' initiative.

Other Alameda council members found themselves on the opposite side of the city’s rent initiative, including Vice Mayor Frank Matarrese. After representing the lone opposition to the rent stabilization ordinance on the council last March, Matarrese was the swing vote Monday night that will place it before voters in November.

Earlier, members of the Alameda Renters Coalition held a press conference in front of City Hall to highlight recent evictions at the Bay View Apartments on Central Avenue. The apartments became the epicenter of renters angst last year when a San Jose-based equity firm attempted to evict around 30 families just after a moratorium on rents and eviction was passed by the city council.

Catherine Pauling, a spokesperson for ARC, said the move to evict 25 percent of the renters at the Bay View Apartments shows the city's ordinance is not working. An inter-faith group of Catholic nuns and a rabbi, along with Alameda renters, called for the council to view the rental crisis in terms of people, not profits.

Oakland's Larry Reid files for re-election to city council, as daughter awaits turn

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL | DISTRICT 7 | It's seemingly a rite of summer in Oakland. Will long-time Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid run for re-election or not? Well, call off the retirement party. On Friday, Reid pulled papers for re-election to a sixth term on the city council.

Although Reid's uncertainty over whether he would run or not this fall was a bit muted this cycle, sources say the murder of young man in his East Oakland neighborhood last year renewed his commitment to improving his district.

Reid is also said to be heavily involved in the city's quiet push to build a stadium for the Oakland Raiders with the investment group led by pro football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. Both issues will require another term at the minimum to begin to be solved. Reid's re-election is assumed by most to be a foregone conclusion.

With days before the Aug. 12 filing deadline,former mayoral candidate Marcie Hodge is the highest profile potential challenger. Other early filers include Olivia De Jimenez and Nehanda Imara.

Two years ago, though, Reid was clearly restless about his future on the council. He floated the idea of running for mayor in 2014, provided he received approval from a higher power. Later that same year, Reid said he was "getting bored" with the current crop of council mates. In recent years he also battled severe back problems that appeared to sap his energy. Reid was often seen at the council dais grimacing in pain.

Reid's filing also puts to rest lingering rumors that his daughter, Treva Reid, was being groomed to take over the council seat this November. Treva Reid's experience includes two years work in the office of former Assemblymember Nancy Skinner and experience in the private sector.

She opened a council committee in early 2015 to begin collecting campaign contributions. That account, according to the most recent campaign finance reports, shows just $11,000 in reserves. A good start, but nowhere near the amount needed when her father's seat is, indeed, open.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Pancit-haired Trump is slammed by Bonta for anti-Filipino comments

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump 
and Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta.
ASSEMBLY | 18TH DISTRICT |
Assemblymember Rob Bonta, the first Filipino American ever elected to the California Legislature, is taking Donald Trump to task for derogatory comments he made last week toward Filipinos.

Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, included the Philippines in a list of nine additional nations on Thursday that he would ban from immigration and tourism because of suspected ties to terror groups. Trump has already called for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

“We’re dealing with animals,” Trump said of the terrorist groups located in each of the countries.

Bonta, who emigrated from the Philippines as a child, said Trump’s comments “demonstrates yet again that he is unfit to serve as President.” The sentiment is also not what led his mother to bring him to the U.S. decades ago, he added.

"Trump’s call to restrict immigration and tourism from the Philippines doesn’t represent the America my mother believed in when she made the journey to this country decades ago. It doesn’t represent the America that my 1.5 million Filipino American brothers and sisters in California know,” said Bonta.

“And it’s definitely not the America I want my children to grown up in. Trump's sweeping, irresponsible and vitriolic pronouncements on race have no place in our America.”

Since Bonta was elected to the Assembly in 2012, he has authored a number of bills aimed at raising the profile of Filipino American leaders who helped shaped the state’s labor movement and history. He was recently named the chair of California Asian Pacific Islander Caucus.