Longtime Democrat Mark Green is hoping to stand out from the crowd seeking the newly drawn 20th Assembly District seat by running as an independent.
Actually, his party affiliation died a while ago without so much as a whimper. Green, Union City’s mayor since 1993, ditched the Dems in November 2010 – five months after placing third in the nonpartisan Alameda County District 2 supervisor race later won by Nadia Lockyer – according to the county Registrar of Voters.
Running as an independent “gives me an opportunity to help end the plague of polarizing party politics in Sacramento, and for the first time, this is an open primary election for Assembly, which means that voters are able to vote for ANY candidate, regardless of party affiliation,” Green, 58, wrote in a Dec. 30 fundraising letter.
After rattling off some of his achievements and service on various boards and authorities, Green wrote, “I will be a strong voice for non-partisan decision-making, which I believe is the way to bring about positive change to the toxic environment in our State government.”
The district, as recently redrawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission, will include Hayward, San Lorenzo, Castro Valley, Fairview, Ashland, Union City, the upper half of Fremont, and Sunol. It’s northern half, formerly part of 18th District, is currently represented by Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, who’ll be term-limited out of office this year. The southern half, now part of the 20th District, is represented by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont; Wieckowski’s home falls in the newly drawn 25th District, which includes Fremont’s southern half as well as Milpitas, Santa Clara and part of San Jose.
You’ve gotta wonder whether Green felt the ballot was getting too crowded with all those “Ds” for him to stand out. Democrats Bill Quirk, 66, a Hayward councilman; Dr. Jennifer Ong, 42, a Hayward resident who practices optometry in Alameda; and Sarabjit Cheema, 52, a New Haven Unified School District board member, are all running. So is Republican Adnan Shahab, 33, of Fremont, whom Wieckowski defeated in 2010.