SD10: ‘Mug Shot Mary’ website targets Hayashi

The gloves are off in the 10th State Senate District race, where Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski has brought former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi’s shoplifting conviction front and center.

A MugshotMary.com website created by Wieckowski’s campaign highlights Hayashi’s October 2011 arrest for shoplifting $2,450 worth of clothes at San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus store; she remains on probation still. “Character matters,” the website claims, offering the hashtag #DontVoteForCriminals.

MugshotMary website

Part of the website outlines criminal problems of three sitting state Senators. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, has been indicted for allegedly selling official favors and conspiring to traffic in firearms without a license and to illegally import firearms. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, was indicted last month on bribery charges. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, was convicted in January of voter fraud and perjury related to not living in the district he represents.

“Corruption in the California Senate is out of control. Three State Senators arrested or convicted in three months,” the website says. “Now, Mary Hayashi, who is on probation for shoplifting, wants to be your next State Senator. Do we really need another criminal representing us in Sacramento?”

Josh Pulliam, Hayashi’s campaign strategist, noted Monday that the website appeared right after Hayashi – who as of last month had four and a half times as much money banked for this campaign as Wieckowski – launched her first television ad and sent out three mailers to the district voters last week.

“So Bob’s opening salvo is an over-the-top personal attack against Mary Hayashi, and I think that says a lot about his character and the type of politician he is and why he hasn’t been able to be a very effective assemblyman,” he said. “And by attacking the institution of the state senate, it shows he wont be able to be a very effective state senator, either.”

Pulliam also said Wieckowski, D-Fremont, has skipped several forums and debates around the district, and when asked about ethics issues at a recent event he did attend, he didn’t say a word about Hayashi’s conviction. “He’s a big man when he hides behind a website.”

Wieckowski campaign strategist Lisa Tucker replied that he has the vast majority of endorsements in this race, indicating most “people and organizations think he’s going to be a very effective senator and like what he’s done in the Assembly.”

“If Mary was actually in the district and paying attention, she would know Bob has been talking to voters for months,” Tucker added, noting the campaign has made more than 50,000 door knocks or phone calls so far. “This is not the first thing to come out of the box from our campaign.”

Wieckowski’s campaign seems to have missed the mark with two details.

One, the website says Hayashi pleaded guilty; actually, she pleaded “no contest,” which means she neither admitted nor disputed the charge against her. While not technically the same as a guilty plea, it has the same legal effect: conviction.

And two, the website said she never apologized. In a July 2012 interview, Hayashi said she had been distracted by a phone call when she left with the unpaid items. “Of course, I intended to pay for them,” she said. “But I accept responsibility and offer apologies, not excuses.”

Hayashi in that 2012 interview also said that “my opponents may use the issue to try to smear me, but I trust the voters to be smarter than that.” She was speaking about the Alameda County Board of Supervisors seat she was seeking at that time – she later finished third out of four contenders – but she might as well have been talking about this race, too. So perhaps the website is Wieckowski’s bid to gauge just how smart the voters are.

Meanwhile, Republican candidate Peter Kuo – an insurance agent from Santa Clara – has been busy shoring up support and holding fundraising events. He’ll have a fundraiser Tuesday night in Sunnyvale with Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, and then another on Thursday, May 8 in Fremont with state Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Brea.

Also seeking the 10th State Senate District seat are Democrat Roman Reed, a spinal-injury research advocate and planning commissioner from Fremont, and former Assemblywoman Audie Bock of Hayward, running as a nonpartisan.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Marga

    Josh, I don’t think the website missed the mark on those two items.

    First, the distinction between pleading guilty and no contest is purely technical. When you do the latter, you are basically asking the court to find you guilty, rather than plead it yourself. Sure, Weickowski could have said “she was found guilty of shoplifting in a court of law”, and that would have been technically correct, but probably less kind to Mary.

    Second, one of the elements of the crime of larceny, including shoplifting, is the specific intent to steal. You cannot shoplift unless you /intent/ to take an item and make it your own. If you take it accidentally or without noticing it, it’s not theft. If you take it intending to pay for it, but for whatever reason not having done so, it’s not theft. If you take it, intending to use it and return it, it’s not theft. When Mary was convicted of stealing, she was convicted of /intending to steal the clothing/.

    Mary has never admitted to stealing the clothing, therefore she has not apologized for it. Re-read the quotes from her above. There is no acknowledgment and no apology.

    And let me be clear: the police report makes it VERY clear that Mary intended to steal the clothing. She went into the store carrying a NM bag. The brought clothing into the changing room and folded it carefully on an ottoman next to that open shopping bag. Later, she discretely pushed the clothing into the empty bag. She left the dressing room with the bag and some other clothing on her hand, and proceeded to pay for that clothing. Then she shopped around some more, passed several cashiers, and never made any movement to pay. And she did all of this while being carefully watched by a security guard, who had been alerted to her as she had done the same thing a week before.

    It’s time to stop giving Mary the benefit of the doubt – which really, nobody but the media seems to do.

  • Guest

    Since her bust for shoplifting Hayashi has been on the ballot once – she was crushed in a run for Supervisor – finishing a weak third in a four person race. She had already served in the assembly by this time so she was “dropping down” – she had been termed out of the assembly -to run for a lesser office, but still got beat badly. I think voters have signaled – resoundingly – that they have a low opinion of Hayashi now – due to this bust for shoplifting. I mean 8th graders get busted for shoplifting – you get a ” pass ” at that age for making a mistake. You don’t get a pass when you are an assemblywomen! Her contentions that the shoplifting was a “mistake” and “accident” or maybe the result of a “brain tumor” are pretty ludicrous, she’s the clothes horse of the century – that was her rep in Sacramento – she dressed like Gwyneth Paltrow! You normally can’t dress like that on legislators pay – just $99,000 – about what a plumbers makes now in the bay area. The logical question here is how could Hayashi afford $2,000 dresses on plumbers pay, apparently she was “affording” these designer gowns by sweeping into stores and then sweeping out loaded up with bags without bothering to check out at the cash register! That’s my theory, anyway – I think a lot of other onlookers feel the same way.

  • The most exciting candidate in this race is Roman Reed.
    The rest cannot distinguish their support from the wealthy benefactors from a more moderated social critique because they have been bought and sold. There isn’t a voice that rings out like the prophets condemning the excesses. Except Reed.

    Forgive Hayashi. She made a mistake. It doesn’t matter anyway, she won’t win. Most of the energy is gone and the lights are out. Except the flame that Reed has ignited.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    I’ve decided not to hire Marga as my counsel. “No contest” and pleading guilty are not identical, although there is a strong resemblance. No contest means accepting the facts presented and ensures the facts can’t be used in another proceeding. The judge isn’t bound to accept “no contest” unless persuaded a trial is unnecessary or undesirable. In Oct. 1973, the late and not-so-great Spiro Agnew entered “no contest” in his Maryland trial. He was disgraced but not imprisoned. “Intent” is an essential part of many criminal proceedings. A person may unintentionally cause harm in a variety of situations. “Shoplifting” isn’t a legal term. It’s usually used to describe theft of merchandise by stealth rather than force. Someone might forget to purchase a pack of chewing gum because they are distracted or in a hurry. Forgetting to pay for high-end merchandise seems less likely but the lovely Winona Ryder argued she did and in her case arrogance, rather than distraction, was cited as the cause of her actions.

  • Marga

    If it looked like I was trying to defend Mary, well, I failed.

  • Guest

    Bob shot himself in the foot with this one. Not only is he incapable of representing issues that actually impact the constituents of Senate District 10, now he is disregarding his fellow legislators

  • Willis James

    I think its instructive to go back and read Josh’s original article from July of 2012. He reports the following —

    — “In the interview, the 45-year-old Hayashi insisted that the shoplifting was inadvertent”
    — “Hayashi said she had been distracted by a phone call when she left with the unpaid items. “Of course, I intended to pay for them”

    Can Josh Pulliam, Hayashi’s campaign strategist, please tell us why Mary took a plea deal if she wasn’t guilty?

    After all, under California law, if you did not have the intent to steal the merchandise, then you are not guilty. Case closed, no record, no sentence, you walk out of court with no stain on your reputation..

    Mary has never explained why she accepted a 3 year probation sentence and a stain on her record, when she now says she was not really guilty, by insisting the entire act was unintentional.

  • Guest

    I agree, nicely stated!

  • Guest

    He is not capable of representing any constituent’s interests but his own. Who creates a website to trash people, seriously does he have any respect for himself or for others?

  • Guest

    Mary is keeping her positivity and avoiding Bob’s negativity. I truly respect that!

  • Willis James

    OK, she can avoid Bob’s negativity, but can she answer the question that continues to trouble so many of those she has represented? Including myself. She was my assembly-member for 6 years.

    Mary, why did you plead guilty to a crime you now insist you were innocent of, according to California law?

  • Guest

    So for those of you confused by the upbeat comment trolls here, they’re paid by the Hayashi campaign to make it appear as though there’s some kind of public debate about this.

    I agree! Amazing!

    Keep spending that money Mary.

  • Elwood

    Isn’t that nice!

    Hayashi’s staff agree that they’re doing a wonderful job and her opponent is just terrible.

  • guest
  • JohnW

    I stole an Almond Joy candy bar from an A&P store in Evanston, Illinois when I was 5. If not for that unfortunate chapter in my life, I would probably be a U.S. Senator by now. Instead, I am the mere Treasurer of my HOA. Little do they know that they have elected a crook to watch over their funds.

  • HannahKatz

    Big bad Bob sure likes to pick on women. If he were a true progressive he would withdraw from the race and let Mary win. Every woman is a winner!

  • CharliePeters

    BP GMO fuel affect the water & fuel?

  • Marga

    Did you really?

    I stole two packs of candies (a lemon and an orange one, each priced at 50-Argentinian cents at the time), from the old man who sold candy in front of my pre-school. I took them as soon as my aunt dropped me off and ran away with them. To this day, 40 years later, I feel guilty about it. His image and face is engraved in my memory. A sin I cannot expiate, as he is long dead.

    Sure, he was an old man who had to sell candy for a living, and not a faceless mega-corporation. In any case, I was never tempted to shoplift again.

  • Willis James

    Well, we are of course shocked by your disclosure, but with the passage of time I do not feel that you need to hide this sad chapter in your life.

    Though I might add, WE don’t know all the facts.

    For example, we assume you were caught? If so, what were the consequences? Were the police called in and did you have to make restitution?

    More importantly did you plan the theft?

    In other words, did you leave home with the “intention” of stealing the Almond Joy, or other candy bar?

    Was your planning so thorough that you secretly brought a extra hidden A&P bag with you from home, so that you could act like you had purchased the Almond Joy bar during a earlier transaction. Did you further the deception by buying a cheaper candy bar at the very same time, then failed to tell the clerk about the purloined Almond Joy bar in the A&P bag you brought from home? The old “candy bar in the bag” deception trick.

    Finally as the months went on, after you had been caught and exposed, — upon meeting others in the community, did you make up a story that the entire theft had been “unintentional” and “inadvertent”, entirely due to “absentmindedness”.

    That you intended to pay for the Almond Joy bar and were just about to turn around to go back into the store to do so, when the store security man, Pop Richards, grabbed you by the neck in the parking lot.

    Then for years afterwards, did you keep up with the same story, that it was all a mistake, that you had your new transistor radio up against your ear, got distracted, and walked out without paying?

    Is that about how it went down all those years ago?

    But now, if the HOA board approached you, having gotten wind of your past theft, would you still deny the true circumstances, and accuse the HOA board of being racist, sexist, for even bring up the subject?

    Oh, one last question, did that A&P, some fifty years ago, have a digitally recorded record of the entire event that backed up your version of events?

    Thank you for coming clean. I’m sure it has lifted a weight from your conscience.

  • Elwood

    Who knew that internal genitals were such an asset?

  • Elwood

    Is pointing out that Hayashi is a lying thief trashing her?

    Or is it just the truth?

  • JohnW

    Never caught. My punishment is that I gagged on the artificial coconut in the candy bar and discovered that is my one and only known food allergy.

    The deal is that my then 71 year old grandfather, who worked as a guard at the Cook County jail after losing his lumber yard business in the Great Depression 20 years earlier, used to bring me candy. I became so hooked on candy bars that I decided to walk down the street and go get one myself.

    So, I blame all this on three things: the Herbert Hoover economy that caused my grandfather to lose his business and end up working at the Cook County jail and start bringing me candy; my grandfather for disregarding the addictive qualities of sugary snacks; and TV for targeting kids with advertising for Almond Joy candy bars and tempting me to enter into a life of crime. Oh, and there was the concussion I received at the neighborhood playground that year. That probably had something to do with it too.

  • The difference is:
    #1 – It wasn’t a $2,450 candy
    #2 – you were 5 years old and not serving in public office at the time
    #3 – You hadn’t stolen repeatedly and the store wasn’t waiting for you to arrive to catch you since they knew you shoplifted weekly
    #4 – You didn’t pay doctors to pretend you had a fake medical condition to justify you stealing
    #5 – You didn’t try to conceal the fact that you planned to shoplift

    The “Mug Shot Mary” infographic says it all

  • Are you crazy or just sexist? Being a true progressive does not mean that men should not have a place in politics.

    Bob is heavily out funded because he doesn’t blatantly sell his soul to special interests and lie about his voting track record like Mary Hayashi does.

    The fact that he’s the only candidate endorsed by the California Democratic Party says it all.

  • Because Mary Hayashi is a liar.

  • Does anyone else think it’s ironic that Allstate gave Mary Hayashi over $4,000?

    I guess she does have “Good Hands”

  • Willis James

    No need to discuss this any longer.

    Mary has now told the world the following

    “I did not shoplift $2,500 worth of goods,”

    End of story. We were all sadly mistaken in thinking she had done so.


  • conbatzor

    Because Guest = Mary Hayashi

  • conbatzor

    The majority of voters don’t know who Hayashi is. His website is factual. Mary trashed herself.