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Commerce Secretary attends Oakland forum

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker joined Rep. Barbara Lee and other officials Monday for a regional economic development forum at Oakland International Airport, focused on creating more jobs and growing businesses in the East Bay.

Penny Pritzker“The Department of Commerce has tremendous resources in place in this region and around the country that allow us to partner with your businesses and entrepreneurs so they can compete and succeed,” Pritzker said in a news release issued by Lee, D-Oakland, after the event.

“Here in the Bay Area, we are working with companies large and small to sell their goods and services to the 95 percent of global consumers who live outside the U.S., helping to create the conditions for innovators and entrepreneurs to thrive, and supporting minority-and women-owned businesses through our Minority Business Development Agency,” she said, adding her department “is committed to helping your companies grow and thrive so they can create jobs – that is our mission and a core objective for President Obama.”

Lee said small businesses “are fundamental to the East Bay’s economic growth, especially women and minority-owned businesses.

“These businesses create jobs, contribute to our community and create opportunities into the middle class,” she said. “In order to ensure continued economic growth, we need to investment in sharing the available resources with these businesses and businesses owners to help them succeed.”

Other attendees included regional Small Business Administration Administrator Donna Davis; Minority Business Development Agency Director Alejandra Castillo; Overseas Private Investment Corp. Director of Corporate Development Alison Germak; Port of Oakland Aviation Director Deborah Ale Flint; Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson; and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.

Earlier Monday, Lee had hosted a roundtable discussion with Pritzker and East Bay business leaders to discuss economic development, supplier diversity and the importance of gender and ethnic diversity in corporate leadership.

Posted on Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
Under: Alameda County, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Barbara Lee, economy, Jean Quan, Oakland, U.S. House | No Comments »

Drug charges against Nadia Lockyer dismissed

An Orange County judge dismissed drug charges Friday against former Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, wife of state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, according to reports from the Associated Press and Los Angeles Times.

OC weekly coverA court spokeswoman told the AP the charges were dropped at prosecutors request; the Times reports she agreed to attend a drug diversion program.

Lockyer early in 2012 had claimed Stephen Chikhani attacked her in a Newark hotel room, but the state Justice Department investigated and eventually declined to charge him with any crime. As details emerged about Lockyer’s lengthy affair with Chikhani and their drug use, she resigned her supervisorial seat in April 2012.

Bill Lockyer filed for divorce a few months later, citing “irreconcilable differences” and seeking joint physical and legal custody of their son. Then Nadia Lockyer was arrested in August 2012 in Orange County and charged with felony methamphetamine possession and three misdemeanors: being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and child abuse and endangerment. She spent several months in a residential rehabilitation program and has been under court supervision ever since.

Nadia Lockyer also was the subject of a lengthy cover story in this week’s OC Weekly.

Posted on Friday, January 17th, 2014
Under: Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Bill Lockyer | No Comments »

Watch Mary Hayashi make her case to local Dems

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Hayward, was at this past Saturday’s Alameda County Democratic Central Committee meeting, seeking the committee’s endorsement of her campaign for the District 2 seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

Hayashi was arrested last October for shoplifting $2,450 worth of clothes from San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus; she pleaded no contest in January to misdemeanor grand theft and was sentenced to three years of probation and a $180 fine. In an exclusive July interview, she insisted that her walking out of the store with black leather pants, a black leather skirt and a white blouse in a Nieman Marcus shopping bag that she had brought with her was entirely inadvertent; she said she believes voters would forgive her and vote for her on her legislative track record.

On Saturday, she was asked, “How do you exemplify the values of integrity and honesty we want for our elected officials?” Here’s her answer:

The committee announced its endorsements Sunday night: It picked Richard Valle – the incumbent appointed to fill the District 2 seat after former Supervisor Nadia Lockyer resigned – over Hayashi for November’s election. Union City Mayor Mark Green, a former longtime Democrat now registered without party affiliation, also is in the race.

Posted on Monday, September 17th, 2012
Under: Alameda County, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Assembly, Mary Hayashi | 6 Comments »

Filing deadline passes and East Bay ballots firm up

The 5 p.m. filing deadline today has come and gone and election clerks in the East Bay have delivered their promised preliminary candidate and ballot lists.

Check out the list below for Contra Costa, Alameda and portions of Solano County. There are a few surprises, including a fair number of entirely uncontested races. (The women rule here, as you’ll see.)

My favorite development is the similarity between the name of incumbent Democratic state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier and his Republican challenger Mark Meuser. The Marks might want to hand out reading glasses to voters in the hopes the magnification effect will help them choose the right one.

Voters in a dozen cities, school and fire districts will also find requests for new taxes on their ballots. While no one wants to pay more, residents are far more likely to support local measures because they feel the money will stay closer to home.

The following individuals and ballot measures had qualified for the June 5 ballot as of information available late today. (i) denotes incumbent. (Keep in mind, election clerks may still be processing applications from those who filed at the last minute.)

(Ed. Note: I’ve updated this at 4:30 p.m. Saturday — Josh)


District 3: John Garamendi, Dem. (i); Kim Vann, Rep.; Eugene Ray, Rep., Rick Tubbs, Rep.

District 5: Mike Thompson, Dem., (i); Randy Loftin, Rep.; John Cilley, Rep.

District 9: Jerry McNerney, Dem., (i); John McDonald, Rep.; Ricky Gill, Rep.

District 11: George Miller, Dem. (i); Cheryl Sudduth, Dem.; John Fitzgerald, Dem.; Virginia Fuller, Rep.

District 13: Barbara Lee, Dem. (i); Marilyn Singleton, nonpartisan; Justin Jelincic, Dem.

District 15: Fortney “Pete” Stark, Dem. (i); Eric Swalwell, Dem.; Christopher Pareja, nonpartisan.

District 17: Mike Honda, Dem. (i); Charles Richardson, Lib.; Evelyn Li, Dem.


District 3: Lois Wolk, Dem. (i)

District 7: Mark DeSaulnier, Dem. (i); Mark Meuser, Rep.

District 9: Loni Hancock, Dem. (i)


District 11: (No incumbent) Jim Frazier, Dem.; Patricia Hernandez, Dem.; Gene Gantt, Dem.; Len Augustine, nonpartisan; Mike Hudson, Rep., Charles Kingeter, Dem.

District 14: Susan Bonilla, Dem. (i)

District 15: Nancy Skinner, Dem. (i)

District 16: Joan Buchanan, Dem. (i); Al Phillips, Rep.

District 18: (No incumbent) Rob Bonta, Dem.; Joel Young, Dem.; Abel Guillen, Dem., Rhonda Weber, Rep.

District 20: (No incumbent) Bill Quirk, Dem.; Jennifer Ong, Dem.; Sarabjit Cheema, Dem.; Luis Reynoso, Rep.; Mark Green, nonpartisan

District 25: Bob Wieckowski, Dem. (i)

ALAMEDA COUNTY (nonpartisan races)

Board of Supervisors, District 1: Scott Haggerty (i)

Board of Supervisors, District 4: Nate Miley (i); Tojo Thomas

Board of Supervisors, District 5: Keith Carson (i)

Hayward City Council (four seats): Barbara Halliday (i), Francisco Zermeno (i), Olden Henson, (i), Al Mendall, Greg Jones, Fahim Ajaz Khan, Ralph Farias Jr. and Peter Bufete. (Filing deadline extended to March 14 as one of the incumbents did not seek re-election.)

Board of Education, District 2: None

Board of Education, District 3: Ken Berrick (i)

Board of Education, District 4: None

Board of Education, District 5: Frederick Sims (i)

Board of Education, District 6: Eileen McDonald (i)

Zone 7 (three seats): Sandy Figuers (i); Dick Quigley (i)

Union Sanitary District, Ward 1: Manuel Fernandez (i)

Union Sanitary District, Ward 2: Patricia Kite (i)

Union Sanitary District, Ward 3: Anjali Lathi (i)


Board of Supervisors, District 2: Sean White of Lafayette, Candace Andersen of Danville; and Tomi Van de Brooke of Orinda. (Filing deadline extended to March 14 as incumbent Gayle Uilkema did not seek re-election.)

Board of Supervisors, District 3: Mary Nejedly Piepho of Discovery Bay (i)

Board of Supervisors, District 5: Federal Glover of Pittsburg (i)


Antioch Unified School District: $59.5 million bond measure for school facility upgrades. Requires 55 percent voter approval.

Antioch: Two measures. One seeks to change city clerk and treasurer from elected to appointed position. The other would convert elected mayor to a rotating position from among members of the City Council. Both require majority approval.

Crockett Community Services District: Increase in the $50 recreation per parcel tax to $110 for maintenance of the area’s parks. Two-thirds vote required.

East Contra Costa Fire Protection District: Annual $197 per parcel tax to maintain fire service. Two-thirds vote required.

Hercules: Two measures. One seeks voter approval to sell the city’s electric company and requires a two-thirds vote. The second is an emergency funding proposal for a four-year, 1/2-cent sales tax to maintain city services in the wake of a deficit. Majority approval required.

Pittsburg: A 10-year sales tax (1/2 cent for first five years, 1/4 cent in the second five years) to raise money for city services. Majority approval required.

San Pablo: A 10-year sales tax (1/2 cent for first five years, 1/4 cent in the second five years) to raise money for city services. Majority approval required.

West Contra Costa Unified School District: Five-year renewal and increase in parcel tax. Requires two-thirds vote.


Peralta Community College District: Eight-year annual $48 per parcel tax. The funds would be used to preserve 1,900 classes a year at the college serving students from Oakland, Alameda, Piedmont, Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville. Requires two-thirds vote.

Dublin Unified School District: $99 million school bond measure to build and improve classrooms, buildings and equipment. Requires 55 percent voter approval.

Hayward Unified School District: Annual $58 per parcel tax for school operations. Two-thirds vote required.

New Haven Unified School District (Hayward): Four-year annual $180 per parcel tax to fund school operations. It is similar to a measure that failed last May. Two-thirds vote required.

City of Alameda: A 30-year half-cent sales tax increase to fund library improvements, replace aging police and fire vehicles and construct a new emergency center. Two-thirds vote required.


Countywide: Would extend existing one-eighth of 1 percent library tax for 16 years to fund ongoing operations. Majority approval required.

Board of Supervisors, District 1 (no incumbent): Susan Anthony, Erin Hannigan, Tony Intintoli Jr., Lee Simmons.

Board of Supervisors, District 2: Steve Messina, Linda Seifert (i)

Board of Supervisors, District 5: Mike Reagan (i); Skip Thomson


Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2012
Under: 2012 primary election, Alameda County, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, ballot measures, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 28 Comments »

Chan plans hearing on health care reform impacts

Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan – a former Assembly Health Committee chair who championed health insurance for kids – on Monday will host the first in a series of hearings on local implementation of national health care reforms.

The hearing, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors’ chambers on the fifth floor of 1221 Oak St. in Oakland, will bring together local health care leaders for an overview of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on the county. Speakers will include Richard Thomason, program officer at the Blue Shield of California Foundation; Alex Briscoe, director of the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency; and Peter Harbage, the state’s former Assistant Secretary for Health under Gov. Gray Davis.

Chan’s office says that by 2018, more than 150,000 people in Alameda County will be newly covered by Medi-Cal or private insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Health care providers are getting ready for major delivery system changes, including more availability of medical homes and integrated care delivery through accountable care organizations.

Future hearings will address a different issue area each month, trying to fit specific local issues into the big picture through community feedback and policy recommendations.

Posted on Thursday, November 10th, 2011
Under: Alameda County, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, healthcare reform | No Comments »

Bill Lockyer gives his wife’s campaign $110k more

Incumbent California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who it seems has barely lifted a finger to fend off Republican challenger state Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, dropped another $110,000 on his wife’s campaign for Alameda County Supervisor this week.

That brings Lockyer for Treasurer 2010’s total contributions to Nadia Lockyer‘s supervisorial campaign to almost $1.32 million. Nadia Lockyer, who directs the Alameda County District Attorney’s Family Justice Center, is competing with former state Sen. Liz Figueroa, D-Sunol, for the District 2 supervisor’s seat, which represents Hayward, Newark, Union City, a chunk of Fremont and unincorporated Sunol.

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters reports that the 2nd Supervisorial District has 128,168 registered voters; thus, Bill Lockyer has given Nadia Lockyer about $10.29 for every person who could possibly vote in this election. Of course, the turnout will be far less; watch for a cost-per-vote analysis once all the returns and campaign finance reports are in.

Bill Lockyer’s campaign committee still had $5,064,132.91 cash on hand as of Oct. 16, the end of the last reporting period.

Posted on Thursday, October 28th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Alameda County, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, campaign finance | 3 Comments »

Candidates woo Dem lawyers in Oakland

Having all four candidates for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors District 3 seat on the same stage might’ve been the high point of this afternoon’s Alameda County Democratic Lawyers’ Club endorsement luncheon.

Chan, Johnson, Lowe & Filipovich (photo by Josh Richman)Former Assembly Majority Leader Wilma Chan of Alameda, San Leandro political activist Lou Filipovich, Alameda Mayor Bev Johnson and Oakland financial advisor Harold Lowe each said her or his piece, and then the panel took a few questions from the crowd in the back room at Everett & Jones near Oakland’s Jack London Square.

Filipovich, the lone registered Republican in the bunch, spoke about ensuring that taxpayers don’t continue subsidizing non-productive citizens, and so forth; boy, was this the wrong room for him, and he eventually acknowledged as much.

Lowe said current supervisors have no answer for the loss of jobs at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI), no clear plan for the county’s economic development and job creation, no sense of how to capitalize on the county’s three major sports franchises. “Nothing is going to change unless we have real citizens pushing the envelope,” he said, warning that without good planning, “we are five years away from becoming Vallejo.”

(Vallejo just can’t get any love, even during its self-declared Tourism Month.)

Johnson touted Alameda’s economic development successes over the past dozen years (she was elected to the city council there in 1998 and has been mayor since 2002), including Webster Street’s bounce-back from the Naval Air Station’s closure, improvements on Park Street and the South Shore Center’s revitalization as Alameda Towne Center. With a $184 million county budget deficit, bringing new jobs to the area is more important than ever, she said.

And Chan billed herself as the one who can “hit the ground running, who doesn’t need any training,” having spent six years on the board before her six years in the Assembly. She noted it was legislation she authored that required Anthem Blue Cross to notify the state about its now-notorious, now-withdrawn rate hike proposal; she said she expects she would spend most of her first term working on a top-to-bottom restructuring of the county’s health care system, as tens of thousands of county residents newly insured under the federal health care reform law start seeking care.

Chan got the club’s endorsement.

Justin Jelincec (photo by Josh Richman)Luncheon attendees also heard today from Justin Jelincic, the self proclaimed “conservative Democrat” and “Bible believing Christian” who’s taking on Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, in the 13th Congressional District’s Democratic primary. He said he was there to represent “the other side of the big tent” in the party, and filed to run only when he realized nobody else would; Jelincic said Stark himself noted 38 years ago, as he ran to unseat a longtime incumbent, that 30 years in Congress was too long because a lawmaker would lose touch with those he represents. A contested primary is “an opportunity for us as a party to say to people, ‘We want the best and the brightest.’”

Stark staffer Jason Teramoto read a message on his boss’ behalf, saying he’d been a longtime advocate for seniors, workers, children and the disabled, especially when it comes to health care, and he wants to continue doing so for another term. Stark got the club’s endorsement.

Bob Wieckowski (photo by Josh Richman)And Fremont City Councilman Bob Wieckowski sought the club’s endorsement in his campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 20th Assembly District; opponent Garrett Yee wasn’t there. “My opponent is a nice guy, served in Iraq, has a wonderful family, but this is not about being a nice guy,” Wieckowski said – rather, it’s about being a forceful advocate for Democratic ideals. He vowed that if the oil-severance tax to fund education isn’t successful as carried this year by Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, he’ll reintroduce it next year because he’s “mad as hell” about cuts to state colleges and universities. Wieckowski got the club’s endorsement.

Others at the luncheon included Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton; state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro; Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley; and Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, all of whom are unopposed in the primary election.

Posted on Friday, May 7th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Alberto Torrico, Assembly, Pete Stark, U.S. House | 1 Comment »

‘A rose by any other name…’

I’ve never seen so much hue and cry about ballot designations – the two or three word titles appearing beneath a candidate’s name on the ballot – as I’m seeing this year.

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, a Republican candidate for state Attorney General, complains that GOP primary rival former Chapman Law School Dean John Eastman wants to call himself an “Assistant Attorney General” (he received the title last month when he agreed to represent South Dakota in a specific U.S. Supreme Court case) and that state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, wants to call himself a “Prosecutor/Attorney/Senator.”

It’s a local phenomenon, too – and in some cases, a circular firing squad. Alameda County Family Justice Center Executive Director Nadia Lockyer, seeking the county Board of Supervisors’ District 2 seat, announced Tuesday that someone is suing rival candidate former state Sen. Liz Figueroa, D-Sunol, for wanting to call herself a “job developer/educator,” when her job on the California Unemployment Appeals Board doesn’t involve either. The next day, another candidate in that race – Hayward City Councilman Kevin Dowling – filed a complaint against Lockyer for wanting to call herself a “county manager,” a title he says doesn’t exist; her formal title is “project director.” (For a while she was referring to herself on her Web site as a Deputy District Attorney, but that got scrubbed.)

And it’s happening in LA. And Orange County.

Last week I asked state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner why he wants to call himself a “businessman” rather than going by his current, elected title. Poizner told me nobody knows what the Insurance Commissioner actually does and the title requires too much explanation, and he has 20 years of experience in building businesses.

Now, it’s one thing for proponents and opponents of ballot measures to argue or sue (as is happening a lot this year, too) over the official title and summary and/or the ballot-pamphlet arguments – those words are all many voters ever learn about some of these measures, and so jockeying for the high ground there seems worthwhile. But do you think it’s the same for candidates and their ballot designations? Are those two or three words really so important, or is all this bellyaching more a matter of getting media attention now rather than voters’ eyes on election day?

Posted on Friday, March 26th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, 2010 governor's race, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Attorney General | No Comments »

Bill Lockyer: Arnold right to veto gas-tax swap

The Legislature really dropped the ball with its version of the gas-tax-swap deal, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer told Alameda County officials today, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was right to promise a veto.

Lockyer @ AlaCo budget workgroup 3-17-10Lockyer addressed the county Board of Supervisors Budget Workgroup, with attendees including supervisors Keith Carson, Alice Lai-Bitker and Gail Steele; County Administrator Susan Muranishi; and dozens of county department heads and staffers, local nonprofit officials and other stakeholders.

Schwarzenegger’s version of the gas-tax-swap deal would’ve saved a lot of money, but the changes and compromises it underwent while wending its way through the Legislature reduced the General Fund savings to a fraction of what they had been, he said.

“Why do all this complicated shifting around if the net result is confusion,” Lockyer later elucidated outside the budget session. “It didn’t make sense to change everything around and have lawsuits about it … for a very modest net result.”

Lockyer said he also agrees with the governor’s pitch for a sales-tax exemption for green tech manufacturing equipment.

Inside the budget session, Lockyer had delivered a somewhat sobering assessment of the state’s fiscal situation – and so, the outlook for cities and counties – in the months to come.

Cash flow is fine now, he said, but if the Legislature and Schwarzenegger can’t reach a budget deal early in the summer, the state’s payments of gas tax funds, mental-health tax funds and other monies to cities, counties and school districts “almost inevitably” could be deferred for up to two months, to the tune of billions of dollars.

And Sacramento is counting on “unrealistically high” estimates of federal aid to help balance its books, meaning lawmakers and the governor will have to scramble to backfill an even bigger hole when that money from Washington doesn’t materialize.

Lockyer said he intends to sell about $14 billion worth of general obligation bonds this year to pay for infrastructure projects, and as much as $10 million (depending on when we have a budget deal) in short-term borrowing this summer to tide us through our annual cash-flow issues.

He said California gets a bad rap from bond-rating agencies, not because there’s any real risk of default – he’s constitutionally empowered to service the state’s debts no matter what the Legislature does or doesn’t do – but rather because of the widespread perception of legislative gridlock Sacramento exudes year after year, a perception unlikely to be dispelled so long as the state constitution requires two-thirds votes of the Legislature for all budget and tax bills. But with no significant chance of changing that any time soon and no chance of reforming Proposition 13 to allow for reassessment of commercial property, California will keep having to find ways to muddle through, he said.

Posted on Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
Under: Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly, Bill Lockyer, California State Senate, state budget | No Comments »

Haggerty to testify before U.S. Senate committee

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty is among those scheduled to testify tomorrow before U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s Environment and Public Works Committee, in a hearing on “Mobility and Congestion in Urban and Rural America.”

Scott HaggertyHaggerty will be testifying on behalf of the National Association of Counties, for which he chairs a Transportation Steering Committee. Transportation long has been his top issue: He chairs the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which state and federal funds to regional transportation projects; related to MTC, he chairs the Bay Area Toll Authority, which administers the toll program for the Bay Area’s seven toll bridges including operations, maintenance and management, seismic retrofit and capital improvements. He’s also a member and former chair of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which oversees regional air quality regulations and programs. Within Alameda County, he’s a member and former chair of the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency; vice chair of the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority and the Alameda County Transportation Authority, which was formed to oversee projects funded through voter-approved Measure B dollars; a member and former chair of the Altamont Rail Express Joint Powers Authority; vice chair of the Livermore-Amador Valley Transit Authority, which operates the WHEELS bus service in the Tri-Valley; and a member of the Board of Supervisors’ Transportation & Planning Committee.

The hearing will be webast live starting at 7 a.m. PDT at

Posted on Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
Under: Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Barbara Boxer, Transportation, U.S. Senate | No Comments »