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Dems ‘pre-endorse’ some Bay Area candidates

Local Democrats voted Saturday to recommend that their state party endorse Rep. Mike Honda in the 17th Congressional District, Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski in the 10th State Senate District, and Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti in the 16th Congressional District.

Some other candidates – including Rep. Eric Swalwell in the 15th Congressional District and Elizabeth Echols in the 15th Assembly District – didn’t have enough votes to win these “pre-endorsements,” but can make their cases at the California Democratic Party convention next month in Los Angeles. And some races were so split as to allow no endorsement at all.

Democrats gathered Saturday for their regional caucus meetings, choosing among their party’s offerings for offices. Per the party’s rules, a candidate who gets 70 percent or more of the vote is recommended for endorsement and placed on the consent calendar to be ratified at next month’s convention in Los Angeles.

If one candidate receives more than 50 percent but less than 70 percent of the vote for a district, the race will go to the caucuses held during the March Convention. And if no candidate gets a majority of the vote, no endorsement will be made in that race.

Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, was kind enough to tweet and Facebook the results from the Region 5 caucus meeting:

In the 17th Congressional District, incumbent Honda, D-San Jose, reportedly got 122 votes to challenger Ro Khanna’s 11 votes at Saturday’s caucus meeting, so Honda goes on the consent calendar for endorsement at the convention.

In the 15th Congressional District, incumbent Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, reportedly got 45 votes to state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett’s 26 votes while three people voted against making any endorsement; Swalwell, having a majority but not 70 percent, will make his case again at the convention.

In the 10th State Senate District, Wieckowski reportedly got 105 votes, patient advocate Roman Reed got eight votes and former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi got no votes, so Wieckowski goes on the consent calendar for endorsement at the convention.

In the 15th Assembly District, Echols – a former Small Business Administration regional administrator – reportedly got 45 votes, former Richmond councilman and school board member Tony Thurmond got 17 votes, East Bay Municipal Utility District board president Andy Katz got 5 votes, attorney Sam Kang got no votes, and four people voted against making an endorsement; Echols, having a majority but not 70 percent, will make her case again at the convention.

In the 25th Assembly District, former Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler reportedly got 18 votes, San Jose Councilman Kansen Chu got 16 votes and Ohlone College Board of Trustees member Teresa Cox got 10 votes, while Milpitas Councilman Armando Gomez won no votes. With no candidate achieving a majority, there will be no party endorsement in this race.

After the Region 2 caucus meeting, Sbranti issued a news release announcing he had received 97 percent of the vote for the 16th Assembly District race, and so will be placed on the convention’s consent calendar for endorsement; other Democrats vying for that seat include Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich and Orinda Vice Mayor Steve Glazer.

And state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, announced he received a unanimous endorsement recommendation to succeed Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, when the latter retires from his 11th Congressional District at the end of this year. No other Democrats of any renown are seeking the seat.

Posted on Monday, February 10th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, Democratic Party, Democratic politics, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, Mark DeSaulnier, Mary Hayashi, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 7 Comments »

Money matchup: Mary Hayashi vs. Bob Wieckowski

One of the more interesting tidbits I’ve run across today, the deadline for California candidates to file their semi-annual campaign finance reports, is in the East Bay’s 10th State Senate District.

Mary HayashiWith incumbent Ellen Corbett term-limited out at the end of next year, former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi – convicted in January 2012 of shoplifting, and defeated in her November 2012 bid for an Alameda County supervisor’s seat – plans to run against Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont.

Hayashi raised only $5,900 in the first half of this year – $3,200 from the Sycuan Band Of The Kumeyaay Nation, $2,500 from the Independent Insurance Political Action Committee, and $200 from Sempra Energy – while spending about $25,000, leaving her with about $732,000 cash on hand as of June 30.

Wieckowski raised much more – almost $135,000 – and spent almost $72,000, but finished with a lot less cash on hand: about $76,000 as of June 30, with almost $11,000 in outstanding debts.

Sure, it’s early, and Wieckowski as an incumbent probably can raise more money faster as people start tuning in to this race. But that’s a biiiiiig pot of money Hayashi is sitting on, and it’ll be interesting to see how effectively she can use it to rehabilitate her public image and build a serious campaign.

Posted on Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
Under: Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, campaign finance, Ellen Corbett, Mary Hayashi | 19 Comments »

Wieckowski to launch 10th Senate Dist. campaign

Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, is rolling out his campaign for the 10th State Senate District with help from some of California’s Democratic heavyweights.

Bob WieckowskiAmong those whose names grace the invitation to Wieckowski’s June 20 reception are state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, state Controller John Chiang, Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee, Rep. Mike Honda, state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, state Sen. Jim Beall, state Sen. Jerry Hill, state Sen. Bill Monning, Assemblyman Rich Gordon, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, and Union City Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci.

Tickets to the event, at Massimo’s restaurant in Fremont, range from $100 to $4,100.

The only other person so far who has filed a statement of intention to seek the 10th District seat in 2014 is former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi of Hayward, whose Alameda County supervisorial bid last year might’ve been doomed by her recent shoplifting arrest and conviction of misdemeanor grand theft.

But don’t count Hayashi out just yet – her senate campaign committee had $750,983 in the bank as of the end of 2012.

Posted on Friday, June 7th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, Mary Hayashi | 4 Comments »

Brown signs veterans’ bills, jabs at Senate GOP

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a slew of bills today – including two from Bay Area lawmakers – to improve services and opportunities for California’s veterans, and he used the occasion to take a swipe at U.S. Senate Republicans.

“Yesterday, a bill to invest in job training for veterans was blocked because of Washington political infighting,” Brown said in his news release. “Here in California, Republicans and Democrats joined together to support our veterans. These bills respect the honor and dignity of those who serve.”

Senate Republicans blocked a bill Wednesday that would have created a $1 billion jobs program putting veterans to work tending the country’s federal lands and bolstering local police and fire departments. Republicans said the spending authorized in the bill violated limits that Congress agreed to last year.

California Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Peter Gravett, in Brown’s release, said “veterans issues should never be partisan.” Maj. Gen. David Baldwin, the California National Guard’s adjutant general, said the new state laws “demonstrate that California is fulfilling its obligation to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much.”

Among the bills Brown signed into law was AB 2478 by Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Hayward, which expands the current exemption given to veterans from paying non-resident tuition at California Community Colleges by one year.

More specifically, it lets veterans who were discharged from a military installation in California additional time (up to two years) to establish residency if they need to briefly return to their home state prior to attending community college. The California Community College Chancellor’s Office has said some veterans don’t start the residency process immediately after discharge for various reasons, including rehabilitation from injuries.

The Assembly in May approved AB 2478 on a 75-0 vote; in August, the state Senate approved it 37-0 and the Assembly gave it an 80-0 concurrence vote.

Brown also signed AB 1550 by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, which increases the fees required to issue, renew, and personalize specialized veterans’ license plates to fund veterans’ organizations.

Specifically, it raises the fee for initial plate issuance from $30 to $50; the annual renewal fee from $30 to $40; and the plate personalization fee from $40 to $78, with all of the money directed to County Veterans Service Officers – agencies that assist veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services accrued through military service.

The Assembly in May approved AB 1550 on a 71-3 vote; in August, the state Senate approved it 37-0 and the Assembly gave it a 72-1 concurrence vote.

For a list of other veterans’s bills Brown signed into law today, follow us after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, September 20th, 2012
Under: Assembly, Jerry Brown, Mary Hayashi, Susan Bonilla, veterans | 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 »

Legislature to adjourn in honor of Oikos victims

California lawmakers return to work today after their spring recess, but when today’s Assembly floor session is over this afternoon, an East Bay lawmaker will adjourn it in memory of the seven victims of last week’s Oikos University massacre.

“This was a terrible tragedy for the families of the victims, and I want to offer my deepest sympathy and condolences for their loss,” Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, said in a news release issued last week. “These events have deeply affected the Korean American and East Bay communities, where Oikos University stood as a safe haven for pursuing economic opportunity and a better life.”

Today marks one week since a gunman opened fire at the small, Christian school in East Oakland, killing seven and wounding three more. Slain were Lydia H. Sim, 21, of Hayward; Sonam Choedon, 33, of El Cerrito; Grace Kim, 23, of Union City; Tshering Rinzing Bhutia, 38, of San Francisco; Judith O. Seymour, 53, of San Jose, Doris Chibuko, 40, of San Leandro, and Katleen Ping, 21, of Oakland.

Hayashi’s district includes San Leandro, Hayward, Dublin, most of Castro Valley and Pleasanton and part of Oakland, as well as the unincorporated areas of Ashland, Cherryland, San Lorenzo and Sunol.

Posted on Monday, April 9th, 2012
Under: Assembly, Mary Hayashi | No Comments »

Democratic endorsements, or the lack thereof

There were some interesting Bay Area results from the California Democratic Party’s “pre-endorsing conferences” this past weekend, at which members of the party’s state central committee, county committees and local Democratic clubs got together to vote on who should get the nod for the June 6 primaries.

A candidate would’ve needed 70 percent of the vote at one of these meetings in order to secure a place on the consent calendar at the state Democratic convention, which will be held Feb. 10-12 in San Diego.

In some places, redistricting has pitted former friends and allies against each other; such is the challenge Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, is mounting against state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley. State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento had signaled his support of Hancock months ago, and – unsurprisingly – I hear she got 136 votes (86 percent) at the local conference while Swanson got only 21. However, I hear Swanson had enough local labor heavy-hitters behind him to guarantee he’ll have some boots on the ground in the run-up to the vote.

Swanson is term-limited out of what has become the new 18th Assembly District, where Democrats including Rob Bonta, Joel Young, Abel Guillen and Kathy Neal are vying to replace him. Bonta got the most votes but Young trailed just behind, with nobody anywhere close to the 70 percent threshold.

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, is term-limited out of the new 20th Assembly District, where Hayward City Councilman Bill Quirk got the pre-endorsement nod over fellow Democrats Jennifer Ong, an optometrist from Hayward, and New Haven Unified School District Sarabjit Cheema. (Union City Mark Green ditched his former Democratic affiliation and is running as an independent.)

The only vacant Bay Area House seat is the one created by the impending retirement of Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma. Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, fired off a news release noting he got 69 votes – more than all the other candidates combined – highlighting “the strong grassroots support of my campaign from throughout this entire district.” But his closest competitor, progressive activist Norm Solomon of Inverness, got 41 votes – enough to block any endorsement in this race.

And in the newly drawn 15th Congressional District, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, was solidly endorsed over an upstart challenge by Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell. I hear that a staffer for state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, cast her vote for Stark rather than for “no endorsement” – a sign that Corbett, who’d at first said she was raising funds to seek this seat in 2014 but later said she was re-assessing the option of jumping in now, perhaps has decided not to go for it this year. Corbett herself couldn’t cast a ballot, because she doesn’t live within the new district’s lines.

Posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2012
Under: 2012 Assembly election, 2012 Congressional Election, Assembly, California State Senate, Loni Hancock, Lynn Woolsey, Mary Hayashi, Pete Stark, Sandre Swanson, U.S. House | 9 Comments »

Union City mayor ditched Dems for Assembly bid

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.

Mark GreenRunning 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.

Posted on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
Under: Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, Mary Hayashi | 8 Comments »

Lawmakers support Occupy Oakland’s strike

Local lawmakers support the general strike that Occupy Oakland protesters have called for tomorrow.

“Occupy Oakland’s November 2nd day of action is aimed at bringing attention to the great inequalities that exist in the United States. I join in solidarity with Occupy Oakland to confront the greed of Wall Street and the major banks and demand that the 1 percent pay their fair share,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland. “As the movement grows, we are likely to see more actions aimed at underscoring the inequalities faced by the 99 percent and we should support actions with these aims in mind. I continue to stand with the peaceful protesters in this struggle for economic justice and equality.”

“The decision to call for a general strike was made by the Occupy Oakland protesters,” said a spokeswoman for Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez. “It appears that it was made to amplify the main reason why they and others in cities across America began protesting in the first place, which is to further call attention to the unfairness of the American economy and the difficulties that the middle class faces every day. We will see how the residents and workers of Oakland respond to the call. More than anything, though, we hope that the day remains peaceful.”

Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, said he supports tomorrow’s demonstrators “100 percent.”

“This is a campaign to save the middle class, and it’s long overdue. I’m encouraging everyone to demonstrate in a nonviolent way,” Swanson said, adding he’s a longtime supporter of civil disobedience tactics. “I think this is about changing the economics of our nation and increasing opportunity for people all over. … This is an opportunity to have a demonstration that will speak well of the way we feel about each other in this country.”

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, said, “I stand in full support of the peaceful protestors of Occupy Oakland and the Day of Action to achieve economic justice and jobs for the 99%.”

And, from state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley:

“As a part of the 99%, I support the Occupy Oakland movement and the Occupy Movements across the country. And this week, I will be adding my voice in support of the General Strike that has been called in Oakland.

“The Occupy Movement is a national outcry against the strangling influence of money and corporate influence on our economy, our political system, and on our national soul and reputation. I am grateful to them for rallying Americans from all walks of life to speak up and speak out against the forces that show them such disrespect. I am grateful that they are demanding a return to the American Dream of a strong and stable middle class.

“Every day my office intervenes to help people who are losing their homes and their jobs, or struggling to pay for their children’s education. I hear from frustrated and angry Americans worried about their retirement savings because of Wall Street greed and mismanagement.

“Unfortunately, I also see many of the biggest and most profitable corporations demanding more concessions from government — more tax breaks, giveaways, and special treatment, no matter what the cost is to our society. Every bill I have introduced in the Senate to make our tax system more equitable or take money out of politics has faced their powerful opposition.

“Peaceful civil disobedience is a basic human right and has been used ethically and successfully throughout the world. The violent response to peaceful disobedience last week could have been avoided and should be condemned. Oakland is a dynamic place where diversity is usually encouraged. It is tragic that Oakland is now known as the first and only Occupied City where violence has erupted.

“I urge the City leadership to work with the Occupy Movement – and the Occupy Movement to work with the City – to ensure that effective and peaceful protest can continue. As a person who has lived most of my adult life in the East Bay, raised my family here, and as a State Senator fighting for quality education, a healthy environment and economic equity for all Californians, I am ready to help in any way I can.”

UPDATE @ 2:05 P.M.: “We now live in an America in which income disparity is winnowing away the middle class,” said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont. “Workers are angry as they struggle to find jobs while the richest among us gain ever more wealth. We have a long history of civic engagement and protest movements in our country. I understand the frustration of the Occupy movement. I hope their peaceful activism will bring about change.”

Posted on Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
Under: Assembly, Barbara Lee, California State Senate, George Miller, Loni Hancock, Mary Hayashi, Oakland, Pete Stark, Sandre Swanson, U.S. House | 13 Comments »

Lockyers hosting Assembly fundraiser tonight

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and his wife, Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, are hosting a fundraiser tonight for Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, with some other Assembly candidates on the guest list as well.

Tickets to the wine reception at Wieckowski’s home start at $50 with sponsorships ranging up to $3,900, the maximum personal contribution to a legislative committee allowed by law.

Wieckowski, a freshman and former Fremont City Councilman, won the 20th District seat in November with 73 percent of the vote to Republican nominee Adnan Shahab’s 27 percent; Shahab has formed a committee to run again in 2012.

It won’t be nearly the same race, however. A first-draft map issued recently by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission shows the district in which both Wieckowski and Shahab reside would be markedly different from the 20th District’s existing lines.

Bill Lockyer’s fundraising prowess is legendary. His own Lockyer for Treasurer 2010 committee finished 2010 with just under $3 million in the bank, after both repelling a challenge from Republican nominee Mimi Walters and giving his wife’s supervisorial campaign more than $1.5 million. He has formed a committee to run for state controller in 2014.

Among those scheduled to attend tonight’s event, according to Facebook, is Peralta Community College District Trustee Abel Guillen of Oakland, who has formed his own committee to run for Assembly next year. Guillen lives in the 16th Assembly District, where Sandre Swanson will be term-limited out.

Also scheduled to attend tonight is Dr. Jennifer Ong, a Hayward optometrist who has formed a committee to run next year in the 18th Assembly District, where Mary Hayashi is term-limited out.

Posted on Friday, June 24th, 2011
Under: Assembly, Bill Lockyer, Bob Wieckowski, campaign finance, Mary Hayashi, Sandre Swanson | 5 Comments »