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AD16: Warring complaints on Sbranti & Glazer

Allegations of ethical and legal violations are flying hot and heavy between supporters of 16th Assembly District candidates Tim Sbranti and Steve Glazer.

Barry Fadem, a Lafayette attorney backing Glazer, filed a complaint in December with the California Fair Political Practices Commission claiming improprieties in the transfer of $30,852 from Sbranti’s 2012 Dublin mayoral campaign account to his 2014 Assembly fund, including inconsistent names and dates for donations; a discrepancy between what the two funds show was transferred; and use of a private firm as an intermediary before Sbranti’s Assembly committee was officially qualified.

The FPPC sent Sbranti a warning letter in February that closed the case but warned it could be re-opened based on new information or future conduct.

Fadem filed another FPPC complaint in mid-January claiming Sbranti had omitted certain assets, income and gifts from the economic-interests disclosure he filed as mayor. Sbranti by that month’s end filed amended disclosure forms for several past years (including 2012 and 2010) showing previously unreported items. Fadem says the new additions include travel gifts from the California Teachers Association – for which Sbranti worked until recently – that far exceeded state limits, and income Sbranti earned from the Oakland A’s while voting on issues affecting the O.co Coliseum in which they play. The FPPC has taken no action so far. (Ed.Note – see update below for Fadem’s third complaint against Sbranti.)

On Friday, a married pair of Sbranti supporters from Dublin filed identical FPPC complaints claiming Glazer – an Orinda councilman and campaign strategist whose past clients include Gov. Jerry Brown – sent out a four-page campaign mailer this week that doesn’t carry the required “paid for by” disclaimer. The complaints filed by Eileen Barr and Heinz Gewing note Glazer’s past mailers carried the disclaimer, but this one does not.

Glazer Mailer 040314_8_8-page1
(click to enlarge)

“This race is highly contested and a number of independent expenditure committees have been formed to support or oppose candidates,” each of them wrote. “The failure to indicate who paid for the attached mailer leaves the voters without critical information that would help them evaluate the message contained in the mailer.”

It’s worth noting here that the biggest independent expenditure committee in this race is trying to help Sbranti beat Glazer, funded with at least $285,000 from teachers’ and public workers’ unions.

Those unions want Glazer’s head because he worked in 2012 as a strategist for the California Chamber of Commerce’s JobsPAC, which backed moderate Democrats over more liberal labor-friendly ones. That rift may explain why Glazer felt he had nothing to lose by capitalizing on public outrage over last year’s BART strikes by calling for a ban on transit worker strikes. Iin fact, this latest mailer’s cover photo shows Glazer standing with arms crossed next to a BART train, with the caption “Steve Glazer stood up against the BART strike. He’ll fight for us in the State Assembly.”

Glazer on Friday noted the FPPC’s Campaign Disclosure Manual for state candidates describes this requirement for a mass mailing by a single candidate:

The name of the candidate, his or her street address, city, state, and zip code must be placed on the outside of each piece of mail in no less than 6-point type and in a color or print which contrasts with the background so that it is easily read. If a single candidate’s controlled committee is sending the mailer, the name of the committee may be placed on the outside of the mailer if the committee’s name contains the name of the candidate. A post office box may be used as the address only if the committee’s street address is on its Statement of Organization (Form 410) on file with the Secretary of State.

But an FPPC regulation says the required identification “shall be preceded by the words ‘Paid for by’” in the same size and color as the candidate’s or committee’s name and “shall be immediately adjacent to and above or immediately adjacent to and in front of the required identification.” And a 2012 FPPC worksheet on mass mailings says “the disclaimer must include, unless otherwise noted: ‘Paid for by committee name.’”

Glazer and Sbranti both are Democrats; the other candidates are Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, also a Democrat, and Republican Catharine Baker, a Dublin attorney. Incumbent Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, is term-limited out. The district’s voter registration is 39.7 percent Democrat, 32.4 percent Republican and 21.5 percent nonpartisan.

UPDATE @ 9:11 A.M. SATURDAY: Fadem actually filed a third FPPC complaint against Sbranti on March 20, accusing Sbranti of an undisclosed conflict of interests. He claimed Sbranti in October voted as a member of the Alameda County Transportation Commission to extend a contract, but did not disclose at that meeting that he had received a contribution from that contractor in June and that the contractor had hosted a fundraiser for him in May.

Posted on Friday, April 4th, 2014
Under: Assembly | 7 Comments »

Money update: SD10, AD15, AD16, AD25 & AD28

Here’s how the money is piling up (or not) in races for some of the Bay Area’s open state legislative seats; all figures are as of March 17.

10th STATE SENATE DISTRICT
Mary Hayashi (D) – $690,733 cash on hand; no debt
Roman Reed (D) – $72,336 cash on hand; $58,034 debt (incl. $40k loan from candidate)
Bob Wieckowski (D) – $152,440 cash on hand; no debt
Peter Kuo (R) – $109,594 cash on hand; $7,541 debt (incl. $5k loan from candidate)
Audie Bock (NPP) – no report

15TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Elizabeth Echols (D) – $140,341 cash on hand; $28,159 debt (incl. $15k loan from candidate)
Clarence Hunt (D) – $30,950 cash on hand; $43,611 debt (loan from candidate)
Sam Kang (D) – $68,800 cash on hand; $13,918 debt
Pamela Price (D) – $20,020 cash on hand; no debt
Tony Thurmond (D) – $98,953 cash on hand; $35,331 debt
Richard Kinney (R) – no report
Eugene Ruyle (P&F) – no report
Bernt Rainer Wahl (NPP) – no report

16th ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Newell Arnerich (D) – $66,823 cash on hand; $30,000 debt (loan from candidate)
Steve Glazer (D) – $429,608 cash on hand; no debt
Tim Sbranti (D) – $126,443 cash on hand; $27,817 debt
Catharine Baker (R) – $139,965 cash on hand; $1,886 debt

25th ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Kansen Chu (D) – $201,723 cash on hand; $6,458 debt
Teresa Cox (D) – $65,186 cash on hand; $60,136 debt (incl. $58k loan from candidate)
Armando Gomez (D) – $230,622 cash on hand; no debt
Craig Steckler (D) – $123,480 cash on hand; $8,600 debt (incl. $5,100 loan from candidate)
Bob Brunton (R) – no report

28th ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Evan Low (D) – $332,916 cash on hand; $2,036 debt
Barry Chang (D) – no report
Michael Hunsweck (R) – no report
Chuck Page (R) – $1,760 cash on hand; $2,000 debt (loan from candidate)

Posted on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Assembly, California State Senate, campaign finance | 7 Comments »

CAGOP14: Dublin’s Catharine Baker a ‘trailblazer’

An East Bay Assembly candidate was among those shown off as the cream of the “California Trailblazers” crop Friday at the California Republican Party convention in Burlingame.

Modeled on the congressional “Young Guns” program cofounded by in the 2008 election cycle by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, California Trailblazers is a recruitment, training and advisory program for state legislative candidates. And gaining ground in the legislature is a key GOP goal this year, party chairman Jim Brulte and vice chair Harmeet Dhillon noted Friday.

Catharine Baker (photo by Karl Mondon)Catharine Baker, a Dublin attorney seeking the 16th Assembly District seat, said the trailblazers program has taught her how to “run a great ground game, and get our messaging out to the community in the most effective way.”

“It’s going well, really terrific,” she said of her campaign, adding she’s feeling energized by support from across the political spectrum despite the three Democrats also in the race. “I’m a sharp contrast from all three of them … and a Republican very different from what you see going to Sacramento.”

The Democrats in the race are Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich and Orinda Councilman Steve Glazer. Incumbent Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, is term-limited out. The district’s voter registration is 39.7 percent Democrat, 32.4 percent Republican and 21.5 percent nonpartisan.

Baker stood at a news conference with other California Trailblazers candidates from around California, as well as with Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway.

“Could we ask for a better candidate? I don’t think so,” Conway said of Baker after the news conference. “She has worked tirelessly and I’m so impressed with her.”

Posted on Friday, March 14th, 2014
Under: Assembly, Republican Party, Republican politics | 1 Comment »

AD20: GOP’s Jaime Patino builds campaign

Jaime Patino doesn’t dislike Assemblyman Bill Quirk; he just thinks he’s wrong.

Jaime PatinoPatino is a Republican challenging Quirk, D-Hayward, for the East Bay’s 20th Assembly District seat. He said he ran into Quirk at a recent Rotary breakfast.

“I don’t question his integrity at all, I think he’s a good man,” said Patino, 42, of Union City. “I just think that we come from two very different philosophies of the role government plays in people’s lives.”

They probably agree on most social issues, he acknowledged – Patino says he’s a mind the public’s pocketbook, not private bedrooms type of Republican. But Patino said Quirk and other Democrats are putting too much emphasis on higher taxes and spending in order to solve California’s economic issues, while he believes private-sector job creation and education that focuses on modern job skills is a better way to go.

Patino said last year’s BART strike reinforced his desire to run.

“Our whole Bay Area delegation was just silent,” said Patino, who uses BART to commute to his UC-Berkeley job as a research financial administrator. “Who’s looking out for the regular guy? They’re more afraid of the unions than of their constituents, the people who elected them.”

Patino – a lifelong Union City resident who now chairs its Human Relations Commission -said he also was deeply shaken by the killings of two young men last August about three blocks from his home; he said his has nephews just a few years younger than those victims. “Those kids need more role models, more input from people who look like them and come from where they come from.”

“And I want to show people there are Latino Republicans, and we’re not the boogeyman,” he added, noting he’ll be campaigning heavily in the Latino community. “They can’t call me a country-club Republican.”

Read more, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Assembly, Bill Quirk | 1 Comment »

SD10: Another endorsement for Mary Hayashi

It seems I was premature in assuming former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi would have trouble securing endorsements in her run for the 10th State Senate District seat.

Mary HayashiThe Hayward Democrat’s campaign announced Tuesday evening that she has been endorsed by the California School Employees Association; this comes one week after the United Farm Workers announced its support.

According to Hayashi’s news release, CSEA Executive Director Dave Low wrote that his group’s support is based on Hayashi’s “support for public education and labor issues of importance to classified employees. Once elected, we will continue to work with you to find practical, equitable solutions to issues of mutual concern.”

CSEA represents more than 216,000 classified employees in California’s public school and community college systems: instructional aides, peace officers, secretaries, groundskeepers, food service, transportation and maintenance personnel and more.

Hayashi, who represented what was then the 18th Assembly District from 2006 to 2012, was convicted two years ago of shoplifting $2,450 worth of clothes from San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus; she was sentenced to three years of probation.

Also seeking the 10th State Senate District seat are Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont; Democrat Roman Reed, a spinal-injury research advocate and planning commissioner from Fremont; Republican Peter Kuo, an insurance agent from Santa Clara; and former Assemblywoman Audie Bock, also a Republican. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Roy Hashimoto also has taken out papers for this race; this Friday, March 7 is the filing deadline.

Wieckowski has the lion’s share of endorsements so far and – based on the results at a local caucus meeting last month – is likely to win the California Democratic Party’s endorsement at its convention this weekend in Los Angeles.

UPDATE @ 3:27 P.M.: It turns out the CSEA also has endorsed Wieckowski, who also Wednesday announced his backing by Teamsters Joint Council 7.

“Supporting working women and men and ensuring they have a voice in the workplace has been a priority for me in the Assembly and will continue to be a priority for me in the Senate,” Wieckowski said.

As I think I’ve noted before, dual endorsements – like tied sports scores – are like kissing your sister, boring enough to mean practically nothing at all.

UPDATE @ 3:16 P.M. THURSDAY: Teamsters Joint Council 7 endorsed Hayashi, too; this is fast becoming the “duel of the duals,” though Wieckowski’s overall endorsement list dwarfs Hayashi’s.

Posted on Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, California State Senate, Mary Hayashi | 5 Comments »

Gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly in Dublin

Gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly is meeting with fellow Republicans in the East Bay on Wednesday night, and let’s all hope he’s not packing heat.

Tim DonnellyThe reception for Donnelly – co-hosted by the Tri-Valley Republican Women Federated, the Frederick Douglas Foundation of California, the New Republicans, and the East Bay Tea Party – from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Coco Cabana in Dublin coincides with a Los Angeles Times story that says the handgun Donnelly tried to take through airport security in 2012 was not registered to him.

“He will decline to comment on this,” Donnelly campaign manager Jennifer Kerns said Wednesday afternoon. “That information in that story is two years old and was written about when that incident first happened. Old news…”

The Assemblyman from Twin Peaks had a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun in his carry-on bag as he tried to board a plane Jan. 4, 2012 at the Ontario airport. He pleaded no contest later that year to misdemeanor charges of carrying a loaded firearm in public without a concealed weapons permit and possessing a gun in an airport; he paid a $2,125 fine and is still on his three years of probation.

The Times nailed Donnelly earlier this month for apparently violating that probation by firing borrowed handguns at a Santa Cruz shooting range while on the campaign trail. San Bernardino District Attorney Michael Ramos said last week he won’t charge Donnelly with a probation violation.

I’d ask Donnelly about the unregistered handgun tonight, but it’s my birthday and my wife is taking me out to dinner – no work for me this evening! Instead, you can go: The event is free and requires no RSVP.

“Come on out and meet Tim Donnelly in a relaxed, personal setting after work. He wants the chance to talk with his fellow conservative Republicans in our 16th (Assembly) district, and to hear about what’s important to you,” the invitation says. “This is your chance to share your priorities with him, and to learn how he intends to help us preserve our cherished way of life here in the Tri-Valley, stop the spending spree in Sacramento, lower our taxes, protect our guns and our borders, and restore and defend our God-given liberty!”

Posted on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Tim Donnelly | 4 Comments »

SD10: United Farm Workers endorses Hayashi

If you were wondering whether anyone would endorse former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi in her run for the state Senate, wonder no more.

Mary HayashiHayashi, 47, of Hayward – who was convicted two years ago of shoplifting $2,450 worth of clothes from San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus – announced Tuesday that she has the United Farm Workers’ endorsement in her campaign for the 10th State Senate District.

Hayashi’s news release said UFW President Arturo Rodriguez wrote that Hayashi’s actions “have demonstrated a strong commitment to the farmworker movement and helped improve the lives of farmworkers. We hold you in the highest regard and consider you to be an individual with platinum status in the eyes of farmworkers.”

Hayashi will be competing for the state Senate seat – from which Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, is term-limited out – against Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont; Democrat Roman Reed, a spinal-injury research advocate and planning commissioner from Fremont; and Republican Peter Kuo, an insurance agent from Santa Clara.

Wieckowski announced last week that he had received the sole endorsement of the Alameda and South Bay Labor Councils. Also, local Democrats at a regional caucus meeting earlier this month gave Wieckowski 105 votes for pre-endorsement while Reed got eight and Hayashi got none; that means Wieckowski’s name will be placed on the consent calendar at state Democrats’ convention next month in Los Angeles, an almost sure-fire route to the party’s endorsement.

But endorsements don’t pay for elections. Campaign finance reports filed at the end of last month show Hayashi finished 2013 with $734,000 in her campaign account and no outstanding debts. Wieckowski had about $125,000 in the bank and owed $32,000; Reed had about $49,000 after lending his campaign $40,000; and Kuo had $24,000 including a $5,000 loan from his own pocket.

Kuo is holding a campaign kick-off fundraiser this Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Bay Club Santa Clara (formerly the Decathlon Club), seeking from $100 to $1,000 per person.

And the fun might not be limited to these four candidates. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters’ log shows two other people have taken out papers for this race, which they might or might not file by the March 7 deadline: Alameda County Superior Court Judge Roy Hashimoto, and former Assemblywoman Audie Bock.

Bock, you’ll recall, was elected to the Assembly as a Green, then went decline-to-state for her unsuccessful re-election bid, then switched to the Democratic party – and now seems to be a registered Republican.

Yes, this 10th State Senate District race seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. Stay tuned…

Posted on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, California State Senate, Mary Hayashi | 5 Comments »

Mary Hayashi rolls out her state Senate campaign

Former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi has rolled out her campaign for the 10th State Senate District, presenting a top-shelf team of advisors and poll numbers that claim she’s a serious contender.

Mary HayashiBut that team will have to find a way to convince voters it’s no big deal that Hayashi, 47, of Hayward, was convicted two years ago of shoplifting $2,450 worth of clothes from San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus. That certainly seemed to be an uphill battle when the three-term Democratic assemblywoman ran for an Alameda County supervisorial seat later in 2012, and finished third out of four.

Now Hayashi will be competing the senate seat – from which Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, is term-limited out – against Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont; Democrat Roman Reed, a spinal-injury research advocate and planning commissioner from Fremont; and Republican Peter Kuo, an insurance agent from Santa Clara.

“I am excited about working on improving the lives of people in the 10th Senate District,” Hayashi said in a news release. “Whether it is improving access to healthcare, raising the quality of education or creating better economic opportunities, I want to work hard for the families and individuals in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties.”

Josh Pulliam of JPM&M will serve as Hayashi’s general consultant; Daniel Weitzman will handle fundraising; Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners will handle polling and research; David Gould is the campaign treasurer; and Roger Salazar of Alza Strategies will serve as media advisor.

One thing she has in spades is campaign cash. Campaign finance reports filed at the end of last month show Hayashi finished 2013 with $734,000 in her campaign account and no outstanding debts. Wieckowski had about $125,000 in the bank and owed $32,000; Reed had about $49,000 after lending his campaign $40,000; and Kuo had $24,000 including a $5,000 loan from his own pocket.

What she seems to lack is party support. At a regional caucus meeting last weekend, local Democrats gave Wieckowski 105 votes for pre-endorsement while Reed got eight and Hayashi got none. That means Wieckowski’s name will be placed on the consent calendar at state Democrats’ convention next month in Los Angeles, an almost sure-fire route to the party’s endorsement.

Hayashi’s release touted a poll by Lake which found she got a plurality of votes over her potential rivals, and that after all candidates’ bios were read, her lead expanded to 11 points over her nearest opponent. This poll was conducted Feb. 4-6 among 405 likely primary voters in the district, with a 4.9-percentage-point margin of error, the campaign said, but no copy of the poll script or detailed results were provided.

Posted on Friday, February 14th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, Mary Hayashi | 14 Comments »

Gun-control recall effort seems to be in limbo

An effort to recall several California Democratic lawmakers from office because of their votes on gun-control bills last year seems to be on the back burner now.

“They’re not off the table, they’re still being considered, but there’s just a lot going on,” said Jennifer Kerns, who founded the nonprofit Free California last October. “No decisions have been made as to whether to move forward. … We’re still in sort of a wait-and-see mode.”

Tim Knight, Tim Donnelly, Jennifer KernsKerns, a political consultant now managing Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly’s gubernatorial campaign, was involved in last year’s successful recall of two Colorado lawmakers over that state’s gun-control legislation.

But California and Colorado are very different, noted Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, whose group was supporting the Free California effort.

The Legislature’s Democratic supermajority could too easily consolidate any recall elections with this year’s regular elections, thus negating recall supporters’ advantage of lesser total voter turnout, Paredes said. Also, California requires that recall petition signature gatherers be registered to vote within that specific district, making use of paid circulators much harder.

“We’re looking at the realities of politics in California, the realities of the electoral process,” Paredes said. “So we’re in a contemplative status.”

Free California in October had named as potential targets state Sens. Norma Torres, D-Chino, and Ben Hueso, D-Chula Vista; Assemblywomen Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, and Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton; and Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles.

Kerns noted Wednesday that two of those districts – Hueso’s and Gonzalez – would’ve competed for attention with the San Diego mayoral election that just concluded this week; now that the mayoral contest is done, Free California might take a fresh look at unseating the lawmakers.

Free California’s Facebook page hasn’t been updated since October. As a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, it’s not required to disclose its contributors.

Though both Kerns and Paredes said the recall idea isn’t completely off the table, it’s hard to see how they can maintain momentum as more time passes since last year’s gun-control votes; petitions began circulating for the Colorado recalls less than a week after that state’s new bills were signed into law. And as this year’s gubernatorial and legislative races demand more attention, time and money, there’ll be less and less left for an effort like this.

Posted on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, gun control, John Perez | 6 Comments »

New web videos from Kashkari, Donnelly

Both Republican gubernatorial candidates released new web videos Monday.

From Neel Kashkari, on taxes:

From Tim Donnelly, on easing businesses’ regulatory burden:

Posted on Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Neel Kashkari, Tim Donnelly | 3 Comments »