Election Winners and Losers

Only one more election-related post after this.


Bob Wieckowski — He gets to go Sacramento for six years in the Assembly and hope his law practice doesn’t disintegrate. He ran an odd campaign in that he wasn’t really heard from. There was no audio of him speaking on his website, YouTube or even on his own commercial, but he campaigned hard and he won.

The Democratic Party — They needed this after losing City Council races in Newark and Fremont the past three years. Fremont is complicated terrain for them. In Berkeley, the party is the only political force capable of mounting a successful Assembly campaign. That’s why when longtime Berkeley Assemblyman and current Mayor Tom Bates got termed out, his replacements were his top deputy, followed by his wife, followed by his good friend.

Fremont is different because there is a constellation of political forces — John Dutra, Citizens for Better Community, Washington Hospital/Fremont Bank — that aren’t fully integrated into the Democratic establishment and can join forces to challenge it, even for an expensive contest like Assembly.

The Planning Commission — I can think of three members who’ll be on the short list if/when the council appoints Wieckowski’s replacement. And two more members who’ll want to be on the short list. I’ll go through those names shortly.

Jim Navarro — The Union City council member supported Wieckowski. He might not need much help to be elected Union City’s first Filipino mayor in two years, but this doesn’t hurt.

Labor — They get a reliable vote for six years


Garrett Yee — If Yee hadn’t challenged Wieckowski, he would have had a much better chance of being appointed to replace him on the City Council. Now the Democratic establishment is furious with him, and he’ll probably be asked to run for re-election to Ohlone if nothing else to help keep Republican Bob Brunton from getting back on the board.

John Dutra — He urged Yee to run. Dutra has played spoiler to the Democrats ever since he lost the the 2006 State Senate primary to Ellen Corbett. But the Democrats made it easy for him by backing candidates who were less likely to win than those Dutra supported. This time the party prevailed.

Bob Livengood — The Milpitas Mayor dropped out of the race and endorsed Yee. That won’t help his cause to move up in the world after more than 30 years on the Milpitas City Council.

Citizens for Better Community — The mostly Chinese -American social service/political organization still has one member on the City Council and two members on the School Board. That’s impressive, but  they weren’t able to get their strongest candidate/member into the State Assembly.


Campaign Mailer Watch: Bob Wieckowski

owlMost of you guys got Wieckowski’s “Give our economy a JOLT” mailer earlier this month.

In it he makes several claims:

  • Creating thousands of local middle class jobs
  • Attracting high-tech companies to our region
  • Establishing job training programs and workforce development
  • Hiring more police and firefighters

Below the image are excerpts from a Q&A I did the the Fremont Councilman, in which he explains the basis for the claims. Spoiler Alert: Fremont this year is budgeting fewer police and fire department employees than the summer before Wieckowski joined the council.

Warning!!! This is going to be a long post. If you’re not into politics scroll way down for cute Chihuahua photos:


TCB: Explain how you created “thousands of middle class jobs”

Wieckowski: “The BART Extension. If we look at the BART extension I think we can agree that those are good middle class jobs.” And the Grade Separation … That was during my entire time in office.”

“I think that that’s legitimate for a city council member to claim that, ‘I did that.'” … “Once the City Council approves it, you have ownership of it. I think you take ownership of it if it’s a catastrophe, but if it’s a success you take ownership of that as well … I think the public sector does create jobs.”

TCB: Should you take the blame for jobs lost by the NUMMI closure?

Wieckowski: “I don’t take the blame for NUMMI. … (mentions that city under Gus Morrison lobbied for the Prius to be built in Fremont) … It’s not like this city hasn’t been active.  If a private landowner decides he doesn’t want to do it….”

TCB: Using your criteria for creating jobs, couldn’t I claim to have created thousands of jobs by voting in favor of a state infrastructure bond measure — that bond money goes toward hiring people?

Wieckowski: “You’re reaching. As an elected official I have control over how (money) is spent. That sets me apart from citizens. You don’t have any authority to direct how that money would be spent as a citizen other than to approve this much money being raised.”

TCB: Couldn’t Garrett Yee also claim to have created thousands of jobs with the new Ohlone campus in Newark?

Wieckowski: Garrett was running for election when they had the bond (that paid for the new campus).” He didn’t get sworn in until the same time that the Ohlone bond was approved. I would agree with that (giving Yee credit for creating jobs), if Garrett had been on the Ohlone board and voted to put the measure on the ballot…”

“I think John Weed (a longer-serving Ohlone board member) could say (he’s) responsible for thousands of jobs.”

TCB: Name some of the high-tech companies you’ve attracted to our region?

Wieckowski: “There’s a whole list of new companies that have come in. I think I (pause) My claim to attracting them is creating the environment in Fremont that we want to be green.”

(He’s saying that by pushing for sustainable policies like the Styrofoam ban, he’s creating a climate that attracts green tech companies to Fremont)

He added about the mailer:

“It’s a propaganda piece. I’m taking liberties with my use of action words.”

TCB: Explain how you established job training programs.

Wieckowski: “I participated with Kennedy High School (on setting up their Green Academy). I didn’t do much (except for going there) and showing my support. Now they have something. I’ve just been friendly with them.”

TCB: Explain how you’ve hired more police and firefighters:

Wieckowski: (He says that he’s asked the city to give him the precise figures on sworn officers from when he took office in Dec. 2004 and now.

Note: I don’t have those figures. I do know that the eight new police positions authorized by the council in mid-2007 were never filled. I also know that according to this year’s city budget, Police Department staffing is budgeted for 287 full-time equivalent employees. In the 2004/2005 budget, It was 299 FTE’s — a decrease of 12.

As for fire, The department is budgeted for 152 FTEs this year. In 2004-2005, it was 153 — a decrease of one.

More Notes:

  • Wieckowski pointed to grants for the future Sabercat Park and the Grimmer Greenbelt (his creation) to back up the claim that “he’s also secured millions of dollars to create new parks and recreational opportunities.”
  • He noted that he was the council’s point person on transportation issues and funding to back up the claims that he “created jobs” and “helped secure over $200 million for local projects including a BART extension.”
  • He’s saying that his participation in the city’s trade mission to China helped retain jobs for employees at two Chinese-owned companies doing business in Fremont.  Wieckowski volunteered to be the council’s representative after Mayor Wasserman backed out because of a social obligation. Councilmember Cho threw a fit over the mayor not going and refused to go, and the vice mayor at the time, Bill Harrison, also declined to attend.


  • Obviously Wieckowski’s polling shows that jobs are the big issue. The problem is that if every elected official overseeing taxpayer money can individually take credit for spending that money in a way that creates jobs, then job creation is not such a unique skill.
  • Another problem is that the mailer’s interpretation of job creation could be so different from that of most voters, many of them who get this piece might just scratch their heads and wonder if Wieckowski has spent the past six years as president of Google or the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.
  • The irony is that of Fremont’s five council members, Wieckowski might have the best claim to an independent record in the three years I’ve been covering things. Obviously you need three votes to do anything, but it’s hard to imagine the council banning Styrofoam food packaging without Wieckowski and it’s hard to imagine there being any hope for a Children’s Natural History Museum without him either. I asked him about that. He answered by mentioning his effort four years ago for a permanent Hayward Fault exhibit at Central Park. “It’s hard to get that on a flier,” he said.
  • This might be the last edition of Campaign Mailer Watch. It’s 9:16 on a Saturday night. Not good. This should have been my Lady Gaga hour.



A Republican for State Assembly

While Bob Wieckowski, Garrett Yee and Bob Livengood square off for the all-important Democratic nomination to replace Assemblyman Alberto Torrico next year, a Republican challenger has emerged.

Adnan Shahab, 31, announced that he’ll run for the seat as a Republican, which he knows means that he has little chance to win.

While there’s a probably a better chance of Fremont getting a Saks Fifth Avenue than there is of it electing a Republican to the State Assembly, Shahab, who ran for City Council in 1998, says he’ll campaign hard and hopefully change some people’s minds about conservatives.

Shahab grew up in the Northgate neighborhood, went to Washington High School and UC Berkeley, has dabbled in radio (he’d make a great conservative talking head) and now works in a San Jose Card Room making sure everything is kosher.

He hates taxes, is pro-choice, adores Alex P. Keaton, supports concealed weapons laws, is anti-gay marriage, but pro-civil union, and anti-illegal immigration.

I tried my best to get him to agree that former NY Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress got a raw deal with that two-year sentence for shooting himself in the leg, but he didn’t take the bait. He said he’s “a law and order guy.” Poor Plax.

He’s not too into the ethnic identity thing, but for what it’s worth, he’s part Pakistani and part Filipino.


Livengood joins Assembly race

Milpitas Mayor Bob Livengood told me yesterday that he will run for Assembly against Bob Wieckowski and Garrett Yee.

Turns out he’s already raised about $60k in cash, which puts him in the same ballpark as his two top competitiors.

Still no word from Washington Hospital Board Member Jacob Eapen on whether he’ll run too. I’m guessing no, but he didn’t return my calls from two months ago or from yesterday, so I can’t say for sure.

Livengood, who has been on the Milpitas City Council since 1975, is running as an outsider independent type, which is usually what people do when they don’t have a lot of key establishment support.

He was quick to contrast himself with Wieckowski’s and Yee’s respective strong ties to Torrico and Yee.


 “My two opponents are both supported by one faction or another of assemblymen and ex-assemblymen,” he said. “We need someone to go up there who has independence, and my opponents are clearly tied to one camp or another.”

 He also noted that Yee actually raised $85,585 during the first half of this year. Of the $111,585 we reported he raised, $26,000 was a loan.



Check out Garrett Yee’s contributers

Garrett emailed me a copy of his list:


Here are some selected contributers:

Asian American for Good Government PAC –$3,900
Bernard Stewart — $500 — He’s a Washington Hospital Board Member
Sue Chan — $1,000 — Another $1,000 from her hubby
Steve Cho — $500
Al Huezo — $208  — Newark City Council and former City Manager
JD Global Law Group –$500 — Home and former home to last two Citizens for Better Community leaders
Fazlur Khan — $100 amigo mio
Maria Rogers — $500 Wife of Jack Rogers who is a co-owner of Besaro Mobile Home Park and many other things around town.
James Tong — $500 – developer
Carole Treadway — $100 – wife of the former Ohlone President
Ivy Wu — $1,000 Fremont School Board Member
Carole Yamaguchi — $500 mother of figure skating gold medalist
Adrian Zamora — $100 — world champion foosball player

OK, ready for some Dutras?
Ann Marie Dutra — $650
Bernadine Dutra — $3,900
Diana Dutra — $500
Dianna Dutra — $650
Dominic Dutra $500
John Dutra the younger — $3,250 x2. I don’t know if it’s a typo, but he’s down twice for a total of $6,500. Max contribution is $3,900.
John Dutra the elder — $3,900
Lisa Dutra — $500
Tony Dutra — $650
Dutra Enterprises, Inc. — $3,250
Cynthia Dutra-Brice — $400


Wieckowski’s supporters

Bob Wieckowski dropped by The Argus Friday to give me a copy of his campaign contribution filing. Garrett Yee said his should be online soon at this web site. I don’t think it’s been posted yet.

Wieckowski actually collected just over $60,000 in contributions from January to the end of June: Here are some of the more familiar names to me:

Charlotte Allen – $100 – Opponent of Patterson Ranch member of Fremont Citizens Network
American Animal Hospital –$1,000 – Owned by the Salwans, who also own a lot of real estate, especially in Hayward and gave Wieckowski an additional $500 from their property company.
David Bonaccorsi —  an attorney and Planning Commissioner
Fremont Firefighter Union — $3,900, which is the maximum
Friends of Alberto Torrico — $3,900
Gus Morrison — $100
Pacific General Construction/ Developer Ray Tong — $200
The Saddle Rack — $500
David Sloss — $100 Fremont Symphony
Craig Steckler — $100 Fremont Police Chief
Team Anu Natarajan — $1,250
Committee to re-elect Scott Haggerty — $500
Unitek — $1,000
Bob Wasserman — $500
John Wong of Mission Peak Co. — $500 including his wife
Judith Zlatnik — $250

Wieckowski got about $3k from different LLCs with the address, 43951 Boscell. That is the address of Vantec, a computer accessory company.


Yee jumps out to $$ lead over Wieckowski

Assembly candidate Garrett Yee sent out a press release today announcing that he has raised $111,585 from nearly 200 donors as of today. Tomorrow is the deadline for candidates to file contributions for the past few months.

Yee’s top opponent, Bob Wieckowski, told me he raised about $65,000.

Wieckowski said he was pretty much resigned to having less money on hand than Yee for the upcoming Assembly batte, but hoped the news would spur his supporters to reach deeper into their wallets.

“My base is going to have look at that and say ‘we’re going to help Bobby boy raise some money here,'” he said.

Can Wieckowski beat a candidate who raised nearly twice as much money in the opening months of the campaign? Can Yee beat a man who refers to himself as “Bobby Boy?” We’ll find out in June.


Yee speaks on NUMMI

Ohlone College Trustee Garrett Yee sent us a letter to the editor about NUMMI. But we can’t run it in the paper, it appears, because he’s a stated candidate for the Assembly, and we don’t let candidates get to write letters to the editor.

This blog, however, has no such restrictions.

Yee said he has three brothers-in-law working at the plant and that he is surprised that “local officials have somewhat downplayed the impact on Fremont’s local economy.”

“This attempt to downplay the plant’s closure’s impact mischaracterizes NUMMI’s real impact. Regardless of the tax revenue that it provides directly to the city of Fremont, the larger impact is the fact that NUMMI employs approximately 5,000 workers. These 5,000 workers help to keep the local economy going. Each dollar that a NUMMI worker earns turns over in the local economy several times.”


Garrett Yee’s kick off for Assembly

It was a star-studded gathering at the Washington Township Veterans Building Monday. How often do you get the mother of an Olympic gold medal figure skater and a world champion foosball player in the same building? Well it happened. One minute I staring awkwardly at Carole Yamaguchi, the next I was greeted by Adrian Zamora, The Tri-Cities foosball king. Zamora said Yee beat him in Middle School.

The veterans hall was filled for Yee, who will face Fremont City Councilmember Bob Wieckowski in the Democratic Primary for Assembly next year. I won’t estimate how many people were there; the folks working the front table wouldn’t give me a tally of how many had signed in.

Lots of politicos in attendance: John Dutra, Dominic Dutra, Sue Chan, Al Huezo, Steve Cho, Ivy Wu, Lily Mei and Bernie Stewart to name a few.

The only double dipper was Washington Hospital Trustee Pat Danielson. I’m pretty sure I also saw at Wieckowski’s kick-off last month.

The vegetarian pickings were slim. I was stuck with with broccoli and dip, and chips and salsa.

The only developer I recognized, beside the Dutras, was Jim Tong of the failed Double Wood golf course and Centerville projects.

Yee said Dutra had been urging him to run for years. More on this race in 2010.


Wieckowski kicks off Assembly campaign

There were about 100 people at Bob Wieckowski’s campaign kick-off party last night at Olive Hyde.

It was nice.

He introduced me to his dad and one of his sisters, who gave me a much needed bottle of water. I also talked to the caterer, who taught me that you can actually make pretty good hummus without garbanzo beans or tahini.

Lots of political people there: Gus Morrison, Bob Wasserman, Bill Harrison, Anu Natarajan, Judy Zlatnik, Liz Figueroa, Tom Blalock (BART), Pat Danielson (Washington Hospital), Chris Peeples (AC Transit), Jeff Davis (AC Transit), etc.

Not too many easily identifiable developers in the house. Ray Tong, who is Fremont’s best hope for a funky supermarket, was there. He said no Berkeley Bowl in Fremont until the economy turns around.

I missed Bob’s speech, but I heard someone tell him it was inspirational. If it ever makes it to youtube, I’ll post it.