The Corbett Effect | Meet the Underdog | SLH’S Holy Trinity | Cutter Gets Boost | Snitches Help S.L.
What an eventful first week of 2010. Apparently, a few local politicians made New Year’s resolutions to call it quits. Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker announced she would not seek re-election, San Leandro City Council candidate Peggy Combs dropped out of the race to replace Councilman Bill Stephens and the San Leandro School Board made like Donald Trump and told Superintendent Christine Lim, “You’re fired!” The most interesting aspect off Lai-Bitker’s surprise announcement is not the decision but where all the political pieces of will fall when candidates for the supervisor’s seat fully emerge. The one name that continually pops up in local salons of the East Bay is state Sen. Ellen Corbett. At first glance, the move from the Senate to the supervisor’s chambers seems like a demotion, but according to insiders the position offers more money and political stability than the Senate. Many believe it comes down to whether Corbett is looking for long-time gig in Oakland or a state-wide office down the line. But indulge for a minute the enormous political shakeup that would occur in the East Bay if Corbett ran for supervisor. Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi would likely vie for Corbett’s senate seat, leaving her seat up for grabs among too many names to list, including some interested in either open seats on the Board of Supervisors. The San Leandro mayor’s race may not be immune to the Corbett Effect if Vice Mayor Joyce Starosciak is one of the people looking at a run for the assembly.
MEET THE MAN EVERY POLITICIAN KNOWS If you were a betting man (person?) looking for a long-shot for supervisor with the best chance to pay off, it just may be Lai-Bitker’s chief of staff Shawn Wilson, a unknown to most voters, but well-known to nearly every politician in the East Bay. Wilson has not made any announcement about running, but word is he has been working the phones in recent days gauging support to replace his boss on the board of supervisors. It is highly probable he would receive Lai-Bitker’s endorsement or it would be unlikely he would proceed without it. In the past, Wilson has endeared himself to many in the East Bay as a successful political consultant. One opponent of Lai-Bitker in 2006 recently credited Wilson as the reason for the supervisor’s re-election.
IN THE NAME OF THE CORBETT We have seen in the past month that politicians should be careful criticizing San Leandro Hospital’s Holy Trinity of Corbett and Eden boardmembers Carole Rogers and Dr. Vin Sawhney. Mayor Tony Santos has gotten into hot water with supporters of saving the hospital over comments made last month questioning the board’s decision to move the fight for the hospital to the courts. The aggressive legal move by the District is a gamble, but here is the reality–none of these moves are being made without the blessing of Corbett. It is well-know the state senator has met often with Rogers and Sawhney in the past and has been a vocal supporter of keeping the facility in operation. Corbett is a lawyer who also chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and it would behoove her political skills to place her reputation in the hands of two elected health care directors if she was not calling the shots. You make the choice whether Corbett is the (A) Father, (B) Son or (C) Holy Spirit. I will choose A.
COMBS DROPS OUT OF DISTRICT 5 RACE Even before the official campaign filling period has arrived or a certain date for the actual election is known, one city council candidate has dropped out. Peggy Combs announced Monday night she would not be running to replace San Leandro Councilman Bill Stephens, who is termed out. The announcement was buried in a week of many surprises. Combs, according to sources, was overwhelmed by the rigors of early campaigning and fundraising. “Despite my passion for helping to solve problems and bring positive leadership to San Leandro, I’ve realized that I have to pay attention to other priorities in my life right now,” Combs said in a press release. Combs immediately endorsed School Trustee Pauline Cutter from council and will act as honorary chair of her campaign committee. Combs’ withdrawal leaves Corina Lopez as Cutter only known competitor for District 5.
SNITCHES HELP CRIME DIP The San Leandro Police Department was able to celebrate a 12 percent decrease in crime in 2009 with 94 officers. How will they do with 88 in 2010 because of budget cuts and retirements? Who knows? There is also no consensus as to why crime in dropping not just in San Leandro but across many big cities across the country. The old maxim that crime rises during poor economic periods is being thrown out the window and being replaced by iffy theories revolving around more unemployed people at home keeping an eye on their neighborhoods. An opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal this weeks says crime in general is a form of social protest. Maybe Wii-wielding young adults are just apathetic to the current economic landscape? San Leandro Police Chief Ian Willis has an interesting theory for his city–San Leandrans are snitches. He did not use that term, but told The Citizen Monday night, residents are far more willing to identify criminals than, say, residents in crime-riddled areas of neighboring Oakland. “We are fortunate that people in San Leandro will I.D. crime,” said Willis. “We have a good relationship with the public and that’s important.” He says, with budget cuts, the department is running at minimum staff and worries about overtaxing officers and staff with overtime in the coming years. In the meantime, keep snitching, San Leandro! – S.T.
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