Will She or Won’t She?

Corbett Has Until Mar. 12 to Throw East Bay Politics in Disarray | It’s Not Raining Men in Corbett’s Office | Cherry Festival Canceled, Nooo! | There’s a Pill for That
As far as stakeouts go, slogging through a two-hour panel discussion on higher education with Ellen Corbett and Loni Hancock was hardly investigative journalism. I did attempt to look like a college student, though, dined on some Panda Express and climbed Cal State East Bay’s insane ruins of steep stairs. I was there to confront Corbett over rumors that continue to rise from sweet-nothings into eardrum-piercing shouts that she is leaning toward a run for supervisor. Will she or won’t she?  To find the  answer I had to weave around multiple staff members as the senator left the university commons (Just a side note: why does Corbett have just a single male staffer and why is he the photographer?). A windy drizzle started to fall as Corbett and her staff negotiated the stairs to her car. I saddled up to Corbett and asked if  she told a local councilmember she was “seriously” contemplating a run at supervisor. Corbett, normally kind and genial, seized up, lowered her head and hissed, “no comment.” The odd demeanor of the senator and the appearance of us walking down steep stairs, would make you think we were walking out of a federal grand jury investigation (presumably about her lone male staff who gets paid tax dollars to post  photos of the senator’s events on Facebook) rather than asking a simple question about her political future. Assuredly, it was hardly a “gotcha” inquiry. Afterwards, Corbett called to apologize, but there was nothing to be sorry for, it’s just politics and speculation whether she will run for a second-term in the state senate or to replace Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker will be known by Mar. 12, at the latest.
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‘IT’S TOUGH TO BE A STUDENT’ BITCH SESSION The disastrous shape of the state university system is beyond comprehension and its problems are only exasperated by the current budget crunch. Corbett, Hancock and a panel of local students from around the Bay Area discussed the matter Tuesday night at Cal State East Bay. The discussion was preceded by a painfully boring webcast by Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, which is basically attempting to fix a problem by asking the person who caused the problem to find a solution. It is always Sacramento’s fault, according to legislators who, themselves” are Sacramento. Both Corbett and Hancock lobbied for a change to California’s cumbersome two-thirds rule to pass a budget or raise taxes. As for the issues hampering students these days, I can vouch for their consternation. It was less than two years ago, that I sat waiting for months to receive my financial aid check from the CSUEB Finance Aid Office. It wasn’t their problem. There were only four employees covering over 10,000 requests. This was before the most “severe” of the governor’s budget cuts to CSU system came down. I was nearly in the ninth of thirteen weeks of  instruction when I finally received aid and many feel lucky they can even acquire aid of any kind these days. When you’re a college student, struggling along with Top Ramen and Diet Coke in your belly, it’s hard enough working part-time and carrying a full load of courses without worrying about your bank account, too.

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REMEMBER WHEN I SAID ‘SHE’LL CUT YOU’? There is no truth to the rumor Nicholas Terry, the former assembly candidate for the 18th district, took the advice of his former client Mr. T and abruptly dropped his challenge to Assemlywoman Mary Hayashi. “Don’t be foo’, Mary ain’t cool!” Terry had built a short-term cache of visibility in the local media with his rough-edged comments criticizing Hayashi for being in the pockets of lobbyists along with his former career as a Hollywood agent, but the Castro Valley native who said he was ready to tirelessly campaign at the grassroots-level ended his run before it even got started. A source told The Citizen, Hayashi’s Distirct Director Chris Parman said they learned Terry had registered as an American Independent and the assemblywoman planned to hit the candidate hard with the information. Terry, whose short campaign eschewed the two-party system said the registration snafu was a mistake says the Secretary of State’s office said could not be remedied before November. The American Independent Party is not the same as being an “independent” candidate and features staunchly far-right policy positions against abortion and gay marriage. Terry said he is pro-choice and supports gay marriage, but the mistake and the likelihood Hayashi would hammer him on the issue apparently proved too much, which he alluded to by charging her with “dirty politics” in his farewell.

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WHERE WILL I GET A PLASTIC FIREMEN HAT? Through San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos‘ crisp 30-minute State of the City last week, there were a few light chuckles, but it was notable that the only audible sound during the whole speech, was a loud gasp from a woman in the front row. Was it the $7.3 million deficit? News 30 more city employees could be laid-off this July? No. The freightening sucking of air was for the cancellation of the San Leandro Cherry Festival this year. Vice Mayor Joyce Starosicak said the city knew last year, after the 100th anniversary of the festival, there would not be a 101st in the near future because of a worsening city budget. My favorite memory from last year’s festival was a teenage boy, who was performing a dance routine, suddenly fell off the stage, landed on his feet, ran back on stage and continued dancing. Now, that should be a metaphor for the city, except without a medley of Shakira songs in the background.

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DISSOCIATIVE DISORDER Here’s another odd situation with San Leandro School Board President Mike Katz and his apparent split personality. In a post last week, Katz reported Alameda County supervisor candidate Wilma Chan and Nicholas Terry were some of the dignitaries at Monday’s State of the City. He did not “report”, however, others gathering at City Hall, including two previous city managers…..and School Board President Mike Katz, himself. Mayoral candidate Stephen Cassidy was not in attendance, but Katz, also on the committee to elect Cassidy for Mayor, videotaped the entire speech for him. It is still unclear whether Katz the Politician is a different person than Katz the Journalist, but I can report the guy last Monday night has a far more luxurious coif than the one at school board meetings. Hello Paul Mitchell! – S.T.

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