Less Than Superlative Week for Lockyer

Rapper’s Delight | Katz of Many Hats | Free Press Coverage | Training Video for Mayor’s Re-Election

This has definitely not been a good week for Nadia Lockyer. She allowed The Chronicle to join the fray when she couldn’t get her facts straight on whether she was a deputy district attorney for the county and exactly when her campaign removed the false claim from her web site. She followed that up by telling voters in Fremont state Sen. Ellen Corbett had endorsed her when she had not. You knew something odd was going on when both her opponents at the Wednesday forum quickly looked up strangely at her and furrowed their brows in confusion when she said her father founded the Democratic Party in Orange County. Lockyer’s propensity for making Sarah Palinesque statements like the one in today’s Chronicle where she says “very few people have access to the Internet” and “I don’t trust Kevin Dowling” is making many worried about her fitness for joining the Board of Supervisors. It is believed The Chronicle may be working on investigating exactly what Lockyer’s county-funded Family Justice Center does and whether it is truly a non-profit. In addition, two more mailers from the Lockyer campaign arrived in mailboxes this weekend touting her as the only one of the four candidates who “has direct experience working as a county manager inside county government.” The proliferation of mailers has some speculating whether the campaign’s internal poll costing over $20,000 showed a soft spot in her support. Her opponent, former state Sen. Liz Figueroa also criticized a recent mailer targeted towards the district’s Republican voters (the race for supervisor is non-partisan) featuring former Southern California Republican state Sen. Jim Brulte. Figueroa said she can’t see why a candidate endorsed by the Democratic Party would ever use a Republican in her campaign materials . Brulte has a interesting connection to the fight to keep San Leandro Hospital open. Brulte is close to Dr. Prem Reddy, the owner of Prime Healthcare and one-time suitor willing to purchase the hospital last year. Brulte, who is now a lobbyist, was seen last June at one of the three heavily-attended community meetings involving San Leandro Hospital.

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When rapper turned mayoral candidate Sara Mestas stood in front of city hall Wednesday to announce her candidacy, the man she hopes to replace Mayor Tony Santos was sitting in his second-story office within viewing distance of the press conference filmed by a NBC Bay Area cameraman. When I met with the mayor to discuss a separate story I was working on, his secretary alerted him to my arrival. The mayor yelled out, “Tell him I’m having a press conference in here!” It was a joke on the mayor’s part, but points to his disapproval of another candidate entering the race, but Mestas inclusion may help Santos far more than the other candidates–Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak and Stephen Cassidy. During her press conference, Mestas called Santos “a friend.” She has previously supported Santos for re-election and counts him as the person who urged her to apply for a seat on the city’s rent review board. If Mestas has any chance to completely upend the political establishment of San Leandro, she will likely need to bring a large number of new voters into the fold. Under Ranked Choice Voting, gaining a number of those new second-place votes could greatly help Santos’ bid for a second term, so it doesn’t make sense for Santos to be so combative towards Mestas. In the parlance of the RCV, she is the classic rabbit candidate, meaning Tony the Magician just may have surprised his opponents by pulling Mestas out of his hat.
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Sara Mestas the Rapper and Sara Mestas the Candidate have never really been in the same place at the same time. She rarely makes reference to her nascent rap career without prodding, but her unique story is doing wonders in getting her attention–for free. Articles on Mestas in the Daily Review and San Leandro Times have focused on the fish-out-of-water aspect of the gangsta rapper throwing her do-rag into the race. As both articles have noted, she is surprisingly informed and full of ideas. In just two short weeks, the newcomer to the race has garnered infinitely more free press coverage than both Starosciak and Cassidy combined. Both candidates have been in the race since last fall and have struggled to grab much attention. In contrast, Mestas appeared on the evening news of the local NBC affiliate, was featured on the web site of SF Weekly, covered in the local newspapers and may appear in a coming issue of the East Bay Express (the article posted this week in The Citizen).
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Mike Katz-Lacabe, the blogger and San Leandro school board trustee, is now giving his wife the school board president’s imprimatur for a spot on the Democratic Central Committee next month. Last week, Katz posted an article previewing the race for the six seats on the party’s central committee–the race in which his wife is a candidate. In light of criticism from this column calling for a higher level of transparency regarding Katz’s identity on the blog and better journalistic decision-making when covering issues and people who he may have a distinct conflict in covering, he wrote about his wife. The posting included a lengthy introduction for his wife including a quote for readers. He also blogged about Sara Mestas’ decision to run for mayor. Both presented conflicts even when prefacing in the article Margarita Lacabe is his wife and indicating his endorsement for Mestas’ opponent Stephen Cassidy for mayor. To be specific, Katz is more than endorsing Cassidy, but a member of his campaign team. Mestas told The Citizen, Katz emailed her a list questions in preparation for his posting on her candidacy. The list included queries into where and when she last registered to vote. Katz, the man of many hats, also transformed himself into a political consultant, according to Mestas. He told the rapper the best way to garner votes would be for her to publicly support the November ballot measure making marijuana legal in the state. Great advice if you are on the campaign committee of Mestas’ opponent like Katz is. As one professional political consultant said, “Maybe he should stop writing on his blog and start finding that $1.6 million missing from the school budget.”
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If this rapping becomes the new new thing in San Leandro politics, I’m thinking Mayor Tony Santos just may have a chance. By most accounts, he’s hip for a grandfather. Not a bad trash-talker, routinely visits the gym and is a relative maven with email. This video may give him a few pointers if he needs to duel Mestas this November for that elusive San Leandro hip-hop voter bloc. -S.T.
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