Jan. 13, 2012 | Two thousand twelve is barely two weeks old and I’m embarrassed to say my predictions for the top 10 story lines of the year may have excluded one major development.
Will this be the year where Indian American candidates in the East Bay grab political power in one dramatic and possibly unprecedented manner?

Check out the short list:

  • Ro Khanna, a former Obama commerce department official, returns to Fremont and quickly amasses $1 million in no time for a run at some point for Rep. Pete Stark’s seat.
  • Underage Ricky Gill is also nearing $1 million with help from the RNC to unseat an alway vulnerable Rep. Jerry McNerney in San Joaquin County.
  • Fremont Vice Mayor Anu Natarajan is popular among East Bay pols and is possible a frontrunner to replace the recently passed Bob Wasserman as mayor this year.

The free flowing spigot of campaign fundraising dollars coming from Indian American interests in Silicon Valley even has an unknown like Sarabjit Cheema thinking she can compete in an assembly race in the 20th District.

Luring previously unrepresented ethnic groups into the local political process is a very good thing, but the immense amount of fundraising dollars from outside, sometimes very outside interest, is something to keep an eye on.

(This article is featured in today’s Fifty+One blog.)
Supplement stories in the EastBayCitizen by reading my new heavily updated blog “Fifty+One” ( covering the East Bay political scene featuring behind-the-scenes observations and pertinent rants and ravings. “Fifty plus one,” by the way is the winning electoral equation for all politicians.