Young Botches Transit News, Exploits Trayvon; Guillen Leads Endorsement Race

April 4, 2012 | One big news story following the nexus of assembly candidate Joel Young and his involvement as a member of the AC Transit board is the $16 million purchase order last week from bus -maker Gillig in Hayward.

The story in The New York Times last week was heralded by Hayward leaders as a bright spot in their city’s future development. Curiously, neither the Times story or any Hayward council members mentioned Young for the transit authority’s good work. There may be good reason for that, at least the second part.

Young’s reputation along with that of AC Transit is quite low in Hayward. A city official who frequently sits on county transportation committees said the city has repeatedly complained to Young and AC Transit over the lack of service in Hayward.

The official told The Citizen last month, he doesn’t get along with Young and the assembly candidate doesn’t even acknowledge him at meetings. The animosity is so great, the official said, that he does even not attempt to shake Young’s hand anymore.

ENDORSEMENT CHAMP Nobody is really sure how much faith voters put into endorsements. If they are a deciding factor in AD18, then Abel Guillen is your winner. However, actual votes decide the matter.

Over the weekend, Guillen added an important endorsement from the Metropolitan Greater Oakland Democratic Club. Their backing adds another layer of support from the very critical pool of Oakland voters. It is also becoming increasingly clear that Guillen has become the darling of the city’s most ardent and vocal bloc of progressives over the past six months. Their support for Guillen significantly ramped up last November when he led the way for the Peralta Community College Board of Trustees to begin looking into transferring the district’s assets away from large corporate banking institutions. The proposal, influenced by Occupy Wall Street, bolstered his cred as a progressive and their support has done nothing but risen ever since.

MUDDLED MESSAGE Last week, supporters received an email encouraging them to attend a rally in Oakland that evening in support of Trayvon Martin. “Bring your hoodies, some Skittles and a soda,” Young wrote. Young’s campaign team has recently tried to highlight his partial inclusion in some positive recent news stories. Because, well, the others in the past year have proven deadly to his chances of becoming the next assembly member for the 18th District.

While Young clearly says the event was sponsored by the NAACP Oakland Branch Imani Youth Council, some of his critics speculated why the email also included the sentence, “Paid for by Young for Assembly 2012.” at the bottom of the email and whether Young’s campaign paid for the event, or more likely, is he attempting to make it appears so. The hidden message is likely legal, but it also reveals another attempt by the campaign to muddle Young’s true intentions and trustworthiness.