May 16, 2012 | The beginning of Mary Hayashi’s political comeback may be underway. Assembly Speaker John Perez announced the appointment Wednesday of Hayashi to the special committee to explore the governor’s proposal to reorganize the executive branch. She is among 12 assembly committee members and one of two from the Bay Area. The other is Alamo Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan.

Despite pleading no contest last February to shoplifting $2,450 from a San Francisco Neiman Marcus and intimating a previously undisclosed benign brain tumor made her do it, Hayashi managed to hold on to her chairmanship of the Assembly Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection Committee. Perez and Hayashi are known to be political allies. Apparently, the two are also karaoke partners, as this infamous video of the two and other lawmakers lip-synching Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” on a tour bus last year shows.

The appointment comes weeks after it was reported she queried Alameda County supervisors about replacing Nadia Lockyer on the board and thereby setting off a firestorm of speculation and fear among potential November challengers that she will use over $800,000 in campaign coffers to win the seat in November. Hayashi is termed out of the assembly in December.