Clever Campaigning, Shifty Shenanigans Mark The Stretch Run To June Primary


May 28, 2012 | For politicians, these are not times for the faint of heart. In fact, the pressure is high, nerves are fraying and while some campaigns are deep into readying well-honed strategies, others are looking to gain every advantage possible as political equations shift and unforeseen developments arise and for others anything is fair game.

Races in the East Bay’s 18th and 20th Assembly District’s and Hayward’s contentious City Council campaign are all too close to call and candidates are leaving nothing to chance, while the race for the 15th congressional district may be more about the the incumbents margin of victory than which candidate finishes win, place or show.


Dr. Jennifer Ong’s retro-style campaigning in the 20th Assembly District has received wide attention among not only voters, but also her opponents. Voters in the district began receiving pot holders in the mail emblazoned with Ong’s campaign logo last week in tandem with a mailer describing her mother’s working class background selling hot dogs at the Oakland Coliseum. “I’m tired of hearing about her mother selling hot dogs,” exclaimed Hayward school board member Luis Reynoso, Ong’s Republican opponent for the Assembly.

Ong has also supplied potential voters with small ornamental grass plants, which set off a frenzy last week outside a church in Fremont. Ong’s late hard charge has been bankrolled with over $50,000 in independent expenditures over the past two weeks, primarily from health care special interest groups. While most believe Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk will likely finish first in the June primary, Ong’s not only has designs on second place, but aiming at tweaking her opponent. In a bit of political theater last Tuesday, Ong spoke out during public comment at the Hayward City Council meeting against a proposed Walmart in the city at the same time addressing her main opponent Quirk. Although, Quirk voted to uphold the planning commission’s decision blocking Walmart, Ong’s remarks appeared more vociferous than his and may have stole his thunder on his home turf.

The same type of aggressiveness has been absent in the neighboring 18th Assembly District until the past two weeks. Despite growing knowledge of Joel Young’s boorish behavior starting with allegations of domestic violence early last year, the subject have never come close to being broached during the campaign, until a biting mailer arrived in mailboxes last week. A Southern California special interest group, hoping to capitalize on Young’s extreme negatives, pointedly described his former girlfriend’s allegations, another incident with an Oakland council staff member and the revoking of a major labor union’s endorsement earlier this year.


Hayward’s toss-up at-large City Council race may became an extremely dirty political race down the stretch. Three incumbents are running with six other candidates for four open seats. Ralph Farias, Jr., one of the most colorful candidates in the East Bay was called out in public Tuesday night by Jesus Armas, the city’s former city manager and current school board member, who charged him with pasting his campaign signs on placards supporting the school parcel tax, Measure G. Farias has been vocal about voting down the tax measure. When Armas revealed a photo of the signs before the City Council and viewers watching at home, Farias heckled Armas to keep the picture in focus. Afterwards, Farias would not admit to defacing the Measure G signs, but owned up to his long-running feud with Armas.

Conservative-leaning Chris Pareja may not have much campaign fundraising to draw from so he’s going big with what little he has. Drivers on the always congested Interstate 880 near Winton Avenue will have seen what Pareja calls the “largest lawn sign” in the district. Peering down from the 27 by 15 feet video board at Southland Mall is Pareja’s visage and Web site,, which either means Stark must not return to congress next year ,or, possibly, a site that alerts constituents to when the 80-year-old congressman needs to use the restroom. Either way, Stark should win the June 5 primary, but the major unknown is by how much? If Swalwell and Pareja can limit Stark to under 50 percent, then the entire November general election in the 15th will became a full-fledged toss-up with national implications.

Categories: #AD18, AD 20, Bill Quirk, campaign finance, CD15, Chris Pareja, congress, Hayward City Council, Jennifer Ong, Jesus Armas, June primary, Luis Reynoso, Pete Stark

18 replies

  1. Some people are saying giving plants and pot holders is bribery. I think it's cool and good advertising. Kind of like opening a bank account and getting a toaster.


  2. I hate kitschy crap! It's condescending and disrespectful. These are serious days – deadly serious days and she stoops to pot holders and tomato plants – idiot.


  3. Yes, yes, enough of these silly pot-holders and plants.
    Get serious and send us a dozen more slick mailers so we can learn about the serious issues that affect our lives. Blah, Blah, Blah..

    Between now and election day, I would love get something as usefull as a pot-holder.
    But wait, we all have enough pot-holders. I still have old ones from Perata.
    Stick your name on something we can use.

    How about, seriously, a set of kitchen gloves with your name on the back.. With a card saying, something catchy, like “lets clean up the mess in Sacramento”..

    I'd love a pair of gloves I could use for cleaning up around the house. Playtex type. Everyone could use another pair far more than the 28th mailer next week..

    Think NEW… Even Pete Stark finally got some new signs for the first time in 40 years.
    Those new blue ones. Wow, its a new Pete.

    I only wish Mary Hayashi was wasn't termed out, or we'd be seeing some truly collectable signs from her opponent. Guess we'll have to wait until November for those. She'll be right up there with Nick Nolte.


  4. I've been throwing around a potential mailer for Hayashi's next opponent. A paper doll of Hayashi complete with paper dresses and leather pants. Genius, huh?!


  5. By MW:

    Come one, come all.

    Only one week to Election Day.

    In other words, this is the very last chance to vote for the crook of your choice. So don't miss it and hurry up and vote.


  6. I am also very insulted to have Jennifer Ong, a fellow Asian, stoop to bribery in such serious times. We do not need plants or potholders or multiple fliers with contradictory irrelevant political messages. I agree with the blogger (at 5/28 4:38pm). Another example of a very stupid candidate trying to go to Sacramento. Anyone but Jennifer Ong, please. I do not care how much money is spent to put a stupid candidate like Ong in Sacramento because stupidity in a candidate does not go away with throwing money at it.


  7. I heard open bribes like ong's,are part of politics in 3rd world. Don't let them creep here in California. Nip the evil in the bud. Make her learn the lesson to pay her dues at the local level. Why can she not pay back to the community by serving at the local school district/council. Crook…killing California…


  8. Yes, genius. What do you have in mind for Nadia Lockyer?


  9. Steven, you write:
    “In a bit of political theater last Tuesday, Ong spoke out during public comment at the Hayward City Council meeting against a proposed Walmart in the city at the same time addressing her main opponent Quirk. Although, Quirk voted to uphold the planning commission's decision blocking Walmart, Ong's remarks appeared more vociferous than his and may have stole his thunder on his home turf.”

    Isn't that the point? Quirk is on the dais, having to take a difficult vote. Ong has no experience and never had to prove her meddle – not on school board, planning commission, city council.


  10. Hey Tavares,

    What pic would you use for Hayashi's paper doll? The glamour shot Assembly headshot? or the infamous mugshot?


  11. I would stay classy and use the glamour shot. If a voter doesn't know anything about her past, they might not believe the mugshot is true.


  12. Alot of people complain about how Hayward's politics are getting “Dirty” If this was a major city like SF, Oak , and LA this would have became really radical. People in our city in politics are ass backwards and arent progressive. Its a joke that the city of Hayward with nearly 160k residents and only has 60k estimated registered voters and this upcoming election which is local only draws 14k votes. its a joke. Where is the community solidarity? where is the respect to our nation? It is our civic duty to vote. I hate when people blame the government and dont even take the time to vote. We need to get fresh ideas in city hall we need change. Our city is being poisoned by this current administration. lets make this joke of a council reset and lets bring in new ideas and people who want to be aggressive in building hayward a better hayward.


  13. Dr. Jennifer Ong believes in what is right before what is political.


  14. to 4:10pm. Jennifer Ong is not qualified for the assembly seat. Sorry. Just telling it like it is. I have heard her many times and she is the worst of all of her competitors for assembly. Jennifer Ong does not know right from wrong to determine the politics if any.
    I can never vote for her. No matter how many slick glossy fliers Jennifer sends to my home it is just a hopeless case. I don't think any serious voters out there are really falling for her propaganda that is condescending. She must think we are very stupid voters. Jennifer it is best you stick to just selling designer frames.


  15. Mailing pot holders and going to door to door with plants is not dirty politics, its called campaigning. Open your eyes Alameda County, if you want dirty go to San Francisco…


  16. 1:52 You are off beat. What the people are complaining about is that a candidate should provide real information on platforms and issues.
    No way can a potted grass blade or cheap oven mitt provide intelligent information about a candidate. All those gifts really provide are bribes for votes. People think of it as corruption. Maybe it is campaigning for dumb candidates but voters really want to have serious bright candidates address serious issues. Sorry but Jennifer Ong's campaign is corrupt and stupid for bribes and stupid people. Like most voters I want to address serious issues. My vote will go to a bright candidate. I too agree as above that Jennifer Ong needs to stick to just selling glasses. Jennifer does not get my vote.


  17. You know what's funny? the fact that none of you know her. Jennifer Ong would and actually DOES care more about people than ANY other candidate. She doesn't need NOR does she want the votes of people who don't support her. So keep wasting your life away voicing your irrelevant opinions and vote for whoever you like.


  18. Now I have no one to vote for in November for AD20. Not even a write in. There should be a write in for the ballot as a form of protest.

    I agree that big money now sways elections. Quirk a poor choice and Ong is a very poor choice.

    So the choices in AD20 are either poor or very poor.


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