June 12, 2012 | A group vehemently opposed to physician-owned therapy referrals along with a senate bill currently sitting in an Assembly committee, registered the first tangible signs that opponents of Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi will be more than willing to use her shoplifting plea against her now and in the future.

People Opposing Referral for Profit Kickbacks offered a political cartoon last May skewering Hayashi and her support by various physical therapists groups. The cartoon panel highlighted the Oct. 25, 2011 shoplifting incident at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco. Hayashi plead no-contest to misdemeanor charges and two years probation involving the theft of $2,450 in clothing.

The group repurposed a new version of the same cartoon for even more biting effect and posted it to its Web site June 7. In addition to the new tagline, “Could Mary Hayashi shoplift SB 924?” the physical therapists depicted in the panel is now taking the senate bill out from Hayashi’s Neiman Marcus bag with a thought bubble saying, “This woman can’t be trusted.” The bill, SB 924, was passed by the State Senate last January and sits in the Hayashi-chaired Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protections Committee. It is not scheduled for debate over the next two weeks, according to the Assembly Daily File, but could be heard as early as June 26.

Nevermind the pros and cons of the bill, but the group’s willingness to use Hayashi’s Achilles’ Heel against her for political gain is a gambit many in the East Bay are preparing to bear witness. Most believe Hayashi will run for Alameda County supervisor in November. The expectations of a vociferous and nasty campaign are high on the potential cringe-inducing reactions. So much so that cartoon above might look mighty tame in comparison to the mud that may be thrown at Hayashi this year.

(h/t SF Bay Area Observer)