ASSEMBLY 18 | Often times local political campaigns are run somewhat blindly without much real-time feedback to gauge whether one move is more beneficial than another. You have to keep your ear to the ground and feel your gut. One way is to get inside the minds of voters to understand what they may or may not be thinking outside of the normal precepts of government–education, taxes, the economy, etc.

On the heels of Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta’s victory June 5 primary in the 18th Assembly and ,to a certain extent Jennifer Ong’s strong second place in nearby 20th Assembly, an excellent piece in the Philippine News reveals the mind set of this growing and potentially influential demographic this November.

Both Bonta and Ong like to inform voters, especially Asian American groups, their election to the California State Legislature would be historic. Either would represent the first Filipino American representatives in state history. African American don’t have to remind you how romantic a notion being the first of anything can be in revving up enthusiasm at the ballot box.

Oscar Quiambao’s in today’s Philippine News gives an up close and personal look at the mindset of Filipinos in the Bay Area, but across the country. Through the lens of sport and entertainment, the populace has received some sobering and controversial news when it comes to the success of some of their heroes. From boxing great Manny Pacquiao being robbed of a decision last week to Timothy Bradley and “American Idol” finalist Jessica Sanchez losing to a far less talented set of pipes, the Filipino populace sounds tired of losing.

“What we will see in the November runoff is a repeat of a Pacquiao beating a Bradley,” said Quiambao. “And to prevent another Mafiosi-styled rubout of one of our own, we have to come out for Bonta to fortify his lead to a landslide.”

Bonta beat second place finisher Abel Guillen June 5 by just under 5,000 votes with 36.76 percent of all ballots cast. Guillen garnered 29.59 percent of the vote. The two Democrats will again challenge each other in the Nov. 6 general election.

What makes this opinion piece so valuable to observers of this race is its exhausted tone that seems to speak right from the heart of community that is both large and diverse, but seemingly unable, in their minds, to get over the hump for total acceptance in American society.

“We’ve been fence sitters for so long in American politics that we’ve allowed those who came here after us like the Indians to gain a political clout we can now only dream of. We are so risk-averse to entrepreneurship we’ve allowed the same Mainland Chinese who controls our economy back home to capitalize on our basic needs in America, and then profit some more from the remittances we send to our loved ones, who, it seems, we all turned into mall rats.”

When handicapping of this race starts in earnest sometime before Labor Day, remember this article whenever looking for intangibles. If the race appears close on every other factor, the potential for Filipinos to personalize this race along the lines of race and culture and the exuberance it breeds could very well be the deciding factor in favor of Bonta. And the same goes for Ong in the 20th.

Jim Prola

GUILLEN GAINS FORMER YOUNG SUPPORTER Clearly, Oakland is the battleground area in the 18th Assembly, but that doesn’t mean the newcomers to the district won’t be a factor. Redistricting moved San Leandro from what is now the 20th Assembly District (fiefdom of Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi) and lumped it with neighbors to the north–Alameda and Oakland.

Guillen announced Wednesday the endorsement of the San Leandro City Council’s most liberal representative, Jim Prola. The tall, lanky and jovial Prola is also very loyal when it comes to whom he endorses. As a former backer of Joel Young’s campaign for the same seat, Prola never wavered when an avalanche of poor press riddled the AC Transit board member’s once-promising campaign. Prola repeatedly praised Young’s support of unions and called him the best candidate for the job. Prola also said the same thing about Nadia Lockyer in 2010. Yes, these guys are better public servants than prognosticators.

I haven’t asked Prola about his latest endorsement, but I willing to guess it might have much to do with him and Guillen sharing an alma mater . Prola is a proud Cal alum who claims to bleed blue and gold. Needless to say, Prola has never been to the Rose Bowl.