Alameda Group Files Petition to Recall Assembly Candidate Rob Bonta

ELECTION ’12//ASSEMBLY 18/ALAMEDA |
By SHANE BOND | The Citizen
ELECTION ’12//ASSEMBLY 18/ALAMEDA | In Alameda, a familiar adversary for most of its City Council has collected over 40 signatures for a recall campaign against current 18th Assembly District frontrunner, Rob Bonta.

Late last month, the Alameda city clerk was served with a request that Bonta, the current vice mayor of Alameda, be pulled from the city council.

The Web site, RecallBonta.com is linked to David Howard, a local and frequent city critic in Alameda, who recently charged Bonta with failing to file a response to the petition by the required deadline on Aug. 8, according to Howard’s press release.

Mark Capitolo, Bonta’s campaign manager, says otherwise.

“He is totally wrong, everything is fine, the response was filed on time,” said Capitolo. Capitolo then provided The Citizen with a copy of the response that the campaign filed. Alameda’s city clerk has since then confirmed that the response was filed on time.

Over the few weeks, the site has regularly posted anti-Bonta stories attacking him on multiple fronts from his history with labor unions, supposed corrupt bureaucratic pandering to Alameda firefighters and the hiring of City Manager John Russo, who once served as Oakland’s city attorney.

It also criticizes Bonta’s position concerning Measure A in the city charter which is suppose to prevent one housing unit per 2,000 square feet of land. During his campaign for the city council Bonta said that he would only support a change of the measure in the city charter if Alameda citizens wished to do so. The website claims after Bonta supported it and won the vice mayor seat in Alameda, it asserts, he then motioned for an ordinance that would block the measure. The video posted on the Web site concerning the ordinance is heavily edited and does not provide readers with a link to the original, unedited video.

According to Bonta’s response to the petition he “helped keep Measure A completely intact in the city charter without changing a single word.”

Bonta voiced his support for local public safety by proposing a local measure that would “raise additional funds for police and fire protection, libraries, parks and other services,” because “the funds would stay local.”

Bonta further added, “This recall petition saddens me. It is based on completely false information and distracts from what is good about our town and people, the progress we are making and the bright days ahead.”

Capitolo characterized Howard as a “notorious anti-government, anti-Democrat and anti-labor union extremist and, as far as I’ve been paying attention to Alameda politics, he has done nothing but criticize city officials and firefighters who want to do something good to the community.”

On the other hand Howard claims to have never met Capitolo, “So I don’t see how he can pretend to know what I stand for. I do know, however, that there are many people in Alameda that will call you names if they disagree with you.”

However, Howard and others in Alameda were instrumental in defeating Measure C, a half-cent sales tax proposal on the ballot last June.

According to the Capitolo, the Bonta campaign doesn’t consider the group to be much of a threat to Bonta’s campaign for the 18th Assembly District, yet that hasn’t stopped his Democratic opponent, Abel Guillen, from using it to their advantage.

In Guillen’s recent press release he noted the group’s petition as a sign of “uproar” in Alameda about Bonta’s “close relationships with special interests and his decision to abandon the City Council seat just six months after taking office.”

The press release also claims that Bonta is hiding contributions and expenditures from the public that Capitolo said was a treasurer’s mistake that had no ulterior motive.

EDIT: The Measure A we first referred to in the previous copy mistakenly referred to the 2011 parcel tax. We corrected this to refer to section XXVI in the city charter. We also added in the city clerk’s confirmation of receiving the petition response and added additional commentary from the RecallBonta campaign.