Alameda Group Files Petition to Recall Assembly Candidate Rob Bonta

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, 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.

14 thoughts on “Alameda Group Files Petition to Recall Assembly Candidate Rob Bonta

  1. Election law requires the officer to serve an answer to the notice of intent within 7 days, to one of the proponents of the recall. Service must be personal delivery or certified mail.

    The law does not require the proponents to check every day with the city clerk office to see if anything was filed.

    By end-of-day, August 8th, none of the proponents had received service of an answer, and that's what was announced on August 9th. There was nothing false about the announcement.


  2. To amend my previous post – again, because Steven refuses to contact me to respond to the false charges against me that he publishes here.

    I am not an extremist, nor am I anti-labor, or anti-government. I do favor responsible government, however, something poorly lacking in Alameda.

    And as for “anonymous” – Leland Traiman is a lifelong Democrat, and couldn't be anything further from a Tea Partier. His bio is here:


  3. Steven – are you going to allow those baseless and false allegations of racism and party affiliation from an anonymous commenter remain on your site?

    For the record, because neither Steven cared to ask, and “anonymous” insists on making false accusations:

    1) I am not a member of the Tea Party.
    2) I am not angry about the racial composition of our city council.
    3) I do not “hate anyone who isn't white.” On the contrary, my wife is black, and we have two children together.

    4) I am not “anti-democrat.”
    5) I am anti-corruption.
    6) I am anti-hypocrisy.

    7) There seems to me to be a tremendous amount of 5) and 6) in Alameda.

    It's also very sad for me that “anonymous” chooses to make false and baseless allegations of racism, because there are genuine race issues to be addressed in Alameda, and those false allegations detract from addressing the true issues.


  4. People in Alameda are definitely a different breed. No matter how ridiculous this group seems to be, I think it would do Rob Bonta and voters some good to tweak him a little bit. He's not good enough to have had so few road blocks to the assembly.


  5. This is a story that only reaches newsworthiness on a platform that solely covers politics. Judge its merits on your own. And don't worry, your chance to shine in Scandalville will come soon enough. I promise and won't accept your apology, so save it.


  6. The fact that Abel Guillen used it in his press release as an attack makes it credible enough to report on. It is a campaign related story and a companion piece to Steven's East Bay Express story on Abel's attack on the failure of Bonta's campaign contributions and expenditures. This story covered the second half Abel's press release while EBE covered the first half.


  7. David Howard and Leland Traiman are two of the least credible Alamedans around. The Citizen continues to try and cover Alameda, and continues to fail. Spend some time looking to get to know your hometown a little before trying to dive in.

    Howard/Traiman and the rest of their crew have filed numerous complaints with the District Attorney, Attorney General, City offices, FPPC, etc. Over and over and over and over they are denied or ignored. They accomplish nothing but adding negativity our beloved island community. So much time spent, so little to show for it.

    Step it up Citizen, don't just buy into every silly conspiracy spun your way. There are plenty of real issues to cover, focusing on the pretend ones helps no one.


  8. David Howard why is anyone required to confirm anything with you? Your not credible what so ever. FYI for anyone reading these comments Leland and David are Alameda Tea Party and hate anyone who isn't white. They are angry because there is a black mayor and two Asian Council members.


  9. Bonta is/will be a career politican. He takes special interest money and will represent special interests over the greater good. Surely we can do better?


  10. Because of the Citizens United Decision (the Supreme Court decision which said corporate “citizens” could spend unlimited amounts on campaigns) our last city council election saw hundreds of thousands of dollars poured into our city of only 42,000 registered voter so large developers could grab hold of the former naval air station. Since taking office these council members, led by Rob Bonta, have voted to override Alameda's slow growth charter amendment, known as Measure A, to add 2,400 homes to our island which only has 4 points of entry or exit and to give away public park land to a developer, also a violation of our city charter. These council members are now Alameda's poster children for the effects of Citizens United on our city. All of this is perfectly fine if, like Mitt Romney, you believe that “corporations are people, my friend.” I do not.
    When asked at the League of Women Voters if he would support limiting new housing units to 200 per year, candidate Bonta said, “200 is too much.” Councilmember Bonta, however, made the motion to add 2,400 new housing units.
    Bonta: Bought by Big Developers. He deserves recall.


  11. Steven,

    You are confusing your “Measure A”… if you had reached out to me, I could have helped you clarify.

    Bonta voted to override local law – enacted in 1973, and amended in 1991, commonly referred to as “Measure A” – that provides housing density restrictions in Alameda. With his vote, Bonta didn't “change” Measure A – instead, he just threw it out the window to sidestep it completely.

    There was another “Measure A” school parcel tax in March 2011 that passed. A previous version of that measure, “Measure E” failed in 2010.

    I'm also deeply disappointed that you didn't contact me to respond to the false charges made by Rob Bonta's campaign manager.


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