Hayashi’s Paltry Support Among Local Pols Reaches Outside Supervisorial District

ELECTION ’12//ALCO DIST 2 | As expected, many elected officials in the contested Alameda County Board of Supervisors District 2 race view Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi’s run for the seat as something as uncomfortable as a pair of leather pants filled with itching powder.

Of the nine endorsers thus far, according to Hayashi’s campaign Web site, just two–recently retired Hayward Fire Chief Craig Bueno and Fremont Councilwoman Suzanne Lee Chan–have any connection to the district encompassing Hayward, Fremont, Union City and Newark. However, Chan’s Fremont is split among two districts. She is also up for re-election this fall, making her support politically courageous.

However, that doesn’t mean the controversial legislator convicted of misdemeanor shoplifting last January is short of big name backers from Sacramento’s Democratic leadership. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez issued support for Hayashi’s run for supervisor, as did Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Fiona Ma.

Regional labor groups covering large swaths of the Western United States with long names offered support including the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, District 12 and Local 1304. The United Farm Workers of America are also listed, according to Hayashi’s Web site.

Curiously, it is two names from within Hayashi’s current assembly district in San Leandro, but the borders of the supervisorial seat she is vying for that may elicit the most animosity. Hayashi received the endorsement of John Sherr, the president of the San Leandro teachers’ union and former San Leandro Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak. Both may be upsetting to the city’s educators and long-time supporters of Starosciak in the Washington Manor neighborhood. However, Starosciak no longer has skin the game when it comes to Alameda County.

Starosciak abruptly resigned last month before the end of her term this year to move to Roseville. Her sudden departure and reasoning for the move–she claimed lingering “sadness” over her 2010 mayoral defeat as the culprit–has sullied her reputation after two effective terms on the city council. As the city searches for a two-month replacement for her seat, it seems to some the endorsement of Hayashi came sometime between packing the family China and hitting the on-ramp near Highway 238.

COMIC STRIP The best place for ravenous critics of Hayashi and her infamous brush with the law last year is not a certain East Bay political site or even from one of her opponents for Alameda County supervisor, but a scrappy special interest group offering humorous cartoons and GIFs poking fun at Hayashi.

A group calling itself, People Opposing Referral for Profit Kickbacks, has been vicious in its attempts over the past few months to use Hayashi’s shoplifting conviction to shame her while criticizing her support of physician-owned physical therapy services.

Cartoons like the one above show just how visceral the anger towards Hayashi can get in the political realm. It remains to be seen whether County Supervisor Richard Valle and Union City Mayor Mark Green will use surrogates to employ some of the same tactics against Hayashi, or, in the case of Green, unleash a barrage of sharp-tongued soundbites alluding to what still remains the single most bizarre news story ever to hit the political scene in the East Bay.

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