Fremont Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski starts 2012 with a resolution asking Congress to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous Citizens United decision. The bill, co-authored with Assemblyman Michael Allen passes in July and represents a huge win for Wieckowski’s growing credibility among progressives.

“The fight goes on!” exclaims Carole Rogers, the chair of the Eden Township Healthcare District, after the board votes to continue the legal war with Sutter Health over the disputed title to San Leandro Hospital. By a vote of 3-1, the board of directors gives its legal counsel authority to petition the State Supreme Court following its Dec. 21, 2011 loss in appellate court.

Then-Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi pleads no-contest to misdemeanor grand theft, which includes a three-year probation, $180 fine and order to stay 50 feet away from the Neiman Marcus store she shoplifted $2,450 worth of clothing in San Francisco. Hayashi’s lawyer, though, shocks everyone by stating an undisclosed benign brain tumor made Hayashi do it. The jokes then write themselves, but Hayashi is down, but not necessarily out.

San Leandro Councilwoman Ursula Reed removes Chris Crow, her likely opponent in the November election off the city’s planning commission. Crow, however, will later move to another district rather face the woman who personally appointed him to the planning commission in 2010. A week later, San Leandro ends its year-long search for a new city manager by approving a $223,000, 3-year contract for Chris Zapata, formerly of National City, Calif.

Embattled Assembly candidate Joel Young is accused by an aide of Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan of spitting in his eye at an event in downtown Oakland. The altercation stemmed from the aide referencing Young’s domestic violence charge last year, according to the aide, but Young said it was the aide who was cozying up to his new girlfriend.

Then-Assemblyman Sandre Swanson drops his bid to challenge fellow Democrat Loni Hancock for her seat in the state Senate ending what could have been a nasty primary campaign before it started. However, a deal setting up Swanson for the seat in 2016 when Hancock terms out is widely-rumored. By December, Swanson will have a placeholder job waiting for him in Oakland as Jean Quan’s deputy mayor.

Possibly feeling the pressure from Ro Khanna’s quickly growing war chest and public awareness, Sen. Ellen Corbett goes full Bollywood and dons traditional Indian garb on the state senate floor on Indian Independence Day.

Fremont unanimously appoints its former Mayor Gus Morrison to fill out the remainder of Bob Wasserman’s last year in office. Wasserman passed away in late December 2011. Councilmembers Bill Harrison and Anu Natarajan, however, will fight a bitter campaign to replace Wasserman in November.

The year’s biggest political news story drops like a bomb in of all places—Newark. Then-Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer calls the Newark Police to her hotel room claiming she was the victim of domestic violence by an ex-boyfriend. Her husband, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, tells the San Francisco Chronicle his wife may have a drinking problem.

Two days later, The Citizen reveals the extent of Nadia Lockyer’s personal problems include a horrifying addition to methamphetamine. The next day, she announces she is entering rehab for drug and alcohol dependency.

Within hours of Lockyer’s announcement she is entering rehab, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors places its much-lauded chief probation officer on paid administrative leave after an underling accuses him of sexual assaulting her at the San Leandro Marina.

Early fundraising numbers show Joel Young leading the pack in the 18th Assembly District race despite a noticeably drop in support following a report in the East Bay Express exposing his alleged domestic violence allegations. Abel Guillen’s stock rises with a spate of endorsements and Kathy Neal abruptly drops out the race. In the 20th Assembly District, Bill Quirk leads the pack, albeit with nearly $100,000 of his own money.

Hayward’s St. Rose Hospital looks the Eden Township Healthcare District for additional help on top of a $3 million with talk of a potential merger. Both entities, however, are in precarious financial straits.

Rep. Pete Stark and Eric Swalwell meet face-to-face for the very first time during a forum at the Tri Valley Democratic Club in Dublin. Those expecting Stark to bash his young challenger are disappointed as it is Swalwell who comes across a combative in skewering Stark’s age and perceived decline.

“Nadia’s Boy Toy Dangles Titillating Comment Heard ‘Round The County,” read the headline in The Citizen, following suggestions by her ex-boyfriend of the existence of a sex tape. “There’s a way bigger story than sex tapes,” Chikhani tells a reporter outside a courthouse in San Jose.

Eric Swalwell’s congressional campaign releases a rap video created by a local Tri Valley teen, who intones, “Eric, he’s the new model/And wants us to be winners/Just like the lotto.” The release also coincides with Justin Bieber’s birthday. Coincidence?

Lawyers for Nanette Dillard, the former executive director of an Alameda County anti-poverty organization, retaliate against the district attorney’s media campaign against her and her husband. Dillard is accused of stealing from the now-defunct ACAP, but her attorney accuses the D.A. of shifting the blame from the real culprits of the organization’s demise: county leaders who failed to monitor what was going on.

Ellen Corbett decides against running for Congress in 2012. She follows Ro Khanna, who earlier expressed the same sentiment. The inaction by both will ultimately become a disastrous and potentially career-altering political miscalculation

For Joel Young, his biggest indiscretion was not allegedly hitting his girlfriend in the face or spitting in the eye of a Oakland City Council aide. It was crossing the powerful Service Employees International Union. The group took the unusual step of withdrawing its support for Young’s campaign in the 18th Assembly District after he reportedly attempted to use union questionnaires from his opponents, Rob Bonta and Abel Guillen, against them.

After pointedly sharp words from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors directed at the CEO of St. Rose Hospital, Michael Mahoney, he abruptly resigns. The move followed a quixotic search to prop up the facility’s poor finances, first with a $3 million loan from the Eden Township Healthcare District and then through a possible sale to nearby Washington Hospital in Fremont.