CADEM CONVENTION//ROUND UP | Being an off year in California and East Bay politics does not normally elicit much news. In fact, last weekend’s Democratic state convention was more about likely 2014 candidates making important first impressions and building a network of support. Like most conventions, the real news was more likely made outside the men’s bathroom on second floor than inside the convention hall. Here are some news and notes and observations from the Democrat’s annual gathering in Sacramento (sans literal fisticuffs on the streets.)

ALCO Supervisor Wilma Chan
PHOTO/Shane Bond

CHAN FOR SD9? Quite a few delegates said Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan is a likely candidate in 2016 for what is now a potential all-star ballot to replace termed out State Sen. Loni Hancock in the 9th Senate District. Termed out Berkeley Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner is also likely to run for the seat along with former Oakland Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, now a deputy in Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s office. Swanson made an early and bold move to run against Hancock in early 2012, but quickly pulled up stakes. However, there was more than a slight implication he ended his nascent campaign against the fellow progressive Democrat in exchange for the party’s endorsement in four years. We’ll see about that since endorsement pledges are often flimsy legal tender. For Chan, it would mean a return to the Legislature. She served in the assembly from 2000-2006 before returning to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 2010. No doubt that’s three excellent, although very similar candidates that evokes last year’s 18th Assembly District race between Rob Bonta and Abel Guillen. When asked who might be in line to replace Chan on the Board of Supervisors if Chan were to win in 2016, Alameda Councilmember Lena Tam’s name constantly came up. Tam initially planned to run for former Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker’s open seat two years ago (she even received Lai-Bitker’s endorsement) but dropped out once Chan announced her candidacy. Chan trounced another Alamedan, Beverly Johnson, in the primary.

Betty Yee

EAST BAY FLAVOR FOR CONTROLLER Conventioneers all over Sacramento could be seen with ubiquitous orange lanyards around their necks touting Bill Lockyer’s campaign for state controller in 2014. Lockyer, the current state treasurer, and current Controller John Chiang’s virtual musical chairs in hopes of swapping offices next year has become a billboard for the unexpected pitfalls of term limits. Now, San Leandro’s prodigal son, he started his political career on its school board, is facing a challenge from Alameda’s Betty Yee, a member of the state’s Board of Equalization. Yee surely is in for an uphill climb in battling Lockyer and his high name-recognition across the state. However, it is not clear from delegates whether Lockyer’s negative name-recognition involving him and his wife, Nadia Lockyer’s drug and alcohol problems will be an issue for voters. It is also not clear whether the state’s growing clamor for replacing entrenched politicians with youthful opponents will become an issue in this race. One delegate told me Yee isn’t perceived as young and cool like other upstarts like Rep. Eric Swalwell or even Ro Khanna. (And if you must know; Nadia was not at the convention, but one source said she’s doing well.)

Mary Hayashi

USE IT OR LOSE IT, MARY! Fremont Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski was seen on numerous occasions flitting around the convention center. It was a tough Saturday for him following the altercation reported this week involving Alberto Torrico’s wife and Wieckowski’s chief of staff. Surely it was an embarrassment for Wieckowski who is mending relations with some of his supporters in the Fremont area angered by his recent moves. Networking is important for Wieckowski as he ramps up a likely run for the State Senate, which bring to mind Mary Hayashi. The former assemblywoman is a possible opponent for Wieckowski next year and she’s sitting on a boat load of money. However, as one delegates pointed out to me, that isn’t her money. Sooner or later, the individuals and political groups that generously built up Hayashi’s $800,000 campaign account are going to want a return on their investments, either from her or force her to give it to some other candidate or entity. She could lay low for another election cycle and hope her shoplifting scandal dies out or face Wieckowski next year, said the delegate. Either way, I don’t think Hayashi can expect any outcome other than her dismal performance last November for Alameda County supervisor unless she offers a spectacular mea culpa of infinite detail to the public. Shedding some tears won’t hurt, either.

ALCO DELEGATION STILL NOT ‘SWALLOWING’ State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett was seen all over the convention center shaking hands with delegates inside and outside the main hall. Curiously, though, each time we saw Corbett she was glad handing with delegates from the Southland. Rep. Eric Swalwell, Corbett’s opponent in the 15th Congressional District next year, attended the convention, but when his name was called among a list of 11 new California congressman during the general session by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the cheers were noticeably more quiet than others. To be fair, the delegation from the 18, 20 and 25th Assembly Districts are not the most wild and crazy group of people on earth. However, it is another raw glimpse into the minds of Alameda County Democrats following Swalwell’s upset of Pete Stark.

NOTES Assemblyman Rob Bonta told me his bill allowing non-profits to distribute condoms in state prisons looks promising, but he noted its main opposition may be criticism the proposed law will condone sex between inmates, an act he notes is illegal…Assemblyman Bill Quirk’s supporters were sporting stickers that read, “I’m Quirky for Quirk.”…Apparently, Quirk’s reputation for being a man of science and arithmetic is coming in handy in Sacramento when he noted a scientist’s faulty equation during a recent committee hearing.