Mary Hayashi, Superior Court Elections, Stewart Chen: Judge for Yourself

Khanna Plays the Part | Battle Royale in Hayward | Joel Young’s Judge Up For Re-Election 

CHAPTER 4 | Love her or hate her, it’s difficult to get out from under the shadow of Mary Hayashi. While she has a tough race against Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski in a State Senate primary in the 10th District growing with candidates, she is not the only Hayashi on the ballot this June.

Husband Dennis Hayashi is up for re-election to the Alameda County Superior Court. You may recall Dennis Hayashi was a great benefactor from the early rise of Mary Hayashi in East Bay politics. In 2008, Mary transferred $30,000 from her assembly coffers to Dennis’ campaign account. The extra cash was a loving gesture derided by many at the time. It also allowed Dennis to finally win a seat on the county bench after narrowly losing two years earlier.

Mary and Dennis Hayashi in a campaign
photo from her 2012 supervisors race.

In a weird twist, one of Dennis’s colleagues is planning to run against Mary in her state senate primary. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Roy Hashimoto, recently did a “Haggerty” and became a Democrat, it was reported this week by the San Francisco Chronicle. Just another person to “judge” Mary Hayashi, right? Since she returned to public life in late 2012, Hayashi has been treated quite harshly by local Democratic leaders. What goes around comes around, seems to be the underlining ethos behind the icy stares so many Democrats give Hayashi, if they even acknowledge her in the room. I have routinely witnessed the institutional shunning as far back as the first round of candidates forums for Alameda County supervisor two years ago. Of course, nobody is going to say, “Poor, Mary,” to one of the most wonderfully ruthless East Bay officials ever, but it begs to question if stealing clothing from a high-end department store is really commensurate with what she is now facing?

For those on the left, there are few potential candidates for office in the East Bay who possess a more consistent record when it comes to the progressive movement. In the past, Hayashi has attempted to argue her brush with the law is hardly the worst crime perpetrated by a member of the State Legislature. In fact, her argument has been greatly bolstered in recent weeks. State Sen. Rod Wright was convicted of a series of felonies for lying about the residency before running for the seat and is facing calls by some to resign. Of course, nothing beats State Sen. Ron Calderon, who was indicted this week for alleging taking bribes and selling the power of office for personal enrichment. Hayashi may undermined security at Neiman Marcus but there’s not evidence she undermined the power of her office.

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Morris Jacobson

YOUNG’S JUDGE Who really cares about judicial elections, anyway? Some think they should be done away with since there is rarely the occasion a sitting member is ever challenged. Besides, nobody knows anything about the candidates? Well, you know about Dennis Hayashi and there’s another notable judge running for re-election. Judge Morris Jacobson‘s court was the site of one of 2012’s biggest political flameouts. Jacobson was the presiding judge in AC Transit board director Joel Young‘s alleged domestic abuse case. Although Jacobsen later dismissed each bid for restraining orders, his earlier remarks suggested he believed Young struck his then-girlfriend in the face. “The injuries she sustained go well beyond the reasonable need to self-defend,” the judge said, referring to the extensive bruising on the plaintiff’s face, according to a transcript of the proceeding. “There were significant injuries on her. Well, more than necessary for a man, and I am going to take into account that it appears to me that [the plaintiff] is approximately 5-foot, 120 pounds.” The much taller Young escaped the exchange that fateful March morning with merely a small scratch on his torso, which he repeatedly mentioned. Jacobson, however, was admonished by a state disciplinary committee in an unrelated incident for abuse of power around the same time as the Young case.

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PLAYING THE PART This week Ro Khanna unveiled a jobs plan at a medical device company in Santa Clara that employs 250 workers. His plan includes adding computer coding to the public school curriculum, increasing participation of women in science and tech careers, linking small businesses with access to export markets and providing job training and tax credits for dislocated workers. Khanna also supports raising the federal minimum wage to $10.74, which is higher than the $10.10 figure currently being sought by the president. But back up! A jobs plan? Exactly who is the incumbent in the 17th Congressional District race and who is the challenger? However, if you want to be the congressman, you should act the part, the thinking goes. On Thursday, Khanna employed the perception of the incumbency when he called on Rep. Mike Honda to speak out against the proposed merger of telecom giants Comcast and Time Warner. And about that poll showing Honda with a double-digit lead. It means two things: Honda’s support is shrinking and Khanna may want to focus a bit on neutralizing his Republican opponent Vanila Singh or risk not even advancing to the November general election.

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Oakland native M.C. Hammer isn’t
running for mayor, at least, we don’t
think so, but it seems everyone else is.

HERE AND THERE This week it become apparent Oakland’s gargantuan-sized field for mayoral candidates now require nicknames to differentiate themselves. Little-known candidates named Jason “Shake” Anderson and Charles “The Chief” Williams revealed intentions to run this November. Meanwhile, where have you gone, M.C. Hammer?…An Oakland mayoral candidate this week said this about City Auditor Courtney Ruby entering the race and her success as a government watchdog: “What exactly has she done to clean up Oakland other than write reports?”…San Leandro businessman Dan Dillman ran for the City Council two years ago. This year he’s contemplating a run for mayor against incumbent Stephen Cassidy. In the meantime, Dillman, who is a self-described “treasure hunter,” appeared last week in an episode of Ancient Aliens on the History Channel….Alameda Councilmember Tony Daysog is contemplating a run for Rep. George Miller‘s seat in the 11th Congressional District against State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier. In the meantime, Daysog’s strategy is to kill him with kindness. When a report described DeSaulnier last week coming to the aid of his neighbor following a robbery, Daysog released this statement, which he previously tweeted: ““Wow! Good job, State Senator DeSaulnier!”…Retired Alameda County Superior Court judge Chester Bartalini, Jr. made an excellent legal argument here for forgiving Alameda Councilmember Stewart Chen and his failure to disclose he was convicted of insurance fraud 20 years ago. However, as they say, Chen re-election next November will not be decided in Bartalini’s courtroom, but by the court of public opinion.

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Ralph Farias apparently announced his third
run for the Hayward City Council this week
with this photo on his Instagram account.

ONE OTHER THING One of the more enjoyable aspects of covering elections is watching the odd and entertaining antics that often richly color local races. When it comes to brash, nobody beats Hayward City Council candidate Ralph Farias, who signaled his intention to make a third consecutive run for office, with the Instagram photo to the right. Farias, whose campaign style is definitely more Hulk Hogan than John F. Kennedy, is actually a very thoughtful and conservative (ideological!) candidate. However, his message is sometimes wrapped in histrionics. Here’s how I described Farias in 2012 when he spoke in favor of allowing Walmart to set up shop in Hayward:

Instead of standing in line with other speakers, Farias stood at the back of the City Hall chambers. He bounced back and forth on his toes like a prize fighter awaiting introduction to the ring. When the commission’s chairperson called his name, he trotted down the aisle until he reached the lectern. Once there he hopped once and vigorously shook his head side-to-side before speaking–shaking the cobwebs free while awaiting his trainer to hoist a spit bucket to his head and slather Vaseline on his temples.

“I think this guy watches too much wrestling,” a union member there to oppose Walmart turned and said. You can’t fault Farias for his enthusiasm, but nothing personifies his gumption than a campaign flyer he put out recently featuring a large photo of Farias mugging the camera in a pork pie hat along with a shot of himself, hands on his hips, peering steadfast into the future. “You ever seen Citizen Kane?” said Farias. “That’s what I’m talking about.”

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