When Given the Chance to Attack Hayashi, Wieckowski Demures

Bob Wieckowski, Mary Hayashi

STATE SENATE | 10TH DISTRICT | When the ball was teed up for Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski to knock out of the park, he instead, asked for an intentional walk. On Saturday, during its endorsement meeting, the Asian Pacific American Democratic Caucus asked Wieckowski, “What is your response to the latest scandals involving elected officials of Asian descent?”

The query is undoubtedly related to Wieckowski’s opponent in the 10th State Senate District race, former Assemblymember Mary Hayashi and her infamous 2011 brush with the law. The impetus for the question, of course, is also State Sen. Leland Yee’s recent F.B.I. indictment. But, Wieckowski didn’t bite. Following the question, he paused a few seconds then feigned ignorance. “Well, I think it’s just Leland Yee. I don’t know of any others.”

Wieckowski said he knows Yee and often lobbied him for his vote on legislation. “I think it has brought shame to all of us,” said Wieckowski. The Leland Yee question has been quite popular during recent candidate’s forums. Most, like Wieckowski, have chosen to frame their response around what they believe is the root cause of Yee’s crime–current campaign finance laws.

For that, Wieckowski offered for the group his legislation in the Assembly urging Congress to overturn the Citizens United case, along with another related to the recent U.S. Supreme Court case McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which removes aggregate limits on federal campaign contributions. “We’re all going to have to work together to build the esteem of the institution,” he said of the State Legislature.

In the past, Hayashi’s opponents have been wary of publicly denouncing her past legal troubles. Although Richard Valle decline to criticized Hayashi during public forums for the 2012 Alameda County supervisorial race, he was more willing to skewer her in private. Valle also received help from an outside group which paid for a mailer featuring the tagline, “There’s Something about Mary.” Ultimately Hayashi finished third to Valle.