Payback Is A… | San Leandro Mayoral Candidates | Could AD16 Be Flipped?
CHAPTER 16 | How often do you see a Republican operative with a passion to help a Democrat win re-election? A few week’s back, I asked an East Bay Democratic congressional candidate whether they employ any Republicans on their campaign team. They looked quizzically at me as if I had actually identified a mole among their ranks. Typically, they don’t ask about a potential employee’s political affiliation because it’s usually quite obvious from their resume, they told me. Democrats usually want to work for Democrats, but not always, apparently. 

Works for a Democrat, but identifies as
a Republican.

Place this in the file labeled “Reasons why Rep. Eric Swalwell is a closeted Republican”: Swalwell’s campaign field organizer is a young man named Patrick Urbanus. A hawkeyed EBC reader emailed a screen shot of Urbanus’ Facebook page in which he lists his party preference as Republican. It does seem odd for a Republican to want to help a Democrat win re-election even though Urbanus may have some personal link to Swalwell’s family. It’s also who you know when it comes to employment with Team Swalwell. Recall, he hired a rich donor’s daughter for a position in his congressional office. It’s the kind of thing that only adds credence to the argument Ellen Corbett recently made when asserting Swalwell is simply not progressive enough for the 15th District.

And since most primary voters are highly partisan, Corbett’s move is smart. However, Swalwell might later be able to attract conservatives in November. But truthfully, working across the aisle is noble in concept, but most progressives in the East Bay realize placating Republicans in the House is not in this area’s best interests unless the aim is to shortchange unemployment benefits or hand over the right of privacy to the government.

Mike Katz-Lacabe

PROPOSAL FOR REVENGE Loudmouth Alameda County Democratic Party Central Committee member Margarita Lacabe can be your friend one day and your bitter enemy the next. However, she has long been a strong opponent of Mary Hayashi, especially since her shoplifting incident. This week, Lacabe posted security footage of Mary Hayashi at Neiman Marcus before the infamous arrest in 2011. Except, Lacabe should be careful. Her husband, Mike Katz-Lacabe, is a likely candidate and front runner for the San Leandro City Council this November. (Timeout: I know what you’re thinking. Why does Katz hyphenate his name, but she doesn’t? There are many theories. Time In) If Hayashi doesn’t place in the top two in her State Senate 10th District race this June, she should put some of her remaining campaign coffers to good use. How about contributing a few thousand to Katz-Lacabe’s opponent? Hayashi has given to San Leandro candidates in the past. During the 2010 mayoral race, Hayashi contributed to Joyce Starosciak’s campaign to the consternation of then-Mayor Tony Santos.

Catharine Baker

REAGAN REPUBLICAN When I asked Catharine Baker, the lone Republican in the 16th Assembly District in Contra Costa County and the Tri Valley, about her past in politics, her tone suggested she sensed the question was designed to highlight her lack of experience. It wasn’t. Baker has never run for office, but has long been active in the Tri Valley. However, she once worked in former California Rep. Sonny Bono’s congressional office. Baker, though, is proving to be one of this primary season’s top rookie prospects. Her arguments are firm and clear and, more importantly, Baker’s conservative ideology is driven purely by fiscal concerns so much so that she almost feels like a Republican from a bygone era and not the radical far-right, sometimes discombobulated, logic often offered in these parts. The Bay Area News Group was also impressed before endorsing her candidacy last week. It remains to be seen whether Baker can squeeze into the top two along with either Democrat, Orinda Councilmember Steve Glazer or Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti. If she can, you can bet the state Republican Party will expend as much of the small pile of cash it has in an attempt to siphon away a seat in the Assembly currently leaning to the Democratic side.

Mark Salinas: catching fire?

HERE AND THERE Last week, I said 16th Assembly District candidate Tim Sbranti has appeared out of his league in this race. One reason for this may be because Sbranti has been constantly on the defensive for the entire campaign. First, for his pro-labor stance during the BART strike last year and, more recently, with the issue of disclosing union questionnaire answers. Unless you’re the incumbent or the clear favorite, it’s difficult to win a race in a purely defensive stance…The Alameda County superintendent of schools race has five candidates, making it unlikely anyone will garner more than 50 percent and avoid a November runoff. Most believe Karen Monroe will advance, but there appears to be no consensus when it comes to the other person. Nevertheless, it was disconcerting superintendent hopeful Helen Foster is almost two weeks from Election Day and is still reading her answers off a sheet of paper like she did this week in at a forum in Alameda…Many think Hayward Councilmember Barbara Halliday is the front runner to be the city’s next mayor. She’s the only woman on the ballot and has proven in the past to be a perennial top vote-getter. Yet, there is chatter by some canvassers in Hayward, not from city races, who sense from going doo-to-door there is momentum attached to Councilmember Mark Salinas’ campaign. In addition, Salinas also has one of the best lawn signs around.

Long way since 2009

San Leandro Councilmember Pauline Cutter is telling people she will run for mayor. Will Mayor Stephen Cassidy, who is not running for re-election, back her? If anybody could be construed as an ally to Cassidy, it is Cutter. However, in hindsight, the seeds of Cassidy’s fall were sowed two years when all three of his endorsed candidates for City Council were trounced…Progressive San Leandro Councilmember Jim Prola will receive intense pressure to run for mayor, but he is still relenting, telling some he wishes to spend more time with his infant grandchild. Meanwhile, don’t forget former San Leandro mayor’s Shelia Young or Tony Santos as possible candidates. Crazier things have happened…Finally, the East Bay Citizen turned five years old this week. Looking back at the first two years, it was clear this site was then-Assemblymember Mary Hayashi’s biggest critic–pre-Neiman Marcus–of course. How weird was it this week when Hayashi’s campaign released another anti-Bob Wieckowski website charging him with being a bully against women and minorities and using a number of EBC pull quotes and citations?