Three East Bay Races Where Candidates Need to Better Sing Their Songs

We are now less than two months away from Election Day. For some campaigns it’s put up or shut up. Aside from a bombshell that likely will not happen, narratives need to be developed not sooner than later, but now. Free of charge, here are some stories that some campaign’s need to start telling:

RO KHANNA Sometime in the summer Khanna’s campaign decided it would focus more generously on moderate and conservative voters in Fremont and the South Bay. Highlighting the endorsement of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed snugly fit this strategy. But, calling Reed, who is viewed as a pariah by labor, an “American hero,” was too far off the rails. Khanna is obviously a Democrat and presumably tacking from the moderate left to the moderate right also means an occasional turn to the left. However, placing Reed on a pedestal might make any forays to left to seem disingenuous. In the meantime, Khanna’s Election Day may not be Nov. 4, but Oct. 6. That’s the date of the locally televised debate against Rep. Mike Honda. Khanna needs a knockout in addition to some sort of funky Admiral James Stockdale antics (“Who am I? Why am I here?”) from Honda. There’s no story here to tell until this occurs. That’s a low-odds, high-pressure scenario that does not bode well for Khanna. Taking out an incumbent member of Congress is like winning a heavyweight title fight. You not only have to beat the champ, you have to do it in a decisive manner. Khanna goes into the Oct. 6 debate losing on almost everybody’s scorecard. Khanna desperately needs an unforced error from Honda, but the incumbent is showing all signs that he’s willing to win re-election with a defensive approach.

Top of the heap: Rebecca Kaplan

OAKLAND MAYORAL RACE Although a poll released this week showed Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan easily winning the ranked-choice voting race over Mayor Jean Quan, the numbers were highly dubious and probably purposefully. This is Oakland, after all. However, the other mayoral candidates not named Kaplan should now shift gears and make her the Don Perata of this race, meaning, the mantra should be: “Anybody but Rebecca.” Curiously, none of the candidates seem to understand the key to ranked-choice voting is coalitions. There appear to be none, as of this week. However, Kaplan is the only candidate who consistently asks for second and third place votes. Granted, some like Councilmember Libby Schaaf and Quan have begun adding the tagline, but it’s still not common. The perception in the public that Kaplan is the clear frontrunner should be the impetus for her opponents to realize if they don’t somehow band together, none of them will be mayor. Four years ago this occurred when Quan and Kaplan joined forces and it worked in blocking Perata from the mayor’s office. The story should be, everybody is still in it because this race might not be cinched until the last days of the campaign.

Diana Souza

SAN LEANDRO MAYORAL RACE Councilmember Diana Souza doesn’t seem to understand her campaign for mayor is based on beating a straw man. She denied her comments Thursday highlighting the need for a mayor to form strong relationships with colleagues and constituents was a jab at out-going Mayor Stephen Cassidy, who is not running for re-election. In fact, it’s the perfect strategy where there is no clear frontrunner. Cassidy has been an absentee mayor who attempted to schedule the business of city government literally around his own personal work schedule and City Hall appears in disarray over the lack of leadership from the top (Exhibit A: the Oakland garbage contract). In a race where two of the three candidates are members of the City Council, running against City Hall takes some work in making the case. However, since Souza has long been an opponent to Cassidy, her case is far more plausible than Councilmember Pauline Cutter, who has ties to the mayor. Conversely, political newbie Dan Dillman is an outsider who needs to consistently point out when his colleagues criticize decisions they actually supported while on the council. When Dillman vowed to bring back council committees, Cutter and Souza agreed, despite voting to discontinue them two years ago.

Ellen Corbett for county supervisor?

CORBETT’S FUTURE Political parlor games over a landing place for termed out State Sen. Ellen Corbett continue to heat up since the end of the legislative season last month in Sacramento. One can detect three distinct paths for Corbett who finished a dismal and surprising third in the June primary race for the 15th Congressional District. She could seek a government appointment in Sacramento, run for city office in the future or regroup and aim for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors after 2016. Just about every termed out legislator has an opportunity for an appointment by the governor, especially the former majority leader, but this option was there even before her congressional run. Returning to her roots in San Leandro might feel like a significant demotion for Corbett, although, the city is on the rise and could definitely use her experience and gravitas. The third potential option could get Corbett’s political juices flowing. Supervisor Wilma Chan is a likely candidate for the State Senate in two years, maybe against Nancy Skinner and Sandre Swanson. It would be a tough race for Chan, but don’t count her out. If she were to win, who in the supervisorial third district would be more qualified than Corbett?

Is Mike Katz-Lacabe’s candidacy in San
Leandro being undermined from within?

HERE AND THERE Oakland mayoral candidate Bryan Parker has gotten into the bad habit of publicizing some political endorsements as if they were given solely to his campaign. For, at least, the second time, Parker boasted of backing from Oakland pastors that was actually a three-way endorsement. This week, one opponent, Joe Tuman, called him out on Twitter for the act…Another Oakland mayoral challenger, Saied Karamooz, has what you can call an excellent jab. His answers are short, sweet and powerful. However, during a forum this week hosted by a number of non-profits, the anti-government candidate told them, “I want to put all of you out of business.” He meant the sheer number of non-profits in Oakland shows government is not doing its job to help people, but the comment was followed by a long, eerie silence…Someone needs to tell San Leandro mayoral candidate Pauline Cutter to smile when others are speaking at candidates forums. Thursday night, she continually frowned during comments made by her opponents. They were not reactions to their comments, but a weird default face that looks like one of those dolls made from dried, wrinkled apples…The Alameda County Democratic Party has the endorsement on consent for business-friendly San Leandro council candidate Deborah Cox over one of the most liberal candidates in all of San Leandro, Mike Katz-Lacabe. The reason: political hardball. Katz-Lacabe’s wife is central committee member Margarita Lacabe, the same person who cost the group thousands in legal fees from a dubious investigation this year by the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Categories: Alameda County Board, Campaign Insider, Cassidy, Diana Souza, Don Perata, Ellen Corbett, Jean Quan, Mike Katz, Pauline Cutter, ranked choice voting, Ro Khanna, Said Karamooz, san leandro, Wilma Chan

10 replies

  1. Marga Lacabe still jumping around loops and hoops not facing to the question did she graduate from UC Hastings with a law degree. Mike Katz covered Marga's lie on her ballot statement to pretend lawyer and also lied on Smartvoters pretend Juris Doctor. Mike Katz-Lacabe still supporting his wife Marga lies to whole Alameda county voters and the entire Alameda County Democratic Central Committee.


  2. By MW:

    In regard to if Margarita Lacabe possibly wants to actually enroll in law school, as a result of in the past week reading two local newspapers, and including the newspaper of Chabot College, I became aware that Chabot College has a program offering various courses on the legal and justice system, and that one of the major goals of that program is to make it much easier for students at Chabot, if they so desire, to eventually be admitted to law school, and therefore eventually also become lawyers.

    (NOTE: For details, go to Chabot's website and get the information to contact Professor William Hanson, and who is the program director and head of the department.)

    Said information should be useful to anyone, and possibly including Margarita, stupid enough to still want to be one of the last ones to join that dying and collapsing Ponzi scheme that likes to refer to itself as the legal profession.

    More specifically, while for decades being a member of the so called “legal profession” provided extremely lucrative opportunities to a lot of jokers, parasites, scumbags, embezzlers, money launderers, thieves with briefcases, and Fifth Columnists who had no real function, purpose, and “skill” other than totally screwing up and destroying virtually everything they touched, however the gravy train is finally coming to an end for most lawyers, and especially young lawyers, and now the only major function of most law schools is to provide lucrative employment for a lot of extremely overpaid administrators and law school professors who specialize in lying to applicants by “informing” them of the many “highly paid opportunities” that will be theirs once they graduate from law school.

    Of course since so far I have only told you some of the bad things about going to law school, let me now tell you some of the “good” things about going to law school.

    If your primary goal in life is to become an alcoholic and/or a drug addict, then you should definitely go to law school, since lawyers have far and away the highest rates of alcoholism and drug abuse of any major profession.

    Also if you spend three years in law school, when you graduate you will quite likely have 100K to 300K in student debt, and since most of the high paying jobs for law school graduates that existed years ago for young lawyers are now mostly gone, you will instead very likely end up working for minimum wage in the warehouse of a department store pushing a flatbed truck around while with hundreds of thousands of dollars in law school debt that exists largely because law schools pay their useless and lying professors and administrators outrageously high salaries.

    In fact if it turns out that Margarita Lacabe lied about her supposed time in law school, then I think we should make her enroll in law school for three years and run up about 200K in student debt while she spends three year “studying” the “law.”

    Oh, that's right, there is one major advantage to spending three years in law school that I forgot to mention, It does provide a fantastic background for becoming a sleazy lying politician. So maybe that is the best evidence that Maggie Katz and Dogs could offer as proof that she supposedly went to law school.


  3. Dear fellow Oaklanders, I know trying to appeal to a roomful of non-profits by telling them that, if elected, I would work hard to put them out of business seems counter-intuitive on the surface. But let’s take a moment to reflect on why it is that we have so many non-profits. To begin, let’s acknowledge that we live in the richest region of the richest state of the richest country in the world. Just pause on that thought for a moment! Now, let’s layer in the many non-profits that are necessary to advocate for and protect our less fortunate citizens.

    Where is the government?

    – It’s a disgrace that we need to have a non-profit to advocate on behalf of our low income sisters and brothers for a decent home. Or to prevent evictions.
    – It is shameful that our low income families need a non-government organization to ensure they have access to healthcare.
    – We shouldn’t need a special coalition to ensure our students have quality teachers and access to textbooks. This is inexcusable.

    If our City Government were doing its job, we wouldn’t need so many non-profits. Let me share just one very telling recent example. For years, our City Council turned its back on the minimum wage earners in Oakland. Thanks to the work of unions, labor activists, caring citizens, and non-profits, over 30,000 signatures were collected to support Lift Up Oakland. It is with this overwhelming public support that our councilmembers were strong armed into embracing Measure FF that, if passed, would increase the minimum wage to $12.25.

    The deep pockets, special interests, and big corporations buy their way into our city government, while the rest of us are left to fend for ourselves. That’s not what our forefathers had in mind when Abraham Lincoln defined our democracy as “A government of the People, By the People, For the People.” Looking at our government now, it is clear that it is “A Government of the POLITICIANS, By the POLITICIANS, For the POLITICIANS.”

    I, Saied Karamooz, as the mayoral candidate for the Oakland Mayor Movement, refuse to be indebted to any entity (individual, organization, or corporation) whose interests are not 100% aligned with the best interests of all Oaklanders. That’s why it is with utmost sincerity and conviction that I say, if elected, I will show up to work each day with a relentless resolve to meet the needs of every Oaklander, particularly the less fortunate, so that we don’t need advocacy of so many non-profits.

    Wish me luck.


  4. Saied Karamooz…a billion dollars to take out the trash for ten years and we do most the sorting. There's school money in there somewhere. Good luck.


  5. By MW:

    In regard to the post of 1:18PM, while many government decisions, and especially in the Bay area, are based on under the table bribes, however in regard to government agencies making decisions on which company gets the contract for trash hauling, that tends to be even far more influenced by such things as election campaign contributions, under the table bribes, and being some powerful person's friend than most other situations of government agencies deciding which private company to award a contract to.

    To summarize, most politicians and elected officials, and especially in the Bay area, are the best that money can buy.


  6. MW, you are spot on. That's why I came up with the term “coin-operated” candidates/politicians. In this year's race, the top 7 candidates have 3 common characteristics. 1) They raise inordinate amount of funds from outside of Oakland, ranging from 43% to 68%. 2) Their portion of small contributions (less than $100) is less than 5% across the board. 3) They take donations from donors who give to multiple campaigns.

    Check out It does a great job of summarizing financials of the candidates. It's disturbing to say the least. Frankly, it's frightening. We need to do something differently. This is NOT sustainable.


  7. Good article Tavares, loved the part about “someone needs to tell Cutter to smile when others are speaking at candidates forums.” You nailed it when describing Cutter's “weird default face that looks like one of those dolls made from dried, wrinkled apples.” Cutter often has that look, just never thought of it as a dried and wrinkled apple doll, but thought maybe she has a bad case of gas.


  8. For those asking about my future plans, I have decided to accept an offer from Platinum Advisors in Sacramento. I'll be whoring for the unions; this is a natural fit for me since it's what I would have done had a miracle happened and I actually won the election. That was NEVER going to happen. I'm also going to accept Congressman Swalwell's generous offer to do an internship in his district office. This is about as close to congress as I will ever get. From what I understand one of my responsibilities will be baking cookies. The staffers works so very hard and deserve home-baked treats. Anyone know of any good cookbooks? I really need to bone up. That's the latest for now. I'll keep you updated from time to time.



  9. Diana Souza is a loser and a bully who is Benny Lee's puppet. That's why she wants the Chinese Flag to fly at San Leandro's City Hall.


  10. Diana Souza has absolutely zero leadership ability and no ethics at all. San Leandro needs someone better and that would be anyone else.


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