B80 DAYS TO PRIMARY DAY | Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s rise within the state’s Democratic power structure was only slightly tarnished when he was relieved by new Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon two weeks ago of his prime committee chairmanship. Bonta made a run late last year for the speakership and lost. Bonta losing the chair of the Health Committee was seen as a House of Cards-like rebuke by Rendon of a political rival. Bonta wasn’t completely shut out, though. Rendon named him chair of the Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee. Bonta previously helmed the committee starting in 2013. But, insiders believe the trade-off really isn’t much of loss for Bonta. That’s because Bonta is now viewed as one of the four or five members of Rendon’s inner-circle. The strong appeal earlier this month by Bonta to push through a package of anti-smoking and vaping bill is an indication of his loyalty to the Assembly Democrat’s new majordomo. And, by the way, Bonta’s popularity among Assembly Democrats is also evident. He was closer to the speakership than previously known. According to sources, Bonta received 20 votes for speaker, which was second to Rendon’s 27.

Rep. Eric Swalwell passes the hat around.

Rep. Eric Swalwell is using the presence of a first-time Republican candidate challenging his re-election as a focal point for raising campaign contributions. Livermore resident Danny Turner qualified for the June ballot last week, but his campaign does not seem like much more than a vanity project. “I aim to unite the people to take back their government,” says his web site. He also pledges to “end campaign bribery.” Turner has not yet filed a financial report, but it’s doubtful he will be able to raise much money at all. Swalwell, on the other hand, topped $1 million in campaign contributions last year. Like most congressional incumbents, a majority of his money came from special interests. But, Swalwell’s campaign is apparently using every excuse to draw small donors into the fold, even by trumpeting the non-existent credentials of his GOP challenger. In an email to supporters that includes the ominous subject line, “This isn’t good,” Swalwell’s campaign wrote, “An opponent just threw his hat into the ring to run against Eric. That’s why we need our rapid-response supporters…to step up for Eric today.”

Alameda renters filing a rent control ballot
measure with the city last Feb. 29.
PHOTO/Steven Tavares 

A representative from Tenants Together, the group backing rent control efforts at the ballot box this fall in Alameda, Richmond and Oakland, acknowledged the possibility that landlord interests will attempt to sabotage their efforts with dirty tricks. One potential vessel for landlords, presumably backed by the powerful California Apartment Association, is a counter measure with partial intent to confuse voters with a title that sounds vaguely positive to pro-rent control voters. Something like the name of the Alameda landlords group that ironically calls itself “Alamedans for Fair Rents.” The framework for such a counter measure may already exist after Alameda Councilmember Tony Daysog raised the issue of proposing his own measure to roll back portions of a recently approved city ordinance, specifically relocation costs paid by small-time landlords to tenants evicted for no cause. Furthermore, a memo by one prominent Alameda landlord advocate even detailed an idea to shadow renters on the streets procuring signatures to place the measure on the November ballot with literature advocating the landlord’s stance.

Dr. Floyd Huen is planning payback to the
AD15 Democratic Central Committee. 

Former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s most loyal supporter, her husband, Dr. Floyd Huen, is a man on a mission. He is one of 19 candidates vying for 9 seats on the Democratic Central Committee in 15th Assembly District this June. However, snagging a seat on these central committees are almost always predicated on having your name included on the party-backed slate of candidates. Huen is not likely to be part of that list of insiders, but that doesn’t matter. The former First Man of Oakland is telling politicos in the North Oakland, Berkeley and Richmond district that his candidacy is based on revenge against party leaders who chose not to endorse Quan during her mayoral re-election in 2014. Stay tuned for the revolution.

Rep. Mike Honda is keeping busy.

Rep. Mike Honda’s congressional office is sure busy letting constituents and the press know what the long-time congressman is doing these days. In recent weeks, his D.C. office has been cranking out press releases on just about a daily basis on everything from Honda’s daily doings at the committee level to hosting talent search winners from the South Bay…. Hayward Councilmember Greg Jones did not file for re-election after just one term in office. The filing deadline came and went last Friday and Jones has yet to publicly tells his constituents why he’s bailing on them. No responses to the press or even a statement on social media …. Mike Lee is running for mayor of Berkeley. Who is Mike Lee? He is a homeless man and activist for homeless in Berkeley. A great story in the making ….