15TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Buffy Wicks failed to pay various Oakland business taxes and fees for a business she manages over a span of two years, the Daily Californian reported Friday. Wicks acknowledged the complaint filed by a Oakland resident and said she would remedy the oversight. But the story could have potential to nag Wicks as the November race in AD15 against Richmond Councilmemebr Jovanka Beckles begins to heat up again. Framing the story as Wicks not paying her fair share of taxes in one of the largest parts of the assembly district fits squarely into Beckles’ Bernie Sanders-inspired rhetoric. It could harden attitudes among progressives toward Wicks who already charge her with being a corporate Democrat who may also favor charter schools.
Beckles also added to her collection of fellow primary candidates who are now endorsing her fall campaign against Wicks. Last week, Beckles received the backing of El Cerrito Councilmember Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto. Then the California Nurses Association, who greatly supported Pardue-Okimoto’s campaign, last Friday endorsed Beckles. Now the primary opponents who finished just behind Beckles–Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb and Berkeley school board member Judy Appel–added their names to Beckles’ endorsement list. The trio make up more than one-third of the vote from the June primary. Wicks, meanwhile, is taking a different route, stacking her list of supporters from local mayor’s offices. This week she touting endorsements from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, El Cerrito Mayor Gabriel Quinto, and Emeryville Mayor John Bauters.
Pamela Price is apparently heading back to the political limelight. She filed papers this week at Oakland City Hall to challenge Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. The move comes less than two months after a strong, but ultimately disappointing loss to Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley. Jumping right back into an equally grueling and high-stakes campaign might be unprecedented. Near the end of the long and brutal DA’s race Price appeared exhausted. However, during the same period, Price’s strong late run had many insiders believing she could actually pull of the monumental upset. But there’s a map that’s been shared among local activists that should put some pep back into Price’s step, a breakdown of her dominance in Oakland’s flatlands. In fact, it’s the logical reason why Price might have a shot in Oakland’s ranked-choice voting race. Overall in Oakland, Price beat O’Malley, who could be viewed as a reasonable facsimile of Schaaf, by 10 points–55-45 percent. Meanwhile, countywide, O’Malley won by 15 points.
SAN LEANDRO MAYOR Cannabis’ plot to destroy to San Leandro City Hall, some conspiracy theorists believe, includes the defeat of San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter. The first-term mayor up for re-election this fall is no fan of the Davis Street Wellness Center dispensary that ultimately gained a permit, but has yet to open its doors. For about a year, there has been talk that proponents of the dispensary were looking for a candidate who might be able to defeat Cutter at the polls. Former City Manager Chris Zapata’s infamous 23-page letter alleged that Councilmember Ed Hernandez had been lobbied by someone from the affiliated Davis Street Family Resource Center. The assertion is not unfounded. I asked Hernandez last year about rumors that someone from Davis Street had pledged $50,000 to his campaign, if he would run for mayor. He acknowledged the offer occurred, but said he declined. It’s possible that Hernandez, who appears to have aspirations for higher office, could still run for mayor this fall. A Plan B for Cutter’s opponents, though, may have appeared this week. Tom Baker, a San Leandro planning commissioner, pulled papers on Wednesday. Baker is Hernandez’s appointment to the planning commission. Cutter’s biggest challenger, however, is clearly Councilmember Benny Lee. But cannabis folks are also not big fans of him, either.