San Leandro’s District 2 City Council election is essentially two years away, but two likely candidates are already talking trash in an odd, passive-aggressive standoff being played out in the city’s weekly newspaper.

In 2016, Ed Hernández defeated Bryan Azevedo to win the open seat. Azevedo contemplated a run for the San Leandro school board last year before relenting. Now, he’s already setting the stage for a rematch campaign against Hernández. For months, Azevedo has peppered his social media posts with hashtags, such as #AzevedoCares and #Azevedo2020.

There had been little response from the incumbent Hernandez until Azevedo was prominently featured in a front page story in San Leandro Times on Jan. 26. The article described Azevedo’s effort to clean up the chronically littered Palma Plaza shopping center on East 14th Street. The property resides in Hernández’s district.

After the article was published, perhaps spurred on by Azevedo’s appearance in the local newspaper, Hernández went on his own clean-up crusade, posting the results in a Twitter post. He noted the city has fined the owners of Palma Plaza numerous times for failing to mitigate trash at the shopping center.

In another version of Hernández’s tweet posted on Facebook, he declared, “I have garbage on my mind.”

But the barrage of social media posts featuring Azevedo’s good deeds has been going on for months. He regularly posts photos of himself helping the homeless, feeding the less fortunate, and leading clean-up efforts in other parts of the city.

The placement of the story in San Leandro Times last month was clearly a coup for Azevedo. But to make matters worse for Hernández, the paper published a gratuitous second photo of the clean-up effort in the current Feb. 7 issue. A stand-alone photo of Azevedo and his crew, following clean up of the shopping center parking lot, posing in front of the iconic Palma Plaza neon sigh.