Terry Wiley says Pamela Price will run the Alameda County DA's office like recalled DA Chesa Boudin did in SF
Union City Council has to re-vote an entire meeting after vice mayor was bypassed from chairing the meeting in vacationing mayor's absence; Lily Mei's consultant gave her the boot
—CHESA BOUDIN FACTOR—After San Francisco voters overwhelmingly voted to recall progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin, the result raised questions of how it might affect Alameda County’s DA race this fall between progressive candidate Pamela Price and Terry Wiley.
—Wiley, a chief assistant Alameda County DA, jumped all over the Chesa Boudin question at an endorsement meeting on Sunday morning with the Asian Pacific American Democratic Caucus.
“I think that she has promised to implement a very similar system of justice that Chesa Boudin implemented in San Francisco,” Wiley said of Price. “I think what happened in Sand Francisco is there were too many individuals not being held accountable.”
—He acknowledged reforms are needed at the Alameda County DA’s office, before adding, “You have to do it with balance. You cannot leave victims behind because you were so intent on implementing reform that victims are being victimized and re-victimized many times by individuals over and over again and then they are not being held to account for their conduct.”
—Asian American groups in San Francisco led the effort to recall Boudin, Price said. “There’s no denying. It’s very clear that the Asian American community was united around recalling Chesa. That’s very unfortunate.” But Price disagreed with the premise that Boudin’s defeat translates to Alameda County, which is much larger and more diverse than San Francisco, she said. “We’re not going to suddenly become San Francisco,” Price said.
—THREE STRIKES—Cases involving a third strike will be decided solely by Wiley, he told the Democratic club, and that violence needs to be quickly tamped down in Oakland. “Violence is a major problem in the city of Oakland and we need to get it under control.” To help solve that problem Wiley said he will use the DA’s Crimes Strategies Unit, including seven top DAs, to focus on roughly 1,800 individuals that he believes is driving 80 percent of violent crime in Oakland.
—“They’re going to be contacted and brought in and offered educational services and job services,” Wiley said. “And if they refuse to put their guns down and continue with the conduct of victimizing the city of Oakland then we’re going to deal with them.”
—Price said Alameda County voters through a previous statewide ballot measure reject the use of the three strike law. “It has been used by DAs offices to drive racial incarceration. Felony charges need to be charged, but strikes and enhancements need to be eliminated,” she added.
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—She later downplayed the level of crime in Oakland, citing data from the Oakland Police Department that violent crime has decreased 12-14 percent over the last year. “The DA’s office prosecutes less than seven percent of violent crimes, Price said. “That shows the priorities are skewed out of whack. We should address violent crime in the community, and we should use every tool that we have, not just prosecution, but community engagement and intervention in situations.”
—Price acknowledged that property crime rates increased during the pandemic. “If you want to protect public safety, you’ve got to get to the heart of the problem. Yes, I will charge some property crimes. My car was stolen. If they find out there is a ring of people that are taking catalytic converters and cars, then yeah, I want to prosecute those folks.” She emphasized, however, that Oakland Police are not vigilantly investigating these types of crimes.
—PROSECUTING COPS—The deaths of Mario Gonzalez, Steven Taylor, Elena Mondragon at the hands of police officers in Alameda County looms large in this race. Wiley said he decided to prosecute San Leandro police officer Jason Fletcher for the death of Steven Taylor, which occurred inside a Walmart. Based on new state law, he said, the officer’s actions rose to criminal conduct. Wiley also worked on the Gonzalez case and conversely found the Alameda officers were not liable. “The public did not have the benefit of seeing all of the video,” he added.
—Price would have made the same decision to charge Fletcher, although she disagrees with some of the specific charges that were brought by DA Nancy O’Malley. She disagreed with Wiley’s view in the Gonzalez case. “I think they were involved in unconstitutional behavior” and not equipped to deal with Gonzalez, who was visibly impaired, Price said of the Alameda police officers involved.
—BONTA BLAST—Similar to Price’s comment lamenting that Asian American voters singularly took out San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin, Price again appeared to forget who she was addressing at Sunday’s endorsement meeting.
—When asked about her prior experience for running a large county department like the DA’s office, Price said she has more experience than the previous two Alameda County DA’s, famed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, and notably, California Attorney General Rob Bonta, a hero to many Asian Americans, especially Filipino Americans.
10TH STATE SENATE DISTRICT
—MEI I QUIT?—Well-known East Bay political consultant Catherine Lew delivered for her client, 10th State Senate District candidate Lily Mei, last June. Mei nabbed first place in the top two primary with a three-point win over second place finisher Aisha Wahab.
—Lew, however, isn’t sticking around for the November election rematch between Mei and Wahab. It’s unclear why Lew bolted from Mei’s campaign, but the disruption is never a good sign.
—It’s not the first time a paid campaign operative has quit on Mei during this campaign cycle. A Sacramento fundraiser fired Mei earlier this year, citing difficulty working with the candidate.
—As campaigns are ramping up for the November election, Mei has some issues to resolve. First and foremost, how to significantly infuse her campaign with cash. Mei spent heavily in the primary and her campaign coffers were drawn down to a shocking $19,000 just two weeks before Election Day. Mei’s mid-year finance report shows her cash on hand is now at $48,000, which is still a paltry number for a high-profile legislative race.
—Lew’s involvement with Mei was always curious because of her long-time ties to progressive and union labor candidates and ballot measures. It’s possible that Mei’s middle of the raid/conservative views and pressure from labor hastened Lew’s decision to cut ties with Mei.
—OAKLAND IE ALERT—A campaign finance filing was made last Friday for an Independent Expenditure Committee named “Coalition for Safer Oakland.” The IE appears to be backed by influential Oakland businessman John Protopappas.
—The filing lists him as an officer for the IE. The description of the IEs activity is to “support initiatives to support improved public safety in Oakland,” according to filing.
—The IE, and another also formed last Friday with a law and order flavor in support Oakland mayoral candidate Ignacio De La Fuente, underscores how crime will again dominate the mayoral and city council elections this fall in Oakland.
—MONEYBALL—State Sen. Nancy Skinner’s Equity & Justice Senator Skinner Ballot Measure Committee received a $10,000 contribution last week from the Smart Justice California Action Fund, according to a finance report. The PAC spent $3,500 last May to oppose the recall of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, but is mostly used to pay Deane & Company, a well-known campaign accounting firm.
—PULLING PAPERS—We’re nearing the wire for many prospective candidates hoping to file for the November election. (Note: The handy dandy candidate list above now includes school board races.)
—Alameda County’s filing deadline is Friday, Aug. 12. If the incumbent in a race does not file, then the deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 17.
—Below is the list of candidates who recently pulled papers. *-denotes incumbent.
BERKELEY SCHOOL BOARD—*Ka’Dijah Brown.
PLEASANTON MAYOR—Kathy Narum.
PLEASANTON CITY COUNCIL—Dean Wallace (District 1).
HAYWARD SCHOOL BOARD—Kenneth Williams (full-term), Marilena Williams (short-term).
SUNOL GLEN SCHOOL BOARD—Peter Romo.
ORO LOMA SANITARY DISTRICT—Mimi Dean.
—DISUNION CITY—Last July 26, the Union City Council approved a number of agenda items. However, none of the votes were legal after the city’s vice mayor was bypassed from helming the meeting in the mayor’s absence. Now, the Union City Council on Tuesday night will need to re-vote each item from the July 26 meeting.
—Union City Vice Mayor Jaime Patiño, registered his discontent with the move last July 26, which he blamed on Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernacci’s fit of pique and pressure placed on the city manager to assign Union City Councilmember Pat Gacoscos to chair the meeting, instead of him.
—There’s no love lost between Patiño and Dutra-Vernacci. Patiño challenged her re-election two years ago in a race that was often bitter. “I’m getting sick and tired of theses little petty games. I’m here to do the city’s business. This isn’t high school,” Patiño told the East Bay Insiders on Sunday.
—Patiño believes Dutra-Vernacci did not want to give him the opportunity to lead the meeting because of prior disagreements between the two. In addition, Dutra-Vernacci overstepped her authority in this instance, he added. “The mayor is just the mayor,” Patiño said. “She’s not Il Duce,” referring the World War II-era Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
—Dutra-Vernacci was on a Caribbean cruise when she determined poor WiFi would preclude her from remotely participating in the July 26 meeting. When a mayor is absent, it’s the role of the vice mayor to chair the meeting. Patiño said he was told just 15 minutes prior to the meeting that Gacoscos would be taking over for Dutra-Vernacci.
—Having to re-vote an entire council meeting is embarrassing for any city government and could potentially put the city at legal risk. Thankfully, Patiño said, most of the items on the July 26 agenda were quite mundane.