FREMONT — Although there are five candidates in the 10th Senate District, the heated exchanges between two Democrats — Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski and former Assemblymember Mary Hayashi — have drawn most of the attention.
Wieckowski was first elected in 2010. Hayashi served in the Assembly from 2006 to 2012 and left due to term limits. She unsuccessfully ran for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 2012.
Wieckowski’s campaign launched a website, MugShotMary.com, which draws attention to the fact that Hayashi, while serving in the Assembly, was arrested for shoplifting $2,450 worth of clothing from Nieman Marcus in San Francisco’s Union Square in October 2011. The site includes a video of store surveillance footage.
Hayashi, who said she was distracted on her cell phone and forgot to pay, was initially charged with a felony but pleaded no contest to misdemeanor shoplifting and was sentenced to three years probation and a fine, and ordered to stay away from Nieman Marcus. The site ridicules Hayashi’s explanations for the incident and emphasizes that she is on probation until 2015.
Josh Pulliam, Hayashi’s campaign manager, criticized the use of the surveillance video, telling The San Francisco Chronicle, “As someone who seems to be big on consumer rights, Bob Wieckowski should be investigating the concerns about privacy that arise out of the video. Instead, he is clearly getting his jollies with this video peeping on Mary Hayashi.”
Pulliam has also suggested that there is a double standard that favors male politicians who have committed crimes.
While acknowledging that she made a mistake, Hayashi is urging voters to focus on her accomplishments as a legislator.
Wieckowski also touts an endorsement from The San Francisco Chronicle, which calls him “forthright to a fault” and states, “The last thing the California Legislature needs is another senator with a criminal history,” a reference to the recent suspension of three Democratic state senators, including Leland Yee of San Francisco.
A pro-Wiecowski mailer funded by labor unions read, “If Mary Hayashi can’t go within 50 feet of a Neiman Marcus store … shouldn’t it be the same for the State Senate?”
Hayashi shot back with her own mailers and websites. FrackBob.com charges that Wieckowski “supports fracking in the Bay Area” because he opposed a bill that would impose a moratorium on fracking and has accepted campaign contributions from oil and gas companies. “Don’t let Bob Wieckowski frack us in the State Senate,” the site says, noting that Hayashi, as a legislator, received high marks from the Sierra Club and other environmental groups.
Wieckowski campaign consultant Lisa Tucker told the Bay Area News Group’s “Political Blotter” that “there is no oil in the Bay Area, so fracking in the Bay Area would not be happening,” and that California now has the “toughest disclosure law in the country” as a result of Wieckowski’s earlier legislation.
Another site, BobProtectedRapists.com, alleges that Wieckowski “cast the sole vote against necessary legislation to protect victims of rape and domestic violence. This law was passed after a California mom was forced to pay alimony and legal fees to her ex-husband, even though he was in prison for violently attacking her. Instead of protecting victims of domestic violence, Weickowski stood with criminals and their attorneys.”
These allegations are also included in a third site, Bob-the-Bully.com, which states that the assemblyman has “a record of bullying women and people of color.”
Tucker said that Wieckowski had concerns about mixing criminal and court cases when the bill was in committee, but after those concerns were addressed, he supported the bill in the final floor vote.
Hayashi also put out a mailer saying that Wiecowski “will say or do anything for his political agenda.”
If the two are the top vote-getters in the June 3 primary, the battle will continue until the general election in November. But there is also the possibility that with the Democratic vote split, the lone Republican candidate, Peter Kuo, will make the top two. The other candidates are Democrat Roman Reed and independent Audie Bock.
The district, which includes Pleasanton, San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, Union City, Milpitas and parts of Santa Clara and San Jose, is currently represented by Sen. Ellen Corbett (D), who is running for Congress.