chinese flag

Oct 102014
Rob Bonta with an APD officer and Councilmember Lena Tam

Rob Bonta with an APD officer and Councilmember Lena Tam

San Leandro’s Assemblymember takes money from insurance companies and police, while supporting Benny Lee and Deborah Cox

Campaign finance disclosures were due earlier in the week and it’s always a good idea to find out who “owns” our elected officials.

I took a look at Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s backers and while unions are by far his biggest contributors, he has also taken a fair amount of money from insurance companies.

After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to get Bonta elected in 2012, police unions continue to support him. It’s not a surprise. Bonta has a been an advocate for the militarization of the police, while in the Alameda City Council he voted in favor of acquiring an armored personnel carrier and while in the Assembly he has refused to carry any legislation that would put any type of limits to police power.

Other contributors include gambling interests, lawyers, AT&T and, of course, California Waste Solutions.

In all, Rob Bonta took in almost $200K in the last 3 months and over $550K this year alone, even though he is running for re-election against San Leandro’s own Republican David Erlich who has raised less than $5K.

So what has Bonta done with this money? He’s given the Democratic party about $85K, as it’s expected and, he’s supported other candidates. In San Leandro, his largess went to two candidates: Benny Lee and Deborah Cox. They both got $1K. Not surprisingly, they are both heavily backed by the police department and are expected to rubber stamp whatever the police puts before them (Lee has so far).

One person Bonta has not endorsed is Councilmember Pauline Cutter, who is running for Mayor of San Leandro . Now, everyone in the Alameda County Democratic Party and the Alameda Labor council, in addition to the political establishment in San Leandro, has rallied behind Pauline. While she is not the most progressive candidate, she is a solid Democrat, a hard worker and the most independent member of the City Council. She is not a rubber stamp for the City Manager/Police Chief, which is why the Police Union endorsed Diana Souza. If Bonta wasn’t in the pocket of the police union, he would have likely endorsed Cutter by now.  Endorsing Souza would be a losing proposition, after supporting the raising of the Chinese flag, voting in favor of red light cameras and taking money from California Waste Solutions (CWS), Souza is likely to come out third on the race, behind Dan Dillman.   Bonta’s support of pro-police/pro-Chinese flag/pro-CWS candidates extends to his home city of Alameda, where he is now backing Stewart Chen.

Ultimately, politicians cater to their backers because they help them not just be elected, but become more powerful within the political structure.  As long as voters automatically elect incumbents, this will remain the case.  But the open primary system may make it easier for Democratic candidates to lounge successful challenges against Democratic incumbents – in particular when these tacitly support unpopular positions such as raising the blood soaked Chinese flag over our cities.

Sep 252013

Update: Apparently, contrary to what Benny Lee said, there were never any plans to raise the PRC flag at the Alameda City Hall.

From the Tibetan National Congress

The City of Alameda plans to raise the Chinese flag on Oct 1 to celebrate the Chinese National Day and Mao Zedong.

Last week, we successfully suspended the flag raising in the City of San Leandro.

Please call/email/fax Alameda’s Mayor Marie Gilmore and ask her not to taint her city:
Phone: (510) 747-4701
Fax: (510) 865-1498


September 25th, 2013

It has come to our attention that the City of Alameda will be raising the Communist flag of China on Oct 1st, the Chinese National Day — to celebrate Mao Zedong’s brutal and bloody victory to rule China, which came by way of unleashing unimaginable pain and misery onto millions of Chinese citizens.

The flag represents a government that ran tanks over their own children who were protesting peacefully in Tiananmen Square in 1989. For others, like Tibetans and Uighurs, it represents a symbol of occupation of their homeland and unremitting oppression as countless innocent citizens are arbitrarily imprisoned, routinely tortured, and even executed without proper representation. 121 Tibetans in Tibet have self-immolated to protest this extreme racist and cruel strategy to annihilate the very traces of Tibetans on the plateau. Falun Gong practitioners, one of the most peaceful religious organizations in the world, are routinely rounded up, persecuted, and their organs harvested to be sold to the west.

Chinese Christians are also harassed, their Bibles confiscated and their churches destroyed. Closer to home, for many American Veterans of the Korean and Vietnamese wars, this flag represents the force that put their friends and fellow soldiers into the ground in the name of Communism. And for many unemployed Americans, it represents the regime that uses espionage, currency manipulation and trade abuses to rob them of their jobs.

Earlier this week, the City of San Leandro, due to strong public objection and petitions, decided to suspend a similar flag raising ceremony scheduled for October 1st. We were very pleased and grateful that the leadership made the conscientious decision to listen to the impassioned opposition to the proposal; and proved that America is still a country that stands for democracy, freedom of speech and thought, and equality for all. As long as China remains an oppressive regime which denies all that we in America take for granted as our basic human rights, we cannot display the red communist flag least we devalue the very spirit that has wrought this great country.

We urge the honorable Mayor Marie Gilmore and the respected members of the City Council to follow the stellar example set by the City of San Leandro and vote to suspend the decision to raise the flag until further deliberations are entertained and public voices are heard on this matter.

Your’s Sincerely,

Jigme Ugen

Benny LeeThis post comes to you thanks to San Leandro Council Member Benny Lee