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By Tim Hunt

Cook-Kallio handlers running curious campaign

Uploaded: Oct 25, 2016

Cheryl Cook-Kallio clearly is being tightly managed in her run for the 16th Assembly seat currently held by Republican Catharine Baker.
When Cheryl served on the Pleasanton City Council she was quite forthright with her views on issues concerning the city. Now she’s trying to step up to the Assembly in an election that likely will have a much higher turnout than the record low number of citizens who cast votes in the mid-term 2014 election when Baker drew a coalition of Republicans and independents to defeat former Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti. She’s the only Republican in the Bay Area contingent.
In contrast to her earlier openness, Cheryl declined to participate in the East Bay Times editorial board and also ducked the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce’s debate. The Baker campaign has called upon the Cook-Kallio campaign to make public copies of any questionnaires she filled out for various interest groups.
Not surprisingly, no response. And, there’s no obligation to respond.
I reached out to Cheryl via email asking for an explanation and never heard back.
What her campaign seems to be counting upon is simply the “Democrat” that will follow her name on the ballot. Campaign emails tout her endorsement by Gov. Jerry Brown as well as the other constitutional officers (all Democrats) and the Assembly Speaker and Senate leader. Given the track record of some of those officers, particularly Attorney General Kamala Harris, that is a negative for me, but presumably the polling indicates it will help.
What’s unusual is that Baker has swept the newspaper endorsements from the San Francisco Chronicle to the Times to the Pleasanton Weekly and the Livermore Independent. Three of the four (the Weekly excepted) can be counted upon to mirror the Democratic Party slate cards with their recommendations so it’s notable that Baker was their choice.
The Independent reached back to Cheryl’s council record and disagreed with her votes during that time—I would applaud many of them.
The others cited her record of working across the deep aisle that separates the parties as well as her ill-advised vote for the governor’s pet climate change legislation.
We’ll know on Nov. 9 or later whether the vote because I’m a Dem unseats Baker. Incidentally, the history of the rare time in the competitive newspaper industry (two dailies and two weeklies) when one candidate got all of the endorsements did not always work out positively come Election Day.
Speaking of endorsements, it was interesting that the Weekly declined to endorse retired Principal Steve Maher because he has relatives working in the district and that could present a potential conflict of interest during contract negotiations. Instead the paper’s editorial board backed incumbents Jamie Hintzke and Valerie Arkin.
From my perspective, the paper focused on potential with Maher instead of the record of the incumbents who hired the now-departed Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi and watched the exodus of principals to the detriment of students. Study after study shows that the key person in academic excellence is the site leader and churning them serves no one—particularly when they leave for lateral positions.
That’s on the superintendent and the board—a record that the Weekly should have considered to say nothing of the shameful way district leaders handled the mess with former Principal Jon Vranesh.