Street Knowledge News
Meet The Press
May 31 1998

It was "Meet the Press" day last Sunday. Prior to the June 2nd election, last Sunday's edition of Street Knowledge featured four powerful journalists to speak on all the initiatives as well as the the candidates running for Mayor of Oakland and San Jose and governor. Street Knowledge host Davey D. had guests Lee Hubbard of the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper, who is known for his political columns, and Chauncey Bailey of the Oakland Tribune and the San Francisco Sun Reporter, who is also the news director of the T.V. show, "Soul Beat". Also on the panel was Yolanda Reynolds of the La Oferta Review, a weekly newspaper out of San Jose, and young writer Chris Navalta of the Vallejo Times-Herald.

"Let's start with the big race -- Governor," said Davey D. "The big thing about this race is that all the candidates have spent about $50 million," Bailey said. "Al "Check Book" Checchi has spent $29 million. But what seems to be holding him back ... is that he is the only candidate that would repeak Prop. 209. So he's reached to a lot of minority voters, but he also may have lost a lot of white votes."

Despite Bailey's thoughts, he supports Checchi. "He is not sincere," Reynolds said of Checchi. "He sent his children to private school and he treats his staff very poorly."

Hubbard's newspaper endorses Checchi. "Showing up is half the battle," Hubbard said. "Mr. Checchi has met with black publishers on numerous ocassions where some of the other candidates were nowhere to be found. They avoided the black press like it was a plague."

Navalta, who met Checchi during his visit to Vallejo, said like all candidates, Checchi wears a mask when needed. "He, like all the other candidates, say he's all for the youth," Navalta said. "But when all the cameras stop rolling, it's all over."

Next up was Lieutenant Governor Gray Davis. "He's been an invisible person in state politics," Bailey said. "He's doesn't really do anything." Bailey added that other Democrat Jane Harman was a strong candidate, but 60% of her votes were Republican.

"But Gray Davis has agreed to lower tuition," Davey added. "But the only thing I don't like about Gray Davis is that he's taking a position that it should be unlawful if you dececrate the (American) flag."

"Gray Davis is a limousine liberal and a leftover of the Jerry Brown days," Hubbard said. "He's been around California politics for the last 25 years, but you tell me what has he done. I don't know."

Reynolds supports Dan Humberg of the Green Party. "One of the things that really intrigues me is his war on drugs," Reynolds said. "And he is definitely for changing that strategy. He's more towards prevention and intervention." Reynolds, who also like Harman and Davis, broke down what was happening in the San Jose mayoral race. Among the candidates are former Santa Clara Supervisor Ron Gonzales, spervisor Pat Dondo business woman Cathy Chavez Napoli and Bill Chu.

Reynolds' support mostly went towards Napoli. "Cathy Chavez Napoli is definitely a person who's been working out in the community," Reynolds said. "She's not only an activist, she has been very generous, she has a successful business and she has developed mentoring programs that's been going on for years."

The Oakland mayoral race has reached the public nationally, with former Governor and presidential candidate Jerry Brown leading a host of candidates vying for the office. "This is the big race," Davey said. "I'm talking about this race in Oakland. It's gotten national attention.

What's at stake right now?" Bailey was on top of all the candidates. "It's like being a judge of a beauty contest," Bailey said. "The contestants are pretty, but they all got this one glaring flaw." "For example ... Maria Harper, a retired postal worker. You can't reach her wothout a pager. Mary King, a great lady but you're basic politician. Shannon Reeves, bright, articulate, but a Republican. Ed Blakely, a theoratician. But what has he done for Oakland? Leo Bazile, probably the smartest person in the race but scares white people." Bailey went on and on with the rest of the candidates. He added that Jerry Brown's idea of a strong mayor form of government may cost him votes.

Navalta agreed. "He said the strong mayor doesn't have to be at the council meetings or they do not have to place a vote unless there's a tie," Navalta said. "So what I want to know is what's he gonna be doing if elected mayor and if he is a strong mayor."

Initiatives on the ballot are Prop. 224, which concerns CalTrans workers, Prop. 226, which discusses labor laws and the Prop. 227, which talks about bilingual education, among other initiatives.

"Proposition 227 is bogus," Navalta said. "This is not going to teach bilingual kids english. This should be looked at thoroughly and not trust its commercials."

KMEL also took a poll on who listeners whould vote for. The polls read that Checchi would be the Democratic nominee for Governor and Reeves would be the next Mayor of Oakland. Despite all the controversial initiatives, the real issue is how many will actually get out and vote on June 2? "There's a perception that we don't vote," Davey said. "There's a perception out there that we don't care about politics so therefore that perception will translate into people not really coming to your neighborhood and necessarily addressing you." The four panelists all had many differences, but all can agree when Hubbard said "Showing up is half the battle."

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written by
Chris Navalta of
The Vallejo Times Herald

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