Opinion: California tribes 'trash' state candidate
"On May 14, a new political committee, "Education Leaders for High Standards," suddenly appeared in state records. The next day, it reported its first expenditure: $47,900. Two days after that, voters throughout the East Bay's Ninth Senate District opened their mailboxes to find a withering attack on Assemblywoman Loni Hancock.

The mailer accused former Berkeley Mayor Hancock, a regional director for the U.S. Department of Education under President Bill Clinton and the current chair of a select committee dedicated to narrowing the achievement gap, of advocating lower standards for public schools. The allegation that Hancock is anything but obsessed with elevating education is absurd. Still, the perception was perpetuated in the daily mail, under the auspices of a group whose name carried a ring of authority on the subject.

It was a sham. The "Education Leaders for High Standards" were nothing of the sort. This was all about retribution and intimidation.

The committee was set up by the California Tribal Business Alliance - six tribes that are making a fortune off casino gambling - with major funding ($244,000) by the Lytton Band, whose efforts to build a Vegas-scale casino in San Pablo were scuttled, in large part, by the determined efforts of two elected officials who courageously, emphatically - and successfully - drew the line against tribal gaming. One was Sen. Dianne Feinstein in Washington. The other was Loni Hancock in Sacramento, who is locked in a tough Democratic primary against former Assemblywoman Wilma Chan to succeed state Sen. Don Perata, D-Oakland."

Get the Story:
John Diaz: THE TRASH IS IN THE MAIL (The San Francisco Chronicle 5/25)

Earlier Story:
Tribes unite to discredit Berkeley lawmaker (The Oakland Tribune 5/20)