East Bay Insiders

East Bay political discourse will never be the same! Political reporter Steve Tavares and Alameda County insider Shawn Wilson provide insights, dish the scoop, while also detailing the lighter side of Alameda County, state, and national political scene.
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Aug 7, 2018

The world premiere of the Steve Tavares Is Angry Podcast ponders the possibility of Steve's neighborhood being gentrified and the future loss of his Orange Julius-sized apartment in Alameda. Plus, in The Breakdown, he looks at the pro-Trump barrage of anti-immigrant tweets sent recently by the chair of a San Leandro school district $104 million bond measure oversight committee and how San Leandro officials were too afraid to speak out against her.

Steve Tavares is angry and you should be, too.

Jan 6, 2017

Fremont needs to appoint a new council member following the surprising election of Lily Mei as mayor. One candidate for the appointment is Roman Reed, a Fremont planning commissioner with one of the most interesting back stories you will ever hear.

Reed sat down with me to discuss her plans for Fremont, along with his passion for finding cures for cancer, paralysis and other ailments that might one day be found using stem cells. He subsequently found the Roman Reed Foundation.

In 1994, Reed was paralyzed while playing football for Chabot College. As the school newspaper's sports editor, I witnessed Reed's injury and covered that fateful game. 

Nov 7, 2016

Election Day is upon us. Or, shall we say the last throes of democracy in America is near?

Nevertheless, Bay Area News Group political reporter Matthew Artz joins the podcast for a special Election Day in the East Bay preview.

We touch on the presidential election, California's U.S. Senate race and the suburban battle in the 16th Assembly District.

All bases are covered in the East Bay, from Fremont's mayoral race to Hayward's war among public officials, to the titanic tilt in the 17th Congressional District between Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna. And who can forget Oakland's forgettable council races?

We also give our prediction, too!

Jun 30, 2016

In his first interview since registering the biggest upset of the June primary season, 17th Congressional District candidate Ro Khanna returns to the East Bay Citizen Podcast.

Khanna candidly says he didn't anticipate beating Rep. Mike Honda in the primary earlier this month. The nearly two point margin puts Khanna in an advantageous position for the November rematch.

Later, Khanna lays out his progressive vision for the district that includes Fremont and portions of Santa Clara County all the way to San Jose, in addition, to his stances on marijuana legalization, affordable housing and rent control.


Jun 3, 2016

The 17th Congressional District primary race featuring Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna is one of the most highly-anticipated House race in the country. 

With six candidates hoping to grab a spot in the Top Two primary, supporters for Honda and Khanna duel it out in the East Bay Citizen Podcast's first-time-ever three person show. 

In the spirited podcast, Daily Kos citizen blogger Glen "The Plumber" Shaffer and former Tri City Democratic Forum chair Yogi Chugh debate some of the issues in the hyped House race. And it is, indeed, spirited. 

In addition, don't forget to vote on June 7!

May 27, 2016

Primary Day is less than two weeks away and state Senate candidate Nancy Skinner sits down to chat about her campaign in the Ninth District.

Skinner, as a former East bay assemblymember, once represented half of the much larger state Senate. The other half was previously represented by her rival this June (and likely next November) former assemblymember Sandre Swanson. The top two advance to the November General Election.

In the meantime, Skinner gives her thoughts on the June primary race, her experience in Sacramento and offers her views on governance, while touting her clear progressives credentials.

By the way, don't miss the end of the program! Listen to the reggae jam Skinner recorded back in 1981! 

Apr 28, 2016

In most years, the California Republican State Convention is a sleepy affair, but certainly not this year. Republican presidential contenders Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich are coming to Burlingame this weekend to begin the final stretch toward the big June 7 California primary.

To kickoff coverage of the GOP state convention, former Alameda County Republican Party chair and 13th Congressional District candidate Sue Caro joins the program this week to talk about the local search by presidential hopefuls for locating loyal delegates to the national convention in Cleveland this summer.

Caro also lays out her vision for the congressional district long dominated by Rep. Barbara Lee, one of the most progressive members of Congress. In the interview, Caro describes Lee as ineffective for the district and merely a "symbol of a certain kind of thought process."


Apr 18, 2016

I've seen and heard much on the campaign trails across the East Bay over the past few months. Races at the state, county and city level, not to mention the nationally-watched Rep. Mike Honda-Ro Khanna rematch dominate the June Primary ballot. (By the way, if you're not registered to vote, do so now or forever hold your peace).

On this week's episode, I'll break down the candidates and issues in the big five races in the East Bay: State Senate Ninth District races; Assembly races in the 14th and 16th Districts; Hayward's 10-candidate City Council race; the aforementioned 17th Congressional District; and Alameda County's Board of Supervisor District Four winner-take-all race featuring Supervisor Nate Miley and Bryan Parker.

Tojo Thomas, Miley's opponent from four years ago, drops in to talk about his success during the last election cycle in baiting Miley into repeatedly losing his cool and setting up the long-time incumbent to make statements that could be used against him during this June Primary season. 

Apr 11, 2016

Just months before the grueling 2014 congressional election in the 17th Congressional District between Democrats Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna was nearing its climax, a former Honda congressional staffer was blowing the whistle on Honda's alleged commingling of officials and campaign duties.

Ruchit Agrawal, the then-Honda staffer, provided internal emails to the Office of Congressional Ethics showing the alleged improper actions, including one that  could potentially lead to the end of Honda's 16-year political career this November, if found true.

On this week's East Bay Citizen Podcast, Agrawal, however, has surprisingly kind words for Honda and says the incumbent congressman is not unethical as his challenger Khanna suggests.

Agrawal also refutes other aspects of the allegations routinely used against Honda in the media, including the allegation that a list of campaign donors was crosschecked with the congressional office to offer additional and improper personal benefits to the contributor. 

Apr 1, 2016

San Leandro is on the rise, if you can believe it. The momentum has been building for years and finally many in the tech world and potential home buyers are beginning to notice Oakland's neighbor to the south. 

San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter joins the East Bay Citizen Podcast to discuss her city's newly found perch as a place other East Bay cities look to for leadership. Later, she talks about development of the San Leandro Marina, its downtown fiber optics loop sought after by industry, and the possibility one day of citywide free WiFi. 

The city's first-ever medical marijuana dispensary is due to open later this year and another is already out to bid. Things are changing in The 'Dro, that's for sure.



Mar 7, 2016

The big 17th Congressional District primary race is much more than its Democratic headliners, Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna. This week the show goes red with Republican candidates Peter Kuo and Ron Cohen.

Kuo has experience succeeding in mudslinging primaries including Democrats when he sneaked into the 2014 general election in the 10th State Senate District between Bob Wieckowski and Mary Hayashi. Will he play a similar role this time around as the designated peacemeaker in the race?

Cohen is a Fremont CPA running in his first political campaign. Although, one early report had him pledging allegiance to the Tea Party-led House Freedom Caucus, his conservative chops are much more diverse and complex. Unsurprisingly as a tax man by day, listen to Cohen's finer points on the nation's need for fiscal reforms.


Feb 15, 2016

The East Bay Citizen Podcast heads to one of this year's political hotspots--Berkeley--where Councilmember Jesse Arreguin is running for the city's open mayoral seat. 

Like almost every Bay Area city, the lack of affordable housing, is a big problem. Arreguin describes his ideas for filling the gap and his campaign pledge to innovate Berkeley government.

There's also the problem of Berkeley's slow slide from being a nationally known icon of progressive thought. He says he wants to take back the mantle from local cities like Richmond and Oakland, along with other western cities, like Portland and Seattle.

Feb 5, 2016

The East Bay Citizen Podcast is back following the holiday break. Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty joins the program for a lively, entertaining discussion. Haggerty had some new insights into the Raiders stadium saga and, of course, revealed some of his gripes. 

In the past week, Haggerty laid into some Castro Valley residents during a Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting. He's unapologetic about calling the group "unappreciative" of the board's leadership in the unincorporated area.

Haggerty also touched upon the county campaign finance ordinance he authored in 2010 and its first real test coming with Supervisor Nate Miley's re-election campaign against a well-financed challenger. 

Dec 7, 2015

Alameda County District Four Board of Supervisors candidate Bryan Parker travels to my hometown of Castro Valley to lay out his strategy for unseating Nate Miley next June.

Parker, a Port of Oakland commissioner who ran last year for Oakland, is facing an uphill battle against the long-time supervisor who represents cities between East Oakland and Pleasanton, including Castro Valley and other unincorporated areas of Alameda County.

"We're not into putting a scare into anybody," says Parker. "We're here to win."

During the show, I draw parallels between this campaign and another famous East Bay insurgent campaign from four years ago.

Later, Parker's offers his platform for the district, his views on Castro Valley cityhood and his opponent's stance on the future of Oakland's three professional sports team.

Nov 30, 2015

The unlikely new epicenter of the East Bay housing crisis is Alameda. On this week's East Bay Citizen Show podcast, Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie said the move by a South Bay landlord to exploit a section of the city's recently approved 65-day moratorium on rents and eviction was a "slap in the face" to the City Council.

The resulting furor following the issuance of 60-day eviction notices to 33 families at Bay View Apartments in Alameda, said Oddie, could make the offending landlord the new face for a push by tenants to enact a strong rent control policy.

Oddie also works for Assemblymember Rob Bonta and he gives a preview of the lawmaker's potential agenda for the coming legislative year.

In addition, he also describes her less-than-stellar fantasy football team, unfortunately heavy on players from his hometown Chicago Bears. 

Nov 23, 2015

It's Thanksgiving week and what better topic is there than giving thanks to the person who blazed the podcasting trail for the East Bay Citizen Show. 

Hayward born and raised Matt Santos drops in from Prescott, Ariz. to chat about his podcast and we walk down memory lane to reminisce about...Wait a minute.

Santos is really on the show to talking about me! About the time I ran for the Chabot College student president while serving as the newspaper's Editor-in-Chief, my rousing campaign speech, the college's fry cook/bookie and his advice for taking the Cowboys even though back-up QB Gary Hogeboom was subbing for the great Danny White, or was it Randy White?

Also, in the news, what's might happen to Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks after an allegation was reported last week that she assaulted former Black Panther icon Elaine Brown at a restaurant in Oakland? Probably nothing, but the allegation brings to light Brooks' notorious behavior over the past 14 years in office.

Nov 16, 2015

Yes, you can include Fremont in Silicon Valley, which many view as part of Santa Clara County, but it's our. Fremont is the second largest city in Alameda County, so why does it get overlooked by Oakland-centric leaders? First-term Mayor Bill Harrison sits down to talk about his city and to tell us about its rise. 

Fremont is more than tree-lined suburbs, good Indian food and Tesla. But it is also growing quickly and boasts one of the only minority-majorities in the country. We also discuss Fremont's recent decision to deploy surveillance cameras at certain freeway exits and the lack of opposition it received from residents.

Also, is it Fremonters or Fremontians? We find out.



Nov 9, 2015

Things got wild on this East Bay Citizen Show podcast. Alameda County Democratic Party co-chair Mario Juarez and I look at the political landscape in Oakland. Juarez, a two-time Oakland City Council candidate, is one of the most knowledgeable political insiders in the East Bay, in addition, to one of the funniest.

Is Jean Quan really running for the City Council? "If it walks like a duck..." said Juarez. Is it possible two members of the same council are thinking about retirement? Did Oakland's founders really forget to annex Alameda? jokes Juarez in a satire of the police response at a recent council meeting. And, finally, Juarez gives a loving ode to the splendor of Assemblymember Rob Bonta's gloriously perfect teeth and hair.

All on the the East Bay Citizen Show, the region's only political podcast. Subscribe and listen on iTunes, Stitcher or listen at Follow on Twitter @EBCShow.

Next week's special guest: Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison.

Nov 3, 2015

What's in Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's "secret sauce"? Maybe we'll get to the bottom of the city's proprietary ingredients? Or maybe not? Along the way the first-year mayor adds to her State of the City address last week, along with criticism lodged towards her from using the phrase "Black Lives Matter" as a backdrop during the speech at City Hall. Schaaf also left off her list of city priorities the future of the Oakland Raiders in the city and their bid for a new stadium. Later, the mayor talks housing, public safety Uber and "techquity" and previews her education plan, Oakland Promise.

Oct 19, 2015

The June Primary is just around the corner and this is the time of the year when prospective campaigns begin forming their teams and begin strategizing for next spring. Under the radar for June is a big race for four seats on the Hayward City Council. The field in Hayward is quickly growing--possibly up to the seven candidates thus far. Former Hayward Councilman Kevin Dowling helps break down the June at-large race, along with the recent suspension of Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan's suspension of her State Senate campaign--also another big June race. Later, I take a look at the Alameda County Board of Supervisors just because nobody else willl, along with the odd testimony on cell phone surveillance offered last week by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley.

Sep 28, 2015

There were fireworks earlier this month at a Hayward School Board of Trustees meeting when Superintendent of Schools Stan "Data" Dobbs verbally abused and allegedly make contact with one or more elected school board members. It's just another setback for one of the most chronically underperforming school s districts in Alameda County. Outspoken Hayward School Trustee Dr. Luis Reynoso is here to discuss the incident and the past and future of the moribund school district. Later in th news, Reynoso stuck around to chat about last week's dedication of the Bill Lockyer Bay Trail in Hayward and the time the former state senate pro tem and state treasurer gave him a tip about not shaking hands with a sweaty palm.

Sep 22, 2015

No other writer and comedian is more synonymous with the East Bay than San Leandro-raised Brian Copeland. He sits down with the East Bay Citizen Show this week to talk about San Leandro and its amazing turnaround from a White-Only enclave a generation ago to one of the most diverse cities in America. He also discussed the subject of his one-man play "The Scion" that focused on the brutal slaying of two USDA inspectors at San Leandro's Santos Linguica Factory. Evidence of UFOs is touched upon along with the shocking and precipitous downfall of Bill Cosby. Earlier this year, Copeland took heat for initially standing by Cosby as women first began speaking out alleging sexual assault over the past decades. His support for the beloved comedian is not what it used to be, he says on the East Bay's only political podcast, The East Bay Citizen Show. Listen to new episodes every Monday!

Sep 14, 2015

One of the East Bay's most experienced city councilmembers sits down in Alameda to chat on this week's East Bay Citizen Show. Alameda Councilmember Tony Daysog showed up after a workout to discuss the city's growing problem of exorbitant rent increases and 30 and 60 days eviction notices. A leader in the city's Filipino-American community, Daysog delves into Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer's "RiceGate" flub, his re-election campaign in 2016 and some thoughts on the island city's next city manager. Also, a quick news brief from the following week on the region's only weekly podcast dedicated solely to East Bay politics.


Sep 7, 2015

Hayward Councilmember Francisco Zermeno is a collector of things, not to mention two terms on the Hayward City Council. But he also boasts more than 8,000 pieces of Spiderman memorabilia and the collection is less a love of the comic book character and more a reminder of his unique immigrant experience. And yes, he has a noted tequila collection, too!

On this special Labor Day edition of the East Bay Citizen Show, I chat with Zermeno, also a long-time Chabot College Spanish professor, about his controversial vote against Hayward city employees two years ago, the fallout, and how he plans to win a third term next June in a council race destined to be one of the highlights of the 2016 local election season.

Download and subscribe to the East Bay Citizen Show on iTunes, Stitcher or listen on New episodes every Monday! Follow @EBCShow on Twitter

Sep 1, 2015

East Bay Express Editor-In-Chief Robert Gammon and I discuss the growing use of police body cameras in the East Bay and elsewhere. Specifically, the issue of when or if the public ever sees footage captured on tape when it may or may not implicate police misconduct. Later in the show comes a change of pace. The silver and black face-painted Raiders superfan, Dr. Death, stops by to chat about his rise and one of the famed Black Hole's menagerie of character to City of Oakland and Alameda County insider. In addition, we discuss the impression held by some that the local media's coverage of Oakland's stadium saga is often misaligned with reality.

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