As if voters in Alameda County's District 2 haven't had enough campaign controversies lately, they're about to be hit by a flood of glossy mailers attacking Board of Supervisor candidate Mary Hayashi.
The mailers are designed to look like a publicity poster from the movie "There's Something About Mary" with Hayashi's photo and the tagline: "Featuring the convicted shoplifter from Sacramento."
That is a reference to her misdemeanor shoplifting conviction for taking $2,450 worth of clothing from Neiman Marcus last year. She is still on probation for the incident.
The mailers were paid for by a political action committee called Morals PAC. Hayashi has her nemesis, Paul Gaspar, a physical therapist and member of the Independent Physical Therapists of California, to blame for the public jab.
His organization is angry at Hayashi for killing a bill that would have allowed physical therapists to treat patients without a doctor's prescription and for calling in auditors to look at their books.
Gaspar said Hayashi was doing the bidding of the bill's opponents.
The Morals PAC, he said, plans to send out several more mailers with different attack messages. "We will do whatever is necessary to make sure she finishes in last place," Gaspar said.
Hayashi did not respond to attempts to contact her by phone and email.
The attack comes on top of an analysis that showed the termed-out assemblywoman topped the list of California legislators who switched votes retroactively.
The Associated Press showed she added her vote to a roll call late 290 times during this year's legislative session -- far more than any other Assembly member. She also changed one vote after the official roll call.
She did not respond to questions about the tally.
Her fundraising power appears to be unaffected.
Donors have given Hayashi's 2012 campaign $200,947 as of Oct. 20. The money came largely from health care and insurance political action committees, as well as fellow politicians.
No donor can contribute more than $20,000 for district-specific races in Alameda County.
There is no such limit on Hayashi's "Building California's Future" ballot measure, which received $59,500 in direct contributions, as well as at least $50,000 more through independent expenditures from Hayashi's 2010 Assembly campaign.
Independent expenditures are usually used by PACs to contribute unlimited amounts of money to third-party groups for political advertising and with less disclosure than direct contributions.
Hayashi paid for TV airtime and an anti-Proposition 32 billboard in Hayward without mentioning her run for the District 2 seat.
But the tactic increases her visibility in a way that may pay off on Nov. 6 if voters for the District 2 supervisor cast their ballot based on name recognition.
To win, Hayashi will have to unseat Richard Valle. He was appointed to the seat in June after Nadia Lockyer resigned in disgrace.
Outgoing Union City Mayor Mark Green and a former deputy sheriff are also candidates. Whoever wins will face re-election again in 2014 to serve a regular four-year term.
The candidates insist they will run again and want only to serve on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.
Hayashi has, however, collected $155,238 in a Hayashi for Senate 2014 account.