Democratic Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi's last days in the lower house apparently won't mark the end of her long-running battle with a faction of physical therapists.
A Southern California physical therapist who has battled for years with the Castro Valley Democrat over legislation affecting his trade is leading a new committee aimed at derailing the termed-out legislator's bid for an open seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.
MORALS PAC, which stands for Masses Organizing Research Against Lying and Stealing Opposing Mary, distributed its first anti-Hayashi mail piece this week. The piece hits Hayashi not on legislative actions opposed by physical therapists, but her 2011 arrest on suspicion of taking more than $2,000 worth of clothes from a San Francisco Nieman Marcus without paying.
The mailer, designed as a riff on a movie poster for the 1998 comedy "There's Something About Mary," says the candidate's "political ambition and lavish lifestyle is starting to cloud her judgment and her ability to be an effective politician."
"Shoplifting is obviously a much more newsworthy thing than patients being denied access to physical therapy services," said Paul Gaspar, the physical therapist chairing the committee.
Hayashi, who pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor shoplifting charge, maintains the theft was not intentional. She is one of four candidates seeking to replace former Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, who stepped down earlier this year after her struggle with addiction and issues with her marriage to state Treasurer Bill Lockyer's became public.
Gaspar said the effort was created out of concerns that Hayashi will use the vacant supervisor seat as a stepping stone to return to the Legislature in 2014, when a state Senate seat in her area will be up for grabs.
"There's a pattern of behavior here with her dishonesty and the way she's acted not in the public's or the patients' best interest," he said.
Hayashi's political strategist could not immediately be reached for comment on this ad.