Questions for Mayoral Candidate Hakeem Brown
Mr. Brown is flooding Vallejo with glossy mailers carefully crafted to project a public image that seems strikingly at odds with some of the behavior he exhibits as a new Councilmember and candidate for the Mayor’s office. A recent slick offering contains the following statements:
“Many of you know me as a successful business owner, church parishioner, and City Councilmember. I’ve made no secret of my own difficult journey to reach this point, including brushes with the law and arrest record as a young person decades ago.” As a candidate for the City’s highest elected office, he should expect followup questions after that casual dismissal of his record.
He may have made no secret of the fact that he has an arrest record, but Mr. Brown has not been forthcoming about the nature of those “brushes with the law,” and what they might say about how he would represent our city as Mayor. Are we only talking about youthful indiscretions like tagging or marijuana possession? We have noted while endorsing his opponent Mr McConnell that in our opinion Mr. Brown is far too quick to anger to be suited for public office. Do any of the charges in that arrest record include violent incidents that might reflect a history of problems with anger management? Voters have a right to know at least that much detail.
Mr. Brown’s treatment of his past behavior is as glossy as his mailers, and he owes the voting public a more detailed accounting of those brushes with the law. Stories of redemption ring hollow when present behavior continues to reflect a troubled past. He says he has no secrets regarding his arrest record, so he should have no problem with giving the voters a full accounting of that record. Vallejo voters deserve to know what exactly the candidate wants us to disregard ahead of the election so that we can determine the significance for ourselves.
UPDATE: After posing these questions which the candidate himself invited by saying he’s made no secret of his brushes with the law and arrest record, residents have started sending us results from various record searches. There is always the danger that these kinds of search results will turn out to be cases of mistaken identity, although Hakeem Mwata Brown is not exactly John Smith. We don’t feel it would be responsible or fair to publish these records without giving Mr. Brown the opportunity to make good on his pledge of transparency and give voters a comprehensive accounting of his history.
We gave Mr. Brown our full-throated support when he was prosecuted for cannabis cultivation in Solano county several years ago. We published an article on the VOV web site titled Cease Fire, arguing that in the grey market legal environment leading up to the passage of Prop 64 those kinds of prosecutions were no longer appropriate or just, and called on the county to abandon the effort. While we understand that some voters will not agree that we should disregard the cultivation charge, that is not our concern here. We are concerned with the rest of the record he talks about without providing any detail, and what it might say about his character, temperament, and suitability to represent the city as Mayor. The window of opportunity to come clean with the voters is closing fast now that the ballots have been mailed.
UPDATE 2: The candidate released a statement admitting to a criminal record of drug trafficking, firearms violations, and a "domestic scuffle" with no details, and threatened to file libel charges against Open Vallejo if they publish a story. Here is that story:
And in the San Francisco Chronicle: Vallejo mayoral candidate Hakeem Brown has a history of violence against women
F'or those who might want to believe that this is all in the past and he should be given the benefit of any doubt, listen to the stories of local women who have experienced the rage and hostility in recent years. Read their stories here...
Update 3: Mr. Brown just released another statement after saying he was done talking about his past to announce that he intends to stay in the Mayor's race. This statement includes the remorseful mea culpa that he owed the voters before his first run for office but has never been heard until now. It's all too obvious that this show of remorse comes only after he has been exposed, and his political consultants are trying to make lemonade. It's a bitter, sour brew when part of that defense amounts to 'it's not true that she was pregnant when I repeatedly punched her in the stomach.' Don't expect the people of Vallejo to swallow it. Drop out now and resign your office.