Stuart Flashman is the East Bay's own Columbo. He's a little scruffy around the edges, and his opponents often underestimate him, but he makes them pay for their arrogance. Take Caltrans and the Alameda County Transportation Authority. A few years back, they defied the will of East Bay voters and illegally changed the route of the proposed Foothill Freeway in Hayward. Flashman exposed their attempted fraud in court, and then killed the dreaded freeway forever. "He's smart, he was prepared, he was absolutely committed," longtime Foothill Freeway opponent Sherman Lewis says. Now, Flashman is fighting to put what may be one of the most controversial development deals in Oakland history on the ballot the Oak to Ninth project. He's up against a bevy of high-priced corporate lawyers and the best that City Attorney John Russo can throw at him. But it seems as if they're underestimating him, too. He's already caught them in some embarrassing contradictions.