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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

California NOW Responds to Accusations from the Yamada Campaign Regarding EdVoice's Role in their Non-Endorsement in the 8th AD

Last week, Democratic Candidate for the 8th Assembly District Mariko Yamada's campaign manager Brian Micek, sent out a press release accusing California NOW of taking contributions from EdVoice in exchange for California NOW remaining neutral in the 8th Assembly District race.

In a pointed release, the Yamada Campaign said:
"In what may go down as a banner day for the modern feminist movement, the California PAC of the National Organization for Women chose to make no endorsement in the Democratic Primary between Mariko Yamada, a professional social worker and two-term female County Supervisor and her male opponent, Christopher Cabaldon the former President and CEO of EdVoice.

EdVoice funds campaigns for candidates supportive of its agenda to “reform schools” and has already set aside $350,000 in an independent expenditure for Cabaldon’s campaign. In October of 2007, while Cabaldon was still at EdVoice’s helm, the education reform group donated $120,000 to NOW’s Women Vote 2008 campaign."
The Yamada press release goes on to say:
"Yamada received the news of the “no endorsement” decision on April 18th via a letter dated “April 25, 2008” on official California NOW-PAC stationary that includes the moving Susan B. Anthony quote, “Never another season of silence…” in its footer.

Yamada is the mother of two grown daughters, has served for nine years as an organizer of the Yolo County Women’s History Month Celebration and recently sponsored the first Solano County Women’s History Month Luncheon. Both events raise money to add women’s history materials to the Yolo and Solano County Library systems. She will receive the 2008 Woman of Distinction Award from Soroptimist International of Davis in May.

These efforts, among other attributes, did earn Yamada the endorsement of the California List, whose mission is clear: to elect pro-choice, Democratic women to the State Legislature."
Yesterday, California NOW sent out a press release responding to what they called "false allegations from [the] Yamada campaign."

Helen Grieco the executive director said:
"The CA NOW PAC's mission is, first and foremost, to elect feminist women to office. The CA NOW PAC endorses candidates who will fight for reproductive justice for all women and who possess a broad knowledge and understanding of issues important to women's health, safety and equal opportunity."
She goes on to say:
"Our allies at Planned Parenthood and Equality California chose not to endorse Yamada and to endorse Christopher Cabaldon, a CA NOW member."
Furthermore, Ms. Grieco questioned Yamada's commitment on the issues that NOW is most concerned about.
"Mariko Yamada was not seen by our PAC as the strongest advocate for the current issues we face. Unable to support Yamada, the CA NOW PAC chose not to make any endorsement in the 8th Assembly race at this time."
NOW goes on to clarify the accusations by Yamada that their endorsement process was compromised by their work with EdVoice.
"The CA NOW PAC has worked with EdVoice to achieve our shared goal of electing more feminist women to office, including Fran Pavley (SD 23), Carol Liu (SD 21), and Joan Buchanan (AD 15)."
They go on to argue that the claim that NOW received money from EdVoice is erroneous.
"However, Yamada's claim that the CA NOW PAC, "received $120,000 from EdVoice" is erroneous. Neither the CA NOW PAC nor CA NOW has received any funds from EdVoice, rather, EdVoice allocated funds for the shared campaign."
In scathing language, NOW rebukes the Yamada campaign:
"For Yamada to suggest that the CA NOW PAC endorsement process was compromised by our work with EdVoice is insulting."
The Cabaldon campaign has also issued a statement:
West Sacramento-Mariko Yamada's bitter denunciation of California NOW for not endorsing her in the 8th Assembly District last week is merely the latest of weekly rants, hurling accusations at anyone and any organization that does not support her. That pattern of distortion is not new to her campaign--it belies an antagonistic disregard for the integrity of public debate and has revealed that she had no intention of upholding her publicized pledge of running a clean campaign, which is why nearly all of the elected officials who work most closely with her on the Board of Supervisors and the Davis City Council have endorsed Christopher Cabaldon.

Christopher Cabaldon is proud of his longstanding partnership with California NOW during his tenure as President of EdVoice, as they worked together to elect pro-education, pro-equality legislative candidates like former school teacher Fran Pavley, former higher education committee chair Carol Liu, and school board member Joan Buchanan.

California NOW's choice to not endorse Mariko Yamada reflects the consensus of women leaders in the district and feminists committed to equality. Christopher Cabaldon is the sole endorsed candidate of the Planned Parenthood PAC, Equality California, and all of the 8th District's elected women serving as mayors, supervisors, and state legislators, as well as several former presidents of California Women Lead (formerly CEWAER).
The Vanguard was unable to contact Brian Micek for a response today, but if he sends out a response later today, it will be added to this article.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting