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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Money Flying Around in the 8th AD Race

It is definitely not safe to open your mailbox these days.

Anyone opening their mailbox is likely to receive a slew of campaign fliers. A large number of them are not even from the campaigns themselves. Rather they are IEs (Independent Expenditures).

According to an article from the Fairfield Daily Republic, reprinted in the Davis Enterprise this morning, the candidates themselves have raised large amount of money from the primary. The number they report for West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon seems a bit low at over $500,000 while Mariko Yamada, Yolo County Supervisor has raised just over half that.

However, the real battle is with the IEs. Undoubtedly anyone with a pulse has seen the EdVoice ads.
"In February, the education advocacy group EdVoice earmarked $350,000 to use on behalf of Cabaldon, who was president of the group until resigning in January.

Since then, a group representing real estate agents and firms has spent about $50,000 on Cabaldon's behalf, a trade organization representing apartment and rental housing owners has spent $15,000 and a group called the Cooperative of American Physicians has spent more than $40,000. "
Meanwhile, Mariko Yamada has received commitments over more than $300,000 from a variety of unions including CTA, SEIU, and $12,000 from the California Professional Firefighters.

In the last few days, the ads sent for Mariko Yamada by these groups have been particularly vicious.

One ad featured the Acronym "WRONG" and ranged from attacking Cabaldon for once again not paying his parking tickets to supporting Republicans and Wal Mart. Like so many ads, it is filled with half-truths, distortions, and trivial matters. Yesterday, was a more blunt attack, using the West Sacramento Wal-Mart as as a wedge issue.

For a campaign that had pledged to keep it clean, I have seen much in the way of attacks both coming from the IEs (which in fairness, the campaigns supposedly have no connection to nor control of) but also from the Yamada camp itself. It is one thing to criticize the West Sacramento Mayor of bringing Wal Mart to West Sacramento. We can decide whether than was justified and what that means for him. It is another to use parking tickets and the car boot as some kind of personal attack.

The Yamada campaign's most recent communication to its supporters and volunteers is promoting a big precinct walk in Solano County next weekend.

At the end it writes:
"It is important that we make a major statement about the importance of grass-roots, volunteer-based politics, and send a message to the big-money interests who seek to buy this election for their own purposes. Stand up and make a difference!"
The Yamada campaign has been outspent by the Cabaldon campaign. To date, the Cabaldon campaign's supporters have sent out more mail. But if Mariko Yamada really is receiving $300,000 from a variety of groups and they continue to send out attack pieces in the mail, they are just as guilty of allowing "big-money" interests play a role in this election.

Attack politics do not serve the people well. Criticizing someone over parking tickets does not tell us who would be a better Assemblymember or who will represent the needs of this district the best. What happened to campaigning on ideas and experience?

I want to read Mariko Yamada tell us why her five years as Yolo County Supervisor, her experience as a social worker and an activist qualify her to be Assemblywoman. I want to read about her ideas for the future of this district. I want to hear about how they differ from her opponent. As much as I think Cabaldon (or more accurately his IEs) has done too much in the way of mail, at least he has laid out that vision clearly. Let's let the voters decide which vision and whose record they want representing them.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting