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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Now EdVoice Has Gone Too Far With Attacks on Yamada

Earlier this week, we criticized the Yamada campaign and their Independent Expenditure committee surrogates for attacks on Christopher Cabaldon that were minor and nitpicky at best. Their slew of attacks have generated considerable response from EdVoice. Yesterday my mailbox was filled up with eight or nine pieces from the Assembly campaigns and the IEs. Christopher Cabaldon recorded a cable ad to respond to some of the attacks.

Here is the response from Cabaldon up on youtube:

However, this race has now turned ugly with two vicious attacks by EdVoice on Yamada.

This ad has angered advocates for people with disabilities. The program was designed to help people with disabilities get jobs--of course the ad makes no mention of that. The Yamada campaign led by advocates for people with disabilities will have a press conference this morning to refute and denounce the political attack.

The Sacramento Bee's ad watch already roundly criticized the ad:

"$91,000 for coffee service?" reads one flier attacking Yamada, a Yolo County supervisor, for voting to subsidize a coffee cart in a county building. "What was Yamada thinking?"

Turns out it's no ordinary coffee cart – it's designed to provide jobs to people with mental disabilities.

Yolo supervisors voted 3-2 to commit $91,000 to the Turning Point agency for equipment and training. The money stems from a 2005 tax on millionaires that can be spent only for mental-health services.

At the top of the ad, they quote an unnamed Yolo County Supervisor: "When I first read it, I thought it was a mistake. When I heard the explanation, it was worse." Of course what they do not tell you is that that county supervisor was Republican Matt Rexroad. I wonder why they would not name the county supervisor? Nor did they tell you that the program passed with a 3-2 vote with Cabaldon supporters Helen Thomson and Mike McGowan voting for it. The two opposing votes were the two Republicans on the board.

As bad as that ad was, the one that came out yesterday in my opinion was even worse.

The reference here is to the problems faced by the Yolo County Housing Authority. Their former director, David Serena, faced a long inquiry by the Yolo County Grand Jury and the Yolo County District Attorney's Office. This spring, the only legal charges faced by Mr. Serena were dismissed by a visiting Judge.

But what does that have to do with Mariko Yamada? Not a whole lot. She was not involved in this directly. The County Board of Supervisors was criticized for their oversight, but that does not fall on Mariko Yamada alone, it also falls on Cabaldon supporters Helen Thomson and Mike McGowan. To claim that Yamada is responsible for the problems at the Yolo County Housing Authority is pushing it. To then extrapolate to the larger foreclosure problem is blatantly false.

As several people pointed out to me, they criticize Mariko Yamada not because she was responsible for the problems with the Yolo County Housing Authority but rather because she failed to stand behind David Serena when it was clear them that he was the victim of some kind of vendetta and witch hunt. The charges he faced, as we covered earlier this spring, were trumped up and specious. He faced years in prison for a clerical error performed not by him but by an administrator.

To criticize Mariko Yamada for the entire episode is about 90 percent fabrication and 10% truth. This is simply a vicious political attack against Mariko Yamada by Ed Voice. I do not see that the citizens and voters of the 8th Assembly District are well served by these attacks. There is no truthful information in them that would help someone make up their minds.

Mariko Yamada's surrogates are not better than Ed Voice either. The WRONG attack, the booted car, and the Wal Mart attack were all very negative and distorted as well. Something has to be done about these independent expenditure committees. They are out of control and they thoroughly harm the process. People are turned off by these kinds of attacks, and as often as not, they end up saying a pox on both their houses when they cannot figure out the truth.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting