Monday, November 9, 2009

Political Robo-Calling Is Illegal In California

Kind of hard to believe I know, but political robo-calling is illegal in the State of California. Considering the vast quantity of the stuff that harshed our collective mellow during last year's presidential dust-up, you wouldn't think that was the case. And if it is, shouldn't half of the political establishment in this state have been convicted by now and be currently enjoying the amenities at Club Arnold?

Of course, the most egregious example of robo-calling here in Sierra Madre was during our most recent City Council elections. The target of this nasty attempt at political smear was MaryAnn McGillivray, who fortunately weathered that storm and now serves as our fine Mayor. The names of the culprits behind this unlawful activity were never revealed, with all the usual suspects vehemently denying any role in the matter. Which makes perfect sense. After all, they had committed a crime.

As an aside, it is interesting to note that almost all the recipients of these calls were Democrats. Now I wonder, who would have had access to that particular data bank? A consideration that in my opinion provides at least anecdotal evidence of a possible source for this malfeasance.

This certainly does give you a good idea of what political desperation will drive these idiots to do sometimes. And considering the amount of people on the "other side" who have now rejected requests from their so-called leadership to run for City Council next April, desperation will likely play a significant role when they consult their arsenal of unwholesome tricks in a few months.

So how do we stop these individuals from firing up the phone banks like they did during the last go 'round? Shaun Dakin is the CEO & Founder of The National Do Not Contact Registry. A pioneer in phone privacy, he has become a key figure in the fight to curb this type of abuse. Additionally his organization also works to make sure that existing laws protecting our privacy in these matters are enforced, and that people like us are fully clued in on just how we can help the cause.

I'm going to post a chunk of his article here. It is not only great information, but also gives us some real options on how to stop these characters in their tracks. Dakin's article was obviously written for the 2008 election season (it was originally posted in June of last year), but the advice is still quite good. And now we know we have somewhere to turn.

Political Robo Calls Are Illegal in California: You Can Help Enforce the Law and Protect Your Privacy by Shaun Dakin

As someone who has been focused on the harm that robo-calls -- those pre-recorded phone messages -- have on all Americans, I was perplexed when I learned that under the existing California Public Utilities Code political robocalls are illegal.

The group that I run, The National Political Do Not Contact Registry (NPDNC), the nation's only political do not call advocacy group, is demanding today that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) enforce the current law, sections 2871-2876 of the Public Utilities Code. The law requires that most automated calls be introduced by a live person, which almost never happens, but the California PUC has not enforced it. With the support of California voters who are willing to make an official complaint to the CPUC, the NPDNC hopes to be able to shut down robo-calls in California ...

The CPUC Code Sections 2871-2876 clearly prohibit any form of auto-dialer calls or robo-calls being made in California unless the call is preceded by a live voice and states: "only after an unrecorded, natural voice announcement has been made to the person called by the person calling."

Shaun Dakin's group is requesting that anyone interested in curbing this illegal practice to register on their site. After your account becomes active, you'll be able to use the site where complaints can be filed. There you will be asked who called you, day and time, plus your contact information so they can follow up and chase down the evil doers.

The law is on our side. Let's make sure we use this resource and shut down Dirt robo-calling.


  1. Great information, Sir Eric.
    Thanks so much.

  2. I can imagine a lot of people don't want to run alongside Joe
    Mosca. Why would they want to put themselves on the line to
    defend that walking disaster? Traitor Joe and his Little Joes.
    Somehow I think they will end up being very small.

  3. robo-calls BEING MADE in California unless the call is preceded by a live voice and states:

    Does this mean the call can originate from outside the state and be legal? If this is a loophole that calls can come from another state and be deemed legal, our law must be changed.

  4. Pasta - hopefully the state will start enforcing this law. I don't see why these people would hire anyone from out of state when the law is so obviously not enforced here.

  5. Thanks for the post!

    Shaun Dakin

  6. Also,

    Major potential threat to state laws around robocalls. In CA the law is there, but rarely enforced.

    However, in some states the law is enforced (MN, IN, AR, etc...)

    Unfortunately, a PAC is attempting to get the FEC to over ride states laws.

    Article here:,0,229094.story



  7. Great idea to start talking about some of the tactics used by John & Joe ahead of April's election. We need to analyse these kinds of things and whether they are exactly kosher. Robo-calls definitely are not.

  8. i don't understand the person who is so over the top driven. lie to win, just to be a SM councilman? reeks to me.

    isn't John done?

    who's the next clone to rise from the dirt pile?

    by the way, did the city respond to the Amos shooting lawsuit yet?

  9. Good point. What is in it for them? Why turn what is basically a part time small city volunteer job into a career? Mysterious, to say the least. Where's the payoff?

  10. Thanks Tattler, I've registered (I think). After going to the site and passing the pay screens, I found a register for free form.
    It was a very creepy experience to pick up messages on my home phone one day, and hear the robo........"This is John Buchanan"

  11. Good memory skillsNovember 9, 2009 at 1:53 PM

    Old tactics: robo calls, push polls, focus groups (I want that one - $100), private investigators, PR firms, misleading websites, mailings, mailings, mailings, stealing lawn signs, filing lawsuits, all financed by outside money that we might not be able to find out about until it's over.
    Anything else?

  12. 1:49, I also got that Buchanan robo call.
    Seemed cruel as we are already forced to listen to him every 2nd & 4th Tuesday.
    Sir Eric, you've given a benefit to the whole community with this one.
    A place to turn 'em in for breaking the law.

  13. Still read the papersNovember 9, 2009 at 2:16 PM

    Good skills, don't forget totally biased articles or lack of articles in the local papers. The Pasadena Star News was not into accurate reporting either. That will be different now that there is the Tattler, at least for the residents who are online.

  14. I'm not sure you can classify our local print media as "news." They're more like marketing opportunities for interests with a lot of money. The quaint notion that newspapers are vehicles committed to bringing the truth to the common man no longer applies. Now they're just economically challenged businesses fighting for whatever crumbs powerful interests might be able to sweep down their way. Probably explains why nobody reads them anymore.

  15. Sad & true Mickey.
    If Thomas Paine were writing Common Sense today, it would be on a blog.

  16. What was Buchanan robo-calling about?

  17. He had a terrible need to talk, and nobody he knows wanted to listen.

  18. He called to get support for Measure TT. You know, the educational measure that Don Watts did some very interesting talking about with the board of education representative. Including how they didn't want expansion on that upper campus, and even accused Watts of wanting expansion because he was bringing it up so much.
    They're expanding that campus, right?

  19. Measure TT, in case you aren't aware, means Take the Taxmoney and run. The PUSD still can't figure out how to take the contractors who robbed them blind to court. Of course, since it was only our money, maybe the urgency just isn't there.

    Doesn't Joe Mosca have some role at the PUSD?

  20. I heard an educator say that it is up to parents of Sierra Madre school kids to get to the board meetings and demand some of those funds get spent in Sierra Madre, and that is the only way our tax money will be used in our town. Is there a plan for expansion? Bad Karma, no doubt Joe has a smile, greet, and thank role.

  21. On the PUSD website, there's a section of Measure TT info.
    If up to date, any expansion/new construction on the upper campus looks pretty minimal.

  22. So why was Buchanan for TT? There must have been an angle somewhere.

  23. Been registered on Do Not Call list since the beginning. Recently begain to get more and more calls. Instead of hanging up on them I say I am registered on the Do Not Call list, take my name off your list--this call is illegal. They hang up on me. Before this was possible I got an e-mail from Canada where people were handling this annoyance by asking the caller to wait a momment then setting the phone down and leaving the line open for 10+ minutes. Apparently in rural areas it tied up the callers phone. Don't know if that worked the same way here.

  24. 8:49, the Do Not Call registry is about tele-marketers, different than the no robo call registry.
    Yesterday, I got a robo call from a guy running for governor of California, Tom Campbell. Poor guy has no one on his staff who knows that his call was ILLEGAL. So I'm making my first complaint on the no robo site!

  25. The site that is trying to stop robo calls, or just plain enforce a law that is in place, is the Do Not Contact Registry - not the Do Not Call registry.

  26. If I get a political robocall I will let this Dakin guy know. I am so sick of the politicians in this state I will use every opportunity to stick it to them.

  27. So you don't really sit their and listen to a phone call that you did not invite and is illegal, do you? if you do there oughta be a law against stupidity, HANG UP THE FREAKIN PHONE!!!

  28. Naw, Derrr! I like it when the phone rings at dinnertime and some recorded twit starts yapping at me.

    So now its my fault in your opinion?

    KMA dude.

  29. Beware of "The Company" cousinsNovember 20, 2009 at 9:24 AM

    Good work Sir Eric, bye bye robo calls..

    There is a story in the SGV tribune, two one was yesterday but when they dont like the comments they write another story, use the search perez DA.

    Any way, I want you to be aware of the psychological operations that are being used against other folks, in other cities not lucky enough to have a sir eric, read the story, the comments and peruse the city of industry web site, pong hsiang or someone like him may be visiting sierra madre soon, am I my brothers cities keeper? In these trying times you should be

  30. If you don't know who or an unknown caller give you a call don't just give such information. It could be a burglar who was just to rob out your house. Be aware.