"I always wanted to get into politics, but I was never light enough to make the team."
- Art Buchwald
During the 2008 City Council elections the voters of Sierra Madre were treated to a couple of instances of what would have to be considered dirty politics. Both were aimed at the now Mayor of this town, MaryAnn MacGillivray.
The first instance was a cooked up accusation that MaryAnn had somehow instigated something deliberately mislabeled the "Family Values Ordinance" when she was in office during the 1990s. The most prominent and vocal accuser was the former Mayor of Sierra Madre, Glenn Lambdin. Glenn, apparently the chosen mouthpiece for this poorly conceived attempt at character assassination, wailed loud and long about about what he termed a so-called anti-gay lifestyle ordinance designed to enforce some kind of religious fundamentalist edict on how one is supposed to live their life. Long story short, when one of the actual City of Sierra Madre documents in question was produced, it contained the signature of, believe it or not, then Mayor Glenn Lambdin.
My article on this matter originally appeared on the Foothill Cities blog. I reprised this episode here on The Tattler as part of an article on Joe Mosca's most recent failed attempt at becoming the Mayor of this town. You can access it here. The document bearing Glenn Lambdin's signature can be examined by clicking on the inset.
One additional observation. What possible political gain could those behind this fib have imagined they would receive by smearing the reputation of Sierra Madre as a city that had legislated against its gay residents? All the while knowing that this was about as far as you can possibly get from the truth? It obviously wasn't true, yet many outside of this town picked up on this and spoke of Sierra Madre as being a hotbed of bigotry. I believe that the residents of our City are owed an apology from these people for dragging their reputation through the mud like that.
The other instance of foul play aimed at MaryAnn was a last minute robocall placed by the Democratic Party of Los Angeles County. The message contained within this call is described in a short piece on the incident published by the Sierra Madre News.net site. The actual call is linked in the body of that article. Here is what it says:
Saturday afternoon some Sierra Madreans received a call from the LA County Democratic Party asking them not to vote for Council Candidate MaryAnn MacGillivray. The caller, who couldn't correctly pronounce the candidate's name, told people that she is trying to deceive them, wanting them to believe she is a moderate when she is actually "a George Bush Republican, committed to the policies that have hurt small cities and towns across our nation." When contacted about whether they had any involvement with the call, candidates Enid Joffe and John Buchanan not only denied being associated with the call, but were upset that it had happened. "That's not our campaign," said Joffe. "I did not authorize and do not condone that type of call. I want to earn peoples' votes with my experience and my record, not by attacking other candidates," she continued. "Had I been contacted, I'd have argued against making the call," said Buchanan.
Now John and Enid, while perhaps sincere in their denials, must also have been at least somewhat aware that robocalls of this kind are illegal in the State of California. A law that unfortunately does not get enforced as much as it should. But if these individuals actually were the responsible parties, they certainly would not be likely to confess it. That is, unless they were to experience a powerful urge to publicly cleanse themselves of political sin.
Russ Warner, the Democratic Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives here in California's sunny 26th Congressional District, actually had an opportunity to discuss this matter with a Sierra Madre resident while campaigning in the Canyon. Apparently Joe Mosca had requested the honor of campaigning with Russ during the most recent national election cycle. Warner, keenly aware of Mosca's problematic reputation here in town, told him that was an offer he was not able to accept. Russ wisely concluding that any association with Joe would hurt him with Sierra Madre voters.
And then the matter of this robocall was brought up by our savvy Canyonite. It was Russ's opinion that the only way this call could have happened is if someone of importance to the L.A. County Democratic Party had put in a request for this sort of thing. And if it wasn't Democrats such as Enid or John, the list of possibilities in town grows fairly small.
Joe Mosca, by the way, was a candidate the Los Angeles County Democrats endorsed in our 2006 election. Kurt Zimmerman, also a registered Democrat, did not receive their endorsement. And though Joe was not on the ballot in 2008, he did have a lot to lose should MaryAnn win. Which she did in spite of the dishonorable tactics people opposed to her election employed.
Mosca is in the political fight of what is his very minor league political career. And it appears he will once again run the kind of big money campaign a politician from a city much larger than ours would run. And with considerable outside help. But for whatever the reasons, he is doing this in Mayberry. So will he also engage in the kinds of tactics we have discussed here? The sorts of shenanigans typical of big city pols, but so alien to a small town such as ours?
We will be watching.