Wednesday, February 3, 2010

City Councilmember Raises $73,600 For Reelection Campaign

A City Councilmember in Walnut, that is. And even in a town of 32,500 living and breathing souls that is a lot of dough for someone trying to hold onto a mere City Council seat. You can only wonder what's in it for all the folks coughing up those thousand dollar checks.

And the question does arise, what do you get with your $73,600 campaign for a City Council gig? Illuminated lawn signs? Day laborer door hanger delivery squads? Twenty some odd postcard mailings? I mean, what can you possibly buy for all that money without people getting sick of having to see it?

Of course, and as anyone who has ever run for office can tell you, it doesn't take long for your address to hit all the relevant data banks. Which opens up a floodgate of colorful junk mail from helpful "political campaign professionals" who promise they will get you elected, and all it will take is all the campaign cash you managed to collect. And you know they'd find a way to spend $73,600 in a heartbeat. Other peoples money is never hard to spend, particularly when the person who has it did so very little to get it.

Probably the most laughable example of what "skilled campaign professionals" will do to glom up contributor cash was with the "No on V" effort. When Schubert Flint Public Affairs, the ad agency hired to manage the Measure V opposition campaign, got wind of just how much cash these guys were raising, you can bet they went to work to make sure they got as much of it as possible. And how did they accomplish that one? They sold the big domes in the "No on V" crowd the equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Remember back in 2007 when you were receiving their mail on a daily basis? The endless slick postcards, flyers, and assorted other wacky stuff? That is what a lot of that money got spent on. Each one of those mailings was part of the overall spend. Frank Schubert somehow convinced the "No on V" brain trust that more mail would mean more votes, and billed accordingly. And judging by the sheer hideous volume of this stuff, plus the expensive quality of the materials it was printed on, I doubt there was a dime left once it all ground to a halt. And while I'm sure they regretted this loss at the polls (it was only the third Schubert Flint had ever suffered), they still got to keep all that dough.

As an aside, did you know that Schubert Flint is the same political advertising agency that successfully led the campaigns against gay marriage both here in California (Prop 8) and in Maine? Why would the "No on V" people have gotten on board with a company that supports so divisive an agenda?

But I digress.

The Walnut City Councilmember that received $73,600 from some of her excited supporters is named Mary Su. And why would people be giving Mary so much money? The theory is it just might have something to do with Ed Roski's $800 million dollar NFL football stadium, currently being readied for construction in City Of Industry. Here is how the SGVTribune breaks it down:

Walnut councilwoman raises over $73,600 for council run - Facing challenges from two NFL stadium opponents, incumbent Councilwoman Mary Su has raised over $73,600 for her City Council bid in April, according to campaign records filed Monday ... The prospect of Ed Roski Jr.'s 75,000 seat NFL stadium in neighboring Industry has caused turmoil in Walnut, and Su and Councilman Tom King are fighting to keep their seats against anti-stadium activists Howard Wang and Brigid Bjerke.

Well there you go. That is the one thing about the big development crowd, they do like to spend money on politicians who support the things that are near and dear to their hearts. And there is a little bit more to the story. This from an SGV Tribune article dated 07/16/09:

Walnut recall effort against Su, Tragarz fails - Organizers of an effort to recall two Walnut council members failed to collect the needed signatures, ending one of two citizen campaigns to unseat politicians over the proposed National Football League in neighboring industry ... The signatures were due today but the group spearheading the signature collection announced Thursday it didn't have enough signatures to trigger a recall election against Nancy Tragarz and Mary Su ... Members of the Walnut Citizens Recall Committee said they collected about 2,000 signatures, far fewer than the needed 3,357 signatures needed (to) take the recall to the voters.

As I am sure you recall from our previous articles on Walnut's struggle with Ed Roski and his combined stadium and shopping mall in City of Industry, the fight to stop the project came to an end when both the California State Legislature and Arnold Schwarzenegger yanked any continuing CEQA reviews of the project from legal consideration. Which kind of adds to the impression that when it comes to green concerns, the folding variety always seems to take real precedence in Sacramento.



    In this morning's Star News the normally useless Larry Wilson takes on the attorneys representing our very own keystone kops. He quotes at length counsel's manifesto, advising local officers on how to shake down residents for pay increases.

    Here is free advice on how to shake back: get a real quote from the LASD and Arcadia PD and tell the local mall cops to match it or walk.

    The City could use the money saved as a down payment on the Stonehouse property.

  2. Here's what we had about the Police Officers Association on April 17 of last year ..


  3. Please oh please would you do some of your investigative writing about the departments "management"?...i'm not saying it's completely one persons fault, but i believe there is more to the story.

    Thanks John...i have faith in you on this one that you will be able to elighten your readers with facts on this issue.


  4. I didn't expect that eye-opener out of Larry Wilson. Wonder what got into him yesterday?

  5. Larry just put up some rewarmed old soup.

  6. I sure hope Sierra Madre puts a stop to outside special interests, especially big development and real estate interests, like the ones who supported the No on V. campaign. Also, major political parties contributing to our city councilmembers is just wrong.

    I have confidence Sierra Madre voters will pay a lot of attention to these issues and vote accordingly.

    It's really simple:
    John Crawford, Pat Alcorn, and our hard working for the folks- Mayor Pro-Tem, Don Watts put Sierra Madre first. They work for us....not Sacramento, not big development, not California Realtor's Association and not major political parties!

    These candidates for the April election work for us, the people. They answer to us, not special interests!

  7. I wonder if Ed Roski and the rest have
    any horses in the Sierra Madre race?

  8. I'll bet they do, Curly,


  9. Don't be tricked by the shadow PDFebruary 3, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    Give Larry a break! Even a late comer to the service can be a believer!! And a lot of people read Wilson's column. Do his quotes not ring familar in Sierra Madre's experience of the last few years? The constant barrange against the City Council, the City Manager and the Police Chief? Give us more money. Bring back the old police department. Give us back Mayberry. Issue warnings not tickets.

  10. That's an interesting question, Curly.
    I think we were uninteresting for many, many decades - and we did put up a fight when push came to shove, so developers looked elsewhere. But then developers, always aggressive, became desperate for land, and dull little Sierra Madre got a lot more attractive.
    Aggression plus desperation. How could there not be some horses in the race?

  11. Joe Mosca for sure is one of their entries
    Josh Moran, a former Webb-Martin (no on V headquarters) realtor is another one.

    Play it safe, Sierra Madre, DON WATTS, JOHN CRAWFORD and PAT ALCORN totally outclass the field here.


  12. How much does Mr. Crawford project he will need to spend on an election in Sierra Madre? What size is the electorate? How are the turnout numbers in local elections trending?

    Very interested in an estimate of how much traditional campaign costs may be offset by the development of an online civic minded blog presence such as this site. Sweat equity comes to electioneering. Great!

  13. Thank you so much Tattler, for outing the Schubert Flint Public Affairs agency. These marketing agencies that take on dubious causes and candidates (for large amounts of cash) need to be exposed. In doing so, we can put real pressure on them. It is not a leap to call the high-priced selling of candidates and causes, a high-priced rip-off of our democracy.

  14. Tattler Flats, you may want to hold your questions until after the second week of April when the answers will be more apparent. In the meantime just be sure no outside funds are flowing into Alcorn's, Crawford's, and Watts' campaigns and of the 3,000 give or take households in SM the campaigns are looking to energize all active voters! Anyone know of any outside funds for Mosca or Moran? Let the Tattler know!

  15. Any time I see a slick campaign mailer I know what's going on, and put my vote with the folks who aren't getting suckered into that game. So do most folks over 40. Any way to "tweet" this to the younger families in SM? Got kids who can help?

  16. Anybody looking into the head Moscateer's money
    yet? Filing date is now past.

  17. Also, Tattler readers, please let this Blog know if you get solicitied by any out of town members of a major political party, going door to door for Mosca. They did that in the last election.
    Went to a couple of thousand homes, teams of them.

  18. How to let the Tattler knowFebruary 3, 2010 at 10:37 AM

    Post a comment on the Tattler;
    E-mail to;
    Snail mail to PO Box 1411 Sierra Madre CA 91024.

  19. Measure V supporterFebruary 3, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    9:19 a.m, so true about the PR firms specializing in election grabbing!
    And Schubert Flint didn't even bother to change the slogan, from one city to the next.
    You can even see the anti-measure V folks trotting out the "It's flawed" in their speeches before the council. "Flawed" is one of the things they got for the money they paid to Schubert Flint.
    People have to become aware of the slogan marketers.

  20. We don't have a Republican/Democrat divide in this town. What we do have is The Huckster Party (and their rather sad tag-alongs), versus The Villagers. And the one mistake The Huckster Party makes time after time is to believe what they tell each other at their social functions. That they're smarter and more socially acceptable than The Villagers, and everybody must know that because everyone they know says it. They seem to prefer looking into the mirror than the eyes of the people whose votes they solicit. Which is why they keep on losing.

  21. Reminder to Tattler fans:

    The Crawford, Watts and Alcorn campaigns are not financed by the BIA, the CAR or political parties and their special Sacramento interests.

    We rely on donations (of any amount you can afford) to finance our campaigns. We deeply appreciate any volunteer help you give. We need your help!

    Special thanks to dozens of you who have already given us donations. You are the people who will help John, Don and Pat protect this town!

    Keep checking this website for more information on giving a donation or volunteering to help in any way you can.

  22. SM dodged a bullet - so farFebruary 3, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    Great article today Sir Eric. Talk about connecting the dots.
    C'mon citizens of Walnut - follow the money, and vote against the bought candidate!!!!

  23. Larry must be trying to clean up his resume (by cribbing off the Tattler). Rumor has it, he is job hunting.

  24. I agree that this is another excellent report from the world headquarters of the Tattler. Just 2 points about the wildly successful Schubert Flint: they were stupid here (misreading the stubborn independent streak in so many Sierra Madreans) but they have defeated slow growth elsewhere - in Laguna Niguel I think; I'd be surprised if they are against gay marriage as a matter of conscience. They are just for sale to the highest bidder, and the opponents of gay marriage rights got to them first. Dont'cha think?

  25. Not sure where Larry's skill set would be marketable. Name dropping obscure Pasadena residents in regard to art shows and wine tastings is definitely something with niche appeal. Of course, he could probably find work as a publicist for large development concerns like Majestic Realty. Pretty much what he has been doing all along, anyway.

  26. From the Schubert Flint web site, under the Our Work menu, Local Growth Measures:

    "Local Growth Measure

    This local growth measure was a challenging and unique campaign. The city had already passed a measure in 2000 establishing the concept of “citizens right to vote” on any developments that needed a General Plan amendment. However, this updated local growth measure went one step further, requiring public votes on most developments of any consequence.

    In order to defeat the measure, we needed to establish that it was full of flaws that made it wrong for the city. In the context of this campaign, we knew we had to transcend the core argument about property rights, because that was not sufficient to win. Instead, we wanted voters to know that, no matter what side of that debate they were on, this measure wasn’t the answer due to its severely flawed provisions.

    We identified several flaws that we then set out to repeatedly hammer home to the voters:
    The campaign received a huge boost when, at a city council hearing on the measure, the author admitted when confronted with these flaws, that he had made “oversights” in the drafting, an omission that we would ram home repeatedly to the voters.

    Working together with the measure’s financial contributors and coalition members, Schubert Flint Public Affairs was able to devise a solid, winning campaign strategy, focusing on its many flaws, ensuring the measure was defeated at the ballot box on Election Day."

  27. That text is very reminiscent of the California Association of Realtors Handbook to defeat Slow Growth Local Movements.
    But the realtors are more polite. They don't say "we would ram home repeatedly to the voters."

  28. Schubert Flint motto is something like "When Winning Is The Only Option." Which to me means they'll consider anything, and that they ain't cheap. And when you think back to 2007, there aren't many tactics SF left on the table.

  29. Talk to Ed Roski Jr. about winning being the only option - work the pols to eviscerate any environmental controls, buddy up with the governor, pump some bucks into an NFL stadium, buy a few council people -

  30. It's sad what has happened to California.

  31. It sure is, Anon 5:52 pm. Thank goodness for blogs like the Tattler that are fighting back.

  32. The No on Measure V campaign followed SF's playbook by sending out a flyer's with Watts' comment that Measure V had "warts." Ironically, it was really the downtown specific plan that had all of the warts.

  33. Notably, none of the DIRTS has ever come forward and amditted that they were wrong about Measure V.