Saturday, May 20, 2006

Telling the truth

It is crunch time for all campaigns and that generally means it is time to role out the negative ads. In some ways, this entire blog has been dedicated to negative commentary on Richard Pombo, almost all of it justly deserved. The most recent, and effectively worded, as Kevin's posting of very targeted questions about Pombo. The one's on his connections to big oil seem to be having an effect, if only to make Pombo change some votes just so he can say that he was "not affected by contributions."

The easiest case in in the House Appropriations for the Department of the Interior. An ammendement to this bill was offered by Rep. Putnam (FL-12). We know that Florida would be as affected by off shore drilling as is California. The ammendment to block the use of funds for drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf passed by a vote of 217 - 203 and our friend Pombo was listed as NV (Not voting.). Similarly, on an ammendment that was going against the oil companies anyway, they prohibited oil and gas leases that were not a current market rices. While Pombo suported this in the Resources Committee, he voted against it on the floor, siding with N. Pelosi.

Actually, the question of how big oil is spending its mone has now gone from Pombo to the California gubernatorial campaign, with Angelides accusing Westley of making money from petro stock, and Westly firing back that Andiledes had taken nearly $500 K in contributions from big oil. I guess that the mud that is flying is drilling mud.

Still, looking at the overall record, the late campaign flip flop, (oh, I hate to use that phrase...but it is appropriate) by Pombo shows that we are getting to him and in a big way. We need to keep up the pressure and to call him on it. If we keep it up, he may even learn to love the ESA, because he has been in Congress so long that he does not remember how to run a ranch anyway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fact: Jerry McNerney claims that he is committed to "Integrity. Honesty. Accountability."

Fact: Jerry McNerney's first mail piece says: "Filson opposed by the California Federation of Teachers"

Fact: Mary Bergan, the President of the California Federation of Teachers, had this to say when she saw it:

“I am stunned and disappointed that Mr. McNerney’s campaign would use the name of my union and falsely state that the CFT [California Federation of Teachers] opposes Steve Filson. We were not consulted about the mailer. Had we been, we most certainly would have forbidden the characterization of our position in this most dishonest manner.”

Fact: Jerry McNerney lied to every Democratic voter in the district.

Fact: In a previous thread (that Matt conveniently deleted) McNerney campaign staffer Eden James (edj) wrote: “I would not allow our campaign to spread unsubstantiated and malicious rumors about Filson. Period. (I would resign my position immediately if I ever witnessed such behavior within our campaign).”

Fact: Either Eden James doesn't know about the mail peice or, like his boss, he is dishonest.

Let's give James the benefit of the doubt and assume it's the former. Fair enough. But now one is inclined to ask:

Well, Eden James, what is your word worth to you?

11:24 PM, May 20, 2006  
Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Jeepers, it sure sounds like the Filson campaign is getting mighty desperate! Shrill even! It must be so depressing to have virtually no support after being promised by Emanuel and Tauscher that the primary would be a cakewalk. Democracy can be such a messy thing-- for political bosses and their puppets.

There are a lot of important primaries in 8 states on June 6-- plus Francine Busby's Special Election run-off in CA-50-- but there is not one race that is more crucial to real Democrats than Jerry McNerney's.

11:50 PM, May 20, 2006  
Blogger Delta said...

Fact: the negativity shown in this campaign by some Democratic supporters of the leading candidates makes McCloskey an even better choice, unfortunately, not for Democrats.

I have a copy of the mailer, courtesy of Robert Kellar. The use of the word "opposes" vs. "did not endorse" was at most a bad choice of terminology. To make this into the greatest sin of all time is ridiculous and only adds to the impression that Filson is desparate. Had Filson's campaign merely made asked for confirmation on the statement, then the onus would have been on the other side. But then, negative campaigns are the stock in trade of professional campaign managers. After all, how many campaigns run by Gary South (Westly's campaign manager) have ever gone full course without going negative.

At the same time, I think that we have a bit of the pot and kettle here. From the beginning, McCloskey has been attacking Pombo on his financial connections to big oil, agrigusiness, Jack Abramoff, Indidan Gaming interests, etc. However, we know that campaign managers like to take credit on behalf of their candidates for everything that happenes, whether deserved or not. Such is the case with the Filson claim that a Pombo flip flop on royalty payments to bil oil happened because of Filson's comments. In fact, I could make the case that Filson's press release came as the result of this original posting, as I posted this before receiveing the PR from Robert Kellar.

At best, Filson's comments added to the overall attack on Pombo. It has been coming from all sides, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, McCloskey, McNerney, Benigno, Thomas and, yes, even Steve Filson. To try to take sole credit sounds even more like a desparate campaign and not one that should be making an issue out of their sterling ethics and impeccable campaign practices.

8:44 AM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

Here is the Filson Press Release that Delta is talking about. Filson's little dinghy is taking credit for turning Pombo's quarter-mile long oil tanker around. Right. It had nothing to do with McCloskey, McNerney, Thomas, all of us bloggers, Pombo's usual attempts to seem more "moderate" as an election looms, and a whole range of other factors. Pombo just read about Filson and began shaking in his cowboy boots. Sounds like some kind of fearsome guy!

What an ego trip this guy is on! Just like his listings on his calendar about the candidate forums. He makes it seem like it is all about "Steve". He probably wonders why the other candidates even bother attending:

May 25th, 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Rossmoor Democratic Club Candidate Forum, Hillside Clubhouse
Steve will speak and take questions from the audience.

I am fairly neutral in the Dem primary. I just hope whoever wins can run a strong enough campaign against Pombo. But I have to say, this is pretty pathetic.


Contact: Robert Kellar (aka Rick)
May 20th, 2006
(209) 839-6817


Pombo Votes With Democrats On Oil & Gas Royalties Bill In Response To Strong Filson Campaign

(TRACY, CA) – Feeling the heat from Democrat Steve Filson in the polls, Richard Pombo took a break from his long standing support for corporate giveaways to back a Democratic amendment Thursday that would force oil and gas companies to pay royalties from their drilling activities on federal lands.

“It is clear that while working families in the 11th district want leadership, Richard Pombo is only interested in protecting his political skin,” Filson said. “This vote was nothing more than a reaction to our strong campaign for change and new priorities in Congress. I imagine he will be reversing himself quite a bit over the next 7 months.”

Since joining Congress in 1992, Richard Pombo has received more than $200,000 in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies. Pombo voted with oil and gas interests in 2004 to protect them from paying royalties and has supported, co-sponsored or sponsored legislation since 1995 establishing and expanding these same special interest royalties.

“It is too bad Richard Pombo hasn’t shown as much interest for the families of 11th district as he has in protecting tax giveaways to special interests,” Filson commented. “Americans don’t measure success by how we protect those already at the top of the hill, we measure success by how many we help climb up.”

Steve Filson is a native Californian and United States Navy veteran. He currently pilots the Boeing 777 for United Airlines. Steve lives with his wife Mary in Danville. They have four children and one grandchild.

# # #
Steve Filson for Congress ID # C00413963. P.O. Box 2499, Danville, CA 94526. (925) 648-1822

9:15 AM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous bgibb said...

The notion that this CFT lie is as insignificant as McNerney supporters suggest is absolutely typical of the spin that takes place on this site. I hope you all haven’t convinced yourself that you’re acting in anywhere near an objective manner. Everything Filson does comes under microscopic scrutiny, while McNerney blasts Filson with a wholly fabricated claim and people talk about the response being “shrill” and the attack being a “bad choice of terminology.” We need look no further than Ms. Bergan’s response to judge the level of inappropriateness of McNerney’s claim. She has no reason to be “shrill,” to overreact, to come to Filson’s defense in an exaggerated manner. In fact, she has no obligation to say anything—but she does. And that might tell you something were you not blinded by your dislike of Filson himself, which, again, seems to stem from the fact that he continues to refuse to blurt out every single progressive talking points you all so love to hear.

9:16 AM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

By the way, I am not arguing here the McNerney was right. It was a definite mistake to use the word "oppose" rather than "did not endorse".

There is just one thing that bothers me, and that is why Mary Bergan made such strong remarks. She is a known Tauscher supporter. It is quite likely that "someone" called Ms. Bergan and asked her to issue a strong denouncement of McNerney's flyer. That would certainly benefit the campaign of Tauscher's friend, Steve Filson. The kind of remarks Ms. Bergan made seem unlikely without the encouragement of "someone" with a vested interest in a Filson victory.

9:46 AM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

Anonymous --
Lisa Vorderbrueggen summed this whole flap up pretty succinctly today:

"California Federation of Teachers President Mary Bergan called dishonest the statement on McNerney's flier that her group opposes Filson. The union endorsed McNerney but stayed mum on Filson.

"McNerney's campaign chief says he has removed the offending text and only a small number of voters saw the incorrect version."

The dependably hypocritical Filson supporters, on the other hand, commit the same crime on this website over which they are wailing and gnashing their teeth:

"Fact: In a previous thread (that Matt conveniently deleted) McNerney campaign staffer Eden James..."

You'll find the previous thread right here with edj's comments intact.

Question is, will you be a gracious in admitting your mistake as McNerney was in admitting his?

10:22 AM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous EDJ said...

To "anonymous" -

I have the highest regard for the CFT and I am grateful that the CFT endorsed Jerry McNerney. One can argue about the technicalities of "oppose" versus "did not endorse," but the bottom line is that the McNerney campaign made a mistake. There is no doubt about it.

That is why I called for the campaign to immediately cease distribution of the mailers containing that specific line.

The staff consensus was unamimous. The mailing was halted and a new version of the same piece was distributed -- without the CFT line. Ultimately, only a small number of the entire distribution list received the original mailer.

I strongly believe in honesty, integrity, and accountability. And will endeavor to do everything in my power to uphold and promote that conduct as a campaign staffer. I hope that the Filson campaign staff will do the same.

The irony is that the post that "anonymous" refers to was actually a post in which I called on the host of this blog to remove a comment in a thread that stated a totally unfounded and malicious rumor about Steve Filson.

Just as I called on our campaign to remove the "CFT" line, I called on this blog to remove a comment that sought to damage Filson's reputation. I found that egregious comment to be repugnant -- so much so that I felt it should be removed from this blog (something I have never called for on any blog). You can read the relevant text of my comment below my signature (or read the full text here; look for "edj" in the comments).

The upshot: there's one thing that I have done consistently in both of these situations: I have defended Steve Filson.

I hope that "anonymous," whoever he is, will do the same for Jerry McNerney --- especially after the June 6th primary.


Here is the context of the comment I made as posted by "anonymous" above:

Based on the above reasoning (a de facto policy, it would appear), you should "summarily remove" the comments above about Filson. Unless there is verifiable proof that the rumors are true, those comments have no place on this blog -- according to the policy stated above.

As a campaign staff member, it distresses me to see unsubstantiated rumors posted about any candidate -- McNerney, Filson, or Thomas. The only person that stands to benefit from the posting of such unconfirmed information is Richard Pombo.

Finally, I think it's important for all of us to place ourselves in our opponent's shoes. If the "sexual harrassment" claim had been directed at McNerney, I would be absolutely livid -- as I was when Filson's campaign manager communicated a specious claim about McNerney to a convention delegate prior to the endorsement vote (a fact that Robert Kellar later admitted to me without compunction or regret).

I know I would not have done what Robert Kellar did -- that clearly crossed the line. Conversely, I would not allow our campaign to spread unsubstantiated and malicious rumors about Filson. Period. (I would resign my position immediately if I ever witnessed such behavior within our campaign). Unless the rumors are proven, posting them publicly is completely outside the bounds of fairness.

Despite the egregious actions of his campaign manager, Steve Filson deserves the same thoughtful consideration that you have given Jerry McNerney. NEITHER candidate should be subjected to unsubstantiated rumors. BOTH candidates deserve to be critiqued -- and critiqued harshly, if necessary -- on the facts and the facts alone.

Click here for the entire comment.

2:12 PM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Two things: First, the Mcnerney campaign did not “immediately cease distribution of the mailers containing that specific line.” I happen to know (and so do several other Democratic club members) that the McNerney campaign sent the first wave of the fliers to San Joaquin County. Mary Bergan expressed her outrage to McNerney campaign manager A.J. Carillo immediately. She called several other people about it, as well. But when there was no larger fallout as a result of the mailer, the McNerney campaign went ahead and sent out a second wave to Contra Costa County. Only when Lisa V. made it clear that she was going to write about the mailer in the Contra Costa Times did the McNerney campaign “halt distribution.”

Second, there is a clear difference between “oppose” and “did not endorse.” Opposition is an intentional act. To oppose is to actively work against. An endorsement is a proclamation of preference. To suggest that the difference is merely a technicality is like suggesting that the absence of WMDs in Iraq is merely a technicality.

Third, to suggest that Mary Bergan rebuked the McNerney campaign for any reason other than the preservation of her own integrity is ludicrous. If she were really in Tauscher’s pocket, wouldn’t she have just given Filson the endorsement in the first place. Every time Filson earns an endorsement some McNerneyite proffers a wacked-out conspiracy theory. From the Contra Costa County Central Labor Council endorsement to Wes Clark to the California Nurses Association. There’s always something fishy.

What’s fishy is McNerney’s campaign. Seriously, who is in charge over there? Doesn’t anyone in McNerney’s office know that you’re supposed to ask permission before you use the name of a person or organization in a mail piece? And if the decision to cease production was “unanimous,” what idiot ordered the production in the first place?

Fourth, if McNerney really stands for accountability then he will send a letter to every voter who received the “mistake” and correct it. Accountability starts at home.

Fifth, the statement in question, "Filson opposed by the California Federation of Teachers" is only one of several misrepresentations on McNerney’s mail pieces. The claims he makes against Filson are unsubstantiated and unverifiable.

What is ironic here is that McNerney bears no resemblance to his three campaign pledges: “Honest. Integrity. Accountability.” Talk about a lack of character.

And finally, EDJ, you’ve admitted that you knew about the mail piece and that you did not “resign [your] position immediately.” You did do your best to rectify the situation, and that is commendable. But that does not change the fact that you reneged on your pledge. Either yours and McNerney’s pledges mean something or they don’t.

Evidently they don’t.

8:38 AM, May 22, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

Anonymous --

Fact: You made this statement above. "Fact: In a previous thread (that Matt conveniently deleted) McNerney campaign staffer Eden James (edj) wrote..."

Fact: The thread you allege that Matt conveniently deleted was never deleted and has always been available here. Indeed, how could you have copied the comment to paste it in this thread unless you knew exactly where it was?

Fact: Apparently Filson supporters think it's fine to impugn the integrity of Matt and this blog to make your larger point. And apparently you also see absolutely nothing ironic about the ieda that you would knowingly spew a reprehensible slur against SNTP while, in the same breath, attacking McNerney's campaign for failing to strictly adhere to their slogan of "Integrity, Honesty, Accountability."

You do you spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y?

10:08 AM, May 22, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

Anon has this blog pegged all wrong. Some are McNerney supporters, some are Filson, some are neutral, some are even McCloskey supporters. The thing we have in common is opposing Pombo.

I think people could argue until the cows come home about who has more "integrity" and "honesty". Both Filson and McNerney have made mistakes. Both have talked negative and there is certainly some tension between them. I have seen and heard this in person at candidate forums. I write it off to both of them being inexperienced campaigners.

You see, there are two ways they can go -- one is like McCloskey, who always calls the Dems "two fine candidates". He does not disparage them. I have never heard him speak negatively about them. That could have been one road the Dems could have taken, such as "Jerry is a fine candidate and I am proud to be running against him. Here is why I am the better candidate, however." And vice versa.

The other road a more experienced, but less ethical, candidate would take is a true negative campaign, where they slime the other candidate with accusations of all kinds of wrong-doing and nefarious activities. I don't think either Dem has gone that route, or that if they did, they would be particularly good at it. It takes a professional to slime the other candidate without getting some of it on yourself.

What we are seeing here is just amateur stuff. So McNerney used the word "opposed" instead of "did not endorse" -- yes, it is a mistake, but it is not a slimy negative campaign. The same with Filson's dismissal of progressives as "extreme". That stuff is all "amateur" hour, where the candidates make stupid mistakes or overreach in the heat of a campaign. It is not a negative campaign, such as we saw with the Swift Boat Liars for Bush and other Karl Rovian tactics. Or what we will see from Pombo if it looks like he is faltering.

To me, yes, this is a mountain out of a molehill, with each side looking for the slightest reason to slam the other. Trying to make so much out of this, as if one mistake therefore shows what a dirty rotten scoundrel the guy is and has been for his whole life, not to mention all future performance, is a bit absurd.

11:00 AM, May 22, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

Dear Anonymous Hypocrite,

I don't really mind anonymous attacks on my own character. If I did I guess I couldn't blog.

But I do think it's interesting that you are making anonymous attacks on Jerry McNerney and Eden James. You talk a good game about accountability, but at least McNerney and crew make their charges out in the open and reap whatever consequences ensue instead of sniping anonymously on the blog.

And frankly I think it is hugely hypocritical for Filson supporters to make allowances for Rob Kellar's despicable conduct while also attacking McNerney like this. If accountability really does "start at home" like you said, you'd actually demand some from your boy. In reality, you're just looking for another way to attack McNerney (and I guess I'm just collateral damage).

I recognize some Filson supporters, such as Jlou, have been consistent and have condemned both Kellar's actions as well as those of McNerney's campaign, and so this isn't about them.

But I don't trust the rest of you anonymous critics much farther than I can throw you. In my book you guys have little credibility to start off with.

And your credibility approaches zero when you make assertions about the McNerney campaign's internal deliberations.

You say:

I happen to know (and so do several other Democratic club members) that the McNerney campaign sent the first wave of the fliers to San Joaquin County. Mary Bergan expressed her outrage to McNerney campaign manager A.J. Carillo immediately. She called several other people about it, as well. But when there was no larger fallout as a result of the mailer, the McNerney campaign went ahead and sent out a second wave to Contra Costa County.

Oh you know this do you? How, pray tell? How do you know that the mailers were county-specific? How do you know the whys and wherefores of the McNerney Campaign? I know I wouldn't send out county-specific mailers because a) there was apparently no plan to give different messages to different counties and b) everyone votes at the same time regardless of county.

Anyone can make shit up and post it anonymously on the internet. Since you haven't offered any evidence to back up your assertions, and since I am highly dubious that you even could, in principle, have the information you claim to have, you need explain why we should think that you're not just talking out of your ass. Because right now that's what it looks like.

You also wrote:

Only when Lisa V. made it clear that she was going to write about the mailer in the Contra Costa Times did the McNerney campaign “halt distribution.”

For such a strong Filson supporter you sure claim to know a lot about the internal workings of the McNerney Campaign. Don't tell me you got this information from Lisa V. because I know what she reported and it wasn't what you have asserted above.

And lastly, if Filson really did care so much about the assertions in McNerney's mailer he might have wanted to bring attention to it instead of sitting on the information for weeks. You think it's a coincidence that even though this happened in early May we're not hearing about it until now? With the Defenders poll and the CNA endorsement, Filson wanted the coverage to be about those things. So it's only now, weeks after the fact, that Filson brings this out of his bag of tricks. And I think that is very telling.

11:13 AM, May 22, 2006  
Anonymous A.J. Carrillo said...

In response to the following falsehoods posted by yet another "anonymous" poster:

Two things: First, the Mcnerney campaign did not “immediately cease distribution of the mailers containing that specific line.” I happen to know (and so do several other Democratic club members) that the McNerney campaign sent the first wave of the fliers to San Joaquin County. Mary Bergan expressed her outrage to McNerney campaign manager A.J. Carillo immediately. She called several other people about it, as well. But when there was no larger fallout as a result of the mailer, the McNerney campaign went ahead and sent out a second wave to Contra Costa County. Only when Lisa V. made it clear that she was going to write about the mailer in the Contra Costa Times did the McNerney campaign “halt distribution.”

This is a total fabrication. It appears that Matt has sufficiently pointed out how baseless theese claims are, but let me set the record straight for those who may have any doubt:

The "first wave" was sent to a minority of voters consisting of primary absentees district-wide under a segmented mailing plan.

At a financial cost to the campaign, the "second wave" was reprinted with the CFT line removed and sent to a larger group of remaining voters.

That decision to reprint was made after speaking with Ms. Bergan. My conversation with her took place one week before I was interviewed by Lisa V. of the CC Times.

A.J. Carrillo
Campaign Manager
McNerney for Congress

1:12 PM, May 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. 2% of a buck again (and this has been quite amusing to watch from afar)

1) I am reminded of the old story that is taught in Law School 101, that goes something like this:

2) (to the sound of a good ol' country lawyer's voice) Boy, if ya got da law on yer side, well, then, pound on da law...

3) and if ya ain't got the law on yer side, but ya got da facts on yer side, well, then, pound on da facts...

4) and if ya ain't got neither da law or da facts on yer side, well, then, boy, take off yer shoe and pound on da table as loud as ya kin!

This would appear to be the modus operandi of the "anon" crowd on this thread.

Or as we like to say, "never let the facts get in the way of a good story..."

$.02 out.

2:06 PM, May 22, 2006  
Anonymous Tom Benigno said...

Enough for all the good stuff out there. You have all forgotten the race is about removing Pombo from office. Mc Closkey seems to be talking to Mc Nerney and they are talking to Hank Shaw and he's talking to Wes Rolly and he is talking to Lisa V and the circle goes on.Why don't you all sit back and start supporting the only guy that can take out Pombo and still get the job done? This should have been my race. This guy owes me and he knows it. All this baloney about Gilmore and the CRA is crap. The Republicans need to get away from Pombo and Mc Closkey. The Tracy Press and the Record own this guy. They don't care about the other side of the hill. You all should have seen that at the Tracy Forum. The people in Tracy and the valley think they own the whole district. Let everyone know you're not going to allow that to happen. This Pombo family has been dealing in manure for too many years. Pombo said at the forum, "I have never lied or broke any rules while in Congress. I do for you what I do for my family". He didn't lie about that. He stole from the tax payers.
Let's get some response gang.

vote for TOM BENIGNO 6/6/06

1:09 PM, May 28, 2006  
Anonymous Tom Benigno said...

The democrats wanted me to run against Pombo as a democrat. That was hard for me to do. I'm a broke Republican, but I'm still a Republican. Why because a Republican liar help put me out of business. Now it should be my honor to put him out of office. This man has not lived up to his responsibility as our rep. He must be deffeted. Help us Scott R.

Tom Benigno

1:34 PM, May 28, 2006  
Anonymous Tom Benigno said...

Hi People:
This one is for you Bud? The liberal San Francisco Chronicle can't even help one of it's own candidates. They didn't even put a picture of Steven Thomas in their profiles for candidates, as they did not for me. I think it should their responsibility to do so, everyone please get out and e-mail these fools. I'm sure they have the information some place, within the districts. The way the did it was Quote! Oh by the way this guy and this are also running. How insulting all we see in the news headlines is the face of Pombo. Again get out and post some letters or opinions against this kind of campaign crap.
Good luck to everyone.

Tom Benigno

4:43 PM, May 29, 2006  

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