WatchSonoma Watch

The mean season – of negative mailers

You’ve heard by now about the “hogwash” mailer that supporters of Supervisor Efren Carrillo sent out last week attacking Ernie Carpenter, one of his opponents in the June 5 election. It wasn’t the only negative election piece that’s gone out in recent days.

An independent expenditure committee calling itself the “Coalition for a Better Sonoma County” has issued a hit piece on Santa Rosa City Councilman John Sawyer featuring an image of Pinocchio. The title: “Politician John Sawyer will say anything to get elected”

The mailer contends Sawyer talks about how he wants to support the business community. But it notes that he voted to raise business and community development fees in the summer of 2008. The group contends that Sawyer is “bad for business.”

What it doesn’t mention is that the fee increases were unanimously approved by all of the council members, including Susan Gorin, one of Sawyer’s opponents in the race for 1st District supervisor. It also doesn’t mention that the fees were part of a long-standing plan to ensure the Community Development was charging developers fees that reflected the true cost of the service. The City Council had set a goal back in 2004, before Sawyer was on the board, to ensure the department was less dependent on the general fund and was getting the revenue it needed from fees.

The group that paid for the mailer is funded by the Service Employees International Union 1021 and the Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers and Rick Theis, a former Santa Rosa planning commissioner.

Seen other hit pieces or any other mailers that you think are dubious? We would like to see them. Email them to us at paul.gullixson@pressdemocrat.com.

- Paul Gullixson

16 Responses to “The mean season – of negative mailers”

  1. Marcus Welby says:

    Has Mr. Gunderson adopted Dr. as his first name? I ask because he is not a licensed chiropractor.


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  2. Juvenal says:

    @The Truth

    Truth is, it’s a coalition, a coalition for a better Sonoma County. Members of this coalition believe Sonoma County is a better place without John Sawyer as an elected official. Why? Because he doesn’t always tell the truth.

    There is nothing mysterious about this. No need for any further sleuthing.

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  3. Reality Check says:

    Negative mailers are used because they (too often) work. And given the surly mood of the public, it’s easier to convince voters that the other guy is a rat than put forth tough and complicated policy proposals.

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  4. Steveguy says:

    Mockingbird said ” I’m voting for Gorin because she’s proved to be a friend of working families and not big businesses like the wine industry. ”

    Exactly where are these ‘working families’ supposed to work ? Being anti-business is NOT a friend to working families.

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  5. SoCo Voter says:

    Have you seen the attack pieces against Stacey Lawson for Congess? Norman Solomon calls himself a progressive, but using unflattering pictures of opponents and sling mud is regressive – to about an elementary school level. What’s ironic is no one will bother attacking Norman, since he doesn’t have a chance of making it to November.

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  6. George L. Marshall says:

    If we had a real newspaper, and not a PR rag for the moneyed, old boys network of the North Bay, there wouldn’t be any need for Independent Expenditures. If the Press Democrat did its job and reported that John Sawyer made a back room deal with the Santa Rosa Police in order to get their endorsement, or that Sharon Wright had a conflict of interest as Santa Rosa Mayor or that Marc Levine was being funded by Skip Berg holdings and Basin Street Properties because he loves the Big Box stores, then voters wouldn’t have to depend on independent expenditures to get the real lowdown. The PD could do a lot to stop IE’s if they would cover their own business backed candidates half as well as they do Progressive candidates like Noreen Evans and Michael Allen.

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  7. Rebecca del Rio says:

    I wonder how many others like myself simply take those mailers from the mailbox and deposit them in the recycling can without reading them. Campaign mailers are not–and never were–a source of information to help the voter decide.

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  8. More Trash Coming from Allen says:

    The North Bay Labor Council…uh that’s Lisa Maldonado for the uninitiated…hired a Marin County Political Consultant to create an Independant Expenditur Committee. What are the chances that they are printing and mailing a hit piece against Michael Allen’s opponents with all that union money flowing into his tacky campaign?

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  9. ….mailer is funded by the Service Employees International Union 1021 and the Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers It will be interesting what negative mailers Allen will put out down the line.

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  10. Dan Drummond says:

    Campaign mailers are always full of half-truths and outright lies, but what’s really sad is that so many voters are evidently influenced by them. That explains no doubt the dysfunctional government we have today filled with representatives loyal to the unions and other special interests that paid for those mailers.

    But to respond to your specific inquiry, Paul, we’ve received this past week two large, full color, glossy mailers full of unflattering photos of Stacy Lawson touting her millionaire status, dismal voting record, and her relatively recent move into the district. Not a word or reference to her opponent(s) was to be found. The mailer included more unflattering photos of Meg Whitman and a Pinocchio character similar to the one in the Sawyer mailer. I’m not a Lawson supporter, but I was curious as to the source of the mailers. I expected to find in small print at the bottom of the page the name of some vague and unidentifiable group, but instead the small print read, “Paid for by the Norman Solomon for Congress Committee.”

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  11. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    The truth-I’m just a voter like you. I just want to know the truth. I know for a fact that the numbers in Sawyer’s PD insert weren’t accurate. He should put out a detail showing exactly where they came from instead of just putting numbers on paper. Some people will believe anything they read.

    Sawyer is known quantity in this county. I’m in his district but I’d vote for anyone but him. For a fact, I’m voting for Gorin because she’s proved to be a friend of working families and not big businesses like the wine industry. She is more balanced.

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  12. SoCo Voter says:

    Gorin’s supporters (public employee unions) are getting nervous to put out such a lame hit piece. It’s not going to make the voters forget how divisive Susan has been on the Council and that she lacks focus and credibility on the top issue of the campaign – jobs. John will finish first on June 5th. I doubt Susan will even finish second.

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  13. Gloria Anthony says:

    Pretty nervy for the PD to omit the fact that they used their paper to deliver an insert for John Sawyer which was full of untruths and misstatements. How much money did they get from Sawyer to “deliver” his campaign to the voters? And does that include their friendly ‘editorials” like this one…or does JohnSawyer have to pay extra for that?

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  14. Jim Bennett says:

    The Truth says the PD is a ‘neutral entity’…

    Repeaters. Not reporters.

    Amazing stuff.

    Check the date/time of this post.
    To see how ‘neutral’ they are.
    If they even print it.

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  15. The Truth says:

    “Mockingbird” frequents Watch Sonoma County with the sole intent of slandering John Sawyer. The PD is a neutral entity and I think the article speaks for itself. SEIU bankrolls $36,000 into attack ads. What a coincidence it’s being paid for by Sonoma County’s biggest union. See the PROOF and $$ behind the trash talk and SEIU’s massive donations (conveniently located last on the donor list): http://campaigndocs.sonoma-county.org/CFD_Web_Images/2012%5C026%5C00002620120524F12.pdf

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  16. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    No mention of the 24?page insert in the PD full inaccuracies that Sawyer put out. My first thought when it came out was the cost. The unions can’t afford to put out something like this. Who financed it? PD-let us know how much it cost. I’m sure the public would like to know.

    Just because Sawyer says something in this insert doesn’t mean it’s true folks. I’d be leery.

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