I received an interesting phone call this weekend, a woman’s voice was on the other end of the phone and she had a simple message…Mary Jackson is bought and paid for by special interests(I’m paraphrasing). This call claims to be paid for by Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods. This was by all means a pretty standard attack from a competing campaign or a special interest group. It is difficult to get at who is actually contributing to Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods or if they even paid for it. Whoever did it may have just made up the name because there really is no way to enforce many of the campaign finance laws. This is what I have so far:
1. The evidence that is out there, primarily campaign finance disclosure forms, show no signs of any undue special interest money coming into Mary Jackson’s campaign. This article in the Turlock Journal gives a good overview of all the contributions. (http://www.turlockjournal.com/main.asp?SectionID=15&SubSectionID=2&ArticleID=2780&TM=48565.61)
2. Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods is a group that has primarily focused on issues in Southern California, a State Senate campaign during the primary and it appears they are currently focused on the Newport Beach City Council race. They have raised and spent approximately $85,000 this year on various races. They list no address and no contact person beside their Treasurer who would not return phone messages as of this publication. They have primarily been funded by Medical companies, employees of Regent Development, Inc. based out of Sacramento, and a few others (Cal-Access website). They have not submitted any required financial filings since the 9/30 deadline and only had $553 in cash on hand at that time. This is important in many respects, any contribution of $1000 or above must be reported within 24 hours and independent expenditure (money spent to support or oppose a candidate that is not affiliated with the candidate) must also be reported. A mass phone call of this nature would have cost more than $1000 and it appears they have not received a contribution of more than $1000.
This information left me more intrigued about who launched this attack and these are the options I have come up with, none of which there is proof of at this point but just who it could possibly be:
1. Another candidate: the list includes, Jim Sarnowsky, DJ Fransen, Amy Bublak or Kurt Vander Weide. No specific evidence exists on any of these candidates but also none of them is dumb enough to be directly tied to an attack like this because of the blowback that would occur. If anyone was associated with it they would use a surrogate. If it were to be one of these it would most likely be Amy or Kurt and it would be used to counter accuse the questions that have arisen about their contributions from the developer Mark Hall. I don’t think either of them is dumb enough to employ this strategy.
2. Not Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods: there is the possibility that someone used this committee’s name to hide who is truly behind it. Which if this is the case we won’t ever find out with any certainty who was behind it. And further demonstrates some of the absurdities of the California’s campaign finance laws.
3. One of the other so called “major players” in Turlock politics: Public Safety unions, the Chamber of Commerce or one of the developers in the area. It is not the usual tactics taken by the public safety unions they do their best work by being positive and using their position as a place beyond reproach. The Chamber of Commerce usually uses behind the scenes fundraising, snickering and rumor mongering but nothing this explicit. A developer, say what you will but they have legitimate interests to protect but they usually just donate money to candidates which in and of itself is nothing more than free speech. It only becomes a problem if they are allowed special access or favors in return for their donation.
There is something fishy going on here and sad to say but, as of now illegal, multiple campaign finance laws have been broken and we will probably never find out who was behind it. My vote is the butler in the kitchen with the candle stick. Check back I will update this article if there is any new information.
-“Money is politics is like water on pavement, it finds every crack and crevice.”